The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. Prime Minister Paul Martin’s new Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness department appears to be a step in the right direction for getting our public protection disaster relief (PPDR) house in order. As one industry observer noted, the creation of this new portfolio signals the Martin administration’s intention to have "things" work better operationally and in a more integrated manner. This in theory, he added, will make it easier for the government to facilitate the identification of spectrum for PPDR. The ideal outcome from the creation of Canada’s version of the U.S. Homeland Security department would be to find a common, single spectrum band on which to house all law enforcement and public safety communications systems. But before any steps can be taken to identify additional spectrum for PPDR, the government will have to conduct a broad consultation with industry stakeholders on whether there is actually a need for more spectrum and whether it is even possible to find available bandwidth. Any consultation will also have to take into account developments south of the border. The public safety community has long looked at the vast spectrum holdings of broadcasters as a possible home for PPDR (see article in this issue). Some have said that the government should follow the Federal Communications Commission’s footsteps and earmark some bandwidth in the 700 MHz band for these integrated and interoperable communications systems. The wireless community says there are four national networks that provide very reliable and high quality voice and data communications, and are a potentially natural fit for public safety. It is, however, too early to predict with any sort of certainty whether the new Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness department will make any headway in finding appropriate spectrum for PPDR. Martin still has to set up the department and its infrastructure in addition to Minister Anne McLellan having to get up to speed on all the key issues (one can only hope she doesn’t take as long as Allan Rock did when he took over at Industry Canada). The success of finding PPDR spectrum, however, hinges on whether the Martin government decides to make it a priority item within the new department in the coming months and that is still open to question.