This week’s Justify Your Existence is Benoît Labonté, the mayor of Ville-Marie who quit Gérald Tremblay’s Union Montreal party in September and last week joined the Vision Montreal party (which is so dormant that knowing the name of its current leader would win you a prize at a trivia contest).
The interview is actually a composite of two interviews, and for a very good reason.
I first spoke to Labonté about two weeks ago, asking him about being an independent now that he’s had two months of it. His answers were surprisingly candid: explaining that to be part of a party you have to accept certain compromises, but that he’s OK with that as long as you agree on the fundamentals.
A week later, while the article was still in the bank waiting to be published, Labonté announced he was joining Vision Montreal, making about half the article moot. So I had to talk to him again. (This time trying to squeeze in between the dozens of Montreal journalists trying to get a few words.)
I asked him how long he’d been talking with Vision Montreal, and he said a couple of weeks, though he later clarified that there’s no “official beginning to talks”.
I mention this because I asked him during the first interview whether he had discussions with Vision Montreal, and this is what he said:
No talks with Vision Montreal?
No, since I left I have talked to so many people, elected officials or not, and leaders in the economic sector, cultural, social, environmental sectors, you know, I have had many many discussions with many different people about their views of Montreal, the future of Montreal just to help me reflect on the situation of Montreal and consequently of what I want to do regarding that, so yes I have had many contacts with many people. I’m not staying at home at night watching TV.
So my question to you is: Was this a denial?
(Apologies for sound quality. This was to check my quotes, not for broadcast. Certain parts of the audio have been amplified for easier listening, so if you hear what sound like cuts that’s what they are. It’s my first uploaded audio clip of an interview.)
Finally, I’m glad to see Labonté kept his promise to me, not to change parties again before the article was published.