Councillors protest after being evicted by police

complaint with the Québec government against Mayor John Saywell after they were forced by police to leave the town

hall August 21. Deputy Mayor Diane Monette and Coun- cillor Pierre Lessard were escorted out of the building by two members of the Sûreté du Québec after Saywell called the Lachute detachment shortly after 9 a.m. Saywell told them they did not have the right to attend a meeting with consultants preparing improvements to the Calumet water system. Monette and Lessard refused to leave, saying that they had been asked to replace water committee members at the meeting. A few minutes later, police officers ar- rived, informing them they had to exit the town hall. When Monette and Lessard asked if they could continue working in another part of the town hall, Saywell told them they had to leave the building. The action was unnecessary, contended Lessard. “I was pretty upset over what hap- pened. Normally, you call the police if there is a riot or a fight. All the mayor had to do was cancel the meeting,” said Lessard. Saywell maintained that police interven- tion was justified. “I was elected to keep control. As mayor, I am responsible for maintaining order and decorum. The situa- tion was out of control,” said Saywell. “At one point, Mme. Monette asked: “Are you going to handcuff me?” There were people trying to work. There were three consultants and six employees there. It was not conducive for them to stay in the build- ing.” The members were not charged with any

offence, said Monette. “The officers said that the mayor had the authority to evacu- ate the town hall,” she related. The police suggested the members raise the matter with the Québec municipal affairs ministry. Monette said she and Lessard would reg- ister a complaint with the Québec munici- pal commission. She related that a municipal employee had invited her via e-mail to attend the meeting. Monette said she and Lessard had been asked by water committee mem- ber, Councillor Alain Carrière, to attend the session in his absence. The other commit- tee member, Councillor Teresa Foreman, was also absent. Saywell said there is no provision for members to choose replacements and that the meeting was not properly convened. He commented that this is another ex- ample of political interference. “For 15 years, a lot of water work was not done because the politicians were running the show,” said Saywell. Monette says she is familiar with the Calumet water issue having followed the file since 2007. She further says that the matter is within her purview as president of the development committee. Mayor says he was obliged to call the SQ

GRENVILLE-SUR-AL-ROUGE | Two Gren- ville-sur-la-Rouge councillors are filing a

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