You don’t feel the earth move very often in public policy. Our democratic processes are by nature protracted as we create the space and rime to ensure that all voices are heard, all viewpoints taken into consideration. And when those viewpoints take entrenched positions, the slow pace of change can grind to a complete halt.
It’s felt that way for a while on some of the key issues underpinning a national digital strategy for Canada. But, as I’ve mentioned previously, things seem to changing. First there was Canada 3.0 And then on June 22, Industry Minister Clement convened a meeting of ICT industry leaders and other stakeholders to discuss the priorities for getting a digital action plan launched.
Granted the atmosphere in the meeting was a little more buttoned-down than the hockey rink crowd at Canada 3.0 (it was a Government meeting after all) but the common thread with the Stratford event was the evidence of a willingness to leave the entrenched positions and move toward common ground. Yes Michael Geist was there articulating his well known views on copyright and yes the broadcaster’s were there too offering equally articulate counterpoint. But the discourse seemed to hold out the possibility for movement even on the thorniest issues that a national digital strategy must address.
There is no better evidence of this than Heritage Minister Moore’s closing remarks. When the Heritage Minister passionately espouses the need to return Canada to a leadership position among digital nations…when he proudly proclaims that he’s really in politics to feed his tech habit, you have to recognize that a shift has happened.
As an old hand who has lived through IHAC, CeBI, the 2002 Innovation consultations and so on, I have to say that it felt like a different conversation and I, for one, am optimistic about its outcome. Maybe I didn’t feel and earthquake…but definitely a tremour.
Lynda Leonard, Senior Vice-President ITAC