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Kirkland election turns ugly: Cliffe serves Allard with legal warning

After losing the 2017 election, Cliffe unsuccessfully attempted to sue Allard for defamation in Quebec Superior Court.

Karen Cliffe is running for a council seat in the Kirkland election on Nov. 7.

The fireworks at annual Kirkland Day celebrations pale in comparison to the ongoing battle between incumbent councillor André Allard and challenger Karen Cliffe, who is trying for a third time to win the District 8 (Summerhill) seat.

Allard, an accountant, defeated Cliffe, a community activist, in the previous two elections, each time by less than a hundred votes.

This had led to bad blood between the two candidates, with Cliffe taking Allard to court, where she lost again.

André Allard seeks another mandate as a city councillor in Kirkland’s District 8 (Summerhill) in the Nov. 7 municipal election.
André Allard seeks another mandate as a city councillor in Kirkland’s District 8 (Summerhill) in the Nov. 7 municipal election. jpg

She is now threatening more legal action in Round 3 of their election trilogy.

The latest legal twist is a mise en demeure legal notice her lawyer served Allard on Oct. 14 for trying to discredit Cliffe with voters by making “below the belt” and false statements about her.

Allard said he forwarded the legal notice to his lawyer. “What she claims I say to people about her, I don’t know what it is first of all.”

He says he often meets voters in the company of others. “So they know and can testify that I’m not that type of person. I don’t talk about other people.”

This is the latest legal clash between the two adversaries.

After the 2017 election, Cliffe unsuccessfully attempted to sue Allard for defamation in Quebec Superior Court after he claimed on social media — and later apologized for writing — that her supporters were responsible for his elections signs being removed. The case was dismissed last year.

Following her second electoral defeat in Kirkland, Cliffe was briefly a candidate for the Coalition Avenir de Québec in the 2018 provincial election.  She was named the CAQ candidate in the West Island riding of Nelligan but was dropped by the party less than a week later under a cloud of controversy.

But Cliffe says those reports were false and that she was dropped from CAQ because she opposed the party’s stance on language.

Cliffe’s candidacy first made headlines after the Journal de Québec published an article containing Twitter posts from Cliffe in which she criticized CNN anchor Don Lemon and CNN’s coverage of then U.S. President Donald Trump.

Cliffe denies she was a Trump supporter and said her Twitter account was closed by the CAQ.

Cliffe also maintains that her professional past at the Yellow Pages was inaccurately portrayed in the French press. She says the left the company on good terms and has a reference letter to prove it.

Did she seek a retraction from the newspaper?

“I did, but they never gave it to me. Their main goal was to assassinate François Legault; they didn’t care about me at all. I was irrelevant.”

Cliffe explained why she had attempted to sue Allard.

“I wanted it quoted by me that taking him to court had nothing to do with money. It had to with ethics, as a violation of the code of ethics of Kirkland,” she said.

Allard has served two stints on council, beginning in 1987. He said he has not brought up Cliffe’s political baggage during his door-to-door campaign. “I don’t talk about it. I don’t want to add fuel to the flames.”

As for the campaign, Allard said parking availability at the REM is an area of concern for residents.

Allard, who chairs Kirkland’s town planning committee, said the city is working with developers to make sure there is parking at the REM. “Everybody likes the REM but we want to be able to park our cars.”

Cliffe is also pushing for REM parking with an online petition . She also supports various community initiatives and runs the Kirkland Voice Facebook page. “I believe councillors should be very involved with their citizens, and that’s what I represent,” she said.

Allard, 73, says he is still enthused about serving another term.

“First of all, age should not disqualify anybody in politics. The important thing is to have the passion, to want to do good for the municipality and be in good health to do the job.”

Kirkland i ncumbent mayor Michel Gibson is not publicly endorsing either candidate. “It is for the voters in District 8 to decide,” he said.

Mayoralty candidate Lucien Pigeon said he is supporting Cliffe, but noted the two council candidates “hate each other’s guts.”

In other Kirkland council races , incumbent Sam Rother is being challenged by Jessica Houde-Woytiuk and Nancy Kokinasidis in District 3 (Brunswick).

Incumbent councillor Stephen Bouchard is up against Rohan Crichton in District 5 (Lacey Green East).

There is a three-way battle in District 7 (St. Charles) with incumbent Paul Dufort facing Andrea Katz and Mario Calgagni.

Four other councillors were acclaimed: Mike Brown, District 1 (Timberlea); Luciano Piciacchia, District 2 (Holleuffer); Domenico Zito in District 4 (Lacey Green West); John Morsan, District 6 (Canvin).

jmeagher@postmedia.com

  1. Coalition Avenir Quebec leader François Legault announced Monday that Karen Cliffe will be the CAQ candidate for the riding of Nelligan in next fall’s provincial election. On Friday, the CAQ dropped her as a candidate.

    CAQ drops West Island candidate Karen Cliffe

  2. Coalition Avenir Quebec leader François Legault and former Nelligan candidate Karen Cliffe.

    Exiled CAQ candidate says she was thrown to wolves by party