Council broadcasts online by late spring

Monthly meetings move to Tuesday

By Robert Frank

Political junkies rejoice! Laval’s monthly council meetings will soon be broadcast via the Internet, so you will no longer have to traipse to city hall to watch.

“Laval executive committee has approved a public tender calling for companies to bid on a contract to webcast city council meetings,” vice-chair David de Cotis told The Suburban. “It ought to be up and running by mid-2015.

He said that the objective is to make municipal government more accessible to citizens. The city’s cramped council chamber often overflows with standing-room only crowds.

“In the past, questions were not being answered and some people were escorted out of council chamber because asking the question disturbed the previous administration,” de Cotis said in an interview.

He explained that Internet viewers will be in receive-only mode, at least for the time being. They will be able to view council meetings live or record it to watch later, he said. However, only citizens who attend the meetings in person will be permitted to pose questions to elected officials.

“We might go there if the demand is there,” de Cotis suggested. “It’s kind of a gray zone. If we open that box, then they can ask questions about anything. Sometimes the questions have nothing to do with city hall policy and, if we refuse to answer, people might think that we are hiding something.”

Nonetheless, he remained pleased that the city is putting its democratic debates at citizens’ fingertips.

“Transparency and democracy were part of our electoral platform,” de Cotis declared.
Date swapping

He added that city council will henceforth meet on Tuesday evenings, starting with the first meeting of the new year, Jan. 13. Hitherto, councillors gathered for their monthly meetings on Mondays.

“That will give public servants and elected official more time to prepare for council meetings,” de Cotis said.

Consequently, board meetings of Laval’s transit authority, which have, until now, been held on Tuesdays, will swap nights with the city. They will move to Monday evening, noted de Cotis, who also serves as chairman of Société de transport de Laval.
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