Car-friendly O'Sullivan tries to unseat former boss
Published Monday, October 12, 2009 10:22AM EDT
Mayoral candidate councilor Louise O'Sullivan, a car-friendly former member of Mayor Gerald Tremblay's team, is a dark horse in the race to succeeed him as mayor of Montreal.
Her partnership with Tremblay ended over their different visions for the city.
Now she leads a party called �quipe Louise O' Sullivan Parti Montreal Ville-Marie.
O'Sullivan wants fewer city officials and more downtown parking, part of what she says is a desperately-needed makeover.
Took on spoonman
If elected mayor, she also promises to make downtown streets pristine, a goal that caused her some problems when she worked for Tremblay in the downtown Ville-Marie borough.
O'Sullivan hit a few sour notes five years ago when she tried to silence the spoonman, whose clicking wooden spoons and singing have made him a fixture on downtown streets.
Acting on complaints from the Ogilvy's department store, the downtown borough tried to ban spoonplaying on Ste-Catherine street.
Public support for spoonman killed the idea.
Weeks after the spoonman controversy, O'Sullivan left Tremblay's team to sit as an independent councilor.
The following year she ran for borough mayor in Ville-Marie where she came in fourth.
But O'Sullivan won't give up.
"I think the other three (mayoral candidates) would like me to go away ... I'm not going away," says the business leader and women's-rights advocate.
O'Sullivan says her party is the only real alternative to the other parties, who she says want to push for bikes at the expense of cars.
"I am at the opposite spectrum of that," says O'Sullivan.
"You're not going to get me on a bicycle to see a client downtown."
If elected as mayor, O'Sullivan says the city would buy lots and turn them into multi-level parking garages.
Another idea is to make the city more efficient by reducing Montreal's small army of 105 councilors.
Toronto has one million more people than Montreal, but just 45 councilors.
New York city has more than five times Montreal's population, but fewer than half the councilors.
O'Sullivan says she would target borough councilors, who she suggests are essentially powerless.
"Why do we have borough councilors? If he doesn't agree with his colleagues at the table his ideas are stifled."
O'Sullivan is also looking for a big event that would give Montrealers reason to celebrate.
She brings up the example of Quebec City's 400th anniversary festivities last year.
Montreal's 375th birthday is coming up, and O'Sullivan says a big party would create jobs and boost the economy.