August 14, 2022

La Ronge Northerner

Complete Canadian News World

Municipal council elected officials are busy to contest the provincial council elections

Many mayors and municipal councilors are standing as candidates in this year’s provincial council elections. This is no coincidence: their candidacies are more and more attractive to provincial parties.

According to our intelligence bureau’s analysis, there are already 46 candidates running in the provincial elections with past or present experience in municipal politics.

This is already slightly more than in 2018 (43) and their number may increase further in September, so far only 400 of the 625 candidates announced will form the teams of the five parties represented in the National Assembly. .

We specifically note the six mayors currently in office and the six municipal councilors.

If elected, municipalities would have to run for re-election as there is a 40-year ban on holding these two positions simultaneously.

“The municipal scene has long been the electoral poor child,” explains Daniel Billet, an expert in municipal politics at UQAM. But now it is not true, on the contrary, it is very valuable and attractive. Very good municipal candidates are more likely to be hired. »

Changes have indeed occurred in recent years, starting with the specialization of the function of the elected municipal official, the expert underlines. In 2017, a law recognized cities as local governments and increased their powers.

“There are more full-time elected officials, and this is benefited by the repeal of the salary cap in 2017. So elected officials are investing more full-time,” Ms. Billet continues.

Cities are financially autonomous and influential.

“These local elected officials are more available and more in the field, and their knowledge becomes more transferable [à d’autres paliers de gouvernement]. »

According to Eric Montigny, a political scientist at Laval University, certain characteristics are particularly appealing to political parties in municipal candidates (see box). Especially the aggressiveness of the candidates.

“The party can claim to be a local candidate rooted in their field and their knowledge of issues specific to their environment,” he explains.

Other elements and not least: popularity and political experience.

“These people are well-known in their environment […] Most of them are already used to interacting with the media, Mr. Mandigny explains. They already have a network, an understanding of what the campaign is and the resources we need. »

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“Social networks now allow elected municipal officials to be more notoriously supportive,” Ms. Billet says.

Gilles Lehouillier, the mayor and former deputy of Lévis, says he was recruited by the Liberal Party in 2008 because of his infamy. With twenty years of experience as a municipal councillor, he had the opportunity to manage large files before being recruited into the Liberal ranks in the 2008 election.

“I was popular in Levi’s […] And it’s clear that notoriety helps get elected. »

However, this brings a nuance: the sphere of influence is limited. “You should not dream in colors, I have always had the impression that even if you have a great name, your vote can be affected by 8-10% of your infamy, because despite everything, the party leader remains. Note. »

“If your party declines or your leader doesn’t rise, nothing can be done and your chances of getting elected are slim,” he adds.

– With Marie Christine Trottier, Pascal Ducasse Bourdon, Maude Boudet, Philippe Langlois and Nicolas Brasser

According to political scientist Eric Montigny, candidates with experience in municipal politics are attractive to political parties because they possess five specific characteristics. We interviewed five candidates.

Veronique Venne

Political experience

Mayoral Candidates Provincial Elections

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These candidates know how to campaign. “They have an electoral system, in some cases even minimal, but they have political experience,” says political scientist Eric Montigni.

“This is not my first rodeo,” says Philippe Page, who was elected mayor of Saint-Camille in Estrie in 2017. “Going from door to door, having commitments, seeing people.. I’m used to working. Living with similar or non-unanimous decisions, dealing with criticism and improving. »

Vicki-Mae Hamm, mayor of Magog from 2009 to 2021, already has an experienced campaign team. “This is my fifth campaign and most of the volunteers have followed me from campaign to campaign and are still with me. This is definitely an advantage […] I have a mobilized team that knows its role well and this is my official agent’s 4th campaign. »

Véronique Venne’s experience as mayor of Saint-Marie-Salome helped her develop her ability to listen to citizens.

“Working closely with people over the years means I am comfortable going door-to-door in parks and holding citizen meetings. I already have those qualities, unlike someone who goes straight to the national level and gets too involved in political theory. »

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“I want to campaign […] If someone doesn’t like it, people will notice,” says Suzanne Roy.


Loyalty to the party

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Some parties also want to send a message of institutionalization, citing the case of Mayor Philip Page, Mr. Montini explains.

This shows that a political party can take root in the region. Finding local figures demonstrates its ability to be present in less expected fields. It sends a message that the party is still being built and organized. »

The same goes for Olivier Dumais, mayor of Saint-Lambert-de-Lauzon and candidate of the PCQ, who sees the mayoralty as an asset for a young party like his.

“When I say it’s my fifth year as mayor, it brings a layer of credibility and people see you have experience, ears open up a little bit more, and that makes a difference. […]We start early.

Philip Page

Root and knowledge of local issues

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As these mayors are also often called upon to hold office in their RCM (Regional District Municipality), their knowledge of issues and their networks is not limited to the boundaries of their hometown.

“I know personally all the councilors of the Ville de Sherbrooke, which is located in the Richmond riding, and I am very familiar with all the mayors and mayoresses of the district”, explains Philippe Page, mayor of St. -Camille, a municipality of 550 inhabitants.

Suzanne Roy


Mayoral candidates in provincial elections

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Suzanne Roy is the CAQ candidate in Versailles. He began sitting on the municipal council of Sainte-Julie in 1996, before occupying the post of mayor for 16 years, and held the position of president of the Union des Municipalités du Québec for 5 years.

It’s hard to say whether the national visibility Ms. Roy has gained during her five years as president of the Union des Municipalities du Québec gives her an advantage.

“I would say the first place you need to get a reputation is in Verchers County [où elle se présente] People have seen me in action for 25 years and know that I work on my cases and am diligent in getting things done. »

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Vicki-Mae Hamm

Experience with the media

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As president of UMQ, Suzanne Roy has been interviewed several times by the national media. Today, through social media, these candidates have also learned to manage their image and criticism.

“I did my classes, explains Vicky-May Hamm. Social media is a tool for elected officials, but you have to know how to use it properly and how to respond to unwanted attacks. When you’re not prepared, it can be difficult. »

His experience came in handy when the PLQ announced its candidacy. She faced reports indicating that she wanted to join the CAQ’s troops. “I learned not to react under emotion, I consulted my team and we decided not to start it. »

You cannot be mayor and vice chancellor at the same time

▶If the law prohibits both mayor and deputy, the law allows mayors to continue their functions during the campaign. However, Quebec’s Chief Electoral Officer notes: “He must campaign outside of his duties, on a personal basis. He cannot use municipal goods or services for his campaign, as this may be considered a political contribution made by the municipality. Regarding salaries, the laws allow municipal resources to be used for personal purposes or related to the performance of his duties.” Prohibits use for purposes other than operations.

►Philip Page, for example, was inspired by Alain Reyes (former mayor of Victoriaville before becoming federal deputy) and was part-time mayor ($800 per month) and reimbursed the MRC’s salary. The Deputy Mayor will be sworn in during the campaign. Olivier Dumais, the part-time mayor, is still considering whether to take a full break from his role as mayor during the campaign. This is being considered, he said. Véronique Venne, for her part, left her job (CEO of the Lanaudière Regional University Center). And once the election is announced he will retire as mayor and will not receive his salary.