Canada/Aid to elected municipal officials: a welcome measure in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean

Published on 29/02/2024 | La rédaction


Many of the region's elected representatives welcome the new investments to improve psychological support for municipal representatives.

Minister Andrée Laforest has announced two million dollars over five years to provide the telephone services of a psychologist for elected officials and their families, as well as more targeted training for newly elected officials.

Alma mayor Sylvie Beaumont has been in politics for 20 years, and she notes that social networks have opened the door to abuse.

But often, these people haven't followed the issues or allow themselves to make disgraceful comments or do things that weren't done before. It used to be that you had to come to the Town Council and address it directly, but now anyone can say anything because they have a platform. And it's very difficult not to let that get to you, because at the end of the day, you're human," says the mayor.

Telephone services from a psychologist will also be offered to elected officials and their families who so wish.

The mayor of Roberval, Serge Bergeron, believes that these advances are essential to ensure the succession in the municipal world. He's in a good position to talk about it, having already filed a complaint with the police about threats made against him on social networks.

In the event of conflict, I think offering mediation services is a welcome step, because with the current situation, we're wondering whether things are going to get any better over the next two years. Will we still have people interested in running in municipal elections with a situation like this? It's worrying, and yes, it takes services.

A former councillor applauds

For former Saguenay city councillor Christine Boivin, it was time for the government to act. Christine Boivin was a city councillor from 2013 to 2017 and found herself at the heart of a dispute when she wanted to shed light on governance at Camping Jonquière.

At one point, I'm at city hall, I'm working, there's a newspaper cover story and journalists are after me and I have a half-million-dollar lawsuit that had no reason to exist. It's a form of intimidation because I was being prevented from doing my job. Intimidation is broad," she says.

She says she had no access to any specific psychological support, apart from the services paid for by the Democratic Renewal Team (DRE) cabinet at the time. Christine Boivin deplores the fact that the climate is still so difficult in the municipal world.

Yes, it's really distressing to see what's going on, and at the same time, I hope it will ease the tension because when things like this happen, files don't move forward.


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