Minister Tony Clement hosted Government of Canada’s first Google Hangout to talk Open Data

Friday, 1 March, 2013

Minister Tony Clement hosted Government of Canada's first Google Hangout

Very interesting to see Minister Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board, today hosted the Government of Canada’s first Google Hangout to talk about Government of Canada’s Open Data initiative. Great to see the good old Government of Canada starting to use G+. Well, this event seemed to have come out of the blue and quietly finished before most Canadians got a chance to watch it live. Hopefully there will be more advance notice (a few days at least) to allow broader participation next time.

Government of Canada – Innovating with Open Data

Here is an excerpt from the press release,

“Participants in the Hangout, which is a virtual, live-stream discussion, included Ray Sharma, Toronto mobile app developer; Edward Ocampo-Gooding, co-founder of Open Data Ottawa; Albert Lai, Toronto game developer; Kevin Merrit, a Seattle-based Open Data platform developer; and Ashley Casovan, Strategic Coordinator for Information Technology for the City of Edmonton.

“The opportunity for Canadian entrepreneurs to utilize Open Data to develop innovative applications has amazing potential,” said Ray Sharma, President, mobile games developer XMG Studio Inc. “I see not only the opportunity for developers but there is a greater potential impact. And that is to the Canadian citizens who should be able to literally experience a benefit in economic productivity. We are just at the cusp of this emerging phenomenon, and participating in the Google Hangout was a great beginning.”

The Hangout discussion explored some of the 273,000 datasets currently available on the Government’s Open Data portal, as well as plans to launch an updated, next-generation portal later this year. Participants provided feedback on what data they would find useful, as well as what some of the key features of the new portal should be in order to encourage greater data uptake.”

Thanks +Google Canada for posting the video link so I can find it easily here.

note: article is crossed posted by me to

Battles and War in the fight for Fair Digital Copyright for Canada – Government to Reintroduce Bill C-32 “In Exactly the Same Form”

Friday, 9 September, 2011

My heart sank reading Michael Geist, Sept 9, 2011, “Government to Reintroduce Bill C-32 “In Exactly the Same Form”” So my concerns and worries expressed in my Sept 5th, 2011 article, “Fair Digital Copyright for Canada – Insights from a new Phd thesis by Blayne Haggart” may have come true. But I am not giving up easily and Canadians shouldn’t go down without a fight.

Here is an excerpt from Winnipeg Free Press, Sept 8, 2011, “Long-awaited copyright bill returns, but top court to wade in too” (emphasis added)

“One of the hotly debated issues around the bill, around how educators are able to use copyrighted materials, has now popped up before the Supreme Court.

The justices will be hearing a case about whether grade school teachers who make copies of textbooks for their students should be shielded from paying tariffs.

The same issue came up before the Commons committee last March. Groups who represent educators and provincial ministers of education would like to see more explicit protection for classroom copying included in the “fair dealing” section of the Act, while those who represent publishers say they deserve to be compensated for the textbooks they create.

NDP heritage critic Charlie Angus said the government should be listening to criticism of the bill and making changes before it is forced to by the courts.

“There are problems that need to be fixed and we can do this in a collaborative way or a confrontational way, but I would prefer to get this bill done,” Angus said.

“I want to know that they’re actually listening to the witnesses, because witnesses have identified some serious shortfalls with the bill that can be fixed.” […]

Internal U.S. embassy cables posted by Wikileaks this year suggested former industry minister Maxime Bernier offered to show American officials a previous copyright bill before it was tabled in Parliament.

The cables also detailed how the office of another former industry minister, Tony Clement, suggested Washington include Canada on an international piracy watchlist in order to push legislative efforts along.

CRTC must reverse internet usage ruling: Industry Minister Tony Clement

Thursday, 3 February, 2011

From Industry Minister Tony Clement’s tweets yesterday, looks like the government has made up its mind to order the CRTC to start over on the issue (see also “CRTC must reverse internet usage ruling: Clement” [from CBC]). University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist made a point (emphasis added), “Given that there is no reason or obvious legal mechanism for the CRTC to withdraw its UBB opinions, this appears to confirm that the government will order the CRTC to start over on the issue.

As a consumer and content creator, I think UBB is bad for Canada. I am interested to watch the exchanges/discussions between CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein and House of Commons industry committee members later this afternoon (4-5:30pm EST, Feb 3, 2011) (4:08pm EST update: LIVE feed in progress). If the government want the CRTC to start over, won’t the government/committee need to give some NEW directives to the CRTC?

P.S. Also see Michael’s post, “The Government’s Review of Usage Based Billing: What Should Come Next“.

P.P.S. On a personal note, four of my friends are trained “free market” economists and I am pretty sure it would be a lot of fun if we were to chat about this issue further.

Census Madness: Are Minister Clement & Prime Minister Harper Mad?

Saturday, 14 August, 2010

As one depressed senior Conservative put it: “We do pick small hills to die on sometimes.”

After the recent objections by a wide range of Canadian groups (from charities to ethnic groups to business groups to municipalities) to the Harper government proposed census changes, I am shocked to read the news that the Harper government is not  willing to listen or change. It seems the government is only listening to lawsuit.

I am now wondering out loud if Canadians have to organize more lawsuits to force the Harper government to do the right thing? A government that will only do the right thing under the threat of lawsuits lead me to ask: Are Minister Clement & Prime Minister Harper Mad?

Lets hope there are wiser Canadians working on organizing the needed lawsuits to halt this census madness because census data are fundamental to good government. Governments come and governments go, but census affect this and future generations of Canadians for years to come.

Canadian democracy and good government depend on reliable census data that we can compare over the years.

Again, quoting a senior Conservative,

“We do pick small hills to die on sometimes.”

How Clement & Harper just dug a deeper hole – How not to fix the census change mistake

Wednesday, 11 August, 2010

David Eaves has written and excellent post “How not to fix a mistake: How Clement’s just dug a deeper hole” about the Harper government’s latest census changes (with videos). Have a read of the insightful post. I will quote three points in Dave’s post (emphasis added),

b) That the only way to be heard by this government is to take legal action

c) That the government is willingly ignoring the innumerably other stakeholders like the federal ministries, the provinces, cities, plus 300+ NGOs, business groups, religious organizations, etc… that are negatively impacted by this decision

d) That their goal is to destroy the census and that the actions today were about accelerating that process, not consulting or listening to Canadians

It is a sad day in Canada that Canadians have to resort to suing our own government to get them to do something right as simple and basic as census. Yes, the census! Something governments from different parties have been doing over hundred years!

P.S. I am putting Harper’s name on this one. There is no way, I mean NO WAY, Harper himself hasn’t personally cleared what Clement is doing today. So his name is on this one.

Why the Census Matters to the Canadian Jewish Congress

Monday, 26 July, 2010

For the record, why the Census Matters to the Canadian Jewish Congress. [via David Eaves]

Tony Clement: Copyright bill will be introduced before the summer recess

Friday, 19 March, 2010

Industry Minister Tony Clement is telling The Wire Report a Copyright bill will be introduced before the summer recess. I hope the government will have a much improved bill this time around because I don’t think anyone want a repeat of the bill C-61 experience.

[HT Michael]

Globalive Chairman Tony Lacavera phone interview (after government overturned CRTC decision)

Sunday, 13 December, 2009

Anthony (Tony) Lacavera, Chairman of Globalive I appreciate very much Globalive chairman Tony Lacavera taking time today (a Sunday) to have an interview with me to talk about Globalive/WIND Mobile‘s plans after the government of Canada overturning the CRTC decision 2009-678 (PDF).

As a current Bell Mobility customer, I am excited to see a new wireless provider coming to the oligopolistic Canadian marketplace. The following are some highlights of my interview with Tony (mp3 download).

WIND Mobile‘s plan to sign up new customers before Christmas and new year

WIND Mobile stores will open this week and Tony confirmed that WIND will roll out its wireless service as soon as possible and most likely before Christmas. I tried but was unable to get Tony to say the launch will be this week. Tony sees WIND has one chance to demonstrate to Canadians that it is a serious 4th national wireless provider competing with the likes of Bell, Telus, and Rogers. So he wants to launch when everything is ready. (Dec 15th update: BlackBerry Bold 9700Dec 14th update: According to WIND’s latest press release, at 10:30am on Dec 16th, Tony and Ken Campbell, CEO of WIND will be unveiling the WIND Mobile store, and “the full line-up of products and services.   The WIND network is currently live and fully operational with beta customers actively using the service and providing feedback.“)

Phones, Apple iPhones, and Google Phones

WIND will have a few different phones available at launch and hope to expand on the choices available to include more offers. At launch, iPhones will not be available but will be available in the near future as WIND network can technically support the phones. As to the Google Phones, Tony also assured me the WIND network can support it when the phones are available. (Dec 14 Update: Some pricing & devices rumours from MobileSyrup, “Are these the Wind Mobile price plans?” and “The week the WIND came rushing in…“. We will know for sure on Dec 16th.)

Last Friday on BNN, Tony said WIND Mobile has a target of 4-6 million subscribers in 5 years. I asked about their expected number of new customers vs customers that switch?

Tony explained that it will be difficult to estimate as different cities have different number of providers and level of competitions. For example, in Toronto, there are 7 brands/sub-brands operating and that is different from other smaller cities.

(Dec 14 update: BMO Nesbitt Burns telecom analyst Peter Rhamey estimates, “three dominant players – BCE (BCE-T), Telus (T-T) and Rogers Communcations (RCI-T) – stand to see a 5 to 10 per cent decline in subscriber additions next year … along with a price war, will erode earnings per share by 2.5 per cent at BCE and 5 per cent at Telus and Rogers“)

* Comment re “foreign control limits”

In a blog post “Government Overturns CRTC Giving Globalive The Go-Ahead” by University of Ottawa’s Professor Michael Geist, he picked two specific paragraphs in the government of Canada’s “Order-in-Council” (PDF) and his reading and analysis is this (emphasis added),

These paragraphs signal the prioritization of enhanced competition in the marketplace.  With support for foreign investment, the removal of foreign control limits may not be far behind.

Tony reiterated the importance of the foreign control limits and Globalive is a Canadian company as he had said to other media outlets. You can listen to his answer in the audio interview.

* Telus’ Twitter comment

I asked for Tony’s comment to the following tweet by Michael Hennessy, Senior VP, Regulatory and Government Affairs, Telus

If Wind is canadian then so was King Tut […]

and my light-hearted reply to Michael,

Merry Christmas Michael. My Christmas comes early today! […]

I will let you hear what Tony said in response to the above tweets in the audio interview. :)

* Few other questions & answers

Tony also indicated that WIND Mobile is a startup company, the network is brand new, and stated that “there is no question that we are going to make mistakes and it is not going to be perfect.” But Tony emphasized their main differences with the incumbents likes of Bell/Telus/Rogers is that WIND Mobile is going to keep listening to customers, “We need feedback on … so we can constantly improve the offering”.

I’ve asked a few other questions which you can listen to the Q&As in my interview with Tony (mp3 download) or streaming audio here.


Only time will tell if WIND Mobile can deliver on their promises. The first things we will see are the pricing and service plans. And then the customers will have a chance to give their feedback on the call qualities and internet surfing experiences, etc. Later, we will see if Canadians will get new phone offerings like the iPhones and Androids “soon” as promised. I hope WIND will keep its promises and truly listen to its customers’ feedback and suggestions.

Read the rest of this entry »

Globalive decision Tony Lacavera Tony Clement on BNN

Friday, 11 December, 2009

After the government of Canada ground breaking (but part-expected) decision of letting Globalive to launch WIND Mobile in Canada, Globalive CEO Tony Lacavera, Industry Minister Tony Clement, and other experts appeared on BNN.

Here is a link to my interview with Tony Lacavera (include mp3 audio) last year. I’ve requested an interview with Tony through the company’s media relations contacts.

Dec 12 Update: The nice people from WIND Mobile’s PR firm have gotten back to me today. I hope to talk to Tony coming Monday. Will see. I will post my interview afterwards. Stay tune.

Dec 13 Update: Good news. Did an interview with Tony this afternoon. And after spending a few hours cleaning up the audio mp3 and writing the blog entry, I’ve finally finished the article and audio and you can read and listen to the interview here.

Dec 17 Update: New blog entry, “WIND Mobile launch review & details (More details on Plans, Handsets, Prices. – Simple Plans: Chat $15, Always Talk $35, Always Shout $45/mo)

ACTA-Tag by Industry Minister Tony Clement

Tuesday, 8 December, 2009

Have a listen to the latest TVO Search Engine episode (mp3). Here is the show description.

“Industry Minister Tony Clement won’t talk about the secrets of ACTA. Instead, he’s pointed curious critics to Michael Geist’s website. This week, Michael explains why he’s the wrong man for that job.”

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