Jonathan Brun

Québec Ouvert – a new citizen initiative

My blog has been a bit quiet of late, due largely to the launch of a new citizen initiative for open data – Québec Ouvert. This effort follows a similar format and model to the successful effort in Montreal (Montreal Ouvert).

One notable difference will be the strategy and the data sets we target for release. By nature, provincial services are more removed from the citizen’s daily life than municipal services. Municipalities offer street cleaning, public transit, roads (some), and parks. Provinces most used services include healthcare, education and larger infrastructure. It could be said that you interact with municipal services on a daily basis, with provincial services on a monthly basis and with federal services on an annual basis. Consequently, we will be working with a different strategy and a wider perspective, while trying to bring our narrative to the individual level – hospital wait times, road construction and high quality education. Specifically, we will be encouraging the province to embrace open data as a tool to fight corruption.

I recently penned two articles on major issues in Quebec – how to use open data for a clean environment and the potential of open data to limit the increases in school tuition fees. The Québec Ouvert initiative is entirely in french and brings together people from Québec City, Montréal and Gatineau. We will keep you posted as we progress towards an accessible and open province!

Published on April 2, 2012

Montreal Ouvert – my new project!

I am very happy to announce the formal launch of Montreal Ouvert.net, a citizen’s action group to encourage the city of Montreal to embrace Open-Data. Open-Data is the practice of releasing information in a form that can be easily downloaded, used, merged and distributed. This means: centralized information, not in PDFs, and without copyright.

This project was born out of discussions with Michael Lenczner of Ile sans fil fame and now includes two other amazing co-founders, Jean-Noé Landry, a democracy consultant, and Sebastien Pierre of Form Function, a data visualization company. We are working hard to meet with relevant stakeholders in the city of Montréal and to raise awareness of this issue. Sadly, Montreal lags behind other Canadian cities, all of whom have embraced open-data practices. We hope to help Mayor Tremblay and his administration move the city’s data into the 21st century.

Together, we plan to coordinate efforts in the city and eventually help propose a council resolution that will allow and oblige the various city departments to publish their data in an open and useable format. The best way to familiarize yourself with our ideas is to visit the project’s site at Montreal Ouvert.net.

You can also follow us on Twitter at here.

We are always looking for help, ideas and assistance, so do not hesitate to contact me at jbrun@jonathanbrun.com

Published on August 6, 2010

No transparency in Montreal

Municipal politics are messy. A number of scandals have rocked Montréal in the past year, overpriced water meters, lazy construction workers and sketchy land permits. All this amounts to corruption.

So, in their bureaucratic wisdom, the Quebec government commissioned a study on how to fix the problem. Their solution: a code of ethics. Bravo.

The simplest, quickest, and cheapest way to rid an organization of corruption is to increase transparency. The more eyes looking at it, the less likely someone will try and pull a quick one.

With the power of the internet, cities and governments are moving towards transparency. Obama is a leading, as usual, on this front, with recovery.gov and usaspending.gov which lists where government contracts are going. Both Toronto and Vancouver have endorsed the concept of an ‘open-city’ where data and information is freely available to the citizens.

Where is Montreal on all this? Still in the woods. In a meeting with the city last year, I actually brought up the point that contaminated sites in Montreal are very difficult to locate – the city should list them on google maps (or something of the sort). The response I got was, “Why would we do that?”. The insular nature of our french island has put us 5 years behind on many technological fronts – government transparency being a major one.

Published on July 17, 2009

Amazing! I love Montréal.

The new bike path down deMaisoneuve is open for business (with the exception of the stupid taxi stand near Concordia). It is amazing, biking downtown is so much better with this. We just need people to look both ways before crossing the path by foot or car (I almost killed an old Chinese couple last night).

Mayor Tremblay has my vote.

Published on October 30, 2007

The Insane Artist


Just saw the Bruce Nauman exhibit in Montreal.

Very cool stuff. I repeatedly fail to understand modern art. It seems to be the sane observing the insane artist with little hope of truly understanding their madness that created the ‘art’.

Can a doctor understand, or worse – cure – insanity? What do I understand of Nauman, Kerouac, Duchamp, Ginsberg, …. except that they existed over the edge and looked back at us.

That being said, Nauman’s work is definitely worth seeing and you should check out the exhibit before it closes.

Published on August 16, 2007