Blogue de Lyne Robichaud

07 juin 2011

An open government in Quebec could transform the current democracy crisis

Louise Beaudoin
Three members of Parti Quebecois (government of Quebec) resigned this Monday: Louise Beaudoin, Pierre Curzi and Lisette Lapointe. They keep their parliamentary seat as independents.

I have been doing a lot of flapping arms sideways for some time to try to bring the Government Deputy House Leader, Henri-François Gautrin, appointed to analyze the potential of Web 2.0 by Quebec Premier Jean Charest, to understand that before turning on to technological details (various social media platforms, etc..), there is a serious introspection work to be undertaken by the government. A major change in attitude would be required among elected officials and government managers. I recently blogged about "total disconnection" and denial (here and here), government infallibility, and transparency issues. I explained how important the wisdom of crowds really is (I call it collective consciousness).

Two weeks ago, I wrote to Mr. Gautrin's political adviser to remind them that their analysis task is "holy cow" (vachement) important, given that the rate of dissatisfaction of the population has reached 70% in recent surveys.

This statement (below) from parliament member Louise Beaudoin confirms how critical the situation has become. An open government initiative would probably contribute to ease this crisis and restore a semblance of harmony between the government of Quebec and citizens. Given the magnitude of the situation, it would be wise to compensate by a strong action (maximum output), like a transformation into an open government.
"I've been doing politics for 40 years and I've never seen people so negative towards the political class. What is said on blogs, social media, surveys ... reflect a language of wood, making policy as if we were at war. This kind of behavior is no longer tolerated. We must condemn this old way of doing things. There is a democracy crisis. Citizens feel alienated from their MP. And you know what? Yes, we feel it too at Parti Québécois, but this negative image of politics is primarily Jean Charest' fault, and the Liberals. They are responsible for the impairment of people's vision towards the political class.", said Louise Beaudoin.
If there is "impairment of people's vision towards the political class", how is the government of Quebec intending to transmute this impairment into an improved and harmonious relationship between the government and citizens? Again, I repeat it, an open government initiative would directly address this issue. Again, I repeat it, the government of Quebec must address these critical issues now, because there is an analysis mandate on the tale. (I'm not really a baseball fan, but I really like this quote.) The government should follow Yogi Berra's advice: "When you see a fork on the road, pick it up."

So far, Gautrin's team does not pick up open data or open government forks. They see the forks, they see them very clearly, they are tempted to pick them up. But they are not picking them up yet. What a pity if their analysis efforts - months of work - did not produce optimal results.

The government of Quebec has as much potential as any other country that has taken an open government turn. Yes, we can! Leadership and a strong willingness to improve the situation are however missing. It is not too late to give a new direction - new soul of leadership - to the investigative work regarding the potential of Web 2.0. Pick up the forks! Hey, this reminds me that I have not tried yet voodoo dolls with needles, you know, representing the spirit of a person, used to cast spells. Maybe it would work on them to make them change direction? What do you think? Forks ... needles ... whoa ... Pick up the forks!

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