Lagopatis: Laval’s English-language needs unmet

Lagopatis: Laval’s English-language needs unmet

Seniors, security, speeding snow removal and libraries a priority

By Robert Frank

Patricia Lagopatis has already gotten an earful from Chomedey residents while going door-to-door campaigning this summer.

“I hear the issue of trust voiced repeatedly, after what has happened here,” the Parti au Service du citoyen (PSC) candidate for city council told The Suburban. “Laval citizens want to regain that trust.”

Chomedey residents have also made it clear that improving public security is an important priority.

“People have complained to me about gangs, drinking and drugs,” Lagopatis reported. “They told me that there is no response when they call for assistance. One person told me that she called three times and nothing happened.”

“It could be a lack of sufficient resources,” she mused. “I am told that Montreal has some 5,000 police officers, while Laval only has about 500.”

“Speeding is another issue, especially on Elizabeth,” Lagopatis continued. “Almost every household on that street had something to say about it.”

Lagopatis is also highly attuned to the needs of Laval seniors.

“There’s a long waiting list for low-income seniors who need to move into an assisted living setting,” she lamented. “PSC plans to earmark three percent of existing property tax revenue—some $15 million—to provide extra funding for organizations which support stuff like that.”

Lagopatis also echoed the finding of a local round-table on health and social services (see accompanying report), which concluded that Laval’s rapidly aging English-speaking seniors population is seriously underserved.

“We’re starting to see some English-language services for seniors, many of whose kids have moved out of Quebec or have no kids to support them,” she observed, “so there’s a lack of support.”

“When I visited the wonderful Place des ainées seniors complex, I asked whether they provided any activities in English,” Lagopatis continued. “They responded ‘not really.’”

“I’m for balancing French and English-speakers needs,” she said. “This is such a resource. It would be great if all kinds of ethnic groups could be involved in the physical, artistic and social activities for seniors there.”

Lagopatis also wants Laval’s library system to better serve the cross-section of the city’s demographics.

“There are very few [English] books in the collection,” she complained. “One of the priorities of the PAC platform is to turn our libraries into more active centres.”

“As an allophone, I stand for the English language,” Lagopatis asserted. “I respect French, I speak French, but I stand for the English language to be promoted and respected.”

She also cited snow and garbage removal as services where the city could do better.

“We’re down to once-a-week garbage collection, which causes a problem, particularly for people who reside in apartments and condominiums,” she said.

Although Lagopatis is a newcomer to politics, she got her start in business at an unusually tender age.

“From 13, I was at my father’s side in business,” she recalled. “By the time I was 18, I was allowed to present seven-figure bids in competition with major companies.”

She went on to spend two decades providing local and international artistic and creative direction for Transcontinental magazines. She is quadrilingual, speaking fluent Greek and Spanish as well as both Canada’s official languages, and currently runs her own firm, which often entails travel to Greece and elsewhere in Europe.

“I never thought of going into politics,” she admitted, “but when I was approached I realized that it aligned very well with my values and objectives. I have been involved in so many organizations and events that I realized that I could make a difference in helping the community.”

Lagopatis is also a strong advocate for women to undertake leadership roles, regardless of their political stripe.

“It’s important that women do so, and I am very proud that a lot of women are running in the current Laval election across all political parties,” she concluded.

Patricia Lagopatis

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