Montreal

Who will run Lingwick? Small Quebec township can't find mayoral candidates

Lingwick's current mayor had hoped to retire from municipal politics this year, but he will have to stay on until the town can find a successor.

Township struggles to find candidates for mayor ahead of next month's elections

Six municipal councillors have been elected by acclamation in Lingwick, but no one wants to be mayor. (Radio-Canada)

No one wants to run Lingwick.

While dozens of mayors in Quebec's Eastern Townships region have been elected by acclamation ahead of next month's municipal elections, the small township has a unique problem: it has zero candidates for mayor.

Lingwick, located about 60 kilometres east of Sherbrooke, is home to about 400 residents and current Mayor Marcel Langlois had hoped to retire from municipal politics this year.

Now he will have to stay on until at least Nov. 26, when a new vote will be held to find his successor.

Prospective candidates for the top job will be able to throw their names into the running as of Oct. 13, said Lingwick's director general and elections president.

"I have hope that we'll have a candidate before having to look beyond November 26," said Josée Bolduc.

The township of Lingwick is home to about 400 residents. (Radio-Canada)

'More and more difficult to become mayor'

Six councillors were elected by acclamation in Lingwick after they ran unopposed in the municipal elections, which are scheduled for Nov. 5 across Quebec.

But none of them are interested in the top position they say it's too much work for too little pay.

"It's a post that demands so much. Plus, in small municipalities, the salary is far from a living wage," said newly appointed councillor Daniel Audet.

In 2014, the Lingwick mayor took home an annual salary of $4,070 and could spend up to $2,035 for work-related expenses, according to township records. The city councillors earned $1,357 for the year, and could spend up to $678 in expenses.

Caroline Poirier, a Lingwick municipal councillor for eight years who vacated her post this year, agreed. 

"It's becoming more and more difficult to become mayor, even in a small municipality," she said. "It demands a great deal of competencies, knowledge and commitment."

Former councillor Caroline Poirier says the position of mayor is becoming more demanding.

Mauricie town also struggling

Lingwick isn't alone, though.

Residents of Saint-Stanislas, Que., in the Mauricie region, won't be able to vote for a new mayor on Nov. 5 either.

No mayoral candidates put their names forward in the town of about 1,000 people.

Saint-Stanislas' elections president and director general, Marie-Claude Jean, said she hasn't seen a situation like this in 20 years.

With files from Radio-Canada

now