Digital Canada 150: What Do You Think?

"Digital Canada 150" is the name Industry Canada has given to its long-awaited digital economy strategy... that is, its plans for the next three years, when Canada will celebrate its 150th anniversary.

CACTUS had met with Industry Canada employees involved with drafting the strategy twice as well as participated in parliamentary committees looking into digital policy over the last three years.

As Michael Geist comments here, the document is a disappointment after the long wait. It reads more like a brief brochure or report card for what the Conservatives have already done in a piecemeal fashion regarding digital policy (for example, the spectrum auction), rather than offering any detailed analysis or overarching vision for the future. Canadian content issues are discussed in the fifth and last section, and make no mention of the community sector nor the tremendous potential for citizen media using digital platforms. Neither is the community sector mentioned in the sections dealing with training and the economy (which is the tack we took when meeting with Industry Canada officials). You can read it for yourself here.

A section about open goverment sounds like it's about civic engagement that merits more investigation. I'd be interested in hearing anyone who knows more about the topic to comment on whether progress is really being made in this area.

Perhaps the most laughable part is the section under Canadian Content called "Canada as Shared by Canadians" project, which had a kind of community media ring to it. I eagerly clicked the link and was taken to a 30-second promotional tourist video hosted on YouTube, which was compiled out of 65 hours of footage Canadians sent in. Apparently, the Conservatives cut the original $70 million+ budget for the project to about half that amount... Not surprising. What we could have done with that money!!

After four years, I was hoping for something comprehensive to set the stage for the next 10 years, akin to the Lincoln Commission report done in 2002, Our Cultural Sovereignty. I'd be interested to know what you think.