Federal communication policies leave Canadians unplugged say communication scholars

September 29, 2004

OTTAWA--"After the dot.com bubble burst, who trusts Bill Gates to point out the road ahead?" asks Vincent Mosco, holder of the Canadian Research Chair in Communication and Society at Queen's University and contributor to Seeking Convergence in Policy and Practice: Communications in the Public Interest, Vol.2. In this new publication examining communication policy over the last 10 years, many other well-known scholars and researchers are also asking "Who trusts the Canadian government?"

Contributors discuss federal programs such as the fading Connecting Canadians agenda which was hailed as instrumental in making Canada the "most connected nation in the world"; the quietly condensed Community Access (CAP) and SchoolNet programs which were the show pieces of federal access projects in the '90's; the government on-line strategy recently criticized by the auditor-general as overambitious and disorganized; and the now discontinued Telelearning network, a federally supported research network whose most prominent product was licensed to an American firm. Half-hearted attempts at public consultation and lack of support for Canadian civil society representation in phase 1 of the World Summit on the Information Society also come under timely scrutiny as deadlines loom for the next phase of the WSIS process. Other subjects addressed include e-health policies, the rise of digital activism, and intellectual property rights.

As federal funding priorities change, this collection presents an important reality check on the state of Canadian communication policies and practices, their promise and their disappointments.

In addition to Mosco, author of The Digital Sublime: Myth, Power and Cyberspace, contributors include Robert Babe, holder of the Jean Monty Chair of Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario, and author of Canadian Communication Thought; Darin Barney, author of Prometheus Wired: The Hope for Democracy in the Age of Network Technology; and Donald Gutstein, author of E.con: How the Internet Undermines Democracy.


Seeking Convergence in Policy and Practice: Communications in the Public Interest, Vol.2 is available from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives http://www.policyalternatives.ca

For more information contact : Kerri-Anne Finn, Communications Officer, Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives at 613-563-1341 x306.