LETTER: A Canadians-only web portal one alternative to Facebook

Dear editor,

So Facebook has been sharing our profiles. I am not personally surprised, and I have an alternative communications plan for Canadians.

Let’s build a Canadians-only web portal. It would combine the best attributes of Facebook, YouTube and Google Earth, and be just for Canadians.

Nations have always had borders in physical space. Why not have a border in cyberspace? The worldwide web would still be “worldwide” – meaning it would remain a global operation. But here in Canada we could use National Resources Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada map data, as well as data from local groups such as Project Watershed and the Tsolum River Restoration Society, to create a map-driven site where people could interact around everyday themes, as well as relate to the environment in a brand new way.

As I see it, there are two ways we can employ mapped spatial data. One is the traditional GIS where one zooms in and out along a continuum. The other is what I call the “polygon-oriented database,” where the physical boundaries of elements such as watersheds, lakes and features are preserved in their entirety. The former is like a ramp, the latter like a set of stairs. Or, the former is like the business economy, the latter like democratic governance. Both complimentary, and, indeed, necessary. So we can post video and text of business and environmental themes, and events such as town hall meetings, and tie it all together in a big shiny new digital map of Canada.

How to keep it Canadian? One suggestion would be to require a SIN to initially register.

Call it the “Canadian Communities Mapping Network,” a futuristic version of the CBC.

Let’s do this, and take a stand for Canadian democracy, sovereignty, and sustainability.

Alan C. Ashcroft,


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