In the wake of last night’s (May 2, 2011) victory for the Conservative party, I decided to take another look at their platform (the part dealing with science) for this election. Here are excerpts from what it had to say about science,
[SUPPORT FOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT]
Building on our support for world-class research, a re-elected Steven Haper government will make new investments to:
• establish 10 additional Canada Excellence
• support the outstanding work of the Institut national d’optique;
• invest in strengthening the Perimeter Institute’s position as a world-leading research centre for theoretical physics; and
• leverage funding to support Brain Canada’s efforts to develop new diagnostics, treatments and cures for brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.
In 2010 we launched an independent expert panel to conduct a comprehensive review of all federal business research and development initiatives and to recommend ways to ensure our investments
We will take action on the findings of the Research and Development Review Panel, when it submits its report later this year.
DIGITAL ECONOMY STRATEGY
… Our purpose is to build on our actions
so far in this area – for example:
• our plan to extend broadband coverage to 200,000 additional households in rural and remote regions; and
• our successful efforts to increase competition and choice and to lower costs for wireless consumers.
Later this spring, a re-elected Stephen Harper Government will announce and begin implementing a Digital Economy Strategy, focused five priorities:
• building world-class digital infrastructure;
• encouraging businesses to adopt digital technologies;
• supporting digital skills development;
• fostering the growth of Canadian companies supplying digital technologies to global markets; and
• creating made-in-Canada content across all platforms, to bring Canada to the world.
To achieve these goals, among other specific actions we will:
• support collaborative projects between colleges and small- and medium-sized businesses to accelerate the adoption of information and communications technologies;
• promote enrolment in post-secondary science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs; and
• build Canada’s digital content through additional support for the Canada Media Fund.
A Stephen Harper-led majority Government will also reintroduce and pass the Copyright Modernization Act, [emphasis mine] a key pillar in our commitment to make Canada a leader in the global digital economy.
This balanced, commonsense legislation [emphasis mine] recognizes the practical priorities of teachers, students, artists, families, and technology companies, among others, while aligning Canada with international standards. It respects both the rights of creators and the interests of consumers.
It will ensure that Canada’s copyright law will be responsive in a fast changing digital world, while protecting and creating jobs, promoting innovation, and attracting investment to Canada.
Also, as part of the next wireless spectrum auction, we will set aside spectrum for emergency responders.
PROMOTE CANADA’S WORLD-CLASS AEROSPACE INDUSTRY
Canada’s export-oriented space agency world – the fifth largest in the world – employs more than 80,000 Canadians in well-paid, highly skilled jobs in almost every region of the country. It is also one of
the top investors in industrial research and development – high-tech innovation that attracts talent to Canada and creates more good new jobs for Canadians.
Through a consultative process involving the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada and their member firms we will conduct a comprehensive review of policies and programs to develop a federal
policy framework to maximize the competitiveness of Canada’s aerospace and space industry.
We will also ensure stable funding is provided ensure stable funding is provided for the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative. (pp. 14-16)
There are some good things here. The last time I looked at a Conservative party platform, a few years after the election, and read over the basic research and development section, I noticed that too was mostly bullet points and that they had followed through on all but one of the four bullet points. Given the modest ambitions expressed in this document, 10 more Excellence Research chairs, etc., I imagine they will be able to follow through on everything they’ve promised in that regard.
In including the other sections, Digital Economy and Aerospace Industry, I wanted to redress an oversight on my part as I have largely ignored these sections in favour of commenting on research and development issues in regard to science policy.
I have to admit to being a bit miffed about the references to a Steven Harper government as opposed to a Conservative Party government. It’s something I found disturbing a few month’s back when the PMO’s (Prime Minister’s Office) did declare that references to the government should be written as Steven Harper’s government and not the Conservative government.