Politics
Gov't should tell Canadians about wireless safety: Fmr Microsoft Canada pres

The new Surface tablet computer by Microsoft.

Credits: REUTERS/David McNew/Files

KRISTY KIRKUP | QMI AGENCY

OTTAWA — The former president of Microsoft Canada says the federal government has a duty to inform Canadians about safety concerns related to wireless technology.

"We have a responsibility as adults, as parents, as legislators to inform people so they can make intelligent decisions," Frank Clegg said in an interview with QMI Agency.

Clegg, who is regarded as a pioneer in the development of Canada's technology sector, is now on an awareness mission. He's building a new organization — Citizens for Safe Technology — along with a team of partners.

Clegg's organization plans to provide consumer safety tips and scientific information about technology including cell towers, cellular phones and wireless Internet. He says the government doesn't share this information effectively enough, despite a growing body of scientific evidence of safety issues.

In 2011, the World Health Organization classified the radiation from all wireless devices, including cellphones, as possibly carcinogenic and called for more research.

Health Canada has acknowledged this ruling but maintains there is no cause for immediate concern or policy change.

"There is and will always be a use for technology in our lives, period. At the same time, I think we are learning more and more and more that you have to be careful...you have to use it safely," Clegg said.

Cellphone manufacturers BlackBerry and Apple both feature fine print warnings in user manuals that advise users to keep all devices at least 15 mm away from the body during use. But Clegg says the feds should put obvious warning labels on wireless devices because most people don't read the fine print.

On Thursday, Clegg will attend an event in Oakville, Ont., to shine a light on one woman's campaign to raise awareness about wireless safety.

Wendy Hoy, 57, is currently walking from London, Ont., to Ottawa to rally the government to review industry guidelines on radiation exposure in Canada.

"The whole thing has been quite an adventure," said Hoy, who walks about 25 km a day.

Hoy is unsure when she will arrive in Ottawa, but she is hoping for a face-to-face meeting with officials after her lengthy trek.

Tory MP Terence Young has spoken in the House of Commons about Bell cell towers in his riding of Oakville and their proximity to residential homes.

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