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Question 1: "What could be done to make it easier for you to find and use government data provided online?"
The Canadian government should decentralize/democratize information and use crowd-sourcing to sort through and present information. Government information should be published in open formats, with emphasis on transparency and the ability to comment on them, to share and sort them by concern and relevance to the people. Transparency and fairness should be paramount.
It's well known that proper use of social media is the future of information sharing; 'proper' in the sense that it needs to be useful and not just 'social' for the sake of jumping on the social media bandwagon. Simply adding twitter and facebook buttons is not 'proper'. Websites like Reddit, Digg or StumbleUpon leverage the work and opinions of a large, diverse, and voluntary group of people in order to pick, sort, rate, and comment on articles and issues that are relevant to everyone, and does so in real time, all the time, with minimal supervision required. The burden is shifted from centralized control (employees) to the people themselves, and it works smoothly as long as the system is built properly and public concerns are taken into account.
The initial costs of developing a data sharing system would be quickly recovered by the benefits, especially if it gains popularity and is used by the population effectively.- James