Michael Applebaum chosen interim mayor of Montreal

Posted By: Canadian Press · 11/16/2012 1:14:00 PM

For the first time in 100 years, Montreal has an anglophone mayor following a string of improbable events that rocked the administration of a scandal-weary city.

Michael Applebaum won a vote at city council, 31-29, to become the city's first non-francophone mayor since just before the First World War.

He will be an interim mayor and will serve for only a year, with a promise not to run in the next municipal election of November 2013.

The political rarity was made possible by a string of spectacular development. Just a few days ago, Applebaum appeared to have a slim chance of success — but he went about building support, and was helped along by a unique set of circumstances.

In his speech before the vote, Applebaum cast himself as a historic candidate but not for linguistic reasons. He has brushed aside questions about language, and didn't utter a word of English in his speech Friday.

Applebaum said his victory would be historic because he wanted to create a multi-partisan coalition, bringing together former foes to clean up the scandal-plagued city.

"You have a chance to make history today," he told council colleagues, "as the city council that moved beyond the sterile (partisan) bickering."

The flurry of developments began last week with the resignation of Gerald Tremblay, the former mayor whose administration was tarnished in a corruption scandal.

Because the mayor resigned less than a year before an election, provincial law said his successor had to be picked by city council on an interim basis.

Applebaum was an obvious contender, given that he was the No. 2 politician in the city after the mayor. But a newspaper report carried suggestions from an anonymous colleague saying Applebaum's French wasn't good enough to be mayor.

At a subsequent meeting, members of the Union Montreal caucus sidelined Applebaum and picked Deschamps as their candidate.

Then events shifted quickly. Applebaum quit the caucus, citing policy differences. He said he was taking a stand in favour of two things: smaller tax hikes, and more transparency.

He insisted on tax hikes one percentage point lower than the planned 3.3 per cent. And he revealed the existence of a document that showed city officials were aware years ago that Montreal's closed construction industry created cost overruns.

Applebaum then went about building alliances.

He courted the two opposition parties, who agreed not to run their own candidates. He promised them positions in a coalition administration. And he assured them that he would not run against them in the next election.

Finally, he peeled away a handful of caucus members from his old party, the ruling Union Montreal.

Before today's vote, the candidates took questions from citizens.

The men were pressed on their own integrity and plans for the city. One woman demanded a freeze on tax hikes, given the public anger over the waste of money in corruption schemes.

Applebaum reiterated his promise to moderate planned tax hikes. He also repeatedly referred to his plan to involve opposition parties in a coalition.

Photos: Union Montreal, La Presse

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  1. Barbara Jones posted on 11/16/2012 01:46 PM
    Congratulations Mr. Applebaum, perhaps you can achieve in one year what ex-Mayor Trenblay couldn't do in 12 years.
    The people of Montréal deserve an honset and open civic government.
  2. Jenny posted on 11/16/2012 01:55 PM
    CONGRATULATIONS Mr. Applebaum!!!!! It should NEVER have taken over 100 years to have an ENGLISH mayor in City Hall. All the best and knock their socks off Mr. A. ....... BRAVO!!!!!
  3. Mike D posted on 11/16/2012 02:21 PM
    Congrats I love it. English and Jewish. The PQ heads must be spining. Wait I feel a new PQ bill coming soon.

  4. Eleanor Croll posted on 11/16/2012 03:47 PM
    Congratulations Mayor Applebaum
    We have waited so long for a mayor who would be true to his convictions and to his people. Corruptions and tax hikes do not belong in your mandate
    Setting aside French English, there is no time for language issues.
    Thank you and good luck, I am behind you!
  5. gnicolson posted on 11/17/2012 10:38 AM
    congrats to our new mayor...now thats done...reading all the press and listening to radio station jocks....im beginning to wonder whats more important..that we have a new mayor who is anglophone?

    or that we have a Jewish anglophone mayor?

    whats being Jewish got to do with it???
  6. Linda Kosow Notkin posted on 11/18/2012 12:05 PM
    Congratulations, Michael. Our families go back a long time and we are thrilled to see how your hard work has led to this wonderful news. Well done.
  7. shell posted on 11/18/2012 10:10 PM
    well done! stay there,don't quit! We are all ready to vote for you next year!
  8. fred posted on 11/19/2012 01:30 PM
    Simply amazing.
    Its like asking Dracula to guard the blood bank.

    Applebaum wasnt a backbencher, he was 2nd in command after Tremblay but HE is going to solve the problem that happened while he and his party were in power?
    The last guy to have his previous job Zampino is in deep trouble and yet were supposed to believe that Applebaum was somehow different when he was in the executive committee. As head of the comitee his responsibilities included urban planning and buildings, finances, human resources, administrative services.
    And this is not an Applebaum thing, the other guy Deschamps was also a top honcho at the city.
    Both have zero credibility.

    But hey, this guy is english so were all gonna pretend that HE was different.

    Every single person who was in the executive committee is as responsible as Tremblay and the ones closer to the top like Applebaum cant claim that they didnt know or that THEY were different.

    The only thing more pathetic was when noted parasite Dick Pound was running for head of the IOC and claiming that he was going to clean up corruption even though for 2-3 decades he was at the very top of the IOC hierarchy.
    Again, he wasnt some backbencher who was out of the loop, he was 2nd or 3rd in charge of IOC but the press here made it sound as if HE was different.

    Come on, thats simply idiotic.

    And worse of all, the media is prepping their buddy Denis Coderre to be the next mayor so HE can clean up the corruption. The man who was minister in the corrupt Chretin-Martin govt that we all got to know thanks to the Gomery commission is the one who will clean up corruption in the city?

    How stupid do you have to be to believe these stories?
    1. gnicolson posted on 11/20/2012 04:24 PM
      @fred agree ..110% fred
  9. Merle Kastner posted on 11/19/2012 02:45 PM
    Congratulations Michael! I always knew that you had the stuff. We're lucky to have you! Best wishes, Merle Kastner
  10. gnicolson posted on 11/20/2012 04:22 PM
    maybe im missing something here...applebaum was second in command thru this whole fiasco...tremblay went deaf and blind during his reign,but the executive committee as well as all Councillors voted to get this now important brief about costs in montreal,and the findings were as we know them now ...way out of line..

    so that being said..applebaum knew of the so called secret memos..buttt

    they voted to keep it secret until a more appropriate day ....then all of a sudden tremblay steps down and applebaum is waving this memo in the air like he found the holy grail..

    whoaaaa wait a minute..he knew of it and he voted to keep it secret..

    sooo if applebaum had the best interests of the people of montreal in mind....

    he should have come forward and exposed it....

    but he didnt he towed the party line and kept his mouth shut....

    so now were led to believe he has the peoples best interest in mind

    so what am i missing in this equation???
  11. Tony Fregapane posted on 11/21/2012 10:48 AM
    CONGRATULATIONS Mr. Applebaum !!! You always worked hard for NDG and Montreal.
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