Although only elected ten months ago, the new mayor of Havelock, Stéphane Gingras, who beat the incumbent (the late Denis Henderson) on issues of land protection and political transparency, has resigned.
The outgoing mayor did not attend the town’s latest meeting on September 2, but his letter of resignation was received and accepted by the council caucus on that day. However, at the general meeting in the evening with the public, only the fact of Gingras’ departure was given; the letter was not read aloud. When pressed for reasons for this departure, Gilbert Pomeroy, a Havelock citizen, said that Philippe Bourdeau, who is now acting as mayor, said the reasons were “vague” and left it at that. Citizens learned only that they have very little time to field candidates before a new mayor is elected in November.
The Gleaner has obtained a copy of Gingras’ resignation letter. In it, he states his reasons for leaving were his inability to find help with his vision for the community from the council, and the continued refusal to be as fully transparent as possible with the electors. He says, “Ever since I was elected, I tried (with the help of the director general) to put into place tools of communication that would promote transparency.”
In an interview with the Gleaner, Gingras said he was referring mainly to the resistance he encountered as he strove to make council meetings recorded and available on the town website, as they are in many municipalities in Quebec. A movement to allow the videos to be posted has since been passed. He also stated in his letter, “I can’t, all by myself, change the unfortunate habits of certain people who look after their own interests instead of thinking of the welfare of the whole community.”
Gingras will continue working in biodiversity protection for the local non-governmental organization Ambioterra. Havelock, one of the smallest villages in the MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent, which so recently fought a battle to ensure asphalt factories were not installed on the delicate areas of Covey Hill, now must find another candidate willing to lead it and protect that territory.