A near-sweep for the Mouvement Lavallois
Incumbent municipal party wins 19 of city council’s 21 seats
Martin C. Barry
Incumbent Laval mayor Marc Demers easily won a second term in municipal elections last Sunday, while candidates for his Mouvement Lavallois succeeded in winning 19 of Laval city council’s 21 seats, which was an improvement over the 17 districts the ML took in the 2013 election.
According to a final tally posted on the City of Laval’s web site, Demers won with 46.24 per cent of the total number of votes. The second runner-up for the mayoralty was Parti Laval candidate Michel Trottier with 20.4 per cent.
Gobé finishes third
City council’s former official opposition leader Jean-Claude Gobé, who was making a second try for the mayoralty after first running in 2013, finished with just over 16 per cent support.
Avenir Laval mayoralty hopeful Sonia Baudelot was just behind him with 15.61 per cent. Former Laval city councillor Alain Lecompte, who was running for mayor with his Alliance des conseillers autonomes party, tallied less than 1 per cent.
In the district of Chomedey, Aglaia Revelakis easily succeeded in retaining the single seat Action Laval held consistently for the past four years, with 47 per cent support. Despite this, Action Laval has now lost its official opposition status. The Parti Laval also elected one candidate, but received a larger share of the popular vote, and so becomes the new official opposition on Laval city council.
Demers thanks the voters
“I would like to say thanks to you,” Demers told several hundred supporters who packed into the ML’s campaign headquarters in a mall at the corner of Saint-Martin and l’Avenir boulevards.
“We take great pride in the confidence that the voters have expressed in voting for us,” the newly re-elected mayor told journalists during a scrum that followed the results announcement. “I want to thank the citizens of Laval who took the time to vote. The outcome provides us with a clear mandate in keeping with the vision we set out to develop the City of Laval.”
While noting that the Mouvement Lavallois had found itself reduced during the last term to 15 seats following defections, Demers said the party “could be proud” it managed to make up for the loss and exceeded the seat count it achieved in the 2013 election.
Tax freeze not good – Demers
Commenting on the property tax freeze that the three other municipal parties pledged if they were elected, Demers said, “The citizens understood very well that to promise to freeze taxes over four years would have been catastrophic.
“We have the best credit rating in Quebec among all the municipalities according to S&P Global,” he continued. “If we were to change this balance, the interest rates on the city’s loans would rise. None of my rivals were able to state what is the city’s debt, what is the deficit of the employees’ pension fund. But they were all promising a tax freeze over four years – even eight years.”
For more than 20 years under the Vaillancourt administration, all the seats on Laval city council were won by the disgraced former mayor’s Parti PRO des Lavallois. The trend ended four years ago, with up to six opposition councillors sitting on city council during the last term – although the number is now reduced to two.
Honesty important, says Demers
Demers was asked by the Laval News whether he considers a solidified majority for the administration to always be a good thing, or whether there should be some opposition on city council.
“It’s for the population to decide,” he said. “When you say you need an opposition to avoid collusion or corruption, I think that the main factor for collusion or corruption is whether you are honest or not. If you’re honest you don’t need anybody to keep you in line – basically that’s it.”
Demers suggested that his team is open to working pro-actively with the opposition councillors over the coming four years. “If they want to work with us, we will work,” he said. “It’s just a matter of building confidence.”
Defeat for Action Laval
At Action Laval campaign headquarters, a short distance from the ML’s HQ, the mood was considerably more subdued. While the fate of the party’s mayoralty candidate, Jean-Claude Gobé, was decided fairly early in the evening, by 10:40 pm Gobé was still hopeful that some of his candidates would still prevail.
“We are still waiting for the final results,” he said, noting that support for Demers as mayor was split several ways. “We are looking towards the future now. It’s not over. This is only the beginning. We continue the struggle.”
Revelakis wins in Chomedey
The responsibility for carrying the Action Laval banner in Laval city council now rests again with Aglaia Revelakis. “I would like to thank first of all my team which was here with me from the beginning,” she said in an interview with the Laval News.
“Today we gave our hearts for Chomedey. I am here for the people of Chomedey and I will never let them down. While it’s an honor to be re-elected, I am sad at the same time because my party did not win. But I am here, I won and it was for the citizens of Chomedey.”
Another Action Laval candidate, Nicolas Macrozonaris who ran unsuccessfully in Sainte-Dorothée, said his first foray into politics won’t be his last. “I have no regrets,” he said. “Am I going to be back in four years? The answer is yes.”