The media will also not be able to participate in the public meeting
Article published on 6 May 2020
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The public extraordinary meeting of the Ile-du-Grand-Calumet municipal council, scheduled for this evening Wednesday May 6th, will be held not only without an audience, but also without the news media.

Following the announcement by Ile-du-Grand-Calumet, Wednesday morning, saying that it would be impossible to allow citizens to participate in the online meeting, the CHIP 101.9 newsroom contacted the municipality to find out if the news media would have access to this meeting.

At that time, the municipal office informed that its employees were still working on a solution, in order to allow citizens and the media to participate in the question period and that more information would be available towards the end of the day.

At 3 p.m., CHIP 101.9 journalist Élizabeth Séguin called the office of the municipality of Ile-du-Grand-Calumet again to follow up on this subject. It was the mayor, Serge Newberry, who replied and who almost immediately hung up on him saying he refused to comment.

CHIP 101.9 made a request to the municipality of Ile-du-Grand-Calumet last week to find out if the media would have access to the council meeting, without any follow-up. The Pontiac community radio was asked to make an official request by the next municipal council, that of Mai 11th, in order to obtain the necessary authorization.

However, the municipality also indicated that it plans to record the audio of the meeting and make it available via their website and Facebook page following the meeting.

In the context of COVID-19, the rules governing the holding of council meetings, updated on April 26, 2020 (decree 2020-029) by the Ministry of Health, encourage municipalities to allow citizens to attend Council meetings in other ways than in person (ex, by videoconference or telephone).

To ensure the transparency of the sessions, the new regulations state that the meetings must be public.

Extract from the page « Questions and answers for municipalities in the context of COVID-19 », from the Quebec government

Order 2020-029 of April 26, 2020 also sets out certain requirements aimed at ensuring the transparency of meetings which, by law, must be public. These requirements apply in particular to meetings of the council of a municipality, a metropolitan community, a public transportation company or an inter-municipal board. Such a meeting must henceforth be made public, as soon as possible, by any means allowing the public to know the content of the discussions between the members of the council and the result of their deliberations. To meet this obligation, the municipality may in particular use one or other of the following means :

- the publication of an audio or audiovisual recording of the session made using a device such as a tablet, a telephone or a camera;
- the complete transcription of the deliberations of the members of the board in a document accessible to the public;
- the broadcasting of the council meeting on a digital platform or by other means allowing citizens to access it.

It should be noted that the mere publication of a report, although still required by law, is not sufficient to meet the obligation provided for by the order, unless this document reproduces the all of the remarks made during the council meeting.

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