FTB readers pick Projet Montreal in our Montreal municipal election poll

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The results are in. No, not the results that will name the next mayor and city council members Montreal will have for the next four years, those come later tonight.

It’s tradition for the editorial boards of media organisations to endorse a candidate or candidates in elections. This campaign, The Gazette and La Presse endorsed Denis Coderre while Le Devoir, The Link and Le Journal de Montreal came out in favour of Richard Bergeron and Projet Montreal.

Last municipal election, we played the editorial endorsement game. This time, though, we took a broader democratic approach and  let our readers pick for us with a poll in the sidebar of every page of our site.

web poll
Our poll results as of 3pm on November 3

With 163 votes cast a the time this is being written, our readers have endorsed Projet Montreal in the 2013 Montreal Municipal election. The party led by Richard Bergeron got 54% of the vote, followed by Melanie Joly in second place with 18%.

None of the above was third with 9% of the vote, followed by Not Sure Yet and Marcel Côté’s Coalition Montreal, tied with 6% each. There’s An Election? came in fifth with 4%, narrowly edging out Équipe Denis Coderre pour Montréal, which got only five votes.

It’s interesting to note that in the last two “respected” polls, which came out over three weeks ago and admittedly had a much larger reach than our own, Coderre had a solid lead. It seems that FTB readers are looking for something different in their municipal government.

I’m one of those readers and I voted in our poll (only once, in order to test it, I tried to vote a second time, but it didn’t work, so the numbers are accurate). I, like the majority of those who answered our poll, voted for Projet Montreal and, full disclosure, started volunteering for them in NDG two weeks ago, shortly after making my decision.

Rather than try and figure out why our readers voted the way they did, I’ll tell you how I came to my decision.  Since I voted the same way as the majority of poll respondents, I think it can serve as analysis. These opinions are mine and not necessarily those of everyone involved with FTB or the editorial team. In fact, there are a wide range of opinions in our group.

Our last municipal administration was a disaster and a global embarrassment and not just because our mayor resigned and his replacement was arrested (I honestly needed to use Google to find out the name of our replacement replacement mayor just the other day, I stopped paying attention after Applebaum). I think back to the sudden and unceremonious eviction of Occupons Montreal and then the crackdown on the Maple Spring a year later, including draconian changes to bylaw P6.

I don’t want anyone who was part of that administration back in office. So a good chunk of the candidates running with Corerre and Côté are a no-go for me. Coderre’s personal involvement in the coup in Haiti and his voting with Harper to imprison masked protestors (plus his recent Hasidgate scandal) rule him out as mayor, as does Côté’s politics-as-usual robocall scandal. It seems like our readers agree, as Coderre and Côté finished behind choices that amount to spoiling your ballot.

That leaves Bergeron and Joly. Melanie Joly would be my second choice and she is also the second most popular choice among our readers.

I interviewed her. She is a smart, passionate person who I believe truly does care about her city. I think her nightlife charter is a great idea and one that Projet Montreal would be wise to adopt if they come to power.

While she does support the right to wear a mask at a protest, she agrees with the part of P6 that requires protestors provide a route. Projet, on the other hand, has already tried removing the additions to the bylaw passed during the Maple Spring and originally had tried to scrap P6 entirely. For me, that is a huge plus.

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Joly is not corrupt, though she hasn’t had the chance to be and neither have her team. Projet and Bergeron on the other hand were around during the Tremblay administration and came through the experience skweaky clean with no Projet member as much as mentioned at the Charbonneau commission.

Joly has some big ideas, too, but I like Bergeron’s more. Rapid bus lines wouldn’t work in all the places she is suggesting, whereas a blue line metro extension west and a tramway would, they’re both costed and Bergeron explained to Taylor Noakes how he would push Quebec to make his plans happen.

To be honest, I wouldn’t mind Joly as mayor. If Bergeron wasn’t an option, I’d take her over Coderre any day.

The problem is she’s not running independently for mayor. Instead she’s fronting a party that seems to have been put together overnight. Some of her candidates seem solid, like Sud Ouest borough mayor candidate Cindy Filiatrault. Others less so.

While I don’t have a problem with candidates who used to work in the sex industry, in fact I think transgendered ex-erotic massage therapists running for office is a very good thing, I do have a problem when a candidate is arrested for domestic abuse. Backchecking and a nomination process can avoid problems like that.

Projet, on the other hand, has a solid team, all of them vetted and nominated by members of the party. That’s not to say they’re seasoned politicians, some of them are, but that’s the exception rather than the rule.

Projet candidates have roots in their communities which they have big plans for. This is a party of big thinkers who have the means and the will to turn their ideas into reality. People like borough mayor candidates Mike Simkin, Jason Prince and Mary-Ann Davis as well as a slew of other borough mayor, city council and borough council candidates, many of whom we have profiled right here, are why I chose to support PM.

This is not to say that all is perfect. Bergeron has come under fire for comments he made about the anti-police brutality march (which he clarified on FTB) and artists have criticised the Projet team that has run the Plateau for the past four years for excessive fines and restrictions on noise.

While some progressive activists are arguing for spoiled ballots, I think, given the city-wide picture and what’s at stake, it’s best to vote for the party that aspires to make things better in the general sense and has the means and the drive to do it with integrity and transparency and then after they are elected, take advantage of that transparency to hold their feet to the fire.

It seems like those who answered our poll, for the most part, agree with me. Now we can vote (until 8pm) in the only poll that really matters, the election itself.

You can find out where you can vote on the Elections Montreal site

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