How to write a petition
If you live in Quebec, chances are that you have been asked to sign a petition in recent history. There have been a few major ones circulating, including the petition for a public consultation on urban agriculture in Montreal, the petition for the labeling of GM foods,* and our very own "concerned citizen, concerned eater" manifesto.
Petitions are a practical way to express the popular will. They let us participate in democratic life.
Have you ever had an idea for a petition of your own? Here's what you need to know.
For a petition to be considered representative, it must have a significant number of signatures. For example, in Montreal, at least 5% of a borough's residents must sign for a petition to be considered valid.
A successful petition must also:
- provide a clear and accurate explanation of your project that is reproduced word for word on every page
- make sure that all signers are over 15 years of age and live in the relevant neighbourhood, borough or city
- take no more than 90 days to collect all signatures
- include the name of a spokesperson (or "principal petitioner") with, at the very least, a mailing address, street address and telephone number
The people who sign the petition must provide the following information:
In capital letters
35 Flower Rd.
I declare that I am over 15 years old and that I reside at the aforementioned address.
It may also be helpful to seek signatures from merchants and other business owners in your neighbourhood. This will give your cause credibility by showing that it has the support of a representative part of the population.
Remember to ask for a receipt when you file your petition with your municipal clerk.
You can then file your petition with a muncipal councillor who can support your petition before the council.
The next step is for you yourself to go before the council. To do this, sign up in advance for the question period.
Good luck with your cause!