8:30 a.m., April 13)
MPP calls it a day after 41 years in politics
MPP Jean-Marc Lalonde gets a hug from his grandson Tristan after announcing that
he is retiring from politics after a career stretching back over five decades.
Jean-Marc Lalonde was first elected to Rockland town council in October 1970,
John Robarts was still Premier of Ontario and the NHL only had 12 teams.
for a brief period between 1973 and 1976 when he suffered the only loss of his
political career, he has been deveoted to public service for the past 41 years.
He served as a town councillor from 1971 to 1973 and was elected mayor in 1976,
a position which he held until 1991.
taking a four-year hiatus, he successfully ran for the provincial legislature
in 1995 in the former riding of Prescott and Russell.
was re-elected three times with pluralities that would put most MPPs to shame.
In 2003, he received 65 per cent of the ballots cast, and in 2007, he won by 13,500
was as close to a shoe-in as you can get in politics, and up until three weeks
ago, he was leaning heavily towards giving it one more go at the tender age of
wasn't until he went on a cruise with his wife Gisele and ended up spending most
of his time in their cabin with a sore back and hip that he started to have second
thoughts. The final straw came when he visited his doctor and came to the realization
that life is finite and if he wanted to make the most of his remaining years with
his three young grandchildren he needed to make the most difficult decision of
his political career.
Tuesday night, he announced that the time had finally come to call it a day. Speaking
in front of a roomful of supporters, including five local mayors and the entire
Glengarry-Prescott-Russell Liberal Riding Association, Lalonde confirmed what
many had feared.
very hard for me to say that I cannot continue to work for the beautiful people
of this riding which is the best riding in OIntario," Lalonde said with his
vocie cracking. "Let me tell you that I wish I was 10 years younger."
leaves politics having accomplished a great deal. In fact, in the past five and
half years he's secured over $400 million in projects.including eight new schools,
two new health centres and numerous road, sewer, water and bridge projects.
avid hockey player, Lalonde helped establish the Canadian International Hockey
Academy in Rockland and he played an integral role in bringing the Calypso Water
Park to Limoges.
2001, he brought forward a Private Members Bill, entitled the Franco-Ontarian
Emblem Act, which recognized the Franco-Ontarian flag as the official emblem of
the Franco-Ontarian community.
was praised for his years of service at Queen's Park by fellow MPPs Jim Brownell,
Madeleine Meilleur and Phil McNeely.
three MPPs echoed the sentiment that Lalonde was one of the most repected and
well-liked MPPs at Queen's Park.
you for 16 years of service. You are not only one of the most respected MPPs at
Queen's Park, you are one of the hardest working MPPs," said McNeely.
he's stepping down from the political stage, he doesn't plan to go very far. He's
looking forward to hit the campaign hustings with his successor, no matter who
it is, and he plans to offer his services to the local community as a volunteer
but not least, he plans to stay on top of the Hwy. 174 Environmental Assessment,
which he believes will pave the way for the future widening of highway from Trim
Road to Rockland.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
to Front Page