Consider the 2.3 per cent levy solution.
What a wimp I was! In April I suggested that Rick Bartolucci Rick Bartolucci (born October 10, 1943 in Sudbury, Ontario) is a Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario representing the Sudbury riding. He has been a member of the assembly since 1995, and is currently a cabinet minister in the government of Dalton McGuinty. should bring in a one-percent levy on metal production for mining-related research in the North. I thought it was a radical proposal, but now I find that Paul Martin wants to go much farther.
The number to remember is 2.3 per cent. The 30 developed countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD OECD: see Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. ) invest 2.3 per cent of their total GDP GDP (guanosine diphosphate): see guanine. in research and development. Canada drags that average down. We invest 1.9 per cent. Top performers like the U.S., Japan and Finland spend a lot more.
Policy makers for the EU are proposing a target of three per cent. Paul Martin just wants to catch up. He has pledged to raise Canadian investment in research and development to the OECD levels.
Here is where northerners have to think hard. If 2.3 per cent is a reasonable goal for Canada, it is a reasonable goal for the mining industry, and it is a reasonable goal for Northern Ontario Northern Ontario is the part of the province of Ontario which lies north of Lake Huron (including Georgian Bay), the French River and Lake Nipissing.
Northern Ontario has a land area of 802,000 km² (310,000 mi²) and constitutes 87% of the land area of Ontario, although it . If we ran Northern Ontario like an advanced country, we would invest 2.3 per cent of the value of our mineral production in research.
The total value of Ontario's mineral production was over $5.5 billion in 2003. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Martin's catch-up policy, at least $127 million a year should be invested in knowledge creation for Ontario's mining industry.
Most of the $3.3 billion worth of metal produced in Ontario came from the North, so, the North should be investing about $75 million every year. That is roughly the same amount it takes to run an entire university like Lakehead or Laurentian.
The current level of research is much lower. The newly announced Deep Mining Consortium, for example, is supposed to save the communities that depend on deep mines-like Sudbury and Kidd Creek. Total spending will be just $1.5 million per year for the next five years. That is roughly one-fiftieth of Martin's target.
Northern Ontario needs projects that attract brains to the region. PhD students are like baking powder for innovation and growth; they do the real work in most science and engineering labs. High-tech startups use these students the way jets use jet fuel. In 2002, the North had 4.95 per cent of Ontario's undergraduates, but only 0.17 per cent of Ontario's doctoral enrolments. That was about one-thirtieth of our share of Ontario's supply. Since most of the deep mining money will be spent in Ottawa and Toronto, it will actually suck the brains out of Northern Ontario.
Industry does not invest heavily in research, and it has never invested in research that keeps brainpower brain·pow·er
1. Intellectual capacity.
2. People of well-developed mental abilities: a country that doesn't value its brainpower.
Noun 1. in the North. In fact, Canada's biggest problem is that industry does not do its share of R & D. OECD statistics show that Canadian businesses Canadian Business is the longest-publishing business magazine in Canada. It was founded in 1928 as The Commerce of the Nation, the organ of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. The magazine was renamed Canadian Business in 1933. invest less in R & D than does their competition in other countries. Ontario's industries don't invest as much as industry in comparable U.S. states A U.S. state is any one of the fifty subnational entities of the United States, although four states use the official title "commonwealth". The separate state governments and the federal government share sovereignty, in that an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and .
The $7.5 million Deep Mining Consortium shows how little commitment to northern R & D the mining industry really has. FedNor put in a quarter-million dollars. Ontario's Northern Ontario Heritage Fund The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund is a division of the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines in the Canadian province of Ontario, whose purpose is to provide funding and program support to foster economic development in the economically disadvantaged Northern Ontario region. is investing $3.5 million and industry's share includes $3 million "in-kind." An "in-kind" contribution usually goes on the books at a vastly inflated price.
Industry won't spend on research because research is risky. Share-holders don't like anything that reduces short-term returns, and the industry can't agree on what it needs. The federal government doesn't spend much on mining or forestry because natural resources are provincial responsibilities. The province won't spend because it is facing a deficit and the south doesn't care about the North.
There is a win-win solution. Northerners have to demand that the province collect a 2.3 per cent research levy on all mineral sales. They should insist that the levy be spent on an intensive research program based in Northern Ontario. Industry gets the research it needs. The North gets a brain-gain. The provincial government doesn't have to pay for the program from general revenues. Dalton McGuinty Dalton James Patrick McGuinty, Jr., MPP (born July 19, 1955, in Ottawa, Ontario) is a Canadian lawyer and politician and, since October 23, 2003, Premier of Ontario. He is the twenty-fourth premier of Ontario, and the second Roman Catholic to hold this office. could even afford to give the mining industry some of the tax reforms it has been begging for.
The mineral levy is the key to northern development, but will northerners demand it? It we don't, we'll know that I'm not the only wimp in the North.
Dr. David Robinson David Robinson or Dave Robinson is a name shared by the following individuals: