Michael Geist: Digital Canada 150 – The Digital Strategy Without a Strategy

InsightaaS: Readers who follow Across the Net know that we are appreciate and support the efforts of Michael Geist to examine issues and legislation that impact (and in some cases, threaten) Canadians’ privacy and digital freedoms. In this post, Geist – who is especially well known for his penetrating, public critique of copyright issues and of wireless practices – provides an overview of the federal government’s recent “Digital Canada 150 (named because its core targets are to be met by 2017, Canada’s 150th ‘birthday’) strategy announcement. Geist takes a balanced perspective on Digital Canada 150, pointing out three areas in which the approach is a success, but also noting that “for a strategy document, it is curiously lacking in actual strategy,” and adding that “measurable targets and objectives typically guide strategy documents, yet there are not many to be found in Digital Canada 150.” Ultimately, Geist says, the document is disappointing, as it lacks “the types of initiatives that might have captured the public’s imagination and put an identifiable face on a broader strategy.”

Four years after the Canadian government first announced plans to develop a digital economy strategy, Industry Minister James Moore traveled to Waterloo, Ontario, Friday for the release of Digital Canada 150. The long-awaited strategy document identifies five key areas for policy development: connecting Canadians, protecting the online environment, developing commercial opportunities, digital government, and Canadian content.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) argues the release of Digital Canada 150 succeeds on at least three levels. First, it puts to rest the longstanding criticism that the government is uninterested in digital issues. Moore quickly emerged as the government’s digital leader after taking the reins at Industry Canada, promptly focusing on wireless competition, spam regulation, and now a digital strategy. After years of complaints that the digital strategy issue was Ottawa’s equivalent of the “Penske File” – all talk and no action – Moore has acted.

Second, Digital Canada 150 demonstrates that the federal government has been more engaged on digital issues in recent years than is generally appreciated…

Read the entire post: http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/7103/135/


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