Saint Bruno residents upset with police at council meetings
Published Tuesday, February 19, 2013 11:04AM EST
Residents of St. Bruno say the mayor is abusing his power by having police escort citizens out of meetings -- instead of answering their questions.
Critics say there has been a strong police presence at town council meetings since the fall, and that on a number of occasions the mayor has asked those officers to remove people.
In December one man got into a shouting match with the mayor, at which point police removed the individual, and three others who objected.
Citizens who regularly attend meetings say tensions have been high, but that there has never been any indication of violence, or any other action warranting police intervention.
"When there's that confrontation, there's a lot of frustration. But you've never seen any act of violence so we think this police presence is absolutely not necessary," said Marilou Alarie.
Mayor Claude Benjamin has been the subject of death threats, but Longueuil police determined in January that those threats were coming from a Calgary man, originally from the Quebec City region, with no ties to Saint-Bruno.
Many of the people angry with mayor Claude Benjamin say they are seeking clear answers about a construction project planned in town.
The Hummingbird Woods project calls for building 30 houses in the middle of a forest.
This week five police officers observed the council meeting, which critics say is an abuse of power.
Michele Archambault, the lone opposition councillor, agrees with people who are angry with the constant police presence.
"I think it's a misuse of power and security," said Archambault.
Mayor Claude Benjamin refused to talk with CTV Montreal following the meeting.
His critics say that is typical behaviour from the mayor.
"People want their mayor and his councillors to be a lot more transparent," said Vincent Fortier.
Benjamin has also been subject to threats, including death threats