Local communities are what matter to Agnès Grondin. The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) candidate in Argenteuil said her party wants to give regions and communities the opportunity to decide how government services should be delivered because those needs are different across Québec. The environment and sustainable development are also a high priority for Grondin, who has worked for many years as the Environmental Counsellor for the Municipalité Régionale de Comté (MRC) d’Argenteuil.
Grondin became the CAQ candidate on August 20 following the departure of Lachute notary and Harrington Township Councillor Sarah Lacasse-Dwyer who withdrew for professional and family reasons.
“It’s not a challenge,” Grondin said about having to become visible in the community quickly after becoming the candidate so soon before the election campaign began. She said her community-based career has made her well-known throughout the district. Grondin was born in Lachute and grew up on the West Island. She returned to Lachute 21 years ago and has a daughter and a son.
“They want to build a strong Québec in Canada,” said Grondin about the CAQ. She said government decision making and planning is too centralized and focused on Montréal and Québec City and that the CAQ wants to develop policies based on regional and community needs. Grondin said decisions would be based on “What do we want in Argenteuil?” She said her approach would be bottom up and not top down.
Grondin said the CAQ is more of a moderate, centrist organization that is a coalition of people from varying backgrounds who have the common goal of prosperity for all Quebecers. One of the issues with provincial services she identified that affects Argenteuil is that students from the region needing to attend summer school must travel to Laval to do so. The CAQ is proposing to eliminate all of Québec’s school boards if it wins the October 1 election. Grondin said the idea behind that is to reduce bureaucracy and allow more decisions to be made at the school level. Many anglophone groups have said English-speakers would lose identity if their school boards were gone. “It’s not about language” said Grondin, who explained the CAQ wants education funding to be better used locally. “We have to try it and make it work,” she said. The proposal reflects the CAQ’s overall plan to reduce the role of the state and give more choices to parents and families.
Grondin said that theme of more choice would also transfer to her role as a Member of the National Assembly because the CAQ believes in giving their elected members more independence. She said the party tries to focus on what is most important for voters.
“We don’t talk about political issues—English, French, sovereignty,” she explained, and added that many CAQ candidates are not career politicians.
Health and care for the elderly is a major issue in Argenteuil. A CAQ government would create local Maisons des aînés (houses for the elderly) to provide services and care for people requiring it. Grondin said that approach would be more humane and accessible for people. About exceptionally long emergency department waiting times and insufficient hospital services, Grondin said the Liberals have concentrated too much on larger urban centres and not regional needs. She said the government has not properly estimated the current and future needs of the Argenteuil region and that has resulted in the local problems in health care.
Agnès Grondin is most passionate about the environment and sustainable development. Her emphasis on the need for local solutions is rooted in her years of meeting with municipal leaders, citizen groups, and property owner’s associations on local lakes when she consulted with them about environmental conservation and protection projects. Grondin said she is looking forward to helping the Coalition Avenir Québec develop its environmental conservation policies.