LONGUEUIL – Canada Day in Greenfield Park had its fair share of controversy this year.
The City of Longueuil decided to enforce a protocol that prevented Greenfield Park councillors Robert Myles and Wade Wilson from speaking during the celebrations.
“I don’t understand why, the last two years it’s been good and now because the mayor is coming she’s taking over protocol, it’s not the way we work in Greenfield Park. It’s all about traditions,” said borough president Robert Myles.
Longueuil protocol states that only federal members of parliament, provincial member of the national assembly, and the city mayor can address crowds during Canada Day and St-Jean-Baptiste Day.
Mayor Caroline St-Hilaire promised that she would come to Greenfield Park to celebrate Canada Day, but she never showed up.
“Which was very disturbing, Greenfield Park is all about respect and tradition,” said Wilson. “This tradition has been going on forever and for her to try and stop it is appalling and very disrespectful to our citizens.”
Instead St-Hilaire sent a representative, and that has the borough president Robert Myles furious.
“You know in a way, I’m glad she didn’t show up,” said Myles. “The citizens that were here weren’t going to be happy because they weren’t going to let myself speak and I’m pretty sure she would have gotten booed.”
Myles said the mayor sending representatives for Canada Day is nothing new, but in the past he was allowed to address his constituents officially.
“To me it is very petty, she is playing political games, that’s fine with her but the citizens of Greenfield Park know what’s going on.”
Myles and Wilson took matters into their own hands.
“They said we could come on stage however we couldn’t speak and that wasn’t good enough for us,” said Wilson. “So we went to the side of the hill and we did our speech and we had great feedback from the citizens. Unfortunately she (the mayor) incited some divisiveness in between the French and the English.”
In a video posted on Facebook by someone in the crowd, Wilson is seen giving a passionate speech on Canadian values and the crowd can be heard cheering.
Myles for his part vowed that the city of Longueuil had not heard the end of it yet.
He plans to bring it up at the next council meeting on Tuesday.
City of Longueuil officials would not comment on-the-record.