About the Calgary Democracy Project

This is an independent collection of information relevant to elections and government in Calgary.

At the core, I’m currently intending the project to be about the collection of all available information about the people seeking to represent us, or who have already been representing us. I also hope to use it as a tool to foster democratic dialogue in our communities.

There are a lot of ideas I have for the website and the project as a whole. I hope others will bring even more ideas for this. It is my intent for this project to be built collaboratively to reflect the diversity of viewpoints and interests in this city.

This project is currently in draft form, with lots of cleanup and additions remaining to be done.

Some of the things I hope to eventually see here:

  • Detailed profiles of every candidate and elected representative — past and present.
  • Profiles on the individual wards, ridings and districts.
  • Archives of, or links to, news and blog stories about the politicians.
  • Voting records of all elected officials (this one is a particularly tall order, but I’ve already started making connections to get this information).
  • Pages covering specific issues. (E.g., a bicycle commuting page might include links to relevant news stories, results from relevant candidate survey questions, the relevant voting history of officials, links to applicable laws/by-laws/policies/etc., …).
  • Surveys and polls for candidates and community members.
  • Dialogue forums for the community to discuss candidates and issues. This one is kind of scary given how easily it could turn into a shouting match, so I’m investigating options for facilitating this in a way that fosters civil dialogue.

History

The project started during the 2007 municipal election in Calgary when I (Grant Neufeld) set up a simple little website to list all the relevant weblinks that could be found about the candidates running in that election.

The project quickly expanded to incorporate video interviews with candidates, posted online.

Following that election, I had a couple of people who told me directly that the reason they voted at all was because of the information they were able to find through that website. This unexpected outcome prompted me to turn what had been a one-off, throw-away, website into an ongoing project I called “Calgary Democracy”.

Since then, I have been trying to develop a website database system for tracking candidate information in elections affecting Calgarians. I’ve operated this through the last provincial and federal elections here, and am now focused, with a brand-new web database system, on the October 2010 municipal election.

Technical

This website was built using Ruby on Rails. I’m committed to releasing the source code as open-source, but have been a bit busy so haven’t got to that yet. If you’re super-keen on getting a look at the code right away, please get in touch and I’ll get you a copy.

Copyright & Licensing

All of the text on this website is freely licensed under a Creative Commons License requiring attribution for any reuse (including derivative work).

Most of the website link icons are sourced from the free “Vector Social Media Icons” collection by IconDock.com.

For photos and other media, licensing terms may vary. Please see the individual attributions for those works for licensing details.