Perras hangs up skates, Green glides in to mayoral race

The election race in Chelsea, Quebec just heated up with a one-two announcement that Mayor Jean Perras will not run again, followed by Chelsea Foundation President Caryl Green’s news that she will run in his place, and with his endorsement.

Perras finally broke his long, cold silence as to his future with the Sept. 28 announcement that he plans to get off the ice.

“I decided to hang up my skates,” Perras said, ending his 16 years on Chelsea’s council, eight of them as mayor. “Sixteen years is a long time. At my age I wanted to do other things in life.”

When asked about those things, Perras said he couldn’t disclose his plans yet, but he confirmed that plans do exist.

“Never leave your plane without a parachute,” he said. “And don’t mix your parachute with your lunch.”

With Perras skating or parachuting out of the picture, this will make for a hotter-than-anticipated race between at least two political newbies. Green joins business owner Bruce Langer who announced his candidacy Aug. 29; and any others seeking the seat still have until Oct. 2 to register.

While Green may known best by residents as head of the Meredith Centre project that unravelled into the most controversial and divisive issue this community has seen in recent years, getting the nod from the outgoing mayor can only help as she goes into her campaign.

Perras said he had worked closely with Green the last couple of years and is confident in her abilities.

“She’s an able person and she’s smart and I will give her my support, for sure,” he said.

Originally, Green had announce she would run as councillor in Ward 2. Green said she would not have run against Perras and was waiting on his decision before making her own to seek the mayor’s seat. When asked how she would seek the support of those who opposed the Meredith Centre, Green said it was time to look beyond the community centre.

“I really don’t feel I’m running with the Meredith Centre as a platform,” she said. “There’s been a referendum and we’re moving on. There are a lot of issues facing the community. I just feel that what I hope to do as mayor is to facilitate discussion on how to move forward as a community.”

Green said she has high hopes for the centre village visioning process, which she expects will bring a lot of concerns to the surface and influence the next master plan.

“It’s about much more than the centre village. It’s about who we are as a community,” she said.

Green, a bilingual mother of three sons has worked as a writer and editor for 25 years, mostly with Novalis publishing at Ottawa’s Saint Paul University. She has stepped down as Chelsea Foundation president.

Perras said his father once told him that there were two important things in political life: when to arrive and when to leave. He said he hoped he was following this wisdom.

“I think we needed a changing of the guard.”