Today’s Speech from the Throne, which sets out the government’s agenda for coming Parliamentary session, includes a considerable number of digital issues. These include: a digital economy strategy: “a digital economy strategy to drive the adoption of new technology across the economy” copyright reform: “to encourage new ideas and protect […]
Archive for March 3rd, 2010
Parliamentary Restart Offers Chance to Prioritize Digital Agenda
Parliament resumes this week with the Speech from the Throne today following the unexpected – and unexpectedly contentious – decision by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to reset the legislative agenda through prorogation. The House of Commons may have been quiet but my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes the calls for a national digital strategy have grown louder in recent months. Last week, the International Telecommunications Union issued its annual global measurement of the information society, which served again to highlight Canada’s sinking global technology ranking. Canada ranked 21st (down from 18th in 2007) in its ICT Development Index, which groups 11 indices including access, use, and technology skills.
Canada’s sliding global ranking reflects 10 years of policy neglect. Other countries prioritized digital issues while leaders here from all parties have been content to rest on the laurels of the late 1990s, only to wake up to a new, less-competitive reality in 2010.
Industry Minister Tony Clement has spoken frequently about the need for a national digital strategy, but concrete policies have been slow in coming. The parliamentary restart presents another opportunity for action. Given the failure to date to articulate a comprehensive digital strategy, perhaps a different approach might work. Following the Speech from the Throne and the budget, there will be about 100 days until the summer break. Clement could set a series of realizable targets during those 100 days. Such targets would not solve ongoing concerns regarding the competitiveness of Canada’s wireless sector or the findings that Canadians pay higher prices for slower Internet speeds than consumers in many other countries, but some momentum could be gained and some quick wins achieved.
A 100-day digital agenda could have four components: new laws, new initiatives, new enforcement, and new policy development.
Copyright Panel and Centre Launch Party
In addition to the great technology law conference on Friday (have you registered yet?), the Law and Technology Student Society is sponsoring a terrific free event on Thursday night. It includes a panel on copyright featuring Wide Mouth Mason's Safwan Javed (I'll be participating as well), followed by a performance […]
Rogers Increases Penalties for Exceeding Bandwidth Caps
The Globe reports that Rogers is raising the penalties for exceeding its bandwidth caps, doubling the size of the maximum penalty to $50.
Australian Officials Borrow U.S. Rhetoric On Canadian Copyright
An Australian blogger reports on a recent conversation with Australian government officials discussing ACTA and copyright related issues. The report indicates that Australia – which changed its copyright laws under pressure from the U.S. as part of a trade deal – now borrows from the U.S. playbook in criticizing the […]