This was supposed to be the sunset of Colette Roy-Laroche’s 11-year tenure as mayor of Lac-Mégantic. Her major projects had been realized, and she was looking forward to spending more time with her grandchildren when she stepped down in November.
But instead of retiring a virtual unknown outside her community of 6,000, Ms. Roy-Laroche, 69, has been transformed into one of the province’s most recognizable political figures by the July 6 rail disaster that destroyed the heart of of her town. The crisis has forced her to delay retirement plans: the province has agreed to a town council request to extend its mandate by two years to avoid elections this fall.
In a nod to the stone extracted from the local hills, her determination and stoic leadership have earned her the nickname “The Granite Lady.” At a time when corruption scandals and arrests have given Quebec mayors a bad name…
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