So, leading up to the 2017 municipal election season in Quebec, I for one haven’t been overwhelmed by any candidate in particular as far as Montreal’s mayoralty race goes.
If you’ve been following the two main characters on the hustings, paying attention to all – or anything – they’ve been saying then you know the issues, and what, if anything of interest they’ve been selling since the campaign got underway, if anything is at stake on a personal level.
First and foremost it’s an election, nothing new, and it’s unfolding as it always does, with the usual promises as elections go. And there’s no, never, any end to what the primary players are prepared to give you for your vote – if… Which makes these recurring political exercises redundant, almost mundane.
So if you’ve been paying attention you know what the star municipal players are offering… in return for your vote of confidence next Sunday, November 5. No need for me to rehash the promises; I can’t even remember them. It’s a political campaign.
Let’s just say that some of the more popular ones that affect people directly where it hurts are property taxes (that’s always a good one; it hits people in the pocket book), Public Transit (for those of us who are daily, or regular users), as well as other so-called “bread and butter issues.”
The incumbent is running on his record of accomplishments (it’s all relative). Again, you know what they are; they’ve been discussed ad nauseam. And then some, his detractors, when they see him on television news begin to think arrogant… Or is it confidence in the job he’s done in his first term, his accomplishments (“Montreal is back”) by making Montreal great again, to quote a political Narcissus.
Dogs… and dog lovers is one issue on the mind of the challenger, Valerie Plante, who promises to rescind mayor Denis Coderre’s law, which bans pit bulls in the city. Among some of her other promises is tax relief, and transit issues, like Plante’s promise to expand the Metro by building a new Pink Metro line from Montreal North to Lachine.0
Many contend that the multi-million dollars spent by the mayor so far this year is simply his attempt to carve out and secure his legacy, or as some refer to it, “his major legacy project.”
The Jacques Cartier bridge lighting project – the creation of a skating rink the likes of that one in New York City (with that monster Christmas tree during the celebration season), the opening of the controversial concrete path from downtown leading up to Mont Royal, among other initiatives.
In his mind, as a builder, the economy is buoyant, new companies are creating jobs.”
“Montreal is back…” It’s not his election mantra, but it works. And the mayor never misses an opportunity to remind us that under his administration Montreal is once again on the world stage. Arrogance or reality?
Many have criticized the mayor for being too liberal with taxpayers’ money.
For example, a local publication lays out a little tidbit of information regarding his spending habits in terms of hiring freelancers to write his many speeches (over 500) since taking over at City Hall. In 2014, $17,101.76; 2015, $84,064.86; 2016, $188,420.93; 2017, $149,925.73 (as of September.)
Is that free spending for writing the right words a reason for (you) not voting for the mayor? How about adding that to the bridge lighting, etc. spending spree?
Or are you among that constituency that’s upset with the mayor, calling him arrogant and whatnot, and have already decided to maintain the status quo with the incumbent, or will vote for change on Sunday?
So with Montrealers waking up his past Monday morning to news that challenger Valerie Plante is running neck-to-neck with Coderre, or even slightly ahead, some are beginning to think that having a woman becoming Montreal’s first ever female mayor would just make 2017, year of the city’s 375th anniversary celebration, more notable and memorable, even historic, with news next Monday morning, November 6, to news that that Montreal has elected its first female mayor.
It’s now up to Montrealers to determine if just a year or so after assuming leadership of her party, Valérie Plante (slinging her bag of campaign gifts) will view her as deserving – albeit not quite seasoned enough – of an opportunity to wrestle the baton of municipal leadership from incumbent mayor Denis Coderre.
She will be given a mandate to close out the remaining two years of the second decade of this century by delivering the political goods she promised.
That being done, she would enter 2020 hopefully with a bold mission to garner increasing support of the electorate in preparation for the 2021 municipal election with hopes of receiving a 4-year mandate to take the city forward into the third decade of the 21st century.
Who knows, given the mandate and opportunity by the people on Sunday, and accomplishing all that she has promised during her campaign, and instituting an agenda that puts Montreal on a progressive trajectory, she might have an opportunity to establish a legacy of her own as Montreal’s first female mayor.
And here’s hoping Montrealers will help elect some of the so-called visible minorities, Black and otherwise, we’re seeing on campaign posters around the city. Montreal’s City Hall would do well with some colour and diversity.
I’m undecided, but yes, I think I’ll get out this Sunday and mark an X.