Experienced economic development expert sees a great future for Laval’s biotech sector
In an opening bid to win the Laval region’s five provincial ridings – three of which are now held by the Quebec Liberals – Premier François Legault was in Laval-des-Rapides to announce the Coalition Avenir Québec’s candidate in this current PLQ riding.
L-D-R a ‘swing’ riding
She is Céline Haytayan, and she will be trying to pry this swing riding that has swayed unpredictably at times in many past elections from Quebec Liberal Saul Polo, a veteran of two National Assembly terms who is the only incumbent PLQ MNA from Laval to be seeking another mandate in the Oct. 3 elections.
Haytayan has a professional background in corporate management. She is currently director of international corporate affairs with the global video game producer Ubisoft.
An impressive C.V.
For fourteen years, she was a senior staffer and member of the board at the Montreal International economic development agency. Haytayan also has university degrees in business administration and law from HEC Montréal, Université de Montréal, UQAM and McGill University.
“Céline is an expert in economic development and business, which will be excellent for Laval-des-Rapides,” Legault said during the launch.
“Her experience will be highly useful to further develop the economy of Laval-des-Rapides, where the potential is great. I feel truly privileged to have a candidate of such great caliber as Céline Haytayan on the CAQ team. She is the best person to make your voices heard in the National Assembly and with the government.”
‘A woman of action’
Haytayan described herself as a woman accustomed to being “on the territory. A woman of action. I commit myself today to go out on your behalf and to devote myself for the common good in the best interests of the families in Laval-des-Rapides, the senior citizens, the community organizations, the people who are in business, the industries.”
In an informal speech, Legault spoke of the CAQ government’s commitments to supporting various City of Laval development projects, including extending the Metro system’s orange line northward into Laval, and the extension of Saint-Martin Blvd. eastward to better link Laval’s west and central areas with the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul and Saint-François districts.
Laval’s east-west corridor
“We’ve placed a lot of emphasis on the north-south these past years,” said Legault. “But we are discovering that there are also needs on the east-west axis. So, we are working on many dossiers.” One such dossier – the extension of Autoroute 19 north of the A-440 to cross the Mille-Îles River onto the North Shore – is progressing, according the Premier.
“That and other dossiers are advancing,” he said. “We have a lot ambition for Laval and we needed a candidate from Laval with an equal amount of ambition. For us, Céline is an important addition to our economic team. She has worked virtually all her life in economic development.”
A cancer survivor
For her part, Haytayan revealed that part of the reason she is running for the CAQ is a desire to serve the community – something which she became acutely aware of last year when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo intensive treatment.
“When you go through something like this, it raised many questions, including the way in which one lives,” she said. “When you overcome a challenge such as this, there is a before and an after. I was my wish that my after would serve the community.
“It occurred to me during this reflection that the person I am, with values and acquired experience, could serve the public good,” she continued. “I have always found political commitment very noble. It is a noble calling. Taking an interest in public affairs, having the desire to contribute to the well-being of the community, I want to be part of this.”
Regarding Laval’s potential for ongoing economic development, Haytayan said the Centre Québécois d’innovation en biotechnologies (a science-based business incubator on Cartier Blvd. West), in conjunction with provincial and municipal economic development agencies, stands to attract more biotech businesses to Laval in the future.
“If I am elected, I will work in conjunction with Mayor Boyer’s team to attract more businesses of this specific sector, in life sciences and health technology, in technology proper,” she said, while adding that she also plans to pay close attention to problems that impact families in Laval-des-Rapides, such as social exclusion and poverty.