Valérie Plante, Denis Coderre reveal top picks for key positions

With only a few days left in a tight mayoral election campaign, both Denis Coderre and Valérie Plante named their choices for the number-two job at city hall.

Mayoral candidates have both unveiled their choice for president of city's executive committee

With less than a week to go on the campaign trail, mayoral candidates Denis Coderre and Valérie Plante are in a tight race. (Radio-Canada)

In the final week of the campaign, we're following the two main Montreal mayoral candidates — Denis Coderre and Valérie Plante  — as they battle for top spot at city hall. Here's a look at what happened today.

With only a few days left in a tight mayoral election campaign, both Denis Coderre and Valérie Plante named their choices for the number-two job at city hall.

During a Facebook Live on Wednesday, Coderre announced that Harout Chitilian, the party's candidate for borough mayor in Ahuntsic-Cartierville, would be president of his executive committee. 

Praising his youth and work ethic, Coderre said he needed the 37-year-old Chitilian by his side for the next four years. The current head of the powerful committee, Pierre Desrochers, is not running for re-election. 

"We're talking about youth, we're also talking about diversity," Coderre said. "It sends a nice message that there is a lot of room for youth in our team."

Chitilian made the jump from engineering to politics in 2009 when he was first elected as a city councillor in Ahuntsic-Cartierville under Union Montreal, former mayor Gérald Tremblay's now defunct party.

During his career in municipal politics, Chitilian has served as vice-president of the executive committee, president of city council and focused on youth files. He is currently in charge of the administration's smart-city initative.

Coderre also announced plans to create a deputy mayor position, a role that will be filled by Russell Copeman, who joined the party last year.

Denis Coderre, left, shakes Harout Chitilian's hand during his announcement on Wednesday. (Radio-Canada)

Choosing Copeman, who is seeking a second term as Côte-des-Neiges Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough mayor, sends a "strong message toward the anglophone community," said Coderre.

Both Copeman and Chitilian are in hotly contested races in their boroughs, which are also seen as key battlegrounds in the mayoral contest. 

Coderre's announcement on Wednesday, however, was overshadowed by revelations that attendance figures for the Formula E race were greatly inflated by free tickets given away by the organizers. 

The comments section on the Facebook Live was dominated by questions about Coderre's handling of the race. 

Plante opts for Southwest leadership

Projet Montréal's leader, for her part, announced that she would ask Benoit Dorais, the incumbent Southwest borough mayor, to be her right-hand man if she becomes mayor.

"I know that we will take this city, we will take Montreal even further, with this strong vision that we've shared since the beginning of the campaign," Plante said.

Valérie Plante, left, has chosen Benoit Dorais, far right, to be president of the city's executive committee if she is elected mayor. (Radio-Canada)

The party succeeded in persuading the high-profile candidate to join its ranks last May, after he was also courted by Coderre.

Dorais was first elected in 2009 under the Vision Montréal banner and secured a second mandate in 2013 after joining Coalition Montréal, before sitting as an independent from December 2016 until May 2017.

He has served in a number of roles at city hall, including vice president of the social housing committee and president of the agglomeration council. 

Until Wednesday, Plante had avoided identifying who would sit on her executive committee if she wins the Nov. 5th vote.

The move appears to be part of a bid to extend the party's reach and counter Coderre's claims that a Projet Montréal administration would focus too heavily on the Plateau–Mont-Royal.

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.