A McMaster researcher says "it's a wonderful thing" that U.S. President Barack Obama is loosening restrictions on American-funded stem cell research. But Dr. Mick Bhatia admits he's worried it will make it harder to attract talent to Canada and cause a brain drain to the United States.
"I think it's going to be a little harder for us to get those people," Bhatia, the scientific director of the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute, said yesterday, in the wake of the president's announcement.
"I would be disingenuous if I said I wasn't concerned."
Across the board, Canada sees itself as weak on innovation. With Barack Obama now President, the United States is returning as a favorable destination for Canadian-cultivated talent. The liberalization of stem cell research demonstrates how quickly a few policy changes could restore the U.S. as a beacon of creative enterprise.
But the other shoe is yet to drop. Will Obama lead the charge and retool US immigration law? Senator Charles Grassley's xenophobic crusade is alread causing problems for foreign born brains. As other countries submit to protectionist tendencies, we should welcome globetrotting labor here. But the early indications are that the necessary change is not forthcoming.