The productivity of our enterprises and our standard of living go hand in hand. But to improve their productivity, businesses must invest. What role must the federal government play to create an investment-friendly environment and a more competitive economy? Should Canada reconsider its fiscal laws in order to encourage innovation and risk-taking? What strategy should Canada implement to improve the private sector’s research and development capacity? The new Secretary of State for Science, Research and Development has ideas and strategies to propose. A rising star on the federal political scene, Maurizio Bevilacqua became Secretary of State with the last reshuffle of Jean Chrétien’s cabinet. First elected as a Member of Parliament in the 1988 election, he was re-elected in 1990, 1993, 1997 and 2000. He served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources Development (1993-95) and to the Minister of Labour (1993-94). He was also Chair of the powerful House of Commons Finance Committee from 1997 to 2002. In this position, he called for pro-growth fiscal measures such as the reduction and eventual elimination of capital taxes as well as tax cuts. Mr. Bevilacqua’s speech was followed by a question period open to the audience.