Former mayor of Ile-du-Grand-Calumet, Pierre Fréchette, has thrown his hat in the ring for warden. Fréchette is a retired Director of Labour Relations with the Federal Public Service and has worked for the Syndicat des Producteurs de Bois Outaouais-Laurentides in the forestry industry. He holds a B.A in Industrial Relations and started his 25 year public service career as a HR advisor, eventually holding positions as director and director general at Revenue Canada, Border Services, Correctional Services as well as the Immigration and Refugee Board. “Legislation, policy and programs are no stranger to me,” he said.
Obstacles to progress
Rather than stating obstacles to progress, Fréchette elaborated on elements that need increased attention and further promotion: economic development by looking into emerging and renewed sectors that may have been forgotten, like mining, and supporting them; social and community engagement and support for youth, seniors, families and those in financial need (addressing their needs), which will in turn strengthen other fields like economic development, tourism, agriculture, etc; and working united.
“It’s normal to tend to protect and work for ourselves. My vision is to work more united and responsibly; to position ourselves as a region, not as segments; and to touch on a variety of [issues] that will impact our region as a whole,” he said.
“We need to be out there. There is very good work being done presently, but can it be done better, and can we do more? We need [someone] to push that perspective on the things mentioned,” he added.
Amalgamation up in the air
Fréchette said that before taking a position on the issue of amalgamating certain municipalities, more information is needed, but that, in the end, it boils down to what the citizens want.
“It’s an important issue to get informed on, be aware of, and know what the implications are before taking a position. It will be up to the citizens of the municipalities to decide. I have yet to get all the facts and information needed
to make a decision,” he elaborated.
Areas for growth
Fréchette said he is very optimistic about the potential for growth in a variety of
sectors, both by building on goods and services we already have (forestry and
transformation as well as agriculture, especially specialty markets like wineries
and hops growing which also contribute to tourism), and renewed (mining), and
emerging sectors (like green energy, call centers, etc).
In order to attract investment, Fréchette believes, first and foremost, that the Pontiac must be very aggressive about obtaining certain basic infrastructures, like good internet and cell phone coverage, something that is currently being worked on.
“If we don’t have something that is competitive, [attracting investors] isn’t going
to [be possible],” he said, noting it’s important to work with our MP and MNA
to receive support to approach government agencies for investments.
Chalk River nuclear dump
“Like everyone else,” Fréchette said he has many questions about the proposed nuclear waste dump in Chalk River and that it is up to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to provide reliable information.
“There are so many questions that need to be clarified and answered. We are getting information from the company that is being subsidized to manage the site (which is also trying to prove it will be safe for many years). The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission needs to provide clarification and [state] if what is being proposed is adequate now and for the future. There’s still information missing,” he explained.