Blogue de Lyne Robichaud

10 septembre 2011

"Happy Feet" and open government in Francophonie

Government leaders of France could learn from the allegory of the animated movie "Happy Feet" to guide their strategies of action towards an open government policy, and thereby, set an example for French-speaking countries.

Allegory of "Happy Feet"
Born in a colony of penguins who find their soul mate by singing, Mumble is considered to have a handicap, since he cannot sing a note properly. He is, however, really good at tap dancing. [He thinks differently, he has an iconoclast mind. Brains of iconoclasts work differently, giving them the ability have a different view.] Banished by his community because of his difference, he travelled to the Adélie Land.

Disaster struck the colony of penguins, which lacked food. The fish is scarce. [The community is experiencing economic difficulties and people are feeling the effects of a decline in prosperity.] Mumble looks for the "aliens" who steel their fish. During his journey, he will make findings on all aspects of his life and his destiny.

Mumble faces the waves and swims through a vast expanse of water. Weakened, stranded on a foreign bank, he is found by the authorities. [A foreign government supports him and financial needs.] His difference is quickly spotted and his unique talents are recognized. Foreign authorities are trying to decipher his message. Accompanying Mumble in his colony of origin, foreign authorities allow all community members to learn to tap dance like Mumble and speak with a unified "voice".

According to neuroscientist Dr Gregory Berns, in his book 'Iconoclasts'
"No organization can survive without iconoclasts -- innovators who single-handedly upturn conventional wisdom and manage to achieve what so many others deem impossible.

Though indispensable, true iconoclasts are few and far between. In Iconoclast, neuroscientist Gregory Berns explains why. He explores the constraints the human brain places on innovative thinking, including fear of failure, the urge to conform, and the tendency to interpret sensory information in familiar ways."

Lack of open government States leaders in Francophonie

No developed country of the Francophonie is still seriously involved in a process indicating that it is becoming an open government.

Quebec is not a country but it has a membership at the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, as does New Brunswick.

On September 1st, the government of Quebec ruled against the Open Government and Francophonie Project. The deputy Jean-Paul Diamond said: "There are no solutions. There is nothing at the government of Quebec that would allow the launch of this project", closing the door (at least for short and medium term) to any hope of collaboration.

Although Canada is part of the twenty-two countries that have offered so far to join the Open Government Partnership (the Steering Committee will be co-led by the United States and Brazil during the first year of collaboration), the absence of mention in public of open government issues by the Premier of Quebec and other government policy makers shows an obvious lack interest by Quebec authorities, and limits participation of Francophones to the OGP (via Canada). Note that a few countries French-speaking members of the OIF are participating to the OGP.

Open government advocates from France informed me that France has declined to invitation to participate in the OGP.

This week, the Minister Éric Besson, responsible for Industry, Energy and the Digital Economy, was visiting Quebec, a trip dedicated to opportunities for industrial partnership regarding Quebec’s Plan nord, and was to culminate with “laying the groundwork for what could be a special partnership between Quebec and France”. Check the calendar for details of his visit: Also see article «La France s'intéresse à "l'Eldorado" du Nord québécois»

It is regrettable that the Government of Quebec did not include in the discussions, even if it had only been for fifteen minutes, development opportunities and partnership related to open government perspectives.

Although the consultation on the potential of Web 2.0 has been commissioned by Premier Jean Charest, responsible for youth issues in October 2010, the Prime Minister has not yet gotten in a word in edgeways.

Minister Eric Besson’s visit in Quebec would have been an extraordinary opportunity for the Prime Minister to demonstrate support for the work of a team of nearly two dozen government managers, led by the Deputy House Leader, Henri-François Gautrin, which will devote 15 months of their time to provide guidance and propose recommendations. It would have been most interesting to find out about shared ideas on open data and open government by the Prime Minister and Minister responsible for the Digital Economy.

On September 1st, 2011, the Minister Éric Besson provided new details about the upcoming digital strategy of the government. The minister said that "the plan included 154 tangible actions, 80% of which have already been implemented."

A visit of Premier Jean Charest is expected next month in France. Michel Viatteau of APF reported yesterday that "the French Prime Minister Francois Fillon was to receive in early October the Premier of Quebec Jean Charest."

It's not too late to discuss perspectives for open government.

However, Premier Jean Charest "ruled out Thursday the possibility of holding democratic votes on bills, fearing that it would create too much instability," reported the Canadian Press on September 8th. See also "Democratic vote: bad for the economy"
Eight citizens signed an article in Le Soleil, "Quebecers are tired of old politics":
"The cynicism and disinterest for public affairs is a direct consequence of the impression that a majority of votes are wasted in every election, and that good candidates turn into servile parrot once elected.
At the age of information and diffuse authority, we can not expect to dictate to docile masses. We will never attract strong and independent personalities in politics by promising them (political party) silence, and this will not convince the young (and old) citizens to vote as they will not see that every vote counts.
Parties who cling to old ways – old fashioned practices that discredit politics rather than showing them a noble and inspiring way - will look for what they are: the old parties.
And Quebecers are tired of old politics."
What could allow for more democracy should be welcomed with greater consideration given the issues of disengagement of citizens from politicians and government.

The reaction of the Prime Minister Jean Chares regarding the democratic votes makes us seriously question ourselves about what he thinks about open government, and what degree of fear of economic instability he has about bringing changes in this field.

Following this week’s declaration of the Premier about the democratic votes, @GautrinWeb2’s Twitter stream recorded a decrease in activity. Despite a team effort to refocus on the analysis work, through a second blog post about "The what, why and how of our report," the passion is gone. A loss of meaning, alienation of citizen’s hope, further undermines the analytical work of Gautrin’s team.

The Open Government and Francophonie Project submitted to the Minister Besson
On September 8, via Twitter , the Minister Eric Besson was kind enough to agree to receive details about the Open Government and Francophonie Project.

Many observers from around the world are hanging on Éric Besson’s lips and are waiting to see how he will react to the project and what he will have to offer. We all hope that he offers something… Since Quebec has not dared to venture into new horizons, the ball is Éric Besson’s court now.

Let’s hope that the allegory of “Happy Feet” and Mumble will help Minister Éric Besson and his colleagues, and drive them to be wise and indulgent towards the people who dance tap and think differently.

The Open Government and Francophonie Project, an international partnership project that would allow the deployment and development of open governance throughout the Francophonie, could be complementary to the Open Government Partnership. A Francophone developed country, member of the OIF, endorsing a serious commitment to an open government policy would set an example and would be able to convince other countries of the Francophonie to participate in a global effort towards greater transparency, participation and collaboration with citizens.

1 commentaire:

Adney Abram a dit...

Really this is great review about Open government and excellent explain about this topic. Thanks and keep awaiting for more post.
open government

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