Let’s be honest. Barely a peep was heard about innovation from any of the three major parties over the course of the lengthy federal election campaign. And now, stimulating Canadian innovation will have to find a place on the long “to do” list of the new Liberal government. Meanwhile, Canada’s total spending on research and development is expected to decline for a third consecutive year, down 0.7 per cent from 2014. The new government will be fully aware of our sluggish international comparative rankings in innovation and competitiveness. True, the Liberal platform did commit to unmuzzle federal scientists, create a chief science officer and launch an “innovation agenda.” Now, with the naming of two ministers with “science” in their mandates, we await the next bold moves required to translate these platform promises into action. Canada now has a minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development signalling a possible revitalization of Industry Canada, and a minister of Science. Equally significant, is the elevation of the word “innovation” in the mandate of a Cabinet committee.
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