By Geneiviève April
Fed up with persistent mudslinging, four independent candidates joined forces at a press conference in Ste. Dorothée, Oct. 17, to convey what they would do for Laval families and senior citizens, issues that they think should instead be at the heart of the Nov. 3 municipal election campaign.
“Laval’s current family policy dates back to 2007 and dwells upon access to property. We sorely need to update that policy in order to offer services to the new families we are welcoming to Laval,” says François-Hugues Liberge (Laval les Îles). “We need to set up a families round table, and refurbish our sports infrastructure and parks.”
Michel Trottier (Fabreville) wants to promote collaboration between different groups. “We don’t need to reinvent the wheel,” he said. “Lots of existing Laval initiatives are great! What just needs to ensure that groups collaborate, to avoid duplicating services.”
“Senior citizens should be the focal point of the political debate,” added Sonia Baudelot (Abord à Plouffe). “Alone among Quebec’s ten largest cities, Laval is the only one without a senior policy. We have to give seniors the means to remain in Laval.”
The lack of services for senior citizens has been voiced repeatedly throughout the election campaign, be it the difficulty of getting transportation to a supermarket, and access to palliative care or places for physically activity. The financial hardship that they face is also widely acknowledged.
“We could have a tax policy for seniors which would permit them defer their property tax after they turn 65,” said Baudelot. “Only once they sell their house would city collect the unpaid taxes.”
Laval lacks English services
When asked about the dearth of services for Laval’s English community, all four candidates agreed that it was a priority.
“We need to work with the different groups,” said Baudelot, “to be available for them, to meet with them and to encourage the different communities to mingle more.”
“Holding neighborhood councils will also facilitate communication with community groups that would not normally attend city council meetings,” added Liberge. “Neighborhood council are friendlier, less officious, and would be a good way to gather community input and report their concerns and needs to city hall officials.”
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