There seems to be one common theme in Stephen Harper’s Conservative government: give them a piece of technology, even as simple as a landline telephone, and they will find a way to create a nationwide scandal.
There’s no shortage of drama either—new information says that a Liberal staffer created “Vikileaks” to demonstrate what it would be like to have your personal privacy exposed on the Internet after controversial remarks from Vic Toews about passing the bill that would allow greater access to your personal activites.
Currently there is the Robocalls election scandal where Responsive Marketing Group (RMG) seems to be the major culrprit of calls that mis-directed Canadians to the polling booth on voting day last year, according to the CBC. Liberal Leader Bob Rae is calling this “Tory-gate” saying that it is of similar proportion to the infamous 1973 Richard Nixon Watergate scandal.
As members of the government continue to prove that they are somewhat inadequate in using and dictating laws for the technology that has been built to serve the general public appropriately perhaps there is a better way to resolve technological matters than the House of Commons.
One way will be with the CIRA Canadian Internet forum as we pointed out earlier today on Techvibes. Another way Canadians can participate against the privacy legislation is through OpenMedia where you can sign the petition if you haven’t already against online spying as the government has now delayed the bill.
This petition is different from Canada’s version of SOPA which threatens the Internet as we know it which was further explained in this post a couple weeks ago. Further, one group is aiming to put the power of legislation truly back in the hands of the people through a startup currently in beta called Next Parliament.
The home page of the website says:
Next Parliament is an initiative designed to answer one question: What would people do?
Policy making is a space dominated by politicians, lawyers and unfortunately corporations. With the exception of high profile cases, the will of the people generally gets lost in the noise.
The goal of our site is to provide Canadians with a decision making platform driven by consensus, that utilizes the wisdom of crowds to reach more adequate and more democratic formulations of policy.
The power of technology to include the masses versus a few in the government determining the technological policy of Canada that can’t even use it properly could be a welcome sight indeed.
After all, some countries allow people to vote on issues on a regular basis—why doesn’t Canada do this more often? The last famous example I can think of is the Quebec referendum vote and there has been no doubt been many more major issues since then that the general public wanted more say in.
I guess it’s just in our nature as Canadians—we trust authority and rarely question it but Next Parliament is offering a new way for Canadians to voice themselves about public policy.
Perhaps that will change though as Co-Founder of the Next Parliament Cristian Contreras says: “Governmental use of technology is having a more negative impact on democracy as of late, than it should be expected from a liberal and open society.”
Photo: The National Post