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The federal government's plan to improve productivity and innovation through the promotion of five regional economic groups is both ambitious and expensive. It may provide the spark the country needs – unless it proves to be a fat subsidy for global technology giants.

"They'll have to move from fairly high-level statements about what they're going to do to actually implementing it," said Richard Gold, a McGill University law professor who specializes in innovation and intellectual property policy. "In many cases, my guess is that hasn't been fully thought out."

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