The Open Government Tour: Changing Canada by Exploring it


July 29, 2014

Guest blogger: Richard Pietro

This summer I am travelling across Canada on my motorcycle - approximately 20,000 KMs in total - to bring attention to the Open Government and Open Data movements.

The Open Government Tour is putting into practice the theories and principles that make up these movements: transparency, accountability, and engagement.

But first...

Why I Think Open Data and Open Government are Important

I like to say that Open Data is a technology that will give us a more accountable, transparent, and engaging government.

Open Government is the willingness to use that technology. It is the culture change required by both government and citizens that will create a much more collaborative and productive relationship, in which to build trust and to create environments where everyone can work together.

It is also important to keep in mind that this change isn’t a one-sided conversation. The public also has a role to play– and providing constructive feedback is a way for Canadians to act as catalysts. For example, not only am I doing grand gestures like the Tour, but I try to get involved on smaller scales like this brief comment I posted on the Government of Canada’s ongoing Open Government consultation.

Believe you me, posting just one constructive comment can sometimes have a much greater impact than you think.

17 Cities, 17 City Champions

With the Open Government Tour, I hope to show what Open Government can look like on a national scale - the plan is to have the Tour visit 17 cities across Canada. I’m working with a Champion in each city to help organize the local events, which may be part of a conference, a session at city hall, or a small group in a coffee shop. The common thread is that each stop will be a conversation about how engaged citizens, government employees, and private sector representatives can improve their community through the Open Government and Open Data movements. It will be an opportunity to connect, share, discuss, and learn.

A Non-technology-based Open Source Project: Civic Engagement as Art

Too often, civic engagement is viewed as a statistic (how many people voted) or duty (“we all have to get involved!”), but rarely is it viewed as art. That’s why the Open Government Tour is framing civic engagement as an art and will profile and promote those “artists” who decide to take on that challenge.

Artists serve society by looking at the world not only as it is, but as how it has been in the past, and could be in the future. Then, they apply their skills to capture that vision in such a way to have an impact on others.

That’s the Tour: finding passionate people and helping them create and share their own messages about Open Government and Open Data.

To learn more or to get involved, visit the site for the Open Government Tour.

Richard Pietro is a recovering politician who is now an active member of the Open Government and Open Data community. His current project is a cross Canada motorcycle tour (, or #OGT14 on Twitter) that will show Canadians how Open Gov/Data can turn civic engagement into a rock concert.

The opinions expressed in this blog post are not necessarily those of the Government of Canada.

Note from the team:

This is how Richard is contributing to Open Government in Canada. You can also participate by joining the ongoing discussions for the Action Plan on Open Government 2.0 Consultation.

Best of luck and safe travels, Richard!

Add comment *

Provision of the information requested on this form is voluntary. The information is being collected for the purpose of responding to your inquiry or comments, and to improve our suite of online products and services. Personal information that you provide is protected under the provisions of the federal Privacy Act. Please do not include sensitive personal information in the message, such as your Social Insurance Number, personal finance data and medical or work history.

Read the Privacy Statement for this Website.

The collection and use of your personal information is authorized by the section 7 of the Financial Administrative Act. Collection and use of your personal information for is in accordance with the federal Privacy Act. Your personal information is used to respond to your inquiries, if applicable, and may be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the program in responding to client needs. In exceptional circumstances (e.g., investigation of hackers, or of individuals who make abusive remarks or threats, etc.), personal information may be disclosed without your consent pursuant to subsection 8(2) of the Privacy Act.

Any personal information that may be collected is described in the Standard Personal Information Bank entitled Public Communications, PSU 914, which can be found in the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) publication: InfoSource. The personal information collected will only be kept by TBS for a period of eighteen months of the completion of activity after which all personal identifiers will be deleted.

Under the Privacy Act, you have the right of access to, and correction of, your personal information, if you have provided any. Note however, that to exercise either of these rights, you must make a request for access to your personal information before the retention period has expired. For more information about your right of access, please read About the Access to information Program.

If you require clarification about this Statement, contact the TBS Privacy Coordinator at 613-957-7154. For more information about your privacy rights and the Privacy Act, consult the Privacy Commissioner through the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada website or 1-800-282-1376.