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CAQ MNA Isabelle Lecours temporarily closes her office due to threats

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Isabelle Lecours, the CAQ MNA for Lotbinière-Frontenac, said Friday she is temporarily closing her office due to threats and intimidation.

"As part of the Centre de la petite enfance (CPE) de Val-Alain file, I have been threatened and intimidated," she wrote Friday on Facebook.

"In order to protect my team, I have decided to temporarily close the Saint-Apollinaire constituency office and the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) has been contacted," she added.

The elected representative for the Chaudière-Appalaches region did not respond to an interview request from The Canadian Press, while the SQ would neither confirm nor deny that an investigation is underway.

Last week, the citizens of Val-Alain learned that the Ministère de la Famille was cancelling the 29-place CPE project in their municipality due to a cost overrun.

Instead, the ministry is considering improving a CPE project in Saint-Apollinaire, some 30 kilometres from Val-Alain, as reported by Radio-Canada on Feb. 19.

On that day, the mayor and prefect of the Lotbinière MRC, Daniel Turcotte, organized a citizens' rally to denounce the Legault government's decision.

On Friday, without commenting on the case of Isabelle Lecours, the Quebec Liberal Party (QLP) expressed concern for all those elected officials who experience "incivility", "harassment", and "threats".

Liberal MNAs Michelle Setlakwe and Enrico Ciccone have called for a parliamentary commission to investigate this increasingly distressing phenomenon, especially at the municipal level.

Gatineau Mayor France Belisle announced Thursday her retirement from political life to protect her physical and mental health.

According to Setlakwe and Ciccone, "the difficulties experienced by elected officials, particularly at the municipal level, which exert constant pressure and force them to evolve in a noxious climate (...) are unacceptable".

"Threats against elected officials at all levels of government and the toxicity conveyed on social media must be denounced," said Ciccone in a press release.

Québec solidaire (QS) added: "In the municipalities, we are witnessing a veritable wave of departures. Since 2021, nearly 800 elected municipal officials have left office.

"At the national assembly, we should be the first to act to curb the alarming rise in resignations of municipal elected officials," said QS MNA Étienne Grandmont.

"I'm reaching out to my counterparts in the other parties so that we can sit down together and find concrete solutions."

For PQ MNA Joël Arseneau, it's clear that awareness is "necessary."

"We support the idea of a parliamentary commission on the subject. It's part of a logic of prevention, awareness and action against intimidation and the loss of respect for elected officials," he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Feb. 23, 2024.   

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