Chelsea Oct. 13, 2021
Caryl Green is no stranger to the MRC des Collines-de-l’Outaouais having been its warden for the past four years and mayor of Chelsea for the past 12. This year will be her first run for warden under universal suffrage.
Green has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Queen’s University and received a Bachelors in Theology from St-Pauls University. She began studies for a Masters in Theology, which was cut short after her husband passed away. Green was forced to drop her studies and switch to working at St-Pauls while raising her three boys.
During that time raising three children on her own, the people of Chelsea were so supportive that she wanted to do something to give back to the community. Eventually, this would lead to her first entrance into municipal politics.
Her interest in politics goes back much further than her 30 years in Chelsea. “My mom and dad were very community-oriented. The model was that you get involved in your community. I think it’s in my DNA,” she said.
Green’s mother was the first female municipal councillor for Otterburn Park in the Montérégie region of Quebec.
Running for council became “part of her psyche.” She had already left home, but it was always on her mind. By 2009 all of her children had left for CEGEP or university, and she felt it was the right time to take a stab at municipal politics. She meant to follow through on her commitment to running for council, but the mayor at the time decided not to run and someone suggested she run for mayor instead. With no council experience, she won the top job. “It was a steep learning curve,” she said.
The future of policing in the MRC
The MRC is the only MRC in Quebec with their own police force. She would like to take on some of the suggestions from the la Livre Vert (the Green Book). The Green Book is a report funded by the Quebec government which outlines recommendations around policing regarding financing and services.
While the government of Quebec has chosen not to pursue the recommendations made in the Green Book, there is a possibility that the government may change its mind in the future.
The MRC pays for 100 per cent of the police service, whereas the province pays for the SQ’s services in other municipalities. So residents are asking the MRC to examine new funding models because not only does des Collines pay for 100 per cent of its police service, it also funds the SQ through provincial income tax for services in other communities. “I am hearing a lot from mayors and councils and residents that we must look at how much our police force costs us. People like a local police force, but it is very costly.” There needs to be some support from the provincial level, the structure of policing needs to be examined, she said.
On the economic front, Green wishes to continue to support small and medium-sized businesses and to work on the economic recovery from COVID, specifically with an environmental focus, “a green recovery,” she said.
“We can’t ignore that there is a need to do things differently,” Green added.
Green has been in contact with CREDDO, which is working to support municipalities and MRCs in investigating how they do business and how the environmental organization can help businesses do things differently in light of climate change. She cites existing electric public transit infrastructure as a positive and suggests the need to consider the changing needs of residents who may be working from home more often or in a hybrid form. “When we are fully opened, we will not be going to the status quo,” Green said.
In light of climate change and recent flooding, tornadoes and landslides, the MRC needs to be prepared for more extreme weather conditions in the future. In that regard, work is underway on an Emergency Preparedness Plan. We are analyzing the need for shared use of our services between communities, she said. “We need to be proactive, not just reactive.”
The MRC learned a lot from recent events, for instance, when cell phone service went down during 2019's flooding. Green feels any preparedness plan must look at the robustness of communication between different levels of emergency services during a crisis. We have to do things differently, and we have to collaborate, she said.
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