Unseated RM of Ritchot councilor Maurice LeClaire blames a dirty campaign for the loss of his seat.
Councilor blames loss on dirty campaign
By Marianne Curtis
Long time councilor Maurice Leclaire was stunned when he received word that he had lost his seat in the RM of Ritchot on October 27 by a mere forty-two votes.
“I am shocked – this is a big surprise,” stated Leclaire. “But that is what happens when you run a dirty campaign.”
Leclaire’s campaign to retain his seat on council got off to a shaky start from day one. Prior to the deadline for nominations, rumor around Ile Des Chenes and Grande Pointe had him seeking nomination as both reeve and councilor in the event that Mayor Bob Stefaniuk did not seek reelection.
At the close of the first day of nominations, a second mayoral candidate stepped forward and Leclaire filed his papers to run for Ward 1 councilor. Then, in a surprising move, just prior to the deadline to “withdraw” the second candidate removed his name from the list, Stefaniuk was acclaimed and Leclaire was committed to run for council.
“Despite what people were saying, I had no intention of running for reeve if Bob was running again,” Leclaire denies the rumors that he was passing around two sets of nomination papers. “When I heard that the candidate withdrew his papers, I was shocked – it was a mockery of the democratic process.”
Undaunted, Leclaire began his campaign by posting signs throughout the community of Ile Des Chenes and Grande Pointe. Within days, every single sign was removed or vandalized. Dozens were found spray painted with swastikas and other slurs.
“It is absolutely disgusting what was happened to my signs,” Leclaire lamented. “I lost over sixty signs.”
Things got so crazy that by election day, Leclaire was putting up his signs in the morning and removing them shortly after dark so that they would not be removed or defaced.
While Leclaire is disappointed that he was not reelected, he is also relieved.
“I am happy now, I have no pressure and it is back to business for me,” Leclaire added. In the days following the election, he established a new construction and consulting business and is going to continue to encourage development in the area from a developers standpoint.
Leclaire was first elected to the RM of Ritchot council eight years ago. Since then he has worked hard to encourage development in Ile Des Chenes with projects such as an industrial development, new community center, fire hall along with several subdivisions in Grande Pointe are just a few of his accomplishments.