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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.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Fair Elections Act a Perfect Project for Open Data

You know what's happening at the same time as this debate around Bill C-23?
There's an international conversation going on about how to open public data for public scrutiny and Open Government for public engagement. 
It's a really important one, too, because one thing all Political Parties are agreeing on (at least in theory) is that they themselves don't have all the answers. 
Whether it's the Free Market or Grassroots engagement, everyone's looking for someone else to help with the answers.
The reason that corporations aren't unhoarding their capital and average Canadians aren't engaging in politics is largely because they have no faith that their efforts will pay dividends.  Harsh partisanship and over-the-top partisan rhetoric isn't helping matters any.
The Harper Conservatives have a fix this.  Pierre Poilievre has a chance to be immortalized as the man who brought transparency back to Canadian democracy.

It wouldn't take much.  He could start by having a little conversation with his cabinet colleague Tony Clement about what this Open Data stuff is all about.  He could then expand his conversation to include bureaucrats within the federal public service, private organizations that can provide for-profit perspective to the value of Open Data like Microsoft or Socrata and even engaged, non-partisan Open Data catalysts like Richard Pietro.
The Conservative Party of Canada loves its websites - they could easily build one that record in user-friendly format every piece of discussion and which elected official/bureaucrat/interest group has a say on it.  They could include tags on the conversation and participants, allowing anyone to go on the site and do a search on percentages and see how the conversation is being informed.
It's the right thing to do.  It's pretty easy to do.  Best of all, it's where we're going anyway.
Pierre Poilievre has a perfect opportunity to place himself on the right side of history and be forever recognized for having done so.
Which certainly beats the alternative, no?

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