The city of Saguenay “goes over” UQAC

The city of Saguenay “goes over” UQAC
The city of Saguenay “goes over” UQAC

“We find it special to call on an outside scientist when UQAC has the necessary expertise. We’ve been talking with the City for almost a year (…) We learned the news on Friday, without being notified. At this stage, we can say that we are very disappointed,” mentioned UQAC communications director, Marie-Karlynn Laflamme.

The person in question, Lucie K. Morisset, works in the Department of Urban and Tourism Studies at ESG, in addition to holding the Canada Research Chair in Urban Heritage.

She is considered an architectural historian and, in her new role, she will have to advise the city of Saguenay on the right decisions to make at the municipal council.

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Lucie K. Morisset, Professor in the Department of Urban and Tourism Studies at UQAM. (Emilie Tournevache)

“It is certain that we support the initiative of the Chief Scientist of Quebec. Being guided by evidence is what we advocate (…) only, it seems to me that UQAC could have been the leader in this project, and call on outside scientists if necessary,” underlined the representative of the University of Chicoutimi.

According to Actualités UQAM, in an article announcing the news on Friday, Ms. Morisset published around fifteen research reports and seven works concerning Saguenay. Over the years, she would have developed a real “passion” for the place.

Contacted on Sunday by The Dailythe municipal councilor, Mireille Jean, said she was not aware that the mandate had been given to Ms. Morisset.

“I think it’s a mistake. I called some of my colleagues and no one knew (…) I don’t know if it was a decision that was taken without us, or if it was a imbroglio“, she said.

In recent months, discussions regarding the study of the professor’s CV have taken place, according to her. However, the municipal council was waiting for its role to be better defined before moving forward.

“I hope that we do not hire this person and that we do not incur costs for the City, without the municipal councilors being aware and without us knowing the repercussions of his role for Saguenay” , she added.

The mayor’s office confirmed that it was a decision of the executive committee, which is made up of councilors Kevin Armstrong, Michel Potvin, Martin Harvey and Jean Tremblay, in addition to the mayor, the general manager, Gabriel Rioux, and the assistant clerk, Jimmy Turcotte.

According to Lucie K. Morisset, in an interview with The Dailyearly Sunday evening, her appointment as chief scientific advisor of Saguenay does not exclude the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi.

She specifies that she was entrusted with a specific mandate, lasting one year and linked to her expertise in heritage, and not hired. She claims to have no employment relationship with the City.

“I don’t think the fact that I’m here excludes UQAC in any way. I have my preferred area of ​​expertise. On the contrary, I would say that collaborating was my first idea. I have already approached some of their experts in the past,” she mentioned.

“I am a local development teacher. This is what I teach (…) I hope that we can help develop training sectors where this is perhaps not yet the case at UQAC.”

— Lucie K. Morisset

For her part, Julie Dufour also repeats that Ms. Morisset does not hold “a position” with the City.

The resolution, adopted at the last meeting of the executive committee, indicates that the city of Saguenay “agrees to sign an agreement of $71,000 with the Canada Research Chair in Urban Heritage at the University of Quebec in Montreal, in order to benefit, for one year, from the services as scientific advisor of Madame Lucie K. Morisset”.

This resolution has not yet been submitted to the municipal council. It is therefore not available on the Saguenay website, for the moment.

According to the mayor, this appointment “does not take anything away from anyone”, and especially not from UQAC with which the City often collaborates. “On the contrary, it opens the door. I believe this is a clear signal that we are taking our scientists and our professors as seriously as possible to be able to bring this city further in its vision and sustainability.”

Julie Dufour was able to speak with the rector of the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi, Ghislain Samson, to clarify the situation on Sunday afternoon.

However, the spokesperson for the university institution, Marie-Karlynn Laflamme, affirms that UQAC’s position has not changed and that discussions should continue on Monday.

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