Tag Archives: citizen engagement

Facebook, Politics and Proroguing Parliament

I’ve got a special to the Globe and Mail this morning titled Harper underestimates Facebook at his own peril. I’m happy and surprised to see the piece has climbed to the top of the site in terms of views (see sidebar)

Part of it is born out of the fact that a number of political commentators seem to discount online political engagement. I cite Matt Gurney in the piece as he seems to be upset about the current facebook group – although he was notably silent last year when there was a facebook group supporting the Conservatives and even attended a rally in Toronto that the online group helped organized.

Globe and Mail Most Viewed 2010-01-11 at 8.49.19 AMOf course, National Post commentators have a history of flip flopping depending on what helps or hurts the Conservatives so I’ll concede they may not have been the best group to cite.

More frustrating is the At Issue political panel on the CBC where Susan Delacourt says, “it is easy to just click on something, we’ll have to see what happens at the rallies” and Coyne saying “Will people show up at rallies.” (Around minute 9:30 onward)


So politics only matters if it is hard? Next thing we know is that they’ll not only be against electronic voting, but promoting a system where you get to vote only after you’ve successfully run the Wipe Out obstacle course. Because only then will a voter have demonstrated that their vote should REALLY count!

obstacle courseSo pundit summary: We want citizens to care about parliament and are glad they are on facebook… but it only really begins to count once they start marching. Like we did back in the 60s.

Glad we cleared that up.

Eaves.ca Blogging Moment #1 (2009 Edition): Open Data Comes to Vancouver

Back in 2007 I published a list of top ten blogging moments – times I felt blogging resulted in something fun or interesting. I got numerous notes from friends who found it fun to read (though some were not fans) so I’m giving it another go. Even without these moments it has been rewarding, but it is nice to reflect on them to understand why spending so many hours, often late at night, trying to post 4 times a week can give you something back that no paycheck can offer. Moreover, this is a chance to celebrate some good fortune and link to people who’ve made this project a little more fun. So here we go…

Eaves.ca Blogging Moment #1 (2009 Edition): Open Data Comes to Vancouver

On May 14th I blogged about the tabling of Vancouver’s Open Data motion to city council. After thousands of tweets, dozens of international online articles and blog posts, some national press and eventually some local press, the City of Vancouver passes the motion.

This was a significant moment for myself and people like Tim Wilson, Andrea Reimer and several people in the Mayor’s Office who worked hard to craft the motion and make it reality. The first motion of its type in Canada I believe it helped put open data on the agenda in policy circles across the country. Still more importantly, the work of the city is providing advocates with models – around legal issues, licensing and community engagement – that will allow them to move up the learning curve faster.

All this is also a result of the amazing work by city staff on this project. The fact that the city followed up and launched an open data portal less than 3 months later – becoming the first major city in Canada to do so – speaks volumes. (Props also to smaller cities like Kamloops and Nanaimo that were already sharing data.)

Today, several cities are contemplating creating similar portals and passing similar motions (I spoke at the launch of Toronto’s open portal, Ottawa, Calgary, & Edmonton are in various stages of exploring the possibility of doing something, over the border the City of Seattle invited me to present on the subject to their city councilors.). We are still in early days but I have hopes that this initiative can help drive a new era of government transparency & citizen engagement.

PublicVoice Interview on "Open," Government and Citizen Engagement

A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed by Maclean’s columnist Scott Feschuk for PublicVoice.tv on what the rise of “open” systems and the continuing evolution of information technology will mean for the future of both government and citizen engagement.

Cleverly, they’ve kept these videos nice and short – it’s all designed to be short and punchy. There will be five 1-3 minute videos in a all and so far the first two have been posted. You can see them here and here.

Sadly, the lighting isn’t all that flattering… consider yourself warned.