Mark Goldberg


www.mhgoldberg.com





The Canadian Telecom Summit


Minister’s mandate

Prime Minister Trudeau published the mandate letters for each of the members of the new Cabinet.

Of particular interest to the telecommunications community is the mandate letter for Navdeep Bains, Canada’s new Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

The letter includes a telecom specific section:

  • Increase high-speed broadband coverage and work to support competition, choice and availability of services, and foster a strong investment environment for telecommunications services to keep Canada at the leading edge of the digital economy.

There are other sections of interest to my regular readers:

  • Restore the long-form census and update legislation governing Statistics Canada to reinforce the institution’s independence.
  • Improve the quality of publicly available data in Canada. This will require working with Statistics Canada, the President of the Treasury Board and other departments and agencies to develop an Open Data initiative that would consider big data and make more of the data paid for by Canadians available to the public.
  • Develop an Innovation Agenda that includes:
    • expanding effective support for incubators, accelerators, the emerging national network for business innovation and cluster support, and the Industrial Research Assistance Program. These investments will target key growth sectors where Canada has the ability to attract investment or grow export-oriented companies. You will assist the Minister of Finance to ensure tax measures are efficient and encourage innovation, trade and the growth of Canadian businesses; and
    • working with Regional Development Agencies to make strategic investments that build on competitive regional advantages. For those communities that have relied heavily on one sector in the past for economic opportunities, investments that support transition and diversification may be appropriate. Communities that have relied on traditional manufacturing are likely to require specific strategies to support economic growth.

  • Support the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness in a review of existing measures to protect Canadians and our critical infrastructure from cyber-threats.

Greg O’Brien observed with disappointment that the mandate letter talks about broadband coverage, without addressing affordability or other factors impacting adoption:

The Prime Minister’s letter continues with “The government’s agenda will be further articulated through Cabinet discussions and in the Speech from the Throne when Parliament opens.”

How does the instruction to “foster a strong investment environment for telecommunications services to keep Canada at the leading edge of the digital economy” apply to the appeals in front of Cabinet and the CRTC that I described last week in “Does CRTC policy inhibit investment?” with its “Wholesale inconsistency“?

We’ll be watching.


Links to other important mandate letters:

  • Minister of Canadian Heritage mandate letter
  • Minister of Infrastructure and Communities mandate letter (which notably does not include broadband as part of the mandate “to rebuild Canada for the 21st Century”
  • Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness mandate letter (which includes cyber security, but has no discussion of first responder 700 MHz network)
  • Minister of Families, Children and Social Development mandate letter (no discussion of increasing adoption of computers, broadband or digital literacy for low income households)

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