Lobbying: Health Care & Research: DIFFERENT issues (fwd)

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Sat Jan 18 13:20:42 EST 1997

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 18 Jan 1997 13:20:39 -0500 (EST)
From: Alexander Berezin <berezin at mcmail.CIS.McMaster.CA>
To: Mark Bisby <bisbym at post.queensu.ca>
Cc: biocan at net.bio.net
Subject: Lobbying: Health Care & Research: DIFFERENT issues


On Thu, 16 Jan 1997, Mark Bisby wrote:

> The Canadian Association for Neuroscience has undertaken a
> cross-country effort to lobby for improved funding for biomedical
> research in Canada. This is intended to be complementary to the
> efforts of CFBS, CBHR, CHR and others. CAN is asking its members to
> contact their local M.P. in the next week, prior to the Liberal caucus
> meeting where the nature of the upcoming budget will be discussed. To

< snip >

> Minister Paul Martin is on record as saying that he hasn't received any
> pressure on the issue of research funding.  

Why should he ? That's NOT his job. He is Finance Minister.
Presently in the NSERC/MRC system there is over $ 40,000 per 
year per professor of RESEARCH money. That's not at all that 
badvery, PROVIDED profs do research THEMSELVES instead of 
being just grant administrators using cheap and often poorely 
motivated research labour. 
> In a recent Maclean's magazine poll, 46 per cent of Canadians who took
> part cited jobs as the top issue, 42 per cent picked national unity,
> 24 per cent the economy, 23 per cent the deficit and 16 per cent,
> health care. 

That's (16 %) is surprisingly LOW figure. I certainly would 
avoid refering to it, at it is a pretty WEAK argument for 
your cause.

> Improved funding for biomedical research addresses four
> of these major areas of concern.

Here you are confusing 2 different issues. Those Canadians
for whom Health Care is a concern # 1 mean just THIS: 
universal accessebility, more hospital beds, stop 
slauthering nurses, etc. It has only a remote (often 
not at all) relevance to the most of "biomedical 
research". The two could be even related inversely. 
Some countries may have a very good Health Care while 
doing almost no research. On the other hand in a 
country which is # 1 in medical research (USA), 
some 35 million citizens have no medical coverage 
of any kind.

So, let's call the spade spade and rephrase the 
Maclean pool question the way you REALLY mean it 
to be:

"Do you believe that # 1 priority for the country is 
to increase the research funding, so the professors can 
hire even more postdocs and/or produce even more
PhD students (without caring too much if there will be
proper jobs be for all these students) ?".

See, if you get even 1 % supporting this at Maclean pool.

< snip >

> An increase in the budget of the MRC of $82 million would permit
> funding of all projects assessed as "very good" by international
> peer-review. 

Nonsense. Don't blame Martin for this. Blame the 
administration of MRC and NSERC. They have the full 
authority to change their internal proceedures and 
to fund ALL "very good" researchers, albeit at a 
(somewhat) lower average level. They don't need Martin's 
permission to do this. But they don't do this because 
this will reduce the funding level of grab-the-most 
top grantees - those same who decide the grants. 

First of all, re-build the system towards more 
equitable and fair sharing, remove (likely illegal) 
practice that members of GSC are getting their own 
funding from the same pot, get profs back to 
the benches (Faraday, Pasteur and Maria Curie worked 
themselves) and than see if the system indeed 
needs 'more money'. 

< rest snipped >

More information about the Bioforum mailing list