Two candidates vie for job as Montreal's interim mayor

Two candidates, former Union Montréal councillor Michael Applebaum and current Union Montréal candidate Richard Deschamps will be on city hall's secret ballot Friday morning.

Marvin Rotrand leaves Union Montréal

Michael Applebaum and Richard Deschamps are the two candidates for the position of interim mayor for the City of Montreal. Councillors will be meeting at 10 a.m. on Friday to vote by secret ballot.

Two Montreal city councillors are waiting to see how their colleagues vote to elect one of them as the city's new interim mayor.

Only former Union Montréal councillor Michael Applebaum and current Union Montréal candidate Richard Deschamps will be on city hall's secret ballot Friday morning.

Vision Montreal leader Louise Harel told reporters Thursday afternoon that her party will not present its own candidate for the post of interim mayor.

Councillors had until Thursday at 4:30 p.m. to present their candidacy.

Harel said her party is ready to choose a replacement for former mayor Gérald Tremblay.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, interim mayor candidate for Union Montréal Richard Deschamps said he would ask the provincial government to assign an auditor to the city if he wins Friday's secret ballot vote.

His proposal comes after Municipal Affairs Minister Sylvain Gaudreault announced he will hire an auditor to oversee the finances of the City of Laval following its mayor's resignation.

Applebaum said Montreal would not need an auditor to keep track of its finances.

"Mr. Deschamps may not have confidence in the elected officials, but I have all the confidence necessary to make sure that the members that are there – that will be on the executive committee... will be able to look at all different contracts and make sure that the city is properly run," said Applebaum.

On Tuesday, Gaudreault said the government would not need to send an auditor to Montreal because of the strong contingent of elected opposition councillors at city hall.

Union Montréal has recently seen a slew of members leave the party to sit as independents.

Leader of Union Montréal leaves party

City councillor Marvin Rotrand announced his departure from Union Montréal and his support for Michael Applebaum as interim mayor Thursday.

Rotrand said he was not happy to leave Union Montréal, but he felt it was the right decision given the circumstances.

"My main desire is to maintain credibility for the institution of city council," he said.

Councillor Applebaum announced earlier this week that he will be running for interim mayor. He is facing off against Richard Deschamps, who is backed by Union Montréal.

"I gave Richard Deschamps a chance to prove himself … and I think he has been out-campaigned by Michael Applebaum," Rotrand said. So far, nine city councillors have quit Union Montréal. Rotrand is the latest in a wave of councillors to leave the party in the wake of Mayor Gérald Tremblay's resignation.

As caucus leader and councillor for Snowdon, Rotrand's departure from the party is a major blow to Union Montréal.

Union Montréal member and fellow councillor Claude Trudel said he was sad and disappointed that Rotrand was leaving. Trudel said that he understands it was a difficult decision for Rotrand and he respects his choice.

Wave of councillors leave Union Montréal

Word spread on Thursday that Ginette Marotte, councillor for Verdun, and Pierrefonds councillor Christian Dubois will also be leaving the party.

Dubois said he will quit Union Montréal before Friday morning.

He also said he will support Michael Applebaum as mayor.

Applebaum quit Union Montréal on Wednesday, along with councillors Alain Tassé, Frank Venneri, Frantz Benjamin, Lionel Perez and Susan Clarke.

Union Montréal has lost its majority in city hall as a result of the recent shift.

Dubois said there are other Union Montréal councillors thinking about leaving the party.