... and he's going to hate me for this.
On July 2nd, Richard Pietro packed up his things and set forth on a Cross-Canada journey on his motorcycle. He describes his 20+ city tour as "changing Canada by exploring it" - spreading his passion for Open Government, Open Data and Civic Engagement by facilitating dialogue with citizens.
You can read more about why I think Richard rocks, here. But this post isn't really about him.
He's not a lord of business, nor a political dauphin or a shrewd Machieveli. He's a guy who works at Swiss Chalet who believes in something bigger than himself. It's that belief, along with an urge to explore our country, that has him out there, spreading the Open Word, changing things in ways that won't fully become clear for years to come.
Broken down, Richard's belief is in us - us, and what we can do when we trust, collaborate, dream and engage together.
Richard is the most talented, most interesting and most extraordinary person in Canadian politics right now not because of who he is, but because of who he represents. Namely, all of us, no matter where we come from, nor what titles we hold. We can all change the world if we commit ourselves to it fully, willingly.
Any one of us could be Richard. Any one of us could join Richard as his tour rolls on to its conclusion in Ottawa on September 16th.
That, for me, is ultimately the point of Open Government, tours like #OGT14, events like Why Should I Care and organizations like Samara, or Make Web Not War, or My SoJo.
We don't need to be afraid of how our country is being changed - not when we offer our hands and become part of that change, consciously.
There's a conversation happening right now among a hopeful, dynamic Open Community; there's not big tent, just common ground.
I hope you'll join us - we're far more interesting with you than without you.