The new Conservative government is dusting off the Liberal innovation strategy and is preparing its own version in time for the next election. A small group in Industry Canada has been given the task of developing an S&T Framework with input from the S&T ADM Committee for release this fall.
Leading the project are Mary Carman, ADM for the science and innovation sector, and Iain Stewart, DG innovation policy branch. Neither returned calls for comment.
Given the short timeframe for preparing the framework, most are not expecting a dramatic shift from current S&T policy — a prospect which is raising concern. Current policy has resulted in billions of dollars being pumped into the university research system. But it has achieved little in encouraging greater innovation and R&D from the private sector or collaboration across sectors.
"The private and public sectors are getting increasingly out of sync," says a government official. "The framework will reiterate the obvious (and) affirm the status quo."
According to insiders, the Industry Canada group is still waiting for concrete direction from Industry minister Maxime Bernier, but little is anticipated before the end of the government's spring session.
The Liberal innovation strategy was launched in 2002 and was still a work in progress when the last Parliament fell. The Conservative party was criticized during the election campaign for its weak pronouncements on innovation, research and productivity. The expectation is that the new government will deal with these issues later rather than sooner.
"They'll take the framework to the next election and if they win a majority, they'll likely revisit it and develop a new policy"