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CME calls for national innovation strategy based on industry’s perspective

Ottawa -- Aug. 29, 2001 -- Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters president and CEO Perrin Beatty has urged Jean Chrti...


Ottawa — Aug. 29, 2001 — Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters president and CEO Perrin Beatty has urged Jean Chrtien to put a national innovation strategy on his agenda.

“As CME’s Excellence Gap analysis revealed, Canada has a competitiveness problem that affects our economy and the quality of life of all Canadians. It can only be solved through innovation — by developing and applying new ideas, business practices, skills and technologies,” noted Beatty.

“We are encouraged that the federal government is turning its attention to the need to facilitate innovation, but we want to make sure it understands the issues from the point of view of industry.”

The Business Case for Innovation is the first comprehensive definition of innovation-related issues that industry believes must be addressed. Among these are a shortage of skilled labour, and a tax and regulatory environment that discourages investments in innovation.

The report will be discussed at CME’s upcoming convention in Montreal, Sept. 23-25, and will be used for consultations with members to develop specific, action-oriented recommendations that should be included in a national innovation strategy.

Beatty warned that the success of any strategy rests on the full participation of industry, governments at all levels, academic and research institutions, the financial sector and business associations in developing and implementing it. “Genuine collaboration is essential to address the causes of Canada’s lagging industrial performance,” he noted. “A top-down exercise dominated by government would be a costly failure.”

Beatty renewed CME’s call for a Canadian Innovation Summit of leaders from industry, the academic community and government to be held as part of any strategy development process.

CME members account for 75% of Canada’s industrial output and 90% of its exports. The former Machinery & Equipment Manufacturers Association of Canada is now part of the group, forming the MEMAC Council.

A copy of the report can be found at www.cme-mec.ca.