Longtime Montreal city councillor Marvin Rotrand not running for re-election
MONTREAL -- Longtime Montreal city councillor Marvin Rotrand says he will not be seeking reelection this coming November, after almost four decades in politics.
Rotrand states he is now a grandfather and wants to spend more time with his family.
“I used to say I work eight days a week, but now that I'm getting older, I'm working seven days a week,” quips the 70-year-old.
Rotrand is the city's longest-serving councillor, having spent the last 39 years representing the west-end district of Snowdon under eight different mayors.
He says he plans to throw his support behind his "once nemesis" Denis Coderre and endorse Lionel Perez for borough mayor of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce-Côte-des-Neiges.
Mayor Valérie Plante and her Projet Montréal party, he insists, are too ideological.
Rotrand first entered politics in 1982, when he was part of a group that founded the Montreal citizen's movement. They would go on to help elect Jean Doré as mayor in 1986.
During his time in office, Rotrand has become a lightning rod for social causes.
“I've tried to represent the point of view of my constituents more than the point of view of my party at any time and I think people have come to welcome that,” he said, adding he has always despised the "party affiliation" political structure.
“We are the most confrontational, the least collegial, rigid party position. If one party says black, the other says white,” he notes. “It's destructive, it empowers too few people at the top.”
Rotrand admits he envies how Toronto does things -- there are no political parties and everyone is considered independent.
“I'm progressive. I admit that, but I'm pragmatic also and I believe people work hard for their living and the city as such can't do too much at one time with their tax dollars,” he states.
His greatest political achievement, he believes, is forcing Montreal police to be held accountable for its actions by pushing for the creation of the police ethics commission.
While Rotrand won't say what he plans to do in retirement, the life-long activist admits he will likely stay involved in social issues.
He says he plans to keep his position until the official transition of power on November 18.
That will give him a chance to send his Christmas cards from City Hall for the last time before taking some time off.
“Just a few days,” he insists.
The municipal election in Montreal will take place on Nov. 7.