Smart phone application would allow MLA interaction with voters

Technological advances could play a role in a more active democracy.

Technological advances could play a role in a more active democracy.

Tom Birch, Shuswap B.C. Conservative candidate, unveiled a plan Friday that calls for MLAs to interact with constituents through a smart phone app.

“We are bringing in government of the 21st century,” he said.

Among the possibilities with the app are MLAs providing expense information with receipts. Legislation highlights and voting records could also be included.

“You can dig for all of this on the web right now, but why should you have to?” said Birch of simplifying the process.

“People can agree or disagree with me but they will know what I am doing.”

But Birch believes the most important aspect to the app is the ability to seek public input on a variety of topics.

“I can do an ad hoc referendum at any time. People can also provide comments,” he said.

“If they had done this with the HST, the Liberals would have stopped, opened a dialogue and we would have avoided wasting millions of dollars on a referendum.”

Birch says the goal is to get people interested in politics at a time when voter turnout is low.

“It brings back open and honest government,” he said.

Birch admits, though, that not everyone has embraced new technology and there is still a need for more traditional methods of communication, such as town halls.

“There will never be a substitution for meeting people,” he said.