By Geneviève April
The judicial challenge to Mayor Marc Demers by defeated mayoral candidate Jacques Foucher goes on. Last week, Mayor Demers’ lawyers filed his defence in the court case challenging his eligibility to run as mayor in last municipal election.
Mayor Demers’ defence denies every accusation levelled by Foucher and demands that the court altogether rejects the plaintiff’s law suit.
The main argument presented against Foucher’s claim regards the spirit of the law. Demers’ defence reminded the Court that Article 61 of the municipal election and referendum law states that a person is eligible to run if they have resided on the municipality’s territory for 12 months prior to the election, continuously or not.
According to Mayor Demers court defence, all prior months of residency should be added up, in his case for a total of 355 months over the years. The defence document also included a transcript of the debate when the National Assembly adopted the law, to illustrate the legislator’s intent at the time.
According to the defence lawyers, Article 61 was meant to bar surprise candidates from running in municipal elections, to guarantee that all candidate have a good knowledge of the municipality’s daily life, and strong community ties.
Represented pro bono by the Caza Marceau + Soucy Boudreau law firm, Foucher challenged Mayor Demers’ eligibility before the Court in November. Foucher alleged that the mayor wasn’t eligible to run in last year’s municipal election because he hadn’t lived in Laval for 12 months beforehand. Demers’ defence is provided by Casavant Mercier and, as previously reported in The Suburban, is paid for by the city.
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