First anniversary of the Montréal Charter of Rights and Responsibilities
Mayor Gérald Tremblay commemorated the first anniversary of the Montréal Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, the first of its kind in North America, during the closing ceremony of the Forum on Participation, organized by the city’s Task Force on Democracy on February 28, 2007.
Mayor Tremblay was accompanied by Ms. Michèle S. Jean, president of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, who expressed UNESCO’s strong interest in the charter; the forum’s guest speaker, M. José Fogaça, mayor of Porto Alegre, Brésil; and Mr. Dimitri Roussopoulos, chairman of the Task Force on Democracy.
“Montréal’s charter was developed through an extensive public consultation process and an important exercise in participative democracy – the Task Force on Democracy. The charter was developed by and for citizens and is based on the respect of human dignity, equality, inclusion and justice. It has become a shining example of successful cooperation between civil society and the city, and has been recognized by UNESCO and UN-HABITAT in June as a model of good governance and local democracy that helps to promote inclusive cities on the international scene,” said Mayor Tremblay.
About the Montréal Charter of Rights and Responsibilities
One year ago, Montréal became the first North American city with a charter of rights and responsibilities. The charter promotes citizens’ shared values and priorities: respect for human dignity, equality, justice, tolerance, respect for others and inclusion.
The charter is distinctive because it is innovative – and original. It is the result of collaboration between the municipal administration and civil society instead of the work of constitutional experts and politicians. By ensuring that citizens are fully informed, it helps to foster the principle of responsible citizenship.
The charter ensures that public authorities and citizens must work together for the common good by respecting its principles through their actions. So, when the city commits to taking concrete measures, citizens are responsible for acting in a way that is compatible with the cityM’s commitment.
The charter brings together all of the city’s policies and actions. The city has always put forward several democratic policies in the fields of sustainable development, cultural development and environmental protection.
Forum on Participation
Some 160 participants attended the Forum on Participation February 28, led by Mr. Michel Venne, executive director of the Institut du Nouveau Monde. The purpose of the forum was to find was to promote tools for democracy that have been created over the past few years, including these two main objectives:
- Promote tools for democracy created by the city and the Task Force on Democracy
- Incite citizens to participate in the city’s democratic process
A number of guests spoke at the forum, including:
- Mr. Marcel Parent, chairman of city council
- Ms. Helen Fotopulos, mayor of Le Plateau-Mont-Royal;
- Ms. Louise Roy, chairwoman of Office de consultation publique de Montréal
- Ms. Johanne Savard, the city’s ombudsman
- Mr. Jules Patenaude, public consultation coordinator, Bureau des relations gouvernementales
Source: Patricia Lowe, media relations and Jules Patenaude, Task Force on Democracy