Montreal will have its fourth mayor in just over 12 months, and after a year of revelations at the Charbonneau Commission, police raids and arrests, citizens are questioning their motivation to go to the polls and vote on Nov. 3.
In 2009, just 39.4 per cent of Montrealers cast a ballot and re-elected Gerald Tremblay as mayor.
Then Tremblay's interim successor, Michael Applebaum, was also forced to quit over allegations of corruption, leaving many Montrealers even more cynical.
UQAM professor Caroline Patsias, an expert in European and U.S. municipal politics, said that although the city has a poor track record when it comes to voting in municipal elections, this time could be different.
"The scandal increases visibility of the municipality and the attention of the media on municipal affairs can improve the interest of citizens," said Patsias.
Patsias said this visibility could translate into a boost in voter turnout, and the "time to clean up" attitude has also helped attract new candidates.
With the campaign beginning on Sept. 20, there are twice as many political parties and 60 per cent more authorized candidates this year than in 2009.
"The numbers have increased very much if you compare with elections of 2009, so we have more political parties, we have more authorized candidates, so those parties and candidates may have followers," said Denis Dion, the election's Director General.
"Maybe discouraging news we had in last year won't have negative effects on volunteers."
Average voter turnout in the City of Montreal (and federal and provincial ridings contained within)
(Source: Elections Canada, Quebec Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Quebec Chief Electoral Officer)