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Lobbyism, ethics and municipalities





The implementation of the Law on Transparency and Ethics in Lobbyism provides a good case for reflection on ethics in municipal settings. This law, which applies throughout the municipalities of Quebec since July 2005, states that it is in the public interest to know who seeks to influence decisions to be taken in the public interest. As a result, it imposes specific obligations on lobbyists active in municipalities to disclose in a public register, so as to update the new right to transparency that the law recognises to citizens in relation to decision-making processes in the public interest. While several public office holders may have thought that that law does not concern them directly, since it imposes the obligation of disclosure on lobbyists, the very nature of their burden and the general conditions of their liability indeed dictate, in that regard, at the very least a duty of due diligence. In the absence of a specific legal obligation, they are clearly challenged by the legislative affirmation of citizens’ right to know who seeks to influence the public interest decision-making processes for which they are responsible or in which they are involved.

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