Editorial - 20-11

Guest Contributor
July 7, 2006

The Canadian Council of Academies (CCA) is up and running and armed with its first assignment - an assessment of Canadian S&T within a global context for Industry Canada. The data will feed into the federal government's formulation of an S&T strategy that has been promised by the end of the year. Big changes could be in the offing.

Industry Canada should be commended for selecting the CCA for this task. It lends the process an indelible stamp of independence in an area where impartiality is imperative. The government is expected to make several key decisions based on its review. The CCA report will identify which scientific disciplines and technology applications Canada excels in, S&T infrastructure that provides Canada with competitive advantage and emerging areas where Canada has an opportunity to be world-leading (see page 3).

The CCA contract is one of the few morsels of information on S&T to emerge from the new government. Counter to its claims of increased transparency and accountability, the government's thinking on S&T and innovation appears to be covered in a cone of silence Considering how important S&T is to the future competitiveness of the nation, a more open process will be welcome.

This will hopefully change in the fall when the S&T strategy is unveiled. That means the CCA has just a few weeks to complete its task - a brutal timeline that will be a challenge to meet. So when you're laying back at your favourite vacation spot, take a moment to reflect on those who are toiling for what hopefully will be a definitive S&T strategy for Canada.

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