Premier, politicians pressure Applebaum to resign
Published Monday, June 17, 2013 9:57AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 17, 2013 6:21PM EDT
Michael Applebaum should give up his position as mayor of Montreal as he faces 14 criminal charges, Premier Marois said at a news conference Monday afternoon.
“I think he doesn’t have really a choice -- he should resign,” she said, moments after Applebaum was released from Surete du Quebec headquarters after 10 hours in custody.
Marois described the arrest as a “sad situation” and not good news for Quebecers, but also said that it is important that the province continues to act on the issue of corruption.
The province's permanent anti-corruption squad arrested Applebaum on Monday morning following several months of investigation that at times involved searches of his current office at city hall and his former office in the borough of Cote-des-Neiges/Notre-Dame-de-Grace
The city of Montreal should not be placed under trusteeship, said Marois.
“It is not a situation where the politicians of Montreal are mass-accused,” she said. "The members of the municipal council have not been accused. They are responsible, there's an opposution, a coalition, and I think they're able... to lead Montreal."
He is expected to speak to hold a news conference Tuesday, according to Harout Chitilian, the speaker of Montreal city council.
Opposition also calls for resignation
Opposition parties and provincial politicians are calling on the resignation of Mayor Michael Applebaum following his arrest early Monday morning.
Both Vision Montreal leader Louise Harel and Projet Montreal leader Richard Bergeron said the interim mayor should step down in the wake of the latest scandal to rock city hall.
"We saw so many bad things in the last month and in the last years, and it is probably not finished," he said.
Louise Harel, the leader of Vision Montreal who is running to be mayor, and who supported Applebaum in his bid to become interim mayor, said that while the investigation is ongoing Applebaum should resign.
"In the next 30 days we have to find a new interim mayor to run the city until the election on Sept. 18," said Harel. "We have an executive committee and an administration that can continue to run the city of Montreal."
She ruled out putting Montreal under trusteeship, as was recently done to the city of Laval, saying the situations between the two cities are very different.
"Not the executive committee, none of the administration is under suspicion," said Harel, pointing out that Applebaum is the only person arrested.
She also pointed out, before UPAC revealed exactly why Applebaum was arrested, that he passed security checks conducted by the Montreal police force.
When asked if Applebaum had abused her trust, Harel said that the only trusts betrayed were "Maybe that of Montrealers, maybe that of the CDN-NDG borough."
Bergeron also called for Applebaum’s resignation before the end of the day.
Alan DeSousa, the borough mayor for Saint-Laurent and a man who worked with Applebaum on the city's executive committee, agreed, saying that Applebaum should resign, a sentiment echoes by many councillors at city hall.
"Given the gravity of the charges against him, I don't see how he can continue," said DeSousa.
Independent councillor Marvin Rotrand came to Applebaum's defence.
"I'm totally in shock. I personally don't believe the charges. I know UPAC wouldn't just act without some evidence but I don't believe it," he said. He also took to Twitter and said: "I will let things play out but urge calm and cooperation."
‘Dark day’: Coderre
For his part mayoral candidate Denis Coderre said Applebaum's arrest was "a dark day" for Montreal, who announced the latest recruits to his team Monday -- all of which are current city councillors.
"Mr. Applebaum has to look at himself in the mirror. I believe in presumption of innocence, but he has to ask himself if he has the moral authority to manage the city," he said
He agreed with Harel that the province does not need to put the city in the hands of a caretaker.
"No way, no way," said Coderre. "This is a metropolis for God's sake, and we have to send that clear message. The executive committee can do the job until then."
Meanwhile Bernard Genereux, the head of the Quebec Federation of Municipalities, disagreed and said that Montreal should be put under trusteeship.
"The people of Montreal should be able to prepare for an election correctly," without a cloud hanging over their heads said Genereux.
Lisee calls for resignation
Jean-Francois Lisée said it is time for Applebaum, who was only chosen as interim mayor last November, to leave.
"Mayor Applebaum should do the honourable thing, which is tender his resignation, so that the municipal council can proceed with a new interim mayor until the elections," said Lisée.
Municipal elections are scheduled across Quebec for this November.