Blogue de Lyne Robichaud

18 juin 2011

Mario Asselin probes in person François Legault about open government

(Mario Asselin)

Mario Asselin says, "I think." While from my perspective, after having planted as many open government seeds as possible from all sides in the last six months in Quebec, I've come to the point where I say "I meditate," by focusing on my goals and desires, and hoping that a Quebecois politician will be willing to take the path of change.

It is precisely when we detach ourselves from our desires, that invisible strings begin to stir and activate the mechanisms that materialize desires.

I was not able to carry my message in person to François Legault's ears, co-founder of the Coalition for the Future of Quebec (CAQ), the most popular politician in Quebec, according to recent polls. A week ago, I sent an open government suggestion on CAQ's Web site. Then, a discussion took place on this Web site, where I had the opportunity to provide details about what is an open government, and suggestions for experimental projects that could be brought forward by the CAQ. But these discussions, there is no way of knowing whether they are read by the co-founders of the CAQ, let alone fathom what they think.

I was not able to evangelize open government myself to François Legault or Charles Sirois, while Mario Asselin was generous enough to do so. A nice surprise, which generates hopes that soon, a Quebec leader might embrace the open government philosophy.

Here are the minutes of the meeting with Mario Asselin François Legault, published in a post by Mario Asselin, "I wish us a great adventure" («Je nous souhaite une belle aventure») on June 18, 2011:
"Participative Web, a more transparent government and open data
There has been much listening and opening on these topics from Mr. Legault. This is what I felt, really. Mr. Legault has already an impressive background in politics. He has the merit to be able to reassure the public. But it could also "lock" him in predictable behavior. The wind of change blowing in Quebec and elsewhere in the world is not without titillating the curiosity of leaders like Mr. Legault. The idea of giving access to as much raw data as possible and let people "build" with data, Mr. Legault did not hear it for the first time. He told me to be both surprised and intrigued by the "open data" concept, that some government officers with whom he's in touch, talk to him about confidentially. No wonder he cannot understand all the ins and outs around these questions, when you realize that public service professionals themselves must walk a very narrow corridor to address these issues with the "political" realm. I assumed that Mr. Legault believes strongly in the principles of empowering people, and bringing them closer to where the action takes place. I submitted him the reading of this post by Lyne Robichaud, and I argued that other citizens would like to know whether or not the Coalition for the future of Quebec is interested by these issues, that challenge the governance of public affairs.

Of course, I shared my disappointment to François Legault (and my few good shots) on the use of the Internet in politics. I believe that my testimony about the number of my lost battles in this field of politics and the participative Web was able to put some pressure on him, when it came time to answer, at the end of our conversation, to the question "We end this meeting by a short video, Mr. Legault?". The result is not so bad, even though technically I could have done better. Still, the reaction of the Coalition's Number One was refreshing ... He made the experience, with Charles Sirois, of a video for the Web, and he was surprised by the simplicity of my approach. "We did that on a corner table, it took us five minutes and we spoke directly to teachers, without complicating our lives. (This video) has nothing to do with the shooting I did with Charles..." Welcome to conversations and dialogue on the Web, Mr. Legault!"
I am convinced of the validity of implementing an open government in Quebec. The positive effects are so numerous that they would go beyond anything we can imagine.

Mario Asselin, I wish you a great adventure, and a nice complicity with CAQ's leaders.

Most importantly, I wish us all soon - all Quebecers - a great adventure of an open government in Quebec.

I translate this post in English, so that English-speaking members of the global open government sphere can also hold their breath and hope that a Quebec politician will make the leap.

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