Municipal officials who are still resistant to the sound and video capture of their assemblies will now have to accept the presence of cameras and cell phones during council meetings.
Anxious to increase transparency, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Andre LaForrest, and opposition parties this week included a series of amendments to Bill 49 aimed at raising the bar on ethics and deontology matters.
City councils can still control the use of cameras and smartphones to ensure that decorum is respected, but without a valid reason they can no longer ban them.
Smile, you were filmed
Those who refuse to be filmed by a citizen or the media have themselves in return for providing free video recording of sessions on the web.
The recording must be available online the next day. One way or another, they will not be able to tolerate the presence of cameras at the town hall.
By writing in black and white on many laws, such as the City and Towns Act and the Municipal Code of Quebec -, Parliamentarians fill in the gap by allowing only elected officials to decorate to justify banning cameras.
A step forward for democracy
The Professional Federation of Quebec Journalists (FPJQ) has made several trips in recent years to invite elected officials to demonstrate greater transparency. Liberal MP Isabelle Melanian, who also tabled a bill in 2019 hoping to end this practice, yesterday welcomed the “great breakthrough for democracy, transparency and journalism”.
A few dozen municipalities still ban citizens and journalists from recording sessions, even under fines.
Our Bureau of Investigation particularly revealed in May, Saint-Jean-de-El-D’Orleans Municipality bans the simple fact of having a cell phone in hand at a public meeting. From now on, municipalities will be resistant to the cameras because the commission Municipal du Quebec will be subject to fines for looking at them.
Comprehensive study on the bill that ended yesterday. The Legalt government wants it to take effect before the November 7 municipal elections.