Readers weigh in on . . .

Re: Canadian doctor invents mobile app for homecare (Nov. 26)

It was interesting to see your article on the WebMed application developed by the Fraser Valley Health Authority. Your

readers might also be interested to know that this application was a winner of the 2003 Canadian Information Productivity Award (CIPA) for Customer Care. Details of the awards are on the CIPA Web site at

Faye West

Re: Canadian supply chain experts see beyond barcodes (Nov. 19)

Well, probably one day in not so distant future we would not need even take purchases from a shopping cart — just roll it through a scanner gate and all items will be identified. Maybe one day a shopper will come in to the store, get some items and simply go out, where all items will be scanned at the door and billed to their credit card.

Would you like to shop it such store?

Vladimir Krasnogor

Re: Why I passed on Comdex (Nov. 18)

I agree that it is difficult not to have some regrets about missing Comdex. As a government employee I am always on the lookout for new technologies and ideas to save the taxpayer money, but the fact is I also have to work within the limitations of diminishing travel and training budgets. The best bang for my buck over the past few years has been GTEC, but this year I even had to forgo the professional development forum and only go to the exhibition part of GTEC because of budget constraints.

I have also not been able to go to many vendor-sponsored education seminars because there is no money in the travel budget. Our salary and operations and maintenance budgets were also cut by five per cent across the board. To compensate we have been working together with the provincial and municipal governments to share local training opportunities and invite vendors to come to us by giving them an audience made up of the three levels of government in our area.

Sometimes I miss working in the private sector where I found it easier to justify travel and expenses for the trade show and seminar circuit. I also know that the budget cuts come in cycles and I will have the opportunity in the future to go to shows like Comdex again. Working through the lean times will give me a more discerning eye on which shows I will go to in the future.

Pierre Laframboise
Senior informatics specialist
Ontario Operations
Eastern Ontario District Office

Re: Why I passed on Comdex (Nov. 18)

There an opportunity for attendees to form integration alliances with vendors.

To support diversity in the market space, an environment must be created to allow a vendor to survive in the crowd of opposing technologies and services. Also, the vendors are expecting attendees to be technically experienced and not just looking to submit a resume.

However, the attendees are the ones who have the potential to help a vendor to survive, while they themselves are also looking for the opportunity to survive and be successful. It would help if such a physical forum allows for the creation of networking alliances and the introduction of diverse technologies to attendees, without expensive conferences or memberships. Both the vendor and the attendee will benefit from such goals.

To give you an example, our company was hoping to attend the Comdex in Toronto to start the networking process to sign-up authorized integrators for our Web-operating platform (to be released next year). Without such a physical space, the media (such as yours) is left as the only alternative (and hopefully affordable and just as technically wide-reaching) space in which such a process can be initiated. I am not sure that this is a good thing. Maybe the days of the Comdex are over. But I would have to agree with you that the management of such an event needs to figure out how to make it more relevant, useful and less costly to all. A very tough proposition indeed, considering that companies are still poor and are hoping for growth and recovery in the technology sector by the end of next year.

Anthony R. Sukdeo

Re: I’d like to teach the world to surf (Nov. 5)

I find the slight against Canada concerning our level of e-participation quite surprising given our federal government’s attempt to engage Canadians through a large number of online and offline consultations. Being a vendor of IM/IT services to the Government of Canada, and the developer and provider of a number of the major e-consultation programs in government over the past several years, I have seen some successful online response and participation to public policy development by Canadians.

The Treasury Board’s Principles of the Public Service in Canada in 2000-01 was a successful milestone for using Internet technologies in concert with cross-country town hall sessions to help define and direct public service policy in the area of values and ethics.

Internally within the federal administration, the 2002 the joint Treasury Board / Public Service Alliance of Canada Joint Term Employment Study garnered a high level of response in a short time period to address important issues regarding the use of term employees in the federal public service. Mind you, this was a project internal to the public service and not a public consultation per se.

No doubt online public participation is a direct result of a number of factors, among them an individual’s preference for other delivery channels, the level of importance Canadians attach to a given issue, as well as the perceived direct relevance to the individual’s situation and the perceived level of impact that he/she can have. I anticipate that the forthcoming consultation by Natural Resources Canada on the August 2003 power outage will garner significantly more attention than say the “”Smart Regulation”” ( e-consultation.

The Smart Regulation consultation allows Canadians to provide input on defining a regulatory strategy for Canada for the 21st century that protects the health and safety of Canadians and of the environment, while contributing to innovation and competitiveness. It is an important initiative for improving the regulatory framework yet, to date, public response has been slow coming.

The Consulting Canadians ( site available through the portal does a good job of keeping the public abreast of the various programs that are engaging Canadians at any given moment. Certain consultations are not as well marketed as they should be. While most of the e-consultations are limited-lifespan feedback mechanisms, and many are not active as long as they probably should, the portal does provide a central repository of current consultations — an important consolidation of these activities that was previously difficult, if not impossible, to attain. Perhaps “”Consulting Canadians”” is just not as catchy as “”Today I Decide”” but at its essence it tries to accomplish the same objective.

David J. Jakob

Letters to the editor must include the writer’s name and company name along with an e-mail address or other contact information. All letters become the property of Editors reserve the right to edit submissions for length and content.

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