Opening Parliament and other big announcements

This is going to be an exciting week for online activists seeking to make government more open and engaged.

First off, openparliament.ca launched yesterday. This is a fantastic site with a lot going for it – go check it out (after reading my other updates!). And huge kudos to its creator Michael Mulley. Just another great example of how our democratic institutions can be hacked to better serve our needs – to make them more open, accessible and engaging. There is a ton of stuff that could be built on top of Michael’s and others – like Howdtheyvote, sites. I’ve written more about this in a piece on the Globe’s website titled If You Won’t Tell Us About Our MPs Well Do It For You.

Second, as follow on to the launch of openparliament.ca, I’ve been meaning to share for some time that I’ve been having conversations with the House of Parliament IT staff over the past couple of months. About a month ago parliament IT staff agreed to start sharing the Hansard, MP’s bios, committee calendars and a range of other information via XML (sorry for not sharing this sooner, things have been a little crazy). They informed me that they would start doing this before the year is over – so I suspect it won’t happen in the next couple of months, but will happen at some point in the next 6 months. This is a huge step forward for the house and hopefully not the last (also, there is no movement on the senate as of yet). There are still a ton more ways that information about the proceedings of Canada’s democracy could be made more easily available, but we have some important momentum with great sites like those listed above, and internal recognition to share more data. I’ll be having further conversations with some of the staff over the coming months so will try to update people on progress as I find out.

Finally, I am gearing up to launch datadotgc.ca. This is a project I’ve been working on for quite some time with a number of old and new allies. Sadly, the Canadian government does not have an open data policy and there is no political effort to create a data.gc.ca like that created by the Obama administration (http://www.data.gov/) or of the British Government (http://data.gov.uk/). So, I along with a few friends have decided to create one for them. I’ll have an official post on this tomorrow. Needless to same, I’m excited. We are still looking for people to help us populate the site with open government data sets – and have even located some that we need help scraping – so if you are interested in contributing feel free to join the datadotgc.ca google group and we can get you password access to the site.

14 thoughts on “Opening Parliament and other big announcements

  1. jamesd

    Online Bachelors DegreeTo the adult educator all this means a need for more efficient and effective courseware. We need to put our creative thinking hat on and challenge ourselves and our employer to pilot new approaches. This is not an impossible task, it is a new reality. Greater productivity brought by education and innovation are the only weapon against off shoring. Yet this weapon is a hidden “diamond in the rough”, in George French’s words, as it might bring great new opportunities………….legal education

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Opening Parliament and other big announcements | eaves.ca -- Topsy.com

  3. Daniel Haran

    There are issues with what XML is currently available; if possible, they'd have a designated point person for handling suggestions, and clear versioning of APIs.It would also be good if instead of waiting 6 months to release everything, they tried a progressive roll out.

    Reply
  4. marke

    Sorry, this is nitpicky, but could you have your links open in a new window? I would like to keep reading your article while opening your suggested links to read afterwards. Thanks!

    Reply
  5. David Eaves

    Mark – Great suggestion. I'll see if I can default that choice in WordPress. If not, I'll endeavor to do so when I'm hyperlinking text. Thank you for the thought.

    Reply
  6. Pingback: Bloggery Gone Awry » Canadian Open Data Action

  7. Pingback: Human Centered ICT » Blog Archive » Canadian Open Data Action

  8. ndrwclrk

    Have you considered applying to the Soros foundation for some funds to move this along? It seems like the kind of thing they would be interested in supporting. Don't know if funding is really the constraint, but since it could translate into other things, why not consider it?http://www.soros.org/initiatives/special/focus/

    Reply
  9. Stefan

    You can probably do that with your browser already. In Firefox, for example, clicking with the middle button (usually the scroll wheel) instead of the left button causes the link to open in a new tab while you continue to read the current page. I do this all the time to open pages I'm going to read “next”.

    Reply
  10. Stefan

    You can probably do that with your browser already. In Firefox, for example, clicking with the middle button (usually the scroll wheel) instead of the left button causes the link to open in a new tab while you continue to read the current page. I do this all the time to open pages I'm going to read “next”.

    Reply
  11. Pingback: Canadian Open Data Action | Rotterdam Open Data

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