Martin C. Barry
Action Laval mayoral candidate Jean-Claude Gobé announced during the party’s official campaign launch last Sunday that Canadian Olympic track and field athlete Nicolas Macrozonaris will be seeking the Sainte-Dorothée city council seat for Action Laval in City of Laval elections on Nov. 5.
Gobé attacks Demers
Around 500 Action Laval supporters who gathered at the Palace convention centre for the official opposition municipal party’s first major event listened as Gobé, a former Quebec MNA who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in the 2013 election, derided incumbent mayor and Mouvement Lavallois leader Marc Demers.
Gobé tore into Demers for allegedly allowing the City of Laval’s influence with other cities and the provincial government to decline, while also allowing decisions affecting Laval to be made without any input by the city.
“Laval is the third most important city in Quebec and it is time that it gets back in the spot where it belongs,” said Gobé. “It’s time to put Laval back on the map. I will make sure that all decisions made at the other levels, using my experience, are taken in the best interests of Laval residents. Laval needs a mayor and I am ready.”
Former Olympian running
Gobé, who is himself quite a sports and fitness buff, introduced Macrozonaris, who still ranks as Canada’s third-fastest 100-metre sprinter, as a future city councillor who would be made responsible for promoting sports and physical fitness in a municipal administration led by Gobé as mayor.
“We must encourage discipline and participation in sports by youth in Laval,” Macrozonaris said in a statement. “Several means are at our disposal to get our young to be more active. By joining Action Laval, I hope to use the means at the disposal of the City of Laval to improve sports services in the districts, for the young as well as those who are less young.”
Youth and sports
For his part, Gobé said the Action Laval platform “contains all the elements to which Mr. Macrozonaris makes reference. It is completely incomprehensible that youths and parents in Laval must take their children to Montreal for hockey practice because Laval’s infrastructures are inadequate, insufficient and too centralized. We are going to take action with regard to this aspect and add to what is already being offered in neighbourhoods neglected by the Demers administration.”
Gobé contended that Mayor Demers “neglected the citizens of Laval over the recent past years at city hall. During the course of our talks with residents, they said time and again that never have they felt so distant from their local elected officials. There has to be a change of attitude at Laval city hall. The elected officials should be at the service of the citizens, and not the other way around. To the citizens I will be a mayor who is close to you and truly listening to your needs. The same will be true of my team.”
Voters disappointed, said Gobé
Gobé said that many residents of Laval he’d spoken to recently were disappointed with the direction the City of Laval took under the Demers administration. “These were people who had been expecting a new era to begin and they didn’t get that with the current administration. On the contrary, we got a 6.5 per cent increase in municipal taxes in three years.”
He repeated a commitment first made by Action Laval the week before to cut property taxes by 3 per cent. It would be paid for with money from the $10 million Place-du-Souvenir Fund, which was created by the Demers administration from money reclaimed by the city from former mayor Gilles Vaillancourt following Vaillancourt’s conviction on corruption and misappropriation charges.