I am a well-informed citizen
Giving our point of view is legitimate, but first we have to know what goes on…
Considering the progress of democracy, lobbying is becoming increasingly important. It is a recognized activity aimed at influencing the decisions of public authorities by bringing the necessary information to their attention.
Citizens live in a democratic society where several democratic rights are guaranteed: voting rights, the right to file petitions, the right of association, freedom of speech, equal rights, to name a few. They can exercise these rights effectively only if they have access to information allowing them to understand all the stakes involved in decisions or public debates. Information is crucial to the exercise of democratic rights.
The Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Act gives a new dimension to the right to information because it allows citizens to find out who is attempting to influence what, and on whose behalf.
Thus, citizens can better understand the stakes involved and join in the debate, if they so wish, since they know more about files that concern them, whether the subject is building a port for methane tankers or the implementation of a supermarket, the granting of a permit or an amendment to an environmental law.
Take the time to obtain information
The Act provides that those who attempt, through oral or written communications, on behalf of a third party or for special interests, to influence the decisions of public office holders, must register in the Lobbyists Registry, making sure they state their mandates and identify their clients.
Take the time to consult the Lobbyists Registry to keep informed on what goes on in your environment.
Example of a well-informed citizen
Lucy is a citizen interested in everything related to the labelling and marketing of generically modified products. She would like to know what influences are being brought to bear on politicians or employees of her government when decisions liable to affect the entire food chain will be made.
Being a well-informed citizen, Lucy does some research. She especially consults the Lobbyists Registry to know if lobbyists intervene with elected officials or government employees in an attempt to influence the policies they will adopt. By doing so, Lucy can find information in the registry regarding the nature of the lobbyists' interventions and respond by expressing her viewpoint to her Member of the National Assembly.