Conversation with Lorraine Pintal

By Tracey Arial

Four weeks ago, Lorraine Pintal took a leave of absence to run for the Parti québécois in Verdun for the 2014 Quebec provincial election.

Until then, Pintal was the long-time artistic director of the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, a position she’s held since 1992.

Pintal doesn’t live in the riding she wants to represent (she lives in Rosemont), but she has many links to the borough through co-productions at Studio B.

I have frequented Verdun quite often via my cultural work,” she says. “I’ve had the occasion among others to work at Studio B with circus performers from Les 7 Doigts de la Main and Cirque Éloize because the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde has had co-productions with those two circus companies over the years.”

She’s also participated in many leisure activities throughout the borough.

I’ve had a chance to get to know Wellington Street quite well several times over the years, especially with all the cafés and restaurants that have opened in the last few years. Then, of course, the waterfront of the Saint Lawrence River is absolutely formidable here. For a cyclist like me, I love bicycle riding, so of course, I’ve often toured through the mainland and on Nun’s Island too—I’ve visited many artist friends on Nun’s Island.”

Pintal dream is to help turn Verdun into a cultural mecca for Montrealers by ensuring that a Cultural Centre gets built in the riding and by helping implement the PQ’s platform to ensure that Verdun transforms into a cultural and economic jewel for Montreal. She believes that culture will be a great motivator for visitors to explore Verdun’s restaurants and bars and that tourism will help revitalize the commercial arteries in the borough.

Pintal’s star power is already working to gain attention for Verdun. Premier Pauline Marois visited the borough five times to support Pintal’s campaign. Each of these visits included a key announcement for the riding. The PQ plans to renovate the schools, ensure that Verdun receives its share of the 7,500 low-income housing spots it plans to create in Montreal, ensure that the new Champlain Bridge System includes a light-rail transit system to Nun’s Island and modernize the Verdun Hospital.

Of course, we have to mention the overdue hospital renovation,” she says. “I have discovered some very inspired doctors and nurses there. It’s clear that the renovation and expansion of the Verdun Hospital has to happen soon. I’ve also visited the Douglas Hospital to hear about their expansion. I’ve seen the model they have of their new building and heard about their intentions to create a new research centre that Verduners can be proud of. That’s an exceptional project.”

Pintel says that listening to citizens will be her priority in her new mandate. She plans to put citizens at the centre of everything done and to ensure that happens, she’s already announced that she will hold Saturday open houses at least once every month.

I’m going to make sure that I can meet with citizens on an ad hoc basis at least one day every month.”

She’s particularly pleased that many citizens in Verdun are already bragging to her about local projects of all kinds underway.

During our door-to-door visits and at the Metro, I’ve met several people who are really engaged with their community,” she says. “I’ve also met with representatives from Batir Son Quartier, which works primarily in the southwest, but which is beginning to be involved in Verdun because of the social housing program set up by the Parti québécois. It’s great to see the potential renovation of the built environment. Then it’s impressive to see all the new renovations and the expansions. I’m meeting people who are really proud of where they live and they’re engaged to make it even better.”

For more information about Pintal, refer to her official election website, the official campaign notice, her Facebook page, follow her Twitter feed at @LorrainePintal or visit her campaign office at 4030 Wellington, [514] 416-5440.
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