Earlier this fall, I wrote a column on the CRTC's online consultation on new media, commending the CRTC for conducting the consultation but concluding that it takes more than "if you build it, they will come" approach." I argued that improving on that performance would require government to actually conduct some of its consultations on the various sites and social networks that are already debating the issue.
Interestingly, it appears that Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is considering doing just that in response to mounting opposition to proposed restrictions on drivers' licences. The proposals have galvanized huge interest on Facebook, with one group topping 115,000 members. McGuinty has acknowledged that conventional public hearings will not address the issue since most younger people will not come to legislative meetings. Instead, the Premier says "I think we need to find a way to get on Facebook. I think we need to find a way to engage in a dialogue in a social network where they are." That is exactly right, though a cynic might note (as does the Globe article) that a starting point would be for the government to stop blocking its employees from accessing the hugely popular social network.