Party politics can be pretty messy. Just ask Marvin Rotrand, the Montreal city councillor for Snowdon whom without warning was relieved of his duties as vice-chairman of the Montreal Transit Committee by Mayor Denis Coderre.
Rotrand confirmed to me that this action will result in a $33,000 a year pay cut. That is a lot of money for anyone, but especially a man like Rotrand who works as a full-time councillor.
In the last municipal election, Rotrand ran on the team which included present NDG-Côte des Neiges Borough Mayor Russell Copeman as part of Coalition Montreal. The party, headed by economist Marcel Côte, did not fare very well, but when Coderre won the mayoral race with a minority government he cleverly placed Copeman on his Executive Committee and allowed Rotrand to retain his MTC post. Last fall Copeman officially joined Coderre`s party; Rotrand stood his ground and actually became the leader and virtually the lone member of Coalition Montreal. Sadly, Côte passed away in 2014.
It is clear to see why Coderre dropped Rotrand from a role he loved and replaced him with Elsie Lefebvre. She is a city councillor for Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension and won the last election under the Coalition Montreal banner. The former Parti Québecois MNA now sits as an independent, so one would assume she will join the Coderre team.
“This comes as a surprise to me and it is an indication of what the population can expect if Denis Coderre wins a majority in the next election,” said Rotrand, who has been a city councillor since 1982.
I am not sure if Coderre is aware of just what a remarkable campaigner Rotrand is. I asked him whether he might join Projet Montréal, which has an impressive new leader in Valerie Plante. He said to leave that question for another time. Rotrand and Copeman appear to be quite good friends. But will his anger with Coderre supercede that relationship?
I have just learned that due to personal reasons Kevin Copps (brother of Sheila) will drop out of the race to become the Projet candidate for borough mayor in Côte des Neiges-NDG. That opens the door for a coronation for former Gazette reporter Sue Montgomery, whom I spoke with earlier this week. The nomination meeting was slated for early August, but perhaps she can now be acclaimed earlier than that.
Coderre wants to win a strong majority in the November election. Anyone who is not on his team will face the consequences. Can Plante and Projet challenge him like Melanie Joly did four years ago?