The new mayor of Chateauguay said his election win – which saw him nearly double up the vote on his closest competitor – was a direct result of platform and his team’s ground game, he said in an interview early Monday morning.
Eric Allard took home 52.9 percent of the popular vote in Sunday’s ballot to determine the next leader and council for the city of 52,000, easily outdistancing former mayor Nathalie Simon, who held office from 2009 to 2017, and third candidate Lucie Lamoureux. Simon garnered 28 percent of the popular vote, while Lamoureux took home 18 per cent of the vote.
Allard credited his ground game and his team’s simple campaign message of listening to the citizenry – and making their priorities his own, he said.
“We have been campaigning since August, going door to door non-stop and that’s what made the difference. We had a very strong ground game and going to see the citizens and asking them what their priorities are was very important,” he said.
Allard, who has been a school-board commissioner for 18 years, has a long track record of community involvement and ran his campaign on a platform of extensive public consultation, said that door-to-door campaign helped create his electoral platform.
“Going door to door is a consultation as well,” he said. “We knocked on 10,000 doors before we put our platform together. That needed be the centre of all our efforts.”
Allard, like the other two candidates, ran a slate of councillor candidates, and saw his team’s message resonate with voters as Allard’s Alliance Chateauguay won seven of eight seats on council, giving his party an overwhelming majority on council.
Francois Le Borgne, who has no party affiliation, is the only non-Chateauguay-Alliance councillor to win a seat on Sunday.
Allard said the first thing he’s going to get to work on is the city’s budget, which must be tabled by the end of 2021.
“That will give us a good idea of where we’re going, what our priorities will be and those details will be what guides us as we move forward,” he said, adding that he’d like to get moving on a linear green space that would replace approximately 50 Hydro-Quebec pylons that run right through the middle of the municipality.
“That’s another project we’d like to get started on,” he said, adding the city’s 350th-anniversary celebrations are also something on the near horizon for the new council.
Allard will replace outgoing mayor Pierre-Paul Routhier, who drew criticism over a slated land development at the end of Old Chateauguay Road on the border between Chateauguay and Kahnawake a few months ago.
Allard said he will attempt to meet with Mohawk Council of Kahnawake Grand Chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer as soon as possible and mentioned he had already sent her a note of congratulations when she became the first female Grand Chief of the community in last summer’s election.
“I think it’s important for us to be able to have good relationships with our neighbours, because there’s a lot we can learn from each other and we can work together on some projects,” Allard said.
Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase