So what are we to make of the municipal election results in Montreal and the surrounding areas?
Denis Coderre is the new mayor of Montreal, but without a majority and just over 30 percent of the vote. You can blame this, I believe, mainly on Coderre's mysterious decision not to have campaign signs on the polls. In Côte des Neiges-NDG, specifically, Coderre had a star candidate in former Montreal Teachers Association president Ruth Rosenfield. She worked tirelessy. Her picture on polls would have done wonders since she already had a high media profile. Independent Jeremy Searle returned to office on the precise strength of his multitude of signs.
Coderre will be a good mayor. I expect to see him stand up to Quebec City and charm everyone on the international scene with his charisma.
Marcel Côte is a true gentleman. I had a chance to meet the successful businessman during the campaign and it would indeed be a good move for Coderre to bring him into his inner circle. By doing so he could perhaps gain the support of the likes of Russell Copeman, Marvin Rotrand and other members of the Côte team, as well as the slew of independents to get that majority he needs to govern comfortably.
Melanie Joly was indeed the story of this campaign. While she did not win the mayoralty, for a relative unknown at the start of the race she is a person to watch. In fact, I would expect her to turn up as a star candidate for Justin Trudeau and the Federal Liberal Party in the new downtown riding that will materialize in the next election.
Richard Bergeron, the leader of Projet Montréal, has to be disappointed. I met him on two occasions during the campaign. He told me about the 400 campaign workers he had on the ground each night and the massive amount of campaign signs. This was to be his time. But it wasn't. Projet Montréal still elected more than 20 councillors, so their voice will be heard.
As for some of the other cities and towns, the results in Laval disturb me greatly. I was personally acclaimed for my third mandate as a city councillor in Côte Saint-Luc. Eight years ago, during my first election, I remember that our retired city manager wanted to run for council. The problem was he had just moved back to the city and was not a resident as of September 1 one year prior to the election. So he stepped aside, cognizant the Quebec Electoral Act was very clear on eligibility rules. In Laval, Mayor Elect Marc Demers did not live in Laval for a full 12 months, as of September 1, 2013. He made no secret of this fact. The Director General of Elections was aware of this, yet took no action. There has to be a legal action, they maintain. What kind of message are they sending? If Demers is allowed to serve his term, then such abuses will be rampant in the next municipal elections. Should there be a challenge, Demers could be kicked out of office and another costly election called.