As Montreal’s municipal election campaign begins, mayoral candidates are fighting for the English-speaking vote.
In past years, anglophone Montrealers traditionally voted in favour of former mayor Gérald Tremblay, but with his resignation and the dissolution of his Union Montréal Party, the anglophone vote is up for grabs.
Former Union Montréal members are now mostly split between two candidates: Denis Coderre and Marcel Côté.
According to Harold Chorney, a political science professor at Concordia University, it will be a difficult choice for anglophone voters.
“I think it's a pretty tight race in terms of which potential leading candidate for mayor stands out as the shining example to anglophones,” Chorney said.
“I don't think there's a heck of a lot of difference so far anyway, between Côté and Coderre with respect to that.”
As his campaign kicks off, Marcel Côté seems to be preparing for the tough race ahead.
In most of his public appearances, he’s flanked by Louise Harel and Marvin Rotrand — both veteran politicians with backing from the French and English communities, respectively.
“We all the know the electoral map of Montreal. Half of it is Péquiste and the other half is Liberal,” Côté said.
Côté said his platform appeals to Montreal’s English speakers and vows to provide bilingual services.
He said he also wants to address what he calls the “under-representation” of English-speaking Montrealers in the city’s civil service.
Candidate Denis Coderre has also been working to attract anglophone votes.
His pick for the borough of Anjou — candidate Angela Mancini — has been head of the English Montreal School Board since 2007.
In order to bring real change to the city, Mancini said support is needed from all voters, no matter their language.
“I think the English community is as important as the French community,” Mancini said.
Chorney, points out that the two other major mayoral candidates — Mélanie Joly and Richard Bergeron — haven't focused their attention on courting the anglophone vote so far.
However, with campaign season officially starting on Friday, there’s still plenty of time for before the Nov. 3 election.