Jean Fortier has abandoned his bid to become mayor of Montreal, as CTV confirmed Tuesday, although his name will remain on the ballot.
Fortier said Wednesday that he faced an uphill battle because Coalition Montreal was not running a full slate of candidates, and as a result he was not getting the media coverage he hoped for.
“What we've realized is that its' a difficult to get all the media lined up and to pass this message and get it across. Maybe we lacked some financial resources that we needed,” said Fortier.
Mayors in Montreal are elected separately, but can also run to become a city councillor should they lose.
One month into the campaign, Fortier said he will focus on becoming the city councillor for the Peter McGill district in downtown Montreal.
As such, he wants his party, Coalition Montreal, to work with Projet Montreal for a more collegial attitude with a larger role for smaller parties at City Hall.
Coalition Montreal was built around the late Marcel Cote, who ran for mayor in the 2013 election. Four years ago, it had 97 candidates running; this year, it has just 18. Because it has so few, the party has been left out of the debates and has struggled to get media coverage.
When it did get media coverage, it wasn’t always good. Two weeks ago, CTV revealed that candidate Caroline Orchard had posted vulgar anti-feminist rants on her personal and professional social media pages.
While Coalition Montreal's leader, Marvin Rotrand, said Tuesday night that there was no deal between the two parties, he had a different approach on Wednesday, saying Projet Montreal had agreed to his party's proposal that neither party would withdraw candidates, and that Projet Montreal had agreed to other "key elements of our program."
"It's not a perfect marriage. It's not even a marriage, or a merger or anything. We agreed to collaborate and work together to change city council," said Rotrand as he stood beside Projet Montreal mayoral candidate Valerie Plante. “The message that I'm sending today is that I'm really open and that's what I want to bring out, is to change the culture.”
"She's got her Pink Line, we've got our Ligne de Savoir. We've got something in common," he said.
Fortier added that with an agreement to work together, it would be easier for Coalition Montreal members to sit on the city's Executive Committee.
Incumbent candidate Denis Coderre said he's not impressed with the new partnership.
“I don't know what (Plateau Borough Mayor) Mr. Ferrandez will say, because the administration Ferrandes–Plante, he said already that those who are coming with us were bought. Is it the same thing for them?” he said.