22-year-old councillor-elect faces tense situation
Ste.-Anne-de-Bellevue voters elected one of their own during a by-election held Sunday to fill the vacant District 3 municipal councillor seat.
Francis Juneau, 22, a native of the waterfront town defeated challenger Lise-Anne Briand 145 votes to 98.
Both candidates ran as independents. On Monday a jubilant Juneau said all of his hard work, and that of a team of close to 20 volunteers, had paid off. “We celebrated last night,” Juneau, who still lives at home with his parents, said. His team of volunteers spent much of the day during the Feb. 21 election calling voters, going door to door and offering rides to potential voters who would otherwise have been unable to make it to the polling station. Juneau’s win has thrust him into the middle of a political stalemate that has seen the sitting elected administration sharply divided. In December council reached an impasse when trying to pass its 2016 budget. Mayor Paola Hawa and councillors Ryan Young and Dana Chevalier were on one side, while councillors Daniel Boyer, Michel Boudreault, and Yvan Labelle were on the other. Though the budget was eventually passed, tensions still run high.
Knowing that, Juneau said he will study each file and vote in the best interest of his district and the town. “I will not vote for something just because a group is concerned, I will vote because it’s a good thing for the people in my district and for the rest of the town,” he said. And though this is his first time holding public office, its not the first time Juneau has entered the political arena. He ran as an independent in the Jacques Cartier riding during the 2012 provincial election. One of his opponents at the time was current Ste. Anne-de-Bellevue mayor Paola Hawa. Juneau says he has long attended all town council meetings and knows the sitting council members well. Juneau, who works as an account director at Xerox Canada, graduated last year from HEC Montreal with a bachelors degree in administration and a specialization in entrepreneurship. He ran his own math tutoring business, employing other tutors and helping clients in Ile Perrot, Vaudreuil-Dorion, Ste. Annes, and further afield. The District 3 seat was left vacant after sitting councillor Andrée Deschamps passed away following a battle with cancer.