Open Letter: Vancouver's tech community wants to see party leaders talk about innovation through technology

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Vancouver’s tech community isn’t happy with the issues being discussed by our federal party leaders, and they’re doing something about it. With just weeks to go before the federal election, there has been no discussion or support when it comes to helping Canadians become code literate and boosting the economy through working with current and new tech companies and startups.

Jeremy Shaki and Khurram Virani, founders of Vancouver-based Lighthouse Labs, a teaching facility for web and mobile software development, have sent out an open letter to all four major party leaders in hopes of having a commitment to kickstarting the discussion on code literacy, outcome-based education and Canadian innovation through technology.

Shaki and Virani are also asking Canadian technology companies to join them in trying to get the discussion started in government.

Dear Stephen, Tom, Justin, and Elizabeth,

We’re disappointed. The tech community is disappointed. And many Canadians, from coast-to-coast, are disappointed with the lack of discussion on the importance of technology, technology education, and code literacy to drive prosperity and innovation across Canada.

We know that technology is the beating heart to drive progress in Canada and that it is the biggest driver of growth in the industrialized world. We see technology companies, startups, incubators, code bootcamps, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs working hard everyday to make Canada great through coding and technology innovation.

This bottom up approach can only take us so far. This is resulting in missed opportunities everyday for Canadians to get to work and for businesses to innovate and lead the world.

Our businesses, both large and small, need to grow. Our Retailers need to get online to compete and grow their businesses. Our Startups need to innovate, create jobs, and become world leaders and household names.

We need to see a commitment from the government in kickstarting the conversation, creating awareness, supporting digital literacy and coding education in schools and beyond, and helping all Canadians be part of this solution.

At Lighthouse Labs we care deeply about this discussion, code literacy, and outcome-based education. To-date, we have helped 100% of our 300 graduates secure jobs with top Canadian companies, and over 2,500 Canadians learn to code during our HTML500 events across Canada. We, and similar organizations, are pushing to help as much as we can, but we need to know that the leaders of this country understand the opportunity at hand and the opportunity cost of not supporting the growth of technology from the top of government.

We are inviting all technology companies, businesses that use technology, the startup community, students, and any Canadian that strongly feels that we need government support on this issue to join us in this request.

We all want to know why you don’t care about Canada’s need to be code literate. We all want to know why you are not supporting Canada’s progress through technology. We all want to know what you will do if and when you are elected into power.

We look forward to hearing your response to this because, without clarity, direction, and commitment, we are unable to vote and choose who to lead us from 2016 and beyond, as are many in the Canadian tech community.

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Shaki and Khurram Virani, Co-Founders of Lighthouse Labs.

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