With a federal election now set for October 14th, the coming weeks will be dominated by political debate as each party seeks to make their case to voters across the country. My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that the election mode marks an important role reversal – after months of Canadians working to gain the attention of their elected officials, those same politicians will be knocking on doors, making phone calls, and participating in all-candidates meetings in an effort to seek them out.
The 2008 election therefore presents an exceptional opportunity to raise the profile of digital issues. Not only do these policies touch on so-called core concerns such as the economy, the environment, education, and health care, but they also resonate with younger Canadians, who could help swing the balance of power in many ridings. In the United States election, both Barack Obama and John McCain have unveiled detailed digital policy positions. Canadian leaders have yet to promote their policies, but there are at least five worth watching and asking about.