Election campaigns across the province of Quebec officially kicked off today and, in Montreal, mayoral candidates were champing at the bit to get started.
Richard Bergeron, Marcel Côté and Mélanie Joly all launched their campaigns today, and Denis Coderre is expected to launch his tonight.
More than 1,000 municipalities in Quebec will be holding elections on Nov. 3.
In Montreal, cleaning up the city is the theme on the minds of most candidates - and voters - after a year that saw the resignation of two mayors over corruption allegations.
While some people might be losing faith in the democratic system, Montrealer Colleen Thorpe said it’s important to vote.
“I think a lot of people have lost confidence, but cynicism is an easy way out. We have a political system, we have the right to vote, we’re lucky to be able to vote, and we have to work with the system to make it better,” she said.
Candidates didn’t waste any time touting their individual platforms — and how they plan to fight corruption. Here’s a brief look at what they said on the first day of campaigning:
Candidate Richard Bergeron - Projet Montréal
Bergeron opened the day with promises of integrity and fighting corruption.
He was quick to point out that none of his candidates is a former member of Union Montréal — the now-defunct party of former mayor Gérald Tremblay.
“All these people that were in Union Montréal in the last four years — where are they? Not here. None of them are with us. And I’m very proud of that,” Bergeron said.
His party has a full slate of 103 candidates.
Another key component of Bergeron’s platform focuses on attracting young families to the island of Montreal.
He says improvements to public transit and the city's green spaces will help stop the emigration of families to the off-island suburbs.
Candidate Marcel Côté - Coalition Montréal
Côté said he plans to change how the city’s executive committee is structured and how it makes decisions. He also said he plans to create a commissioner of ethics and a code of ethics that will be enforced at city hall.
“If we want to build a city where one can have a good life, we have to turn the page,” he said.
“We need fundamental change in the way we run city hall, and this is what we intend to do.”
He said he expects to introduce up to 95 candidates over the next weeks.
Candidate Melanie Joly - Groupe Mélanie Joly
After months of hard work, Joly said her team is ready and excited to kick off the campaign.
“We are convinced that right now, citizens from Montreal are fed up with old politics, and basically they’ll be ready for real change. And that’s exactly what we’ll be offering.” Joly said.
So far, her team has only 40 candidates, but Joly says she will be introducing new candidates over the next few weeks.
Joly said, if elected, she would make sure the public had more access to information about their city.
She pointed to the need for more transparency at city hall.
“All the information the city has will become public ... So if there’s road work on your street, you will know who is the entrepreneur, what's his budget ... what is being done, why it’s being done, when it starts and when it finishes,” she said.