Laval Election: Guy Landry, Claire Le Bel Campaigns Hit By Resignations


Things have gone from bad to worse for Laval mayoral candidate Guy Landry.
Last week, 11 candidates left Landry’s Nouveau Parti des Lavallois. By Friday, only three candidates remained: Claude Ludovic Mbany, Daniel Bombardier and Mario Malouin.
The first 11 candidates jumped ship Sept. 30 after media reports that Landry owed $40,000 to the province in welfare payments for undeclared earnings. The reports also said Landry is regularly seen driving around in a Porsche convertible. Although Landry said he is contesting the amount claimed by the government, the candidates said they were not satisfied with Landry’s answers to their questions about the reports.
Another four candidates have dropped out of the party since that time, leaving just three, a party spokesperson said. Landry did not respond to The Gazette’s request for an interview.
Léo Savard, a candidate in the Laval-des-Rapides district, said he quit the party because potential voters told him he doesn’t stand a chance running with Landry.
“I’m doing this for my own survival,” Savard said Friday.
That’s a stark reversal for Savard from Oct. 1, when he was one of seven candidates who stood behind Landry at a news conference.
“He is the best candidate for the mayoralty,” Savard said at the time. “Mr. Landry has succeeded in getting (off welfare). I admire him for this.”
On Friday, however, Savard’s tone was quite different. He said he will vote for Jacques Foucher, an independent mayoral candidate.
“I prefer his style of politics,” he said. “The fact he is an independent means there’s less of a chance for him to be corrupted.”
Landry’s wasn’t the only campaign in trouble Friday.
Claire Le Bel’s Option Laval also suffered a setback when after a newspaper report suggested that the party’s campaign manager, Reny Gagnon, may have made up a story about being accosted and threatened. Gagnon promptly resigned his position.
The incident is alleged to have occurred on Highway 40, at the intersection of Highway 25, after Gagnon pulled over because of a flat tire. Neither Gagnon nor the party gave much detail about the incident.
In a statement Friday, Gagnon said he didn’t want the issue to become a distraction for the campaign, so he tendered his resignation.
Gagnon and his party drew considerable attention after he said he was assaulted. The alleged incident occurred just hours after his campaign released a tape to the media involving controversial ex-mayor Gilles Vaillancourt.
In the tape, the ex-mayor, who faces criminal charges, is overheard offering financial assistance to the Option Laval mayoral campaign.
Soon after that tape was released, Gagnon reported that he was beaten up — in an incident that resulted in copious media coverage.
The Sûreté du Québec is saying only that its investigation remains open and it won’t comment further.
Le Bel said Friday she still believes Gagnon’s story, although she said she called police investigators Friday morning after reading a newspaper report that Gagnon may have made up the story.
Le Bel is the only one of Vaillancourt’s former councillors to run for the mayor’s seat. She said she went public with the surreptitious recording because she felt residents of the scandal-plagued city deserved to know.
Vaillancourt ruled the suburb north of Montreal for 23 years before his name started surfacing at Quebec’s corruption inquiry and his home and office were targeted in police raids.
The ex-mayor resigned in November 2012. He was eventually arrested, with 36 others, in May 2013. He faces charges of gangsterism, conspiracy, fraud, influence-peddling, and breach of trust.

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