1-on-1 with incumbent Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre

With the municipal election fast approaching, Denis Coderre, who is running for re-election, sits down with CBC Montreal News at 6 anchor Debra Arbec, and answers your questions on Facebook.

Coderre, running for re-election, sits down with CBC Montreal News anchor Debra Arbec

Denis Coderre, 54, was elected in 2013, after a series of corruption scandals plagued Montreal politics. He's trying to secure another 4 years as mayor of the city. (CBC)

As this year's election fast approaches Nov. 5, a CROP poll commissioned by Radio-Canada found the two main candidates, incumbent Denis Coderre and Projet Montréal's Valérie Plante, are in a near neck-and-neck race.

Monday's CROP polls results showed Plante to be slightly ahead with 39 per cent of Montrealers' support. The survey found Coderre had 37 per cent.

Coderre is hoping to secure another four years at the head of the city with a platform focused on continuing the work his administration started. It includes rebuilding and updating infrastructure, promoting the city at the international level, and implementing various initiatives for young people. 

He's faced criticism for a number of actions he's pushed forward during his time in office, such as the Formula E electric car race held downtown, breed specific legislation targeting pit bull ownership and spending on Montreal's 375th anniversary celebrations and its legacy projects.

He's been applauded for his can-do attitude and long-term political experience. 

With less than a week to go before election day, Coderre sat down with CBC Montreal News at 6 anchor Debra Arbec for an interview that included answers to your questions on Facebook Live.

You can watch the full 25-minute conversation here

We also sat down with Coderre's opponent, Plante, last Friday. You can find that here.

Coderre answered a range of questions in his interview with CBC; here are some highlights from the conversation. 

The answers have been edited lightly for length and clarity.

The CROP poll said 55 per cent found you to be arrogant. What's your take on how Montrealers perceive you?

And they felt that I was a leader, too, you know.…We have to think back about what happened in the last four years … You know we had several issues that we had to take a stand on. Of course, it might be perceived as arrogance, but I call that determination.

I'm self-confident. I have a lot of ambition for Montreal and I think that we've been sitting on our hands way too long. We've done in four years what we could have done in 15. Sometimes, you know, we want things to go fast and sometimes some people don't don't like that. But I know that I can't please everybody.

Are you listening? If you are to build a stadium, will you consult Montrealers?

Of course we're listening. We're consulting all the time and as a matter of fact we have a great team. You'll notice that even the people that were running against me the last time, came to work with me now. 

If you want to make sure that the Expos will come back, I don't think that, if I'm back, we will have that discussion. It's not a matter of referendum, it's a matter of consultation. … There will be some public money, we will consult, we will talk with people. It can take years and there are different ways of funding infrastructure.

There was no real consultation, though, on the breed specific legislation nor on calèches.

Well, I mean, we're not Switzerland to have a referendum on everything. What we have to do sometimes when we have to take a decision on public safety. We've been working with our executive committee on the calèches. We've been saying that we need to professionalize the industry because I feel that the horses are part of our heritage. But at the same time, we need to protect the health of the horses and that's what we've been doing. We reinforced some of the regulation.

We've been through BSL (breed-specific legislation). We've been saying that public safety is first. But at the same time, those who already have a pit bull have to comply with some regulation so they can keep them. So, it's not like we're slaughtering them, not at all, but we have a balanced approach. 

You've explained you can't say how many tickets were sold for the Formula E, but do you know how many were sold?

Our role was to make sure that we can get the events. Now, there was an organization called Montréal, c'est électrique and the promoter is Evenko, and I've said just last week again, they can make it public. I don't have a problem with that. People are not losing a penny because we're selling tickets or not, and it's not up to the city.

You didn't answer my question though I said, 'Do you know—

I do not— I don't have the number. I don't have the number.

We had some numbers at the beginning, but the final numbers belong to them, so it's up to them to say it. Our role was to provide that event. I made sure that we had that event.

Montreal mayoral candidates Denis Coderre and Valérie Plante debated in French two weeks ago. They duelled over issues including transit, the economy and governance. (CBC)

Make a date with CBC for election night this Sunday, Nov. 5:

Online: Get breaking news and live results at after polls close at 8 p.m.

On Facebook: Join host Debra Arbec for a 90-minute Facebook Live starting at 10 p.m. with results, analysis and reports from across Quebec.

On TV: Watch our live results show at 11-11:30 p.m. on CBC Television.

On Radio: Listen to CBC Radio One starting at 8 p.m. for a province-wide show hosted by Mike Finnerty in Montreal and Susan Campbell in Quebec City.