Denis Coderre on federal election: Montreal 'ready for a change'

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre says the Conservatives are "playing politics" with his city's plan to dump raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River.

Montreal mayor frustrated with federal government for halting plan to dump sewage in St. Lawrence

Frustrated with federal intervention on the plan to dump sewage into the St. Lawrence, Coderre thinks people are "ready for a change". 1:11

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre says he has the sense voters in the city are "ready for a change" on election day. 

"After ten years... I feel [people] want a lot of changes," he told CBC Montreal's Daybreak on Thursday. 

"Nevertheless, I'm going to give credit to anybody who is doing good things for the city."

The comments came at the end of an interview on which Coderre was highly critical of the Conservatives for their handling of Montreal's plan to dump eight billion litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River.

In a written statement Wednesday, Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq said she instructed Environment Canada to "immediately have an independent expert scientific review" of the plan.

The City of Montreal had planned to dump the sewage for a week starting on Sunday, a day before the federal election, as part of work near the Bonaventure Expressway, a raised highway that runs along the downtown shoreline which is being torn down.

Coderre has said he will respect the law, and that the city's dump plan can be put off until Oct. 23.

'Playing politics'

Coderre accused the Conservatives of "playing politics" with the issue, which he says has already received scientific backing.

"I'm disappointed, but I'm not surprised," the former Liberal MP said Thursday.  

"At the end of the Conservative regime, it's the first time they write a letter and use the word scientific."

Coderre said he's certain that once the government does an independent scientific review, the city's original plan will be approved.

Coderre takes shots at Lebel, Mulcair

On Daybreak, Coderre also accused Denis Lebel, Stephen Harper's Quebec lieutenant, who made the announcement on Aglukkaq's behalf, of hypocrisy on the file.

Conservative candidate Denis Lebel, Stephen Harper's Quebec lieutenant, made the announcement on Leona Aglukkaq's behalf at a news conference in Wednesday. (CBC)
He said sewage is dumped regularly into waterways in Lebel's riding of Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, 

"Mr. Lebel... has five municipalities in his riding where there's no water treatment, dumping straight into Lac St. Jean and the Saguenay River," he said.

Coderre also had strong words for the NDP, which has also come out against the city's plan.

"We also did a waste dump in 2003 and 2005. You know who was the environment minister at the time? Thomas Mulcair," Coderre said.

Mulcair was Quebec's environment minister with the provincial Liberal party from 2003 to 2007.

Speaking with reporters on the campaign trail, Lebel defended the decision to put the sewage dump on hold, saying Environment Canada required more information.


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