By Ruby Pratka
Local Journalism Initiative
The de facto leader of a potential new municipal party in Sherbrooke said he began the process of registering a new party out of a desire to promote healthy debate in municipal politics.
Cédrick Hamel reserved the party name Vision Action Sherbrooke with Elections Québec in early February. The reservation of a name is an optional preliminary step in the formal party registration process. Hamel, 28, was president of the Université de Sherbrooke (UdeS) student federation for the 2021-2022 school year, and helped organize the Jeux de la science politique (JSP), a provincewide French-language debate and political simulation competition for university students, held at Université de Sherbrooke this past January. Until recently, he worked in online sales.
Hamel said his experience working on the organization of the JSP, a yearlong process, gave him the idea of “the importance of healthy debate” in politics. By founding a party, he said he hopes to strengthen debate at the municipal level. The current city council, divided between members of Mayor Évelyne Beaudin’s Sherbrooke Citoyen slate (six seats) and independents (eight seats), has made headlines in recent weeks as a contentious work environment; in a recent interview with Radio-Canada, Coun. Annie Godbout (independent; Rock Forest) called for the council to appoint an external mediator to help defuse what she described as a “climate of tension.”