Photo: Catherine Legault Duty
The City of Montreal believes that it tools have become essential.
From 2019, Montrealers will be able to use petitions e-mail to obtain 15, 000 signatures and force the holding of a public consultation on a subject which is close to my heart. The City estimates that it tools have become essential and can facilitate this procedure.
“We led the City of Montreal on the Twenty-first century,” says Laurence Lavigne Lalonde, responsible for the records of democracy and governance to the executive committee, who hope that this shift will encourage citizen participation in the process of right of initiative.
The proposed e-petition had been launched by the administration Coderre, and should be ready for this fall, but a few adjustments to the tool were required to make it functional, ” says the woman.
Until now, citizens had to gather at least 15 000 signatures on paper to request the holding of a public consultation. In force since 2010, the right of initiative has enabled the holding of a consultation on urban agriculture held under the auspices of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) in 2012, and to initiate one on racism and discrimination are systemic, which will be held next spring.
In eight years, a dozen of consulting projects have been initiated, but in many cases, the process could not be completed, because the 15 000 signatures through a petition in a paper format could not be obtained.
As of the end of January or the beginning of the month of February, the citizens will be able to choose to gather signatures electronically, which should simplify the process and alleviate the process. They will have 90 days to do so if the conditions laid down in the regulation are met, namely, among other things, that 25 people in support of the project and that the topic has not been the subject of a consultation in the previous three years.
Ex-chairman of the task force on democracy, Dimitri Roussopoulos is opposed to this turning point e of the right of initiative. According to him, the search for signatures on the ground, you can explain the issue face-to-face and gives more weight to the citizen’s commitment that a signature obtained online. The epetition abound on the Internet, he argued. “We are all prisoners of this new technology, unfortunately. I hope we will not go much further into this miasma, ” he says.
Get 15 000 signatures on paper is not an insurmountable task, according to him. “The environmental activists who have taken up the petition for a public consultation on urban agriculture were really worried, thinking that collected 15,000 names would be a challenge beyond their capabilities. They were able to pick up more than 29,000 signatures. Then, it is doable, ” he says.
Laurence Lavigne Lalonde is not of the same opinion. “We find it a little difficult to judge the value of citizen engagement on how it is done. I don’t think it discredits the procedure “, she explains. “So much the better if there are more people who get involved and bring ideas into the public debate. “
The amendment to the regulations on the montréal Charter of rights and responsibilities and the right of initiative that frames this procedure was approved Wednesday by the executive committee. The amended regulation should be adopted by the city council in January.