Cheers: to open government, if we actually get it. It is early days yet, but taking a trip through the data being offered up right now on the provincial government’s Open Government Initiative website, it seems a little sparse. There are just 20 data sets, and 10 of them are individual on-time records for vessels in the province’s ferry fleet. If open government means knowing that, out of 598 trips between LaPoile and Rose Blanche during the period April 2012 and March 2013, the ferry was late five times and early five times, then we have certainly reached that point.
Right now, though, open government looks a lot more like a data dump of useless or hopelessly complicated government statistical information. You can use the Transportation Department’s highway distance calculator to figure out how long it will take you to drive somewhere, or else you can go to the Open Government site and download all 34.72 megabytes of the raw data that the calculator uses to figure out those travel times, and then do the calculations yourself. What’s that old W.C. Fields saying? “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” Oh well — maybe there will be better times ahead.
Cheers: to your tax dollars at work. Here’s Government House Leader Darin King, arguing that a cabinet minister should not have to hand over a document he was reading from in the House of Assembly. (Under House rules, if you read from a document, you can be forced to table it for all members to see.) “If you look at the desks of any minister over here, mine included, you will see multiple papers. Any time we stand we have papers in our hand that we often refer to. Sometimes we hold them for the sake of holding them.” We always suspected that might be the case. Nice of King to confirm it.
Jeers: to painting the town… blue. it’s been a bit of a standing joke that the new windows on the East Block of Confederation Building are being coloured Tory-blue as a result of the multi-multimillion-dollar renovations to the exterior of the building. The government’s excuse? The consultants made them do it. Well, now the federal Tories are doing the same thing — a “rebranding” exercise for all federal government websites is set to have them all based on blue themes by the time the whole system is in place by 2016. Here’s what The Hill Times was told about the change: “‘Several design elements with different colours were tested internally among web-professional working groups,’ explained Jordan Sinclair, a media relations spokesperson for the Employment and Social Development department. ‘For web design purposes, blue is an easy colour to work with and provides contrast between the background and other design elements,’ he said.” Ahhh, the never-ending wonder of the happy colour coincidence…