voice for democracy

Kramberger: Is one acclamation too many for municipal democracy? – Montreal Gazette

A few West Island incumbent mayors are running unopposed for re-election, with the nomination period for potential candidates ending Friday.
While there are a few three-way mayoral races underway in the West Island and Off-Island heading into the Nov. 7 municipal elections, there is a relatively high number of unopposed candidates vying for local mayoral or councillor spots as Friday’s nomination deadline looms.
While not attempting to forecast who will eventually win races or be acclaimed into office, the Gazette’s West Island 2021 municipal election desk declares that Dorval and St-Lazare will have new mayors.
Edgar Rouleau, Dorval‘s longtime mayor, isn’t seeking re-election. Dorval voters will have at least three options for mayor, one of whom is hoping that the third time’s the charm. However, as of Wednesday, a few councillor districts in Dorval only had one candidate, two of whom would be newcomers to city council.
In St-Lazare, Robert Grimaudo, initially elected mayor in June 2012, is not seeking re-election this fall. He is facing charges in Valleyfield for alleged unauthorized use of a computer and mischief with regards to computer data.
Geneviève Lachance, the outgoing District 1 councillor, is seeking the mayor’s job in St-Lazare — and is so far unopposed.
“We are at a crossroads. Strategic decisions must be taken concerning residential and commercial development as well as municipal infrastructure. We absolutely must control and better plan such development, because the sustainability of our resources depends on it,” Lachance said when announcing her mayoral aspirations.
In Hudson, voters have an interesting trio to consider for mayor, as incumbent Jamie Nicholls, a former local NDP MP, faces off against outgoing District 1 councillor Helen Kurgansky and Chloe Hutchison, who was elected to council in 2017 but resigned in protest early last year.
“In the plainest words possible, I lost confidence in the present mayor and council’s deliberation process,” stated Hutchison, who stepped down from council in February 2020. She decided to run for mayor because she is “invested in the long‐term health and well‐being of Hudson.”
In Vaudreuil-Dorion, incumbent mayor Guy Pilon is, so far, running unchallenged, as are six of his party’s eight councillor candidates.
In Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, incumbent Paola Hawa, seeking her third term as mayor, is being challenged by outgoing councillor Francis Juneau, who was initially elected to council in a byelection in early 2016 when he was 22 years old.
Suanne Stein Day, who resigned as chair of the Lester B. Pearson School Board in 2017, is vying for Ste-Anne’s District 2 council seat, where she faces newcomer Jean-Pierre Cardinal.
While Kirkland incumbent mayor Michel Gibson faces Lucien Pigeon, four of the city’s eight districts have a sole candidate, which in all these cases is the incumbent councillor.
Beaconsfield’s incumbent mayor, Georges Bourelle, is being challenged by Johanne Hudon-Armstrong, but three incumbent councillors are not facing opposition as of Wednesday.
The election in Pointe-Claire has every position being contested, including three mayoral candidates: incumbent John Belvedere, Tim Thomas and Lois Butler.
Pending Friday’s nomination deadline, three incumbent West Island mayors, two of whom are women heading small towns, could be acclaimed: Baie-D’Urfé’s Heidi Ektvedt, Senneville’s Julie Brisebois and Alex Bottausci of Dollard-des Ormeaux.
Considering municipal elected officials are the closest level of government that West Islanders can lobby or turn to for help, one would think more people would take a chance and run for council. Every voice adds something to an election campaign and helps improve the local democratic process over such hot-button issues as green spaces and urban planning.
Albert Kramberger is editor of the Montreal Gazette’s West Island/Off-Island section.
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