Municipal Elections cancelled for Brome and Waterloo

By Taylor McClure, Special to Brome County News

In light of the measures being taken by the Quebec government in the face of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID19), the byelections planned for the municipalities of Brome and Waterloo have been cancelled and will be moved to a later date. On March 13th, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Andrée Laforest, requested that all election polls taking place before April 26th, 2020 be postponed until further notice to help protect the population. As a result, over 29 byelections have been cancelled across Quebec until a new date is set by Laforest in the upcoming weeks. Elections were set to take place in Brome starting with advanced polls on March 15 and then then the vote on March 22 but under the decision of the government they are officially postponed. “This was a decision of the Minister of Municipal Affairs,” emphasized Carol Kralik, Assistant to the General Director of Brome Irena Hodorowski and Secretary of Elections. “This was not an individual decision but a directive from the government. There are several municipalities involved not just Brome.”
In terms of a new date being scheduled for the election, there is no certainty as to when. “We’re not speculating right now. When we have further news, we will advise everyone.” William Miller and Roger de Winter were the two candidates running for Mayor to replace the late Tom Selby. The election for the Town of Waterloo’s District Number 4, originally set to take place on March 22 (for advance polling) and March 29th (for election day), has also been postponed.
“We don’t know when the election will happen because it’s all about the virus,” said Céline Vary, Secretary for the office of Louis Verhoef. “The Ministry of Municipal Affairs asked all of the towns with partial elections to cancel them. It’s all about the gathering of people, they want to try and avoid that.” Vary said that there is a possibility that the cancelling of the election will lead to various complications.
“We might have to do the whole procedure again from the beginning, I think that’s what’s going to happen,” she said. As an example, Vary explained that since the election is being postponed, there will be individuals who will turn 18 during that period of time who will want to register to vote who were previously ineligible to do so. “There are costs related to that. We have to see from which point in the procedure we will start from. We are waiting for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to let us know,” she said, emphasizing that no one truly knows what’s going to happen. “We’re in limbo right now. I think this is the first time in Quebec history that the government asks for so many shutdowns. We just don’t know; we’re learning day to day just like everyone else.”
The Municipality of Brome will be keeping its citizens informed of the situation and any details regarding the partial election either by email or through mail. For those that live in Waterloo, the town is keeping its citizens up to date on the situation surrounding the coronavirus and its byelection through the Ville de Waterloo website.

Published in the March 17 edition of the Brome County News.

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