City awards subsidies for pandemic relief

During sessions held on Nov. 18 and 25, the City of Laval’s executive-committee decided to award subsidies to two Laval-based community organizations that are providing people in Laval with valuable food and clothing resources during the pandemic.

The executive-committee is awarding a $24,401 subsidy to Le Relais communautaire de Laval. According to a statement issued last week by the city, the group has been hard-hit financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. The subsidy will help Le Relais pursue its mission to offer support to the needy by providing food, clothing as well as workshops on useful topics.

Support for sports

At the same time, the executive-committee awarded a $15,000 subsidy to the Regroupement du sport à Laval ARSEL/CSL, to supplement its Excellence Sports Laval program.

According to the city, the program provides support to elite and promising young athletes from Laval by making various kinds of professional services available to them, to prepare them mentally and physically, as well as nutritionally, while also furnishing physiotherapy.

The city says the Regroupement du sport à Laval ARSEL/CSL also helps meet the needs of a growing number of athletes from Laval who are increasingly active in provincial and nationwide sporting events, as well as those who will be participating in the Jeux du Québec finals taking place in Laval next year.

Executive-committee members

The City of Laval’s executive-committee meets each week to make decisions on a variety of issues. The executive-committee includes the following people: Mayor Marc Demers, vice-president Stéphane Boyer (also councillor for Duvernay–Pont-Viau) councillors Sandra Desmeules (Concorde–Bois-de-Boulogne), Ray Khalil (Sainte-Dorothée), Virginie Dufour (Sainte-Rose) and associate members Nicholas Borne (Laval-les-Îles) and Yannick Langlois (L’Orée-des-Bois).

Report suggests leading executive-committee member engaged in illicit fundraising

The political future of a leading member of Laval mayor Marc Demers’s administration was hanging in the balance earlier this week following published reports suggesting she may have engaged in an illicit political fundraising scheme.

Executive-committee member Virginie Dufour, who represents the Sainte-Rose district, claims she is innocent of any wrongdoing and has asked the Quebec Director General of Elections and the Laval Police Department to investigate.

Refunded donations

In the meantime, the Journal de Montréal said on Monday that it had obtained a recording in which one of Dufour’s political organizers is heard talking about being refunded donations he made to Dufour’s election campaigns.

‘I have a work ethic that is flawless and I have absolutely nothing to hide,’ says Dufour

In the recording dating from last July, according to the Francophone daily, Normand Cusson is speaking with his spouse about serving as a “frontman” for contributions made to Dufour, and how she reimbursed him the amounts afterwards.

Electoral rules are clear

Under Canadian and Quebec electoral regulations, serving as a frontman to conceal the contributions of another person or organization is illegal. Penalties ranging up to $20,000 can be imposed upon conviction on the donor as well as the candidate who refunds a donation under such circumstances.

The issue of illegal campaign fundraising is an especially sensitive one in Laval. Former mayor Gilles Vaillancourt’s Parti PRO des Lavallois was found to have extensively used frontman fundraising tactics. Vaillancourt was convicted on corruption charges and sentenced to six years imprisonment in 2016.

Serious allegations, says Demers

The year before that, six Parti PRO city councillors were censured by the DGEQ for engaging in illegal political financing practices. In a statement Mayor Marc Demers issued earlier this week after listening to a copy of the recording, he said he met with Dufour the very day the allegations against her surfaced.

“The allegations made regarding Virginie Dufour are serious, and if they turn out to be well-founded, are unacceptable,” said Demers. Normand Cusson, for his part, confirmed to the Montreal daily that it was indeed his voice on the recording. However, he insisted he had not been speaking truthfully to his spouse because he wanted to appease her after she became too insistent about his involvement in politics.

Wife says she refused

Cusson was the campaign manager for Virginie Dufour’s 2013 campaign when she was first elected. He said she never actually reimbursed him. Cusson’s wife said she was invited to serve as a frontman for political donations, but that she refused. Dufour issued the following statement earlier this week: “I have a work ethic that is flawless and I have absolutely nothing to hide. On the contrary, I want light to be cast on this! That is why I personally came forward to ask for an inquiry to be conducted by competent authorities in my regard.” She said she hoped to repair any damage done to her reputation in the coming weeks.

S&P Global renews City of Laval’s ‘AA’ credit rating

The City of Laval says its official credit standing as issued by S&P Global Ratings on Nov. 20 remains ‘AA’ with a stable outlook – and this in spite of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.

The report confirmed that Laval’s economy remains strong, dynamic and diversified. The city maintains that its sound financial practices are at the root of this success.

“This rating, which attests to the quality of our management, allows Laval to be favourably positioned in order to pursue the realization of investment projects necessary for the needs of a growing population,” said Mayor Marc Demers.

“It is at the same time the reflection of the commitment of the administration and the city council to maintain the attractiveness of the city and to propel it towards a robust economic rebirth in 2021,” he added.