With a Chateauguay mayoral race on the way in November, the candidates vying to replace outgoing Chateauguay Mayor Pierre-Paul Routhier are hoping to maintain a better relationship with Kahnawake than the one the community has had with the Routhier administration.
Former mayor Nathalie Simon, who held the office from 2009 to 2017, said she knows better than most, having had a front-row seat to the Highway 30 land negotiation more than a decade ago.
“Those relationships are so important,” she said. “Relationships of community to community, and relationships of understanding and cultural exchanges, and I think politically, it’s good for us to have a good relationship in order to negotiate with the federal and provincial governments and have solidarity.”
Simon said any bad blood that may have existed between the two communities at the time of the Highway 30 construction should have been directed toward the federal and provincial governments who appropriated the land.
“There may have been misunderstanding and miscommunication in the past and there has been some frustration that municipalities may have felt. If we have a dialogue, a communication plan in place or us, I think we can be excellent neighbours,” Simon said.
The other two candidates vying to replace Routhier were unequivocal in their responses
“We intend on being good neighbours,” said first-time candidate Eric Allard. “We know that it’s important to maintain good relationships with our neighbours and to keep a positive attitude in our relationships with our neighbours.”
Allard, a former school-board commissioner who has been involved in Chateauguay minor sports and youth activities for years, is running on a platform of increased citizen involvement and consultation at the council level and in the decision-making process, he said.
“We are only a voice for the citizens, who have felt powerless in Chateauguay for years, and it’s our responsibility to be that voice,” Allard said.
The third candidate to take up Routhier’s seat is Lucie Lamoureux, who said that because of the proximity of Kahnawake and Chateauguay, the two communities should have a relationship built on common interests.
“We need to be good neighbours because we are neighbours. I know it didn’t used to be that way, but we should work together,” she said, adding that she adores coming to visit friends in Kahnawake and enjoying some of the community’s world-class cuisine – but she stopped short of committing to regular meetings with Mohawk Council of Kahnawake Grand Chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer.
“I don’t know if we’ll be able to meet regularly, but in some issues, we have a common interest, and I think we should use that common interest when dealing with the federal and municipal governments,” Lamoureux said.
Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase