PLQ leadership race | Denis Coderre confirms that he is serious in his thinking

(Quebec) Denis Coderre confirms the revelations of The Press and announced on the microphone of the community radio station CKVL that he was seriously considering launching the race for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ). The former mayor of Montreal says he will make a final decision after his trip planned for May on the road to Compostela, in Europe.

“Let me be clear. One, am I thinking about it? Yes. Is it serious? Yes. Do I have the quality of my faults? Don’t worry, I know how to distinguish between the siren song and reality. Am I controversial? With cotton. Am I famous? I’m still looking for the 5% who don’t know me,” Mr. Coderre declared on Wednesday as part of his column “The whole city is talking about it”, which will be broadcast at the end of the afternoon and which is already available online .

Describing himself as a “center radical”, Denis Coderre defended his record as mayor of the metropolis, even though he lost the last two municipal elections against current mayor Valérie Plante. “If I hadn’t talked about homelessness in 2013, we wouldn’t be talking about it today,” he cited as an example.

Mr. Coderre suffered a stroke last April. Aged 60, he says he has recovered and that his doctor has given him the green light to resume his activities.

In recent days, the former mayor and ex-minister on the federal scene has made numerous calls to members and influential people within the Liberal Party of Quebec in order to gauge his support in the context of a possible candidacy for the race.

“When I made calls, I asked three questions. The first: do you see me as prime minister? Second, do I have the credibility and experience? And third, have I passed a date. Are you tired? I’ll tell you that 98% of it is yes all the way,” Mr. Coderre said at the microphone of CKVL.

“I always joke: if you were in the world, who would you call? So if in this case it’s Coderre, maybe Coderre is the man for the job,” he later said.

Mixed reactions

Several liberal activists from various backgrounds, who agreed to speak to The Press without their names being mentioned, not being able to speak publicly about the race for professional reasons, welcomed the news with caution.

For some, the fact that an experienced politician with a strong network of contacts is considering entering the race is good news. To date, the only person who has publicly expressed interest is MP Frédéric Beauchemin. Others hope that Denis Coderre shows up at the starting line so that his presence encourages different personalities to run against him, in order to have a race presenting several candidates and several political visions.

Behind the scenes, personalities who worked within former liberal governments point out that Denis Coderre, through his flamboyant style, possibly has as many friends as adversaries in politics. “He spends his life (angry) against Valérie Plante,” lamented one of them. His hot temper has also been highlighted as a personality trait that could play tricks on him.

“It’s like Patsy Gallant in Big Brother. He doesn’t want to be forgotten,” added another person, adding that his candidacy would have been rather interesting in 2012, when Jean Charest lost power.

In his column at CKVL, Denis Coderre affirmed that he was against ageism in politics and that his experience, both on the municipal and federal scene, had value.

“I understand that you have to talk more to the we than to the I, but the I did things anyway,” he said.

The next steps

Last October, in Drummondville, liberal activists chose to elect their next leader in the spring of 2025, a little over a year before the next general election. During the election in the fall of 2022, the PLQ suffered a historic defeat, obtaining only 14.% of the vote and electing deputies almost all confined to the island of Montreal.

In order to run to become the next Liberal leader, candidates will have to collect the signatures of 750 members in good standing, from at least 70 ridings and 12 regions, including 350 new members. Aspiring leaders will also be required to make a party deposit of $40,000. Election expenses will be limited to $400,000.

At the end of the PLQ general council, the president of the PLQ electoral committee, Nicolas Plourde, defended that a race sooner rather than later “would be likely (…) to dissuade several candidates from running”.

With Bruno Marcotte, The Press

Denis Coderre in brief


Denis Coderre was elected Liberal MP in the federal riding of Bourassa, in Montreal, a position he held for 16 years. He will notably serve as Minister of Immigration.

May 16, 2013

Still a federal Liberal MP, he launched into municipal politics by creating the Équipe Denis Coderre pour Montréal group.

November 3, 2013

He was elected mayor of Montreal with just over 31% of the vote, ahead of his opponents Mélanie Joly and Richard Bergeron.

November 5, 2017

Running for re-election in 2017, Denis Coderre was defeated. In the speech in which he recognized Valérie Plante’s victory, Mr. Coderre announced that he was leaving municipal politics.

March 28, 2021

When passing through Everybody talks about it, Denis Coderre announces his return to politics for the municipal elections. He ran for mayor with his former party, which had been renamed Ensemble Montréal.

November 7, 2021

Denis Coderre is again defeated by Valérie Plante. Five days later, he announced that he refused to sit as leader of the opposition at city hall and that he was leaving politics for good.

April 11, 2023

Denis Coderre has a stroke forcing him to relearn how to walk and talk. “I thank God,” he said on QUB in June.


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