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Pointe-Claire supports UMQ’s campaign for respectful democracy

The mayor of Pointe-Claire, John Belvedere, and the members of City Council support the Union des municipalités du Québec (UMQ)’s awareness-raising campaign “La démocratie dans le respect, par respect pour la démocratie” (democracy with respect, out of respect for democracy).

“Freedom of expression and mutual respect are values that are central to our democratic society. As elected officials, we are committed to representing our citizens, listening to them, helping them, and finding solutions to the challenges they face in order to improve everyone’s quality of life. This is what we do on a daily basis, and it is important to us that it takes place in a spirit of respect for all parties,” Mayor John Belvedere said.

This support was formalized in a resolution passed unanimously at a public meeting of City Council. Here is an excerpt of the UMQ’s position:

[TRANSLATION] Our democracy is rooted in our history. We choose those who govern us. In a democracy, we can all run for public office. When elections are held, citizens delegate the administration of the common good to people who offer their services, like us. This way of managing our living environments, our regions, has enabled us to achieve one of the highest living standards in the world, to live in security, to have the opportunity to lead our lives as we see fit, and to express ourselves freely.

Democracy comes alive in debate and in the clash of ideas. It is possible as long as people respect each other. But these days, our democracy is too often consumed by unfortunate incidents: rudeness, disrespect, threats, intimidation and impersonation. In recent years, particularly with the rise in popularity of social media, lively but respectful debate has too often been replaced by insults, threats and intimidation.

This was true before the pandemic. But the pandemic has exacerbated this issue. It is normal for this difficult situation to be a source of worry and anxiety. It is normal for us to sometimes disagree with the decisions of the authorities. But it is not acceptable that women and men who have a public responsibility to serve their fellow citizens should be intimidated, forced to resign, sometimes even threatened with death, or forced to travel with police protection.

In less than a year’s time, municipal elections will be held in every municipality in Québec. Until then, we have to take care of our democracy. We have to return to a spirit of debate that respects people and institutions so that together we can make the best decisions.

Let’s remember that elected officials and public office holders are committed to the well-being of their constituents. Let’s encourage political involvement, not discourage it.

As elected municipal officials, we are proud to serve our fellow citizens. This is why we are calling for respectful democratic debate. We are saying: democracy with respect, out of respect for democracy. And we invite elected officials in all Québec municipalities to join the movement.”