The federal Conservative Party announced recently that a group of MPs, including the Minister of Industry, Tony Clement, have formed a "BioCaucus" to promote the opportunities and benefits of biotechnology in Canada. The BioCaucus will address the health, social and environmental benefits of biotechnology and advocate for the development of research and educational facilities to attract new investment to enable Canada to continue as a leader in the development of new technologies. We understand that the federal Liberal Party has formed a similar caucus having biotechnology as its priority.

The formation of these sorts of focused groups of key influencers recognizes the importance of biotechnology to the growth of Canada's knowledge-based economy. Hopefully, it will stimulate other important constituencies at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to enhance their efforts to create similar focus groups which can be effective facilitators for dialogue around the key challenges which confront Canada's biotechnology sector and the design and implementation of innovative strategies and solutions to address these issues.

Effective communication and collaboration among all key stakeholders in the biotechnology sector - within government, academia and the private sector - needs to be a priority and put at the top of everyone's agenda. The creation of these sorts of BioCaucuses by political parties sends a strong signal and is a welcome development. It is an important step in the right direction towards putting sufficient resources and effort into realizing the enormous potential that the Canadian biotechnology industry offers."

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