After years of delays, the prospect of decisive federal measures to boost commercialization and innovation appear to be imminent. All signs point to a concerted plan of action as Ottawa prepares for a fall unveiling of several initiatives designed to enhance Canada’s productivity and competitiveness.
From a new telecommunications strategy to a task force report on commercialization, the gears of government are turning and momentum is building. Industry minister Dr David Emerson has set the stage with yet another revealing speech in which he outlined the challenges Canada faces — and what he and his Cabinet colleagues have in mind to confront them (see page 4).
The timing couldn’t be better. Ottawa appears to be headed for another healthy surplus, the Liberal government has rebounded in the polls, and science and technology are again enjoying elevated status among political decision-makers.
It’s a very different environment from last spring, when Liberal fortunes were sagging and the prospect of a change in government was threatening several key S&T initiatives. The last Budget reflected the mood of uncertainty with many S&T organizations being ignored or simply refinanced without regard for changing circumstances or altered mandates.
S&T is at a crossroads in this country and the federal government appears to recognize that failure to build upon its investments of the past decade could imperil the nation’s ability to compete in the global economic arena. The ability to learn from past mistakes and indecision is a true sign of good government.