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Citizen participation: Helene Gravel gives citizens greater voice in the decisions to be taken by the City of Sherbrooke!

Publié le 03 octobre 2009 par Helenegravel

Hélène Gravel lors de son premier engagementSherbrooke mayoral candidate Helene Gravel announced the first electoral commitment of her campaign, accompanied by an outline of her municipal democracy docket. It was from the agora facing town hall that she announced her ideas concerning citizen participation. Her objective: to bring the residents closer to their municipal representatives and to implicate them in the decisions that concern them.

"Democracy and transparence are an every day affair. They are not something that occur only every 4 or 5 years. In the past, citizens were consulted on decisions that had already been made. The last months have also shown that there exists a veritable gap between popular sentiment and the decisions taken by elected officials. I take it upon myself to put to an end this policy of “deciding first, and consulting later”. This, to place the citizens of Sherbrooke at the heart of the decision process", declared Mrs. Gravel.

As to encouraging citizen participation in the decision process: numerous propositions will be placed before the public. "Residents will be able to request public consultation on matters affecting them. I will appoint a counselor whose job it will be to receive and examine public consultation requests and to acquiesce to the most popular ones" continued Mrs. Gravel on her public consultation agenda.

In the same breath, Mrs. Gravel addressed her concerns relating to transparency and ethics: "I will make it such that all lobbying activities, either for or against administrative decisions and city regulations rigorously respect the laws in. Once the process in which municipal contracts are to be attributed has commenced, anyone who would want to be heard must register as a lobbyist, no exceptions!"

Mrs. Gravel equally voiced her desire to render more dynamic the municipal scene: "The city under my administration will encourage the creation of councils in each district to offer a place for citizens to come together and debate issues affecting their neighborhoods. Through these councils, citizens will be better able to structure their demands and bring them to their respective municipal representatives."

To favor the quality of resident-representative relations, Mrs. Gravel will create the post of ombudsman. "I believe there are savings to be had in the creation of an ombudsman. Citizens in need will then benefit from the ombudsman’s council. The ombudsman will act in an independent and apolitical manner, as conciliator between the city’s administration and its inhabitants. This will promote a stronger bond of confidence in the public office."

In conclusion, Mrs. Gravel hopes to improve upon the means and tools used to communicate with Sherbrooke’s population, no matter where they are. "…that it be electronic billboards on public buses or in a few well frequented public spaces, the internet, or traditional forms of media, just to name a few. In all evidence we must improve this aspect considerably."

Mrs. Gravel parallels her blog, , a forum she has been using to debate her views since April. She also greatly appreciates, and benefits greatly from the many debates that enrich the meetings that fill her agenda since she has officially entered her electoral campaign for mayor. "I will work with the residents of Sherbrooke to make the best of their ideas a source of inspiration for the entire community. It is a priority for me to ensure that the residents of Sherbrooke be informed, consulted, and listened to before taking, in the coming years, important decisions."

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