More quit Union Montreal as entire Ile-Bizard delegation leaves once dominant party
MONTREAL—The party that once dominated Montreal politics fell further on Friday as the mayor and city councillor representing Ile-Bizard-Ste-Genevieve quit Union Montreal, bringing four local councillors with him.
In two weeks, former Mayor Gerald Tremblay’s political party lost control of city hall, a number of borough halls and its majority on city council. Two weeks ago, 11 councillors left the party, including the party’s No. 2 Michael Applebaum and house leader Marvin Rotrand.
On Friday, Richard Belanger also abandoned ship, blaming an affiliation with Union Montreal that grew heavier by the day.
“I had a bit of difficulty with everything coming out, the allegations," said Belanger. "We made a unanimous decision to quit Union Montreal and to sit as independents."
On Friday morning, the entire borough government that had once been a Union Montreal fiefdom fled the party, including Belanger, Eric Dugas, Diane Gibb, Christopher Little and Francois Robert. All will continue to hold their positions as councillors, but will sit as independents.
In their letter the five say they all made their decision several days ago, but did not want to influence last week's vote for interim mayor of Montreal.
"It's a decision that we took on Nov. 13, 2012," said Belanger.
A former member of the party shared some advice and concern.
“It would be a shame if they fell apart because they do represent something and I think we have a power vacuum right now that is developing for our type of voters: people who believe in decentralization and pride of neighbourhood,” said independent city councillor Marvin Rotrand.
Read their resignation letter below
Ever since Gerald Tremblay resigned as mayor of Montreal many others have followed suit, with the most prominent being Applebaum, who left the party in a successful bid to become interim mayor of Montreal.
Applebaum was the borough mayor of Cote-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grace. After he left the party, many of his fellow councillors in that borough followed suit.
With his election as mayor, Applebaum abandoned his post as borough mayor and councillor Lionel Perez, who also left Union Montreal, was the only candidate to step forward to take his place. Perez will be sworn in as borough mayor of CDN-NDG on Nov. 27
Richard Deschamps, who is now head of the party and is still a member of Applebaum's executive committee, did not wish to comment on the matter.
Deschamps told CTV Montreal reporter Aphrodite Salas that he was not surprised by the borough councillors leaving and did not want to waste time commenting on resignations.
However, the president of Union Montreal’s caucus said that he thought these would be the last resignations and that the party will survive.
“We have 23 city councillors and 25 borough councillors, so we have 48 out of 103,” said caucus president Bernard Blanchet.
With each resignation, the party has lost funding, nearly $250,000 in the past two weeks. The worst might not be over yet, as sources tell CTV that more resignations are to come.