One concerned citizen wants to use the National Alert Aggregation & Dissemination System (NAAD) to prompt Canadians to vote.
Evan Kosiner, a Canadian philanthropist and entrepreneur, wrote in a press statement Wednesday that he is calling on Prime Minister Trudeau, Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to “use their power” regarding national alerts to get the message out to Canadians to go and vote.
In a letter to Trudeau, Joly and the CRTC, Kosiner stated he wrote: “If due to government bureaucracy it doesn’t fall into the ’emergency’ category, the innovator in me suggests perhaps it could be conveniently another test day that happens to mention to ‘Get out and vote!'”
Kosiner is known for obtaining rights to bring HuffPost Live to Canada for television and receiving the Governor General of Canada’s Caring Canadian Award for his charitable work. Kosiner also directed and co-executive produced ‘Drake’s Homecoming: The Lost Footage’ — a film that Drake did not support.
In an interview with MobileSyrup, Kosiner told MobileSyrup he wasn’t sure whether his request was possible within the current framework for alerts.
“I’m not a legal specialist,” he said. “It just occurred to me that we are getting all these alerts anyway, why not use it to get people out the polls?”
While wanting to get people to the polls for Ontario’s election is an admirable idea, using the national alerts system for anything but an emergency alert is sure to cause undue alarm — especially considering there was a noisy contingent who were unhappy with the first AMBER alert sent to Ontarians through the new emergency text alert system on May 14th.
Kosiner was unsure about those alerts as well.
“I was in Toronto and I was getting alerts from Sudbury. I think that’s a little far,” he said. He added, however, that he thinks voting is “a cause people would rally around and support.”
As of April 6th, 2017, all Canadian carriers are required to support the CRTC-mandated wireless public alerting (WPA) system. The WPA allows Canadians to receive notifications of various emergency situations, including fires, flooding, tornadoes and AMBER alerts.
MobileSyrup has reached out to the CRTC to confirm whether this call will be formally considered in the future.
Update 5/30/2018: Updated with additional information and quotes from Kosiner.