Open government talk buzzes across Canada


Eaves referred to Vancouver's legal board as a good example of one that created "a fairly inviting license." In May 2009, as the first municipality in Canada to embrace the open city concept by passing a motion that supports open data, open standards and open source.

"The whole reason we have governments is to co-ordinate," said Eaves, in response to a panel question on what government-as-a-platform means. This is what government is about and rather than get "caught up in the newness of it," the focus should be on figuring out the way to extend this to the virtual realm, he said. "This is about empowering citizens to make the city their own," he said.

Eaves promoted the development of a "MuniForge," based on the SourceForge model, as a means for municipalities in Canada and around the world to share their IT resources. In Canada, "each city has their own IT department and (is) coding up what is essentially the same software ... cities have some specific needs, but by and large, the infrastructure is the same," he said.

Open sourcing software and putting it up on a platform "would suddenly transform the IT employees that are working at smaller cities into one (gigantic) IT department," he said.

(For an in-depth look at the Muniforge concept, read Eaves' article, "," originally published in the Municipal Information Systems Association's Municipal Interface journal and now available on his blog