Coderre on defensive over Formula E race as campaign enters final days
Published Thursday, November 2, 2017 12:25PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, November 2, 2017 6:26PM EDT
With three days to go in the municipal election campaign Denis Coderre admitted he made an error.
"I said it's a mistake, we should have done that way before," said Coderre, referring to the number of tickets sold for the Formula E race.
For months Coderre has said he did not have the numbers, and said it was up to the organizer and promoter the Formula E race to disclose how many tickets were sold.
That company, MCE, finally did so on Wednesday, revealing that 25,000 tickets were sold, and 20,000 were given away, mostly to residents living near the race track.
Of those sold, many were purchased by the event's partners and sponsors. One report claims that only 5,000 were sold at the box office to the public.
Coderre denied that claim, saying he does not have those numbers and asking whoever leaked that information to the media to come forward to him with proof.
Despite the negative attention Coderre is still calling the race a great success, saying that the criticism and bickering over ticket sales amounted to “splitting hairs.”
“45,000 people. And the people, even, when we gave them tickets, they came. It means a lot. You know, there are major events that exist and when we’re providing tickets, they’re not even showing up. When, in soccer, events – when you want to start a team, of course you find the best way to make sure you get people to know about that event, so no – it’s good,” he said.
Projet Montreal would stop development
He, and his party's candidates, called on voters to not make the Formula E ticket sales the sole issue of the campaign.
Richard Bergeron, the founder of Projet Montreal who left the party to join Team Denis Coderre, said that without Coderre multiple projects would never have gotten off the ground, such as the REM light rail line.
"I saw him and I was astonished. He's able to go to Ottawa and come back with $1.3 billion for the REM. He goes to Quebec and he comes back with the same amount of money," said Bergeron.
Bergeron and CDN-NDG borough mayor Russell Copeman said that Projet Montreal's proposals were not fully thought out and would cause a considerable deficit.
"We're very concerned that the policies put forward by Projet Montreal, in terms of housing, in terms of urban housing, would act as a cold shower to further residential and commercial development on the island of Montreal," said Copeman.
"We've seen this in operation in the past four years in the Southwest, where four Projet Montreal councillors have blocked all sorts of residential and commercial development."
The E-race controversy overshadowed Coderre’s announcement in Ile-Bizard, where he promised a pathway from the island to the Ste-Dorothée train station. It would provide easy access to the future site of the light-rail REM train.