My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) examines efforts in Canada to develop a national digital information strategy in light of a national summit on the issue held last week in Montebello, Quebec. The column notes that the good news is that many provincial governments and organizations are not waiting for Ottawa to act, citing initiatives by the Alberta and Quebec governments, Alouette Canada, Synergies, the McCord Museum, and the blossoming of user generated content.
This enormous energy suggests that digitization will flourish regardless of whether Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Industry Minister Maxime Bernier, and Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda adopt a formal strategy. However, despite the good news, the summit also left little doubt that there are immediate steps that can be taken to pave the way for even more.
In fact, I argue that the federal government would do well to resist introducing expensive new initiatives by first maximizing the benefits that can be extracted from the current set of policies and programs.