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This article was published on April 29, 2011

Which political party will best serve Canada’s digital future? Here’s the lowdown.

Which political party will best serve Canada’s digital future? Here’s the lowdown.
Mike Vardy
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Mike Vardy

Mike Vardy is a husband, father, independent writer, speaker, podcaster and "productivityist". He is also the author of the book, The Front Mike Vardy is a husband, father, independent writer, speaker, podcaster and "productivityist". He is also the author of the book, The Front Nine: How To Start The Year You Want Anytime You Want, published by Diversion Books. You can learn more about his other work at his website, MikeVardy.com, visit his blog at Productivityist.com, and you can follow him as @mikevardy on Twitter.

Canadians will have a say in shaping the political landscape in the country this coming Monday May 2nd, and one of the most contested issues is Canada’s digital future. Non-profit organization OpenMedia.ca wanted to know which of the political parties would look out for the best interests of Canadians in terms of usage-based billing and other matters concerning the Internet, so it asked each party to fill out a Digital Future Survey. The idea is that it would give Canadian voters a good idea of where each party stood. If Canada’s digital future is an important issue to you in this election campaign, the results that it released today are definitely worth a look.

Of the major political parties, the New Democrats scored the highest when the results of the survey were tallied, finishing with a score of 29 out of a possible 30. This may explain, in part, its recent surge in popular opinion and very well could be a catalyst that puts the party in a position to topple the incumbent Conservative party. The Conservatives have held a minority government since 2008, and are looking to form a majority this time around.

The Liberal party finished slightly behind the New Democrats (NDP) with 27 points, while the Bloc Quebecois and Green party each had 24. The upstart Pirate Party of Canada tied with the NDP at 29 points, but its chances of securing any seats in Parliament are slim to none. The reigning Conservatives chose not to participate in the non-profit organization’s survey.

OpenMedia.ca laid out criteria that was assessed through the survey taken by the participants, and stances on issues such as affordable Internet access, the current status of the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications bureau and mobile diversity are presented. Here’s how it facilitated the survey:

  1. It asked the federal parties to outline their vision for Canada’s digital future.
  2. It asked each party to rate OpenMedia.ca’s Digital Future policy recommendations.
  3. It asked local politicians to sign up as pro-Internet candidates by committing to increase Internet access, competition, transparency, and choice if elected.

Since the Conservatives chose not to respond, The Next Web has published the portion of its 2011 platform that gives an indication of what to expect should the party return to power:

  • plan to extend broadband coverage to 200,000 additional households in rural and remote regions;
  • further our successful efforts to increase competition and choice and to lower costs for wireless consumers;
  • 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.

In addition to these initiatives, the Conservatives did provide OpenMedia.ca with comments that the organization then applied (along with previous statements issued by the party) to its overall assessment of the party’s stance on the issues.

While Canada’s digital future is only one issue that is being debated during this election campaign, it is clear that it is more of an important issue now than ever before.

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