Vaudreuil-Dorion city councillors speak out against mayor after committee exclusion

Vaudreuil-Dorion, Guy Pilon, has been accused of
Vaudreuil-Dorion, Guy Pilon, has been accused of

Three Vaudreuil-Dorion city councillors are denouncing Mayor Guy Pilon after being excluded from the city's board of directors and committees on Monday.

Pilon and the six municipal councillors who are part of his political party — Parti de l'Action de Vaudreuil-Dorion — unanimously adopted the proposal to exclude the councillors at a municipal council meeting.

On January 16, the three female councillors — Jasmine Sharma, Karine Lechasseur and Diane Morin — resigned from the party to sit as independents, denouncing what they called the council's "lack of openness and inclusion."

According to the women, the measure adopted by their male colleagues is punishment for leaving the mayor's party.

"It's a way to muzzle us and make us feel that we won't have any more space to speak," said Lechasseur.

Karine Lechasseur's Facebook page
Karine Lechasseur's Facebook page

"But I don't think they are going to be able to stop us from speaking out."

Sharma says she was not surprised by the decision adopted Monday. "We have an authoritarian mayor who wants to centralize decisions," she said.

The independent councillors say the mayor demanded they toe the party line by voting in step with his party's proposals.

Jasmine Sharma's Facebook page
Jasmine Sharma's Facebook page

"We have been accused of asking too many questions and delaying projects," said Lechasseur.

Pilon denies the allegations. "The councillors were never bullied, and there was never a party line. They are trying to tarnish my name after more than 20 years in municipal affairs," he said.

Morin also denounces what she calls a "lack of respect" from the mayor. According to the councillor, Pilon often stopped elected officials from speaking and regularly answered questions from citizens at public council meetings in a "cavalier" manner.

Diane Morin's Facebook page
Diane Morin's Facebook page

According to the mayor, the decision adopted Monday was necessary to ensure that a common political vision is respected within the municipal committees.

"The three councillors did not understand their role on the committees. Their role is not to dictate their will, but rather to listen and represent the city," he said.

"The other committee members no longer want to work with them. No one in the city will mourn their departure."

But Lechasseur says the councillors had a very good relationship with the committee members they sat with.

"It is with Mayor Pilon that the relationship is difficult. His 'boys' club' follows the party line because he is an authoritarian," she said, adding it was a bad decision to exclude us two days before International Women's Day."

Sharma agrees. "I am disappointed to see that in 2023, the mayor's team has decided to exclude rather than encourage diversity of opinion on the committees, " she said.

However, the three say they will continue to work with the mayor's administration.

In an open letter penned on Wednesday, Sharma wrote that despite the mayor's decision to "isolate Vaudreuil-Dorion's municipal councillors to centralize control," she will find a way "to make herself heard and raise the concerns of Vaudreuil-Dorion's citizens."