"Coderre video taken out of context" : Quebec Jewish Council
Published Friday, November 1, 2013 9:27AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, November 1, 2013 9:24PM EDT
With Montrealers set to vote in the city's municipal elections on Nov. 3, a covertly-shot video of mayoral candidate Denis Coderre has caused waves.
The footage shows Coderre telling members of the Hasidic Jewish community not to divide the electoral vote if they want his "friendship and support."
The comments inspired a chorus of denunciations from Coderre's rivals.
"The mayor of Montreal is the mayor of every Montrealer and shouldn't be merchandising votes and basically buying votes from different communities," said mayoral candidate Melanie Joly.
Projet Montreal mayoral candidate Richard Bergeron echoed those sentiments.
"If you vote for me, I will give you something. If you don't vote for me, just forget me and I will forget you. That's what we saw. This is old politics," he said.
CDN/NDG borough mayoral candidate Russell Copeman also weighed in. "This is not the USSR, this is not North Korea. To hear those kinds of comments from a former minister of immigration is very, very disturbing," he said.
The Quebec Jewish Council, however, took another approach.
Mayer Feig, a spokesperson representing Outremont’s Jewish Orthodox community says the video should never have been made public and that it was taken out of context.
"Recordings are absolutely not permitted and this was made very clear by us at the beginning of the meeting," he said in a statement released Nov. 1.
“"We firmly denounce the fact that a private meeting of our Community is being used for partisan political purposes. Furthermore the video was clearly taken out of context."
Feig said that Coderre's comments were never interpreted as a threat. “The suggestion that this was even remotely the case is ridiculous," he said.
Coderre, for his part, said that while some of his opponents tried to play the video off as threatening, the reaction from the Jewish community accurately explains the situation.
“It was not a threat,” he said. “I did not put up a team for nothing, it was just an act of solidarity for my team.”
He said mudslinging politics isn’t what Montrealers want, despite much of it taking place as election day approaches.
"If you notice, in the last week my opponents didn’t try to promote themselves, it was smear attacks and throwing mud , they were always attacking me," he said, adding that "It's probably that I’m first."
Coderre says he intends to be a mayor for all Montrealers.
"I am going to be there for them all the time, I will defend them, and I will take a stand for them vis-à-vis Ottawa and Quebec, I can do that.”