Irate resident blasts St. Lazare councillor for ‘personal attack’ against family
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Claude Jolicoeur, husband of St. Lazare District 1 Councillor Lise Jolicouer, angrily chastises District 3 Councillor Brigitte Asselin during the Tuesday evening council meeting, October 3.
The issue of District 1 Councillor Lise Jolicoeur receiving money from the l’Association des gens d’affaires de St. Lazare (AGASL) was in the spotlight again when her husband Claude Jolicoeur chastised District 3 Councillor Brigitte Asselin during question period at the October 3 council meeting.
The dispute revolves around a decision made by Lise Jolicoeur at the August 1 council meeting to vote against a resolution to provide $2,000 to the AGASL to help fund their annual golf tournament. District 4 Councillor Marc-André Esculier also voted against the resolution in a show of hands.
Lise Jolicoeur stated at the time she was opposed to providing public funds to a private organization. Asselin allegedly publicly rebuked her for voting against the resolution because she had voted in favour of providing the financial contribution at previous sessions and claimed she was unduly influenced by Esculier’s decision.
Asselin also reportedly claimed publicly that the Jolicoeur family directly benefitted from a financial contribution that was made by the AGASL in 2007 when their daughter Patricia was critically injured after being hit by a speeding car while she was walking her dog near their home in November 2006.
Never asked for help
Lise and Claude Jolicoeur emphatically denied Asselin’s claim as being totally false. They both said they never asked for financial help from anyone after the accident. Patricia was left in a comatose state and required constant medical care and supervision for more than four years until she passed away in January 2011.
A fundraising driving was held in 2007 by a women’s softball organization to help raise funds to purchase specialized medical equipment for Patricia but it was done without the Jolicoeur family’s knowledge.
After the money was collected, a cheque was provided to the family through the auspices of AGASL, but the organization was never involved in the fundraising activities, said Claude. He held a folder containing over 100 pages of documents detailing everything that revolved around Patricia’s life following the accident as he addressed council.
Both Claude and Lise Jolicoeur said they were deeply touched by the generosity of the people who donated money and the outpouring of support they received from the community especially since they never expected to receive anything.
Family distressed by personal attack
Claude said they were extremely distressed that Asselin would use their daughter’s tragic death which brought up painful memories for them as a way to rebuke Lise for voting against a council resolution. “When you attack Lise in this way, Madame Asselin, you attack me and my family and my daughter’s memory. We never asked for one bloody cent,” said Claude.
He then asked Mayor Robert Grimaudo whether the town has a code of ethics that council has to follow. “Yes,” replied Grimaudo.
“Then I suggest that council follow your code of ethics. All Madame Asselin is doing is making unsubstantiated insinuations. There’s no place for that here,” Claude replied angrily.
Asselin denies remark
Asselin again insisted that she never made any personal remarks against Lise Jolicoeur during the August council session. All she was doing was trying to explain how the work done by the AGASL directly benefits the town’s residents and that financial contributions do not go into the organization’s coffers as Lise had apparently insinuated when she voted against the resolution.
After listening to Asselin’s comment, Claude walked up to the council desk, dropped the folder on the table in front of Grimaudo and told him to review its contents, saying “...all the information is there”.
Lise had also told Asselin during the September council session that while she supported providing public funds to the AGASL for their annual golf tournament in the past, she was not obligated to do so again and was free to change her decision at any time.