Hanes: Why are there so many Montréalns on the fence in this election?

The candidates have not lacked proposals, visions and priorities in this campaign.

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With less than two weeks left for Montréal to elect their next mayor, the race is too close to call.


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Two candidates who have served a term in the mayor’s office stand side by side, while a saboteur waits behind the scenes.

A new Montréal Léger-Montreal Gazette-Journal poll shows Projet Montréal leader Valérie Plante and Ensemble Montréal leader Denis Coderre in a statistical tie, each supported by 36% of respondents. Balarama Holness, leader of the Montreal Movement, has 12% support.

Meanwhile, nine percent of Montréal’s are unsure who to vote for as the campaign nears the finish line. That’s a far cry from the 27 percent who declared themselves undecided in a


But delving into Léger’s data, a quarter of Montréal residents surveyed aren’t sure who they want to lift the city out of the pandemic. Montreal is at a crossroads after a difficult 19 months living with COVID-19. The fact that so many people remain undecided on this crucial issue speaks volumes.


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But why?

This has been a campaign of themes and ideas. And there is no shortage of proposals on where to take Montreal for the next four years. Although there is some overlap, for example, in the coverage of the Décarie motorway, the opening of the eastern end to development and better public transport, there are large differences that distinguish the candidates.

Plante wants to make the city greener and more affordable. Coderre wants to make it safer and cleaner. Holness wants to make it more equitable and bilingual.

However, Montréal’s are torn between two mayors whom they should know quite well by now. Does familiarity breed contempt? Are Voters Too Hard On Headlines?

Perhaps indecision is reduced to the intangible issue of personality.


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Almost half of Plante’s term has been dominated by the pandemic, a crisis beyond his control.

She was front and center for the first few days of the public health response, making sure the homeless were cared for and offering tax breaks to merchants who had to close their stores. But maybe that was a strategic mistake.

When the first wave receded, Montréalns were in a bad mood and ready to vent their frustrations on Plante. Ultimately, he ceased to be such a visible presence as the pandemic progressed, focusing instead on recovery.

Despite numerous hurdles, Montreal’s economy is recovering faster than all other Canadian cities, with the second strongest recovery in North America. Yet only 32 percent of those surveyed feel that Plante is the best person for Montreal to recover.


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You’d think he would have already earned the trust of Montréal. But there are some who love to hate Plante, no matter what he does. There may be some sexist double standards at play.

Or maybe the 35 percent of respondents who think Coderre is the man for the job are filled with nostalgia for the days leading up to the pandemic. After all, Coderre was ousted from office when the city was in full swing. It is closely associated with the glory days of Montreal.

He retired, worked on himself, and resurfaced last spring professing that he was a changed man. But is it him? Signs of the impetuous Coderre have recently appeared. He reversed the course of hastily announced policies such as banning alcohol in parks after 8 p.m. or said he would one day replace the collapsed statue of Sir John A. Macdonald on the Place du Canada and vowed to rename the square. Place of reconciliation next .


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These are small mistakes, but they are reminders of the old Coderre.

Coderre has also faced troublesome teammates, defending an Ensemble candidate. who denigrated George Floyd but exploiting another for opposing Quebec’s new language law.

As for Holness, he is unlikely to be the next mayor. But he’s diverting votes from both Plante and Coderre. It appeals to Montréal residents who find their views at odds with their rivals, particularly on the language. It is gaining ground among Anglophones, Allophones and minorities.

However, Movement’s opportunistic merger with Ralliement pour Montréal was a strange adjustment that resulted in several candidates jumping ship. And his alliance with RPM frontman Marc-Antoine Desjardins quickly soured. Holness is something of a one-man show, although that’s a criticism that is often directed at her opponents as well.

Montréal’s are most concerned about housing costs, the ecological transition, the revival of the downtown area and the rise in gun crime. There are no perfect candidates. But there are visions, priorities, and leaders to consider.

The time of decision is approaching.

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