Montreal municipal election

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Bärlüer
Montreal municipal election

While Louise Harel certainly has genuine progressive credentials and would represent a marked improvement over Tremblay, I'm still deeply conflicted over her candidacy.

I find her association with Benoît Labonté and Vision Montréal deeply disconcerting. Vision Montréal has proven itself to be a profoundly antidemocratic/autocratic party, both in term of its policies (the Bourque years [all-powerful mayor/executive, abolition of consultative committees, etc.]) and its leaders (Bourque again, Labonté).

Like Tremblay's Union Montréal, Vision Montréal is a party that is very much "of the Chambre de commerce flavor"—before getting involved in municipal politics, Benoît Labonté was the Chambre's president, after all.

One has to keep in mind that the execrable Labonté would be president of the Executive Committee if Vision Montréal were to win. The same Labonté who wanted to hunt down homeless persons living downton—whom he characterized as "trippeux [qui ne lui] tirent aucune larme". Thank you for your courageous crusade, Knight Labonté!

It is unfortunate that Harel sided with the organization deemed to be the more effective electorally-speaking (although this assumption should not be made at face value given the financial woes of Vision Montréal, for one thing) rather than the one true progressive vehicle on the municipal scene, that is, Projet Montréal.

True, Richard Bergeron didn't handle the Harel situation very deftly, what with the flip-flopping and the peremptory tone of his public statement (in itself a poor strategic choice).

Sigh...

BTW, Projet Montréal just posted its program on its website. Pretty solid stuff.

martin dufresne

"Richard Bergeron didn't handle the Harel situation very deftly" That is quite an understatement. As I understand it, he turned down her approach and she was kept from attending their convention. One can have a "solid" program but be without the political smarts to agree to link forces with a progressive showing impeccable credentials that already has 40% of the vote wrapped up. Ah, principles (and not a little ego, I'd bet). Another episode in the mutual destruction of the PQ and the Left in Quebec. I still hope we are approaching a resolution and a unification of forces; Louise Harel and Françoise David are well-positioned to achieve it IMO, chasing off the remaining hard-line dinosaurs. I tend to look at ingrained resistance to such a joining of efforts as the current problem.

Unionist

Gotta agree with martin here. 72-page platforms - bleah. Unity, a little compromise, and more unity. That's what's missing here.

 

ottawaobserver

Dumb question from an outsider, but what's the latest on various Bloc MPs supposedly considering municipal bids?  I heard one of the Conservative ministers in the House a few days ago twigging the Bloc over the supposedly large number of them thinking of leaving.  Any news there?

Bärlüer

Unionist wrote:

72-page platforms - bleah.

Really? Guess we'll have to disagree... I for one am interested in concrete, ambitious policy propositions.

Harel/Labonté/Vision Montréal sure will have to do much more than indulge in Obama-type platitudes about the need to regain "la confiance et la fierté d'être montréalais" to get my vote.

Bärlüer

Quote:
I heard one of the Conservative ministers in the House a few days ago twigging the Bloc over the supposedly large number of them thinking of leaving.

Large number? I don't know... I'm only aware of Réal Ménard wanting to run for the Hochelaga—Maisonneuve borough. (Although Harel's decision to run might change his plans, given that he was closely associated with Harel throughout his political career and his former plans to run in the municipal election were with Union Montréal.)

toddsschneider

Bärlüer wrote:

I have taken the liberty of creating a new thread to discuss the candidacy of Harel/the municipal election in a context exempt of angryphone hysterics.

First, "hysterics" seems a misogynistic term.

Second, will anglophobia also be exempt in your new thread? Because it's one of Harel's presenting symptoms, for example, during the municipal merger debates.

martin dufresne

I am sure we will see more of these unsupported insults from toddsschneider since, interestingly, Harel is already neck to neck with Tremblay (28%-32%) WEST of the Main, the traditional linguistic dividing line in Montreal. Anglo federalist media will have much to do to try and smear her enough to regain that ground. Especially since 8% of the 16% Projet Montréal vote has already swung over to Harel.

With impeccable progressist credentials, Harel could be the politician that would further the prospect of an alliance between leftists and progressive sovereignists, one that would not be predicated on sovereignists just giving up and admitting they're fascists in disguise.

Let's not let the angryphobes derail that possibility with disinformation and hate talk.

toddsschneider

Hate talk? Disinformation? Moi? I am not in Harel's league on those:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/look+Harel+record/1662995/story.html

Harel is a superb campaigner. She comes across as charmingly soft-spoken and gracious. But heed the record, not the smile. She is capable of authoritarian use of power, of rejecting empirical evidence if it does not suit her, of manipulating public opinion through far-fetched claims, and of vilifying adversaries with demagogic ethnic slurs.

500_Apples

I really like the public bicycle system they set up. I was amazed when I was in town. Is Tremblay responsible for this?

500_Apples

Why do you guys oppose Tremblay?

toddsschneider

Here are some top-of-mind objections:

- supported the megacity after campaigning (and winning) against it

- runs a sleazy administration

- has seen services (sidewalk de-icing) run down

- tried to change the name of Park Avenue to Robert Bourassa without consultation

- runs most things from City Hall in camera

- rigged the (Municipal) Agglomeration Council in his favor by handpicking the members

Joel_Goldenberg

toddsschneider wrote:

Hate talk? Disinformation? Moi? I am not in Harel's league on those:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/look+Harel+record/1662995/story.html

Harel is a superb campaigner. She comes across as charmingly soft-spoken and gracious. But heed the record, not the smile. She is capable of authoritarian use of power, of rejecting empirical evidence if it does not suit her, of manipulating public opinion through far-fetched claims, and of vilifying adversaries with demagogic ethnic slurs.

 

That same editorial said that Mom Boucher (of Hell's Angels infamy) is the only one who could outdo Harel in making Tremblay look good. I had never seen a Gazette editorial with an angrier tone than that one...

toddsschneider

Not the same editorial. This one, which comparison to Mom Boucher La Presse used in a headline about "anglo" reaction:

"Louise Harel as mayor? We earnestly hope not"

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Louise+Harel+mayor+earnestly+hope/16...

The dreadful prospect that Louise Harel could become mayor of Montreal is the true price of Gérald Tremblay's casual attitude toward city business.

We and others have more than once faulted the mayor for failing to keep a closer eye on the city housing agency and on that record water-works contract, both of which now reek of scandal. Without those problems, Tremblay would today surely be cruising almost unopposed toward a third term as mayor.

Instead, the mayor's weakened status, five months before civic elections, has brought us to this: An almost-unilingual sovereignist, architect of the disastrous megacity when she was municipal-affairs minister, now thinks she has a chance to be elected mayor of Montreal. We can't imagine a more damagingly divisive candidate, or mayor ...


Stockholm

The one thing I remember about Harel was that back in the late 70s and early 80s Rene Levesque absolutely despised her and would walk out of a room if she walked in.

500_Apples

Stockholm wrote:

The one thing I remember about Harel was that back in the late 70s and early 80s Rene Levesque absolutely despised her and would walk out of a room if she walked in.


Why?

Bärlüer

There's this summary, if French is OK (definitely puts her in a favourable light as far as I'm concerned):

Quote:

En 1970, Louise Harel entre à la permanence du Parti québécois dirigé par René Lévesque. Les étincelles volent entre l'ancien ministre libéral et la militante du RIN. Lorsqu'elle veut syndiquer ses collègues du parti, Lévesque la congédie avec tous les autres employés! Elle revient au PQ comme députée en 1981; Lévesque doit alors composer avec la diablesse d'Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. « La politique, explique-t-elle, tient davantage de la physique que des mathématiques : le tout est différent de la somme des parties. J'ai dû expliquer à M. Lévesque qu'on ne peut s'appuyer que sur ce qui nous résiste. Et je lui ai résisté. »

En 1982, Louise Harel est la seule députée de son parti à s'abstenir lors du vote obligeant les fonctionnaires à réduire leurs salaires et forçant le retour au travail des enseignants en grève. « J'ai été tétanisée pendant des heures, se souvient-elle. C'est très difficile de voter contre sa famille politique. Pendant des semaines, aucun péquiste ne m'a invitée à sa table au restaurant du Parlement. Seul Rodrigue Biron, un ancien de l'Union nationale, m'a témoigné de la sympathie. Je suis encore en bons termes avec lui. »

Deux ans plus tard, alors que Lévesque décide de prendre « le beau risque » du fédéralisme canadien, la ministre Louise Harel démissionne avec fracas : « Je voulais conserver le respect de moi-même, dit-elle. Je n'allais pas faire des ulcères à l'estomac parce que j'avais renié mes convictions. En politique, il faut pouvoir quitter au nom de ses principes. »

One ought however not to entertain some sort of idealized vision of Harel as the woman with "impeccable" progressive credentials, as martin suggests. A quick googling of "harel réforme aide sociale" should help dispel that notion...

Still, in the end, what I'm interested in is the program, the projects, the policy propositions. If Harel/Labonté/Vision Montréal brings to the table something really good, I'll consider voting for them (although the mere thought of associating myself in any manner to Labonté gives me the creepies...).

Stockholm

I think Levesque hated her because in those days (perhaps she has changed) she was one a quintessentail wild-eyed pur et dur fanatics who was only interested in having the PQ stand for immediate total independence from Canada with no referendum etc... and i think she made a lot of very anti-English comments that made Levesque blanche. Apparently she was also just a very abrasive person. Again, perhaps she has moderated with age.

toddsschneider

Projet Montréal's platform deserves a look:  It tackles head-on the challenges of reducing cars in the city

http://tinyurl.com/muekkg

The big challenge for Montreal in the four years that follow November's election will not be, as Vision Montréal's Louise Harel suggests, to reduce boroughs' power. Nor will it be, as Union Montréal's Gérald Tremblay proposes, to spur conventional economic development, important though that will be for the region's prosperity ...

No, the big question for Montreal is whether it can prepare for a future in which two things will likely occur: cheap gasoline will end (as supplies shrink) and a new international agreement will require North America to slash its greenhouse-gas emissions by amounts that shake up our energy-intensive lifestyles. No one knows when these conditions will kick in seriously - in two years or 10 - but all cities need to get ready. Those that don't will suffer economically ...

A party's principles are, as a rule, instantly disposable in Montreal's immature political culture. Vision Montréal's wooing of Harel offers a perfect example: At its convention in April, one of the few concrete steps the party voted to take if elected was to increase borough budgets, yet it now has a new leader yearning to reduce those budgets ...

toddsschneider

Vision Montreal executive resigns over Louise Harel's candidacy for mayor

http://tinyurl.com/lsdpq9

MONTREAL  The vice-president of Montreal opposition party Vision Montreal has resigned saying she can’t work for its new mayoral candidate, Louise Harel, because she’s a sovereignist, a centralizer and the architect of the 2002 municipal mergers.

And Montreal lawyer Oksana Kaluzny, who notified party leader Benoit Labonté in writing Monday that she’s resigning from the party’s executive, said in an interview that others in the party are reflecting on their futures as well because they question Harel’s ability to boost the party’s chances of winning the Nov. 1 election ...

Kaluzny, who previously served as a borough councillor in the former suburb of LaSalle, which became a borough of Montreal after the mergers, speculated that Harel, a former Parti Québécois cabinet minister, could have a tough time finding support among voters in areas such as St. Léonard and Outremont ...


Suaveman

Harel is such a tremendously polarizing figure, not only within her new party, but along the entire island of Montréal.

The Anglos and federalists in the West will show up at the polls en masse to refuse Harel's entrance into city hall; while Projet Montréal will split the vote all over the centre of the island; Harel will only pick up support in some boroughs in the east.

In short, Harel saved Tremblay's spot in the mayor's office.

WyldRage

I don't think the West Island will have any say in the election, since they have voted massively for demerger, and the citizens of the reformed towns have no vote in the central city's election. For exemple, as a citizen of Boucherville, which has voted in favor of demerger, I don't have a vote for the mayor of Longueuil, even though he still holds several powers over me.

From wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipal_reorganization_in_Quebec):

"The "bigger" expenses (e.g., police, fire, main streets, expansion programs) and the majority of the taxes will remain in the hands of local urban "administrations", which are controlled by the central merged city."

 

Which is, of course, absolutely anti-democratic. Yet people still vote for the liberals...

Suaveman

To be sure, Beaconsfield will not be voting for the mayor of MTL; yet I don't see either Lachine, or Lasalle, or NDG-CDN (one of the bigest boroughs on the island), or Pierrefonds, or St. Laurent, or Île-Bizard voting for Harel. Moreover, the Harel team might have trouble in St. Léonard and RDP. 

 

To boot, the PQ-Bloc is Rosemont has stuck with Lavallée and the Union Montréal team as we saw from Lavallée's nomination meeting where Bigras, Girard, Beaudoin, Rita Marsolais and Diane Lemieux made a presence to show support.

 

Harel, has quite a mountain to climb.

toddsschneider


Deux nouvelles recrues pour le maire

http://tinyurl.com/ljsxoa

... Radio-Canada a appris que deux recrues d'expérience se joignent à l'équipe du maire Tremblay, Union Montréal, en vue du scrutin de novembre.

Tout d'abord, François Purcell, l'ancien chef de Vision Montréal, a décidé de quitter sa formation d'origine pour rejoindre celle du maire Tremblay. Selon les informations obtenues par Radio-Canada, il briguera la mairie de l'arrondissement Ahuntsic-Cartierville, où il réside. M. Purcelle est un urbaniste de formation qui oeuvre depuis longtemps dans le domaine municipal.

Une autre ancienne de Vision Montréal, Claire Saint-Arnaud, se joint elle aussi à Union Montréal. Mme Saint-Arnaud, qui a quitté Vision Montréal en décembre dernier, devrait briguer la mairie de l'arrondissement Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, où elle est actuellement conseillère. Selon nos sources, elle pourrait faire face à Réal Ménard, le député bloquiste, qui serait en pourparlers avancés avec Vision Montréal, l'équipe que dirigeraLouise Harel ...

Suaveman

More fun:

 

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Action+Montreal+party+mulls+running+...

 

MONTREAL - Two Montreal merchants who have tangled with city hall are kicking their political activism into higher gear.

Giovanna Giancaspro has battled city hall over parking meters and Chris Karidogiannis fought a bid to rename Park Ave. after former premier Robert Bourassa.

Now they’ve formed a new political pressure group and municipal party called Action Montreal. And they’re making noises about running candidates in November’s municipal election.

“We formed this because the issues that concerned us all these years are not being (dealt with),” Karidogiannis said, citing steep parking fees, high taxes and fines slapped on citizens, merchants and property owners “every chance” the city gets.

They didn’t necessarily form the political party to run in the municipal election, Karidogiannis said, “but we’re going to run if necessary.”

“Our main goal is to work with other teams to get our policies included or heard,” he said. “And if that doesn’t happen we’re going to run on our own.”

They want to meet with Mayor Gérald Tremblay and Louise Harel, the mayoral candidate for Vision Montreal, the official opposition party, to see if an agreement can be reached, Karidogiannis said.

“We’re not saying don’t have parking meters anymore. That’s not realistic. It’s a major revenue source for the city,” he said. But they want the city to allow for longer blocks of time at parking meters and to get rid of “double dipping,” he said, referring to how the meters current work. If people want to top up a parking meter, they lose any time left on it when they add more money.

“These are easy things the city can do and doesn’t because they’ve got their hands in your pockets so much right now,” he said.

What kind of clout do they think they would have with Tremblay and Harel?

“Giovanna and myself have been almost the official opposition to the city over the last three years while the actual official opposition has been asleep at the wheel and now they’re seeking governance,” Karidogiannis said.

Geneviève Hinse, a spokesperson for Tremblay’s Union Montreal party, said they would only comment after Action Montreal’s press conference scheduled for Thursday. Harel hasn’t received a request yet, but she is “always open to meeting with people who want to advance Montreal,” said Marie-Hélène d’Entremont, a spokesperson for Vision Montreal.

Action Montreal plans to host a series of town hall meetings in Montreal. Karidogiannis said the new party will decide by August whether to run candidates in the election. Papers to create the political party have been filed with Quebec’s chief electoral officer, he said.

Citizens have lost interest in the city and are discouraged about how it is being run, said Giancaspro, a restaurant owner.

She expects Action Montreal will run candidates in November’s election. “We do have the candidates,” Giancaspro said, mentioning school commissioners, lawyers and “prominent business people.”

“All these politicians out there all need a job,” Giancaspro said. “I do not need a job,” she added. “I have two successful jobs.”

“Now, if they could only learn how to run a business. This is what I’m telling them all. The city is one big business. If they don’t know how to run a business and make it successful, than they can’t do much.”

 

 

Suaveman

Vis-à-vis the article above:  I happen to know that arch neo-liberal, anti-union and zionist, Beryl Wajsman is behind this. He'll likely be their canidate for mayor.

 

This should help Harel out a bit. They'll probably steal 3,000-6,000 votes from Tremblay.

Bärlüer

Quote:
To be sure, Beaconsfield will not be voting for the mayor of MTL; yet I don't see either Lachine, or Lasalle, or NDG-CDN (one of the bigest boroughs on the island), or Pierrefonds, or St. Laurent, or Île-Bizard voting for Harel.

About NDG-CDN: yes, it seems safe to predict that Tremblay will get more votes, but I don't think this will be anything close to a blowout—I can very well see Harel garnering a reasonable number of votes, especially in CDN. To be sure, the anglophone community is not Harel's "natural constituency"... but it's not especially fond of Tremblay either this time around... I don't think they will turn out in droves come election day; those interested in putting Harel in charge will be more energized. Plus, IIRC, Vision Montréal used to do well with various groups from the "allophone community". These factors won't be enough to put Harel in the lead, but they will make for a closer race. Since the mayor is elected based on universal suffrage, winning boroughs west of St-Laurent is not an absolute prerequisite for Harel: she just has to keep the differentials reasonable in a couple of places (such as NDG-CDN) and win as big as she can east of St-Laurent. 

Suaveman

I think the frightened anglos AND allos will come out in droves to prevent Harel from winning, not to mention those who detest the merger movement.

 

Ménard in today, Boulos and Purcell out. Vision's starting to look like a half-assed PQ municipal wing.

 

Just watch Tremblay play the 'unifier' card au bout.

Debater

Suaveman wrote:

Ménard in today

Yes Real Menard has now confirmed he will be running, although he will not be giving up his federal seat until September 16:

 

http://www.montrealgazette.com/News/Harel+bolsters+lineup+with+Bloc/1732...

WyldRage

http://www.cnw.ca/en/releases/archive/June2009/29/c2761.html

Seems like Louise Harel recruited Julius Grey, among others, to create a new vision for Montréal (pun intended). How will that play out with Anglophones and Allophones?

Suaveman

This whole business of the 6 experts brings up a lot of questions in my mind.

 

Firstly, the fact that the party, who's been in existance for over 16 years, needs EXTERNAL help from experts to make up their platform for their elected members shows how malleable they are in terms of ideology (and thus completely unreliable) and how weak their elected members are. Harel really gave life to a moribund and outmoded party. Now, the party will only seem to be modern and active, but on the inside it remains nothing but a gaggle of calculating career politicians.

 

Secondly, that the party's program is being delivered on a silver platter, demonstrates the lack of an active membership base. Projet Montréal, a party with way fewer seats and a much shorter history, was able to put together and deliberate a party platform with the help of over 300 of its members, culminating in 6 hours of policy debate at their convention in may. Quite an impressive exercise in participatory democracy in comparision.

 

WE see know that Vision, as well as Union, are merely elitist 'electoral organizations' not political parties.

toddsschneider

"The action we are initiating today is fundamental if we want to be able
to offer a new vision of Montreal. And to carry it out, we have the
opportunity and the privilege to be accompanied by renown [sic] collaborators [sick]
in their respective fields ...

" Today, we launch an in-depth think tank process on major aspects of municipal life. In this exercise, we have the chance to be supported by
collaborators whose competences are [normally in the singular] uncontested and who are all persons of
influence in their respective fields," declared Louise Harel ...

Never mind the unfortunate connotation of "collaborator" when carried over from the French. (They could have just as easily used "colleagues' or "associates" in their translation.) Living in Montreal, you get used to your daily dose of poor translation. It looks like they have some way to go to reflect linguistic diversity with some "competences".

 

NorthReport

Unionist

 

This is an article in the Economist - what's going on in Montreal these days.

 

 

Municipal corruption in Canada

Water and grime

 

http://www.economist.com/world/americas/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13905546

Unionist

It's all old news. Anyway, corrupt Montréal politics is a long and hallowed tradition. It's part of our joie de vivre.

 

Unionist

WyldRage wrote:

Seems like Louise Harel recruited Julius Grey, among others, to create a new vision for Montréal (pun intended). How will that play out with Anglophones and Allophones?

Julius was named to advise the party on "ethics and governance" - it's not supposed to be a political role. He openly despises Tremblay and has made no secret of his feeling that a change is needed. Recently, the municipal council of Hampstead (which is a de-merged township on the island, largely anglophone) voted to terminate Julius's contract to represent the town on some legal issue involving a dog park. The mayor of Hampstead has [url=just">http://www.radio-canada.ca/regions/Montreal/2009/07/19/002-hampstead-gre... vetoed that motion[/url], defending Julius's freedom of speech and political belief. The article goes on to say that Harel will soon be naming some high-profile anglos as candidates. We shall see.

 

toddsschneider

Unionist wrote:

It's all old news. Anyway, corrupt Montréal politics is a long and hallowed tradition. It's part of our joie de vivre.

If I had said that, even in jest, it would have been denounced as bigotry. 

A little less joie and more vivre couldn't hurt.

martin dufresne

Speaking of joie, please don't forget there is a third, Leftist party running, Projet Montréal, with values and issues closer to Babblers' hearts than either Tremblay or Harel stands for. With tactical support from PQ-phobes, it may even do at least as well as the NDP this Fall... Satirical monthly Le COUAC summarizes the way the media ignore Projet Montréal here.  (Hey folks, subscribe to le COUAC instead of moping about FRANK's demise or wincing through Rick Mercer routines! Le COUAC is cheap at $35 for ten copies and you can learn French, enjoy guilty laughter, and avoid embarrassing yourself when discussing Quebec realities...)

 

GreenNeck

It's too bad they can't resurrect Jean Drapeau. Love him or hate him, he was a visionary.

We don't seem to have visionaries in politics anymore, at all levels of government. People who can think big and do big.

Stockholm

Oh sure, bring back Jean Drapeau - who was to Montreal like what Mussolini was to Italy!

Doug

GreenNeck wrote:

It's too bad they can't resurrect Jean Drapeau. Love him or hate him, he was a visionary.

We don't seem to have visionaries in politics anymore, at all levels of government. People who can think big and do big.

 

In the case of Drapeau, that would be someone who can think big and fail big.

"The Olympics can no more lose money than a man can have a baby." Oops.

Joel_Goldenberg

Unionist wrote:

WyldRage wrote:

Seems like Louise Harel recruited Julius Grey, among others, to create a new vision for Montréal (pun intended). How will that play out with Anglophones and Allophones?

Julius was named to advise the party on "ethics and governance" - it's not supposed to be a political role. He openly despises Tremblay and has made no secret of his feeling that a change is needed. Recently, the municipal council of Hampstead (which is a de-merged township on the island, largely anglophone) voted to terminate Julius's contract to represent the town on some legal issue involving a dog park. The mayor of Hampstead has [url=just">http://www.radio-canada.ca/regions/Montreal/2009/07/19/002-hampstead-gre... vetoed that motion[/url], defending Julius's freedom of speech and political belief. The article goes on to say that Harel will soon be naming some high-profile anglos as candidates. We shall see.

 

 

Here's all the details from my original Suburban story:

 

By Joel Goldenberg
The Suburban
A majority of Hampstead councillors voted last week to fire Julius Grey as the town’s lawyer in a case involving the town’s dog run, mostly because of the rights lawyer’s support of Louise Harel in the November Montreal mayoral election.
But, in a move not frequently used at council meetings, Mayor William Steinberg vetoed Grey’s termination, and said it was the same as the blacklisting of suspected Communists in the film industry of the 1950s.
At the next council meeting, four votes will be needed to overturn Steinberg’s veto. At the July council meeting, councillor, mayoral candidate and resolution proposer David Sternthal, and councillors Abe Gonshor and Leon Elfassy voted in favour of Grey’s firing, while councillor Clifford Borden voted against. Councillors Bonnie Feigenbaum and Michael Goldwax were not at the July 6 meeting.
The vote was one of many dramas that took place at the council meeting, which have become very fractious in the past year. During one discussion on another issue, a frustrated Borden pleaded that the “electioneering” between Steinberg and Sternthal stop.
Sternthal said he introduced the resolution because of Grey’s support, published in local media, for Harel.
“As the mayor well knows, Louise Harel was the architect of the mergers in the former PQ government,” he told Steinberg. “Julius Grey took it upon himself to come forward and basically endorse Louise Harel, knowing full well she was the reason that gave you the impetus to do an excellent job in getting the town back to its independent status.
“I cannot see why this town would continue with someone who endorses a candidate for mayor who was the cause of why our town lost its official status. I find it inconsistent — Julius Grey is not the only attorney. It’s incumbent upon us to end Mr. Grey’s mandate. He had a choice. He didn’t have to speak out.” Gonshor seconded Sternthal’s motion.
But Elfassy said he was voting to terminate Grey’s mandate not because of Harel, but because of Grey’s friendship with Steinberg. A similar vote to this effect came up last year. This statement, apparently not expected, prompted a hushed discussion between the mayor and the councillor.
But Elfassy also suggested that the matter be deferred until a full council was present next month, which Borden supported. But Sternthal objected and Gonshor said nothing was deferred when he had to be absent from council meetings. “We either vote for it or not,” Sternthal told Steinberg. “The motion for deferral could have been done first, it wasn’t. You cannot deny us the vote.”
Borden said he had not read the article containing Grey’s Harel endorsement, and wanted more information. In the meantime, he voted to maintain Grey’s mandate. A loud argument among council members ensued.
Responding to the 3-1 vote in favour of the resolution, Steinberg said he is not a fan of Harel, acknowledging that she “forced through” the municipal mergers and “ignored the 75,000 people who came out to rally against it” and did kickstart his own activism in favour of demerger.
“Obviously, I don’t agree with Julius Grey’s endorsement. However, had you read the same article, I note that he stated that Harel no longer believes in the mergers,” he said, prompting loud protests in the council chamber. “Regardless, I am intending to veto this resolution because I think it is irresponsible. One reason is that a person’s political views should not affect their employment — there is something wrong with saying that because someone is a Communist, they cannot work in the film industry. There is something wrong with saying that because someone supports Louise Harel for mayor of Montreal, even though I don’t personally do that... you cannot have a job. That’s very wrong.
“The second reason is Julius Grey has already worked on this case and it’s penny wise and pound foolish and just plain irresponsible to have to bring in a new lawyer and get them up to speed, for nothing.... I will veto the resolution by not signing it.”
Sternthal charged that the use of the veto was “inappropriate.
“I think it’s clear that we always felt Julius Grey should not be the attorney, for many reasons. I think we all understand there is no one on this council who is interested in abolishing the dog run — it’s  a fact of life we all accept and live with. This has nothing to do with the dog run. Julius Grey had a choice. When you make a public pronouncement supporting a candidate, you take a political position and you destroy the neutrality we look for in our solicitor.
“You could have allowed the vote to stand. I find it wrong because you have supported this gentleman who has been clearly a supporter of the person who was the architect of why we lost our town. It’s not a question of being a Communist, of not accepting what the person’s prerogatives and beliefs are, it’s an acceptance of a political fact. He is supporting someone who destroyed this town, and it’s inadequate to say she changed her stripes.... Democracy suffers a defeat here tonight.”
Steinberg said he personally doesn’t believe Harel changed her view, and maintained he is not a fan of the former minister.
“We will see in August if the veto is upheld. And for Mr. Sternthal to say this is not the same as what happened during the McCarthy era, where people lost their jobs because they were allegedly Communists and because of their political views, I believe it is the same. It doesn’t matter how much I am against those views, it is still wrong.”
Julius Grey’s office told The Suburban that he will not comment on the issue.

Unionist

Thanks, Joel, and kudos to Mayor Steinberg for not joining in the feeding frenzy.

 

GreenNeck

Doug wrote:

GreenNeck wrote:

It's too bad they can't resurrect Jean Drapeau. Love him or hate him, he was a visionary.

We don't seem to have visionaries in politics anymore, at all levels of government. People who can think big and do big.

 

In the case of Drapeau, that would be someone who can think big and fail big.

"The Olympics can no more lose money than a man can have a baby." Oops.

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorius triumphs, even though checkered by failure...

than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live

in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

- Theodore Roosevelt

500_Apples

Are those bicycles working out?

500_Apples

Stockholm wrote:

Oh sure, bring back Jean Drapeau - who was to Montreal like what Mussolini was to Italy!

No, that was Cammillien Houde.

500_Apples

That blacklisting of Julius Grey is really disgusting, but it sounds just about right in terms of how I remember Cote-St-Luc (and thus its twin Hampstead).

Kudos to Steinberg.

Joel_Goldenberg

500_Apples wrote:

That blacklisting of Julius Grey is really disgusting, but it sounds just about right in terms of how I remember Cote-St-Luc (and thus its twin Hampstead).

Kudos to Steinberg.

 

Hampstead had a council meeting last night (Aug. 3) that was standing room only and lasted four hours, much of it spent on the Julius Grey issue. Even police were called when one resident refused the mayor's request to take her seat. There was a 3-2 vote to overturn the mayor's veto and fire Grey again, but four votes were needed to overturn the veto so Grey stays. Some of the context of this and other issues is an increasingly contentious election fight for the mayoralty between Steinberg and councillor David Sternthal.

Vansterdam Kid

500_Apples wrote:

Are those bicycles working out?

 

They seem to be, Ottawa and Vancouver (and maybe others) are looking to introduce them soon. They handle pretty well and aren't too expensive if you use them on a regular basis. Especially compared to the Montreal Public Transit system, which I wasn't very impressed with. Even so, I really think they could be about 25% cheaper considering the amount of time you get and how much you pay. Afterall if you damage the bikes "they'll" know since you have to have a credit card (or a friend/family member with one) to use them. That being said I noticed, at least in places like the Mile End, Plateau and Downtown a lot of the stalls are completely empty. This is good and bad, because obviously people are using the bikes but it's kind of annoying if you want to pick one up. But it isn't all bad because all of the bike stands are pretty close together.

Unrelated P.S. though I had never been to Montreal in June, by the end of July I think I had fallen in love with the place. This isn't even that hard to admit for a proud Vancouverite like myself... si je parle couramment, I'd strongly consider becoming Montreal Kid for a while.

Suaveman

The BIXI system is very sexy indeed, but I have a few issues with them:

1. to access a bike you MUST own a credit card.

2. The bikes cost a 1000$ each to produce, why not more bikes for less cost? (answer: it's election season and Tremblay is looking for votes)

3. the system is a tad complex: in Amsterdam, you just take a bike, no muss, no fuss.In MTL: you have to put in  credit card, punch a bunch of buttons, observe a time limit and hourly rates, OR sign up for a mey pass via internet which, again, requires a credit card.

 

The working man's bike, or vote seeker?

Suaveman

And to add to a babbler above, 85% of MTL NDP activists that I know are supporting Projet Montreal.

500_Apples

Suaveman wrote:

The BIXI system is very sexy indeed, but I have a few issues with them:

1. to access a bike you MUST own a credit card.

2. The bikes cost a 1000$ each to produce, why not more bikes for less cost? (answer: it's election season and Tremblay is looking for votes)

3. the system is a tad complex: in Amsterdam, you just take a bike, no muss, no fuss.In MTL: you have to put in  credit card, punch a bunch of buttons, observe a time limit and hourly rates, OR sign up for a mey pass via internet which, again, requires a credit card.

 

The working man's bike, or vote seeker?

The Amsterdam system you describe sounds vulnerable to theft.

I'm happy to hear the program is popular, I figure the costs will go down if there's more volume. At $1000/pop, I hope the manufacturing is in Quebec, and I hope they have good longevity.

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