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Manifesto: A Digital Framework for Quebec

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“We have already reached the second decade of the twenty-first century and yet, Quebec still does not have a digital strategy!”

This sentence opens the Manifesto: A Digital Framework for Quebec that Communautique has just put online. This declaration is the result of a collective effort that began two years ago by stakeholders from different entrepreneurial, academic and community backgrounds in the wake of the last provincial election campaign.

Declaration of interest: I was one of the participants in its drafting.

After an unflattering diagnostic about an ever increasing and worrisome delay of Quebec society in this area, the text argues that:

“If we, Quebecers, are unable, individually and collectively, to master these developments and new applications according to our needs, our values and aspirations, not only do we risk missing out on some remarkable opportunities, but we also risk having to deal with inadequacies and social and economic divisions that will result if decisions are not our own.”

Much of the manifesto is in this ambitious declaration:

“We affirm the need for Quebec to quickly build a comprehensive and ambitious digital strategy and to resolutely mobilize all its forces in its implementation in order to meet the social, cultural and economic challenges posed by the present “sociotechnical” revolution.

By setting a stated goal of making the Internet a public good to benefit everyone, such a plan should provide relevant and creative responses to the following questions:

  • Access for individuals, organizations and communities to networks and content;
  • Development of production, supply, use and ownership of content;
  • Diversification of applications, services and practices as well as research and technical and social innovation in all sectors (public administration, industry, commerce, social economy, public education, health and social services, communities, democratic institutions);
  • Areas of expertise to prioritize and support nationally and internationally;
  • Training in schools, community groups and on the job in the context of an information society and knowledge society;
  • Preservation and development of cultures and knowledge as well as cultural heritage;
  • Open access and sharing of data and scientific knowledge;
  • The skills of individuals and innovation in organizations;
  • Digital identity and security of individuals and organizations;
  • The respective places of free software/content and proprietary developments and products, in the context of the Commons;
  • Provincial, national and international issues related to Internet governance and technology standards.

We affirm that the successful development and implementation of such a digital strategy in Quebec requires the involvement and commitment of all social actors, all sectors of activity, all segments of the population and all regions.

We also affirm that such an undertaking must provide opportunities for experimentation of new democratic governance practices enabled by digital technologies.”

Besides the inevitable pleas to the governments, the Manifesto is a call on:

“All individuals and organizations to publicly signify their participation and commitment to the development and implementation of a Quebec digital framework by endorsing this Manifesto and by broadcasting it throughout their networks for discussion and amendments”

Is there more to say?

In these times and this century, there is certainly no shortage of challenges to the citizens, to Quebec and to all Humanity.

Together, for oneself and for all, let us seize the tools, the information and the knowledge so that humans can have the opportunity to realize their inalienable rights, including ones to life, to liberty and the pursuit of happiness ( to paraphrase another famous statement).

It is my turn to invite you to read the full text of the Manifesto, to signal on the same site your endorsement (in whole or in part), to circulate, discuss, amend it… and to carry it out.

Also: Facebook page of the Manifesto; #planqc is the micro-blogging hashtag

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