Leslie Regan Shade

Concordia University, Quebec, Canada

Topic: Public Interest Activism in Canadian ICT Policy: Blowin’ in the Policy Winds

My talk will centre around the role of Canadian academics and activists in fostering a broader public discourse about ICT policy, with attention being given to three key moments in Canadian communication policy: the development of the “information highway” in the mid-1990s and, in particular, the activities of the Information Highway Advisory Council (IHAC); the creation of the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel (TPRP) in 2005; and the current debates regarding digital freedom issues: net neutrality, copyright, and definition quandaries surrounding ‘new media’. These “esoteric” digital policy issues are now seen by many Canadians as worthy of their energies, suggesting that politicians cannot afford to ignore their constituents’ concerns about such issues. Academics working in communication policy tgus cannot overlook the role of citizens, grassroots groups and non-profit organizations in actively seeking a voice in the various structures of policymaking.