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Canadian Digital Economy Missing The Mark

Shortly after the Conservatives held Canada’s copyright consultations, they went into a national digital economy consultation.  The results of that consultation are still unknown.

Canada’s digital economic strategy was supposed to be introduced last year, however a general election put the Conservatives digital economic strategy on hold.  During the election the Conservatives ran on some digital economic points, but the digital economic strategy is still missing from the Governments priority list.  Instead of economic priorities, the government has been purely focusing its priorities on crime prevention with absolutely no word on how the government plans on legislating our digital economy.  The lack of a digital economic strategy has been frustrating for many businesses, and consumers.

In a recent report commissioned by Google found that Canada’s digital economy will grow substantially at 7.4 percent every year through 2016 which is better than overall GDP growth, however we are lagging behind many of our G20 peers in digital economic growth. The government’s online spying bill also doesn’t help consumer confidence in this market that is already pretty low to begin with.

“Canadians tend to research products online, but not actually make purchases on the web, unlike their American peers.” Google executive Colin McKay stated in an interview.

Michael Geist points out that the government is prepared to move forward with reforming The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) within the next week, however with the government’s online spying bill still fresh in Canadian minds, it may not be enough to bolster consumer confidence in the digital economy. Businesses are also getting increasingly wary due to moves by US authorities to attack Canadian digital business models, and imply US law instead of favouring sovereign and international law in the digital environment.

Sources directly tied to the Industry Minister expect the digital economic strategy to be introduced in parliament shortly before the 2012 Christmas break, and after the wireless auction concludes.  What this essentially means is that the digital economy is down the priority list for legislators in Ottawa.  This comes at a time when Canadians voted the Conservatives in expecting the priorities of Government would be economically based.  The Government’s priorities seem to be more on crime prevention at present.

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