Thanks to Paul with Blue Blogging Soapbox for sending this along. Former MP Reg Alcock and current MP Carolyn Bennett were on my previous “wired elected officials” list in Canada. Garth Turner deserves a spot. Who do you think deserves a spot? Add them in comment section on the blog.
So, you ask, what is MPTV?
In short, this week marks the start of a noble experiment in Parliamentary webcasting. I was able to talk the visionary people who run the IT department at the House of Commons into partnering with me, opening up miles and miles of bandwidth. Then I bought a mess of used TV equipment (at my own expense). Then we built a webcasting studio in my lavishly expansive and embarrassingly opulent Hill office (well, at least there are no rats), and this week we are firing up the old encoder and the mixer and flicking on the lights to go live with some programming. It is the prototype of a regular show youâ€™ll be able to watch this fall called â€œAnswer Period.â€
The live stream will be available here at garth.ca, and all you have to do is log on, select your connection (dial-up, or high speed), and watch. You can also interact, of course, sending me an email question at any point during the show, which I will get and attempt to answer. This is a noble experiment, and the first use of a new whack of gear, so some viewer latitude may be required. In any case, have a look and let me know if you think this whole thing has potential.
Of course, it is a further attempt to bring digital democracy to this pile of stones on the Ottawa River. By using interactive webcasting, Iâ€™m hoping lots of MPs will come to the studio and be able to reach out and touch their constituents in a unique way while being stuck here doing government work and hanging around for votes. I also hope citizens will feel this makes their MPs more accessible and accountable. And I really hope our webcasting of daily life around the Hill will show we donâ€™t just sit around smoking cigars and visiting freebie receptions featuring great wines (well, not every night, anyway).
To me, itâ€™s a natural extension of the interactive blog, and Iâ€™d like to thank the Commons propeller heads who shared the vision. There are a lot of people around here who actually understand what communication is all about, and also that this is the backbone of politics. Hopefully, the effort will prove worth it.
But to ensure that happens, you have to watch. And I promise a feature-length interview is coming soon with the Cat Guy.
MPTVâ€™s â€œAnswer Period.â€ Thursday, June 1st, 7 pm Eastern. Live at www.garth.ca