Marc Demers, a former police officer and Laval’s incoming mayor, says that honesty is not only the best policy — it’s the only policy allowed at Laval City Hall.
“Honesty is not negotiable,” Demers said on Daybreak Monday morning.
“[We have to] make sure that we all have the same philosophy — their loyalty must first go to the citizens of Laval and not the mayor of the city council,” Demers said of Laval’s newly elected government.
Demers got 41 per cent of the vote in Sunday’s election. His party, Mouvement lavallois, also holds 17 of the 21 Laval city council seats.
He said that, considering there were nine candidates running for mayor, he feels good about his win — even if he would have preferred to have all 21 seats.
“I would have liked the challenge to prove to the people of Laval that even with one party, you can be honest and transparent,” Demers said.
Previous Laval mayor Gilles Vaillancourt headed the city for six terms over 23 years; his last three terms were unopposed.
He resigned last November amid a slew of corruption allegations made at the Charbonneau commission. He is currently facing 12 charges including conspiracy, fraud, influence peddling, breach of trust and gangsterism.
Laval cycled through two interim mayors in the year since Vaillancourt’s resignation, and the city was placed under trusteeship last May.
Demers, who is Laval’s first new elected mayor in 24 years, said he’ll ask the trustees to remain available as advisors only while City Hall shifts over to its newly elected government.
Quebec Minister of Municipal Affairs Sylvain Gaudreault said the transfer of power from the trustees to the new leadership would take place in a matter of days.
"Like other cities in Quebec, when you have a new administration you have a period of transition, and it’s exactly the same thing with the trustees," Gaudreault said.
Questions about Demers's eligibility to even run for mayor cropped up when it was disclosed that he didn't live in Laval for six months last year.
Today, he said that he's had the question studied by lawyers and is "100 per cent sure" of his eligibility.
Demers said he expects to be sworn in on Nov. 8.