LONGUEUIL – Controversy is once again brewing between Greenfield Park and Longueuil after two borough councillors say they’ve been barred from speaking at their borough’s Canada Day festivities.
Wade Wilson and Robert Myles, both Greenfield Park borough councillors, say they have been speaking at Canada Day celebrations for years and that it’s their chance to connect with constituents.
Myles and Wilson say they were shocked when they got confirmation on Thursday that they won’t be able to go on stage, a move that according to them is not only disrespectful, but politically driven.
“Ironically, the timing of this – two days before Saint-Jean-Baptiste – we were advised we’re not included in these festivities and last year, two days before the Saint-Jean festivities, Madame Saint-Hilaire came out with a statement that she didn’t want Mr. Myles speaking English in council,” Wilson said.
“For some reason I feel like they are inciting a divisiveness in between the French and English here.”
“I personally think it’s trying to stir up more dirt, putting more gas in the fire and we shouldn’t be getting involved in this,” Myles said. “This is simple stuff, it’s tradition that we should maintain in Greenfield Park.”
The mayor’s spokesperson said the decision was based on protocol.
The City of Longueuil pays for the celebrations and as Mayor Caroline Saint-Hilaire is attending this year – according to protocol – she’s the only one speaking.
“The presidents of the borough of Vieux-Longueuil and Saint-Hubert, they’re not invited to the stage to speak, it’s just the mayor who’s going to speak so we just want to apply that in Greenfield Park,” Julie Martineau, a spokesperson for the City of Longueuil, said.
Martineau also said the move is in no way political or meant to target anglophones, which she said is proven by the mayor’s attendance at the celebration.
This is not the first run-in Myles has had with the City of Longueuil.
Last year, Saint-Hilaire told Myles not to speak in English at city council.
Myles says that dispute has been resolved but it has not been forgotten, at least not by those Global News spoke to in Greenfield Park.
“To me, from then on, it’s been a thorn on her side,” Linda Giborski, a Greenfield Park resident, said. “That’s the way I see it and I don’t think she’s being really fair.”
“You never know, especially nowadays with the English and the French in Longueuil, there’s lots of issues,” Amanda Willey, another Greenfield Park resident, said.
The councillors say they’ve written letters to the mayor and they’re hoping she’ll have a change of heart and invite them onto the stage where there is room for everyone to celebrate together.