Louise Harel for mayor of Montreal? Two damn anglos weigh the odds.

TremblayFrom: Martin Patriquin
To: Philippe Gohier

Harel just declared. She’ll be the next mayor.

From: Philippe Gohier
To: Martin Patriquin

What a fall from grace for Tremblay, who seemed to have it locked up not that long ago. How did he go from the nerdy, technocrat who seemed to generally have things on track to the guy who totally lost control over a bunch of money-grubbing bureaucrats and appointees so quickly?

From: Martin Patriquin
To: Philippe Gohier

Too much dirt from water metres, Zampino, FTQ, etc.

Plus, La Presse decided it hates him and has run an anti-Tremblay campaign for the last three weeks.

From: Philippe Gohier
To: Martin Patriquin

Still, changing mayors implies it would’ve or could’ve been different with someone else, and it’s odd to think Tremblay somehow enabled the [CENSORED] in his office. I think you’re totally right on La Presse; it’s still not rational to me, though, no matter what I think of Tremblay or Harel.

What do you think the knocks against Harel are going to be? Please don’t let it be the separatist stuff.

From: Martin Patriquin
To: Philippe Gohier

I think if Zampino, FTQ, SHDM, etc. had happened a year ago, Tremblay would be fine. Remember, with 30 percent turnout for municipal elections, Tremblay’s okay as long as he gets his brother and his cousin to vote for him. A year or so would have been long enough to dull any outrage so that people would go back to fogetting that municipal politics even exist. But Tremblay’s problem now is that enough dirt’s rubbed off onto him. Again, it wouldn’t be a problem had he been the only thing standing between City Hall and that [CENSORED] Labonté—blander of two evils, etc. But Harel is/was a respected politician, long-serving and more or less unremarkable—like Tremblay was with Bourassa. Harel can now can play the ‘fresh face’ card, much like Tremblay did with Bourque, come to think of it. Harel only has to exploit a subset of the vote (like, say, disaffected péquistes) to swing the election.

Plus, there is a strange (and off-putting) envy in Montreal for Labeaume’s reign in Quebec City. They want something of the same here, I guess. Harel, more than anyone else in the race, is in a position to bitch about le fédérale. She did it for a living for years.

From: Philippe Gohier
To: Martin Patriquin

Harel might be able to coast on a “fresh face” campaign, but I think she’ll have to temper any lingering péquistes instincts she has if she wants to win. Anglos, for one reason or another, seem to be a lot more vocal about municipal issues in Montreal than anyone else. And she’ll already be starting behind the eight-ball with them because of all the megacity stuff, so she’ll have to tread lightly if she’s going to pitch herself as the competent, sensible one that’ll come in and save Montreal from itself. I suspect she’ll bank on her experience and will run as a left-wing candidate rather than a sovereigntist one.

If she wins, it’ll be interesting to see what her relationship with the province will be like, especially if Pauline Marois becomes premier in a couple years.

From: Martin Patriquin
To: Philippe Gohier

The thing is, I doubt any maudits anglais would have voted for anyone other than Tremblay anyway, so I don’t think Harel loses out there. Plus, Labonté is a good, er, prophylactic against Harel’s péquiste tendencies. Should Harel win, he’ll effectively be second-in-command, and he’s a diehard federalist––Paul Martin’s former legislative assistant, even. Harel, as everyone has pointed out ad nauseam this morning, was the strong arm behind the mergers in 2001–I beleive that was the year she decried “colonialist” Westmount for not playing along. I expect her to use the following tact: say the mergers were a good thing in principle, but were watered down and buggered up by Tremblay in his attempts to court the anti-merger (read: English, more or less) vote.

Speaking of English people, the Anglo coverage in La Presse is hilarious/infuriating today. It’s a knee-jerk reaction in the French press: want to find an English person? Hold your breath, go to the place where René-Lévesque becomes Dorchester and speak to someone with blue hair. Today, La Presse did exactly that, dragging out former Westmount mayor Peter Trent for a big of standard fare outrage. (To be fair to Peter, though, he does make a point about how his brethren don’t care that Harel is PQ nearly as much as French people think they do.)

Kerr-ist. Can we stop it with that hoary stereotype already? Hasn’t anyone seen Balconville, for the love of crustless bread? Someone needs to start COBAA, the Coalition of Broke-Ass-Anglos, if only to give the French press someone else to talk to when ‘Anglo issues’ arise.

From: Philippe Gohier
To: Martin Patriquin

I see life in the Pointe is starting to get to you.

So, what happens now? Le Devoir has Harel with a comfortable lead in the polls (45% to Tremblay’s 26%). What does Tremblay do to recover? My humble suggestion to lock up the Anglo vote: Bring back the Expos.

From: Martin Patriquin
To: Philippe Gohier

…or campaign with Nick Auf der Maur’s corpse.

What he has to do is keep voter participation down. In other words, STFU and hope Harel chokes on her own past rhetoric.




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Louise Harel for mayor of Montreal? Two damn anglos weigh the odds.

  1. Antonio: I think the anglos are stereotyped by the French press, if only because the french press swallows whole the image drawn of the Anglos by The Gazoo's op-ed pages; that is of people seeing Harel as the second coming of Mom Boucher (Jeebus guys; Harel as a Biker Hitman, really? We are 6 months away from the election, what will they sound like 4 days before the vote if Harel is the front runner?).

    That being said, it'll be interesting to see if Harel actually tries to reach out to the anglo communities (I think she can make inroads in some immigrants communities); hopefully she does.

    They (Harel and Labonté) actually sound like they will play heavily the card of "cooperation between the multitudes of communities and heritages that make Montreal such a beautiful city. If they look like they are getting any kind of footing in the next two months, Tremblay as a candidate may not make it to la fête du travail. That's the interesting thing I will look at in the next few months… Will Charest feel compelled to dive in? Send somebody who's more able than Tremblay? I understand Municipal politics aren't usually symetrics with provincial and federal levels, but this may be a rare occasion where it happens. We'll see.

    Sure ain't going to be as boring a campaign as in Quebec city, where Labeaume is over 60% of popular support.

    One last thing: Harel is very explicitly banking on getting in trough a jump in voters turnout. Again, interesting bet…

    • Dumping Tremblay. Hmm. Interesting theory, grasshopper. Hadn't really thought about it. Charest made it known the other day, shortly after the Harel announcement, that he *wouldn't* get involved in the campaign–but also made a point of saying how well his admin works with Tremblay's. It would have to be a pretty big name, though. I wonder what Guy Carbonneau is doing these days…

      RE the Boucher thing in the Gazette: yeah, that was a little much. There's a lovely French term for this kind of thing: "respire par le nez." In other words, take it easy and lay off the biker/murderer/drug dealer comparisons when speaking about a politician you don't like.

  2. So out of touch with reality!
    Louise Harel is the'ONE' to come up with the changes needed in Montreal. I haven't been voting in any elections for the past five years, but I'll go out and vote for Harel in the next municipal elections.
    Take this time to swallow your futur defeat or else, open up your minds and be honest enough to admit she's really the best right now!

  3. Just watch..If Harel gets, in there goes the aglomoration BS,,,She will want all of Montreal under her control…….and won't be satified until all of the cities on the island are hers…….

  4. Just watch..If Harel gets, in there goes the aglomoration BS,,,She will want all of Montreal under her control…….and won't be satified until all of the cities on the island are hers…….

  5. Hey guys, fun discussion, but you've missed a key part off the equation — Projet Montreal. We're the only party with a credible plan to fight corruption at City Hall, the only party genuinely commited to a improving the comfort, reliability and speed of our public transit system, the only party not beholden to big-money interests; the only genuine grassroots alternative to the slick machines of Union and Vision Montreal. What the polls that put us in distant third place now fail to capture is that our support is highly concentrated in parts of the city. I expect we will sweep the Plateau (where we came 1st or a strong 2nd in all three districts despite being outspent 20:1 last time around) and that we will have an excellent chance in other boroughs as well. Politics isn't only about money and machines; at a local level, idealism can get you a long way if you put in the effort –Alex Norris, Projet Montreal candidate in Mile End district

  6. Why was my comment deleted?

  7. Well my dear friend Anglophone of Montreal…we gave you Jean Charest…then Gerald Tremblay with his Mafia friends…and look what happen. Maybe it is time to open your mind and vote for honest people, even if they have french culture and language at heart, which most of you don't. "Come on" give Louise Harel a chance, she can not do worst then your federalist corrupted "protegé"

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