Marie-Hélène Dubé is running for Action Laval in Sainte-Rose

Cancer survivor started campaign to get sick leave benefits extended

In yet another step towards completing their team before municipal elections take place on Nov. 7, Action Laval last week announced its candidate for the district of Sainte-Rose.

20-year friendship

Marie-Hélène Dubé and Action Laval mayoralty candidate Sophie Trottier have been friends for more than 20 years, Trottier said during an announcement to the media at AL campaign headquarters on Saint-Martin Blvd.

A resident of Laval for the past 27 years, Dubé is a mother to two children and has been a teacher of criminology at the CEGEP régional de Lanaudière for 14 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in criminology from University of Montreal.

Survived cancer

She is also a cancer survivor and has worked with the Quebec Cancer Foundation and the Canadian Cancer Society to raise awareness of the cause. She has received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her contributions and volunteerism.

From the left, Action Laval city councillors Isabella Tassoni, Aglaia Revelakis and Paolo Galati are seen with party leader and mayoralty candidate Sophie Trottier and Sainte-Rose candidate Marie-Hélène Dubé. (Photo: Martin C. Barry)

Some might remember Dubé for a campaign (‘15 Weeks to Heal Is Not Enough’) that she started 13 years ago following several close calls with cancer that sidelined her for extensive periods. The goal was to get the federal government to extend Employment Insurance sick benefits beyond the current 15 weeks.

EI sick leave campaign

The campaign noted that in certain sick leave instances, such as the period when Dubé underwent treatment for cancer, the sick leave should be much closer to 50 weeks and this should be reflected in Employment Insurance benefits.

Through an online petition, she was able to collect over 600,000 signatures, of which 500,000 have been submitted to date to Parliament on multiple occasions.

‘She’s a person who is a problem solver, always thinking about solutions, is full of ideas and she’s always in action,’ says AL leader Sophie Trottier

Although more than seven draft bills were created and tabled in response to the petition, the issue remains unresolved. Trottier described Dubé as someone she has always been able to count on when she was in need.

Very action-oriented

“She’s a person who is a problem solver, always thinking about solutions, is full of ideas and she’s always in action, by the way,” she said, adding that Dubé is also very community-oriented.

“I welcome Marie-Hélène onto our team with great pride. “We have been working together for numerous years, mainly on the dossier she has become well-known for. I can therefore promise you that she is a fighter who follows her dossiers to the end. Her knowledge and experience make her a candidate of very high quality.”

Dubé said that becoming a Laval city councillor would be a “natural extension” of the community work she’s undertaken over the years.

Centre de foire project

“It’s with great joy that I join Action Laval, a party that I have been following for a long time and with which I have decided to take a leap into politics,” she said. “It is the only party that has a constructive vision for all of the citizens of Laval.

Marie-Hélène Dubé, who mounted an ongoing campaign 13 years ago to reform the federal Employment Insurance program to extend sick leave beyond the current 15 weeks, is running for Action Laval in Sainte-Rose in the Nov. 7 municipal elections. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Newsfirst Multimedia)

“I can’t wait to work with a team which has the future of the city in their hearts,” she continued. “Especially with the pledge to build the Centre de foire internationale de Laval, which will be contributing not only to the economic development of our city, but which will put Quebec on the map internationally.

“I have always been a woman of action and I am very happy today to join Sophie Trottier, an inspiring woman and a great friend.” By the end of last week, Action Laval announced the last of its candidates. Nicolas Bouchard will be representing the party in the district of Concorde—Bois-de-Boulogne.