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Opinion

To get the benefits of innovation, Canada needs a national effort

By E. Richard Gold      

The federal government has been moving in the right direction, albeit with baby steps.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with premiers and Indigenous leaders in Ottawa on Oct. 3, 2017 at a first ministers' meeting. The provinces have yet to show significant leadership on innovation, argues E. Richard Gold, while the federal government is heading in the right direction, but should go further. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

Canadian efforts to extract social and economic benefit from innovation have not only been late but tepid. For too long, pundits and policy-makers considered innovation manna that falls from heaven without any strategy or government involvement. We have focused on attracting jobs and getting access to foreign technology rather than on building a Canadian innovation ecosystem where firms bring back the financial gains from worldwide sales, groom the next generation of investors and innovators, and address pressing social needs. No other country that has succeeded at innovation has followed Canada’s path.

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