Montreal, QC — Quebec Premier Jean Charest was in Montreal today to announce the government’s initiative to spend an additional 888 M$ on research an innovation. Development Minister Raymond Bachand explained that the government’s new strategy is meant to ensure that research can be brought to a commercial market which can then compete with the growing economies, like that of China and Alberta.

“Quebec is doing good, better than the average. But this is today,” said Charest alluding to the strategy’s goal of creating future growth in Quebec’s economy.

The strategy is based on the idea that the strength of Quebec’s economy is in its high-tech exports. With a population of 7.6 million, Quebec is certainly not a big domestic market nor does it have the population numbers to be a manufacturing leader. Thus, the funding announced is aimed at getting researchers into the marketplace. The aeronautic sector was given as an example of Quebec leadership.

The spending announced includes grants for researchers, funding of research infrastructures (including equipment and buildings) as well as tax credits for companies doing research. It also includes money for Quebec’s student population with 32 M$ in bursaries for Masters, Doctorate and Post-Doctorate candidates.

“The policy comes too late in Charest’s government’s mandate. The strategy contains interesting measures for students, but it lacks a part for humanities and social sciences,” said Philippe-Olivier Giroux, President of CNCS-FEUQ. The president of the Graduate Students’ wing of the Quebec Federation of University Students (FEUQ) also said that the money announced was too little because Charest’s government had cut bursary spending for several years in a row.

Dmitri Marine blogs on Blogue North. You can also hear his reports on CKUT 90.3fm in Montreal.

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