Home > Digital Policy, Politics > Digital Is The New Oil

Digital Is The New Oil

I keep hearing the Conservative Ministers refer to the changes in environmental laws being pushed through the omnibus budget bill as being needed for investment. According to some Conservative ministers, the overhaul on environmental laws are needed so that investors have some certainty on the future of the industry. Where’s this economic policy that’s needed for digital investment? Well according to Industry Minister Christian Paradis it will be later this year.

The future is digital not oil. While our national resources are going to play a role in future economic prosperity, the move to more green energy will (sooner or later) drop the price of oil in the future. I heard somewhere that in order for the oil that’s being extracted from the Alberta sands to be profitable, the price of oil needs to be around $100/barrel. Extracting oil from the sands is expensive. The idea to extract the oil from the sands is not a new one, however due to recent increases in the price for oil, production has ramped up.

We are currently in a digital revolution. Digital technology is disruptive. While NDP leader Thomas Mulcair is crying about how disruptive the oil sands are to the manufacturing sector, I guess the fact that a very cost effective version of the star trek replicator has been invented with the ability to do far more damage to the manufacturing sector in the near future than the oil sands. It’s called 3D printing. The manufacturing sector needs to adapt whether it be from disruptions caused by the oil sector or near future digital technologies. Unfortunately as we all get older and set in our ways, change becomes the boogie man in our closets. This is why we need leadership from corporate to politicians to help failing sectors adapt to new economic realities, and why digital policy needs to become a priority.

While digital technology can be disruptive, what’s equally disruptive is the lack of attention digital policy gets from our policy makers. Without a clear direction and plan to help businesses adapt to new digital economic realities, we will have far worse to deal with than a “diseased” economy. Currently many businesses in the IT sector in Canada are holding on to a ton of money until the governments’ digital economic policy is unveiled. What’s been clear is that the Conservatives haven’t put the current and future economy (which is digital) high on their priority list. That in turn will effect our current and future economic prosperity.

I don’t blame the federal Conservatives alone for the lack of attention on digital policy. All levels and parties have contributed. Ontario is one of the main manufacturing power houses in Canada. I wonder if Dalton McGuinty, Andrea Horwath, and Tim Hudak know about the 3D printer, and how this technology will shape the future of Ontario in the next 5 years? Maybe that’s a good question to ask!

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