The Conservative government will soon launch a public consultation on the matter of a digital economy strategy to make Canada more competitive. But while the dialogue will be helpful, one industry observer warns policy papers lack necessary specifics to actually make things happen.
The motivation behind the discussion paper is to get Canadians talking about digital innovation as part of a government strategy to ultimately improve productivity and prosperity. Comments received by the government via Facebook, e-mail and snail mail will be fed to an advisory panel.
Industry Minister Tony Clement will work with Heritage Minister James Moore and Human Resources Minister Diane Finley to focus on improving digital content, and training for using and creating new technologies.
But John Reid, president and CEO of Ottawa-based CATA Alliance, said that while a policy paper is great for kick-starting a discussion, it cannot resolve specific issues like accountability, budget, net neutrality and rural broadband expansion.
“It’s one thing to set out a digital framework which is part of an innovation nation … but really the measurement of this is how the government can address each of those particular changes you need in the business climate,” said Reid.
CATA Alliance has long been a proponent of Canada as an innovation nation. Reid said the creation of a digital nation offers a good context for the consultation but a broader footprint is definitely needed. “Often our success really draws outside of the digital framework,” said Reid.
He’s referring to other necessary factors in the equation that, too, must be embraced, such as women in technology and aboriginal communities.