Editorial - 15-3

Guest Contributor
February 12, 2001

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. While their intent is laudable, the proof is in the pudding and in the S&T game, timing is everything.

The action now switches to the prov-inces as they prepare initiatives to be announced in their spring Budgets. Pending elections in Alberta and British Col-umbia aside, the provincial Budgets could hold the key for how the second-tier governments plan to integrate R&D and S&T into their economic and social strategies.

Alberta and Ontario are clearly planning to add some fiscal muscle to their nascent life sciences strategies, while Quebec will provide the first indications of how it intends to implement its freshly minted science policy (see lead story). Other provinces will undoubtedly introduce new measures of their own, but without clear indications of federal intentions, crucial coordination between the various levels of government is being made unnecessarily difficult.

Instead of pushing around second-world nations like Brazil with questionable charges of diseased beef, the feds should start implementing clear, innovative policies that provide leadership for the provinces, industry and the academic community. If there really is an S&T strategy, the time to use it is now.

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