With Marc Demers sidelined, will Stéphane Boyer run for mayor?

With municipal elections set to take place in Laval in less than ten months, speculation is starting to swirl over who will be running for mayor if it isn’t Marc Demers.

In a statement issued last week, Demers said he is temporarily putting aside some of his usual duties so that he can spend more time caring for his wife.

“For my part, my wife will have to undergo an important surgery shortly,” Demers said in a message posted recently on social media.

Demers sidelined for now

“In such circumstances, I’m convinced you’ll understand that I lighten my schedule to take care of the one I’ve been sharing my life with for nearly 50 years – and that has allowed me to have three beautiful kids!” added Demers.

Maintaining that he will continue to fulfill essential responsibilities, Demers said he asked Laval executive-committee vice-president Stéphane Boyer to take over some tasks as alternate mayor.

“I know you will be in excellent hands with Stéphane and our experienced team which has been running the city for seven years now,” said Demers.

Back in a few weeks

Last week, a spokesperson for Demers’ office was unable to confirm to the Laval News whether the mayor would be taking part in Laval city council’s scheduled monthly webcasts in the immediate coming months. He is expected to resume normal activities in a few weeks, according to the Montreal daily La Presse.

‘Stéphane Boyer represents the best that his generation has to offer to society,’ says Demers

Since the defection to the opposition benches in 2018 of former Laval executive-committee vice-president David De Cotis, Stéphane Boyer has been the second in command at Laval city hall after the mayor. At the same time, he’s also been perceived as the most likely member of Laval city council to replace Mayor Marc Demers should the latter ever step aside.

Mayor’s health issues

Apart from his current preoccupations over his wife’s health, Demers has also had health problems. He announced in April 2018 that he had been diagnosed with cancer of the prostate, although Demers underwent therapy and it has been in remission since then.

However, Demers said in an interview last November with La Presse that he wasn’t certain whether he’d be a candidate for mayor in next November’s elections and that he’d be announcing his decision in early 2021.

“Mr. Boyer shows signs of a pragmatism and of a sense of listening that allow him to mobilize people and to advance his dossiers so that the projects he leads can be fulfilled,” Mayor Demers said about Stéphane Boyer in a statement issued by the city in 2016 when Boyer was named Person of the Year by the Union of Quebec Municipalities (UMQ).

Mayor’s endorsement

“Buoyed by an entrepreneurial spirit which he has developed, strengthened with enriched international experience, and animated by environmental and social equity values, Stéphane Boyer represents the best that his generation has to offer to society,” Demers added.

Stéphane Boyer was part of the first wave of success by the Mouvement lavallois, having been one of the many ML councillors elected in the party’s sweep of council seats in 2013 when the ML was first elected, replacing the Parti PRO des Lavallois.

Apart from serving on the executive-committee, he has also been president of the Montreal Metropolitan Community’s environment committee. As well, he led a major public consultation on the controversial Énergie Est project, and he sat on the board of the Agence métropolitaine de transport, the forerunner to the Réseau de transport métropolitain.

Boyer’s background

According to the city, Boyer also played a leading role in the preparation of Laval’s current plan to create new social housing, and he has overseen the implementation of measures to improve areas of the district of Pont-Viau in and around the des Laurentides Blvd. commercial and retail sector. Boyer, in his early 30s, has a background in professional business administration and project management. A graduate of a political communications program at UQAM, he has also done studies in finance. In addition, he has taken part in international student exhange programs, including a stint with a United Nations delegation dealing with crime and drug trafficking in Mexico.