Beaconsfield backs beleagured councilor

By Robert Frank

Beaconsfield city council voted unanimously, Sept. 23, to cover the legal costs of defending against a lawsuit leveled by a fringe mayoral candidate.

Hela Labene, who garnered just 408 votes during the 2009 municipal election, filed a lawsuit to revoke District 2 Councilor Karin Essen’s democratically elected mandate.

As The Suburban went to press, the case was due to go before Quebec Superior Court again yesterday, Sept. 24. Beaconsfield’s director-general Patrice Boileau anticipated that it would be a pro-forma hearing, simply to set the date for both sides to present their arguments.

In an interview with The Suburban, Labene expressed the hope that if the court removes Essen from office, it might also invalidate some decisions upon which she voted.

Essen chairs the Beaconsfield demolition committee, which recently gave a crucial green light that Batshaw Youth and Family Centres needed in order to proceed with the first phase of its $50 million, open-custody facility for troubled youth.

As of today, only 39 days remain before the upcoming municipal election, Nov. 3. Essen, who was obliged to take up residence—at least temporarily—in Lachine, because of ongoing divorce proceedings, has said that she does not intend to seek reelection.

A similar question has been raised recently in Laval, where opponents have challenged mayoral candidate Marc Demers’ eligibility for office in the upcoming municipal election.

In an interview, Demers, a retired senior police officer, told The Suburban of jurisprudence that makes provision for absences. He cited two cases where judges have upheld an elected official’s qualification to hold municipal office.

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