This post is the second in a two part series about what motivates people to get involved in Open Government.It originally appeared in the GTEC2104 Blog.
Open Government impacts our economy, political system, social stability, quality of life, beliefs, and ultimately the heart of democracy. It’s big and that makes it important, but I think for something to motivate you, it needs to be personal, so this is my story.
If you know me, you may also know that I am part of a little pack that includes two golden retrievers. These dogs have webbed feet and love to swim. The image above was taken at an off leash dog park near my home. Several years ago I inadvertently became president of the dog walkers association and last year we formally adopted the park.
Because I love my dogs and enjoy being outside with them I care about water quality and development issues.
In this case the jurisdictions involved include the City who owns and operates the park, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority which maintains the coastline (the park is on an Island), Parks Canada who is responsible for the waterway itself (which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the province of Ontario, and any number of Federal and Provincial regulatory bodies.
Truly Open Government (across all jurisdictions) would help me because I could get a holistic picture that would help me judge if and when it was safe to let the dogs swim in the river and, if I wanted to join them.
In my ideal world it would also make it easy for me to get timely notifications of changes to issues I care about, to learn about those changes and take part in the decision-making. For instance: zoning changes that allow new development in the area, or new regulations around pesticide use, or invasive species such as the Ash Borer (the park has at least 260 Ash trees).
This is just one example from my life, but it could just as easily be about caring for a loved one, getting across the border in a timely fashion, knowing if that person knocking on my door really is from a charity, or something as simple as when to fly the flag outside the legion at half mast.
What about you, why is Open Government important to you?