I was fascinated by the news of rapid growth in self employment in Canada ("Job growth, Canadian-style," Economic Trends, July 12). Canadians have actually known about this trend since 1997, when its importance was highlighted by the federal Advisory Committee on the Changing Workplace.

As a self-employed Canadian (with close to 20 years of professional experience and 44 academic and technical publications on my resume), I hold the view that the reasons have little to do with fast-rising taxation but a lot to do with government failure to support the educational and research infrastructure without which a knowledge-based economy and society cannot thrive.

To provide just one example, U.S. federal funding for medical research, on a per capita basis, is several times the comparable Canadian figure. Canadian scientists with international reputations still find financing both for basic research and for commercialization extremely difficult to obtain. The consequence of this neglect is that opportunities educated Americans take for granted, in both public and private sectors, are virtually nonexistent here.

Canada will soon be in a situation where this trend is all but impossible to reverse. Thus, the much-discussed gap in incomes between the two countries is almost certain to widen, whether or not our domestic right-wing pundits succeed in selling their simple-minded panacea of tax cuts and more tax cuts.

Ted Schrecker

London, Ont.

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