Montreal

Denis Coderre called pot stores a publicity stunt. Here are a few of his own

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said pot activists would be better working on legalization than doing 'useless stunts.' But does he follow his own advice?

Outspoken mayor has a history of publicity stunts, including one that came close to breaking the law

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said he was willing to be sued for destroying the base of a Canada Post community mailbox. (CBC)

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre had harsh words for the owners of the Cannabis Culture stores that popped up in the city last week, selling marijuana to the public.

"It's better to put your energies towards legislative processes to insure the legalization than useless stunts," he tweeted on Friday. "Respect the law."

But does Coderre follow his own advice?

We look back on some of the mayor's own attempts at capturing the media's attention.

1. That time he took a jackhammer to a community mailbox

Pot activists Marc and Jodie Emery justified their decision to open stores selling the contraband as an act of "civil disobedience."

Coderre relied on a similar justification when he decided to drill the concrete slab of a Canada Post community mailbox.

In August 2015, Coderre — escorted by a horde of cameras — donned a hard hat and destroyed what was supposed to be a community mailbox in l'Anse-à-l'Orme nature park.

At the time, he said Canada Post installed the slab without the municipality's authorization, and he would be sending the cost of the damage to Canada Post.

Like the Emerys, Coderre said he was willing to do something illegal to make a point.

"Some people ask me, 'Are you afraid to be sued?' Sue me. I don't care. But at the end of the day, I have to take a stand," said Coderre.

RAW: Mayor destroys Canada Post mailbox slab

7 years ago
Duration 1:29
WARNING GRAPHIC LANGUAGE: Denis Coderre takes jackhammer to base of community mailbox

After reviewing the file, Crown prosecutors decided not to charge Coderre with criminal mischief.

2. That time he dressed like a firefighter and showed up at fires

In June 2014, the city's fire department asked Coderre to stop showing up at fires wearing a firefighter's outfit.

The firefighters' union was angry that Coderre supported a controversial bill that affected public-sector pensions, saying they felt "betrayed" by the mayor.

Denis Coderre was asked by Montreal firefighters to stop showing up at fires and to give back his uniform after a disagreement about controversial pension legislation. (Twitter)

They even asked him to give back the fire uniform that was loaned to him.

Before that incident, Coderre often showed up at fires and frequently shared updates via Twitter. His fire helmet was labeled "mayor."

3. That time he went down a sewer

Coderre descended into Montreal's sewers in November 2015 after the city dumped eight billion litres of sewage into the St. Lawrence River.

Coderre after inspecting a sewage collector in Montreal. His outfit was compared to an animated-movie character. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Scientists and city officials tried to reassure residents that tap-water quality wouldn't be affected, but the federal government raised safety questions.

A month after the dump, Coderre went underground himself, wearing a garb that reminded a La Presse cartoonist of a minion — the luckless, yellow, capsule-shaped servants of Despicable Me fame.

Coderre welcomed the comparison.

4. That time he rode a Bixi wearing a Habs jersey

In April 2015, Coderre wore his Montreal Canadiens jersey to kick off the new Bixi season. He was seen leading a pack of Bixis down the street.

Coderre kicking off the 2015 Bixi season. (Radio-Canada)

He probably wore the jersey because the Habs were still in the playoffs at that point in the season — but the image of Coderre biking down the street in the jersey circulated long after the home team lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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