If the mayor of Saint-Jérôme offered “prestige” positions to two councilors whom he would have liked to get rid of, it was “because he has a heart” and not to prevent them from standing for re-election.
This was pleaded at the Saint-Jérôme courthouse on Wednesday, Stéphane Maher, accused of having carried out fraudulent electoral maneuvers by the Chief Electoral Officer of Quebec (DGEQ).
The mayor is accused of having excluded former municipal councilors Mario Fauteux and André Mario from his political formation, at the deadline for submitting candidatures for the 2017 election, and of having offered them positions in compensation.
In an audio recording made by Mr. Fauteux without Mr. Maher’s knowledge, unveiled by our Investigation Office in 2019 and which is in evidence, we hear the first citizen of Saint-Jérôme offer a “prestigious job” to the advisor which he wishes to get rid of, as a “compensation”.
Mr Maher explained that he no longer trusted the two men because he suspected them of wanting to leave his party once elected. He added that the meetings with the two men were only meant to exclude them from his party. The discussion then allegedly shifted to job suggestions because he empathized that the two men were losing income.
“Yes, I have a heart. […] [Le plan de match était de] help them through the ordeal as a good father, ”repeated Mr. Maher on several occasions, sometimes exasperated at the insistence of the lawyer of the DGEQ, Mr.e Geneviève Lemay.
Photo Cédérick Caron
Geneviève Lemay, Lawyer
During most of his cross-examination, Mr.e Lemay dissected the recording made by Mario Fauteux without Mr. Maher’s knowledge in order to raise contradictions.
On several occasions, the lawyer asked how he could offer administrative positions “by his side” to men in whom “he no longer trusted”.
“You shouldn’t mix politics and administration,” replied Mr. Maher, insisting that contrary to what is heard in the recording, he was not offering positions, but suggested to Mr. Because he could continue to get involved in community life according to his passions.
Mayor Maher defends himself
” [C’était une] discussion between two people that has no connection between standing as an independent candidate or not. “
– Stéphane Maher
“I did what I had to do in this tough political decision. “
– Stéphane Maher