Tuesday, June 14, 2011

CANARIE chirps about their funding

A follow-up to yesterday's post, "Setting a high tech government funded asset adrift," where the sunsetting of funding for CANARIE, Canada’s Advanced Research and Innovation Network, was raised. I did so based on a post at OpenMedia.ca by a media analyst, Dwayne Winseck. There he pointed out the language in the Harper government's budget, just passed:
Five years is up next year and, guess what, CANARIE’s funding is set to be eliminated. Never mind that much needs to be done, and the Harper Government’s own previous praise for it as a leader in its field, funding levels that have hovered between $20 and $30 million for most of the last decade appear in this year’s budget to fall to zero next year (see pp. 209-210).

As the dry language of that document states, the “reduction of $31 million is due to the sunsetting of the grant”.
CANARIE has blogged about the issue today as a matter of clarification (they seem to have focused on my blog item and not Winseck's, who raised it initially, perhaps because I was more colourful about the implications):
CANARIE receives funding in five-year blocks, so the current Government estimates indicate that CANARIE’s funding is to be retired. That language can be confusing — what it really means is that this five-year funding block expires this year. BUT — CANARIE will apply for another five-year funding block, which will be included in the March 2012 budget.

CANARIE’s senior leadership team have been working closely with Industry Canada in putting the final touches on our proposal for mandate renewal, which presents a strong case for the need for ongoing funding of CANARIE if Canada is to continue to engage in world-leading science, research, innovation and discovery.

If you want more detail on the proposal, go to our website at www.canarie.ca and watch our CEO, Mark Roman present the elements we are proposing. Of course we are mindful of the fiscal environment the Government is managing right now, and our proposal reflects a balanced approach to the need for advanced digital infrastructure in a challenging environment.
I would hope that is the case because CANARIE seems to be a highly valuable research entity for the Government of Canada to be investing in. You can understand why there might be some skepticism, however, given the current fiscal environment, the fact that they are renegotiating and there have been other agencies in recent years whose funding has gone poof despite similar impressions that all was well in their dealings with Harper government officials.

Happy to raise awareness of this issue and follow it going forward.

You can follow them on Twitter: @CANARIE_Inc.