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Advocating for CISTI

March 16: Letters were sent today to Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton. The response from the Ignatieff office sent to CHLA/ABSC offices, Monday, March 16, 2009 3:13 PM: Dear Ms. Kharouba: Thank you for your letter regarding the federal funding of research in Canada. The Liberal Party of Canada has always recognized the importance of supporting research in science and technology. Former Liberal governments have created powerful tools to reinvigorate public research: the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Canada Research Chairs Program, Genome Canada and the Indirect Costs Program for Canada’s colleges and universities. In contrast, the Conservative governments' recent budget demonstrates its failure to grasp the importance of scientific research for creating the jobs of tomorrow. Three national research granting councils, which play essential roles in funding the scientists who conduct the research, will be subjected to "efficiency and focusing" cuts over the next three years. Equally disturbing, the budget failed to provide Genome Canada with new funding, obstructing the multi-year process of engaging talented Canadian scientists and private-sector partners in the next research cycle. Be assured that the Liberal Party will work relentlessly to push this government into making long-term commitments to science, research and innovation. We will raise this issue in the House of Commons, pressuring the government to send a clear message that our country is in this for the long haul. By allowing our scientists to make long term plans government sends the signal that it really does believe in what they are doing, and, more importantly, that it understand the nature of their work. Long term, predictable support provides our scientists with the tools they need to do their work. It also communicates that we want our scientists to stay in Canada, and, moreover, that we want scientists from the rest of the world to come here to work. This support must extend to all forms of research – engineering and natural sciences, medicine and life sciences, the humanities and social sciences. It is not appropriate for government to impose constraints on which forms of research are more likely to be funded. Such a policy – valuing applied science over fundamental science that has less obvious commercial value – is shortsighted and wrong. Thank you again for sharing your views on this important matter. Sincerely, The Office of the Leader of the Opposition _______________________________________________________ March 13: The CHLA/ABSC Board of Directors sent a letter today to NRC President, Dr.Pierre Coulombe on behalf of CHLA/ABSC. Ms. P. Bjornson, CISTI's Director General and Ms. P. Mortimer, VP, NRC Technology and Industry Support have been copied. The Letter to Dr.Coulombe is attached. Message from Pam Bjornson, Director General of CISTI is attached. The Ottawa Citizen on Saturday March 7, 2009 is reporting on the difference in investment in research between the US and Canada that is affecting CISTI. In comparison, NIH will receive $10.4 billion through the Recovery Act for use over the next two years (2009 and 2010). The National Library of Medicine (NLM) will invest more than $84 million from the Recovery Act, by September 2010, into basic and applied research in biomedical informatics. Earlier,the Ottawa Citizen reported that "the National Research Council is conducting a major review that will eliminate three research groups, downsize another, and cost up to 300 jobs." "The Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI), the country’s national science library and leading publisher of scientific information would be streamlined into a smaller unit. The Research Press, the publishing arm of CISTI could be turned into a private company."