Opposition gearing up for possible byelection

By Robert Frank

Sensing opportunity, Laval’s formerly fractious opposition leadership has coalesced, in anticipation of a pending court judgment that will determine whether or not Mayor Marc Demers was eligible for office when he was elected, Nov. 3.

Insiders told The Suburban before it went to press that they expect an announcement today that Demers’ most prominent opponents—Robert Bordeleau and Claire le Bel have joined forces with Jean-Claude Gobé’s Action Laval party, which has formed the official opposition at city council since the election.

Elections Quebec spokesman Denis Dion confirmed that le Bel has officially requested that her Option Laval party be dissolved.

“We have received the request, we will analyze it and expect to make a ruling [this] week,” he told The Suburban.

“I will probably do the same,” Bordeleau told The Suburban in a subsequent interview, about the prospect that his municipal Parti au service du citoyen will also head into oblivion. “Since first we met, Mr. Gobé and I have held one another in mutual respect. He told me that he found my [proposed] rail transit project quite interesting.”

Bordeleau nonetheless declined to confirm that a Laval opposition coalition is in the works.

“It would be a natural next step,” he conceded. “The three of us garnered about 55 per cent of the mayoral vote during last year’s municipal election. We haven’t made a final decision yet.”

“That has been the goal that we have been pursuing since we began our term here,” added Action Laval’s chief of staff at city hall Jean Desautels.

“Right now we’re united in contesting the court case [challenging Demers’ eligibility],” he said in an interview. “We’re collaborating closely, talking frequently and sharing a lot of information with these people.”

One municipal councilor, Pierre Anthian, was wrongfooted last week by the unanticipated opposition love-in.

Anthian announced, Sept. 30, that he had quit Mayor Demers’ Mouvement lavallois party and intended to defect to le Bel’s party, only to learn afterward that Option Laval was in the process of being disbanded.

Bordeleau told The Suburban that Anthian was a man of integrity who likely would be welcomed, if an opposition coalition were to be formed.

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