Video of Tony Clement's appearance at Third Tuesday Toronto

I’ve posted video of Tony Clement‘s Feb. 17 presentation at Third Tuesday Toronto about open government and the use of social media by employees of the Government of Canada. You can see the full video of the substantive part of his presentation below. I’ll post the highlights of the questions and answers separately when I have the time to process and edit the video.

In the meantime, here are the main body of the Minister’s remarks. Enjoy.

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Tony Clement at Third Tuesday Ottawa Storify-ed

Canada’s Treasury Board President Tony Clement @tonyclementcpc appeared at Third Tuesday Ottawa #3TYOW last night. He discussed the potential of open government, bringing citizens closer to government and the new guidelines he introduced to guide public servants in their use of social media. He also took and responded to questions from the participants.

I’ve captured the highlights of the event through Storify. Enjoy.

[<a href=”” target=”_blank”>View the story “Tony Clement at Third Tuesday Ottawa” on Storify</a>]

Tony Clement talks about open government at Third Tuesday

Third Tuesday is back with another blockbuster speaker: Canada’s President of the Treasury Board, Tony Clement.

Tony Clement is well-known as a politician who maintains an active Twitter presence, sharing what is on his mind and what he’s doing, and engaging in conversations with Canadians. Anyone who follows Tony Clement knows that his Twitter conversations are sometimes funny, sometimes serious, sometimes combative, but always genuine.

Tony Clement is also the President of the Treasury Board of Canada. That puts him in charge of Canada’s public service and makes him responsible for setting the standards and rules by which social media is being introduced into the Government of Canada.

As a Minister, Clement has pushed forward with initiatives to enable Canada’s public servants to use social media in the workplace and a broader initiative to introduce open government standards to the government of Canada.

In November, Mr. Clement

– unveiled the Guideline for External Use of Web 2.0, the reference document that will be used by Canadian Public Servants in determining whether and how they should use social media in the workplace.

– announced that completed access to information requests now will be posted online.

In December, Clement

– announced the addition of 4,000 data sets to the Open Data Portal.

– initiated a public consultation on Open Government. (The consultation closed in mid-January and the Treasury Board site promises that a final report on the findings will be posted in March 2012.)

– participated in a Twitter Chat on Open Government to give people a chance to raise issues, ask questions and engage with him online.

That’s a lot of action in a short period of time. But, what’s been happening now? How are the Web 2.0 Guidelines being applied by Canadian public servants? What did Canadians tell the Minister during the consultation? What’s on the agenda for 2012?

Third Tuesday participants will get a chance in February to ask these questions and talk directly to the Minister when he appears as our featured guest Third Tuesday Ottawa and Third Tuesday Toronto. Follow these links to find the details and sign up to attend Third Tuesday Ottawa or to attend Third Tuesday Toronto.

If you’re interested in open government and the use of social media by government, this session will be of real interest to you. I’m looking forward to a great evening of discussion with a man who has matched his actions to his convictions. I hope to see you there.


Why you should attend the Social Media for Government Conference in Ottawa

For the past three years, I’ve had the privilege of chairing the Social Media for Government Conference in Ottawa. And I’ll be chairing the next conference to be held in just one month, from June 21 to June 24.

A great learning experience

This conference is an opportunity to learn about how social media is being used by government and to discuss the challenges and opportunities it presents.

Speakers from all levels of government – federal, provincial and municipal – will be sharing their experience with social media and the insight they gained. Organizations presenting case studies include: Public Safety Canada, Alberta Environment, Army Public Affairs, the U.S. Department of State,  the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman, the Public Service Commission of Canada, the Ottawa Public Library,  the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, Norfolk County and the cities of London and Ottawa.

I’ll be speaking as well. On the day before the conference proper, I’ll be presenting a Social Media 101 Workshop and on the first morning of the conference, I’ll be co-presenting with Pierre Killeen about public engagement in the age of social media.

Save $400 off the registration fee for the Social Media for Government Conference

If you’ve read this far, it’s fair to say that you’re interested in learning about the adoption of social media by government. So, here’s a great offer.

People who registered for the conference before April 30 were eligible for an Early Bird Discount of $400. But April 30 has come and gone and that discount has expired. That’s the bad news.

Now the good news. Just mention my name when you register for the Social Media for Government Conference and you’ll receive a $400 discount off the registration fee. That’s the equivalent of the Early Bird Registration – and you can use my discount right up to conference day. It doesn’t expire.

Why I attend the Social Media for Government Conference

I chair and participate in this conference as a volunteer. I do it because it’s one of the best learning opportunities available to me in Ottawa.

Based on my experience over the past three years, I know you won’t regret attending this conference. You’ll learn a lot and meet some smart people. What more could you ask for?

A chance for two students to attend the Social Media for Government Conference

I’d like to offer two students a chance to attend the Social Media for Government conference being organized by the Advanced Learning Institute (ALI) in Ottawa March 2-3.

What you’ll hear

The conference will feature a strong lineup of speakers presenting case studies of how government has used social media – both internally and externally. Sessions and presenting organizations will include:

  • Engaging your employees before you engage the public, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada;
  • Using social media to build relationships and reduce crime, Toronto Police Services;
  • Developing a collaborative network in a hierarchical organization, Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre;
  • Social Media And Government Communications: Using social media to communicate and engage the public while complying with government policies and laws, Government of Canada’s Community Communications Office;
  • Making the business case for social media, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation;
  • Social media strategy rules of engagement and evaluation metrics, Human Resources and Skills Development;
  • Using social media to address the needs of a diverse audience, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care;
  • Using Facebook and Twitter to communicate in an ever-changing communications environment, Genome Alberta;
  • Strategy before tactics, Public Safety Canada;
  • Expanding your social media network while staying within your agency’s guidelines, standards and policies, Parks Canada;
  • Using social media on both sides of the firewall, Canadian Tourism Commission;
  • Social networking  to create a more agile and responsive organization, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency;
  • New web analytics for a new wave of social media, City of Ottawa;
  • Using social media to foster innovation and drive change in a large organization, Royal Bank of Canada (Yes, not a government organization. But a very large organization exploring the use of social media.)

I’ll be chairing the conference and presenting a workshop on the day before it opens.

How you can attend

As I was preparing, it occurred to me that this conference would be a wonderful learning experience for a student interested in social media, communications, political science or journalism. But the registration probably puts it out of reach of all but the wealthiest students.

So … I bought a couple tickets to the conference and I’d like to give them to two students who will benefit from the sessions.

Interested in attending? Here’s how you can get one of these tickets.

Leave a comment below or write a post on your own blog explaining how this learning experience would fit in with your academic studies.

I’ll read the comments and posts and offer the tickets to the two students who I think make the best case. Simple.

So, if you’re a post-secondary student and you’d like to attend, tell me why. Also, if you know a student who you think could benefit from this opportunity, please point out this post to them.

I’ll select the winning students at 5PM Feb. 25 and contact them that evening.

How can Regulators use social media?

I’m speaking next week at a conference of health profession regulators. The theme of the day: Innovations in Regulatory Communications.

I’ve been asked to speak to the topic, “Social Media: What you need to know to be effective.” I think I can give them some good ideas – and I’ll post about the presentation and their reaction after the session.

In preparing for the session, the organizer told me, “We’re most interested in how social media can be used in the regulatory environment, given the challenges we face as regulators.  We’ve all been to conferences and sessions about how social media works as a marketing tool in retail and other environments, but we’ve always come away from those kinds of events thinking that these tools don’t really seem suited to us.  But as communicators, we also know that we want to do a better job of communicating with all our audiences – the public, the profession and others in the health care environment.  So essentially, how can we best use social media without compromising our regulatory duties?”

I thought this was an interesting glimpse of the basic conundrum the regulators face. They want to reach out to the public, but they feel that they have to be responsible to duties of fair process and being careful not to be seen as prejudging as well as staying within their assigned responsibilities and not straying into the realm of policy-making that the politicians have reserved for themselves.

But does that mean that they can’t use social media? I don’t think so. But rather than simply preach about the virtues of social media, I want to provide my audience of regulators examples of other regulators and government agencies who have used social media effectively. I think of the way the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada uses their blog to raise awareness of privacy issues and make us think more deeply about them, the way that the Ontario Ombudsman uses his Twitter feed to alert people to reports he will be releasing, to listen to public discussion and to convey a sense that there’s a real human being behind the title, the way that Canada’s Washington Embassy’s Connect2Canada program uses blogging, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms to bring together Canadians living in the United States, or the way that Ottawa Public Health used Twitter to inform the public about the H1N1 vaccination program.

Now, you may say that these aren’t really regulators. And you’d be right. So, I’m looking for examples of government and profession regulators using social media.

Do you have a favourite example of a regulator that has used social media well? How about an example of one that has used social media and regretted it?

What would you tell a group of government and profession regulators about how they can use social media?

Social Media for Government Conference

ALISocialMediaforGovernment 090803

I’m at the second day of the ALI Social Media for Government conference in Ottawa. I’ll be covering each of the sessions by tweeting myself and also by capturing the highlights of the Twitter stream from the conference.

If you’re interested in following the Twitter stream, search for hashtag #ALI. Or check here during the day and I’ll have live posts using CoverItLive to capture and provide you with the best of the what the conference presenters and attendees are saying.

Connect2Canada: Using social media to create a community of Canadians in the United States

c2cYesterday, I introduced Connect2Canada as a case study of government making effective use of social media. Today, I’m taking a deeper look at Connect2Canada, what’s going on and the results that are being achieved.

What is it?

Connect2Canada is a network of Canadians and Friends of Canada in the United States. Its goal is to reach out to these people and make them quasi-Ambassadors for Canada.

Conect2Canada was started as a Website on July 1, 2005. The Facebook page was added in late 2008. The Twitter stream, Flickr photos and YouTube videos were added at the time of the inauguration of President Obama (Canada’s Embassy has a primo location in Washington, a great place to take videos and pictures of the inaugural parade.)

What are they achieving?

Connect2Canada’s community is growing constantly in several dimensions:

New members are signing up for email newsletters on the Connect2Canada Website.


Today, members span the United States.


The Connect2Canada Facebook page continues to attract new fan.


Connect2Canada is attracting new followers every week.


Community and Engagement

Making the flow of information two-way is a high priority for Connect2Canada. They respond to Twitter comments and email. But they also work to enable conversations among members, linking to groups around the US and promoting real life events and other networks of Canadians in the U.S.

The Connect2Canada community is highly engaged with C2C. One indicator of this: An email to C2C members from Ambassador Wilson had an open rate in excess of 50%. That’s one out of every two people who received the email opened it. I think that’s a very high rate for a broadcast email.

Resources and Champions

Connect2Canada is run by one full time staffer in the Canadian Embassy in Washington supported by part-time contributions from a few others. They rely on the Canadian Consulates throughout the United States to provide local content.

Connect2Canada had senior level champions. The social media activities were approved and supported by both the Ambassador in Washington and the Assistant Deputy Minister (North America) in Ottawa.

The importance of relevant content

The biggest lesson learned by Connect2Canada? The importance of good content. Says Eric Portelance, the Advocacy Officer at the Canadian Embassy in Washington in charge of who works on Connect2Canada, “You can have the best ideals, but if the content isn’t interesting to your target audience, they won’t come back or they won’t come at all.”

Connect2Canada asks new members to indicate their interests when they register. The people behind Connect2Canada then use this information to tailor content to the interests of members, sending them only the streams of content that match those interests.

Source material

Eric Portelance recorded a video interview with me on May 12 when he spoke at the Advanced Learning Institute‘s Conference on Social Media for Government in Ottawa. I’ve also drawn on his presentation slides as well as my Twitter notes from the conference.

You can watch my video interview with Eric Portelance on YouTube or in the player embedded below.

Government of Canada's Deputy Chief Technology Officer at the next Third Tuesday Ottawa

Third Tuesday OttawaIn the autumn, the Government of Canada announced a new initiative to integrate social media into its operations: GCPedia, a government-wide Wiki.

GCPedia has been up and running for several months. However, because it lives behind the Government of Canada’s firewall, you and I can’t see it or track how the experiment is proceeding.

The curtain will be drawn back briefly for attendees at the February 2 Third Tuesday Ottawa. Jeff Braybrook, the Government of Canada’s Deputy Chief Technology Officer, will talk about GCPedia and some of the more promising social media for government pilot projects.

I believe that social media holds tremendous potential to bring government closer to citizens. And I’m looking forward to the discussion with Jeff.

If you’re in Ottawa on February 2, you can register online to attend Third Tuesday.

And thanks to our national sponsors, CNW Group, Third Tuesday continues to be a free event.

I hope to see you there.

Using social media to help City government connect with citizens

Government has been much slower than business to adopt social media tools and practices.

Ottawa CanadaNow, the Mayor of Ottawa is aiming to make Canada’s capital city’s government a model for e-government by embracing and adopting Web 2.0 technologies. To help him do this, Mayor Larry O’Brien established a Mayor’s Task Force on eGovernment, chaired by Rob Collins, a former CIO of Business Intelligence software company Cognos.

Before entering politics, Mayor O’Brien was a high tech entrepreneur and founder and former CEO of Calian. So, he knows technology and should have a sophisticated understanding of its potential.

In announcing Rob Collins’ appointment, Mayor O’Brien said,

Our community is a global technology hub, and our citizens expect more service online.

We will take advantage of new Internet technologies, such as Web 2.0. We will move beyond simply publishing information online and begin to interact online with the public we serve.

That screams social media to me. RSS feeds to enable citizens to subscribe to information by neighbourhood or topics that mean the most to them. Blogs from city departments offering information and updates about programs and the opportunity for people to provide feedback. Flickr photos and youTube videos of important meetings, proposed developments and plans and major announcements. And maybe even Twitter feeds from important departments like snow clearing, electricity services, police and fire that tell people what is happening at times of emergency.

Unfortunately, the task force’s written mandate, released weeks after the Mayor’s announcement, seems to provide the committee a fairly narrow scope. The detailed mandate that has been posted on the City of Ottawa’s Website states that the task forces will:

  • Review available IT options;
  • Review requirements and opportunities for all areas of the city and assess an appropriate role for information technology;
  • Solicit input from internal IT providers and users;
  • Examine the City of Ottawa’s current Information Technology Plan and all current or proposed projects;
  • Make recommendations (short-, medium-, and long-term) for development of an information technology plan that improves interaction with the public while increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of city operations.

Where are the citizens in these terms of reference? It appears that the consultations will be entirely inward looking, dealing with internal IT providers (vendors?) and users.

I hope that I’ve missread the terms and that the Task Force does intend to consult citizens on how they would like to connect with their government online. It would be a pity if they missed this opportunity.

To help encourage this, I’m inviting Rob Collins to be our guest at a special Third Tuesday social media meetup. This would provide him with an opportunity to gather ideas and input from the people in Ottawa who are exploring and using social media. I hope he accepts this invitation.