Surrounded by business leaders, philanthropists and other successful Montrealers, Marcel Coté officially announced his bid to become mayor of Montreal.

Coté said he wants to lead a coalition, and demonstrated that by assembling a diverse group for his entry into municipal politics.

Saying that Montreal needs to be run ethically, that the city needs to have more power to change how it is governed, and that it needs to improve its economy and encourage cultural activities and diversity, Coté said it is time for him to give back.

"Throughout my career I have been determined to build success, and I am determined to do the same if Montrealers choose me as mayor," Coté said.

Success through diversity

Easily mixing French and English Coté said Montreal is a success because of its multicultural, cosmopolitan nature that embraces all who live there.

"Our linguistic duality is important," he said. "More than 30 percent of the population speaks three languages which is remarkable."

"Montreal has a tremendous power which is based on diversity and performance. However Montreal is not on the list of North America's large cities with a powerful economy. This is not acceptable," said Coté.

Pointing to several business successes in his audience such as Eric Fournier of the Moment Factory, Coté said as mayor he would strive to encourage young Montrealers to work for themselves.

"The mayor must promote these examples of entrepreneurship," said Coté.

Referring to a jeweler who now sells her work in Europe, renowned choreographer Marie Chouinard, and a biochemist standing at his side, Coté said Montreal can also build upon its technological and artistic endeavours.

"Montreal must keep its braintrust and must multiply opportunities for our youth," Coté said.


Wants changes in governance

Coté said he would not seek to dismantle the much-criticized borough structure in place since the municipal merger, but said he individual boroughs should have more power as long as they followed the guidelines set down by the central city--pointing out that the needs of residents of Pointe Aux Trembles were quite different from those in Pierrefonds.

But he acknowledged that changes must be made.

"Ethics must be driven by exemplary behaviour, zero tolerence, transparence and open government.

"Fundamental changes must also be brought into the way city hall worke. more checks and balances must be made so that financial decisions are thoroughly assesessed."

He also said that the provincial government should stop meddling in how Montreal is run and give it the power to modify things on its own.

"We have to stop these annual pilgrimages to Quebec to modify our city's charter and give this city the power to govern itself reasonably," said Coté.

Referencing the coalition that has led the city of Montreal since the resignation of Gerald Tremblay, a coaltion formed by members of every party in Montreal, Coté said that is how municipal politics should work.

"The model of coalition that Montreal has been experiencing for several months has been a success and I salute the people involved," Coté said.

Even before he made his official announcement Coté had won the admiration and support of Vision Montreal leader Louise Harel, who formally withdrew her candidacy earlier this week.


Economist, management consultant

Coté is an economist by training, who is also the co-founder of the management consulting firm SECOR.

In 2010 he, along with Claude Séguin, wrote a well-regarded report about how Montreal is run for the Board of Trade and proposed dozens of alternatives for taxation and substantial reduction of government bodies and agencies.

He has been a regular TV panelist in French media.

Coté, who says he has brought together federalists and sovereignists in his Montreal Coalition party, is known as a strong federalist who, in the early 90s, warned that a PQ government would lead to permanent economic damage for Quebec.