Ensemble Montréal now has a full slate in the city’s largest borough. Montreal mayoralty hopeful and former mayor Denis Coderre introduced his Côte des Neiges–Notre Dame de Grâce team Wednesday morning at Monkland Tavern, with three new candidates joining Sonny Moroz in Snowdon and Stéphanie Valenzuela in Darlington.
With Lionel Perez seeking the Borough Mayor’s seat, also vying for council seats are finance professional Dimitra Kostarides in Côte des Neiges, chef and businessperson Ashley Thornton in NDG, and EMSB chairperson Joe Ortona in Loyola.
With three men and three women running in the borough, Coderre said he was proud that his team across the city is one that reflects diversity and parity with 36 women among the 74 candidates to date.
Asked by The Suburban whether he could continue to chair the province’s largest English-language school board while serving as a Montreal city councillor, Ortona said it was a matter of scheduling and being available and that the school board role was essentially a part-time job. When clarified that the question regarded possible conflicts over issues of commonality between school boards and municipality that may require recusals from discussions, Perez responded that there were ethics guidelines and rules in place and that there’s no issue of lines being crossed or of any conflicts.
Ortona pointed to his record of representing anglophones and Montrealers fighting the Quebec government’s legislation on abolishing school boards and its secularism law, and said he chose to run in Loyola because the people there are the same ones he represents at the school board and that he knows very well. Coderre also mentioned that there are discussions about the city seeking to repatriate management of school properties in the city, which is done in several major cities across North America.
Notre-Dame-de-Grâce candidate Thornton is an NDG resident, chef and businessperson who pledged to be a voice for local small businesses, including the restaurant sector which was hit so hard during the pandemic. “They definitely need help” she said, referring to improved access to terrace permits, parking and other issues. Coderre hinted at some future action on the food and restaurant scene. “The Montreal experience includes food, the gastronomic experience” he said, adding that he is speaking with different groups and will have something to say about it in the near future.
“Economic development and the current administration don’t go together” said Coderre, taking a swipe at Valerie Plante. “They are just overwhelmed by it.” He also echoed Perez’ previous statement that Borough Mayor Sue Montgomery “has no moral authority to govern” after being found guilty of several ethics violations. “Citizens are tired of the internal bickering and paying legal fees,” he said, adding that Perez will put an end to it and return the borough to properly serving the population.