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A Quebec Mayor Lied About an Injured Teenager Because He Was Pissed About a Skate Park

It's weird that politicians think they can make something up and everything will be cool.

by Manisha Krishnan
Nov 11 2015, 4:55pm

Verdun councillor Sterling Downey. Daily VICE screengrab

A Quebec mayor seemingly mad that a skateboard park project spearheaded by his political opponent was receiving good media play came up with an outlandish lie involving an injured teen to piss on everyone's parade.

Jean-François Parenteau, mayor of the Montreal borough Verdun, told members of his council that a teenage boy had suffered severe head trauma while using the soon-to-be-completed park over the weekend—a Rob Fordian lie.

Prior to the completely-made-up mishap, the park's biggest cheerleader, a bearded skateboarding councillor named Sterling Downey had been featured using the park in a Montreal Gazette video. He also posted to Facebook Saturday that he was "super excited to see over 90 skaters using the new ‪#‎Verdun‬ skatepark."

According to the Gazette, the mayor texted members of council the following evening, advising them that a 14-year-old was being treated in hospital following a serious incident at the park.

To Downey, he reportedly said, "'I hope you understand now—it's not going to be easy for you to respond to the media tomorrow'."

Downey expressed condolences on Facebook before rushing to the skatepark, where he was puzzled to find a bunch of people still hanging out. When he alerted his fellow councillors the mayor admitted his story had been complete bullshit.

"It was not my best idea ever, but my intention was to ensure the safety of our kids," Parenteau later told the Gazette.

He claimed the posts of Downey and others made it seem like the park was completely open for business, when in fact there are still bolts sticking out of the ground and some lighting issues. By promoting the park, Downey was putting young people at risk, he added.

"Everybody is happy and excited about the park but I don't want to start with an accident."

Downey seems to believe it's a matter of sour grapes.

"If somebody can lie about something like this—most probably because an article came out in the Gazette quoting me and they were jealous—what else can they lie about?" he asked.

The park has since ramped up its security, eliminating the chances of any more fake accidents going down.

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