• John Jantak

Pincourt council welcomes 10-year-old citizen with lofty political ambitions


JOHN JANTAK

Pincourt Mayor Yvan Cardinal shakes hands with 10-year-old resident Philippe Germain at the end of the Tuesday evening council meeting December 9. Philippe’s interest in all levels of politics inspired the young man to attend his first council meeting to learn more about municipal issues.

Pincourt town council welcomed a first-time visitor at the start of the December 9 Tuesday evening council meeting whose political aspirations could eventually lead the 10-year-old to become a municipal Mayor, provincial Premier or even federal Prime Minister. Philippe Germain spent the next one-and-a-half hours listening intently to and observing the proceedings, and jotting down copious notes as council went through its agenda and then fielded numerous questions from residents during question period.

At times during the proceedings, Philippe was asked by Mayor Yvan Cardinal what he would do in certain situations, such as whether he would raise or lower residential property tax rates as the town prepares to unveil its budget next week. Already showing his diplomatic skills, Philippe replied it would depend on various factors, to which another resident replied that he should preferably lower property taxes.

Later, when council passed a resolution to allow about $12,000 for the rental of ice time at the Aréna Cité des Jeunes in Vaudreuil-Dorion for December, Cardinal asked whether it would be better to have an indoor arena closer to home, Philippe replied, “Yes.” Cardinal’s inference was related to Pincourt’s long-awaited sports complex on that should have been operational by September but is currently on hold because of a court appeal made by representatives from the Burrows Group against Groupe Thibault, the owners of the boarded up structure located on Pincourt Boulevard near 5th Avenue.

JOHN JANTAK

Ten-year-old Pincourt resident Philippe Germain sits next to his mother Isabelle at the Tuesday evening council meeting.

When asked what inspired him to attend his first council meeting, Philippe replied, “I like politics, federal, provincial and municipal, and I wanted to know how the councillors talk about its issues.” “It started with the provincial elections four years ago,” his mother Isabelle told Your Local Journal. “He saw all the campaign posters and he began asking, ‘Who’s this?’ and ‘What’s that?’

I didn’t want his interest to be focused only on one party, so I explained the process of how someone will try to represent the citizens with their program. “At that point, Philippe said ‘I think we’re due for a woman as Premier’,” added Isabelle. “So I told him that you have to know what she’s proposing. What if she decides to open schools on Sunday? He said, ‘That’s true’.

Now he understands about the program and that we should know a little bit more about the person than just the face on a poster.” Philippe’s interest in politics piqued earlier this summer when District 3 Councillor Sam Ierfino visited residents on Rue des Pommetiers during a community street picnic. “During our meeting, I spoke to him about council and the kinds of things council does, and he showed an immediate interest,” said Ierfino.

“So I invited and encouraged him to come and observe the process and discussions. For a 10-year-old, he’s incredibly politically astute. For example, one of his observations this evening was that the councillors don’t talk enough. That’s a very interesting and amazing comment from a 10-year-old,” Ierfino added.

Despite his age, Philippe has already become politically active and has been involved with other residents including his mother this past summer, as reported in Your Local Journal, to get the town to remove the shrubs and redesign the circular green space in the middle of the turnaround at the end of on Rue des Pommetiers so that it could be used as a safe place for kids to frolic rather than playing on the street and constantly avoiding traffic.

“Philippe was going house to house with his sister counting how many kids lived in each house,” said Isabelle. “He made a list and they were just walking in the street. I followed them from a distance because they were saying, ‘We can do it, we can do it’. They got involved from the get-go.” Ierfino said the residents are still working on the redesign proposal which will be presented to council in the new year.

He will also keep encouraging Philippe to stay politically active. “I will follow him over the course of my mandate and even encourage him to submit projects and proposals to council for his street and the community,” said Ierfino. Cardinal said he was delighted to have met Philippe and described his participation at council as an example of the positive impact the town’s social development policy is having on all its residents.

“It’s not only for people who have the privilege to vote, it’s for everyone regardless of age. He’s a citizen too.” Philippe plans to return with his mom to the special council meeting next Tuesday evening as the town announces its 2015 municipal budget at the Omni-Centre at 7:30 p.m. “I want to know how the city will put money into the different activities and to find out how much money people will have to pay in taxes.”

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