Posted by: solosnowbird | May 18, 2017

May 18, 2017 – Quebec City

On our second day we visited Quebec City.  The area inside the city walls is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Quebec City City Hall visit was provided by the Assistant City Clerk who described the  unique structure of their government along with the history of the City which was established in 1608. One of the oldest cities,  if not the only city in North America.

January 1, 2006, marked the rebirth of the cities of L’Ancienne-Lorette and Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures. By virtue of the Act Respecting the Exercise of Certain Municipal Powers in Certain Urban Agglomerations, the Québec City agglomeration, composed of the City of Québec and the two reconstituted municipalities, was created that same day.  It was noted the power of the Mayor was given up in order to show a collaboration.   Many of the previous historical powers were removed from this office and granted to the City Council, Borough Councils, Agglomeration Council and Executive Committee which is made up of Council members

This new law has led to certain jurisdictions being shared between the three cities and certain others becoming exclusive local responsibilities, namely local services.

The City Clerks office supports the City Council and has a $4.3 million budget.  The total city budget is $1.42 billion. This budget includes funds to conduct their general elections every four years for a population 545, 485 with a staff of 35.  The over all staff for the city is 5000.  He noted they have 2000 people working their election events.

The roles and duties described are familiar to the group for the office of City Clerk but on a much grander scale.  He noted the biggest issue for the office is the management of electronic records as the information is created faster than they can capture.

Some interesting facts of the make up of the Quebec Village include the services for roads in a northern province. Quebec City has 187 sq miles in the city with 1345 roads. Based on the rough winters, as it was shared with the Study Abroad group they get MORE snow than Montreal.  Over 4 meters (13.12 feet) . It was clarified the biggest part of the budget is road maintenance.

Further discussion and questions were shared regarding  the city’s election.  It was noted the provincial government does not allow for mail in ballots due to the size of rural municipalities. The Assistant City Attorney did explain they have seen an increase in voter participation in their last election by 10%, with a 55 % voter turnout.

Their office receives over 3000 Record requests per year. The requests are free and must be provided within 20 days.   A Record request may be reviewed or overridden by a committee called the Adjunctive Division of the Commission of  Access and Documents.

After our visit to City Hall,  we had the opportunity to have a delightful lunch at parliament with formal settings amongst the many visitors to this government entity.  We were also able to explore the historic city prior to the group returning to Parliament for a tour where we were able to witness committee work in action.

 

 

 

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