Konstantine Malakos’ efforts to stop the proposed Colacem cement plant near L’Orignal now have the full support of the New Democratic Party (NDP) at the top level of the organization.
Malakos, who is the NDP candidate for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell in the September 20 federal election, organized a protest on August 17 outside the Colacem quarry on Highway 17 against the cement plant the company plans to add to the site.
The Ontario Local Planning Appeal Tribunal has ruled in favour of Colacem’s plan, and local citizen’s group Action Champlain was unsuccessful in its effort to have the tribunal’s decision appealed in Divisional Court. Since the rejection of the appeal, Action Champlain has urged for political efforts to stop the cement plant, but it has not endorsed any political party or candidate.
Malakos wants the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to issue an injunction against the plant over concerns it could harm the tributaries of the Ottawa River, and for the federal government to stop the project out of concerns it will affect the traditional land and water of the Kanesetake Mohawk First Nation, located downstream on the Ottawa River near Oka.
In response to the protest and Malakos’ efforts, NDP Deputy Leader Alexandre Boulerice issued a video in which he said Malakos will have the full support of the NDP in his efforts against the cement plant if he is elected on September 20.
“I’m speaking in support of the citizens of Action Champlain and Glengarry-Prescott-Russell candidate Konstantine Malakos,” Boulerice said in the 42-second video.
Boulerice continued to say the cement plant would diminish the quality of life for residents and criticized its potential negative environmental impact.
Malakos said he has worked extensively on the Colacem issue with party officials, including Members of Parliament (MP) who serve as critics for various federal departments. Boulerice, who is seeking re-election as the MP for Rosemont-La Petite Patrie in Montreal, had been invited to the August 17 demonstration near L’Orignal but was unable to attend because of obligations with his own campaign. The video was made after the demonstration.
“He was speaking on behalf of the party and (NDP Leader) Jagmeet Singh,” said Malakos.
According to Malakos, Singh had asked Boulerice to get involved with the cause against the cement plant.
Konstantine Malakos’ campaign headquarters, located at 1682 Laurier Street in Rockland, is open as of September 1. An official opening event is being planned for during the remaining weeks of the campaign.