This Canada Day, improve our democracy
For more than two years, this site has been helping Canadians keep tabs on Parliament. Following bills, watching their MPs, or holding politicians accountable for what they said earlier on: thousands of Canadians use Open Parliament every day.
My name's Michael, and I built and maintain this entirely nonpartisan site as a volunteer. But I want it to keep on growing. I can't do it alone. I need your help.
Together with Open North, a wonderful new nonprofit devoted to building online tools to make democracy better, we want to build a new tool to help make your voice heard. Tentatively called Citizen Writes, it's inspired by the successful Parliament Watch in Germany.
Parliament Watch allows citizens to publicly ask questions both to candidates during elections and to representatives in office. Since 2004, average citizens have asked more than 140,000 questions and 80% of them have been answered by politicians.
This type of public question-and-answer system acts as a shared memory for voters, helping them hold politicians to their word. By engaging publicly with representatives, citizens empower backbench MPs to take a stance on issues before public and party policy is set. These personal exchanges strengthen the identity of individual MPs. And having the conversation in public encourages politicians to respond authentically, because it’s obvious when they’re using stock answers. With your help, we can develop this powerful tool for Canada.
Happy Canada Day! And thanks.