Canada Election 2011: Questions About Canada’s Digital Future

Posted: March 28th, 2011   |   Category: Industry News | Open | Strategy

Michael Geist has compiled a fantastic list of questions for the 2011 Canadian election.

I may be wrong, but many of our current leaders don’t seem to give enough emphasis on Canada’s digital economy and infrastructure.  I know that the NDP were the first to come out in support for Net Neutrality and against Usage-Based Billing, but Ignatieff and Harper have been relatively quiet on these issues.

Here’s a quick snapshot of my biggest interests and some ideas about what we can do to remedy the situation (with some paraphrasing from Mr. Geist):

  • The Last Mile.  Canada’s internet infrastructure is consolidated into the hands of 4-5 large media conglomerates and this must come to an end.  It’s paramount that the ‘Last Mile’ of pipe be owned by the public and leased to anyone with a business plan to sell internet services.  This would create the competition that we need to advance as a digital nation.  Most other issues related to internet regulation and competition would become moot once the Last Mile issue is resolved.
  • Reform the CRTC.  The CRTC has proven on many occasions to be ineffective and the mouth-piece of the industry.  We need to reform the CRTC and ensure that any and all Canadians can actively shape the digital future of this nation and not just representatives of the mainstream media.
  • Subsidies.  Much is made of the public funds that the CBC receives on an annual basis, but what of the billions that are given to Canada’s private media companies to produce ‘Canadian content’ via the Film and Video Tax Credits, Heritage Programs and so on.  We need to re-evaluate the spending on these programs and make cuts where appropriate.
  • Open.  Canada needs to embrace open.  Public funding for any organization or institution would require a default of 100% transparency (that includes quotes for prisons and jet planes).  Of course, ‘open’ can be defined as open software, open books (ie. Open accounting policies), open copyright policy and so on.  We need to consider and implement all facets of open with our government in order to reduce cost, increase transparency and encourage investment in new technologies related to this growing area.

What are your concerns about Canada’s digital future?  Please provide your thoughts below.

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