Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin’s book on civic involvement published
Publishing his first book a couple of weeks ago, Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin hopes to inspire readers with his vision regarding the place of citizens in public institutions and how society should improve in the future. Titled Passer de la ville à la cité : Faire place à la participation citoyenne, the 226-page French novel focuses on how cities should provide people with the tools to build better communities – notably straying from traditional municipal management methods and favouring more social economics, education and inclusiveness.
“The important angle is citizen participation,” Pedneaud-Jobin said, noting that the Aylmer sector is front and centre when it comes to community engagement.
“There are two things,” he added. “Cities need to adapt to citizens, who have never been as educated and as informed as today. Cities must be able to work with citizens to be able to improve projects and make better decisions. And I also hope people will understand the situation that the city is in now. It’s not always easy to make room for citizens.”
The name of the book was inspired by French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s quote Les maisons font les villes, les citoyens font les cités and intends to reflect the way municipal institutions are transitioning to being more citizen operated, Pedneaud-Jobin said. “Today, it’s citizens who are taking the biggest role,” Pedneaud-Jobin said.
Delighted with the feedback he’s received from readers so far, Pedneaud-Jobin told the Aylmer Bulletin that he’s happy to have written a book that highlights Gatineau’s way of doing things, since it’s something that locals can be just as proud of. “There are few books that talk about [Gatineau] like this,” Pedneaud-Jobin said, noting that the book explains, among other things, how each sector of the city has evolved and the direction they’re headed to. He added that he’s hopefully that those elected at the upcoming municipal election will read it and consider his vision of a city where municipal institutions are run more by residents instead of the other way around. “I think it’s an interesting contribution for future politicians,” Pedneaud-Jobin said.
Having made hundreds of speeches and public addresses since being elected as Mayor in 2013, Pedneaud-Jobin said the project came as an idea to cementing his political legacy once he’s no longer in office. “A lot of what I said, I found important to put in writing so people can refer to it, and take time to read it to go more in-depth than a 10-minute speech,” he said. “For example, how cities are changing, and how Gatineau is changing.”
A family man, with a very busy day job, Pedneaud-Jobin said the project took around two years to complete – thanking his friend Yvon Leclerc for helping make it possible. “[Yvon] helped me throughout the entire process,” Pedneaud-Jobin said. “It was really done as a duo.” In a Facebook post on February 18, Pedneaud-Jobin explained that the book’s cover includes a picture of an art installation showing the intersection of rue McLaren and avenue de Buckingham taken by local photographer Sylvain Marier, as well as a self-portrait shot by LeDroit’s Patrick Woodbury.
Enjoying the process of writing his first book, the Buckingham-native said he looks forward to undertaking similar endeavours in the future. “It’s a lot of work,” Pedneaud-Jobin said. “But I have other writing projects. I feel like the municipal world is interesting and continually changing. Once we’ve lived it on the inside, it’s important to share our knowledge. I’ve been doing this for 12 years, so I thought it was interesting to let people know what a politician thinks of Gatineau’s challenges and those of the municipal world.” Published via Les Éditions David, the book is available in all local bookstores and online.