LISTEN: Candidates duke it out in CJAD 800's Town Hall
The four main mayoralty candidates joined CJAD 800 and Montreal Gazette pundits for a Town Hall meeting this evening at Concordia University.
It was a lively debate that saw all candidates improve on their performances from the last English-language debate broadcast on CJAD 800 where Melanie Joly was absent, further behind in the polls than her current second-place standing.
Corruption was a popular theme; both Denis Coderre and Marcel Cote promised to hire a corruption watchdog if elected; Joly would hire a “chief digital officer” to communicate city business dealings to citizens so that "there won't be one inspector general...but 1.2 million."
Projet Montreal’s Richard Bergeron again sold his party’s big projects: He would cover the Ville-Marie expressway, build schools and create a “maritime gateway,” – a boardwalk for the Old Port.
"The problem of the day here is managing city hall,” Cote said on improving efficiency at city hall. “Remove the cones that don't do nothing!”
Both Joly and Cote scored big points with the predominantly Anglo audience; Joly drew a loud round of applause for promising to lobby that Montreal have special status in Quebec, a demand of many Anglo rights activists present at the event. Cote was also an audience favourite after calling language issues like “Pastagate” damaging distractions and pushing an affirmative action plan to increase the number of Anglos and other minorities in the civil service.
“We need as a mayor, someone who will make tough decisions…not pie-in-the-sky ideas,” said Cote. “We have made commitments to the Anglo and cultural communities. It’s all in writing.”
Coderre would “roll up his sleeves and get to work,” after Nov. 3. “We will also fight the PQ’s Values Charter in court.”
“This election is the most important of the last and next 25 years,” Bergeron said. “For those of you wanting more than four more years of the usual,” choose Projet Montreal, he added. “I offer you a team with solid credentials and impeccable credibility.”
The only candidate for real change is herself, said Joly in closing. “Restoring integrity will take hard work. We can’t keep using old models to produce new results,” she added, touting her transit and corruption policies.
Some reactions from Twitter:
photos: Dario Ayala / The Gazette