Citing ugly online comments, threats against family, TMR mayor won't seek another term
MONTREAL -- The Town-of-Mount-Royal's mayor will not run for re-election, a decision he said was reached in part due to online attacks against his family.
On Tuesday, Mayor Philippe Roy said that after 11 years, he will not run for another term.
“I felt that maybe I've achieved most of my goals,” he said.
After over a decade in his role, he said the discourse around politics has grown increasingly ugly on social media.
“People are getting angry. People believe a new reality, fake news and the attacks are getting really, really harsh,” he said.
Some of the comments he mentioned have been personal, such as attacking his integrity. Some even targetted his family members.
“Having attacks against us, it's normal, we're elected people and it comes with the job,” said Roy. “But when it touches a member of your family, sometimes you just say, 'Well, maybe enough is enough.'”
Last week, Verdun's borough mayor also announced he would not seek another term, citing similar reasons. In the fall, Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume filed a police complaint over online death threats.
“The phenomenon of cyber-intimidation is very widespread,” said University of Ottawa law professor Karen Eltis. “We found that women were disuaded from applying for public positions more generally, for instance or judgeships, specifically because of cyber-intimidation and the chilling effect of certain speech online.”
Despite the negative impact on his life, Roy said he's proud of his work as mayor, pointing at the town's financial health. He noted he's received pushback on some files, such as the Royalmount mega-mall project, but that the criticism over those policies was not a factor in his decision.
On Tuesday, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante took to Twitter to support Roy, calling for an end to online hate.
“The nastiness of what we see now, we should do something about it,” said Roy.
- With reporting from CTV Montreal's Angela Mackenzie