On several occasions during Beyond 2010, Chris Moore, CIO of Edmonton, mentioned the existence of an alliance, or coalition, of open cities – the G4. If you search on Google with keywords 'G4 Canada', you come across a television network dedicated to the world of interactive entertainment, rechargeable batteries, the Canadian Payments Association, and just about anything, EXCEPT information on open cities.
If you visit each city's websites of this G4 coalition, you will not find any mention of 'open city' on home pages.
There are over 5,000 municipalities in Canada. A small number of municipalities embraces one of the most important trends in public management - Government 2.0. These oases of open governance are talking to each other, they cooperate and they help each other. BUT ALMOST NO ONE IS AWARE OF THIS!
I think it's so extraordinary that it deserves to be shouted from rooftops. Can you imagine the importance of these pioneering cities? They represent the future. They show that it is possible to trust and respect citizens. They open a new window of democracy.
Information about G4, I would like to see it posted everywhere. It would be nice to have a nice big interactive button on home pages of each city, proudly stating 'Member of the Alliance of Open Cities', where one could find profiles of cities, a list of current and upcoming projects, etc.
I would like to see colorful banners hanging from lampposts in these municipalities, proclaiming loudly 'open city government 2.0'.
I would like these incredible initiatives to be highly visible in real life (not only in the virtual world).
I would like the symbol of an alliance of open cities to become a symbol of pride, solidarity and quality across the country. The mere sight of this symbol would encourage other municipalities to join the government 2.0 movement.
I would like awards to be presented annually to the best open municipalities, and citizens to be publicly recognized for their civic participation. People would proudly wear their long gowns and evening wear to celebrate collaboration between citizens and municipal government.
I would like to see traveling exhibits across Canada (in malls, libraries, public places and community spaces), and panels describing the initiatives of the first open cities. Information about history of the alliance of open cities, and explanations about government 2.0.
G4 info does not really seem to exist yet. There is information about open city projects here and there. But a comprehensive portfolio on G4, it remains to be created.
A coalition in good and due form, it seems that this also remains to be defined.
A G4 spokesperson? I do not think a spokesperson has been named yet.
A preliminary analysis of content available on the Web about Shari Wallace, Chris Moore, Dave Wallace, Guy Michaud (government 2.0 managers in Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto and Ottaw), reveals that the most complete and comprehensive information is about Chris Moore. We can even find information about Chris Moore as being an iconoclast. I was pleased to discover this: "Chris Moore is not your typical CIO - he has no desk in his office, he avoids PowerPoint as much as possible, and he’s always a step ahead of everybody."
Here’s an excellent presentation by Chris Moore about open data (video).
This is the type of information we should hear about these courageous people who have undertaken to implement a Government 2.0 in municipal government. These people think and do things differently. It is possible to do so, in a country like Canada. It is even being done. Some people manage to successfully implement governance 2.0. If we value and encourage these people, they will become role models of excellence, and they will inspire others to do likewise.
From now on, I would like the alliance of open cities, apparently known as the G4 (possibly G5, because the City of Montreal has apparently stepped in recently), to be so well promoted, it would shine and become visible from space.
Time has come to broaden the horizon of these pioneering cities, and to communicate and encourage a national dialogue with other Canadian municipalities, provinces and the federal government.