Marc-André Esculier is very much in a Saint Lazare by-election race and standing by information in his campaign flyers.
District 4 by-election candidate Marc-André Esculier is standing by information he has been disseminating during the campaign. (Photo: by Kristina Edson)
The District 4 candidate in the Sept. 25 by-election insists he is not misleading voters. “It is certainly not misinformation and it’s not intended to get votes,” Esculier said Thursday. “It’s to inform the population of the true facts.” Esculier was responding to a Sept. 21 article which ran in L’Étoile newspaper, the English page, wherein Saint Lazare mayor Robert Grimaudo said some candidates were issuing “disinformation” while campaigning. The mayor declined to specify which candidates. In addition, Esculier’s name was not included in a list of the six candidates running, an editorial error which we regret. In his flyer which he’s been distributing door to door in Dist. 4, Esculier claims town councillors have voted themselves a 75-percent pay raise and 90-percent expense account raise in the past. “A legal public notice that ran in the newspaper (Viva Media, Feb. 2015) concerning the financial treatment of elected councillors said their annual salary went from $11,000 to $19,317.80, retroactive to Jan. 2015. When we add it up, that’s a 75.6-percent increase. That’s not disinformation, it’s fact,” Esculier said this week. The councillor’s expense accounts went from about $5,500 to $9,500, an increase of 90 percent, he added. On Thursday, Mayor Grimaudo was standing by his assertion that the increase was not as high. “It has to do with the fact that their salary and money for each meeting attended came from two different sources. It was difficult to manage so we put the two together but the total did not change,” he said. Esculier, who has obtained copies of the Saint Lazare au Galop Festival’s expense reports for 2015 and 2016, is also confident in his assertion the festival has cost the town $2.1 million over two years. “(Grimaudo) claimed it only cost $900,000, but they spent $1.1 million buying and leveling four houses on Poirier St. and installed like 50 electrical outlets for public parking specifically for the festival… like it or not, that’s part of the infrastructure cost and adds to the total spent.” The parking space is now used for a weekly farmer’s market. Esculier says he will accept the outcome of Sunday’s vote. “Ultimately the residents will decide. I hope everyone gets out to vote.”