Editorial – 29-13

By Mark Henderson, Editor

David Crane got it right in his Hill Times column this week when he called for a public investment strategy to build Canada’s innovative economy. The veteran economic journalist isn’t the first, nor will he be the last, to call attention to Canada’s weak competitiveness and slumping market share in key industry sectors.

The Conference Board of Canada also weighed in with its latest innovation report card. And while Canada has finally scored a ‘C’ after years of ‘D’ grades, regional disparities persist and Canada underperforms in key areas such as venture capital, export market share of major innovative industries and business R&D spending.

The Conservative government has moved on bolstering commercialization but the impact of those initiatives have been lackluster at best. Clearly smarter and more effective policies and more funding are required at the federal level to incent business to develop a high-performance innovation ecosystem.

And what of the Liberals and New Democrats? As all three parties campaign to form the next government, they will be unveiling policies aimed at turning around and diversifying the economy.

In the coming weeks, RE$EARCH MONEY will be examining and reporting on their science, technology and innovation (STI) policies. What they propose and (if elected) how they plan to implement those policies should be a central thrust of their election platforms.

Far too often, STI has remained on the back burner in Canadian elections and the messaging heard so far in the current campaign is far from encouraging. Canadians deserve better.