Mascouche mayor jeered, forced to leave council
Published Monday, July 9, 2012 8:26PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 10, 2012 7:48AM EDT
MASCOUCHE - Mayor Richard Marcotte's visit to a city council meeting Monday evening did not last long.
He was attempting to attend his first council meeting since being charged with a series of corruption-related crimes in April.
However, dozens of protesters booed and jeered their mayor, making his continued stay untenable.
Once it was clear that Marcotte would be prevented from speaking by the relentless noisemakers, Deputy Mayor Lise Gagnon asked him to leave and he immediately complied.
Marcotte was then led out under heavy police escort.
"He should be man enough to step down," one protester told CTV Montreal. "Let the city get its reputation back the way it used to be. Let him deal with the problems he has right now. "
"I'm sorry, I don't trust this guy. I don't trust him for two seconds," said another.
The council meeting continued without the mayor and opposition leader Stephane Handfield subsequently pointed out that Marcotte earns over $100,000 a year and ironically added that the embattled mayor could look forward to six more council meetings until the next municipal elections, scheduled November 2013.
Many have asked the Minister of Municipal Affairs Laurent Lessard to intervene in the dossier. A representative for Lessard said the minister was in Calgary and would not comment before returning to Quebec Friday.
There had been considerable speculation concerning whether Marcotte would show his face at council Monday, as according to municipal rules, a failure to attend a meeting 90 days since his last one -- a period which ends August 4 -- would open a process in which his post would go up for a new vote.
It is not yet clear whether Marcotte's brief appearance would set the clock back to zero on the three-month-absence rule.
On Sunday around 300 noisy protesters marched in the city of 45,000, which sits 45 kilometers northeast of Montreal, demanding Marcotte's resignation.
Marcotte faces charges of fraud, corruption, breach of trust and conspiracy after being arrested along with over a dozen others on the night of April 19-20.