Thursday, July 11, 2013

- 10 ideas: politics edition -

Besides education, I feel like politics is another big system that could use some fixing. I feel like the general Canadian should have more ability to see and influence what happens in the country.

  1. Proportional Representation Definitely not a new idea. In our current winner-take-all system, many people feel like their vote is wasted and end up doing things like strategic voting - voting for the lesser of two evils just to keep someone they dislike out.
  2. Glass Votes Every vote on every bylaw is recorded in a publicly accessible database. You could search and filter by subject, politician, year. You can be choose to be notified on upcoming votes that interest you, or interesting votes that has just happened, or how your councillor voted.
  3. Simple Law laws rephrased into a common and easy-to-understand way. If any accuracy is lost from translating from legalese, put in footnotes to explain further. Also add in real-life examples on how this law affects you. For instance, everyone can agree to "Stopping Online Piracy" - but at what cost?
  4. Say and Do crawls transcripts of speeches and debates to sum up a politician's public positions. Crawls through votes of various laws to sum up a politician's true positions. The difference between tatemae and honne. This could also be tracked on a party-level, but you would be more effective calling out specific persons.
  5. Vote Subreddit Automatic listing of all upcoming laws/bylaws, preferably translated through Simple Law (above). Local councillor contact info is autogenerated with geolocation. People can upvote the ones that interest them, and comment on what they think. Then with the contact info, they can immediately contact their councillor on what they think.
  6. Mandatory Debate During every election cycle, install mandatory debates moderated by an organization with the public's interest in mind (e.g. EFF). This way we can hear what they have to say on hard questions that matter.
  7. Who To Contact Enter an issue you have and this service will give you the contact info you need, along with a templated letter for your issue.
  8. Demand Answer Open a petition and get people to sign it. If 25% of the voting population has signed it, the government must give a non-trivial answer. The ombudsman can decide whether the petition has been sufficiently answered. Similar to what the States have right now, except they don't have the ability to refute the answer given.
  9. Money Trail Graphs how a politician made their money (in terms of jobs and donations) and how they're spending their money (in terms of laws and expenses). As a senior executive once told us, don't believe what people say - track how they're spending their money to really see what's important to them.
  10. Conflict-of-Interest Alert track what organizations a politician has been part of and what laws they pass. For instance, sound off the alert when an oil-friendly politician gets a job at an oil firm.

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