Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Paying tribute to John Reid, a technology leader always looking ahead and supporting broader issues

Monday, July 8th, 2019

With great sadness, I want to offer my tribute to John Reid, Canadian technology leader and influencer, not to mention a valued colleague and friend. John was in his 32nd year as the driving force behind the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATAAlliance) when he passed away on June 24th at the age of 69.

John Reid (Photo courtesy of CATAAlliance)

John Reid (Photo courtesy of CATAAlliance)

One of John’s great contributions when he joined CATA was his early support for initiatives designed to create respect and support for our small but evolving evolving high tech industry, and for the application of information technology and communications throughout our society.

Not long before John joined CATA, our Canadian Government’s Minister of Industry told me he supported the growing base of advanced technology companies but most politicians believed we were “just a few Ottawa folks trying to feather their nest” …! Those comments summarized our challenge through the seventies and the eighties.

I was CATA Board Chair at the time. To enhance our respectability, we then created the CATA National Advisory Council (CNAC), comprised of eminent Persons who were neither running high tech firms nor members of CATA. They were University presidents, business presidents … of Inco and others who used technology and eagerly became CNAC members.

Upon joining CATA as CEO, John became a big supporter of CNAC and he played a large role through the council to create Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s National Advisory Board for Science and Technology (NABST), chaired by the Prime Minister. NABST policies led to support for major new Canadian science and technology initiatives, including CANARIE Inc., the National Centres of Excellence and others. A number of CNAC members also became NABST members.

To further build support for IT systems applications and the industry, John supported the creation of The Canadian Information Productivity Awards (CIPA) in 1994 and it later became a CATA initiative. Over the next twelve years, CIPA added a lot of public credibility for ITC and the industry.

The respect and size established for CATA and the industry during John’s first sixteen CEO years allowed him to successfully focus his leadership and support over his next and last sixteen years on broader social issues like women’s roles and influence, safety and security, Smarter Cities through I-Canada and CATA’s broad positioning in the world of social media, all of which are well described by tributes from Dr Cindy Gordon and others.

We will all miss John, his humour, his leadership and his great contribution to Canada.

Many are praising John and his contributions to Canadian technology, including Sir Terence Matthews:

Sir Terence Matthews remembers John Reid from Alice Debroy on Vimeo.

The CBC reflects here on John’s accomplishments, and CATA has gathered more tributes here.

Responding to Don Tapscott’s call for a “new social contract we all have to build for the digital era”

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

On Monday September 24th, Don Tapscott delivered some important and prescient remarks to The Walrus Talks Connections. He spoke of the need for a “new social contract we all have to build for the digital era”. A few days earlier this month the World Economic Forum (WEF) issued a report titled “Agile Cities: Preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” There is an interesting dichotomy between these two public presentations, mirroring what’s going on in general around the world.

tapscott-walrus-talks

Don is one of the world’s leading observers, thinkers and writers chronicling and participating in the world’s ongoing digital revolution. He is focused on the issues of trust and democracy in our societies, arguing that the present evolution of our new digital society with its uneven distribution of wealth and knowledge has elements similar to feudal days. Don argues we need to come together nationally to create a new digital democracy and replace the faltering one we created for the industrial age.

Meanwhile, the WEF report referencing the Fourth Industrial Revolution and introducing “Agile Cities”, provides another descriptor to compete with and perhaps complement “Smart, Intelligent Resilient, Sustainable, Investable, Innovative” and many others. They are all part of today’s urban digital transformation which is attracting billions of investment dollars and began around the time when I and other colleagues pioneered the creation of Smart Toronto ’94, twenty-four years ago. However, we must now prioritize and respond positively to Don’s call for action on the urgent need to study and create new national social contracts supporting a new digital democracy to replace our faltering industrial age ecosystems with their evolving feudal qualities.

Making the Case for Canada’s 21st Century Tax Commission

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

It was my pleasure to add my voice to CATA Alliance’s new Campaign, entitled, “Call for Creating Canada’s 21st Century Tax Commission: Help CATAAlliance advance this important advocacy!”

Essentially, we need to be advancing technology in Canada – and, of course, the economic opportunities that go along with it – with a financial and tax system that keeps pace. Here’s what I had to say:

Making the Case for Canada’s 21st Century Tax Commission: Bill Hutchison, Innovation Community Leader from CATAAlliance on Vimeo.

Making the Case for Canada’s 21st Century Tax Commission: Bill Hutchison, Innovation Community Leader from CATAAlliance on Vimeo.

Full details of CATA’s campaign can be viewed here.

CATA makes the right call about hitting the tax reset button

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

We need the Prime Minister to “hit the tax reset button” – otherwise, it appears “the left hand giveth while the right hand taketh away”. Innovation Superclusters, Smart Cities Challenge, CENGN (Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks) and ENCQOR (Evolution of Networked Services through a Corridor in Québec and Ontario for Research and Innovation) investments are disabled when deducting from risk-taking entrepreneurs who are creating jobs and growing our economy.

cata-alliance-logoSpurred by the backlash to the federal government’s proposed tax changes, the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATAAlliance, at www.cata.ca) has launched a campaign calling for the government to pause and reset its priorities on small business- and startup-focused policies. CATA CEO John Reid talked to the Ottawa Business Journal about it recently.

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