RIM co-founder has strong words for governments

The man who co-founded Research in Motion and helped create a physics research facility in Waterloo, Ont., criticized the federal and provincial governments Monday for not having “the guts” to adequately fund scientific research.

Mike Lazaridis said the governing Liberals in Ottawa and Toronto have “turned their backs” on research.

Mr. Lazaridis donated $100-million to launch the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and $33-million to help start the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo.

The 43-year-old Mr. Lazaridis is the co-founder of RIM, which makes the popular BlackBerry device. He is also the chancellor of the University of Waterloo.

Mr. Lazaridis, who is passionate about research, says politicians are wrapped in “hot potato issues of the day” and have “just lost the guts to face the future.”

“Who are they paying the megabucks to, to tell them that research, you know, isn’t important,” Mr. Lazaridis said. “It just blows me away.”

Mr. Lazaridis made the comments just days before Prime Minister Paul Martin is to attend Friday’s official opening of the Perimeter Institute’s new building. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is scheduled to visit on Saturday.

A passionate advocate of education and research, Mr. Lazaridis likes to emphasize the importance of pure research, noting that it often leads to important and unforeseen discoveries.

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