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Industry Minister Tony Clement's review of the sale of Nortel Networks Corp.'s enterprise-solutions unit to Avaya Inc. under the Investment Canada Act is a flaccid gesture that masks Canada's larger failure to actively court, develop or retain flagship innovators.

The review was triggered because Nortel's accountants deemed the book value of the assets to be above the act's $312-million threshold. Avaya has yet to make the concrete job commitments that would reassure Mr. Clement that the deal is of "net benefit" to Canada (the criterion for approval). Avaya spokeswoman Lynn Buckley said that Avaya was "committed to maintaining" two Nortel research facilities, but would not comment on a report last week that up to 400 of 1,000 jobs were at risk.

Canada: Innovation slips away