A conversation with Senator Colin Deacon: Driving innovation in Canada’s government. Hashtag Trending, the Weekend Edition

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Senator Colin Deacon has brought a fresh perspective to the Canadian Senate, leveraging his background as a startup entrepreneur to challenge traditional processes and advocate for innovation in government. Appointed under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s reformed, non-partisan appointments process, Senator Deacon has made it his mission to address systemic issues and promote a citizen-centric approach to legislation.

We ran this podcast interview a few months back, but it’s remained exceptionally relevant and powerful, so we are offering it up again, this time with a video version on YouTube in addition to the audio podcast.

Deacon’s entrepreneurial background brings a unique problem-solving approach to his legislative role. As someone accustomed to identifying problems and quickly iterating on solutions, he offers a fresh perspective to the legislative process, challenging the status quo and advocating for innovation.

Deacon has been vocal about the need for competition and data rights in Canada. He emphasizes that the lack of competition, particularly due to the dominance of oligopolies, stifles innovation and productivity. He advocates for reforms that would allow new entrants and innovators to thrive, thereby enhancing competition and driving economic growth.

He also highlights the critical role of data rights in the digital economy. Deacon believes that Canadians should have control over their data, ensuring that the value generated from data remains within the country. This, he argues, is essential for improving productivity and ensuring that the benefits of digital innovation are felt by Canadians.

Canada’s low productivity growth is a significant concern for Deacon. He points to various factors contributing to this issue, including inadequate IP protection and a lack of innovation in the financial sector. Deacon argues for a more competitive and innovation-friendly environment, which includes better protection and utilization of intellectual property generated within Canadian universities and institutions.

Deacon is a strong advocate for overhauling government procurement processes. He believes that procurement should drive innovation by supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs.

He calls for a more agile regulatory system that allows for faster adaptation to new technologies and business models. By incorporating standards and creating digital sandboxes, Deacon believes that Canada can foster a more dynamic and innovative economy.

Senator Deacon is optimistic about the future, but he stresses the need for continued dialogue and action on critical issues like competition, data rights, and regulatory reform. He encourages a collaborative approach, involving both public and private sectors, to drive meaningful change and ensure that Canada remains competitive in the global digital economy.



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