Here’s something you might not have known about Pierre Lemieux

Tldr: Pierre Lemieux is a pretty good guy

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I’ll begin this short story by pre-emptively stating that I’m not supporting or backing any candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) Leadership Race. My goal is fostering party unity, and I want to ensure that Pontiac residents have ample opportunity to decide whom they want as the next CPC leader. Under the Trudeau Government, Pontiac residents are facing indefinite deficits, and higher taxes. The Conservative Party of Canada is the only party positioned to bring our finances back into order, and our next leader will be the best bet to challenge the Trudeau Liberals in 2019’s election.

Pierre Lemieux is one of many candidates vying for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. For a number of years he represented the riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell (GPR) as its Member of Parliament. I met Pierre in passing over the course of my time spent working on Parliament Hill and saw him frequently in the Government lobby before Question Periods and at functions – usually military in nature. Pierre is one of two CPC leadership candidates with military experience, along with Erin O’Toole.

I was a candidate in the last general election. Pierre’s riding is not that far from the Pontiac, and in pre-writ stages of the campaign I was invited to stop by an event there for a networking and discussion opportunity. It was a well-attended event with live music and good food, with the key-note speaker being then-Minister of Canadian Heritage Shelly Glover.

Over the course of the 2015 election campaign I ran into Pierre a few more times at events with the Prime Minister, and also at media outlets for interviews; it was common to see other candidates at media offices that were interviewing a multitude of regional candidates. Given my status as a Canadian Armed Forces Reservist and Pierre’s military experience, he was easy to relate to.

Of course, the 2015 election came and went, and brought with it a new Government. I didn’t win in Pontiac. Nobody likes losing, and losing in politics makes you feel as if you have let down the people that invested so much into you. I took some time off; we’d been campaigning for a few years by that point and I needed to recharge. I turned off my emails for a bit.

Several weeks after the election Pierre tracked down my phone number and called me up. We commiserated over the campaign and Pierre told me that as he’d been going through a postmortem, he had come across a digital photo of my family and I from the networking event in GPR.

Pierre called because wanted to know what my mailing address was. He had already had the photo printed out so he could send it to me.

The little things matter, and after an election marked by a change in Government the little things can sometimes be put aside as we all adjust. Taking the time to touch base with me personally and provide a nice, hard-copy photo is something that not only meant a lot to me, but said a lot about the character of Pierre Lemieux.

The photo, which is normally hanging on my wall, is pictured above. Many thanks Pierre, and best of luck with your campaign.

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First CISSSO concession

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Click here to see CISSSO’s response to Pontiac Voice

As many are aware, the CISSSO Board of Directors has decided that the Shawville hospital must impose parking fees on visitors and workers in order to be standard with city hospitals. This pay-to-park scheme is to be implemented in the near future, despite the hospital being located in a rural area that offers free parking everywhere and anywhere.

In addition to nickle-and-diming Pontiac residents and healthcare workers with their parking scheme, CISSSO has decided to further punish our region by shuttering the Pavillon du Parc facility located in Shawville. This decision, as reported by local media, is going to force some patients and families apart from one another by necessitating patients move outside of our region to a new facility! It would seem that there is a need right here, right now, for these services– services that CISSSO feels should be prioritized for the other areas it administers. I intend to visit this insensitive decision a great deal more in the future.

Rural areas are increasingly facing economic challenges compared to their urban cousins, and recent decisions taken by CISSSO only serve to further squeeze a population that is already being squeezed by taxation and industry changes.

However, I am optimistic with what lies ahead.

After forcing local residents to travel to their Gatineau Office on January 27th, CISSSO offered some token half-answers to a number of questions relating to paid-parking at the Shawville hospital. CISSSO also saw first-hand (possibly for the first time) actual people who were being affected by the decisions they were taking.

Following this meeting, which was attended by local residents and union reps, CISSSO is now pushing back the implementation of their paid-parking scheme by one month. This is a small, but significant measure that buys us time to further explore avenues to deal with the unfair treatment we are receiving. More significant is that this concession should serve as notice for us to redouble our efforts! We’ve achieved something we can build upon, and more people are joining our cause.

It is inspiring to see members of Pontiac Voice and the community at large work together towards correcting this injustice. Community pressure has met with some success already and we must continue this fight.