Civic politics becoming more civil

By Robert Frank

It has been refreshing to see Laval’s municipal leaders start to take some of the harder edges off city politics. During the past few weeks, we were treated to a softball match between city councillors and the city’s two school boards: Sir Wilfred Laurier and Commission scolaire de Laval.
Then, a week ago Sunday, city hall opposition members showed at John F. Kennedy Park in Chomedey to support a local initiative to revive the park as a community facility.

The change is welcome and—with the municipal election now more than ten months behind us—somewhat overdue.

It’s not as though there are no more jeremiads against Mayor Marc Demers. Both his political opponents Robert Bordeleau and Jean-Claude Gobé were on hand following the mayor’s news conference two weeks ago to announce that the city will sue Gilles Vaillancourt et al in civil court.

Opposition councillors play a vital democratic role, by posing important questions. For instance, they recently raised valid concerns about whether the pension plan for city workers is adequately funded. They have reminded us that it’s vital for Laval to continue to lead Quebec in attracting head offices and growing its economy.

But Demers and his Movement lavallois party won a clear mandate from Laval citizens at the ballot box back in November. The election campaign is long over. So it is encouraging to see politicians of all political stripes getting out among the people who live here in this city and support their hopes and dreams.

Their efforts to engage constructively with the residents of this city is noticed—and the fledgling civility is a most welcome alternative to the acrimony that has for far too long pervaded city hall.
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