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Minister Clement announces digital media strategy consultation at Canada 3.0 conference

The Honourable Industry Minister Tony Clement makes an announcement at Canada 3.0

The Honourable Industry Minister Tony Clement makes an announcement at Canada 3.0

The Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN) is not afraid to dream big. At Canada 3.0, their annual conference, the Centre of Excellence for Commercialization of Research (CECR) focused on bringing together industry, government, academia and interested Canadians to plan a bright future for Canada’s digital society.

Government Consultation with Canadians Announced

The Right Honourable Industry Minister Tony Clement spoke at Canada 3.0 to launch a nation-wide consultation on developing plans for the future of Canadian digital economy, a plan which was mentioned in the Speech from the Throne. Bringing together government, industry, academia, as well as public input, the federal government will create a strategy to direct and energize Canada’s growing digital economy. Guided by the input of Canadians, they will create targets and timelines and identify areas that need improvement.

“There is a strong foundation in this country,” said Minister Clement in his speech, “but… there’s a lot of work still to be done.”

Until July 13th, the government will consult with Canadians and identify priority areas and goals. Then they will take the suggestions and create a plan.

Steve Currie, head of marketing at CDMN and a 3.0 organizer, is pleased that the government is taking action. “This is all very positive,” he said, “And the fact that Minister Clement used Canada 3.0 as a platform for feedback from all sectors… he recognizes that all key constituents are here.”

“Moonshot”

CDMN is calling it a “Moonshot”. The term originated in the 1960s and referred to the race between the US and the USSR to put a man on the moon. In a similar vein, CDMN is pushing Canada to compete internationally as a leader in the new frontier: the digital world.

The conference was divided into five discussion areas, called “streams”: Revolutionizing, Changing, Empowering, Creating, and Learning. These streams explored many issues, from what to teach about digital media in schools to how new technologies could transform Canada’s healthcare industry. They also looked at overcoming barriers to developing digital media, as well as what Canada can learn from other countries.

Creating a Dialogue

In addition to Minister Clement, Canada 3.0 welcomed over 100 leaders of the digital media world as keynote speakers and panelists, with Global TV’s Kevin Newman as conference emcee. Graphics, Animation and New Media Canada (GRAND) a Network of Centres of Excellence, also participated in the event.

The conference was a forum for all groups to interact with delegates from different sectors who could bring a fresh perspective. Currie cited the Revolutionizing stream, focused on digital media and healthcare, as an example the importance and uniqueness of these interactions. “Feedback we got from the chairs of the stream was it was very refreshing and helpful because more of the attendees were not from the traditional health sector. Health sector leaders were able to hear the perspective of leaders from other walks of life,” he said.

Each of the five streams used their discussions to create three recommendations for a strategy for Canada. From making Wi-Fi widely available to creating a “Creative Risk/Idea Experiment” fund, plenty of ideas were put forward for the final Canada 3.0 report, to be submitted to the digital economy consultations. One thing all streams agreed on was timing: Canada needs to act now.

Canada 3.0 helps CDMN to foster connections around digital media in Canada. It’s an annual event run by CDMN, started in 2009. The wrap-up of Canada 3.0 has moved online, where CDMN is reaching out to Canadians through their website, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter. After taking feedback into consideration, they will submit a wrap-up report to the government’s digital economy consultation.

A Boost for Canada

Currie says that the CECR program zeros in on the key to staying competitive in the fast-paced world of digital media.

“This [program] is at the crux of what is going to make Canada successful – the ability to commercialize digital media and to do it in an accelerated fashion,” said Currie. “The CECR program has provided the ability and focus to zero in on commercialization of a broad range of stakeholders, bringing them together. We can’t emphasize enough the support and focus from NCE [Networks of Centres of Excellence, which administers the CECR program]. They’ve really helped us in working toward our mandate of making Canada a digital nation.”

The Canadian Digital Media Network joined the CECR program in 2009 with a goal to connect digital media clusters from coast to coast. As a new centre, CDMN is growing, adding new members in an effort to make connections right across the country. So far, CDMN comprises seven members.

Currie said that focusing on digital media development will benefit Canada, not only socially, but also economically.

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