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Harper government too late on innovation and jobs of future

Harper government four years too late on innovation, jobs of future

OTTAWA – The Harper government’s sudden focus on Canada’s long-term economic challenges comes four years too late, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said today.

“Liberals have been pushing the Conservatives to act on innovation for the last four years, and for four years Mr. Harper stood idly by as hundreds of thousands of Canadians lost high quality jobs while productivity, wages and investment in research and innovation continued to plummet,” said Mr. Ignatieff.
Harper government four years too late on innovation, jobs of future

Media reports today claim that the upcoming Throne Speech and budget will focus on things like innovation, the digital economy, productivity and research – as though the government is just now realizing the importance of keeping our economy competitive, said Mr. Ignatieff.

“The Conference Board of Canada has said that productivity is the single most important determinant of a country’s per capita income over the long term,” he said. “Over the past year, Liberals have outlined an economic vision for creating long-term economic growth through strategic, targeted investments in the new economy and revitalizing Canada’s industrial heartland.”

Central to Liberal economic policy is a focus on education, clean energy, opening new markets like China and India, and creating new jobs in emerging sector start-ups and manufacturing.

“While I’m flattered that the Conservatives are finally seeing things our way, it comes far too late. This government that has consistently demonstrated a lack of vision and ideas – which is one reason why we’re sitting on a historic deficit – and Canadians will continue to pay the price for it,” he said.

Liberal Industry, Research and Technology Critic Marc Garneau said Canadians have long realized the critical importance of investing in the new economy, while the federal government is late to the table.

“While other developed countries have been investing heavily to capitalize on the digital economy, Canada has fallen behind in terms of its commitment to connectivity and universal access,” said Mr. Garneau. “The Conservatives are leaving Canada on the sidelines. They have let opportunity slip through their fingers, at the cost of thousands of jobs and the cultural and economic enrichment of our country.”

This is one reason why Mr. Garneau recently hosted a roundtable on Parliament Hill with some of the nation’s leading thinkers to examine what actions Canada needs to take to become a leader in the innovative world economy of the 21st century.

“Canada should have been setting bold and ambitious goals years ago,” concluded Mr. Garneau.


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