Earlier this fall, at least 70 people attended a celebration of the MRC du Haut Saint-Laurent’s 40th anniversary and honoured some of those who contributed to its political history over the past 40 years. This took place at the Salle Alfred Langevin in Huntingdon.
The MRC was formed on January 1, 1982, when 15 municipalities joined to form the first regional council of mayors. Réné Brisebois (Saint-Anicet), Jacques Leduc (Sainte-Barbe), and James Gavin (Elgin), all members of the original founding council, were present at the anniversary and were awarded with a lapel pin with the MRC’s logo, which was revamped in 2016. Director general Pierre Caza said, “This commitment was made by women and men who, over the years, have invested themselves both humanely and politically to make the Haut-Saint-Laurent what it is today and what it will be tomorrow.”
The other members of the original council were Reginald Burrows (Dundee), Wilfred Huet (Franklin), Marion Trépanier (Godmanchester), Claude Garault (Havelock), Peter Tully (Hinchinbrooke), Roma Myre (Howick), André Bergevin (Très-Saint-Sacrement), Jean-Paul Riendeau (Saint-Malachie d’Ormstown), Rodrique Vincent (Saint-Jean-Chrysostome), Michel Charland (Saint-Chrysostome), Gérald Brisebois (Huntingdon), and Gilles Brunet (Ormstown).
Caza added, “MRCs have become a level of government between the local municipalities and the Government of Quebec. The MRCs must not only meet their governmental obligations; they must also act in the interest of their population. Over the past 40 years, MRCs have seen their roles, responsibilities, and competencies transform into a full-fledged level of government.”
Louise Lebrun, prefect and mayor of Sainte-Barbe, said, “The MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent, because of its geographic location, brings its own set of challenges; challenges that we have succeeded in meeting through various projects and services to support our community.”
Nowadays, the MRC is made up of 13 municipalities. This is the case because in 1999, the parish of Saint-Jean-Chrysostome and the village of Saint-Chrysostome became the municipality of Saint-Chrysostome. Then in 2000, the municipality of Saint-Malachie-d’Ormstown merged with the municipality of Ormstown.
Not only was this event to celebrate the anniversary; it was also a time to honour the mayors who retired between 2017 and 2021. The MRC usually celebrates the contributions of former mayors; however, for the past few years, it was unable to do so. Alain Castagner (Saint-Anicet), Jean Armstrong (Dundee), Suzanne Yelle-Blair (Franklin), François Rochefort (Très-Saint-Sacrement), Chrystian Soucy (Ormstown), Carolyn Cameron (Hinchinbrooke), Jacques Lapierre (Ormstown), Douglas Brooks (Franklin), Gilles Dagenais (Saint-Chrysostome), and the late Denis Henderson (Havelock) were all celebrated and thanked.
Lebrun added that “The council wishes to continue to make our MRC shine, and current and past members should be proud of what has been accomplished …The projects are numerous and vary in scope. It is as a team that we will succeed in achieving the expected results so that in 10 years, at the time of the 50th anniversary, we will be able to be as proud as we are now, if not more so.” (CF)