Dr. John Hollins, past Chair CACOR explains: Canada is edging, oh so slowly, towards a greener future.
This is happening as a result of research, development, and in some cases small-scale deployment of promising new technologies by entrepreneurs: individual citizens, ad hoc groups from labour and engineering, researchers in universities and governmental laboratories, non-governmental organisations, and some corporations. The pace is modest in relation to the opportunity and the need. A national commitment to foster progress is needed.
The evolution of the high-tech industry is well known. It involved vision, political courage, strategic planning and engagement by governments, universities, and corporations. The most effective practical progress once these initial requirements were met occurred and is still occurring in hubs, which provide the opportunity for cross fertilisation of ideas, experiments and trials leading to full-blown adoption in the market. In Canada, the most well known hubs are in Kanata and Waterloo.
For the green evolution, the vision should include the development and commercialisation of innovative Canadian products and skills. The Kanata hub, many industries and every university in the land have R&D capacity that is already in the green evolution in a modest way. This is important not only for the sake of the natural environment and the welfare of life on Earth. The new technologies will create more jobs and economic activity than will be lost as the fossil fuel economy declines. 2
Needed: federal leadership
The void to be filled is federal leadership — political savvy and courage – to develop a vision, a strategy, plans and investment where creativity can flourish and that the country can embrace. Global warming is an issue of such overwhelming importance for younger and future generations of Canadians that collaboration between citizens, communities, corporations, governments, researchers, and universities is essential.
2 And they will not encumber Canada under the terms of the UNFCCC with the emissions from its territory for the production of a product that is delivered to and used in another country.