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Liberals Open Government Agenda – a welcome policy platform.

There hasn’t been much said on this particular policy plank announced by the Liberals yesterday, aside from David Eaves, so I thought I’d give my little shout-out to the LPC for this. Included in here is the promise to being back the mandatory long-form census, but in addition to that, includes these very specific promises for more open data from government:

Make as many government datasets as possible available to the public online free of charge at in an open and searchable format, starting with Statistics Canada data, including data from the long-form census; Post all Access to Information requests, responses, and response times online at; and Make information on government grants, contributions and contracts available through a searchable, online database at

These aren’t just general declarations and mumblings of supporting more accountability – these are very specific promises that show what the Liberals are saying they will do and to allow comparisons to what the government is (or isn’t) doing.

Between this new open data promise, and the declaration they support Net Neutrality, the Liberals are positioning themselves very progressively on technology issues involving more freedom of data and freedom of people to use the internet as they wish.

4 comments to Liberals Open Government Agenda – a welcome policy platform.

  • I really like this promise. And as Observer said, it is just a promise. However, I worry about the implementation of this, and how would people use, misuse, abuse, misinterpret, etc. this information. Would we become driven to reduce any cost, all costs, without looking at the benefit? Would benefits be fairly characterized, or unfairly compared against seeming similar alternatives which aren’t similar at all? Will we ever develop realistic expectations for benefits, or will everything just be viewed another waste? These things already happen with information already available. I think this should go ahead, but be prepared this will become another weapon or battleground.

    • Namesake

      @Bradford Dillman, you’re right, it will engender some new battles: particularly on the “who’s getting Grants & Contributions” front. But the key, then, will be to have people on both sides getting into it, to defend the decisions, & at least this way we’ll be able to systematically track the cuts, or favours, & see if there’s really an ideological pattern contrary to the public interest. This’ll be a big change from the status quo, tho’, where EVERYbody’s flying blind. About 10 years ago, there was a fed. Voluntary Sector Initiative where the TREASURY BOARD tried to figure out how much the feds. were granting to nonprofits each year, and they…. GAVE UP. (It was too hard, and expensive, to try to piece all the info. together from all the diff. Departmental silos.)

      As for the ‘but it’s just another empty promise’ objection: well, as soon as that comes from a real Con. pol. rather than a con-bot, the Libs. should just take them up on the dare, and say: let’s do it, then, right here & now, BEFORE the next election: the Cons. & Libs. have enough votes b/w them; Hell, it could/should well be an All-Party bill. The Cons. pretend — and RAN ON — open, accountable gov’t: time for THEM to prove it.

  • Observer

    It’s good policy that’s definitely true but I doubt many voters believe the Federal liberals would actually do any of this.

    First there was the famous Red Book GST promise years ago, then the marijauna promise by Martin, and countless others both small and large.

    In Ontario, you don’t see the provincial Libs moving to any type of “open government” and there was a mass of secrecy surrounding the G20 fence.

    At least in Ontario, a rational voter will conclude that the same Liberals in a majority govt aren’t going to suddenly turn around and change their feathers while working at the federal level in a minority situation.

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