OTTAWA — The Liberal government’s latest budget pledged $750 million to renew its superclusters initiative, but the money came with strings: A panel of prominent private-sector executives had recommended new objectives for the five organizations, which bring firms together for R&D projects. Major changes to the program were coming.
The superclusters are among Ottawa’s most prominent innovation ideas, but some industry critics have questioned their effectiveness since the beginning. So the panel’s evaluation of the superclusters—positive or negative—would have attracted considerable interest. But the government never revealed the group’s existence, and withheld details of its role and recommendations in response to The Logic’s recent access-to-information (ATI) request. It’s just one instance of how badly the ATI system—meant to foster transparency and public accountability—has deteriorated under the Liberal government, which promised to improve it.