More Beef, Less Bun!

We are in the midst of the worst economic downturn Ottawa has seen, and we are watching our high tech sector melt away.

I find it very disturbing that there are few organizations – other than the Talent First Network and NRC-IRAP – that are stepping up and taking visible, urgent and concrete steps to help out our community.

Talent First Network is aggressively pushing ahead with the Lead to Win program, which has garnered strong community support.

The IRAP team have ramped up their pace, they have streamlined processes to match the urgency of the situation, they are pursuing new programs, and they are on the frontline – engaging the entrepreneurs and high tech businesses who are working to expand existing businesses or build new businesses which will revitalize our high tech sector.

The big question is – Where is the leadership from the other tax-funded organizations? The City of Ottawa, the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation and Industry Canada have spent truckloads of money on the Ontario Centres of Excellence, Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation and The Ottawa Partnership (TOP) – these organizations  should be front and center but are virtually invisible.

When it comes to getting results from our tax dollars and leadership from the organizations they fund – it’s time for “More Beef and Less Bun!”  –

In the current economic downturn,  I would rather see more of my tax dollars going to IRAP and the Talent First Network.  They have the right attitude and they are focused on helping our community.

It’s time for MORE BEEF!  LESS BUN!


Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation – “Next Generation of Jobs Fund” a McGuinty Debacle?

With all the talk of government stimulus and spending it is disappointing to see the government not using programs that have already been approved and rolled-out.

Last year, the Ontario Government’s Next Generation of Jobs Fund was rolled out by McGuinty with much fanfare and promises of how his government would be fast tracking the program to “Git’r Done”.    The Next Generation of Jobs Fund is a five-year, $1.15 billion fund intended to create new highly skilled jobs.

“We’re stepping up because Ontario is not going to let others steal our future out from under us – we will produce the next wave of clean technologies that create jobs and clean up the environment,” said Premier McGuinty.

“We’re sending the message to companies around the world that if you’ve got a project that will grow your business and create jobs, we’ll make it happen in Ontario,” said Minister of Economic Development and Trade Sandra Pupatello.

“This fund is about building on our strengths to ensure Ontario can compete and win in the global economy – and create a better standard of living for Ontario families,” said Minister of Research and Innovation John Wilkinson.

There was also much noise made about how:

Companies are guaranteed a decision within 45 days of submitting a complete proposal.

So, since being announced a year ago….   nothing has happened.

Furthermore, last summer – Nortel, IBM and Carleton University submitted a proposal to establish and collaborate on a project called “Coral CEA”.  The group’s proposal was to setup an organization to focus on development of communications enabled applications with the objective of spinning-off companies and jobs.  In-spite of being under bankruptcy protection Nortel remained committed to the proposal because of it’s strategic value.

This was a proposal from two of Canada’s top innovators and Ottawa’s leading University… and nothing has happened.

In fact, worse then nothing has happened – good ideas have been submitted and no action has been taken.

It appears that the only jobs that the NGoJF is creating are jobs for government organ grinders whose purpose is to turn our “Creative Class” into dancing monkeys for the bureaucracy –

If McGuinty is serious about his commitment to innovation and the NGoJF – he needs to roll up his sleeves and take direct personal action in his government.   Right now McGuinty and his government fall into the category of “Big Hat, No Cattle”.

UPDATE: The Strategic Opportunity Program (part of NGoJF) has been very quietly shut-down …


Nortel Shrinkage Continues… and Senior Executive Bonuses Expand

Current Staff Tally

30,000 – 1,800 (announced in 2008) – 3,200 (announced Feb 25th) = 25,000

Of the 3,200 – 1,000 in Ottawa are at risk according to the Ottawa Citizen.

The Citizen reported on a rather odd sounding bonus plan that Nortel has recently put in place – $43M goes to 1,000 employees ($23M of which would go to 92 senior executives), $3M to the rest.   This is intended by Nortel to motivate the employees – it is not clear if it will motivate as much as it will infuriate.

Ernst and Young, the court appointed monitor, has Nortel related reports published here.

Letters to Nortel from the Recently Severed Canadian Nortel Employees (RSCNE) are at