Industry Minister Christian Paradis spoke at the Canada 3.0 conference in Stratford yesterday, providing an update on the government’s digital economy plans. Paradis trumpeted some of the measures in the budget as well as the trio of related laws – privacy reform, copyright reform, and anti-spam legislation (which he indicated he expects to take effect next year). He also noted the urban-rural divide on broadband access, which he seems to think can be addressed through rural deployment obligations in the forthcoming the spectrum auction (the final consult to be released today).
Paradis unsurprisingly did not mention that the privacy reform, Bill C-12, has stagnated for months in the House and is increasingly viewed as inadequate, nor that the anti-spam bill became law in 2010 but has been delayed by his own department’s failure to finalize the necessary regulations. Nor did he mention lawful access (Bill C-30), which will lead to increased Internet costs, or the budget cuts to the Community Access Program (which will mean a loss of access for low income Canadians), or reduced funding to CANARIE, which runs Canada’s high-speed research network.
Paradis concluded by saying the work is not done and that now the plan is to release a digital economy strategy later this year (the IIC annual conference would be a good bet). Given that the government launched its digital economy strategy consultation in May 2010, Industry Minister Clement promised the strategy by the spring of 2011 as part of an interim update in November 2010, and Paradis himself spoke about the strategy nearly a year ago, the digital economy strategy is still seemingly ensconced as the government’s Penske File.