I had my first opportunity to visit with Michael Applebaum since his election as mayor of Montreal. He will serve in that post until November 2013. Michael welcomed myself and some colleagues from the English Montreal School Board to his office at City Hall. With very little notice, he accommodated us in order for Grade 10 student Juliana Delmar to conduct an interview for LaurenHill Academy's new student radio station called The Voice.
|Mayor Applebaum (left) greets me in his office.|
Back when LaurenHill was known as Sir Winston Churchill High School, Applebaum was a student there. I was very impressed with Juliana's knowledge of all that is going on at City Hall. When her interview airs I will post a link.
It was the same old Michael Applebaum I have known for many years. In fact he reminded me how we first met at Dawson College more than 30 years ago. When I began to set up a photo, he suggested the blinds be closed to block the sunlight. There was no secretary or assistant called to do the job. He took care of it himself.
As a politician, Applebaum has shown his smarts by getting the job in the first place. He cleverly formed a coalition with opposition party members and brought a number of his former Union Montreal colleagues with him. At a time when we have a PQ government in office, how comforting is it to have an anglophone mayor in office whose French is pretty darn good. His performance on the top rated Radio Canada program Tout le monde en parle was highly impressive.
Applebaum clearly remembers what it was like to be a student. Despite a jammed agenda and staff people continually pointing to the clock, he slowly and enthusiastically responded to Juliana's questions.
Jonathan Abecassis, Applebaum's former political advisor in the borough of Côte des Neiges-N.D.G., has come over with him to City Hall. Applebaum wisely kept Agop Evereklian on as his chief of staff and Darren Becker as director of communications. Former councillor Marcel Tremblay is back on the scene, this time as an advisor in the borough. Marcel, the brother of former Mayor Gérald Tremblay, will not run again. He does not even live on the island of Montreal anymore. His experience will serve the borough well.
Applebaum, in the meantime, continues to be the political story of the year. Bigger than Pauline Marois becoming premier. As the secretary who walked us into his office said: "Everyone wants to meet with him."
The fact he took some time so early in his mandate to meet a young student says something good about his character.