By Sierra Bein
Premier Kathleen Wynne announced Monday at the Ryerson DMZ the launch of the new “open government” initiative.
Still engulfed in the controversy after the Liberal’s cancelation of two gas plants, and sticking taxpayers with the bill of $1.1 billion, Wynne is trying to find ways to make the government more transparent by making government documents available to Ontario.
“Problems get solved when people weigh in,” said Wynne. “We want to consult people all along the way.”
Wynne wants the province’s engagement in the decision making process, and to make “one Ontario, where every voice counts.”
Wynne’s plan includes three major steps. The first, making government data available to the people of Ontario, improving the flow of that data, and using Ontario’s input, resulting in a more meaningful impact.
“It’s their information, it belongs to the people of this Province,” said Wynne. “I want to do government differently.”
According to the government website, the information will be available to people like programers and researchers to create visualiza- tions and programs so that the information is easier to understand.
Ultimately, the goal is to create communication between the government and the people by unlock- ing data instead of archiving it.
Wynne was backed up by her Open Government Engagement team, who will be finding ways to make government data more accessible to Ontario.
The panel of experts, lead by Ottawa Senior Associate at Public Policy Forum, Don Lenihan includes other members such as Norm Sterling, a former conserva- tive MPP and Leslie Church from Google Canada.
“I know people are cynical, I know people question government and question decision making processes and this is exactly why this is so important,” said Wynne.
After the deletion of thousands of government emails with infor- mation about the gas plants, there are people who see Open Government ironic, now Liberals want more information made public after hiding it.
Unfortunately, some of the im- portance of Wynne’s announcement took a back seat when a
spelling mistake was noticed on the podium sign where she was stand- ing, reading “Open Goverment #OpenON.”
“Premier, will open government include spellchecking?” asked a reporter in the crowd as others pointed out the error.
Confused, Wynne walked in front of the sign. “That is really not good,” she said.
Wynne laughed it off, and asked for a pen before she wrote in the missing “n” on the sign herself and continued answering questions.
The panel will come out with a report by next spring, with ways to increase data flow and openness along with what costs will be involved in the process.