In the shadow of the federal election which is coming to an end, the candidates for mayor of Quebec met yesterday in the Saint-Sacrement district, where citizens are on a crusade to save their church.
Closed since 2019, the centenary church of the Most Blessed Sacrament is on the artificial respirator while waiting for the Ministry of Culture to confirm whether or not it will classify the building. A response is expected by May 2022.
In a highly disputed district (Montcalm – Saint-Sacrement), where the dean of the municipal council Yvon Bussières decided not to represent himself, four party leaders responded to the invitation of the SOS Saint-Sacrement citizen committee which organized a ” festive gathering ”at Samuel-Holland Park.
The group asks for the protection of the building and its requalification to accommodate community and cultural activities and prevent real estate from growing in this “village core”.
“We must continue to assess whether the building is in good condition to be able to survive. If it is, it must be used as it is because for the people of the neighborhood, it is a strong symbol, ”said Bruno Marchand, from Quebec strong and proud.
“If the condition of the building does not allow it, well, on site, we will give this space back to the citizens,” he continued.
Photo Didier Debusschère
The mayoral candidates Bruno Marchand (strong and proud Quebec) and Jean-François Gosselin (Quebec 21) had a cordial exchange while they were at the same citizen event in the district of Montcalm – Saint-Sacrement, Saturday.
Find a solution
Jean Rousseau, leader of Démocratie Québec, recalled that he voted in favor of citing the building to the municipal council to recognize its heritage value, unlike the Labeaume administration. “We must stop this reflex of throwing to the ground in order to rebuild,” he thinks.
Jean-François Gosselin, of Quebec 21, said he trusted his candidate, businessman Jean-Pierre Du Sault, to bring together the people concerned and find solutions, if he is elected. “It takes a project, it takes a financial package,” he asks, without making any firm commitment. Jackie Smith, for his part, has pledged to extend the money needed to renovate the building.
Absent for family reasons, Marie-Josée Savard, however, sent her candidate there. His party advocates “the search for lasting solutions” and “listening” with regard to religious heritage.
The Bienheureuse-Dina-Bélanger parish estimates that it would cost $ 10 million to rehabilitate the church on Chemin Sainte-Foy, which it has been trying to sell for years. It has become a financial pit which prevents it from ensuring the sustainability of other churches, deplores the Director General André G. Bernier, who maintains that any “reasonable” purchase offer coming from the city or even from a group citizen would be considered.
SOS Saint-Sacrement, which questions the parish’s estimate of $ 10 million, contemplates the idea of an offer to purchase, but first wants to carry out a study on the condition of the structure and seek grants.
On Saturday, the organization also received the support of the liberal candidate in the federal riding of Quebec, Jean-Yves Duclos, and the solidarity member Catherine Dorion.
Marchand denies shoveling clouds
The strong and proud Quebec chef was surprised to be taxed with shoveling clouds earlier this week by his rival Marie-Josée Savard. “We can be accused of anything, I plead guilty to the idea that yes, we have a vision and we have ideas for this city,” responded Bruno Marchand, Saturday.
Mme Savard, among other things, criticized him on Thursday for making “citizens believe that the Municipality can make a difference in the establishment of day care centers”. “We proposed through concrete methods a way of intervening which is the prerogative of the city. The city cannot take the place of the Government of Quebec, but it can act, ”replied Mr. Marchand.
“We understood that this is a change of tone. […] If it goes there, it is because there are concerns on their part and that shows our progress, ”he analyzed.
Leaders skeptical of the mayor’s plan
The candidates Gosselin, Marchand and Rousseau were not particularly seduced by Régis Labeaume’s announcement of a sailboat race between Quebec and Vancouver in 2023 using the Northwest Passage, to raise awareness among the world population on the effects of global warming in the Arctic.
“It’s interesting, but I’ll believe it when I see it. It kind of came out of nowhere, ”reacted the leader of Quebec 21.
“No one had heard of this two weeks ago. Is this a good project? I will listen to the proposals, but [je] am far from being convinced ”, for his part supported the strong and proud leader of Quebec. Same skepticism on the side of Jean Rousseau at Démocratie Quebec. “The little race around the North Pole, so much the better, but that’s not what will make people aware of the problems. [écologiques] that we live here in Quebec, and there are many. “
Rousseau denies having recruitment problems
Democracy Quebec still intends to present a full team even if it is now the only political party not to have confirmed a candidacy for each of the 21 districts.
“No, it’s not a question of difficulty [à recruter]is that we want people who are truly committed to their community. There are people who professionally will have to announce it at the last minute. It is not an issue that it is more difficult or not ”, assured the chef Jean Rousseau.
Currently, 13 “democratic” candidates are known. According to Mr. Rousseau, other announcements are to come in the coming days. He’s aiming for 21 candidates, but didn’t want to say when his squad would be complete. “I will announce it as I go along and I will let you know,” he replied.
In the meantime, his team is going out to meet voters, “even where no candidate has been made official,” he added.