CFIB heartburn

I wonder if the CFIB will criticize this. The Association of Canadian Academic Healthcare Organizations (ACAHO), the national voice of Teaching Hospitals, Regional Health Authorities and their Research Institutes has released a report which provides a framework for the country’s health research enterprise.

Oh no. Targeting the health research sector. They are calling for billions in investment in the health research sector. Tisk. Tisk. Why not a tax break for small biz? We shouldn’t be picking winners and losers.

At some point, most sane and rational people will understand the need to focus economic development efforts.

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0 Responses to CFIB heartburn

  1. Anonymous says:

    I am all for increasing the Province’s investments in R&D but let’s target strategic areas that relate to the province’s strengths, where we have a chance to be a global leader and where there is a chance for spin off (not sell off).

    People are complaining the NB’s health care reserach is low; there is a good reason for this; we do not have a medical school (not yet anyway).

    Health care research is admirable and tugs at the public’s heart strings and it would be wonderful to contribute but why should we play catch up on things like cancer research where others have spent billions in the last few decades. With all due respect to our researchers, why do we have to follow the lead of others, who got off the start line decades ago?

    If we are going to target health care for our tiny R&D commitments, let’s take a little different approach. Maybe we should be looking to become the leaders in e-health, an area where we have somewhat of a foundation to build on with NRC and SNB.

  2. mikel says:

    Health is such a massive field that its crazy to ignore it. In Moncton Beausejour is already doing cancer research, so its not like they are ‘playing catch up’. All it takes is money, because there are researchers out there-LOTS of them.

    But it takes money money money and people. That the province has no medical school is frankly an embarassment. If the CITY of Sudbury can build a cancer research center with its population of no more than Saint John, then there is no reason New Brunswick can’t. This may be a ‘fault’ of government in general since city’s seem unwilling to make any kind of investment but wait for the province to ‘decide’. There is no reason a city couldn’t have said five years ago they are building a trauma center, start fundraising, and then go to the province. Instead, everybody sits back and waits for the province to make those decisions.

    Again, the same goes for a vet school, a pharmacy school, etc. There is no reason that Miramichi City can’t at least do the legwork and find the buildings, find the teachers, put some small bit towards the school and then go to the province and the feds and say ‘here’s what we want and here’s the price tag’. Perhaps that is going on and we just don’t hear it in the media.

    But even Cancer is so broad that there is plenty of room to specialize. Few people though, are ‘researching’ e health, and its research that helps pay the bills. Of course there is no huge payoffs, but perhaps then some pharmaceutical company will at least see a reason to look at the province. But again, I know of some of the best research going on in the country which has been ongoing for almost ten years now but still is not real close to a ‘product’, which is why government needs to be heavily involved-and that doesn’t even take into account the moral questions about corporate research (which doesn’t aim at basic research but at products).

    Sudbury, by the way, has done like Beausejour and focused on clinical trials, something that involves the community as well. Unfortunately, the big problem is the lack of media, I virtually never read ANYTHING about the medical system from the Irving press, I think there was ONE story when that doctor got some money from the province.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Mikel….think about what you are suggesting….

    A cancer research center, a vet school, a pharmacy school, a med school (all which exit in AC). Then, following current practice, think that if you put a med school in Moncton, you’ll have to put one in SJ and if you put a vet school in the north you’ll have to put one in the south etc. All this duplication, on a municipal, provincial and regional scale is why Atlantic Canada is not a leader in much of anything.

    California got going on the silicon valley focus. Boston on defense (then medical). Montreal aerospace. Ontario automotive.

    The point is, even if we had the 100’s of millions needed to do what you suggest, if we want to be a leader, we have to take the risk to focus and specialize. If we want the status quo, which is currently falling behind other provinces, then we keep doing what we are doing.

  4. mikel says:

    Why? There are lots of resources in the south that are not duplicated in the north. Because there are so many options then it gets even easier. I think the north should be given preference because of the economic disenfranchisement. The province can’t very well complain about the feds neglect when they do something similar to the north.

    Money, of course is the central issue, which is why we are always talking about taxation. The province WOULD have lots more money if it did some basic things like offer fair taxation. Had the wealthiest NBers been given the same tax increase as those in the middle then millions more would be in the coffers.

    If New Brunswick taxed corporations at the same rate as other provinces then there would be even millions more.

    For schools though, this is why we talk about universities. A university can start a Vet school for far less than a municipality because they already have the space. Keep in mind also that money is not the main problem, because students now foot a lot of the bill for such courses, and of course its no surprise that NB has such a low level of foreign students-it doesn’t offer the courses that people need in a knowledge economy.

    And of course there is the whole Irving connection. The guys from RIM don’t have nearly the resources that Irving has but that hasn’t stopped them from setting up SIX different research institutions all in one city. You may say you can’t FORCE Irving to give money, but of course you can-thats what governments do. Since Irvings want so many tradeoffs like special tax deals on property and environmental passes on new refineries, then there are all kinds of options for quid pro quo. Of course since Irving practically RUNS the government then they aren’t going to settle into such deals quietly, however, we are talking about what is politically possible here, which depends a lot on you and me.

    And of course not all those are NEW developments, Moncton already does considerable work with cancer and is growing quite quickly, with even a LITTLE impetus there could be a lot of growth there. Fredericton copied them with its Populomix or something like that research centre, but they don’t do much there. So its pretty easy to say to Moncton “Ok, you got cancer research so we’ll put a vet school in Miramichi and a School of Architecture in Campbellton”.

    All of those things are FAR cheaper than you think. Like I said, the new Counsel on Foreign Relations being set up in Waterloo is being done with a million dollars-thats pennies for a government.

    Some of this stuff is going on, there are a few research places in NB that the press simply never talks to, however, for a large part there is very little..particularly in science. The OECD, a pretty objective observer, said quite clearly that even Canada is falling behind on R&D, and since NB is at the bottom of that, then that says it all.

    So its true what the above says, the ‘status quo’ is NOT an option, technology will guarantee that fewer and fewer blue collar jobs are necessary. IF NB got a huge auto plant manufacturer then the province would be leaps and bounds ahead, but there is little evidence to think that is on the horizon. But IF there is a reliance on ‘people’ and skills, they can’t be the old skills, thats why its such a shame that the study on post secondary education got so politicized-lost in all that was actual CONTENT, while people bickered about what kind of ‘structure’ is best.

    All of those research areas are leading the pack for investment nowadays, so ignoring them is quite literally the status quo. Lost in all the arguments about ‘specializing’ is the fact that most places may TALK about specialties, but that doesn’t mean they don’t do other things. Here in Waterloo the schools are known for engineering and computer science, however, the two universities are now setting up their own medical schools, and already have a brand new building which is a ‘health promotion centre’ and is the first step towards a medical school-even though there are three medical schools within an hours drive.

    Sorry this is so long, but one other thing to not forget is that New Brunswick PAYS other provinces for students to go to school there. I don’t know how much, but other provinces don’t pay New Brunswick, so you can add that amount into the cost of education-not to mention the plain difficulty it is in getting practitioners and scientists to come to the province (studies show doctors and surgeons prefer to stay close to where they did residency and schooled, which means cash becomes the only tool to get them to the province)

    Its NOT cost that is the problem, it is political will. If PEI can get wind turbines and a vet school you can’t tell me that NB doesn’t have the money. Even Newfoundland has a med school, and by many measures NB is the best off province in the Atlantic area.