By Robert Frank
Two more individuals have plunged into the municipal election campaign, giving Laval voters a total of nine candidates for the mayor’s office to choose from when they go to the polls, Nov. 3.
After Elections Quebec closed nominations, Oct. 4, Hélène Goupil Nantel and Régent Millette appeared on the Municipal Affairs Ministry’s list of mayoral hopefuls.
They will be joining Jacques Foucher and Marc-Aurèle Racicot in running as independents.
“I have worked at the federal, provincial and municipal level,” said Goupil Nantel, who told The Suburban in an interview that she has been actively involved in politics for nearly a quarter-century, “starting with former federal Immigration Minister Lise Bacon.”
The well-being of Laval’s underprivileged is of particular interest to Goupil Nantel, who has Norwegian roots.
“Being poor can be very dangerous,” she said.
Goupil Nantel started her career very young, as a secretary, and went on to work for Sunoco and a Norwegian company that supplied heavy equipment for the James Bay project. She added that she worked as a part-time substitute teacher for the Sir Wilfred Laurier School Board from 1980-2003, and sings in English every Wednesday in a local choir.
The Suburban met up with serial candidate Régent Millette, who was handing out his one-page résumé in front of city hall, just before the Oct. 3 city council meeting.
Millette, who turned 78, Sept. 14, ran against Gilles Vaillancourt for mayor in 2005 and 2009. He has also made as many as two-dozen other bids to get elected during federal, provincial and municipal campaigns, running either as an independent or for the fringe Parti démocrate chrétienne du Québec.
In his statement Millette pledged, if elected, to deposit the mayor’s salary to his Fondation internationale Famille Régent Millette (FIFRM), whose goal, he stated, was to “provide drinking water to the planet.”
Quebec government documents show that until 2002, Millette operated a registered company that provided “casting” and “paralegal services”.
FIFRM, which he runs together with Éric and David Millette, is still in operation. According to a separate set of documents, it is a federally registered non-profit “personal association” whose objective is “to provide financial assistance to underprivileged countries to supply drinking water.”
However, no record could be found on the federal web site of it having earned official recognition as a charity.
Millette has not responded to several subsequent requests for an interview during the course of last week.
The remaining five candidates for mayor are all campaigning on official political party slates: Robert Bordeleau (Parti au Service du Citoyen), Marc Demers (Mouvement lavallois), Jean-Claude Gobé (Action Laval), Guy Landry (Nouveau Parti des Lavallois) and Claire Le Bel (Option Laval).
The Laval Chamber of Commerce and Industry has invited the fivesome to participate in an election debate, but has excluded all four independent candidates from the political discourse.
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