vendredi 19 juin 2009

The Mayor of Montreal and the next municipal elections in Quebec

The post of mayor of Montreal has less prestige that he had at the time of Jean Drapeau, but it's still very coveted. The current mayor, Gérald Tremblay, has held the seat for two terms and he hopes to get a third election victory and finish his career in style at the direction of what he calls his city! (Tremblay will be 67 years on next 20 September)
The current mayor has been criticized very aggressively in recent years but he always kept on course despite the attacks and has survived which is very honorable in politics ...
Personally, I know Gérald Tremblay but I am not an intimate. I was closer to the former mayor Pierre Bourque and I even contributed, along with Pierre Péladeau in his first campaign and election victory of 1994. Péladeau pushed Quebecor and the Journal de Montreal behind Bourque and I served as the courrier. We had dislodged Jean Doré unexpectedly because all observers predicted that Bourque would be defeated ... It was the first time a staff member (Director of the Botanical Garden) became the first magistrate of his town. I think it was a good mayor at least during his first term.
I also know another candidate who was also a personal friend of Pierre Péladeau, Jacques Duchesneau. Unfortunately he failed to be elected at the November 1998 election but I think he could have win if he had been better surrounded. His communications advisors had recommended moving away from his image as a chief of police to move closer to the ordinary citizen. I am convinced this was what caused the failure! I had offered my services at the time for his communications, but Jacques did not want to invite me on his team. Note that Pierre Péladeau had died in December 1997 and I was looking for a job at the time. I like to think that I could have help Jacques Duchesneau become Mayor ...
The current 2009 campaign for mayor of Montreal may be a reflection of the economy, ie rather dull and without any major project. Benoit Labonté could have held a good debate but he was afraid of not winning and he gave way to a former Quebec Minister Louise Harel, the same who had led the issue of municipal mergers. His past may catch and damage her candidacy. Does any candidates would be able to dislodge Gérald Tremblay? Yes but no one want to pay the price or make the effort to persuade voters. Jacques Ducheneau is not interested at all in politics any more and Pierre Bourque is retired and very happy to be. Others like Normand Legault are tired of struggling to convince, while ex-politicians as Liza Frulla prefer their new starring role on TV.
The municipal elections will be held on November 1st for the entire province of Quebec and in an election campaign everything is possible. The proof is Quebec City. It was believed that nobody could replace Mayor Andrée Boucher and it is an unknown candidate as the mayor, Régis Labeaume, who became admired not only in Quebec but in all of Canada and even in France. His particular difference is the requirement for members of his party not to support him. Each of the councilors in Labeaume political party can vote according to his conscience.
We have to wait and see the election results in Quebec City as Labeaume will also be in re-election next November but it seems that if there is a "Barack Obama" of Quebec politics, this is the mayor of Quebec!
Politics is often comparable to the horse races. The horse that everybody see as a winner just lose the race behind a horse on which no one has bet. Good luck to all candidates for mayor, not only in Montreal but throughout Quebec. That the best wins, both men and women!
Bernard Bujold
Photo 1: Gerald Tremblay, Jacques Duchesneau, Louise Harelet Pierre Bourque
Photo 2: Régis Labeaume - maire de Québec

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