The Policy Wiki: A new issue — climate change

Some of you may have read — either here or elsewhere — about one of the social-media projects that I’ve been involved with at the Globe, a joint venture with the Dominion Institute known as the Public Policy Wiki. We started the wiki in January, as a way of soliciting input from concerned Canadians about a range of public policy issues, and the first issue we launched with was the federal budget. Almost a thousand people signed up in a matter of two weeks, and we got dozens of excellent “briefing note”-style policy proposals submitted, commented on, voted on and promoted in the forums. On the day the budget was released, we took the two most popular proposals and sent them to the Finance Minister in Ottawa.

Our second issue was Afghanistan, and while we got a lot of people reading the prepared analysis and commentary by Major-General Lewis Mackenzie and Janice Gross Stein, as well as the prototype briefing notes submitted by students at the School for Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto, we didn’t get a lot of submissions from readers concerned about Canada’s role in Afghanistan. Why? That’s a good question. It could be that we didn’t get word out to enough people about the wiki, or that the issue — while important — just wasn’t urgent enough to compel people to prepare policy proposals related to it, whereas the budget was very top-of-mind for readers.

In any case, we are launching our third issue today: Climate Change. We hope that people who feel strongly about this issue on either side of the fence will come to the Policy Wiki and read the prepared analysis we have from both Dr. David Suzuki — one of Canada’s pre-eminent environmental advocates — and environmental consultant Ian Morton of the Summerhill Group, as well as an overview from Mark Jaccard of the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University and former CEO of the British Columbia Utilities Commission.

Having read these analysis and overview pieces, readers can check out some of the links to background material, white papers, research documents and Globe and Mail commentary and news stories put together by the Dominion Institute and the tireless researchers at the Globe (thanks, Marjan!). And then they can either vote for the analysis they agree with most, comment on any of the pieces we have prepared, post their thoughts in the forum, or edit an existing briefing note and/or create their own briefing note using the wiki’s built-in tools. As we did with the budget, we will pass on the most popular proposals to the federal Environment Minister.

If you are concerned about Canada’s role in climate change, and what the federal government is (or isn’t) doing about it, please contribute your thoughts through the wiki, and pass on the URL to anyone you think might be interested. If you have any thoughts, please contact me on Twitter (@mathewi) or by email at mathew [at] mathewingram.com.

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