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 and 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