Canada’s knowledge economy: not so much

Ottawa’s bright ideas haven’t added up to much result

It’s always good to compare hope against achievement. One of the first big things the Harper government did after it had delivered on (four of) its five election-year priorities in 2006 was to release, in 2007, its Science and Technology Strategy. Our text today comes from that document — especially this paragraph, which came in its own little box to show how important it was:

“At a time when Canada’s overall productivity gains are below those of other trading nations with whom we compete, the need to encourage greater private-sector S&T investment is a national priority.”

Got it. And how’s that working out? Today Industry Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council released its second benchmarking report, two years after the first. This compares Canada’s performance on various research and innovation-related measures to global trends. And today’s report is pretty brutal. On the specific “national priority” I quoted above, here’s the tale of the tape:

“From 2006 to 2009…Canadian business expenditure on R&D declined in inflation-adjusted terms.”

But that’s just the beginning of it. As the Globe wrote this morning based on a leaked copy of the report (sigh), “Canada ranked worse or stagnated in 18 of 24 benchmarks tracked by the council since its 2008 report.” Here, through the magic of cut-and-paste, is what that looks like on paper:

There’s a second page of those down arrows in the report after this one.

Business spending on R&D took a big hit when the tech bubble popped a decade ago, but after that it held steady until, well, about the time the Harper government released its science and technology strategy:

It’s not really fair to say that trend line is the government’s fault. Closer to the truth to say the feds’ bright ideas haven’t added up to much result. One of their biggest ideas is to support private-sector research through tax incentives. We do more of that than just about anyone:

Other countries prefer to just give tax money to companies that perform a lot of research. We’re allergic to that kind of thinking in Canada, so the chart for direct national-government spending on private-sector research looks like this:

But since the point of supporting private-sector research is to produce more private-sector research, and not just to show up in a flattering place on a chart, it’s pretty clear that Canada’s preference for tax incentives over direct subsidy doesn’t work. Is another mechanism likely to do better? That question has been put to another panel, whose chairman is the very bright Tom Jenkins, and which is expected to report this autumn. Since we’re talking about billions of dollars a year in federal support to private-sector R&D, it’ll be handy to know whether it’s being well spent.

Meanwhile, of course there’s a lot of ways that a country turns ideas into commerce. One is to have a well-educated population in general. Canada has slipped, from very high to only rather high, in the OECD’s “PISA” standardized tests of 15-year-olds. Another is to have a large cadre of superbly-educated graduates. Here, Canada’s numbers are misleading: we lead the world in “tertiary education,” but that’s just because of a disproportionate number of community-college grads. We’re much lower in university education. And, indeed, we’ve fallen from 20th in the world to 23rd in our production of PhD graduates.

Finally, there’s managerial capacity. Roger Martin at the University of Toronto has argued, rather frequently, that business acumen is part of the productivity puzzle. Which is why I was so struck by this last chart, tucked away in today’s STIC report:




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Canada’s knowledge economy: not so much

  1. Canada is anti-knowledge and progress, we are a socialist country that is slowly declining into irrelevance. Massive transfer of wealth from productive to shiftless and no money left to pay for innovation.

    How many times does it have to be proven that Government can’t pick winners in economics. Have to let market lead innovation but Canadians are scared of creative destruction and excellence, we prefer middling technocrats and governance.

    Western world is bankrupt but we don’t seem to want to acknowledge that fact yet so we keep borrowing against our children’s future to pay for services today.

    Wells: Congratulations on your next book. Even tho you are liberal, you give fair hearing to Cons/cons and don’t treat us as spastics, which is much better than most of your msm colleagues. I was happy to read your announcement and look forward to reading book in 2013.

    “Mr. Clement said that: “Governments are doing their part. Universities are doing their part. Where’s business? When is business going to do its part?”

    http://opinion.financialpost.com/2010/11/29/terence-corcoran-tony-clement-vs-business/

    Under the Conservatives, spending, which conservatives once promised to cut, has been growing at a rate of 8 per cent a year. The budget, which conservatives once aimed to balance, is now in deficit to the tune of $54-billion, with literally no end in sight. 

    Corporate subsidies, which conservatives once vowed to eliminate, continue to be doled out by the billions every year; much of the auto industry has been nationalized; the number of regional development agencies has increased by one. 

    http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/03/22/hard-right-hardly/

    The aforementioned CD Howe report notes that total compensation per civilian employee in the federal government reached $94, 000 in 2009/2010, nearly double the average of $47,500 in the private economy.

    “The negative effect of corporate taxes is particularly pronounced for firms that are catching up with the technological frontier. In the investment analysis, the results suggest that corporate taxes reduce investment through an increase in the user cost of capital.”

    http://www.oecd.org/LongAbstract/0,3425,en_2649_34595_41433585_119684_1_1_1,00.html

    • “Canada appears content to become a second-tier socialistic country, boasting ever more loudly about its economy and social services to mask its second-rate status.” — Gee, Stephen Harper said that in 2000. He’s been in power for more than five years, and yet, he can’t do anything. So, very, sad. 

      • Indeed.

        Harper has made Canada even more of a second tier socialist country he use to whinge about.

        Harper and his minions will be proud of their achievements, I am sure.

    • “Wells: Congratulations on your next book. Even tho you are liberal, you
      give fair hearing to Cons/cons and don’t treat us as spastics, which is
      much better than most of your msm colleagues.”

      Now stand back while I give a spastic rant about deficits, spending, subsidies, public salaries and corporate taxes.

  2. The tone of a country is set by its leader and govt far more than most people realize.
     
    Since coming to power Harper has steadfastly stressed things like the military fighting foreign wars instead of peace-keeping, plus  hockey and the Olympics, seals, maple syrup, Timmies….he’s also saved auto-workers jobs, gone back to ship-building, promoted the oil sands, ignored climate change, sold Atomic Energy to SNC Lavalin, nearly sold off RadarSat, and let Nortel die.

    Indeed RIM may be going too.  Harper doesn’t even use a Blackberry although Obama does. What’s up with that?

       ‘But, the story said, RIM co-CEO Mike Lazardis “got the cold shoulder on Parliament Hill” after urging the government to keep Nortel intact rather than pursue the subsequent piecemeal disintegration in bankruptcy at fire-sale prices. Lazardis wanted Nortel’s patents for RIM.
    “The excitement generated by next week’s auction of 6,000 Nortel Networks patents,” said the Ottawa daily, “is a validation of the tremendous value of the intellectual property that Nortel researchers developed over generations.
    “If governments had responded when Nortel hit the wall,” the Citizen article asked, “would Research in Motion be in as much trouble today?’
     http://www.marketwatch.com/story/is-rim-the-next-nortel-networks-2011-06-23
     
    Harper may hand out money…’candies’,  and tax credits….. but he doesn’t stress education and innovation.
     
    We even have a creationist as our ‘Science minister’.
     
    The UN has dumped us, and we’re now a pariah at conferences….including ones on asbestos.
     
    Canadians have invented and discovered many things….but while we can all name hockey players….few Canadians know how many Nobel prizes we’ve won….or that we’ve discovered everything from stem cells to solar cells.
     
    Is there any promotion of this?  Any image raising? Brits put Darwin on their money….who do we have?
     
    Obama has called for 10,000 new engineers, and yesterday announced a $70M robotics initiative.
     
    We are drowning in ‘column inches’ about royalty and the Senate ….old institutions nobody cares about.
     
    If Harper is expecting businesses to pull us out of this he should read ‘ Why Mexicans don’t drink Molsons’.   Just the first two chapters will clue him in.
     
    http://www.amazon.ca/Why-Mexicans-Don-Drink-Molson/dp/1553652258
     
    So what does all this say to young people?  To inventors?  To innovators?  To thinkers?
     
    It says Canada is mired in a past era…so there’s no sense trying anything here.
     
    It also says….. leave.
     
    And, increasingly, that’s what we’re doing.
     
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/time-to-lead/as-nation-of-immigrants-canada-must-now-confront-its-emigrants/article2076408/singlepage/#articlecontent

    • Just one comment regarding RIM and the Blackberry…it is not Stephen Harper’s fault that RIM has run into problems.  Their products aren’t keeping up with Apple’s innovations.  I know CEOs who have abandoned their Blackberrys for iphones and have found them far superior. It isn’t the government’s fault that RIM has dropped the ball. Do we really want protectionism or do we want to produce products that earn brand loyalty?

      • You could try reading the article you know

        • I read the article but you brought up RIM and Harper not using a Blackberry…I was responding to your comment.

          • Yes Harper should be using a Blackberry…in fact he should be passing them out at conferences….instead of the usual tacky bric-a-brac they palm off as gifts at these events.

            What is this? “Why should I sell your wheat?”

            On top of which, because Harp won’t listen, Google will end up with patents from Nortel….all patents the Canadian taxpayer footed the bill for.

            Harper ‘sells’ a lot of things by virtue of his office…like oil……just not 21st century items like Blackberrys

          • Harper could hand out the Blackberry at every conference and the company would still be going done the sh**hole because their product is not competitive with what is available in the Global market.  Our wheat is comparable to what is available in the rest of the world; our beef is better than in most other places.  We don’t have to prop up the markets because the product is good.  What is this Canadian mentality that like the radio airplay if we don’t play our artists, they won’t thrive?  If they are talented, they will.
            Furthermore, if Jim Basillie with his 800 million (used to be 2 billion) dollars and brilliant mind can’t dig RIM out, how is the govt. going to do it?

          • @healthcareinsider:disqus 

            Would you please pay attention, and save the politics for another thread…

            Harp has been around for years….he has never used a Blackberry, nor has he promoted them

            The iphone is recent…so is the iPad…everybody is always playing a game of catch-up to the latest thing.

            Hard to do if good patents that would help go to Google.

            As to wheat and beef….be serious. Lots of places have both….our beef in particular has been banned in many places

            Do you have any idea what Basillie has done with his money?  Or Lazardis?

            Canada can’t afford to lose these two

            Now stop getting off on tangents and pay attention to the problem.  Are we promoting innovation or aren’t we?

      • I had promised myself that I wouldn’t respond to you anymore Emily but you are the outside of enough.  Putting the iphone & the pad in the same category as recent innovations is ridiculous given that the ipod was released 4 years ago and they are set to introduce the 5th version of that smart phone.  Furthermore, are you not denigrating Obama for using a Blackberry when he should be, according to your logic, supporting an American product.
        As for the question of whether Canada supports knowledge and innovation.  We as a country make post secondary education accessible to anyone who wants to attend.  We have top of line schools like Waterloo that turn out superior graduates that American companies cannot wait to scoop up.  Why do the Canadian graduates not stay in Canada…the taxes are too high.  They are willing to be educated on the taxpayer’s dime but don’t want to pay it forward.

        • It’s that kind of business I’m afraid…there are always new things coming on the market.

          To flutter about from one to another is a waste of time and money for the consumer.

          Blackberries are for serious business and professional people…not game and app playing stuff for kids.

          I’m not knocking Obama…he’s a great advertisement for RIM…I’m knocking Harper for not doing the same.

          Post-secondary is not available to everyone….it’s very expensive, and most people can’t afford it.

          Check the list of the top 10 universities in the world…see if Canada is on it.

          Then you can check the top 100

          Canadian graduates leave Canada for better education and jobs elsewhere, plus experience in advanced countries….not because of your Con nonsense on taxes

          • Well Emily, that is the truth “there are always new things coming on the market” …and if you do not keep up with the innovations your product and your company falls out of favor and goes down the tube.  That is why people are not playing with Atari game systems anymore.
            Blackberries apparently aren’t even appealing to the “serious business and professional people” anymore because the company is not flourishing.  The product, according to the insiders (see letter on front page of National Post dated June 30/11) is difficult for end users to use and is not innovative.  As I told you, I know CEO’s who have switched to the iphone.  One is the CEO of a national company.  He is doing serious business and has his MBA.
            As for Canadian Universities not being good enough.  Are you aware of the “QS World University Rankings?” I just took a quick look through “Life Sciences, which encompasses Medicine, etc. and I found that the University of Toronto and McGill are ranked numbers 12 and 13 respectively. Then I reflected on your comments and I have a few questions and comments for you. Are you telling me that Google, Microsoft and Apple don’t scoop up our graduates in computer engineering from Waterloo?  Are you telling me that Canadian trained doctors and nurses are not being actively recruited by countries the world over?  They don’t have to do additional courses to work anywhere. 
            Only rich Canadians leave Canada for an education.  You obviously have no idea what tuition costs in other places.  I met a family while in San Francisco.  They were paying $40K a year for tuition for their son to attend Berkley.  In Canada, single mothers can get student loans to attend university.  I personally know someone who did so.  If you are impovrished, there are also “merit awards” and bursaries available to you.  When in comes to paying back the student loan, as long as you make your payments dutifully, the provincial govt often forgives up to 1/3 of the debt.  I have 8 siblings.  I did not grow up in a rich family.  My siblings and neices and nephews have all taken advantage of Canadian post secondary education via student loans.  Don’t tell me it is unffordable.  In fact, the only one that really felt the pinch was the one who went to Portland to study Optometry.

          • And how many times has Apple been up and down?

            At one point they threw out Steve Jobs…the very man that founded the place…and then had to invite him back.

            And when he goes….so will Apple.

            I also know CEOs, and they like Blackberries just fine. CEOs of global companies in fact.

            No, Waterloo grads aren’t being ‘scooped up’….that’s an old urban legend started by Waterloo. LOL

            They made a name for themselves with Wat4 and Wat5, but that was eons ago….they’ve been living off that ever since.

            Like I said…check the university list

            Canadian students travel the world to go to other universities, especially for graduate work.

            Most Canadians don’t want to graduate with a huge debt load….simply can’t afford it

            Here’s a clue…your family is not the world. And there isn’t much point trying to start anything here when we have Canadians like yourself trashing companies when they hit a bad patch…as every company does.

            We’d be much poorer without RIM, but you’d happily sell them off to Google or some such.

          • Love your reasoning..”It’s that kind of business…there are always new things coming on the market.  To flutter about from one to another is a waste of time and money for the consumer…”
            Hahaha.   That is what makes it such a lucrative industry.  The consumer can’t get enough of the new products.  It is a license to print money.

          • It’s also a license to go broke.

            It’s a risky business.

          • @healthcareinsider:disqus 

            Well now that you’ve run through your list of sibs and acquaintances perhaps you could discuss the topic.

            Yes, the only U in the top 10 is Toronto, not Waterloo

            There are few other Canadian universities even in the top 100

            Kindly don’t misquote me….I didn’t say it wasn’t worth it, I said most people can’t afford it.  A mansion may eventually be worth it too….that doesn’t mean people are able to buy one.

            As to RIM…you might want to learn something about them….

            ‘In June 2011, the company has announced the prediction of Q1 2011 revenue which will drop for the first time in nine years’

            Gee, 9 years…pretty good run, having to fight lawsuits all the way….so now they’ve hit a rough patch and you’re right there with the knives. What, you didn’t make enough money off them for doing nothing all this time?

            Apple wasn’t ‘going to’ throw Jobs out….they did

            The same dumb ‘solution’ suggested for RIM

            Talk about killing John Galt!

            Of course one politician doesn’t sink a company by not using the product…it just reflects badly on Harper.

            MY point was Harper didn’t move a muscle to help either Nortel or RIM  or those ‘hard-working taxpayers’ over the  PATENTS.

          • There are three more universities in the top 100 – Waterloo at 36; McMaster and U of A at 51-100.  4 Canadian universities ranked in the top 100 universities in the world for computer science and technology.  No too shabby for a country with our population!

          • Yes, there are. I recommended the list to YOU, remember….so I know what it says.

            I find it very shabby in such a wealthy country.

          • Well you must find Germany to be downright disgusting with only 1 in the top 100 and it coming in between 51 and 100!

          • Yup I do.  Germany is now short 400,000 skilled people, and doesn’t  know where they’ll get them.

          • You must also be dismayed with the UK with only 6 in the top 100.  Of course Oxford and Cambridge are two of the 6 but then the UK does have almost twice our population.  The US with 10 times our population should have 40 universities ranking in the top 100 spots.  I will check it out to see if they have more than that.
            Of course it costs a Canadian or American $38,000 to attend #1 MIT v. the $4,500 to $8,500 it costs a Canadian to attend  #10 U of T in computer science/per year.  Or those Canadians looking for a better education, could go to #8, UCLA for $28,000 per year.

        • Taxes are NOT why grads leave…it’s b/c there are no positions or funding for the research. I know, I am one of those sad people, “educated up the ying yang”, but can’t get any funding. Boomers won’t retire and R&D money is not going to the next generation, therefore we leave even though we would rather stay in our home country and raise a family!

          • What did you graduate in?

          • Warning:  You are about to get the ‘useless degree’ rant.

            Cons look on all education as a trade school experience.

          • Gee that is an urban myth about Waterloo grads.  I’ll tell that to my young friend who is in the program and is actively being recruited.
            Oh yes and I checked the QS world university rankings for all subjects.  Imagine my surprise to see the University of Toronto ranked # 10 for 2011.  Canadian universities are in the top 20 in all subjects.  Where pray tell did you get your ranking information?
            As for the debt accumulated by attending University being too much and not worth it.  Hahaha!  This from you, Emily!  You have gone on and commented several times on how much money a well educated university grad can make.  That debt is paid back quickly.  How quickly do you think my brother, the doctor paid by his or my sister the nurse?   How about the optometrist?  How about my two nephews who have MBA’s?
            As for my ranting & raving about useless degrees – it  is not going to happen.  I am just curious about what jmjmjmjm studied.  Why would I,  a post secondary graduate who has done post graduate work, belittle anyone else who embraces education like I do?
            As for your suggesting I want RIM to be sold out of Canada, that is ludacrous.  I also know people who still use the Blackberry…apparently, there are not enough using it.
            If Apple was going to throw out Steve Jobs, perhaps it gave him a wake up call to re-direct the focus of the company.  My ONLY point in this whole exchange was to say a politician does not sink a company by not using their product or Obama would have sunk Apple because he is using a Blackberry, which is very un-American of him.

    • “The tone of a country is set by its leader and govt far more than most people realize.”
      Does that mean we all get to deliver junk mail for 30 bucks an hour if the NDP ever get into power

      • LOL I have no idea. I’m not, and never have been,  NDP.

        • You are a “in the closet” Dipper, or a “been living in a closet since the 1970s” Liberal 

          • Nope sorry….not a Dipper in this or any other lifetime.  Not a Liberal either. Was PC for 30 years though. My last political party membership was Reform/CA

            Gave up after that.

          • Emily, imagine my delight to open The National Post and see the letter the anonymous senior executive wrote to Bassillie and Lazardis.  Vindication for the healthcare insider! Oh and replied to your last obnoxious comment below.

          • @healthcareinsider:disqus 

            Since you provided no source, I have no idea what you’re talking about.  But I doubt an ‘anonymous’ letter is of any use anyway.

          • Emily, the source for the letter is http://www.nationalpost.com.  It is on the front page of the National Post TODAY!  Read the story and then tell me it is not credible.

  3. I think both Tony & Emily missed the point.  Canada has for decades been following a failed recipe for supporting innovation.  In this case, the problem originates not with the politicans but rather the government bureaucracy.  For decades, Canadian politicians have been shown graph 8a above in various guises as if it showed the SR&ED program worked, it doesn’t.  If one is looking for a political scapegoat, I think the origin goes all the way back to Mulroney, however, Chretien certainly had plenty of time to eliminate them.  Frankly it is to Harper’s credit that this task force has been set up and is asking the right questions.  I suspect the bureaucrats fought it every step of the way.

    The US, Europe and Asian countries all have effective mechanisms to invest in companies to encourage not only innovation, but also strategic partnerships and collaboration.  Hopefully the money being wasted in SR&ED is transferred to such a program.  

    • LOL what, is ‘blame the public service’ the meme of the week?

      I’m sorry, but they don’t have enough power to do squat, much less hold back an entire country’s economy.

      Mulroney btw is the one that brought in free trade…to make the country competitive and to grow us past our debt

      Task forces are a dime a dozen….Ottawa has warehouses full of old reports, studies and Royal Commission findings.

    • Look where the money is. What industry is in Ottawa that makes it top earner in Canada? 

      And bureaucrats do not innovate, they manage. Experts, particularly social scientists, don’t know what they are doing most of the time. 

      Let the invisible hand work its magic. 

      … the invisible hand was created by the conjunction of the forces of self-interest, competition, and supply and demand, which he noted as being capable of allocating resources in society.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_hand

      “Other Canadian politicians and opinion-makers of the New Deal era likewise deplored the idea of social programs, preferring to foster the traditional culture of individual self-reliance.Laissez-faire, far from being alien to the Canadian scene, was actually the predominant philosophy for most of the country’s first century.”

      http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/06/27/karen-selick-%E2%80%98pursuit-of-one%E2%80%99s-trade%E2%80%99/

      “According to family income data derived from 2009 personal income tax returns, Ottawa–Gatineau was the census metropolitan area (CMA) with the highest median total family income ($89,410), followed by Calgary ($88,410), Edmonton ($86,250) and Regina ($83,550).”

      http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/110628/dq110628b-eng.htm

      Unlike physics or biology, the social sciences have not demonstrated the capacity to produce a substantial body of useful, nonobvious, and reliable predictive rules about what they study—that is, human social behavior, including the impact of proposed government programs.

      http://www.city-journal.org/2010/20_3_social-science.html

      • There is no invisible hand any more than there is an invisible sky-fairy….there are only human beings.

        And some of them can’t stick to a topic.

    • Nice to see you back, Stewart.

    • I agree that SRED is a complete waste of money.

  4. it’s pretty clear that Canada’s preference for tax incentives over direct subsidy doesn’t work.
    I suppose that this shouldn’t be surprising to anyone.  A good number of corporations don’t pay tax in Canada, so what good is an R&D credit to them?

    • Which corporations don’t pay tax?

      • And why don’t they? Because when Harper cuts their corporate taxes in Canada, they pay more tases in the US; so what Harper has done is give the US our money.

        • You said ‘tax cuts’ – @RobShift:disqus says that many pay no tax. I was asking him which ones. I am curious how many (if there are that many) pay no tax at all.

          • modster, I noticed that you never did get a response.  Probably because the post to which you responded was BS . . .

        • vjobson, your post displays a considerable degree of ignorance about how corporate taxation actually works.

          • You’re talking about US citizens, residents or companies who earn income in Canada.  That’s a rather distinct subset of “corporations.”  I think most of us would have assumed that you were talking about Canadian corporations, not US ones.

  5. I wonder what our Minister of State for Science and Technology has to say about this. Over to you, Gary Goodyear:

    “THE EARTH IS SIX THOUSAND YEARS OLD! EVOLUTION IS A FRAUD! CHIROPRACTIC IS A LEGITIMATE FIELD OF MEDICINE!!!”

    Wow, ok thanks Gary.

    Look, it’s going to take Prime Minister of Everything Stephen Harper time to fix this. In the meantime, his team of lackeys are doing the best they can.

    • I thought that the people who believed that evolution is wrong don’t believe in Chiropractic as medicine. I thought that the people who believe in evolution also believed in Chiropractic as medicine.

      • I don’t know why you thought those things, and our fundamentalist Christian chiropractor Minister of State for Science and Technology would dispute them.

  6. How come you jump from Industry Canada’s report to the OECD report when discussing education? Never mind (The reason I asked is I saw one of the authors on TV lauding our education system/performance, then read your article, and then proceeded to the report)

    Oh no, you did cherry-pick as suspected! NICE!

    • Having said that, this is a very interesting report that you needlessly politicize with a narrow definition of innovation – You are a devout and confused Veblenist ;)

  7. Two reasons off the top of my head. The tax treatment of stock options closes the door with a slam. And every time some stupid politician prevents an innovator from selling to the highest bidder, another door slams shut.

  8. RIM was mostly privately developed vis-a-vis the Wateloo/SW Ontario intellectual infrastructure (admittedly subsidized), Nortel, so-so, through monopoly dominance of expertise. 

    Still, these ought to be heralded as triumphs of good ol’ Canadian know-how. Of Gov’t. of Educational Innstittutions, of Capital. This is sh!t smart Canadians have done by dint of will, intelligence and cash, both personal AND that which comes from swinging through the skimpy, opaque jungle vines of  funding at the state level. The current lack of support thereof and the fact that the bulk of corporate Canada sits on its manicured hands regarding innovation until they’re ‘incentivized’ enough suggests a pallid preference for ‘branch-plant’ subsistence. When it comes to innovation, the current governing party seems content to send the profits to Cupertino or the Everywhere that is Google. Unless it’s oil.And, Avro! Arrow! X about eleventy billion.

  9. what do you expect from a nation where Wal*Mart is the second largest employer after the government. All this talk of “the evil Socialists” is beginning to p**s me off. Capitalism is about maximizing roi. But socialists also would like to maximize their benefits. Something they are doing very well without the help of the private sector. In any case, hand a person a chainsaw and it appears they will cut down the entire forest and have nothing left until they get to the oceans. Oops, there won’t be anything left there either by the time we accomplish these tricks. More Lamborginis in China anyone? Knowledge economy my toches. greed is good and mankind loves money. No matter what the cost to anyone else

  10. One of the biggest innovation killers is equalization.  It takes money from the productive (innovating) regions and send it to the less productive (non-innovating) regions.  In fact, Canada has a whole lot of anti-knowledge policies, such as the monopolization of the health sector of the economy and the absence of private universities.  Even Canada’s culture is not knowledge-oriented, considering that the tall poppy syndrome is prevalent.

    • I just want to address your comments regarding the Canadian health sector and public universities as being somehow linked to “anti-knowledge policies.”  You could not be more incorrect.  There are studies constantly going on in every specialty at every teaching hospital.  As for the universities, it is “publish or perish” for the professors.  In fact, I am surprised you do need not hear about the Dean of Medicine at U of A.  Prior to being ousted from his position for plagarising a famous speech, he had a complaint filed against him by the teachers that he was intimidating them for spending too much time on teaching and not enough on research.  Everyone is out to make a break-through and grants to the University, public and private flow in with newsworthy discoveries.
      I wanted to just mention one more thing.  I was at the convication for the science and law faculties a few weeks ago.  They gave an honorary degree to a Phd from the university in San Diego who has made brilliant discoveries in Algerbra.  He is not an America though but rather a Russian.  The US is not educating these brilliant people, they are recruiting them from other places.

  11. Is the truth finally coming out about the lack of initiative in research and development, innovation, invention and a general go-getter attitude as displayed by our southern neighbors? We’ve always let the Americans do all the hard work in developing ideas into actual resourceful uses and changes in the work place. In other words we are copiers, a habit we picked up copying Britain in the political sphere. Maybe if we had tried some original thinking and changing in the latter area we might be more inclined to think originally in the former and become a leader in new ideas but Canadians have been too laid back for decades. Our only hope is in the change and source of immigration over the last couple of decades. In other words people not spoiled by the apathy prevalent in long time residents.

    • the only Canadian who ever made sense to me is Mr. Mel Hertig – “The Truth About Canada”. we do have to now “get serious” about what direction the nation is going to take in the next 25 years or we are going to be in trouble. It will require tremendous input from industry and government and more transparency from the business and media elite who should not hide or be afraid to divulge their assets or refrain from vigorous debate about the wealth of the country. It affects us all. Perhaps as we welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge it is time also to reflect on the changing nature of the Commonwealth of Nations and the role it has in the “new” global economy. The resource sector has a new master as we are well aware and “it will be different” because the politics are different. I am not comfortable switching allegiances just to replace one by another. It will be dangerous in the long term. We had better get our act together or it will be Paradise Lost

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