Postscript: I never thought I would see the day
Published Friday, November 16, 2012 3:06PM EST
You take it where you can get it.
I never thought I would see the day when an Anglo would be Mayor of Montreal.
It used to be English and French would alternate in the mayor's chair but that's ancient history from when the two language groups were on an equal footing, officially and otherwise.
Now the stars are aligned in a rare formation but it's only for a year so those who really run things won't get too nervous.
Union Montreal fought hard
Union Montreal, the party of Gerald Tremblay, could have made it easier.
Part of the reason that Union Montreal didn't pick Applebaum was because there were worries amongst some of the enlightened in the caucus that his French wasn't good enough. Too accented. A Jewish Anglophone just wouldn't be kosher.
So Applebaum went freelance and in the process destroyed the party that allegedly closed its eyes to corruption for years.
Some may say that Mr. Applebaum is only operating out of political expediency and self-interest--after all he was the number two in command at city hall for 18 months--so may raise your eyebrows about his conversion on the road to Damascus but he is proposing a change.
We wish him well and take some joy and comfort that for the first time in a century, an English-speaking Montrealer holds our city's highest office.
Perhaps, just perhaps, there is some hope after all, but expect the radicals and the self-appointed media opinionmakers to give him a rough ride.
It's just the way it is.
My advice to Applebaum: keep your elbows up when you go into the corners.
Parties are party to the problem
Political parties at the municipal level are part of the problem not the solution.
Quebec is one of the few places where there is a party system at city hall.
With parties comes money, and with money comes, well, you know.
We are over-governed, overburdened and overtaxed.
This is a golden opportunity for real reform.
We can make the democratic process more transparent.
We can reduce the size of the city and its unwieldy bureaucracy, which is the most expensive in Canada, and perhaps move towards a less partisan civic government where the interests of the citizens are truly put ahead of the interests of parties and individuals.
One of the most galling things about this municipal mess is that once again you and I will be stuck with the tab.
Gerald Tremblay resigned dishonorably under a cloud of suspicion.
But guess what? According to numbers compiled by La Presse he will receive a parting gift from the taxpayers of $160,000, two weeks' salary for every year of service, plus a transition allowance.
Gilles Vaillancourt in Laval will get $225,000.
It's the law.
Politicians in Quebec have always made sure there is plenty of padding in their parachutes.
Once again, who are the losers?