The race for mayor: municipal campaigns off to a running start
Published Friday, September 22, 2017 2:51PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, September 22, 2017 7:10PM EDT
Municipal election campaigns were launched across Quebec on Friday and will last for the next six weeks.
In Montreal incumbent Mayor Denis Coderre and his chief rival, Projet Montreal's Valerie Plante, filed their official papers early in the morning.
Coderre will be campaigning on his accomplishments of the past four years, including the ban on dangerous dogs, the celebrations and legacy of Montreal's 375 anniversary, and the city's improved credit rating.
“Campaign is my official sport,” said Coderre.
Plante said she wants gender parity and is committed to improving traffic, but she also plans to criticize Coderre's past.
"My opponent likes to say he's been in politics for 20 years and there's baggage coming out. Let's not forget earlier this year there was this cheque of $25,000 that my opponent forgot about. Even the Chamberland Commission about on spying on journalists, that's very important stuff that my opponent has been part of. Those are the skeletons I'm talking about," said Plante.
The $25,000 cheque was given to Coderre in 2012 while he was a federal MP. Coderre did not declare it at the time because it went to legal fees after he was sued by NHL player Shane Doan. Coderre had accused Doan of using bigoted language against a referee during a hockey game in 2005. The case was settled out of court in 2010
Coderre said if Plante wanted to sling mud, he would not respond in kind.
"I don't care. If she wants to play the blame game or if you need this to be notorious, you have an issue. I think in our case we will be positive, we will be constructive. The people know me for many, many years, for me what you see is what you get and you may not be pleased with all the decisions that I'm taking but I'm taking decisions," said Coderre.
One of the largest obstacles Plante faces -- as well as the third candidate for mayor, Coalition Montreal's Jean Fortier -- is name recognition.
Analysts say, however, that Plante has made great strides in the last few months, and her battle could consist of getting support from those in suburban areas.
“He's facing a strong challenge from a very confident, younger politician who is also a woman,” said Concordia University’s Harold Chorney. “It's perhaps closer than people thought six or eight months ago.”
Plante also said she hopes to make history as the first female mayor of Montreal.
“I want to become the first woman mayor of Montreal. I want to be that leader. I want to be that voice for Montrealers and I know they're ready to have a woman at the head of city hall,” she said.
Some opinions from voters:
"I'm a bit dissatisfied with Coderre and the grande spectacle. On the other hand, the woman from Projet Montreal talks like Father Christmas and I don't know how she's going to manage to pay for all the wonderful things she wants to do."
"I like the advertising we're getting and the big companies that are coming, the Facebooks and the Amazons of the world, that's good for business."
- "Taxes are getting way high and the services are getting lower."
Municipal elections take place on Nov. 5, 2017.