Bernard Courtois, the new president/CEO of the Information Technology Association of Canada, made his first major speech in Ottawa on February 9. An edited version of his remarks, which may be found in full here, appears below.My message is that the ICT revolution is continuing. And Canadian companies are leading the way. ICT is a core Canadian competency. Canadians should recognize and seize the opportunities this core competency affords. We have experienced a major period of correction. I should point out this is not even our first. In the early eighties, for example, there was a shakeout in the PC space. Yet PCs then went on to have their biggest impact. Of course, the really exciting place in the ICT universe is where Metcalfe’s Law collides with Moore’s Law. That’s where the interesting mutations like voice and television over Internet protocol and wireless LANs become possible. And where they’re possible, amazing things start to happen. Beyond conventional applications, we have created the age of a whole generation of untethered workers. Employees, the central resource in the knowledge-economy, can take the resources their workplace offers with them. They can do their work effectively wherever it makes sense to do it - their homes, in their cars or on their customers’ premises. ITAC has demonstrated, through work we’ve done with the Conference Board, that ICT investment drives productivity. ICT has certainly continued to make a profound contribution to the Canadian economy and Canadian life - before, during and after the downturn. ICT in Canada can trace its roots back over a century to the invention of the telephone. IBM has operated in Canada for over 85 years. And ITAC, through its various antecedents, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2001. ICT is a core competency that seems to be bred into us. According to Ipsos-Insight, for example, Canada is the leading country in the world in terms of ’Net usage, with 71% of adults using the Internet. And more than 35% of Canadian households have a broadband connection. This places Canada second only to Korea among OECD countries and 75% ahead of the U.S. At the same time, the shift to broadband Internet access in business has occurred very quickly. Between 2000 and 2002, the proportion of businesses using "dial-up" and broadband technologies nearly reversed so that the majority of enterprises (58%) accessing the Internet now use broadband. Speech recognition, which strives to capture the potential of human computer interfaces, is a technology pioneered right here in Canada more than 15 years ago. But, as Paul Saffo, director of the think tank Institute for the Future, says about any technology, "it takes about 20 years to become an overnight success." Industry experts believe that a voice automation solution in the typical call centre can cut the cost per call from approximately $15 down to 20 cents. Now the combination of IP (the driver of the Internet) and voice is possibly the biggest wave of change sweeping our industry. Fundamentally, I’d like to see a much greater recognition and promotion of Canada’s ICT capacity. And I’d like to see a more pervasive adoption of ICT solutions - the ones we have in our tool kit and the ones we’re working on in our labs - to solve public policy problems. This is a classic win-win as we get a stronger economy, better quality of life, and in so doing, help feed our world leadership in ICT, which is key to delivering the improvements Canadians deserve. I want to leave you with this call to action. It’s clear that ICT deserves to finally step out of the shadows. You can all assist in this. Among your friends and neighbours, with your business associations and in your dealings with (us) you can express your confidence in this core competency. We need to get this message out. Canadians should not be deprived of the maximum benefits of all that ICT can do for them.