During our one-week campaign from June 25 to July 1st, we raised $4,180 for a new online project, Citizen Writes, that will allow citizens to publicly ask questions both to candidates during elections and to representatives in office.
Open North will continue to explore options to finance this project, but with the current funding we will nonetheless be able to launch a version of the public question-and-answer system. Work will begin in September, and we plan to launch in time for the winter holidays (a holiday gift to Canadians!).
In this first phase, funds will primarily be spent on technical aspects, such as designing an intuitive interface and programming tools for moderators. As the project’s launch approaches, more time will be spent on communications and editorial work, and the recruitment and training of moderators.
Many important tasks are already completed. Thanks to our earlier project, Represent, we have a database of elected officials with contact information. And thanks to open source code from the UK charity, mySociety, we have a strong foundation on which to build our public Q&A platform.
A sincere thanks to our donors, and to all those who spread the word about our campaign, for supporting our efforts to improve Canada’s democracy.