Canada’s Digital 150 Strategy: Cynical, lazy and so 1867

John sez, “We Canadians are looking forward to our 150th birthday coming up in 2017. As part of the celebrations, the Harper Conservative government has released its Digital Canada 150 strategy paper with the idea of propelling Canada forward to take full advantage of the opportunities of the digital age and be a global leader by 2017. While the document has some good points and is definitely not as actively terrible as some of their recent actions (like attacking Elections Canada or stifling science), the strategy is still extremely disappointing.”

It’s lazy because rather than a coordinated plan to energize Canadian culture and commerce in a digital age, it’s mostly just buzzword soup and re-packaged announcements and programs from the last few years. It’s cynical because it’s clearly all about the government being able to say they have a digital strategy in the upcoming 2015 election campaign. It’s a compendium of missed opportunities in science, commerce and culture.

But mostly it’s not very forward looking or strategic.

As Michael Geist says,

Most disappointingly, Digital Canada 150 lacks a big picture goal or target that might have made the whole greater than the sum of its parts. There was no shortage of possibilities such as a national digital library to revolutionize access in schools and communities, a rethinking of Canadian surveillance policy so that mounting fears of widespread surveillance of individuals might be addressed, structural separation of Internet providers or a plan to join forces with the private sector to bring affordable access and computing equipment into every home in Canada.

As far as making the new strategy making Canada a world leader, Geist also points out that,

In comparing the Canadian strategy with countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom, it becomes immediately apparent that other countries offer far more sophisticated and detailed visions for their digital futures. While there is no requirement that Canada match other countries on specific goals, it is disappointing that years of policy development – other countries were 5 to 10 years ahead of Canada – ultimately resulted in a document short on strategy, specifics, and analysis.

I’ve collected more commentary — pro and con — on my blog here.





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