The new accountability - Macleans.ca
 

The new accountability


 

OpenParliament.ca strikes me as an impressively ambitious and valuable project. I am, quite genuinely, excited about it. Go visit and support Mr. Mulley’s work.

Bookmark it alongside 308.com and Pundits’ Guide. Important things done by people who don’t seem motivated by the fame, power and money that comes from their efforts.

Also, if you use this little doohickey Mr. Mulley made you can figure out how many times various swears have been committed to the official House of Commons record since 1994.


 

The new accountability

  1. Thanks for the links, Wherry.

    • Ditto – I didn't know about these sites. I will start following them.

  2. It would be even more useful if it handled Senate matters. (Mr. Mulley says it's on the list, but not a priority because of the way the Senate handles data.) Not only could we read Mike Duffy's gaffes, we could be up-to-date on the "tough on crime" theatre that the Cons are promising. They've said they're going to re-introduce that idiotic drug crime bill in the Other Place.

  3. It's really fantastic what he's been able to do.

    Remember though: there's another prerequisite for these projects, which is open data (especially open government data). Mr. Mulley credits the arrival of the XML feed of MPs' voting records (which the NDP's Libby Davies persuaded the Board of Internal Economy to establish last year) with enabling a lot of the features at his site.

    In my case, the release of polling division geospatial data by the Chief Electoral Officer last year has allowed me to start generating interactive Google Maps of riding poll-by-poll result data this past week. Éric's work with polls at threehundredeight.com is only possible because (most of) the opinion research firms now release (most of) their findings.

    The new administration down south has made a big commitment to open data (see data.gov), as has the UK government. Meanwhile in Canada, people still have to pay for postal code and census data (data we've already paid for as taxpayers to collect).

    A recent US study found that opening up government data reduced Freedom of Information costs down there by 96%. High time that business case was considered up here!

    Thank you for the generous citation, Aaron.

    • Good points! Keep the pressure on, journalists and politicians.

    • "Meanwhile in Canada, people still have to pay for postal code and census data (data we've already paid for as taxpayers to collect)."

      Unless you're a student of one of several Universities where you can download the postal code conversion file for free, and then have the pleasure of de-duplicating it yourself (hooray for FSA overlap!) and save $10,000.

      • Right, but I believe there are use restrictions on that, meaning it likely could not be used for a public web site.

        I would really like to see a news outlet such as Macleans pick up the torch on the issue of open government data in Canada and run with it. There is a lot going on around the world, and also here in Canada municipally.

  4. Also, if you use this little doohickey Mr. Mulley made you can figure out how many times various swears have been committed to the official House of Commons record since 1994

    LOL. How old are you, 12?

    • Oh, like you didn't type f*ck into that thing the moment you saw it.

      LOL

  5. Not at all. I typed fuddle duddle.

    • so then clearly you are 78.

  6. Said doohickey is actually pretty interesting to see how certain policy issues rise and fall. If you type in "marijuana" you can see a huge spike in use during 2003-2004, when the potential issue of decriminalizing marijuana was a top public policy issue, but since then (and in particular after the Tories came to power) the issue has fallen off the agenda and has rarely been raised in the house.