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E-Petitions in Quebec: Between Transfer and Resistance

Democracy
Parliaments
Political Participation
Internet
Political Activism
Jean-Benoit Pilet
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Eric Montigny
Department of Political Science, Université Laval
Jean-Benoit Pilet
Université Libre de Bruxelles

Abstract

In theory, by accepting e-petitions, parliaments promote an active form of citizen participation (Tenscher, 2014). In other words, this type of tool aims to allow the development of more direct interactions between elected officials and citizens in the context of parliamentary work. Ten years ago, it is in this perspective that the Quebec National Assembly allowed online petitions. The Rules of Procedure of the Assembly were even amended so that the tabling of petitions could lead to a government response as well as the possibility for a parliamentary committee to seize the subject raised by the signatories. What assessment can be made of this reform? Will this have significantly increased citizen participation in parliamentary proceedings? In fact, we have rather witnessed a transfer of paper petitions to digital. As for parliamentarians, they are always reluctant to study them.