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The Tremblay record: more to celebrate than regret

October, 2009

When voters go the polls November 1 in Quebec-wide municipal contests, the stakes in Montreal will be critical, not just for island residents but for the entire province. We are the motor force of the provincial economy, the dynamo that drives our cultural and political life. As a result of our participation, of lack thereof, we will end up with the administration we deserve — with all its broader implications.

Of the four candidates for mayor, we believe the pluses far outweigh the minuses when it comes to Gérald Tremblay’s record as mayor. He deserves wide support. Looking at the alternatives, the main challenger is Louise Harel, who took over from Ville Marie mayor Benoît Labonté to lead Vision Montreal. Harel is a career politician who built her reputation as a Parti Québécois hard-liner. She is honest, able, hard working and progressive. Having spent most of her life as a PQ activist, turned member of the national assembly and cabinet minister, we fear she will favour a bureaucratic and technocratic approach to governance – the Cartesian outlook that led to the top-down imposition of mergers that she piloted – that will outweigh her humanistic side. Her gut favours centralizing, as opposed to the compromise solution, however imperfect, we now have. Still, she will be a strong opposition leader and has attracted some interesting candidates who deserve your consideration. Former Dawson College administrator Brenda Paris running for borough mayor in Côte des Neiges-Notre Dame de Grace and urban planning professor David Hanna, for borough councilor in Notre-Dame de Grâce, deserve your consideration.

Mayoral candidate Richard Bergeron is pushing for tramways and an emphasis on mass transit. He has other ideas for a greener, environmentally- friendly city as he builds his Projet Montréal team. We support his candidacy in De Lorimier and his call for bridge tolls. We also support award-winning journalist Alex Norris, running in Mile-End.

When it comes to the Tremblay team’s overall record, we believe it is positive, responsible and ahead of the game when it comes to integrity. Yes, police are looking into five cases of improper municipal deals, but none impugns directly or indirectly Tremblay himself. And in the waterworks mega-contract, he not only got rid of the city’s two top administrators, his former right-hand man, Frank Zampino, left on his own. Looking at the positives, mass transit is efficient, affordable and user friendly. Elevators are being installed in some key metro stations to make the system more accessible to the disabled and seniors.

In urban planning and infrastructure development, the Pine-Park interchange has been tastefully replaced. The Quartier des spectacles is emerging as a jewel of urban planning.

Yes, the city is losing middle-class families to the north and south shores, but no administration can compete with cheap land, housing and green space off the island. Potholes remain a curse and snow and ice removal has been pitiful. We expect more – we demand more – from our city on this front.

Among the Tremblay team’s candidates for council with proven commitment to the public good and integrity are Helen Fotopoulos, running in Côte des Neiges and Marvin Rotrand in Snowdon. It’s going to be a close race, exciting too. We urge all those eligible to study the respective platforms and make your voices heard so the winners are as representative as possible, and can be held to account.



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