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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Sunday 23 February 2014

Why Open Data Matters

I came upon this Globe and Mail story via Twitter while at Podcamp; I was there to discuss the importance of Open Data.

The quote stood out to me, because it summed up the argument I'd been making rather neatly - that is, that civil servants were being made to serve partisan, not public interests.  I copied it and the link and put them in my calendar as a reminder to post about later.

Jordan Sinclair isn't a Minister's office spokesman, not a partisan - he's from the department.

So, it's later.  I went in to the story and looked for the quote.  It wasn't there.  In its place was this: 

A spokeswoman for Employment Minister Jason Kenney said the report reflect "the period of time under the previous Liberal government," from 1993 forward.  

The line about a public servant parroting partisan messaging was gone; in its place, a partisan attack directed at a previous government.

Did I read and copy the quote wrong?  That doesn't seem right, as after a Google search I still managed to find it over at the CBC website.  But I didn't read the CBC story until now - I got the quote from the G&M story and saved it in my calendar along with the hyperlink I pulled from the very same page - the very same page that doesn't feature that quote at present.

There are all kinds of creepy implications about this turn of events, but the one that should alarm us the most is that evidence and consequence are being ignored when they contradict partisan messaging.

At some point in the not-too-far-distant future, the consequences of ignoring the facts will come back to haunt us.  I don't know about you, but I'd much rather solve a problem before it emerges rather than wait and place blame after the fact.

Especially when I know what the truth is.  That makes me accountable, too.  It doesn't matter what self-serving shenanigens the partisan people are up to - if I know there's a problem and choose not to act, I own some of the blame.  So do we all.

So, yeah - Open Data.  

The peaceable revolution can't come fast enough.

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