Meet your candidates for Warden: Charlotte L'Écuyer

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Added: Tue, 10/24/2017 - 7:56pm
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Allyson Beauregard

Former Pontiac MNA Charlotte L'Écuyer is throwing her hat back into the political sphere by running for the Pontiac’s first elected warden. Before becoming MNA, L'Écuyer was the Executive Officer of the Centre de Santé et de Services Sociaux du Pontiac (CSSSP) from 1986-2003.
“We just kept building the organization and made sure we had the manpower, the services, and the doctors [we needed]. When I left, there were 500 people working for the health services,” she said, noting services, and employment opportunities, within the health sector were sparse beforehand.
She became MNA in 2003 and retired in 2014.
Obstacles to progress
According to L'Écuyer, one of the biggest obstacles to progress in the Pontiac is that residents and municipalities are not listened to enough. She calls for an MRC that is transparent, accountable, and a partner for municipal and
private projects. “We have to be outspoken about what is being done with the money at the MRC,” she added.
Other obstacles include the lack of communications systems, like reliable internet and cell phone services, which would greatly benefit small businesses, tourism enterprises, and artisans by allowing them to market their products and services outside of the region. “We’re always marketing from within. We need to bring in new people, new money. Tourism brings in a lot of money and it creates new jobs. We also need to offer activities all year round with a lot of publicity outside of the region,” explained the candidate.
L'Écuyer also said the region and MRC has to be more present and supportive of the health services. “It’s big industry that creates a lot of jobs, while helping those in need. These organizations need to feel we are behind them and that we will fight to make sure we don’t lose the services and jobs we have,” she elaborated.
Amalgamation not a MRC domain
“Amalgamation is a municipal prerogative,” stressed L'Écuyer. “The MRC will be there to support the municipalities wanting to do it if that is what the population wants. It’s not the MRC’s call,” she added.
Realistic growth
Development is promoted by supporting and working with small industries to help them grow, said L'Écuyer, highlighting the arts, and agriculture (promoting hops growing and local transformation; diversification; marketing family farms) in particular.
“We need to work with [entrepreneurs] to see how we can go a step further to enhance their businesses rather than moving on to something else after they open. We never seem to push until we reach a peak where we create [more than] 2 or 3 jobs,” she explained, cautioning about relying on outside investors to boost the Pontiac’s economy: “Once they [get and use] the grant money, they quit and leave us with nothing but an empty building and equipment we paid for with our taxes.”
Attracting investment
L'Écuyer said attracting investment [for businesses and industries] starts with good business plans and continued support and encouragement from the municipal and MRC levels.
In terms of receiving investment in health and other social services, L'Écuyer said resilience is the key, giving the examples of the Pontiac Community Hospital’s CT scan machine and dialysis unit. “We fundraised, we argued and we fought to get them. We never stopped,” she added.
Nuclear dump
“I’m completely against it… we have to ask for an independent evaluation,” said the candidate about proposed radioactive waste storage in Chalk River.
“They can’t give us proof it’s not dangerous. We have to say no, stand our ground, and [rally other communities] with us. The power of the people is very strong,” she added, concluding that communities must be proactive and not wait for current evaluations to be completed.