Big names fall in Montreal municipal races

Vision Montreal leader Louise Harel, interim mayor Laurent Blanchard and ex-Plateau mayor Helen Fotopulos all lose their bids for election.

Louise Harel, Helen Fotopulos among familar faces that fail to win council seats

Veteran politician Louise Harel lost her bid for a council seat in Ville-Marie. (Radio-Canada)

Some familiar faces and high-profile candidates saw their municipal election hopes dashed Sunday night — some by margins so slim that they will likely trigger recounts. 

Longtime provincial and municipal politician Louise Harel, who is former leader of the opposition at Montreal city hall, failed to win the votes needed to hold on to her spot on council.

Harel decided earlier this year to cede her leadership of Vision Montreal and join forces with Marcel Côté and his Coalition Montréal.  The decision was made, in part, she said earlier this year, because she of her troubles wooing Anglophone voters.

“Montreal is tattooed on my heart so what is important is that Montrealers are satisfied with their decision,” Harel said election night, adding her grandson informed her she would now have more time to spend with her family.

Harel said she has no regrets about joining the coalition with her team.

“I’m very happy to have gotten Marcel Côté out of his comfort zone,” she said. “He was one of the candidates that was the least interested, but in the end, he offered his experience and his skill. Montrealers chose something else.”

Interim Montreal mayor Laurent Blanchard also saw his seat on council go to a challenger. Blanchard was elected interim mayor after his predecessor, Michael Applebaum, resigned amid criminal allegations of fraud and corruption.

Blanchard lost in the Hochelaga electoral district to Projet Montréal’s Éric Alan Caldwell, a longtime resident of his district who works for the Montreal Casino.

In Pierrefonds-Roxboro, city councillor Christian G. Dubois lost his bid for borough mayor to his one-time Union Montreal colleague, former borough councillor Jim Beis.

Hasidic woman wins in Outremont

Helen Fotopulos, former Union Montreal executive committee member and one-time Plateau mayor, lost her race for city council in Côte-des-Neiges by 51 votes to Projet Montréal’s Magda Popeanu.

While he wasn’t known for his political experience, Montreal Canadiens’ anthem singer Charles Prévost — who was running for a borough council spot for Mayor Marie Cinq-Mars’ Équipe Conservons Outremont party — came in fourth in Outremont’s Claude-Ryan district.

In an historic first, political newcomer Mindy Pollak, a woman from Outremont's Hasidic community, won that seat for Projet Montréal.

And still up in the air is the fate of Projet Montreal’s leader, Richard Bergeron.

Bergeron lost his mayoral bid, but his candidate-designate Janine Krieber won by a slim margin in a Ville-Marie council race, defeating Team Coderre star candidate and former Radio-Canada journalist Philippe Schnobb.

On election night, Bergeron said they will make a decision in the next 12 days about who will actually fill that seat. 

On Monday afternoon, Coderre said his team will ask for a judicial recount in that race. 

Kirkland incumbent mayor loses

Outside of Montreal, John Meany, who served as mayor of Kirkland since 1993, lost his bid for re-election in an upset that saw challenger and veteran councillor Michel Gibson win by 500 votes.


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