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Je l'ai déjà dit ici: on est en train de rater le bateau de l'économie du 21e siècle. Cette obsession harperienne pour le pétrole de l'Alberta nous coûtera cher..... Certains d'entre vous seront furieusement contre cette opinion. Mais je réitère.

 

Publié le 27 janvier 2011 à 06h00 | Mis à jour à 06h00

 

 

Innover ou décliner

 

François Cardinal

La Presse

 

 

Les Canadiens regarderont-ils le «spoutnik américain» décoller les bras croisés?

Dans son discours sur l'état de l'Union, formulé mardi, le président Obama a déclaré que les États-Unis affronteront la Chine et la crise économique comme ils ont répondu au Spoutnik russe il y a 50 ans: par une vague d'innovation sans précédent.

 

Des jours difficiles s'annoncent donc pour le Canada, qui lève le nez depuis trop longtemps sur l'innovation, la recherche et le développement, malgré leur importance vitale pour l'économie du pays.

 

Il y a bien quelques heureux projets privés et universitaires ici et là, des velléités de développer cette fameuse «société du savoir», mais on ne retrouve pas ici la même impulsion, la même volonté de faire travailler nos neurones qu'aux États-Unis.

 

 

Ce n'est pas nouveau. L'innovation n'a jamais été le trait distinctif du Canada. Mais avec la guerre des cerveaux que se livrent Washington et Pékin, le gouvernement Harper, qui nourrit une grande méfiance à l'endroit de la science, risque de creuser le fossé qui le sépare déjà des grandes puissances.

 

Surtout que la volonté de la Chine n'est pas à remettre en question. De manufacture mondiale, elle promet en effet de devenir un leader des technologies propres, de l'auto électrique, des trains à grande vitesse. Autant d'enjeux, soit dit en passant, qui ont été cités mardi dans le discours du président américain...

 

En fait, la politique scientifique de la Chine est si agressive, ses investissements si importants et sa volonté de rapatrier ses cerveaux si ferme, qu'elle rattrapera l'Europe et l'Amérique d'ici 20 ans, notait récemment Michel Maziade, directeur scientifique du Centre de recherche Université Laval Robert-Giffard. D'où le virage que souhaite entreprendre le président Obama.

 

Mais curieusement, cette menace laisse le pays de glace. Alors qu'on rêve de la prochaine révolution industrielle ailleurs dans le monde, on semble incapable, à Ottawa, de rêver à autre chose qu'à un baril de pétrole à plus de 100$!

 

C'est d'ailleurs ce qu'a déploré lundi le patron de Télésystème, Charles Sirois, devant le Cercle canadien de Montréal. Le pays, a-t-il dit, se contente d'extraire des ressources, alors que le reste du monde «carbure à l'innovation».

 

En un mot, on gère le pays à la petite semaine. Sans ambition. Sans penser aux lendemains. En témoignent tous ces palmarès internationaux et ses rapports d'experts qui classent systématiquement le Canada, au chapitre de l'innovation, en bas des membres du G7 et de l'OCDE. Dernier en date, le classement annuel du Forum économique mondial, qui se tient actuellement à Davos. Le pays est passé du 9e au 10e rang, une chute, selon le FEM, que seul un accroissement du «potentiel d'innovation» pourrait renverser.

 

Il est vrai que le Canada s'est très bien sorti de la récente crise économique. Mais on peut douter qu'avec une attitude aussi passive, il s'en tirera bien à long terme.

 

 

http://www.cyberpresse.ca/place-publique/editorialistes/francois-cardinal/201101/26/01-4364008-innover-ou-decliner.php

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Why is it up to the federal government to invest huge amounts of money in scientific research? What should be cut to pay for increased research funding?

 

The best part is that the government subsidizes a lot more than other countries in R&D but we have less results than others. Maybe you need to pull the funding entirely and then the innovation will come! :)

 

Unleashing innovation

 

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Special to the Financial Post January 25, 2011 – 7:10 pm

 

Canadians know what needs to be done to make us all better off a decade from now

 

By Thomas d’Aquino and David Stewart-Patterson

 

Canada has made some smart moves over the past decade and that is why the Canadian economy remained relatively strong through a punishing global recession. But our country is immune neither to the relentless evolution of global competition nor to the march of population aging, and we need to move quickly to address unfinished business in honing Canada’s competitive edge in the decade ahead.

 

In our 2001 book Northern Edge, we made the case that Canada had all the right ingredients to flourish in the global economy. What was needed was a better recipe for success and a winning attitude where second best is not an option. We proposed a strategy with 12 elements that together could move our country to the global forefront of growth and prosperity. These included accelerated debt reduction; bold tax reform; smarter public spending; improvements to our educational system and talent pool; emphasis on lifelong learning; more efficient governance; more adept engagement in North American and global trade and investment; and better leveraging of our energy and environmental advantages.

 

On a couple of fronts, notably public debt and tax reform, Canada has made major progress. The string of federal budget surpluses that began in the late 1990s extended all the way until the recession. Tax rates, especially on corporate income and capital, dropped steadily through the decade at both the federal and provincial levels and regardless of the party in power.

 

It is no coincidence that Canada not only achieved the lowest debt/GDP ratio in the G7 both before and after the recession, but that we also had the highest per capita income growth in the decade to 2009 and that we have seen employment quickly recover and surpass its pre-recession high.

 

That’s the good news. But while debt and taxes are down, public spending has ballooned. Despite lip service to review and reallocation, six years of minority government have led to a relentless rise in federal spending. And at the provincial level, unsustainable health care costs are eating up an ever greater share of revenue, with willingness to explore innovation and efficiencies undermined by the 10-year deal boosting federal transfers at about triple the rate of inflation.

 

In many of the other elements of national strategy that we laid out, there has been some progress, but at a pace well short of what the country needs to achieve its full potential.

 

Perhaps the most troubling marker of failure is the country’s continuing poor performance in raising productivity, the effective measure of how much money each Canadian can generate for each hour of work. As the population ages and leaves relatively fewer Canadians in the labour force, it is obvious that each worker has to generate much higher income if the economy as a whole is to keep growing.

 

In 2001, we said Canada should aim for productivity growth a full percentage point higher than that of the United States. Instead, the country has continued to lag, falling behind by a further percentage point a year through the decade. If this performance is not reversed quickly, all Canadians will suffer in the years ahead.

 

To turn this trend around, we need to address some key issues, both at home and abroad. One major challenge that we did not anticipate was the impact on North American integration of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, which occurred just after our book was published. Despite a series of important initiatives, including the Smart Border Accord and the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, the Canada-United States border today is more of a barrier to the efficient movement of people and goods than it was a decade ago. Ongoing efforts to shift more security screening to the continental perimeter seem unlikely to make much difference in the near term. (yes yes open border! open border!)

The security situation, combined with the stalling of multilateral trade and investment talks through the World Trade Organization, reinforces the urgency of our recommendation that Canada vigorously expand its bilateral and regional efforts beyond North America. Canada’s business community has taken the lead here, notably in working with its counterparts abroad to enable the launch of major bilateral initiatives with the European Union and with India. Building a closer relationship with a rising China remains an obvious priority for government and business alike. It is essential for Canada to fast forward these initiatives and continue expanding engagement with the countries and regions that will lead global growth in the decade ahead.

 

Within Canada, the central imperative remains the one we identified in 2001: more robust innovation in the public and private sectors alike.

 

Canada has made major public investments in research, primarily through universities, but private-sector innovation has remained relatively weak. The OECD ranks Canada as 16th in business spending on R&D as a share of the economy, despite having the second-highest level of government support for such investment.

 

The overall policy and economic environment has become much more encouraging over the past decade. The marginal tax rate on new business investment has dropped sharply, making Canada more attractive internationally and opening a significant tax advantage over the United States. The steady rise in the Canadian dollar against its U.S. counterpart has both added a major incentive for greater investment in technology and made imports of the necessary machinery and equipment cheaper — and recent trade figures suggest that Canadian businesses are responding.

 

But work we did with the Canadian Council of Chief Executives suggested that many other factors are still holding back investment in innovation. Some, like restrictions on competition and foreign investment, are sectoral. Others, like the complex and adversarial administration of research tax credits, are procedural. And our conversations with many CEOs over the years have raised a wide variety of explanations specific to individual companies, from inconsistencies in the way universities handle research partnerships to internal accounting policies within global firms.

 

The most obvious policy drivers of business innovation have been addressed. The onus now is on business leaders to talk bluntly about what still holds them back and what further measures would drive them to invest more in innovation, and to do so in Canada rather than in other countries.

 

Moreover, Canada’s business leaders must work harder to capitalize on our country’s many strengths in building enterprises of global scale. We have been successful in creating global champions, but we can do better. We want to see more Canadians acting as hunters, rather than the hunted, in the global game of mergers and acquisitions.

 

While head offices do matter, we must recognize that their value flows from their role as centres of decision-making and high-value work. These are corporate functions that we can and must attract to our communities, regardless of where a company’s shares are owned. Indeed, both human and financial capital from abroad are spurs to innovation and growth, and Canada therefore must continue to strongly encourage inflows of both investment and skilled people. A retreat towards protectionism should not enter our minds.

 

A dynamic and innovative private sector, however, is not enough. We also need to unlock innovation in the public sector. Innovation in how governments work together is vital. It is no easy task for a major energy producer and exporter like Canada to demonstrate global leadership on an issue as complex as climate change without undermining its competitive interests. Trying to do so when it cannot even reach consensus within its own borders on a coherent and consistent approach to targets and mechanisms is plainly impossible.

 

Similarly, we should not need to wait for a Supreme Court ruling in order to end decades of wrangling over creation of a single regulator for securities markets. And more effective collaboration among governments is essential across almost every facet of the strategies Canada needs to pursue in the years ahead.

 

We remain highly optimistic about Canada’s potential to triumph in the global economy, but on too many fronts, the past decade has seen talk rather than action. More business innovation, smarter government spending, greater engagement abroad, better collaboration at home, a winning attitude — Canadians understand what needs to be done to ensure that we all are better off a decade from now. We just need to get on with the job.

 

Financial Post

Thomas d’Aquino and David Stewart-Patterson are the former chief executive and president and executive vice-president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and co-authors of the book Northern Edge: How Canadians Can Triumph in the Global Economy.

 

Read more: http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/01/25/unleashing-innovation/#ixzz1CIe1eQG3

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De l'argent pour la recherche, on peut aller en chercher ici, entre autres:

 

 

We don't need bigger prisons

 

John Ivison, National Post · Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011

 

The Conservatives unveiled the latest phase of their federal prison building boom Monday, as government MPs fanned out to announce 634 new beds will be built at prisons in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec at a cost of $158-million.

 

The main reason for the explosion in prison building is the government's tough-on-crime agenda, including the abolition of the two-for-one pre-trial custody credit, which will see a significant increase in the number of criminals incarcerated.

 

The cost is in some dispute. Correctional Services Canada estimates an increase in prisoner numbers of 3,400, requiring 2,700 new spaces, at a cost of $2-billion.

 

The Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page, thinks that lowballs the price tag. His office puts the increase in prisoner numbers at 4,200, at a cost of $1.8-billion for facility construction and an additional $3-billion a year for operations and maintenance. He suggests that by 2015/16, annual prison expenditure will have increased to $9.3-billion from the current $4.3-billion.

 

The Liberals have made this "wasteful" spending central to their message, pointing out the country can ill-afford such expenditure at a time of declining crime rates. They say the Harper government is investing in "U. S.-style mega-prisons" at a time when the Americans are retreating from such a model because it doesn't work.

 

Unfortunately for Michael Ignatieff, it seems that whatever he sets his heart upon, it is unlikely to prosper.

 

Polls indicate two-thirds of Canadians sympathize with the Conservative position on law-and-order, and only one-third side with the Liberal line -- hardly a passport to power for the Official Opposition. They also suggest Canadians think the criminal justice system is too lenient and that the public is more interested in tough justice for criminals than worrying about corrections expenditure.

 

The facts are with the Liberals. Crime rates have been falling for a decade -- the volume of crimes reported fell 3% and the crime severity index dipped 4% in 2009, Statistics Canada says.

 

But perceptions about criminal activity are not in tune with reality, and opinion polls repeatedly show the public's fears bear no relation to actual crime rates or the potential for victimization.

 

Two-thirds of respondents in an Angus Reid survey last summer agreed mandatory minimum sentences send out the message that lawmakers are getting tough on crime, and almost as many agreed long prison sentences are the best way to reduce crime. Nearly half thought crime rates had increased in the past five years.

 

This is not to downplay the impact of violent crime. Even if the rate is in decline, there were still nearly half a million violent crimes in 2009. The rates of attempted murder, extortion, firearms offences and criminal harassment actually went up. Toss in the number of crimes that go unreported -- the Statistics Canada Crime Victimization study suggests only one-third of criminal incidents came to the attention of police in 2004 -- and it is not difficult to see why the public is demanding a tough response from governments.

 

But scarce public resources should be used to deal with those who really justify the "dangerous crooks" tag the Public Safety Minister, Vic Toews, throws around with abandon.

 

The "hanging's too good for them" brigade should read an eye-opening piece from last Friday's Washington Post, cowritten by Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, and Pat Nolan, former Republican leader of the California State Assembly. They pointed out that the United States currently spends US$68-billion on corrections, 300%more than 25 years ago, and the prison population is growing 13 times faster than the general population.

 

"Our prisons might be worth the current cost if the recidivism rate were not so high but, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, half of the prisoners released this year are expected to be back in prison within three years. If your prison policies are failing half the time, and we know there are more humane, effective alternatives, it is time to fundamentally rethink how we treat and rehabilitate our prisoners," they said.

 

Even Mr. Toews wouldn't accuse Texas of being soft on crime, yet the Lone Star State has instituted reforms that have strengthened its probation system, reduced its prison population and freed up money to be redirected into community treatment for the mentally ill and low-level drug addicts. Since the reforms were launched in 2004, the crime rate has dropped 10% to its lowest level since 1973.

 

The Conservative tough-on-crime drive may be good politics but it's tough on taxpayers and bad policy.

When every government department is experiencing budget cuts, Canada should not be embarking on an expensive prison-building program. Rather, it should be following such U.S. states as South Carolina, which is reserving costly prison spaces for violent criminals and dealing with lower-level offenders in more imaginative ways..

 

Read more: http://www.nationalpost.com/need+bigger+prisons/4088984/story.html#ixzz1CL3oXNYE

 

http://www.nationalpost.com/need+bigger+prisons/4088984/story.html

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Ah the tough on crime!

 

The main thing is getting rid of the double time credit for time served before trial... I don't see how that can be undesirable, either give the guy 2 years instead of 4 but with crediting the 2 spent as 4...

 

It also doesn't seem like the increase is actually causing the problem. Expenditure of 4.3 G$ to 9.3 G$, an increase of 116 % (!) but with a prisoner population increase of 3 400 on top of about 11 000 (or something) an increase of 30 %. I know "capacity increase" but still...

 

Maybe, taking into account the increasing diversity of Canadians, we can adopt new correctional techniques, like chopping off the hand of thieves instead of sending them to jail, Arab-style. I know it is bad, but... after the 2nd time, there is no more concern about recidivism! :rotfl:

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JE trouve que les deux articles sont bons. Le premier sur le financement de la recherche est excellent. Ils ont entièrement raison.

 

Le deuxième article est aussi très intéressant et je suis entièrement en accord avec.Nous sommes au CANADA. Pas à South Central Los Angeles. Il y a plus de meurtres en une années à Los Angeles qu'au CANADA au COMPLET!!!!

 

Je l'ai déjà dis et je le répète... J'aime les positions du Gouv. Harper sur l'économie. Nous devons repayer notre dette, dépenser moins sur des services que nous ne pouvons pas nous payer. Tous ça c'est bon, mais quand les conservateurs se mettent à parler d'avortement, et de leurs intention d'être plus "tough" sur le crime, ils sont dans le champs complètement! Le Canada n'a pas besoins de plus de prisons.

 

Au lieu de dépenser $160 millions sur des nouvelles prisoons complètement inutiles, pourquoi ne pas dépenser $40 millions sur des rénovations pour les prisons et l'autre $120 millions en R&D?!?!?!?

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Sauf qu'ils ont augmente la dette et les depenses en fleche et ont ete bouche bee sur l'avortement anyway :)

 

JE suis d'accord. Le Gouv. Harper a été obligé d'augmenter la dette(surtout à cause de la récession), mais je crois que les Conservateurs sont en général moins loose avec le cash!

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