An open letter to Norm MacMillan

Yesterday you declared to the media that you endorse Mr. Bureau because in your mind there are too many “Blues” (or sovereignists) in Action Gatineau. I must respond for two reasons. First, you are mistaken: the Blues, like the Reds (federalists), are few and far between in Action Gatineau. Second, if Gatineau is going to take its rightful place, we must get beyond this outdated view of Blues versus Reds.

The simple fact is that the vast majority of our candidates have not participated in party politics before wearing the colours of Action Gatineau. For those who have, there are as many who come from the federalist side as from the sovereignist side. Your emphasis on colours makes you see only some and miss others, such as the Action Gatineau candidate in Buckingham, Martin Lajeunesse, who was a part of your own election team when you were in provincial politics.

But all this is beside the point: we must get out of this outdated manner of seeing the world in which we have been stuck for way too long. If the Outaouais has lagged behind other regions of Quebec in all sorts of areas it is precisely because there are still too many people who are incapable of thinking in terms other than Red or Blue. At one time, the region was not even able to unite to fight for the completion of highway 50. Each side preferred throwing stones at the other! While other regions of Quebec were making gains, we took ourselves out of the game because we were too busy fighting each other. We must stop this vicious cycle that has not got us anywhere.

I fought the underfinancing of UQO by a Blue government. I fought the underfunding of our health services by a Red government. I asked both Blue and Red governments to diversify the revenue sources for cities so that we can limit the rise in property taxes. For years I have asked that the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau stop ignoring each other and start working together. This is not Red or Blue thinking, but good old common sense! During the three years I worked to re-open the Laiterie de l’Outaouais to bring much needed jobs to our city, not one person – ever – asked me if I was a Blue or a Red. And Gatineau emerged a winner!

You could not be more mistaken when you said that a city should only take care of snow clearing, garbage collection and residential development. Economic development and jobs do not come from only building houses. The wealth of cities like Sherbrooke and Quebec City arose from partnerships with their universities and their education sector. These kinds of partnerships are what today’s cities are about. It is this creative approach that Action Gatineau is bringing to our city.

I love the people of my city. With my team, I will fight for our city regardless of who is in power in Quebec City or in Ottawa. I want to put Gatineau on the political map. To get there, I have recruited women and men who were once Red, Blue, Green, Orange, but now whose colours are those of Gatineau. Our future rests with a union of all the colours of Gatineau, supported by a shared vision and dedicated to a common action plan. This is what will give Gatineau the strong voice it needs.

Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin
Candidate for mayor