Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The NRC Goes to War: Part 1, the Gathering Storm

The Gathering Storm

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is going to war… or at least they are trending that way.

Massive job losses at the NRC have prompted journalists across the country to point to a ‘brain drain’ in Canada.  “Here go the science-less Conservatives wiping out the intelligencia (sp?), stomping objective reason into the floor mat of the economic engine.”

Scary stuff, yes? No-one smart left to keep the right-wing objectively in check. Brr… don’t you get a major shiver?

Hey, don’t believe the pinko propaganda, folks. Relax. Let me ease your mind and take away that Orange chill.

The Harper Government has told us again, and again, and again that spending in the sector will not decline, dammit. If anything, they say, spending will increase over previous levels.

I believe them. You should, too.

In case you don’t, I am going to spell a few things out to you in the little series I like to call:

“The NRC Goes to War”

Jan. 4, 2011, Youtube – 

NRC mastermind John McDougall gives Canada a peek at the next five-to-ten year plan. In his very Liberal red chair (just saying…) Admiral McDougall (he isn’t really, come on…) describes the next wave in the NRC’s battle plan.

No outright talk of war, but listen closely to the alignment of business, public service agencies, the government. ‘Coherent integrated advice’ from a new cuddly hug-fest where ‘it’ is knitted together holistically. “Strategic issues that need to be addressed…” all cuddly Politically Correct objectives, not a warplane in sight. Enabling, green technologies for everyone! Thanks, John!

NRC 2011, a big new shiny machine filled with friendly politicians, bureaucrats, and business people driving Battleship NRC into the 21st century (or at least the next 5 – 10 years.) A great gathering (humans, elves, and dwarves anyone?) which will face the coming intellectual storm.

Working together on their common objective, which is…

(Wait for it, faithful listeners.)

In a myriad of posts, screen shots, and P/R blah-blahs the NRC and the Ministers behind it have unleashed of late, you hear one theme trumpeted again and again:

The NRC is open for business.

The NRC is now your one stop shop for all thing R & D in Canada. They don’t sponsor their own research anymore. Now they sponsor yours (if you sell us stuff for war.... whoops, spoiler alert!!)

The Harper Government assures you that the funding has not decreased. At all. Dammit. So don't worry about not enough money in the pot to see this through. There is, they assure you....

We’ll get to the funding in a little bit (next articles, kiddies) but for now, let me lay upon you the real catalyst for change in the NRC that Mr. McDougall may have been too shy to spill back in 2011.

Here it is for you now, the new NRC Canadian catalyst for change:

"Leveraging Defence and Security Procurement

Defence and security-related procurement constitutes an important opportunity for the support of business innovation because it is such a large proportion of total procurement and because state-of-the-art technological sophistication is required in modern equipment. Indeed, one of the key drivers of the US innovation system has been the civilian adaptation of military technology.

In 2008, the federal government announced the Canada-First Defence Strategy designed to strengthen key military capabilities and to facilitate Canadian industry participation, particularly high-value-added technology sectors, in forthcoming defence procurement requirements. There are three main industrial components of the strategy: the development of critical (short term) and strategic (longer term) technologies, industrial and regional benefits, and sector-specific procurement."

Bam! Johnny grab yer' gun, right?

But… but what has this military spending gibberish got to do with Battleship NRC, you ask?

Ah. You are so sweet and innocent. I love ya' for it, and hate to do this to you, but...

Check this out (below).

We’ll talk later, once you digest this chunk. Then I’ll feed you some more, ‘natch.

(Pay careful attention to the money, folks. Follow the flow of money.)

Industry Canada Backgrounder — Canada's Industrial and Regional Benefits Policy

Key Snippets:

“Canada's IRB Policy requires prime contractors to undertake business activities in Canada that total 100 percent of the value of the defence or security contract they have just won with the Government of Canada.”

“The IRB Policy works within this procurement framework and ensures that economic benefits flow to Canada as a result of defence procurement by requiring prime contractors to place work in Canada over the life of the contract.”

“The IRB Policy strongly encourages prime contractors to use their best business sense to select their Canadian partners and suppliers, with the goal of generating long-term, sustainable business relationships in Canada. These strategic relationships stimulate the Canadian economy while helping to ensure a more competitive Canadian industry.”

“… promote the creation of consortia between major defence contractors, Canadian industry and publicly funded research institutions…”

"New Approach — Incentive for the Creation of Public-Private Consortia

Current Practice

There are no extra incentives (other than one-to-one credit) offered to prime contractors to invest in consortia, unless the money flows to post secondary education institutions or public research institutions (for example, National Research Council, Defence Research and Development Canada, etc.), in which instances a 5X multiplier is applied for cash contributions.

New Approach — Enhanced Priority Technology List

Current Approach

Prime contractors are currently not required to invest a minimum percentage of their Industrial and Regional Benefits (IRB) obligations into medium and/or long term emerging critical technology needs of the Department of National Defence (DND).

Why change?

Industry Canada (IC) desires to better align the IRB Policy with the emerging critical technology needs of DND. The addition of a more focused technology list will provide important information to industry regarding the future needs of the military, thereby encouraging the development of Canadian advanced technologies in the aerospace and defence sector. The new list also demonstrates a more coordinated approach to defence industrial development across government departments and reflects a willingness to work together to seek technology-focused outcomes. Lastly, the change may enhance export opportunities for Canadian advanced technology firms, as the requirements for allied defence procurements become harmonized along specific defence platforms.

Firm-Level R&D and Commercialization (upcoming)

"Encourage primes, to invest in long term, innovation-focused activities in Canadian SMEs. It will establish long term, strategic relationships with primes, leading to increased R&D activities, market-driven technology development and more robust..."

Q and A

A4  "No, the future sales of products developed through a Consortium transaction are not eligible for IRB Credit in the same transaction. The only eligible IRB credit that can be generated from a Consortium is from the contributions to the consortium from the consortium partners.
However, should the Contractor procure goods and services from the Consortium, the purchase will be considered as a separate IRB transaction. The transaction will be treated in the same manner as procurements the Contractor makes in Canada that are unrelated to the consortium. No multiplier will be applied.'

Q6  "Can in-kind donations apply towards a Prime Contractor's IRB obligations?

A6  "Yes. 

In-kind donations towards Consortia can be credited towards a Prime Contractor's IRB obligation. In-kind contributions may be credited based on third party valuations of the cost of the donation to the Consortium. However, in-kind donations are not eligible for multipliers."

'Is there a required regional distribution of IRB work across Canada? Does the Policy force IRB contractor to work with specific companies?

No, the IRB Policy is a market-driven policy, which means that IRB contractors place work with Canadian companies that make the best business sense to them. The Policy is set up this way so it will ensure that long-lasting business relationships are created and maintained between IRB contractors and Canadian companies. The Policy does not dictate where IRB work must be placed. However, we encourage bidders/IRB contractors to make efforts to have a balanced regional IRB'

"It bears noting that the rules in international trade agreements exempt R&D contracts and "first product or service" and "prototype development" from open bidding. This means that there is considerable scope to ensure that contract R&D is undertaken by Canadian-based suppliers."

And just FYI...

Ministers Involved (Federal Canada)

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Man U: A Love Story Part II

(Miss me...? Just a little...?

I've been working on a story. Almost all-consuming. Apologies, back to work.)

Manitoba United: A Love Story Part II

Time flies fast upon the wing of political pause. Election fatigue gives way to heady days of summer, our return to family and friends (sans party) whisks the wee hours into the sweet memory filing cabinet. 'Oh, so much better than knocking on doors is this knocking back brewskies.'

Turn up the fire pit and the music, find your lover, enjoy being Canadian. Time flies by in honest fleeting moments born of the political pause.

Around said campfire, the background hum of the body politic lost to the romantic crackle of life, lovers unite among the various dances souls shall step when the spot lights are turned off. Honest living in private (mainly), folks getting about their business for business' sake, lovers loving love.


Oh, my Love.

Let's talk about love. And Manitoba United ('natch!)

Recently I talked about the Queen, and the love of Her Majesty spurring on certain parties towards a United political movement through which to more effectively oppose the NDP regime... err... government. Maybe even replace them (see piece on election results last year, 'k?)

Obviously, her Majesty is a living embodiment of an Ideal, and it is the ideal we love. The idea is that a super-person is all concerned with our well-being as her highest priority, and that she needs our help to do her job. She needs us to step up and lend a hand. We self-actualize through her siren's call of social responsibility. Very cool.

In a Hegelian flip-flop, the little people take power this way (a la Marty Gold's 'you have the power'). Great power, which begets great responsibility. Part of that responsibility lies in examination of one's own life, and the conditions for living in which one finds themselves. Being so self-informed, we make decisions about good and right actions.

(Hold tight, the point is coming...)

Let's talk about 'pragmatic allocation' compared to 'utter commitment'. Still talking about love here, and how we love, and how love motivates us.

Do you know some persons who go 'all in' when they love?

How about persons who weigh each drop of love allocation so very, very carefully?

There ain't no right or wrong way to do it. Different beats, different drummers. It is all good loving, yes?

But the results of the two 'systems' of loving end in polar extremes.

Like they do in Politics....

A. Zealot, idealist, party insider, bought-and-sold, dyed-in-wool, fervent supporter.

B. Pragmatist, Flip-flopper, swing vote, chameleon, opportunist.

Assignment: Which of the above (A or B) describes the 'all-in' political lover, and which the 'carefully allocating' kind?

The new girl in town is the old flame who left and came back with a make-over. She, for those not invited to participate in the current regime, is the flame we should have loved but for our fickle turn. She who is of us, is for us, who needs us. The Girl Next Door (if you live next to a castle....)

She who unites lovers of all kinds.

Nearly one year past the election, all (non-regime types) who love this Province are called to examine the nature of their political love, and their own allocations and commitments. Is it the 'party' you love, or is it the people and the Queen who serves them? Are you so utterly lost in love of a particular party, have you so shrewdly allocated your love to one 'group', that you can't even see the need to change?

Are you literally 'blinded by love' to the need to Unite?

Its ok if you are. Love is so powerful an influence on our decisions and actions. I get it.


Vote splitting in this silly first-past-the-post plurality of parties system is harming you, your children, friends, lovers, neighbours, employees and bosses, grandmother, barber....

It is harming everyone you love. Actually love. Like, love love.

What have you been getting back from your current party that it is worth the suffering price paid by those you love?

Manitoba United should appeal to 'all-in' lovers and 'careful allocation' lovers alike. It should be reasonable and thrilling. It should be the biggest tent of all, a keystone evolution of the ideal 'political tent'.

(Like Bracken's pragmatists, but updated for the new millennium.)

Sitting with our loved ones around said fire, we could be engineering this new mighty tent. Every person carving a personal pole, designing to form a tent one million poles strong.

Then, we could all get together underneath this newly erected tent and...

Hold a major love-in, bigger even than Folk Fest.

Ah.... big, big love.

Or... we could continue living stories about Jet's tickets, collusion between Ministers and Media and Public Servants, under performing tax dollars, lack of transparency, abuse of power and privilege, pandering to Unions at the expense of the People.... you know, the normal stuff you get under a 'natural ruling party' of this type.

Just saying.


Rod Rouge