Dear Readers, Happy Election Day!
Montreal’s municipal leadership over the last couple of years has been humiliating at best, and morally devoid at its worst. The governance of the city suffers from a case of over-bureaucratization, or to put it crassly, there are simply too many cooks in the kitchen. The city of Montreal boasts 103 elected officials, more than Toronto and the city of New York combined, and while this means that there is a lot of opportunity for grassroots leadership, there isn’t a lot of power left at the top. Between the various boroughs and demerged towns, the division of power is simply hard to handle, and when major issues are in play – such inquiries into price fixing within the construction industry or snow removal, there is a sense that everyone is in charge, which means that also no one is in charge.
This also makes the process of voting confusing – come election day you’re not just voting for mayor,but also your borough mayor, another for city councillor, and/or borough councillor, and, if you live in Verdun or LaSalle, another borough or city councillor. This year the city of Montreal hired 14,000 people to administer and organize the voting process for the roughly 1.1 million potential voters within the city. Voter turnout really dropped off in 2001, and in the last municipal elections in 2009, only about 40% of Montrealers bothered to cast a ballot. The plethora of new leadership options, and the number of recent scandal might encourage previously inactive citizens to make a move. But on the other hand, the very recent, and very high profile, corruption can also breed apathy – if they’re all the same, why even bother?
Be there many voters or very few, there are three frontrunners in the race for mayoral leadership: Coderre, Bergeron, and newcomer Melanie Joly. A couple of weeks ago 308 suggested that Coderre was the frontrunner at 40.9%, with Bergeron a far second at 22% and Joly a close third 21. Coderre remains a favourite according to most traditional media sources, but Joly with her youth, intelligence and somewhat welcomed political inexperience is a social media darling and is now looking more like #2 than #3 while Bergeron has been left in the dust. Polls opened today at 10AM and close at 8PM, don’t forget to vote. The Bouillon team’s Ryan Cons was lucky enough to interview David Cote, candidate for city councilor in Mile End with Melanie Joly – check out the interview here.
Although us Montrealers may be caught up in the municipal election drama, that’s not all that’s been going on. Israel recently had their elections, for a look at the allegations of racism during the campaign check out Israel’s Racial Tensions Surface in Elections by Michael Swistara. Back home the recent United Nations special rapporteur report on the Aboriginal crises in Canada was released, for an overview of the findings read Harper’s Apathy and the Aboriginal Crisis by Beth Mansell.
Back to Montreal, last week Concordia students were lucky enough to hear a talk by Chomsky – check out the review and overview by Eli Vincent Zivot and Anissa Saudemont. Still in Quebec politics, for another perspective on the much talked about Quebec Charter of Rights read The Charter of Trojan Horses by Niall Clapham-Ricardo.
That’s all for now readers,