Why is ICT a key component in the Canadian R&Dinvestments?
ICT is the core infrastructure for the knowledge basedeconomy. All over the world there is a necessity to do moreprocesses online. Fast-growing online examples are social media ande-government. Canada wants to be leading in the digital economy andthat is why we have developed a digital economic strategy.
The digital economic strategy is a key component of the Scienceand Technology Strategy 2007. I believe that innovation is the keyto recover from the economic crisis. Canada invests the largestGDP-percentage in research and innovation in the G7. 39% of theCanadian R&D budget goes to ICT.
Canada will be hosting the next World Conference onInformation Technology in Montreal in 2012. What do you want toachieve by 2012?
Canada wants to be leading the digital economy by 2012.Unfortunately, it is not yet possible to measure that. We want tocreate indicators in order to compare between leading countries.One of the indicators could be for example the number of broadbandconnections per 1000 persons. In Canada we have areas north of thearctic circle with only 3 people per square mile. Let me tell you,Blackberry doesn’t work there.
Europe is not very successful in committing theprivate sector to investments. How do you manage to get the privatesector on board?
As Canadian government we set the example in order to get theprivate sector on board. We start for example in the far north withinvestments in broadband connections and invite private companiesto follow. We ask for their commitment.
The broadcasting companies have also common history in Canada. Weask them to join the government in telling the Canadianstory.
What will be the subject of your conversation with NeelieKroes at the seminar?
We talk with the EU about a free trade agreement. This willresult in a larger market with more competition. With morecompetition new challenges arise, but Canada is ready for thatchallenge. The more competitive a country is, the stronger itsposition is in the international market.
We are looking forward to work with the Dutch and other Europeanson the digital economy of the future. Our countries have strongties for centuries. By the way, did you knew that 900.000 Canadianshave Dutch roots?