Côté seeks to rebuild trust between municipalities and central city

By Kevin Woodhouse

Last Wednesday morning, Montreal economist Marcel Côté announced his intention to run for the mayor of Montreal at the Ste. Catherine and St. Laurent intersection as a sign that he wants all Montrealers, anglophones, allophones and francophones, to work together to get the city’s confidence back after it has been rocked by scandals at the City Hall.

The Suburban spoke to Côté to find out how he hopes to win the election and bring back harmony between the central city administration and the demerged municipalities under his Coalition pour Montréal banner.

“I would prefer to see Montreal governed like other major Canadian and North American cities like Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary and New York that have independent councillors who serve as elected officials using a non-partisan structure,” Côté said.

And while he has talked to elected representatives in the two West Island boroughs, Lachine and Pierrefonds-Roxboro, “I do not want to get into the borough election process as they should choose on their own who they want to support,” said Côté, who was recently awarded the Metropolitan Montreal’s Board of Trade and the Conseil des Arts de Montréal’s 2012 Prix Arts-Affaires for his contribution to arts and culture in the city.

“I am particularly proud to have assembled a coalition around a pragmatic agenda for our city, a city that Montrealers want to reclaim,” Côté said during his press conference announcing his intentions.

“The coalition brings together representatives of east and west, federalists and sovereignists, central and suburban boroughs, francophones and anglophones, young people and the not so young, and members of many communities with diverse origins, all of whom have decided to come together to make Montreal a winning city.”

Among Côté’s supporters is Pierrefonds-Roxboro Councillor Christian Dubois, who also serves on the Montreal Executive Committee handling the public safety and service to citizen’s dossiers. Dubois did not respond to The Suburban’s interview request by press time.

If elected, Côté will not change the number of elected officials and plans to work with the current number for the next four years because he wants to rebuild the “lack of trust that has developed between the de-merged municipalities and the city and we have to rebuild that trust.

“The reason I’m running for mayor is that Montreal has never been in the situation it has been in the last eight months, and these problems have been created by ourselves,” Côté said. “We need to support our universities as entrepreneurs, as knowledge is the key to Montreal’s future.”

When asked how the politicians in Quebec could help out Montreal, Côté believes that “Quebec takes Montreal for granted. Laws that come from the provincial government have to be enacted to [suit] the  Montreal reality, and a law like Bill 14, for example, only divides us, when all Montrealers should be working together.”

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