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To stream or not to stream: should your city be streaming public meetings?

In a recent post on our Facebook page, we asked West Islanders if they thought cities should be required to stream their public council meetings. We also asked if councillors have an obligation to be transparent, many of you said they should be.


"Transparency has been on the decline over the last several years", stated a follower.

It is customary during public meetings that the audience observes the questions asked by fellow residents. This allows citizens to hear the answers given on various topics. With closed meetings, residents are feeling robbed of a valued part of the democratic process.

Image courtesy of Wix.com

While the pandemic has made in-person meetings difficult, many municipalities have begun streaming their public council meetings online, whether it is live-streamed or virtual meetings posted after the fact. While other municipalities are remiss at opening their Quebec mandated public meetings out of public scrutiny.


WIN has compiled a list one how you can attend, watch, or submit a question that may be addressed during a meeting.


Some municipalities may not broadcast your questions that have been submitted online if it does not pertain to the agenda of the council meeting. A direct email to all your councillors would be an effective way to get answers to those questions.


Pointe-Claire

Links to all their city council meetings can be found here. As of January 2022, the city of Pointe-Claire will once again be conducting its meetings without the presence of the public until further notice, though there is a form you can use to submit questions and you will be able to watch the meetings live from their webcast platform. The deadline to submit questions for a council meeting is noon (12:00 pm) on the day of the meeting.


Dorval

Links to council meetings can be found here. As of December 22nd and until further notice, Dorval has announced that most of their municipal buildings will be closed due to COVID-19. They mention that City Hall will remain open, though council meetings will be held virtually and be watched live. Citizens can submit their questions via email.


Beaconsfield

Information about council meetings can be found here. Starting December 20th, 2021, all council meetings will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 situation. The city of Beaconsfield allows you to sign up for their newsletter, where they notify you when the next council meeting is and how you can participate. The city also allows you to email your questions before meetings. Beaconsfield has easy access to by-laws made available here.


Kirkland

The Town of Kirkland does not broadcast their meetings online live, or after their meetings. As an example, Kirkland's 2022 budget meeting will be held behind closed doors with questions being submitted by email only. All available information can be found here. Requests for information can be made online here.


Pierrefonds-Roxboro/L'Île-Bizard/Sainte-Geneviève

The municipalities of Pierrefonds-Roxboro, Île-Bizard, and Sainte-Geneviève are boroughs of Montreal. Those public meetings can be found here. Searches can be filtered by specific borough, and allow citizens to narrow their search down to the information that concerns them. Specific meetings are broadcast online. Questions can only be submitted to City Council meetings by using a form that is available at each meeting, which was customary prior to the pandemic.


Saine-Anne-de-Bellevue

Information regarding City Council meetings for Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue can be found here. Meetings are not live but recordings are made available for viewing after the meetings conclude. Questions can be submitted via email but are not made public and answers are answered in several weeks if at all.


Baie-D'Urfé

Meetings for Baie-D'Urfé can be found here. All information for each meeting can be found on the website, from the agenda to recordings/live broadcasts as well as a link to allow citizens to submit questions to councillors.


Dollard-des-Ormeaux

DDO council meetings can be accessed here. Though the links are currently showing older, out of date meetings, West island News has confirmed that the city is working on resolving the issue.


Senneville

City Council meetings for Senneville can be found here. Meeting dates can be found on the calendar that is featured at the bottom of the home page. Citizens are able to join a live stream of the meeting by hitting "video" at the start of the meeting. Meetings are available as recordings along with the agenda and minutes.



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