Letter to the editor 1, Jan. 23, 2020

Blood drive backlash

Dear Editor,

There is a level of societal hypocrisy with Lazare Councillor Chartrand being punished for a ‘conflict of interest’ when he held a blood drive at his place of business, as reported in The Journal, January 16, page 3. Mr. Chartrand, a lifelong resident of Saint-Lazare, is passionate about Saint-Lazare and the people who live here – check his profile on town website.

Mr. Chartrand has been involved in humanitarian work, in Saint-Lazare/Vaudreuil, long before most people now living here knew Saint-Lazare existed. Distinctions in acknowledgement from Premier Lucien Bouchard for his assisting Saint-Lazare during the 1998 Ice Storm, recognition certificate from Héma Québec, a Member of the Board of Directors for the Vaudreuil-Soulanges Hospital Foundation, none of which sounds like a person who would intentionally promote his business or try to make a few dollars, by holding a blood drive at his place of business.

The Commission municipale du Québec (CMQ) classified Mr. Chartrand’s blood drive as a ‘conflict of interest’ but that ruling does not take into account the fact that his action was for a benevolent/humanitarian reason, a blood drive. Mr. Chartrand was not notified by the Saint-Lazare town clerk or the administration that blood drives in his place of business would be a conflict of interest, but instead a person/persons in the administration reported the incident to the CMQ with the subsequent punishment. These actions show that not everyone at the town hall is on the same team, and the Mayor Grimaudo’s only comment that, “The CMQ did their investigation and issued their ruling,” shows that no matter how much a person has given to their community, it lacks recognition.

Most municipalities have a ‘Mayor’s blood drive’ every year, including Saint-Lazare, but in 2017 the ‘Mayor’s Blood Drive’ was just two weeks before the municipal election. The blood drive advertising (paid for by taxpayers) mentioned the mayor’s name and that he would be greeting blood donors, so the incumbent mayor had a paid for political advantage over Mme. Jolicoeur and Mr. Lambert who were at that time running for mayor. Should the CMQ have been notified by the administration and would this have been classified as a ‘conflict of interest’? We should recognize Richard Chartrand’s decades of humanitarian work and be thankful we have people like this in our community.

Alan Nicol

Saint-Lazare

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