10 questions with Coalition Montréal's Marcel Côté
Montreal mayoral candidate talks to CBC's Daybreak
Economist and founder of the SECOR management consulting firm, Marcel Côté is taking his first run at the mayor's job as the leader of Coalition Montreal. He spoke to CBC's Daybreak about his hopes for the city's future, early campaign mistakes and his take on taxes.
Q: What is the most pressing problem facing Montreal?
A: "Reforming the senior management of city hall. The reason why we had all that corruption and collusion incidents is basically because Montreal is managed with an outdated approach.
"Power is way too concentrated on the end of the mayor and the president of the executive committee. We have to restructure the committee. We have to review all of the business processes involving senior bureaucrats.
We have to simplify things – get rid of silos. That’s at the root cause of all the problems we have in the past five to 10 years."
Q: You’re talking about eliminating a fair chunk of the upper level management. How are you going to do that?
A: "What you do is you review what people do and what has to be done and who should get involved and what has to be done. Then you realize there’s just too many people attending meetings and too many people sticking in their fingers and that’s what silos do.
"Most [organizations] have gone through such reviews, CBC is a good example. They’ve shed hundreds of senior employees. You start from the top. You simplify the organization from the top by going over what the people do, what has to be done and how is it done. And then you realize that there’s all kinds of redundancy, which slows down the process, which complicates things.
"You just simplify the process and jobs are redefined and at the end, you find you need much less people to do the senior jobs in most larger organizations. "
Do you own a car?
Do Montrealers complain too much about potholes and snow removal given the challenges of climate and resources?
Has the city gone overboard fining its citizens?
Would Montreal prosper in a sovereign Quebec?
Q: In your platform, you are promising to keep raising taxes in line with inflation, but not reduce them. Why can’t you reduce them?
A: "There’s a huge deficit in maintenance in Montreal. We can feel it every morning when we drive to work or we wait for the buses or subway.
"So we have to address that maintenance deficit. Politicians over the years have taken away expenditure from maintenance, which doesn’t really show up. The results though, after five or 10 years, shows — the sidewalks and the streets and the water mains that break."
Q: This robocall fake poll you ran last week— with a few days of perspective, do you see why with an election campaign, where integrity is such an important part of what people are thinking about, you failed the integrity test with that fake poll?
A: "It was a mistake and I admit it. It was done by my organization and I assume what the organization was trying to do was reduce the cost of our polling because as you know political parties always do polling every night. These costs are expensive. It’s done by volunteers."
"The first intent of that poll was to pin point the voters that voted for us and the voters that voted for them because we know the number and on election day, we call them back."
Q: What are your dreams for Montreal?
A: "It’s not buses or tramways. I believe in prosperity. I believe that the Montreal economy can be rebuilt on intelligence on creativity on knowledge. We have five universities here…We have that creativity culture. Is that a dream?
"It’s a dream because it’s what we can do with it with support. If we learned how to manage our linguistic duality better, if we built on our strength our city has the potential to be the most creative city in the world."
Q: There may be people who are suspicious of your teaming up with Louise Harel, partly because she was a PQ minister, but probably mostly because she was the one as municipal affairs minister who oversaw the mergers which were hated in some parts. What would you say to them about those concerns?
A: There’s Louise Harel and there’s the péquistes. Let’s first talk about the péquistes. There’s no way you can govern this city without including the people from the east side of the metro line and they’re mostly indépendentistes or and you have to deal with that.
"Mme. Harel, I’ve gotten to known her, I didn’t know her until this spring. She’s a very interesting woman. I think she would benefit from being better known. I think when we come down and talk about municipal affairs, I think the mergers are behind us.
"It’s no more on the table this is done and we have to come to terms with that. She is still a public person and we have to live with her and I get along fine with her."
CBC's Daybreak is hosting one-on-one chats with the four main mayoral candidates in Montreal throughout October and invites you to put your questions to them directly in an online live chat immediately following the interview.
Oct.16 - Mélanie Joly
Oct.25 - Denis Coderre
Follow Daybreak on Twitter @cbcdaybreak.