Towards open government in Quebec and Francophonie

It will not take very long to describe the state of development of open government in Quebec (a province of Canada).

There is none. Not a thing!

Therefore, I am tempted to end this mission here.

Uh. Why talk, when there’s nothing to say?!

But I’m eager to earn 200 Edgeryders additional points!

These 200 points will be well-deserved, because I have spared no effort during the past year to bring change in this area.

In this mission, I will briefly describe, through my own eyes,

  1. what has been done so far in Canada;

  2. my open government vision

  3. open government government projects that I identified, that occurred in connection with my interventions.

I note here in this mission both official initiatives and other efforts, which are more in line with analysis, draft projects, or mere attempts at bringing some change.

1) EARLY STAGES OF OPEN GOVERNMENT IN CANADA

There are initiatives, early stages of open government in Canada, but they occured in most cases outside the province of Quebec. English Canada, that is to say, the nine predominantly Anglophone provinces of Canada, are nicknamed the “Rest of Canada”, ROC, as opposed to Québec.

All of the OFFICIAL open data / open government initiatives occurred in the ROC, with the exception of one - from the City of Montreal -, whose open data initiative is extremely recent. The launch of a new open data portal http://donnees.ville.montreal.qc.ca was announced on October 27, 2011 (http://montrealtechwatch.com/2011/10/28/montreal-open-data/).

AT THE MUNICIPAL LEVEL, the following ROC cities have turned open data: Calgary, Edmonton and Medecine Hat (Alberta), London, Ottawa, Toronto, Mississauga, Windsor (Ontario), Nanaimo and Vancouver (British Colombia). There might be recent initiatives not listed here. If we include Montreal, this gives us a total of about a dozen open data cities. There are 5,600 cities in Canada, 393 of which have a population of 100,000 and over, according to the 2001 census (ref. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/91f0015m/2007008/t/4054804-eng.htm)

Which leaves us with no open data city in 10 Canadian provinces and territories: Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

Canada is a magnificent country, stretching from coast to coast, from Atlantic to Pacific ocean. The dozen or so of open data cities, I see them as oases of openness, in an ocean of culture of silence and secrecy. There is still room for improvement…

AT THE PROVINCIAL LEVEL, 16 months ago, in October 2010, Premier Jean Charest of the government of Quebec appointed Henri-François Gautrin, Deputy House Leader, to lead an analysis about the potential of Web 2.0. Ideas and comments from citizens were collected on this public consultation site: http://www.consultationgautrinweb2.gouv.qc.ca. His final report was due on December 15, 2011. But it has been postponed at a later (unconfirmed) date.  This report should include recommendations on open government: transparency, participation and collaboration.

In October 2011, the Gautrin group participated to a conference on democracy, members of parliament and traditional media: http://www.assnat.qc.ca/fr/actualites-salle-presse/nouvelle/actualite-24303.html

The Gautrin group produced a very good video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0lUQA5FmXM ― as good as the video created for the launch of Open Government Partnership in New York. (created by Chalifour http://www.chalifour.net/blogue/2011/11/16/gouvernement-ouvert-rapport-gautrin-quebec) But there is no open government official policy yet in Quebec. No announcement has been made in this area.

One government institution, among the hundred departments and agencies of the Government of Quebec, is preparing an open data project (thanks to the persuasiveness of Edgeryders participant Jeff00720, Jean-François Gauthier, http://ca.linkedin.com/in/jeanfrancoisgauthier  from Loran Technologies).

The government of British Colombia launched on July 19, 2011 Canada’s first provincial open data site, DataBC, http://data.gov.bc.ca “We are changing our approach to governing by putting citizens at the centre of our web services and making government data and information more freely available,” said Premier Clark. “Open government is about sharing information and giving British Columbians more opportunities to participate in decisions that make a difference in their lives.” http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2011/07/open-data-signals-new-direction-for-bc-government.html

I love this video of Christy Clark, where she talks about open government in British Colombia. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pq6V40uQYY  For me, this video is the equivalent of images of the first men who walked on the moon. It was the first time I saw a Canadian prime minister talk about these issues. I am glad a woman prime minister took the lead.

In March 2011, Government in the Lab reported in its newsletter http://govinthelab.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Newsletter-OpenGov-March2011.pdf  that Christy Clark committed herself to becoming “the most connected and responsive prime minister in Canadian history”.

Between March and July 2011 (less than 5 months), Ms. Clark succeeded in leading the province of British Columbia to an open government policy.

Government projects should not last more than three months, recommended Beth Noveck on March 2nd, 2011, at the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics (ETHI) of the House of Commons of Canada. “If possible, promote innovations that can be implemented within 90 days or less. Requires organizations to act more quickly discouraged bureaucracy and encourage the creative brainstorming and innovation.” (ref http://govinthelab.com/testimony-before-the-standing-committee-on-access-to-information-privacy-and-ethics-of-the-canadian-parliament-2)

I do not like comparisons, but I cannot help thinking that it has been 16 months since the province of Quebec has been conducting analysis on open government. During all this time testing and analysis were undertaken, nothing really tangible happened. We are still awaiting the announcement of initiatives and projects. Meanwhile, another provincial government managed to reach sensational results in just a few months, with little budget, and small teams.

It is worthwhile to note the leadership of Ms. Clark. She made an open government promise. Once elected, she said, ‘I promised this, let’s do it.’ And no objection failed, everyone in her government followed her. British Columbia has developed the right formula that works and gives positive results.

I keep repeating that higher spheres leaders should articulate their vision for public management to be more modern, more transparent — more open government — and better connected by a judicious use of virtual environment and new (disruptive) technology. Leaders should formalize, legitimize innovations and support, promote them. This is what is doing the Premier of British Columbia.

As for the Premier of Quebec, and the rest of his ministers, they have not uttered a word about open government yet. I would like to be there when it comes out of the Premier’s mouth! It has been 16 months that teams are actively working on these issues, but there has not been a single press conference from the highest levels, to highlight this work. Do these things matter? One can wonder…

Two articles about open government were published in Le Devoir in november 2011. To my knowledge, this was the first time that these issues were covered by traditional media (newspaper) in Quebec.

  • Gouvernement ouvert: Le Québec ne manque pas d’exemples à suivre
  • Gouvernement ouvert: Assemblée nationale fermée?

AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL. There are 308 members of parliament at the Canadian federal level, compared to 125 in Quebec. I try to get to know a maximum number of deputies whenever there is a change of government. But for the federal level, the country is so vast that it seems beyond a citizen’s reach, hardly possible to influence on any decision.

The announcement of an open data 12-month pilot period for Canada’s national open data site, http://data.gc.ca/, was carried out by Stockwell Day on March 17, 2011 (http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/media/nr-cp/2011/0317a-eng.asp). The next day, he announced an extension to open government (http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/media/nr-cp/2011/0318-eng.asp). 24 new data sets were released in the portal, and 33 other data sets have been added by various departments.

This news has not been carried over by the Francophone newspapers. Very few Quebecers are aware of this initiative. Also, what does this mean in practice? Few citizens know.  What the government is doing in this area has not yet been defined. On December 6, 2011, Tony Clement launched an online consultation on open government and invited Canadians to participate (http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/media/nr-cp/2011/1206-eng.asp). Deadline for citizen participation is January 16, 2011.

I participated to the first Tony Clement’s Twitter townhall about open government on December 15, 2011. Elizabeth Thompson quoted participants in this article: http://www.ipolitics.ca/2011/12/16/tony-clements-twitter-town-hall-storified/,

2) MY OPEN GOVERNMENT VISION

My vision of open government is an hybrid partnership ― a transnational integration bridging separate culture and national identities. I believe it would provide an unparalleled instructive and explorative opportunity to develop open government throughout the world.

I  do not exactly know yet how to go about breaking cultural regulation (acculturation). I spend my time wondering about how the Anglosphere and Francosphere could become like communicating vessels. It could be achieved if the Francosphere were seen as being “strong”, if there was equality between the two spheres.

For the past five years, I did my best to become a living bridge between Anglophones and Francophones. I even edit my blog ― L’Ère du temps ― in 2 languages, which is not even the case of several government institutions. Osmosis attracts me. It is defined as the movement of solvent molecules through a selectively permeable membrane into a region of higher solute concentration, aiming to equalize the solute concentrations on the two sides. I would like to apply this biological system to the open government sphere. I would like to see open government information travel from English to French (and other languages), and vice versa.

De-facto acculturation of members of my community, through assimilation to a (supposedly) world culture, and negation of cultural identity, I am tired to have to abide to it. For years, I had to actively negotiate the boundaries of cultural separation, assimilation and exclusion, on a daily basis. Therefore, I long for solutions of fusion, inclusion and so on.

I believe that the transnational hyperspace should be an expression of different and evolving cultures and languages. I see that if social media allows for new notions of connectivity, communication and interaction, social media therefore produces and diffuses new cultures. I would like to extend this to open government. Therefore, I came up with the Open Government and Francophonie project: a majority of Francophone States (39) and nearly 1000 of their cities ― a critical mass of governments ― were to get involved in a multilateral partnership.

I often talk about transcendance and consciousness. I aim at ultimately creating a transcultural metamorphosis, transcending different worlds and realities.

Read more my vision of open government http://edgeryders.ppa.coe.int/share-your-ryde/mission_case/longing-open-government

3) MY EFFORTS TO BRING OPEN GOVERNMENT IN MY WORLD

To sum it up, my efforts boil down to having written hundreds of letters ― several emails a week and dozens of tweets a week ― to members of the National Assembly of Quebec. I discussed over the phone or met in person a few of them. I also published blog posts, and hundreds of tweets about the lack of open government in Quebec and Francophonie.

I know from experience that behaving like an old scratched gramophone usually works. Repetition over time of the same message leads me to believe that I have some influence.

Not quite enough, apparently, since there is not yet an open government in Quebec, and that my project was not successful. In fact, I realized, with some horror in the heart, that I might have created even more blocking? The final response from my MP, Jean-Paul Diamond, There is no solution’, was so negative and strong that it destroyed all hope.

This ended any further attempt. The fence has become impassable.

Over the past year, I insisted about bringing the Francophonie into an open government multilateral partnership. Francophonie here, Francophonie there! It’s in my mind, in my heart, and on my lips.

I contacted elected members of parliaments and government managers of several governments: Quebec, Canada, Ontario, British Columbia, French Republic, Belgium, Senegal, United States, Louisiana, Maine; and of these organizations, Association des parlementaires de la Francophonie, Association des maires francophones, Open Government Partnership.

In collaboration with John F Moore Government in the Lab, I created in December 2010 the Open Government and Francophonie Project.

By approaching the Quebec government with this project, it allowed me to meet in person the Deputy House Leader Henri-François Gautrin and his team. In February 2011, Mr Gautrin sent us his consultation paper and asked us what we thought about it. There was no question of open government in this document.

FIRST INFLUENCE EFFECT: I have not succeeded to interest the government in our project, but at least I can see the many discussions that John F Moore and I had with the group Gautrin over the subsequent months allowed to influence this team. The principles of open government philosophy have been integrated with brio by the Gautrin group. I have not read the final report yet, but I have no doubt they did a good job. The video I used as supporting evidence. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0lUQA5FmXM

SECOND INFLUENCE EFFECT: The Parti Québécois promised to turn the government of Quebec into an open government. See this document, Cahier d’animation Changeons la politique http://t.co/3qZtiwIH Because I told about my struggle with the government of Québec and the City of Trois-Rivières (Innovation et développement économique) to MP Dave Turcotte, I had many opportunities to talk to him about open government (several phone calls, numerous emails and tweets): he developed an understanding of these issues and communicated them to the party leader and other team members. With this document, Dave Turcotte became the first francophone MP in the world to lead on open government issues. (Hey, I am proud!)

I opened eyes to many people, my actions contributed to raise awareness, I’m sure. I scared many many many members of parliament and many many many government managers, I’m sure of this too!

Considering the amount of effort that I had to deploy, for so few tangible results, I find it pretty scary. Citizens that want to bring change must have total endurance, foolproof perseverance, to successfully make move forward the complex machinery of a government. It’s almost inhuman to ask as much to one frail individual.

The most difficult thing to accept is that there is no financial benefit for me: I had to export my knowledge and skills in Europe to find work (with the Council of Europe, this Edgeryders project). In all cases, a big thank you to the people of the Council of Europe, you have all my gratitude, first for seeing in me something of value, and second, for encouraging me to talk about my vision and projects.

I sincerely keep hoping that more open government and consolidation of multilateral partnerships will be developed soon. (J’aimerais ben ça en faire partie. Euh, #justsaying.)

Bilateral partnership BC/Quebec

I forgot something in my previous post:

THIRD INFLUENCE EFFECT: I was invited by Henri-François Gautrin to attend a meeting between the Gautrin group and representants of the government of British Colombia. (I was the only citizen invited to this meeting.)  I suggested a bilateral partnership between BC and Quebec. Mr Gautrin proposed to BC representants that they establish a collaboration. BC agreed. Of course, what kind of collaboration can there be, if Quebec isn’t an open government? They would have to launch an initiative first, in order to think about building a bilateral partnership based on open government issues… See this post by the Gautrin group:  Rencontre avec des représentants du gouvernement de la Colombie-Britannique

“Nous comptons continuer à collaborer avec ces spécialistes du ministère du Travail et du Gouvernement ouvert situés à l’autre bout du pays afin de profiter le plus possible de leur expertise et aussi de partager nos connaissances mutuelles.”

We will continue to work with the specialists of the Ministry of Labour and Open Government located across the country, to make the most of their expertise and also to share our knowledge with each other.

90 days is not enough

Just a note on the side: I have to disagree with Beth Noveck here. In my experience, three months is not enough to get anything serious started, unless you are a hierarchy. You can order your engineers (if they are competent) to develop a prototype of something in three months (say, the Edgeryders platform). But if you need to establish credibility and get citizens involved, the time scale is in the years. And all open gov projects, by definition, need to get citizens involved.

Hesitation

90 days, 100 days, or 120 days, whatever the number of days, I have no objection to play around Beth Noveck’s proposal with a rubber band and adjust various project’s timeline to situations.

I like Beth Noveck’s proposal because she dared to question the slow pace of governments, and she suggested openness and collaboration as a solution to force government leaders and managers to move faster, by removing some of the thick layers of bureaucracy. Moving faster necessarily implies less bureaucracy.

Let’s suppose a government project requires more time than 90 days. I would plan it in stages. Steps of 90-100 days, with a pre-established action plan (I like clarity crispy clear action plans, well defined in advance) and published at the beginning of operations, for everyone to see clearly in which direction the government is heading (this allows for re-adjustments, gives room for experimentation to obtain citizen’s interventions, leaves a door open to new unexpected ideas to be proposed, and therefore, you end up with improved strategies). I would set up an online dashboard that shows progression of projects made by the team(s) or department(s).

Hesitation, however, it is definitely not included in my model of leadership. “The only limits to our realizations of tomorrow is our doubts and hesitations now.” (F.D. Roosevelt)

In the case of Quebec, no need of a PhD to understand that there has been - and there still is - hesitation.

[Parenthesis] In addition, I have other means of obtaining supporting evidence. The project has been delayed by several factors, one of them is related to health.

When a person gets sick, I always ask what this person has. This information is very important for me, because the illness he/she contracted or the accident he/she had informs me about the thoughts of this person. There is a metaphysical definition to all diseases. Those who discover the secret of self-healing (a power that grows out of the “unutilized part of intelligence”, and which is easily within the reach of each individual), also know how to interpret the factors behind diseases. In any case, I use this to better understand people and situations, as others read body language during an interview. It gives me an overview of people’s fears (accumulated over years of thoughts), and these fears can often be found in echo, in their risk aversion. I have a very different way to read people and situations. but this approach usually provides relevant insight.

The role of a leader is to give a vision to an organization: why it has to exist and what improvements it brings to our lives. The leader makes decisions influencing the future of the organization and the decisions have to be consistent with the leader’s vision. I can see that it is difficult to make decisions about something, when the ‘something’ is not included in the leader’s vision.

What happens when there is a lack of open government vision in leaders of a government? Hesitation can be felt at all levels.

By hesitation, I mean that a leader can easily answer the question “I do not know”. But a leader cannot answer “I do not care”. Sometimes leaders do not clearly say “I do not care” (they talk about other topics, and focus on other priorities). However, their lack of words or gestures provide a hint.

Another problem - that can be directly associated with open government implementation delays - arises when managers of a government think that it is impossible for a leader to say “I do not know” or “I made a mistake”. In many instances, an infallibility syndrome leads to paralysis.

Lack of vision, hesitation, and infallibility: they can lead to wasting months and months, and even years of precious time. And during that wasted time  ― because I believe that open government and open data can contribute to develop a new sector of the economy, in addition to reducing costs and ensuring a healthy management ―, economic opportunities are missed.

If it were possible to replace them with faith, hope and love, we would see miracles.

Overpromise is a real danger

Daring thinking is of course attractive, and Beth will be right in some cases. But in general, I fear very much casting myself as the person who promises miracles, and then can’t deliver. It’s not even just me: anyone does something like that, they are going to damage the credibility of the whole approach - in this case, open government. You may remember that the Obama administration slashed data.gov and the IT dashboard in 2011. It’s not that it was not working: but, according to some, it had simply promised more than it could deliver. Results in 3 months is great… if you can deliver them. I generally can’t, even when I work 70 hours weeks (like now).

Break up into phases

I see that you refer to your project, Alberto.

Let’s analyze that project. (To relieve you of some stress.) The project is interrupted by the Holidays. The first part took place in 2011. And a second part is currently running in 2012. Periods that correspond roughly to that, 90-100 days. Towards the end, the project changes form: it leaves the online platform to get into face-to-face meetings, with a conference where gov officials and participants will be invited to attend. Less than 90-days for this phase. There is also the post-project phase. Will you and chief of Division tour with the final report, have meetings with several officials, to discuss/explain/brainstorm about it in detail? That’s another phase, less than 90-days. We don’t know what will happen to recommendations of this report. Will new projects be developed?

This project has several steps, all taking approximately 90-days or less each: preliminary conception / funding / design phase, the 2011 phase, the 2012 phase, the writing of the final report phase, the grand conference phase, the evaluation phase, and the post-Edgeryders phase.

Edgeryders team and participants will be delivering parts of the project at each of these phases. This is a wonderful project! And you are doing great. It deserves to be highlighted, at every phase. This would also help people to visualize the progress made and focus on the final goal, get the broader picture at every step. Maybe even contribute to generate engagement from participants. Your process of thinking would also be interesting to document along the way. You gave a few hints, the other day, when you spoke with John F Moore (ref New Year’s status). This hint, it doesn’t stop floating in my head. It is not going away. I really enjoyed what the American minister of Health Mike Leavitt was doing. Although he didn’t have much time, he took the time to write (blog) about his thoughts. This allowed the community to help him. People knew where the gray areas were (because he pointed them out to them), and they could give a hand by bringing new ideas or contribute through knowledge creation.

I used the word ‘miracle’ intentionally, in reference, not to the 90-day period, but to a new model of leadership. Instead of fear (risk aversion), if we replaced that with something else (hope, faith, love), there would be different results. Astonishing results. Why? Because these are the greatest forces in the universe. But models of leadership, that’s another story! I would love this issue to be explored with Michel Filippi and his community of philosophers. He promised that later this week, he will post 2 new mission reports. He is currently having a discussion on the nature of philosophy. A preliminary step to delivering useful applications of philosophy. I don’t know exactly where to fit models of leadership, since they belong both to businesses and governments. They have something to do with the 3rd campaign, but they don’t necessarily fit in one of the 4 sub-categories of this campaign. For your information, many participants are having an ongoing discussion on Twitter about new models of leadership and ‘luminous’ human being.

Incrementality:ecology = time compression:engineering

I can live with Beth’s incrementality principle. I think it is wise. But when you talk about compressing time scales, you are talking in general about engineering: if one crane lifts ten tons tons in one day, two cranes can lift ten tons tons in half a day. Notice that this does not work with living things: if one mother gives birth to a child in nine months, two mothers don’t give birth to one child in 4.5 months. Biological and social processes operate on a time scale that is largely a given. You reform the education system, you are going to see the results in 15 years, when todays first graders finish college.

Even incrementality does not always work. If you don’t allocate nine months, you can’t bear child, and doing it into three chunks of three months each is not going to do the trick. Let’s not get carried away here!

Wow! Beth Noveck’s comments

Wow. Yesterday, I turned my comment about ‘Hesitation’ into a blog post and published it at Government in the Lab (http://www.govinaction.com/posts/hesitation). Guess who commented on my post? !!!

Beth Noveck!

(  — I love GovintheLab… —  )

I will inform her that this post is part of an Edgeryders discussion.

Here is what she wrote:

"I enjoyed your post.

You make an important point that moving quickly doesn’t demand certainty. In fact, programmers who practice agile programming know far better that making progress requires trying, assessing, and trying again in stages, as you suggest.

While not all projects take 90 or 120 days, there is always some piece of the project that can be accomplished in that time frame. It is usually far better to accomplish that small piece because we rarely know the answers to the larger puzzle in advance.

Designing monolithic five-year project plans never works.

Reminds me a bit of one of those time management books I read years ago that said “don’t say you’ll clean the garage” when, instead, you should break down the larger project into manageable and necessary tasks such as “buy trashbags” and “find the broom.”

Acting incrementally is important, in my view, to acknowledge with humility, as you suggest, that we don’t have all the answers upfront and, above all, to motivate and energize those doing the work by showing concrete results in a short time frame." (Beth Noveck)

http://govinthelab.com/hesitation/#comments

90 days is enough for a good start (only)

In 90 days you can begin to see ideas take shape, you can begin to have conversations that can lead to larger changes, etc…  You cannot change the world in 90 days.

What is important, however, is to get the ball rolling, with a clear vision of what you are trying to accomplish and how you will measure your progress along the way.

Alberto, I agree with your comment in the thread that it is critical not to overpromise as this is often one of the main reasons projects fail (progress not matching expectations).  However, slight over-promising is sometimes the way that great things occur, people stretch beyond their means, visions become realities.

Lets find ways to make greatness happen, to stretch a bit, but not so much that all crumbles down into nothingness.

On a side note, when will the open government mission go live, looking forward to checking it out?

Share a vision helps reaching goals

There is nothing like John’s way of keeping an eye on the future!

It really helps to share a vision. I have experienced and it works great. In the past, I achieved fairly ambitious lobbying goals by publishing my vision. The media, government officials and managers, community members: everyone knew what I wanted to achieve. I published my communication plans, the medias talked about them in newspaper articles. I sent copies of my plans to every single elected member of parliament and city councillor. My lobbying plans even served as models and case studies in universities (in communication departments). People knew where where they were standing, and why we needed to act in a certain way. Everything was transparent. Government people had no surprise. They had time to prepare, and work to meet my goals. On the eve of interventions at city hall of the National assembly, I warned elected officials:Tomorrow, I’m going to ask you that specific question. Prepare yourself! Here are some draft answers. Or here is the problem, and what you could suggest to do”.

I was visiting them at their house, on the eve of every Question period: we discussed in advance what we were to talk about. When they were seeing me arrive at city hall, they had a huge smile from ear to ear, they performed like peacocks before the city council and medias. They were sincerely happy to collaborate with me. Because they knew my vision well, and because transparency was a working tool.

People want you to be honest with them, even if you’re a leader and honesty means exposing yourself as a little intimidated, or shy, or unsure. That kind of vulnerability doesn’t alienate; it attracts. It makes us approachable. It allows people to identify with us, to trust us, and to follow us.” (ref., Peter Bregman, a strategic advisor to CEOs and their leadership teams, Do people really want you to be honest?)


John, the open government mission is live and running! http://edgeryders.ppa.coe.int/we-people/spotlight-open-government

This week, our team will focus on promoting the campaign brief WE THE PEOPLE, but you can go ahead and play the ‘Spotlight: open government’ mission. You can also propose to people from your network to play the opengov mission. I adopted an individual approach for the moment, not to harm the general promotion of the overall campaign.

Mon ami Nick Charney, parmi les plus connus défenseurs de gouvernement ouvert au Canada, a affiché cette image sur sa page Facebook ce soir, concernant la consultation du gouvernement fédéral, qui se terminait aujourd’hui le 16 janvier 2012. Ce velociraptor a l’air plutôt sympathique, il pose comme le penseur de Rodin! Tyrannosaure ou velociraptor? La grosse griffe me pousse à penser qu’il s’agirait d’un velociraptor, mais il a une tête de Tyrex. N’empêche qu’un dinosaure carnivore féroce, ce n’est pas ce qu’il y a de plus gentil… Belle image, gouvernement du Canada!

Une vision transculturelle du gouvernement ouvert

Voici la traduction en français de la section de cette mission portant sur ma vision:


Ma vision d’un gouvernement ouvert consiste en un partenariat multilatéral hybride - une intégration transnationale faisant le pont entre la culture et l’identité nationale. Je crois que ceci fournirait une opportunité d’exploration sans précédent des plus instructives de développement du gouvernement ouvert à travers le monde.

Je ne sais pas exactement encore comment s’y prendre pour briser la régulation culturelle (acculturation). Je passe mon temps à me demander comment l’anglosphère et la Francophonie pourraient devenir comme des vases communicants. Je considère que ceci pourrait être possible si la Francophonie était considérée comme «forte», c’est-à-dire s’il y avait égalité entre les deux sphères.

Au cours des cinq dernières années, j’ai fait de mon mieux pour agir en tant que pont vivant entre les anglophones et les francophones. J’ai même édité mon blogue - L’Ère du Temps - dans les deux langues, ce qui n’est même pas le cas de plusieurs institutions gouvernementales. L’osmose m’attire, me fascine. Cela est défini comme le mouvement de molécules de solvants passant à travers une membrane perméable vers une région de concentration plus élevée, visant à égaliser les concentrations de part et d’autre de la membrane. Je souhaiterais appliquer ce système biologique à la sphère du gouvernement ouvert. J’aimerais que l’information à propos du gouvernement ouvert voyage facilement de l’anglais au français (et vers d’autres langues également), et vice versa.

L’acculturation de facto des membres de ma communauté, par l’assimilation à une culture anglophone (supposément) mondiale, et la négation de l’identité culturelle, tout cela me fatigue. Je suis lasse d’avoir à se conformer à cet état des choses. Pendant des années, j’ai eu à négocier activement les limites de la séparation culturelle, l’assimilation et l’exclusion, sur une base quotidienne. Par conséquent, j’aspire à des solutions de fusion, d’inclusion, et ainsi de suite.

Je crois que l’hyperespace transnational devrait être une expression évolutive de différentes cultures et de langues. J’entrevois que si les médias sociaux permettent de nouvelles notions de connectivité, de communication et d’interaction, les médias sociaux produisent et diffusent également par conséquent de nouvelles cultures. Je voudrais étendre cette approche au gouvernement ouvert. Par conséquent, j’ai conçu avec John F Moore de Government in the Lab, le projet Gouvernement ouvert et Francophonie, qui visait la participation d’une majorité d’États francophones (39) et de près de 1000 de leurs villes - c’est-à-dire une masse critique de gouvernements - qui se seraient impliqués dans un partenariat multilatéral hybride.

Je parle souvent de transcendance et de conscience. Je vise à créer ultimement une métamorphose transculturelle, qui transcenderait les mondes et diverses réalités.

Pour en savoir plus à propos de ma vision, consultez mes rapports de mission chez Edgeryders http://edgeryders.ppa.coe.int/share-your-ryde/mission_case/longing-open-government

We need to go more Social Open Gov

Lyne,

I think no one has said that a openGov project is easy, perhaps our passion for this subject blind our eyes and makes us believe it will be easy, even that everyone involved will have the same passion and dedication like us.

Obviously, the first step that any initiative should exceed openGov is to have the explicit support of the government’s main politic person involved.

Only with a clear and explicit political support can lead to carry out this initiative.

If you do not get this political support, I suggest is that you gather as many people as diverse as possible in order to demonstrate the benefits of open government.

But this demonstration must be based on clear examples, real, easy to understand by anyone.

What you need to do is socialize openGov, take it out of the realm of politicians to bring it to the field of society.

Good luck! :slight_smile:

MarcG

Caught in immobility

It would be the ideal thing to do, Mark, to collaborate with authorities who demonstrate willingness to act (ie ‘explicit support’), where there would be no need to push them in the back, or to send them a staggering number of letters to convince them of making the slightest move.

Time passes and nothing happens. Whole years go by. While others around you explore and bloom, you look in the mirror and there is nothing there to see. At some point, you realize that it could probably go on like this for decades: trapped in a kind of protected floating bubble, isolated from information and innovation, in part because of the language barrier. Citizens do not even know what they are missing, because they are kept in the dark. The society of silence extends to traditional media, who talk about everything except what is important.

Sometimes, some citizens get angry and try to protest. 200.000 of them, even 300.000 sign petitions. But petitions are ignored. People know that their actions were in vain. Therefore, they get less and less likely to protest at the next opportunity. Officials continue to do as they are pleased.

I found nothing better to do than run away, in order to continue to do things that I love and hang on to my dreams. Otherwise, I’d be dead inside. At home, that I observe from my distant observatory, everything remains frozen in near immobility. This inaction is recognized and condemned by all. Not a week goes by without a significant take to lament the matter publicly.

What is it we need? We need some form of cataclysm - to act as an adrenaline rush. Because simple rationality seems powerless to provoke the people, to the point that officials could accept such a vague concept as change. While change is synonymous with evolution, with its tendency to move slowly, what is desired by many, including myself, is speed.

The bond of trust between politicians and citizens is completely broken, and they want change,” said MP Bernard Landry. “Citizens want politicians to cease to be “in [their] bubble.” (ref)

We need fresh air. We need to change stagnant water. The attraction for individualism is strong, while the solution - you totally understood it Marc - is inexorably toward its opposite, solidarity. However, collective identity has become faulty: it fails to win the greatest number and, therefore, it is unable to unite us in action.

A lot of patience

Lyne,

Certainly is not easy, and many times it is discouraging.

But you should not lose hope, you have to seek more support, you can not be alone in this adventure.

You may mark small steps (realistic steps) that help you see you are progressing.

And a lot of patience! :slight_smile:

By the way, in this case, I personally don’t think language is a problem, (and you know we also have our language in Catalonia, in a Spanish state dominated by another language).

Regards.

The sleeper must remain asleep

Oh my! Marc, are you pushing us to have a discussion about separation… ? I don’t like to go any near this hot potato debate…

I can see that there is a lack of debate and discussion about opengov in French. I believe that is because most citizens are not aware that opengov exists as a possibility, because there is a lack of information available in French. Marc, you often talk, in your texts and presentations, about the importance of having well informed citizens. There has been about 3 articles in the Francophone main stream media about open government. Two in Le Devoir in November 2011, and one in Voir this week. Everything else published in this area is in English, happens in the rest of Canada, other provinces. Or other countries.

On December 15, 2011, Tony Clement, a Canadian federal minister had a town hall about open government. He tweeted live (a similar event to the one hosted by Barack Obama). There was few Francophone participation. Journalist Elizabeth Thompson reported in iPolitics: ‘While the French session had steady traffic, the English one was so popular it trended in Canada.’

Why was this particular town hall so popular in English, and not so popular in French?

I suppose that this could be explained by the fact that there are about 22% French-speaking citizens in Canada, compared to about 58% English-speaking Canadians. Furthermore, the announcement of an open government initiative by the federal government never made it in the Francophone media stream. They didn’t publish the news, back in March 2011.

The language factor may or may not be of influence, but I believe it plays a role in holding off open government in Quebec. There are probably many other factors, like politics, getting in the way. For instance, at the last federal general election, in May 2011, most of Quebekers voted for opposition party, NDP. The ‘orange wave’ has swept the province, as the polls predicted, but even more strongly than expected. With some 43% of the vote, the party of Jack Layton succeeded to elect 58 MPs. Quebec provided the Democrats nearly 60% of its members of parliament.

The few Francophone participation at the town hall (and rest of Canada opengov debate) could be explained by:

1) Most Quebeckers are not informed enough about opengov possibilities;

2) The business conducted by the federal government leaves most Quebeckers in indifference;

3) The indifference of the Premier of Canada and his team drives a wedge between Quebec and the rest of the country.

4) Government policies and actions do not meet the needs and aspirations of the population.

We are seeing the slow de facto separation of Quebec from the rest of the country, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually,” complains Peter White in a letter published by Maclean’s magazine. Today, he writes, the voice of Quebec is practically absent from the hallways of power in Ottawa, or at least its voice became very weak and is easy to ignore. He warned that the “unquebecisation by the federal government will lead inexorably to the uncanadianisation of Quebec. (ref)

These are just some of the possible factors to be considered, at the federal level.

At the provincial level, we could say it like this, there is a deliberate ‘un-opengovcisation’ (a new expression I just invented), because no leader ever talks openly about these things. In France, in Belgium, in the Canadian province of British Columbia, gov leaders speak about open data and open government. I mentioned in this mission report the example of the Premier of British Columbia, Christy Clark: she made a video where she explains her opengov vision and provides hints of future developments in this province. The Premier of Quebec, Jean Charest, never said a word about these issues, not even when he asked the Deputy House Leader, Henri-François Gautrin, to make an analysis about the Potential of Web 2.0, in October 2010, 16 months ago. There was not even one public declaration in 16 months. No press release. No mention in the government portal index page. There is a glaring lack of information! It is no wonder that traditional media are not inclined to write about these issues, and that are no reporters specialized in these matters in Quebec.

Photo: Mario Asselin

Not to wake the strength and great power of the ‘Potential of Web 2.0’, let’s have the least talk as possible? The sleeper must remain asleep… In this week’s article about open government, Mario Asselin predicts that Gautrin’s report will end up covering dust, like his previous report. I do not expect a lot from this “Report Gautrin No.2” since the first report, on e-government, promptly took the path of the shelves.If we ever have a change of government in upcoming genenal elections - probably to be held this Spring 2012 - let’s hope if a new party is elected, it will remember that civil servants and one Liberal MP focused for 16 months on these issues. Or will they prefer to start another analysis of their own? Analysis appears to be a crucial task of this government… Some action would not be asking for too much.

It is not the place nor the time…

Lyne,

I do not want to talk about separation, is not the place nor the time.

All I’m saying is that with all the caveats, I think I know the situation a bit (I think it is similar to that of Catalonia and Spain).

Historically, Catalonia has not been “well treated” by the governments of Spain, but it is also true that often Catalans governments hide behind this historic abuse to cover their mistakes, their weaknesses.

I don’t know if this is the case of Quebec.

But please, do not start a debate here about separation, I insist that here is not the place nor the time.

Regards.

MarcG

Reconciling differences, socio-cultural enrichment

Photo: Claudia Megele

I really enjoy these few sentences on reconciling differences and bridging divisions, from a speech by Claudia Megele, Masters in social work, to the House of Lords, July 19, 2011. (Her interests in research include: interpersonal communication, psychological capital and emotional resilience, social networking, study of violence, critical and reflective practice, liminality and hyper-reality, management and governance, social and economic policy/ regeneration.)

"The internet and social media offer infinitely malleable avenues of expression and exchange which have transformed our notions of sociality, communication, connectedness, self-expression and equality.

We must reformulate and attune the prescriptive language of policy and statements of change, with a message of hope and an invitation for a new participatory citizenship constituted and sustained based on a dynamic appreciation for diversity and profound commitment to a greater social justice and a proactive social engagement and equality.

The other side of this coin is the challenge to cultural communities to reconcile differences and bridge divisions in order to ensure that diversity is indeed understood, lived and expressed as socio-cultural enrichment."

Role for opengov and citizen participation at UN

FYI, JohnFMoore has a new discussion thread at Citizens in the Lab, where he asked ‘Do you see a role for open government and citizen participation at the United Nations’? Here is my comment.