• John Jantak

Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Pilon angrily denounces resident’s unsubstantiated insinuation


JOHN JANTAK

Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon reacts angrily to an unsubstantiated insinuation made by resident Jean Fredette during the Monday evening council meeting on February 2, alleging that printing contracts are awarded to friends, a remark that Pilon said was defamatory and slanderous.

Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon fired back in response to an unsubstantiated insinuation made by a resident during the first question period at the Monday evening council meeting February 2, alleging the city was awarding printing contracts to friends.

The comment was made by Jean Fredette who began by asking Pilon whether it was necessary for the city to spend money on a 5 by 7-inch glossy advertising postcard that was delivered to households promoting the annual Journée des neiges winter carnival event that was held at Parc de la Maison-Valois last Saturday, January 30.

Pilon politely responded that it was Fredette’s right to question the city’s decision and explained it was done to inform residents of the upcoming event as a way to encourage as many people as possible to attend. The advertising was also in line with the city’s allotted budget that aims to promote specific cultural and recreational events.

Fredette then displayed two advertisements that were placed in local newspapers and asked why the city felt it was necessary to spend additional money on advertising in another medium to promote the Journée des neiges when the city’s emphasis should be on saving money.

Instead of waiting for the mayor’s response, Fredette asked whether it was because, “the city has friends in the printing business?” An incredulous Pilon asked Fredette to repeat what he had just said to which Fredette complied. A visibly irate Pilon angrily cut off and rebuked Fredette, saying he was out of order by making an insinuation that couldn’t be substantiated in front of councilors and residents present at the meeting and asked that the comment be immediately retracted.

Fredette was warned that if he persisted in grandstanding and making the same accusation, he would be asked to leave to leave the council chamber. Fredette reluctantly complied and said nothing further, but did not retract his insinuation. “Mr. Fredette crossed a line that line can never be crossed,” Pilon told Your Local Journal during a telephone interview February 3.

“He has the fundamental right to question council and I cannot say anything against that because I respect what people have to say. “I got angry yesterday, which never happens, because of his insinuation that we give printing contracts to friends and that’s not okay,” added Pilon.

“In fact it’s completely defamatory and slanderous. That kind of comment not only affects my integrity and reputation, it also affects the credibility of all our council members and municipal administration.” Pilon said the awarding of all municipal contracts is in line with the city’s standard protocol by putting out a call to tender and always accepting the lowest bid tendered.

He added that advertising and promotional materials are essential to keep residents informed of events that happen throughout the year. More importantly, Pilon said the city’s advertising budget is essential to keep residents informed about newly adopted and revised by-laws that have a direct impact on all citizens.

“We organize events that cost the city a lot of money so we want to inform as many people as possible using strategies that are effective,” said Pilon. “We know not everyone will read the advertising postcard and not everyone will read the newspaper or check our website. This way no one can tell us they didn’t know about events like the Journée des neiges.”

Pilon said that Fredette along with resident Mario Tanguay, who unsuccessfully ran for the mayoral post in the November 2013 election, are the only two residents who have criticized the city about using flyers and newspaper ads to promote cultural and recreational events in the city.

“If there were 100, 200 or 1,000 people telling us we’re spending too much money on advertising, then we’ll react,” said Pilon. “But we’re not going to react because there are only two people telling us we’re spending too much money.” The city is presently drafting a letter that will be sent to Fredette informing him that he is no longer welcome at council meetings.

“He can still attend if he chooses, but he will be advised that the city will take legal action against him if he ever makes another defamatory statement in public,” said Pilon.

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