Eastern Desk

Election Reforms Coming to Quebec

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The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Mrs. Andrée Laforest, tabled today in the National Assembly Bill No. 49 amending the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities, the Act respecting the ethics and deontology in municipal matters and amending various legislative provisions . It wants to strengthen municipal democracy and tighten some rules applicable to municipal elected officials in matters of ethics and professional conduct.

Several proposed measures respond to the last report on the implementation of the Municipal Ethics and Professional Conduct Act, tabled on February 26 in the National Assembly. One of their aims is to improve the prevention of conflicts of interest and failures in this area. Certain provisions would allow the Quebec Municipal Commission to impose new sanctions on elected officials. In addition, municipalities would be required to adopt a code of ethics and professional conduct for their staff.

The bill also aims to update the rules governing municipal elections. Among other things, the measures would provide the Chief Electoral Officer of Québec with the necessary leverage to assume a greater role in municipal elections. They would also reduce the risk of tension between elected officials and the returning officers. Lastly, proposals would contribute to increasing voter turnout in all regions of Québec, particularly by facilitating the exercise of the right to vote by persons with reduced mobility.

“Through this bill, our government wants to ensure the maintenance of citizens’ trust in municipal institutions and elected officials. We also want to strengthen municipal democracy, a goal that is at the heart of our priorities. More specifically, we want to ensure the neutrality, impartiality and transparency necessary for the proper conduct of the electoral process” said Andrée Laforest, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Photo by Emile Nadeau