Montreal — Former Montreal Mayor Dennis Cordele states that he does not want the city’s next local election to be a referendum on his character, but it is not clear whether Montreal agrees.
The race to lead Canada’s second-largest city, Kodare, a former Commonwealth Liberal Cabinet Minister and former mayor, faced a woman who defeated him in 2017, the incumbent Mayor of Valerie Plante. And as two well-known candidates have been strangled in recent polls, observers say personality may be more important than policy.
“This is a campaign of personality,” said Daniel Pillet, a professor at the University of Quebec in Montreal, who studies municipal governance, in a recent interview. Montreal has a party system at the city hall, but for both major parties, most of the focus is on the mayoral candidate, she added.
According to Pillet, good mayors usually have two terms, and Plante and Coderre consider themselves to be competent mayors worthy of another mission.
“Plante says,’I deserve a second mission … because I’m a very good mayor, especially during the pandemic. I’ve worked very well in public health. I’ve done everything I can in Montreal, “Pillette said.
She said she believed she lost in 2017 after making some mistakes in the office, including a bad campaign by Cordele and defending an unpopular electric car race known as Formula E. “Financial blunder.”
Plante said he wanted to talk about policy rather than personality.
“Some might say that the campaign is about fighting personality, but I reject it,” she told reporters at the launch of the party’s campaign platform on October 6. It’s in our DNA: we have ambitions for the city. “
Coderre, on the other hand, ran a campaign that often had a negative tone.
“Mr. Coderre has a negative and horror campaign,” said Pilette.
Coderre says the city is dirty, comparing Montreal and Beirut after the Lebanese civil war. He described downtown as “hell” and called the city dangerous. He also said that the city’s credit rating is at stake, as international organizations are considering moving elsewhere without presenting evidence.
According to Pillet, Cordele’s current campaign reminds us of 2017, when we struggled to define ourselves for Plante, as opposed to 2013, when we became mayor.
“He seemed to think that everything was easy for him and all he had to do was come back,” she said, and the reason he was negative was because the campaign was more than expected. He added that it became difficult.
But Coderre said he regularly hears from people who find the city more dirty and unsafe than before.
“It’s time to say,’This isn’t working,’ and if you don’t recognize it, you’ll never be able to change it,” he recently told reporters. “It’s not fearless, it’s just the truth.”
Coderre tried to portray himself as a candidate for law and order, but Pilette said he wasn’t sure if it would work. He’s struggling when things go wrong, she said, adding that Plante excels in tough election races.
“I think she really likes adversity and is a very competitive person,” said Pillet. “So I think the situation is very pleasing to her.”
However, Mr. Pillet said Plante’s campaign was hit by the mayor’s conflict with members of his party over the past four years.
Villeray—Saint-Michel—Parc-Extension Mayor Juliana Fumagali of the Autonomous Region was expelled from Projet Montreal after being accused of harassing city officials. Sue Montgomery and Notre Dame de Grasse, the mayors of the city’s most populous autonomous region, were expelled from the party after refusing to dismiss the chief of staff accused of harassing city officials. Both Fumagali and Montgomery are running for reelection as leaders of their respective separate parties.
There was also tension between Plante and the frank former plateau. Luc Ferrandez, the mayor of the Mont Royal district, resigned in 2019, accusing the Plante party of not having sufficient environmental awareness.
Brian F. Kelsey, a public policy consultant specializing in local politics, said these conflicts could have affected some voters to consider her arrogant.
Coderre sought to present a story of redemption, making himself a new man, more humble and willing to change his mind.
“It looks like a rematch because they have the same two names,” Kelsey said in a recent interview. “But there’s a big difference here, that they have switched roles.”
Both candidates have strong personal brands, and the competition could ultimately depend on who votes, Kelsey said. Plante may have an advantage as her party has a stronger organization, he added.
“When it gets so tight, what really matters is the organization of the field and how voters are willing to participate,” he said.
Montreal heads for a poll on November 7th.