Some of you may know that I sit on the board of directors for OpenNorth – a cool little non-profit that is building tools for citizens, governments and journalists to improve participation and, sometimes, just make it a little bit easier to be a citizen. Here’s great example of a simple tool they created that others are starting to use – Represent – a database that allows you to quickly figure out all the elected officials the serve the place where you are currently standing.
As a humble non-profit OpenNorth runs on a shoestring, with a lot of volunteer participation. With that in mind we’d like to raise $10,000 this Canada Day. I’ve already donated $100.
To sponsor our next project – Citizen Writes – which, inspired by the successful Parliament Watch in Germany, would allow citizens to publicly ask questions both to candidates during elections and to representatives in office. The German site has, since 2004, posed over 140,000 questions from everyday citizens of which 80% been answered by politicians. More importantly such a tool could empower all back benchers, rebalancing power which is increasingly centralized in Canada.
I encourage you to check out our other projects too – I think you’ll find we are up to all sorts of goodness.