Ten Information and Communications Technology Issues That Should Be Discussed During the Canadian General Election (But Probably Won`t)

Posted on March 28, 2011

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Michael Geist, a frequent commentator on Canadian telecom and Information and Communication Technology related policy issues, has provided a list of issues he would like to see addressed in Canada`s upcoming national election.

On looking at his list, especially in light of what I consider to be the major (policy and other) deficiencies in Canada`s current response to ICT developments (and opportunities) I thought of doing my own list.

I would love to see these questions below addressed by each party (or candidate) individually so that voters could have a clear understanding of where the current parties (or candidates) stand on issues critical to Canada`s technology (and socio-economic) future such as how

1. to ensure affordable broadband Internet access service to all Canadians.
2. to ensure that those Canadians who, for whatever reason do not have the means to access and use Internet service in their homes (because of homelessness, literacy or computer literacy issues, cost, etc.) have an available service within easy reach.
3. to ensure that all Canadians are in a position to make effective use of broadband Internet access for the various purposes which might be of value and interest to them including for training, job search, access to information, communications, access to government services and others.
4. to ensure that Canadians are able to make the most active use of the Internet for purposes of creative expression, community development and innovation, advocacy and democratic participation and the range of other emerging areas of Internet enabled activities.
5. undertaking research and development activities concerning ICT enabled community based approaches to land and resource management, environmental management and remediation, provision of primary health service, emergency and disaster response, among other areas and to put Canada back in a leading position in these approaches particularly in rural and remote and aboriginal communities.
6. redeveloping Canadian skills and approaches for effective ICT enabled citizen participation in policy development and review and thus retaking Canada’s former global leadership in this area thus moving the Canadian government’s pre-occupation with efficient e-government towards an approach which emphasizes effective e-governance.
7. redesigning copyright and information access laws so as to support Canadian citizens in achieving effective levels of artistic and political expression.
8. to ensure that citizen rights and interests are of paramount importance in policy making and regulation in the emerging area of ICT and including such areas as equitable access to Internet carriage (i.e. Net Neutrality) and online content to be treated in a similar manner as any other form of transmitted content.
9. to ensure that there are appropriate opportunities for the expression of the range of Canadian interests and voices on the Internet including linguistic and other minority through support for Canadian content creation.
10. to ensure that there are appropriate programs in place for young people (and adults) to realize the maximum benefits from Internet use while avoiding some of the dangers as for example through fraud, identity theft, online bullying, and so on including through education, appropriate advisory services and intervention facilities where such might be required.