The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. When Kevin Lynch left the Industry Canada portfolio earlier this year to become deputy minister of Finance, many industry insiders hoped his extensive understanding of the advanced technology sectors would bring a "new economy" perspective to Finance. A recent speech given by Paul Martin suggests Lynch’s views are being heard. Martin’s September 14 address to the Toronto Board of Trade read like a thinly veiled wish list for Canada’s ICT and innovation sectors. One of the main messages that industry, academia and the research community took from Martin’s speech is that we must "invest" (read: spend) more on highly qualified personnel to ensure the talent is there to fuel Canada’s ICT industries, which are growing four times faster than the overall economy. R&D, ecommerce and access to capital were also identified as important drivers of the new economy. But it was Martin’s emphasis on the importance of "human capital" that has given Canada’s ICT sector reason to believe that part of the budget surplus is heading its way. Even Prime Minister Jean Chrètien borrowed some of Martin’s prose when he addressed a gathering in Windsor recently, saying "we know we have to invest in people to become competitive". Both Lynch and Martin realize that Canada is suffering from a chronic shortage of highly skilled professors that can train the next generation of ICT workers. They also know that without higher salaries and better research facilities, Canadian universities and colleges will not be able to attract qualified people from other countries to take up these teaching positions. Martin says he wants to create an environment where highly qualified people want to stay in Canada. That’s a laudable goal considering that many of these talented people are leaving for more lucrative and satisfying positions abroad or in the private sector. Having senior bureaucrats that understand the complexities of an industry as dynamic and diverse as ICT can significantly shorten the time between ideas and political action. Having a minister who intimately knows your sector heading up Canada’s most powerful federal department would be the icing on the cake.