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does your candidate believe in open?

ibelieveinopenJennifer Bell, of has launched a new site, ibelieveinopen, asking candidates to take a pledge for openness:

I believe candidates should:

  • Support reforms that increase government transparency and accountability.
  • Make campaign promises specific and measurable, and report progress on promises and their metrics at least semi-annually.
  • Publish the content of his or her daily schedule, including meetings with lobbyists and special interest groups.
  • Support reforms allowing free access to scientific and survey data gathered by government institutions.
  • Support reforms that make it easier for Canadians to obtain government information they have a right to know.

As of today, there are 51 candidate pledges (about evenly split between the Greens & the NDP, with 1 Libera)l. I’ve emailed all my candidates to ask them if they will be taking the pledge, except Sebastian Dhavernas, who does not have an email address listed on the interweb!

Here is the little email I sent, if you would like to copy it:


Will [Candidate Name] be signing this pledge?

51 candidates have done so already.

Hugh McGuire


  1. Steven Mansour Steven Mansour 2008-09-25

    Most of the bullets points are reasonable, except for this one:

    Publish the content of his or her daily schedule, including meetings with lobbyists and special interest groups.

    It’s one thing to hold politicians accountable, it’s another to expect them to write daily reports about “what I did at work today”. Politicians – yes, even elected officials – are human beings too, and we shouldn’t need to babysit them if we did our homework on them before heading to the polls. Who thinks it’s a good idea to create even more bureaucracy?

    I would prefer to see the hour-or-so of time spent writing a daily schedule used elsewhere, like, I don’t know, actually working on legislation or something.

    Finally, there will always be the closed-door meetings and back-room sessions with interests groups and lobbyists. I’m less interested in the existence of these meetings than in their outcome; if legislation I favor is pushed through, then I really don’t care if it came as a result of a private meeting or a public consultation.

    Not everything needs to be open.

  2. Hugh Hugh 2008-09-25

    yeah i think i agree, but i’m not sure… though surely any MP’s meetings are contained in an electronic calendar that should be easily exportable, and put-onlineable. so i don’t imagine publishing the calendars will eat into their busy legislation-crafting time.

    whether or not it’s a good idea is another thing, but given the choice between knowing who my MP meets with and not knowing who he meets with, I will take the “knowing.”

    following from there, the question is: what is a reasonable set of guidelines, and can we build a good calendar system for all MPs that will publish easily to the web, so that their secretaries can press “send” and have the info public?

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