Election campaigns officially kicked off across the province of Quebec yesterday, and in Montreal, mayoral candidates didn’t waste any time touting their individual platforms — and how they plan to fight corruption.
Denis Coderre, Richard Bergeron, Marcel Côté and Mélanie Joly all launched their campaigns yesterday, with more than 1,000 municipalities in Quebec 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, and a series of corruption allegations at city hall.
Here’s a brief look at what candidates said when launching their campaigns:
Candidate Denis Coderre - Equipe Denis Coderre
Equipe Denis Coderre may have kicked off its campaign late last night, but more than a thousand people showed up to see the candidates and hear Coderre's plan for the city.
Coderre said he promises to fight poverty and homelessness, and to be tough on corruption.
He also said he wants to get ownership of the Old Port shore line back from the federal government and develop tourist attractions, with the city's upcoming 375th anniversary providing the right opportunity for the negotiations.
“When you have a celebration, there's money attached to it, so we won't have that kind of excuse saying that 'well I have to go to the treasury board first, and we have to create another program.' That program already exists, so we can work and manage it,” said Coderre.
Coderre also announced 14 new candidates to his team, bringing the total to 90.
He says there will be more candidate announcements to come.
Team Coderre said there will not be any campaign posters for their party leader because they believe his face is already well-known to Montreals.
Candidate Richard Bergeron - Projet Montréal
Bergeron opened the day promising to improve integrity and fight corruption.
He was quick to point out that none of his candidates are former members 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 said 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,” said Côté.
“We need fundamental change in the way we run city hall, and this is what we intend to do.”
Côté 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,” said Joly.