Opening MP Voting Records: how?

Interesting article on opening MP voting records “soon” but how effective will this be?

While not as interesting as the US given our more traditional party-disciplined voting, one can imagine some interesting data mashups. For example one could create a map linking voting records with government spending projects, financial contributions and media coverage by riding.

Will be very interesting to see what format the data is in – locked in PDFs as David Eaves has mentioned in his blog post about Vancouver, or tagged and available for anyone to access and manipulate programatically as he shows for Toronto here

Also interesting is the reference to “A Canadian site, run by a B.C. man in his spare time, tracked voting records, but it was often out of date.” which I assume means http://www.howdtheyvote.ca This would be a perfect opportunity for a collaboration between someone like How’d They Vote and the government agency responsible for publishing the data. Here is someone who has already, with no government funding, put up an interactive site to explore this data – along with quotes, bills raised, statistics and so on. Seems pretty up to date to me, with last voting data from Feb 12 2009

UPDATE: After posting this to the vanchangecamp Google Group, Cory Horner (the “BC man” in question) responded saying:

Ouch… I am past tense — but I guess perception is reality, since while all votes have been added to the database within 48 hours lately (and appear in the stats), they don’t show up in the votes listing until they are marked as “relevant” and attached to a bill.

It was updated on Monday, and the front page shows the date it was last updated.

Interestingly, Cory goes on to say:

Also, looking for thoughts on a development version of our API here:

http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/forum.php?thread_name=516782FB-2AF1-4980-AC97-36F619A90ECC%40canoe42.ca&forum_name=howdtheyvote-developers

This is exactly the kind of open access required to enable third party application development. Imagine the possibilities!

Finally, Cory recommends this article in The Hill Times for more detailed coverage.

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