• John Jantak

Pilon says initiatives have brought cultural harmony to Vaudreuil-Dorion


Mayor Guy Pilon said that the city’s cultural initiatives within the past five years have brought harmony within its diverse population, which represents some 90 different cultural and national backgrounds.

The City of Vaudreuil-Dorion was questioned about its cultural initiatives after a resident complained about a 10,000 Euro contribution to the Global Network of Cities and Local and Regional Governments (UCLG) during the Monday evening council meeting, September 21.

Mario Tanguay, who unsuccessfully ran against Mayor Guy Pilon in the November 2013 municipal election, has been a vocal critic against the city’s cultural initiatives. The financial contribution, which amounts to about $15,000 Canadian, was announced during the September 8 council meeting.

Tanguay told council that considering there is an unemployment rate of almost nine per cent in the Montreal region, the city’s contribution could be put to better use to help people who are having financial difficulty. Pilon dismissed Tanguay’s recommendation, repeatedly saying it was his opinion.

“It’s always the same thing with Mr. Tanguay,” Pilon told Your Local Journal. “He wants nothing to do with the town’s cultural development. That’s his viewpoint. He ran against me in the last (municipal) election and he got about 1,000 votes. That’s shows that his view is certainly not the view of the community.

“We have people who tell us about how pleased they are with our cultural activities and initiatives and like I told him, it’s his view of the town,” Pilon added. “He feels we shouldn’t be involved in any cultural activities. The fact is we are working on and promoting our initiatives and there are a lot of people from around the world who are looking at us for what we’re doing.”

The city was invited last March to present the scope of its cultural program to a gathering of international UCLG delegates in Bilbao, Spain, as part of UNESCO’s Agenda 21 for Culture to improve the sustainability of cities and quality of life for people worldwide.

For Pilon, the invitation was a source of pride because it highlighted the significant efforts the city has made within the past five years to bring harmony within its diverse population, which represents some 90 different cultural and national backgrounds.

He added that the city’s cultural initiatives are meant to bring people together through inclusiveness despite differences and it’s better to do so as people move into Vaudreuil-Dorion rather than waiting to do something after an area becomes ghettoized, a problem that many cities worldwide are struggling to deal with.

“It’s not just about our Je Suis symbol,” said Pilon. “Everything in the community is going well. We spoke to all our residents and they understand about what it is to live here. The good thing is there’s a lot of participation from all our residents at all our different cultural events and activities.

Pilon also proudly remarked that as one of the eight cities that presented their cultural programs at Bilbao, Vaudreuil-Dorion was the only North American city to have been chosen, which shows the powerful impact its cultural agenda has among international observers.

Vaudreuil-Dorion is now regarded as a lead city for it cultural initiatives and has been invited to showcase the strategies it has employed to bring cultural harmony to its community, Pilon added.

“We’ve gone from a model city to a lead city since we came back from Bilbao,” said Pilon. “We’re now entering another phase – to show people what we’ve done and how we did it. The main thing is to showcase at least one aspect each year of how our initiatives help our community, like starting a program for handicapped people. We want to integrate cultural thinking into our day-to-day process.”

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