Lac-Saint-Jean mayors disappointed by Couillard's departure

The mayors of former Quebec premier Philippe Couillard's riding are expressing sadness over the loss of their local representative in the province, saying he contributed a lot to the Lac-Saint-Jean region's development.

Couillard has claimed he brought $250 million in investments to the region

Quebec Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard greets a supporter in his home riding office of Roberval, Que., Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

The mayors of former Quebec premier Philippe Couillard's riding are expressing sadness over the loss of their local representative in the province, saying he contributed a lot to the Lac-Saint-Jean region's development. 

Couillard won his riding of Roberval with 42.5 per cent of the vote, but the former Quebec Liberal Party leader suffered a historic defeat to Coalition Avenir Québec's François Legault. 

Legault and his party won a majority with 74 seats in the National Assembly. 

A couple days after his concession speech Monday night, Couillard announced his resignation both as party leader and as the MNA for Roberval, which includes the municipalities of Roberval, Normandin, Dolbeau-Mistassini, Péribonka, Chambord and Saint-Félicien.

Couillard called the mayors himself before announcing his decision. A byelection will be held in the next six months for a new MNA to take his place.

"We're disappointed in the sense that we're losing an individual who did a lot for the riding, but I understand very well his decision to leave," said the mayor of Chambord, Luc Chiasson. 

Lucien Boivin, the mayor of Saint-Prime, south of Saint-Félicien, echoed Chiasson's statement, saying he hopes the pace of development in the Lac-Saint-Jean area will continue. 

'Big shoes to fill'

"I hope we'll have someone who will represent us well, but they have big shoes to fill because Mr. Couillard was a man who was close to his citizens," Boivin said.

Liberal supporters react to the election of a CAQ government, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018 in Saint-Félicien Quebec. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

Roberval Mayor Sabin Côté says he has fond memories of working with Couillard. 

"He was present in the riding. He was someone who was easy to get in touch with," Côté said.

Couillard has claimed he brought $250 million in investments to the region, including projects such as the refurbishment of the Roberval courthouse, the development of the Saint-Félicien Zoo and the re-opening of Norbord, an oriented strand board mill.

Couillard is from Montreal originally and has run in four different ridings as a Liberal MNA in the past: Mont-Royal and Outremont in Montreal, Jean-Talon in the Quebec City area and Roberval. 

His wife of 15 years, Suzanne Pilote, is from the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region and the couple's main residence is in Saint-Félicien.

with files from Radio-Canada