The government has placed two bills on the notice paper for introduction next week: the Electronic Commerce Protection Act (which is the re-introduction of the anti-spam bill that died with prorogation) and amendements to PIPEDA (which should be a data breach notification requirement bill).
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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.
Appeared in the Toronto Star on March 1, 2010 as Ten Years of Policy Neglect Reflected in Digital Rankings Parliament resumes this week 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 […]
The Globe ran a story over the weekend that estimated the cost of proroguing on Bill C-27, the anti-spam bill. It points to the hours spent debating the bill and the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent working toward its introduction.
Reports this morning indicate that the government plans to prorogue Parliament, effectively shutting it down until March. One of the effects of prorogation is that all bills that have not received royal assent die and must be restarted from the beginning when a new Parliament begins. While the government can […]