MayDay 2011: Digital Platforms

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Both the Conservatives and Liberals have released their platforms concerning the digital economy.

Conservatives offer little to nothing.  Of course, we know that the Cons are aware of ways you can use platforms like Facebook to spy on young girls.  Imagine the scrutiny under a majority!

The platform outlines five principles, all of which are extremely vague:

  • building world-class digital infrastructure;
  • encouraging businesses to adopt digital technologies;
  • supporting digital skills development;
  • fostering the growth of Canadian companies supplying digital technologies to global markets; and
  • creating made-in-Canada content across all platforms, to bring Canada to the world.

However, Micheal Geist points out that there is potential for serious misgivings about the omnibus crime bill that the Conservatives would push through within the first 100 days of operation.  Legislators do this so they can stuff all kinds of crap into one overwhelming document, using the excuse that the opposition has stalled them on the implementation of these changes.  We know for a fact that it’s actually the Conservatives who have consistently prevented their own legislation from being passed, either because they’ve prorogued government or because they’ve been in contempt of Parliament.

One thing’s for sure:  a Conservative digital environment will be a quiet one.  The level of surveillance will likely create significant demand for alternative means of communication amid protest groups, activists and other people seeking civil disobedience against a repressive and totalitarian regime.

The Liberal platform is substantially more robust and shows an appreciation for the digital climate that will focus on eight key principles:

  1. Access to broadband for all Canadians. The Liberals say they will invest $500 million to ensure all Canadians have access to at least 1.5 Mbps broadband within three years and set a more ambitious speed target for 2020. It plans to use revenues from the wireless spectrum to auction to fund this initiative.
  2. Closing the digital divide. The Liberals focus on digital literacy and skills with this principle.
  3. Fair balance between creators and consumers. The Liberal copyright position is consistent with its comments during the Bill C-32 hearings and reaffirms the view that Canadian consumers should have the freedom to use their content for personal purposes. This reference targets the digital lock provision and the view that it should be changed.
  4. Canadian content in a digital world. The Liberals promise increased funding for Canadian culture in the digital environment as well as support for the CBC.
  5. Competition and Innovation. The Liberals are proposing a new tax credit designed to encourage investment in digital startups.
  6. Support for an Open Internet. This principle reaffirms the party’s position net neutrality and support for review of the usage based billing issue.
  7. Open Government. The Liberals focused on open government in 2010.  That position returns here with a promise to make all government data freely available online and a commitment to post the results of Access to Information requests on the Internet.
  8. Protection from digital threats. The Liberals promise action on digital threats, which presumably could include privacy reform.

The NDP and Green Platforms

The NDP are expected to release their digital platforms later today.

I took a look at the ‘Green Book’, the PDF version of the Green Party platform (why are people so horrified of plain old text?) and they were shy on specifics.

What I’d Love to See

There are a lot of things I’d like to in a digital platform:

  • Elimination of all subsidies to private corporations for the creation of Canadian content.  Leave this as the sole responsibility of the CBC.
  • Public ownership of the ‘last mile’, with access to be leased to private ISPs and other companies at a set and public rate.
  • Massive investment in digital infrastructure, with an emphasis on pushing Canada into a leadership role when it comes to digital infrastructure.
  • The use of open software in all government offices.  Bye bye Microsoft.

What would you love to see?

One comment on “MayDay 2011: Digital Platforms

  1. […] Yesterday, I commented on Michael Giest’s updates related to the digital platforms of each party. […]

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