Pierre Ka­ry steps down ear­ly as Saint-la­zare mayor

Politics in town a ‘bit like can­cer’

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS -

It was no April Fools joke. Pierre Ka­ry step­ped down as mayor of Saint-la­zare on April 1 fol­lo­wing a re­si­gna­tion let­ter writ­ten and han­ded in­to the town on March 30.

The now for­mer mayor of Saint-la­zare re­si­gned from his du­ties th­ree months ear­lier than ex­pec­ted, ci­ting pro­fes­sio­nal and health rea­sons. In De­cem­ber, Ka­ry had said he would step down on June 29 due to an un­dis­clo­sed health is­sue.

On Mon­day, Ka­ry said he ac­ce­le­ra­ted the de­ci­sion to re­si­gn due to a job of­fer he’s consi­de­ring, which will most li­ke­ly take the fa­mi­ly back to Eu­rope, where they once li­ved.

Ka­ry ad­mit­ted an on­going is­sue with his health al­so played a role in the de­ci­sion.

“I’ve had health rea­sons and now my pro­fes­sio­nal ca­reer has pre­sen­ted cer­tain op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Ka­ry said, ad­ding, “I can’t keep bur­ning the candle at both ends. I need to fo­cus on my health, my ca­reer and my fa­mi­ly.”

And now that he is pri­vate ci­ti­zen, Pierre Ka­ry, the for­mer mayor, is free to speak his mind, saying he thinks Saint-la­zare’s elec­ted of­fi­cials need to put politics aside and fo­cus on the col­lec­tive good of the re­si­dents.

“So­meone des­cri­bed (politics in SaintLa­zare) to me as a can­cer. The ma­jo­ri­ty of the cells are per­fect­ly fine, but the mi­no­ri­ty makes the bo­dy real­ly sick.”

He feels some town coun­cil­lors are “per­so­na­li­zing politics,” which he said is “ne­ver the right thing to do.”

Ne­ver­the­less, Ka­ry said the de­ci­sion to step down ear­ly had no­thing to do with the of­ten acri­mo­nious at­mos­phere among mem­bers of coun­cil.

“My li­fe­style de­ci­sions, my is­sues have no­thing to do with the be­ha­viour of others.”

Ka­ry is leaving with a clean conscience, ha­ving ac­com­pli­shed ma­ny of the goals he set out to achieve at the be­gin­ning of his man­date, he says.

Ka­ry, 42, was elec­ted to his first four-year mayo­ral term in No­vem­ber 2009.

Elec­ted with him as part of the Sha­red Vi­sion Par­ty were Coun­cil­lors Jean-pierre Gi­guère, Gil­bert Ar­se­nault, Jean-claude Gau­thier and Nathalie Ri­chard, who was vo­ted pro-mayor at the first coun­cil mee­ting in 2009.

Coun­cil­lors Bri­gitte As­se­lin and Mi­chel Lam­bert de­fea­ted can­di­dates from Ka­ry’s par­ty to round out the mu­ni­ci­pal team.

Reaction

While ex­pres­sing di­sap­point­ment at Ka­ry’s ear­ly de­par­ture, Dis­trict #2 coun­cil­lor Nathalie Ri­chard said Mon­day she wishes the for­mer mayor well.

“I guess his job search went bet­ter than ex­pec­ted... I’m hap­py for him,” she said

Ri­chard al­so feels Ka­ry’s ear­ly de­par­ture means Saint-la­zare can get “set­tled qui­cker” with a new­mayor.

Hea­ding in­to last night’s month­ly town coun­cil mee­ting, it was wi­de­ly ex­pec­ted Ri­chard was going to be re­pla­ced as pro-mayor by the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion.

The wor­king mo­ther of two said she does not plan to run for Ka­ry’s seat. “This is not a job for a mom with two young kids,” she no­ted.

Meanw­hile, dis­trict #4 coun­cil­lor Mi­chel Lam­bert, whose bat­tles with Ka­ry have been long and pu­blic, said Mon­day he was not sur­pri­sed by the mayor’s abrupt de­par­ture from of­fice.

Lam­bert would not say if he felt Ri­chard would be re­pla­ced as pro-mayor, nor if he had any plans to run for the mayor’s job.

“I don’t knowyet,” he com­men­ted.

Ma­keu­po­fa­town­coun­cil

With Ka­ry gone, Ri­chard and Dis­trict #5 coun­cil­lor Gil­bert Ar­se­nault are left in the mi­no­ri­ty to face off against of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion coun­cil­lors Mi­chel Lam­bert, JeanC­laude Gau­thier, Bri­gitte As­se­lin and JeanPierre Gi­guère, who has at times sup­por­ted the mi­no­ri­ty on cer­tain is­sues.

Ri­chard hopes coun­cil­lors can put aside their dif­fe­rences to work for the col­lec­tive good. “You ne­ver know in politics, but ho­pe­ful­ly we can work for the good of Saint-la­zare re­si­dents,” she no­ted.

The ra­pid­ly gro­wing town has gone from 17,000 re­si­dents in 2006, to more than 20,000 to­day. Saint-la­zare was al­so na­med a town with one of the youn­gest po­pu­la­tions, with 31-percent of re­si­dents being un­der the age of 30.

Ac­cor­ding to pro­vin­cial law, Saint-la­zare re­si­dents will head to the polls to elect a new mayor so­me­time be­fore the end of June.

New­ho­ri­zons

Ka­ry, a Eu­ro­pean pa­tent at­tor­ney who has a PH.D in che­mis­try, said the fa­mi­ly is stron­gly consi­de­ring a move to Eu­rope where his Da­nish wife li­ved prior to Ka­ry’s re­tur­ning to his na­tive Ca­na­da. The couple have two young chil­dren, and Ka­ry feels the work/fa­mi­ly ba­lance is ea­sier to main­tain in Eu­rope. In ad­di­tion, Ka­ry’s wife, a phar­ma­cist and che­mist, can work in both of her cho­sen fields in Eu­rope. She is not cer­ti­fied to work in phar­ma­cy in Ca­na­da. Ka­ry’s home in the Boi­sé cham­pêtre de­ve­lop­ment is cur­rent­ly up for sale.

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