Budget or no Budget, the month of March marks the end of the government’s fiscal year and it’s producing some very good news for Canadian science and technology (S&T). Genome Canada, the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Networks of Centres of Excellence have all received major cash infusions.
Article Type: Editorial
It’s getting more difficult by the day to seriously question the contention that the 21st Century belongs to biotechnology. Judging by the level of activity so far this year, it seems that every sector of society and every level of government is jumping on the biotech band wagon to avoid missing a window of opportunity and losing out to some other jurisdiction.
With the throne speech come and gone many in the S&T community are still in a holding pattern, waiting to see what the next federal moves will be in its strategy to build an innovative economy. Despite an elaborate advisory system and fiscal flexibility, there have been few concrete indications of how the government plans to fulfill the lofty commitments it has made in recent months.
There will be more than a few interested bystanders listening to this week’s Speech From the Throne to hear whether the government will provide any clues about its plans for new science, technology and research initiatives.
The latest numbers on total R&D spending from Statistics Canada forcefully demonstrate the difficulties facing the federal government in meeting its ambitious targets on raising the R&D intensity of the nation.
This issue of RE$EARCH MONEY is the last we will publish in calendar year 2000. And what a year it has been. It all began with word that the parent firm of RE$EARCH MONEY was in bankruptcy and the newsletter had ceased publication.
Now that the crass politicking of a largely unnecessary federal election has run its course, the Liberal government can get down to delivering on the commitments it so earnestly announced in the last couple of months.
Science and technology policies and programs have never been considered good reasons for casting a vote on election day, but the upcoming federal election may change all that (see page 3). S&T has never enjoyed the visibility that it’s receiving during the current campaign, belatedly reflecting S&T’s pervasive influence over all facets of the economy, society and the environment.
It appears as though international S&T has broken through the federal wall of indifference and is about to climb the Liberal government’s priority list of technology issues. Last week saw the long awaited release of the ACST’s report on the issue, containing several strong recommendations for putting Canada back on the international S&T map (see page 3).
Paul Martin’s remarkable challenge to the science and technology community comes at a volatile time in Canada’s evolution towards a knowledge-based economy. With the accelerating pace of technological change and the deep structural shifts in global markets, it takes powerful foresight to recognize which levers to pull to obtain the desired results.