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Digital Economy

The goals of Canada's New Infrastructure Plan are not just to grow our infrastructure, but at the same time to harness new and emerging technologies to make it cleaner, greener and smarter. For the government's hallmark policy to date -- the Innovation Agenda -- we hear the consistent message that we need to support the people that innovate.
To cope with technology's impact, those in the skilled trades are adopting models of life-long learning that merge the technical, the technological and the mechanical; the toolbox of today is brimming with technology and so too are the classrooms in which apprentices train.
Businesses of all sizes are adjusting their business models to find success. As cost-competition and accessibility are forcing prices down, margins are decreasing. The result of this is that businesses must now sell to larger markets to see the returns they had historically experienced.
Today I am announcing the launch of the Walter Scott Centre, a Saskatchewan focused think tank named after our first premier.
At least part of the problem lies in Canada's lack of a cohesive, forward-looking digital economy strategy. This failure is plainly hurting all aspects of the digital economy. For an SME, the effects of the Canadian digital economy strategy failure -- what I've often termed Canada's Penske File -- can be found everywhere.
I'm enthusiastic about the bright future that is ahead if we can continue to foster and encourage governments, business leaders and young students to look beyond the limits to make the impossible, possible. I find myself wondering what it will take to win in this Third Industrial Revolution, and I keep coming back to our youth, these students whose brilliant minds know no limits. Are we doing enough to encourage and inspire them? Are we finding the right venues to foster innovation and commercialization of the best ideas in Canada, or will we retain our role as an exporter of raw goods, rather than an information economy of the future?
Matt Buie, a financial planner and father living in Burnaby, B.C., was recently stunned by a $22,000 roaming charge on his cell phone account incurred by his 11-year-old while on vacation. After Buie spoke out in the media and talked to other cell phone users he quickly realized that he was not alone in feeling price-gouged, and is now taking action.
The Big Three cell phone providers now have even more room to raise prices and maintain disrespectful customer service, as the check on the market provided by new entrants diminishes. This is why Canadians pay some of the highest prices for mobile phone service in the industrialized world.
Next week, the who's who of the information and communications technology (ICT) industry around the world will arrive in Montreal, Canada, for the biannual World Congress of Information Technology (WCIT). With all the economic upheaval making business headlines, why does this specialized gathering matter?
The lack of movement on the digital economy strategy is the government's "Penske File" -- the source of considerable discussion and much "work," but thus far few tangible results. (For non-Seinfeld watchers, the Penske file has become synonymous for a non-existent work project.)