Vision Montréal looks to lure Anglo voters

The leader of Vision Montreal wants to boost her party's support amongst Montreal's English-speaking population.

Louise Harel wants to create 'alliances' across linguistic and political lines

Vision Montreal leader Louise Harel says she's trying to build her voter base by broadening the party's appeal to anglophones. (Radio-Canada)

The leader of Vision Montréal wants to boost her party’s support amongst Montreal’s English-speaking population.

Louise Harel told Radio-Canada this morning that she looked at voter demographics following the last municipal election and understands where there is room to grow.

"I had the francophone vote, we did analysis, but I didn't have the anglophone vote," she said.

Harel — who has been working on her English, but still struggles with the language — said she doesn’t want that to happen again.

 As a former high-ranking member of the Parti Québécois, Harel admits there is work to be done to build trust and confidence among Montreal’s anglophones.

However, she said, it’s the only way the city can move forward.

"It’s sure that we need to work very close, because the only way to have ambition for Montreal, to give a very [successful] future for Montrealers, it’s to work together — anglophone, francophone, Liberal, PQ —and I believe that we are able to create a very strong alliance," she said.

'Confidence needs to be restored'

Harel said to do that, she’s looking to recruit anglophone candidates. She said those candidates, ideally, would be federalist with unimpeachable ethics.

"What I think needs to happen in Montreal is that confidence needs to be restored," she said.

Harel officially launched her bid for mayor yesterday and said Montrealers are ready for a change.

After 12 years of Gérald Tremblay and his Union Montréal party, she believes now is the time for Vision to be at the helm of city hall.

Harel was the runner up in the 2009 mayoral race, losing to Tremblay by about five per cent of the vote. The face of city council has changed significantly since that election, with several high-profile resignations and defections from the Union Montréal party.

If elected this time, Harel said her priorities as mayor would include keeping families with children on the island, appointing an ethics commissioner and reducing the size of municipal government.

The party plans to spend about $750,000 on its campaign for the Nov. 3 election. The party is still more than $500,000 in debt, but party leaders told a news conference Wednesday that they’re ready to run.

Harel stressed the need for transparency and accountability in the city’s next municipal government.

Vision Montréal councillor Veronique Fournier said the public has learned how shady financing helped the winning party in the last two elections.

"That’s what we've seen at Charbonneau commission – how the money was going in the bank account of Union Montreal, so it's the kind of campaign that was held in 2009 that won't happen again."

If Harel wins the November election, she would become the first woman to be mayor of Montreal.