Candidates coming forward for 2013 municipal elections
Though mayoral and municipal council candidates can only officially register themselves with the Directeur général des élections du Québec’s office from Sept. 20 to Oct. 4, many candidates are not waiting that long to let potential voters know they’re going to run.
By all indications, the Nov. 3 election taking place across Quebec will be busy as interest in entering into public service is on the rise even as public trust seems to be on the decline in an often scandal filled domain. Putting their best foots forward though, candidates in many Vaudreuil-Soulanges towns have announced they are ready to lead in their respective municipalities.
Hudson has been without a mayor since Michael Elliott resigned on June 18 for health reasons. He underwent open heart surgery last year.
Not long after resigning, it came to light that the former mayor, who served the town for 30 years, twice as mayor and three times as a town councillor, was one of 315 residents owing a total of more than $1.2 million in unpaid taxes. Media reports indicate Elliott’s unpaid bill, dating to 2004, was the highest, totaling more than $60,000.
Meanwhile, prior leaving, Elliott brought in the Sûreté du Québec after a March, 2013 audit of Hudson’s affairs uncovered a legacy of possible fraud involving errors in employee salary deductions. The potential wrongdoing, which is still under investigation, spans many years.
With all of that boiling over in the bucolic town, whoever takes over as mayor will have a complicated job on their hands. Ready to forge ahead thus far are two men:
Ed Prevost: Hudson Mayoral Candidate
Calling himself “Hudson’s mayoral candidate with a difference,” Prevost, 72, has lived in Hudson for the past nine years. With an Honours B.A., and an M.B.A. in business, as well as other educational credits in the field of advertising, Prevost has held numerous CEO positions in varied industries including broadcasting, film production and distribution, brewing, paints and coatings, and mergers and acquisitions. He continues to chair two groups of CEOs and assist their professional development.
He was inspired to run, he says, because he feels Hudson needs leadership.
“If Hudson was progressing and humming in the right direction with responsible, accountable, and a transparent administration, I would not be running. The town direly needs to be fixed now,” Prevost said in a written statement, adding he wants to be “an agent for change.” If elected, however, he plans to serve one and not more than two terms.
On tackling what will undoubtedly be a messy job at first, Prevost said he’s ready for the challenge: “The initial part of this mandate will be difficult. No one relishes the role of being the bearer of bad news and tough decisions; but, there will be no choice. However unpalatable it will be, it will be done with compassion. Notwithstanding the necessary resolution of the ugly past, I am more concerned about the future,” he noted.
One thing he feels must change is what he dubbed adversarial, unhealthy and unproductive town council meetings.
Prevost would like to see such forums become places of honesty and open debate. “There is a fine line between negative and constructive criticism. We need more of the latter,” he said.
Prevost’s plan-of-action would include recruiting “like-minded councillors” willing to help implement a vision he’ll develop after hosting a series of informal public meetings with residents.
Calling it “obvious and gratuitous” for opponents to talk about keeping taxes in check while increasing revenue, Prevost stresses the need to develop detailed plans and platforms.
He also wants to recruit residents to sit on a voluntary steering committee to act upon request, and will work closely with municipal employees.
“I am passionate about developing team spirit, particularly at the level of town employees. They are, after all, entrusted with the responsibility of taking care of our town on a daily basis.”
Saying he feels Hudson residents “deserve more and much better,” Prevost, who was widowed in 2005 and later remarried Sandra Johnson in 2009, is the father of four grown children and the grandfather of 12.
Jacques Bourgeois: Hudson Mayoral Candidate
Acknowledging a small-town fact which allows everyone to know each other, Jacques Bourgeois says many Hudsonites are acquainted with him from his 30 years of living in Hudson. For those who don’t know Bourgeois, the married father of four children all of whom were raised in Hudson, says he’s ready to lead the town.
Bourgeois, who holds an engineering degree as well as a Ph.D. in business administration, and who worked as a tenured professor at McGill and Carleton universities, says he’ll put his personal and professional experience to use as Hudson’s new mayor.
His business experience includes holding partnerships with two consulting groups, as well as the presidents’ position for two organizations in technology and telecommunications industries.
“My commitment is to work diligently and professionally on your behalf,” Bourgeois said in a written statement, adding, “I will treat everyone with respect and operate in a fair, open and transparent manner.”
His primary goals include: improved governance, reducing costs, resisting tax increases and providing greater transparency by enacting biannual mayoral status reports. Bourgeois also wants to create an improved Web presence, and encourage citizen involvement on municipal committees.
He’ll improve accountability by reviewing municipal department and removing duplication, reducing expenditures, and tracking departmental measures of performance. His other goals include managing development and working toward available housing for younger families, while fostering events for seniors’ groups. He wants to protect green spaces and encourage more waterfront access, as well as trails and bike paths.
Meanwhile, in Vaudreuil-Dorion, resident Gary Machado announced that he will run for city council in District 3, which covers the du Fief/Cavagnal section of town.
Machado was inspired to run after he helped launch a social networking site for local residents that focused on city and local news, as well as town events and by-laws affecting Vaudreuil-Dorion residents. He became known for spearheading efforts to have key questions answered about issues affecting concerned citizens.
“I’ve seen the city grow from 22,087 residents to 34,806 over the span of eight years, and many of the persistent issues aren’t being addressed properly,” Machado stated in a press release. Specifically, he feels over development in Vaudreuil-Dorion and “poor urban planning” have led to an increase in traffic and a decrease in road safety.
“I stand by these facts: As a growing city we have a need for first responders and increased public security. Our road network must meet the current and upcoming demand. We must ensure proper urban planning is exercised with any project. With 45-percent of households in the city who have children it is crucial to build additional schools to accommodate students,” he stated.
Machado says his goals as a town councillor would be bringing new ideas to help address the issues in Dist. 3. He would also like to establish an information program giving resident current information about all proposed or necessary changes in the district.
“As your district city councillor it’s my duty not only to listen but also hear what you have to say. Together, we can make a difference within our community.”