Mayoral candidates debate city's economy
Published Tuesday, October 22, 2013 8:40AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 22, 2013 8:46AM EDT
Mayoral candidates in Montreal disagree about much economic influence the mayor of a big city can have.
In a debate that took place Monday, Denis Coderre said his lengthy history as a politician at the federal level would be an asset, giving him the connections to lure head offices to Montreal.
Rival Melanie Joly countered that no mayor should be creating jobs, just creating the conditions that lead private firms to do so.
"It's not the mayor of Montreal who will be creating economic development," she said, which led to an brisk attack from Coderre.
"I understand Ms. Joly. This is what happens when you lack experience," fired off Coderre.
Joly retaliated that Coderre's experience was tainted.
"If it's your history, I'd rather not have it," said Joly.
Aside from the veiled insults candidates presented their economic arguments, with Coderre repeating that personal connections were important to build a city.
Joly said paring down bureaucratic red tape was essential for anyone trying to start a business.
Projet Montreal's Richard Bergeron said the city was actually doing well, and would do better if his party were elected because he guarantees his members as being free of corruption.
He argued eliminating corruption would save the city $100 million each year.
Marcel Coté, the former business consultant, said that the city's structure was very unwieldy and could be streamlined. He said doing so would save huge amounts of money which he promised to plow back into roads and infrastructure.
A lesser theme during the debate was language.
In the wake of a poll showing the vast majority of Montrealers feel the city is bilingual Louise Harel, who is running under the Coté/Coalition banner, proposed appointing a senior politician to promote the French language in the city.
Coté said this was simply in accordance with provincial law.
"What we want is both the letter and the spirit of Bill 101 on signage be respected. I think on the whole it is respected. There's a few areas where we could be concerned," Coté said.
Other candidates said the notion of a language crisis in Montreal was far from reality.
Bergeron said there is no language crisis, and both Coderre and Joly agreed.