On innovation and politics

There is a very interesting article in the Globe & Mail today about Ontario’s focus on research & development. Actually, the story is about John Charest trying to play catch up to Ontario but I’ll zoom in on a few interesting tidbits.

Firstly, the headline of the story itself:

A whiff of election air stirs Charest to action on innovation

Question: Would that statement ever be used in the New Brunswick context? Tee hee hee.

More like:

A whiff of election air stirs Charest to action on health care, or senior care, or potholes, or whatever

Then there’s this tasty morsel:

Mr. McGuinty is devoting $1.7-billion over five years to fund research and, just as important, its commercialization.

You remember the Prosperity Plan? The one that was going to take us into the top three for R&D spending per capita in Canada?

Lord allocated $25 million for his Innovation Foundation. I am not sure how many years this is spread over but let’s say five just for fun.

Ontario $1.7 billion
New Brunswick $25 million

Ah, but you say, that’s not fair New Brunswick is smaller than Ontario.

Ok.

Ontario $170 per person
NB $33 per person

New Brunswick would have to spend over five times as much to reach the level of new money committed by Ontario. But that still wouldn’t get us in to the top three provinces for R&D spending.

No wonder the Prosperity Plan disappeared.

The article concludes:

Innovation and its funding is the sine qua non of a modern, vibrant economy.

Under the Tories:

Innovation and its funding is a concepta non grata.

Ok, I made that term up but I don’t claim to have a great knowledge of Latin.


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0 Responses to On innovation and politics

  1. Cooker Boy says:

    Do you know if the Libs plan on increasing the amount to equal the per capita of Ont?

  2. David Campbell says:

    In the Charter for Change, there are over a half dozen commitments to new research initiatives in energy, agriculture/aquaculture, health, and the environment. But there is no amounts mentioned. As for the Tories, they still have not posted a platform so who know.

    My position on R&D has been well publicized on this blog. I think we need to allocate considerably more research funding (as part of my recommended 3% of total government spending on economic development) but that should go to leverage federal and private sector funding. I think we should find the top research companies in the sectors we are targeting (we are targeting none right now as far as I can tell), and convince them to set up research facilities in New Brunswick by contributing support financing. The NB Innovation Foundation should be about linking global leading companies with our university researchers and leveraging tax dollars to a much greater effect.

    I see the Libs say they will work with the NB Innovation Foundation. Without having done too much research myself into this, my preference would be scrap that organization completely and start over.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Records show more untendered contracts at Toronto waterfront agency Dean Beeby, Canadian Press
    Published: Monday, September 11, * OTTAWA (CP) –
    Toronto’s waterfront agency handed out more untendered contracts even as a federal audit was raising alarms about the forbidden practice, newly disclosed records show.

    The Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp., signed five sole-source deals between April and December 2005, in addition to 10 uncovered by federal auditors in a critical report released last year.

    Altogether, the public agency responsible for sprucing up Toronto’s waterfront has spent almost $10 million on sole-source contracts, which are specifically forbidden under a funding agreement with the federal government.

    Records released under the Access to Information Act show federal officials have been concerned about too-cosy relationships between agency officials and the beneficiaries of the untendered deals.

    “Many of the justifications . . . state that the contractor had significant previous involvement with the task force (that led to the creation of the corporation),” says an internal memo.

    “This may imply that the contractors are not de facto dealing with TWRC at arm’s length. This increases the need for a competitive process.”

    The corporation was created in 2001 by the city, the province and Ottawa to clean up and modernize Toronto’s sometimes dingy lakeshore, partly to prepare for an Olympic bid that later fizzled.

    The federal government, which provides a third of the funding, signed an agreement with the corporation requiring that contracts for construction, goods or services worth more than $75,000 be subject to competitive bids, without exception.

    An audit made public last December cited 10 deals above that threshold that had been signed without competition. The contracts together represented almost a third of all the money the corporation had spent on procurement.

    And records disclosed by Treasury Board show the corporation signed an additional five such contracts by the end of the year, together worth more than $800,000.
    Liberals find it difficult to follow the law.

  4. David Campbell says:

    Liberals find it difficult to follow the law? I’m not in the defender of Liberals, but have a look at the provincial Tories. Bristol (yes the same polling firm that shows Lord way ahead in public opinion) got huge dollars in non-tendered contracts from the Lord government – after being the agency of record for the PC party during their election runs in 1999 and 2003. Bernard Lord is taking a salary from the Party and the Public – a practice outlawed by his federal counterpart – Stephen Harper. There’s enough stink to spread around, I think.

    This silly nonsense that the Liberals are corrupt liars while the Tories are lily white defenders of freedom may work in some corners of the blogosphere but not here.

  5. Anonymous says:

    But boy they do liven things up! Yes, let’s tie Graham to federal liberals, after all, its ‘in the genes’, I think they breed them just outside Ottawa…but wait, wasn’t Harper once a liberal?

    As for untendered contracts, shall we discuss Harpers use of ‘national security’ to offer ALL contracts in R&D as untendered contracts.

    And of course for scandals, the liberals were lilywhite compared to that great corruptor-Brian Mulroney, who had RCMP investigations and scandals all over the place.

    Or we can mention Saskatchewan’s conservative government of the early nineties that took the province from having a surplus into a massive deficit in a space of four years, and not only had scandals but had actual prison terms meted out.

    Face it, when it comes to corruption party affiliations mean nothing. You certainly can’t tie Graham to the above, thats just silly. I have no doubt scandals will happen under Graham, but you can’t prove a fact before it occurs, and for Lord we already have the data.