In recent months, there has been growing support for a national digital strategy. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission explicitly identified the need for a strategy in its new media decision as have prominent leaders in the technology, telecommunications, broadcast, and education communities. The issue now appears to be resonating within government. Industry Minister Tony Clement has convened a digital strategy summit later this month, Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore has emphasized the importance of online platforms, and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has pledged to support a national strategy.
My weekly technology column (shorter Toronto Star version and Ottawa Citizen versions, longer homepage version) notes that the need for a national strategy stems from the realization that Canada is rapidly falling behind much of the developed world on digital issues. The gradual hollowing out of the Canadian technology sector (one-time giants such as Nortel, JDS, Corel, Newbridge Networks, and Entrust are all either gone or unrecognizable today), the absence of a strategy to digitize Canadian content, the inability of the CRTC to make sense of its governing legislation as it applies to the Internet, and the plummeting rankings of Canadian high-speed Internet and wireless services all point to a problem that can no longer be ignored.