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

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

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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.