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Harper announces second round of KIP funding in BC

August 10, 2009

Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a high-profile appearance in Victoria, BC last week to announce the second round of KIP funding. Notwithstanding that 93% of the $2-billion program has been allocated, according to a government spokeman, the PM announced a second round of funding announcements. Fifteen additional BC projects were announced for an additional $35-million, adding to the 29 announced in the first round of funding.

The PM laid out the rationale for the program in his speech:

[We’re] investing in knowledge infrastructure, in the universities, colleges and other post-secondary institutions that are preparing Canadians for the jobs and opportunities of tomorrow, and that are conducting the scientific and technological research that will keep Canada at the forefront of a rapidly evolving global economy… especially those that will improve the quality of research and development at the province’s universities and colleges and help them attract and retain the best minds from across Canada and around the world.

Though the PM didn’t announce the specific programs that will “attract and retain the best minds” to “[conduct] the scientific and technological research that will keep Canada at the forefront of a rapidly evolving global economy”, funded programs reportedly include a new “café” at Camosun College’s library in Victoria. It might be tempting to argue that this type of project undermines the government’s claim that the Knowledge Infrastructure Program demonstrates its commitment to research. However, Susan Haddon, director of communications at Camosun, points out: “It’s going to be a lively space, whereas libraries of old were silent”. Given the collaborative nature of much contemporary research, I’m sure the Camosun café will be a hotbed of academic activity.

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