CanCon Podcast Ep. 78: Supercluster clustercuss

Minister Bains innovation supercluster

With the innovation agenda at the forefront of the current government’s platform, it should no longer be a surprise that politics are getting mixed into the tech melting pot. For some, the lesson is taking longer than others.

Back in March, when the 2017 budget was announced, the CanCon podcast crew did an in-depth rundown of the innovation-related funding announcements, including the ongoing supercluster initiative. So it was to the surprise and dismay of the team when an article published in the CBC, following an open letter from Montreal’s AI community, reported that one of the city’s fastest growing sectors felt it had been left out of the loop. Trying to get to the bottom of this Montreal issue, the team wonders exactly who the supercluster initiative is really for.

Tech is also getting dragged into the political arena, to the chagrin of many unfamiliar with the rules of the game. Recently, an article published by the Globe and Mail suggested that the CCI (Council of Canadian Innovators) was inappropriately promoting regular access to government officials on a list of paid member benefits. The CCI has stated that the whole issue is a misunderstanding due to poor wording in marketing materials, since removed, but not before NDP and advocacy groups go involved. Many tech founders across the country are claiming ‘fake news’, but it seems as though the ecosystem’s newfound political power may come with greater responsibilities.

Tune in as CanCon’s podcast crew – Rob Kenedi, TWG’s Entrepreneur in Residence and host of the amazing #smallrooms podcast, Erin Bury, Managing Director of Eighty-Eight, Jessica Galang, BetaKit News Editor, and Douglas Soltys, BetaKit Editor in Chief – unpacks the messy intersection of Canadian tech and Canadian politics.

Have some hot takes on the topics that we covered? Maybe you want to suggest something for a future podcast! Perhaps you have a burning question about something you read in tech news that we didn’t cover. Email us, post a comment below with the answer or question, or better yet, rate CanCon 5-stars on iTunes and post your thoughts there.

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CanCon Podcast Episode 78 (07/30/17)

Tech is now political in Canada
Montreal AI firms hope last-minute gambit for federal cash pays off
We Are Montreal AI
Council of Canadian Innovators reportedly asked to stop promoting government access for $10,000
Montreal needs a tech hub

Scoring Canada’s tech talent
Report: Toronto is the fastest-growing, second-cheapest tech talent market in North America
April Dunford can’t stop staring at this graph

Canadian Content music clip (under fair dealing): “Commes des enfants” by Coeur de Pirate

Robyn Edgar

Robyn Edgar

Robyn Edgar has a background in computer science, Arctic biology and bioinformatics, but she chose to leave the research world to bring science and tech to the public in the form of broadcast media. She's now BetaKit's resident audio producer. In her spare time, she volunteers at a campus radio station and practices her "old timey" radio voice impressions.