Tech Tuesday to hold all candidates meeting on innovation, economic growth

Tom Pechloff
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With election day less than two weeks away, October’s Tech Tuesday event will take on a political flavour, as the Wesley Clover event will host an all-candidates meeting focused on innovation and economic growth policy.

Michael Monette is vice-chair of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers.

The Oct. 6 event is being put on in conjunction with the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers.

“It actually ends up being very timely as the parties have been exposing more and more of their platforms, so the timing can’t be better,” OSPE vice-chair Michael Monette said.

The panel will consist of one representative from each of the four main parties. Three of them – Ottawa Centre Conservative candidate Damian Konstantinakos, Nepean Liberal candidate Chandra Arya and Nepean Green Party candidate Jean-Luc Cooke – are engineers. The New Democratic Party will be represented by John Fenik, who is running in the Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston riding.

Each candidate will be given three minutes to give their positions on five issues:

• Procuring Canadian engineering technology and infrastructure and developing national energy framework

• Continued long-term support for infrastructure in cities across Ontario

• Development and commercialization of engineering research and technology into domestic and global marketplace

• Involving engineers in major programs and spending initiatives

• Investing and developing Canada’s skilled workforce and integrating skilled immigrants

Mr. Monette said OSPE membership played a direct role in developing the questions.

“The OPSE organization is regularly polling our membership,” he said. “Sometimes we don’t have to poll. They tell us.”

He said the last question on the list is of particular interest. Most engineering graduates, he said, expect an engineering job will be waiting for them, but with 250,000 engineering grads in Ontario and 80,000 licensed engineers, it’s not a guarantee. Some go on to managerial or sales jobs instead.

There is a “general concern,” he said, about the “wealth of engineering talent” in the province and what is being done with it.

“Are we turning that wealth into economic growth and that is a good question for government. What are the structures that help us leverage that, particularly when we hear of other countries using the engineering strength to generate wealth, generate new companies, generate new ideas.”

As always, Tech Tuesday doors open at The Marshes Golf Club at 5 p.m. The all-candidates meeting begins at 6:30. It is free, but participants must register in advance.

Mr. Monette said the room is pretty much already full, but there will be monitors in the foyer and the event will also be streamed live so people following #EngineersVote can follow along from home, where they will be given the opportunity to take part as the audience asks questions, time permitting, at the end of the program.

Organizations: Ontario Society, Ottawa Centre, Green Party New Democratic Party OPSE organization The Marshes Golf Club

Geographic location: Ontario, Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston, Canada

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