The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports.  Industry Canada’s move to share spectrum in the 700 MHz band with the United States along the border is certainly a step in the right direction in providing critical resources to first responders and other public safety agencies. But as it stands today the spectrum is virtually useless until broadcasters on both sides of the border vacant the frequencies in question.  Canada and, in particular, Industry Canada has done little to encourage broadcasters to vacate this band. Sure, it’s not the Canadian way to force strict deadlines as the United States has done, but we’re talking about public safety. The recent bombings in London should serve as notice that American-friendly nations will be targeted.  Life changed after 9/11, and so should the way the Canadian government views national security and public safety.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) hasn’t enjoyed any greater success than Canada in making these precious airwaves available to public safety organizations. A deadline of Dec. 31, 2006 for the return of analog 700 MHz spectrum is now under review. A new December 2008 deadline was proposed last month by Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman. Under the existing law, broadcasters would have to give back analog spectrum by 2006 or when 85% of their subscibers are digital. The new 2008 proposed deadline makes no such allowances.  It’s time for Industry Canada in conjunction with the CRTC to lay down the law and order broadcasters to implement DTV by a specific date, say, one year to 18 months after the FCC’s imposed deadline. This may sound harsh, but again we are talking about national security and public safety. A firm deadline will not only reassure public safety agencies that spectrum will be available at a given date, but it will give them time to prepare.  If Industry Canada is unwilling to make the hard choice of imposing firm deadlines, then maybe we should give Anne McLellan, minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, a call and ask her to step in and reclaim these critical frequencies for reasons of national security.