Few campaigns in on-island suburbs (UPDATED)

Note: This post has been updated with full (preliminary) council numbers.

When they voted to break up One Island, One City, 15 municipalities on the island of Montreal, mostly in the West Island, argued that local democracy was one of the big reasons why. Their voices would get overruled in the larger city of Montreal.

Now, of course, these reconstituted municipalities have virtually no say in so-called “agglomeration” matters like public transit. Instead, the city of Montreal calls all the shots.

And as nominations closed Friday for mayor and city council positions, it seems healthy local democracy isn’t on the agenda either. Of the 15, six won’t have a vote for mayor on Nov. 1 because only one person (the incumbent, except in Westmount where it’s a friendly transition to a former mayor) applied for the job. In only one city (Beaconsfield) are there more than two candidates for mayor. And in only three (Beaconsfield, Montréal-Est and Mount Royal) are all council seats contested.

In Baie d’Urfé, they won’t even hold an election because not one position has more than one candidate.

Here are the preliminary numbers from the government:

  • Baie d’Urfé: Mayor Maria Tutino re-elected by acclamation. 0/6 districts contested
  • Beaconsfield: Three candidates for mayor: incumbent Bob Benedetti, Hela Labene, David Pollock. 6/6 districts contested (each by at least three candidates).
  • Côte St. Luc: Mayor Anthony Housefather re-elected by acclamation. 3/8 districts contested.
  • Dollard des Ormeaux: Two candidates for mayor: incumbent Ed Janiszewski, Shameen Siddiqui. 6/8 districts contested.
  • Dorval: Mayor Edgar Rouleau re-elected by acclamation. 3/6 districts contested.
  • Ile Dorval: N/A
  • Hampstead: Two candidates for mayor: incumbent William Steinberg, David Sternthal. 4/6 districts contested.
  • Kirkland: Mayor John Meaney re-elected by acclamation. 3/8 districts contested.
  • Montréal Est: Two candidates for mayor: incumbent Robert Coutu, Yvon Labrosse. 6/6 districts contested.
  • Montreal West: Two candidates for mayor: Beny Masella, Emile Subirana. 2/4 districts contested.
  • Mount Royal: Two candidates for mayor: incumbent Vera Danyluk, Andre Krepec. 6/6 districts contested.
  • Pointe-Claire: Mayor Bill McMurchie re-elected by acclamation. 1/8 districts contested.
  • Sainte Anne de Bellevue: Two candidates for mayor: incumbent Bill Tierney, Francis Deroo. 5/6 districts contested.
  • Senneville: Two candidates for mayor: incumbent George McLeish, Christopher Jackson. 5/6 districts contested.
  • Westmount: Peter Trent elected mayor by acclamation. 6/8 districts contested.

Meanwhile, in Montreal, six candidates for mayor and every single district has at least three candidates (one from each of the major parties). A total of 400 people are running for 103 positions.

It’s possible that people in these suburbs are just really happy with their current government. In the few places with opposition, like Beaconsfield and Hampstead, there are actual races. But a lack of even token opposition leads to politicians getting lazy, and that inevitably leads to corruption.

So tell me, who’s more democratic again?

16 thoughts on “Few campaigns in on-island suburbs (UPDATED)

  1. Jean Naimard

    When they voted to break up One Island, One City, 15 municipalities on the island of Montreal, mostly in the West Island, argued that local democracy was one of the big reasons why. Their voices would get overruled in the larger city of Montreal.

    It’s not as much a matter of overruling as one of relevance. The ‘burbs induce a big burden on Montréal with all the cars coming from there to pollute and clog our streets. Thousands of Montréal people die every year from ailments brought about air pollution, the greatest contributor of which being suburban cars (because in low-density areas, public transit cannot do anything but suck big-time).

    Now, of course, these reconstituted municipalities have virtually no say in so-called “agglomeration” matters like public transit.

    A very good thing. The little fiefdoms always pull all the cover to themselves without any regard towards their neighbours, and they would rather not have public transit, as it is the hallmark of the poor, and rich suburbs view the poor with suspicion (after all, the poor are known to systematically deprive the rich of their wealth).

    Instead, the city of Montreal calls all the shots.

    As it should be. It is thanks to Montréal that the houses in Beauconsfield are so expensive. Without Montréal, Pointe-Claire would be just some boondocks up the sticks where the houses would not be worth the carboard they are made with (ever seen how the newer houses are made? Built up with presswood beams and masonite walls…)

    And as nominations closed Friday for mayor and city council positions, it seems healthy local democracy isn’t on the agenda either.

    Well, the demergers weren’t for democracy in the first place; much more a tax grab from Montréal so the rich houses would not pay the fair tax rate they would pay in Montréal.

    Of the 15, six won’t have a vote for mayor on Nov. 1 because only one person (the incumbent, except in Westmount where it’s a friendly transition to a former mayor) applied for the job. In only one city (Beaconsfield) are there more than two candidates for mayor. And of the five cities where I’ve seen official lists of council candidates, in none of them are all the seats contested.

    Well, those ‘burbs are mostly ‘good ole boys clubs anyways, so it’s not surprising that no one challenges the incumbents.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      they would rather not have public transit

      Where is the evidence of this? Can you provide even one shred of evidence to support this statement? If anything, suburban mayors have been fighting to get more public transit, not less.

      Well, the demergers weren’t for democracy in the first place; much more a tax grab from Montréal so the rich houses would not pay the fair tax rate they would pay in Montréal.

      How are the suburbs grabbing taxes from Montreal?

      Reply
      1. Jean Naimard

        they would rather not have public transit
        Where is the evidence of this?

        That there wasn’t any CTCUM service west of Saraguay before 1980, 10 years after the Urban Community was created. If the Waste Island had wanted service, they would have had well before that.

        Can you provide even one shred of evidence to support this statement? If anything, suburban mayors have been fighting to get more public transit, not less.

        Geee, looking at the idiocy of jam-packed 211 buses running every 30 minutes on evenings, one would not think so… Another thing is that there is no non-rush hour service on Des Sources, which is pretty strange given that it is the first street west of the airport…

        Well, the demergers weren’t for democracy in the first place; much more a tax grab from Montréal so the rich houses would not pay the fair tax rate they would pay in Montréal.
        How are the suburbs grabbing taxes from Montreal?

        By charging lower tax rates, so the rich people don’t pay as much as they would pay if they were charged the rate of Montréal. They do not contribute one penny to what Montréal brings them, like the roads they take when they go work downtown and the value of their house.
        Every tax dollar not paid because of a lower suburban tax rate is a net loss for Montréal.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          That there wasn’t any CTCUM service west of Saraguay before 1980

          So your evidence that the West Island doesn’t want public transit is speculation based on lack of service 30 years ago?

          Another thing is that there is no non-rush hour service on Des Sources

          There’s the 209 Des Sources, which runs all day Monday to Friday. It used to be a rush-hour-only bus, but was upgraded.

          They do not contribute one penny to what Montréal brings them, like the roads they take when they go work downtown and the value of their house.

          They contribute to the Montreal agglomeration budget, which provides for island-wide services like public transit. Maintenance of highways between the West Island and downtown is the responsibility of the provincial government, to which the West Island also pays taxes. And Longueuil and Laval don’t pay taxes to Montreal either. Are they also grabbing taxes from Montreal?

          Your argument also assumes that everyone who lives in the West Island drives to work downtown.

          Reply
          1. Jean Naimard

            So your evidence that the West Island doesn’t want public transit is speculation based on lack of service 30 years ago?

            Yes, and also that when the buses started running, people who had buses running on their streets complained about that. Buses are used by poor people who can’t afford a car, and for the english, poor people are very dangerous people because they want to steal from the rich. So english ghettoes have to protect themselves against the unwashed poor by not having transit, or by building a fence.

            Another thing is that there is no non-rush hour service on Des Sources There’s the 209 Des Sources, which runs all day Monday to Friday. It used to be a rush-hour-only bus, but was upgraded.

            Oh! Never noticed that. But still, I look at the schedule, and it’s still pretty poor service for the first bus that runs west of the big obstacle the airport is; in that, it is analoguous to the 165 Côte-des-Neiges, which is the first bus going around the Mountain.

            They contribute to the Montreal agglomeration budget, which provides for island-wide services like public transit. Maintenance of highways between the West Island and downtown is the responsibility of the provincial government, to which the West Island also pays taxes.

            The agglomeration is useless overhead that skims revenue that would directly go pay for transit if it was paid directly to Montréal.

            And Longueuil and Laval don’t pay taxes to Montreal either. Are they also grabbing taxes from Montreal?

            Of course they are, but in a lesser way in that the tax values there are less than what is in the west-island, and also that they never were a part of Montréal.

            Your argument also assumes that everyone who lives in the West Island drives to work downtown.

            So why is the 2-20 (and the 40) such a bloody mess on rush-hour?

            Reply
  2. Homer

    Being a Waste Islander, I completely (for once) agree with you Fagstein. Opposing the Merger was valid, it was an unpopular action. But then, demerging was just plain stupid. It was a vote buying technique by Jean Charest that the West Island, like the bunch of sheep we really are, just bought, hook line and sinker.

    Now, we have no say in any decisions. You know why the metro is going east? Cuz they have a say! No City of Montreal administration is under any obligation to do ANYTHING for the West. We can’t even get a reserve bus lane to Cote-Vertu metro. Laval and Longueil have a better say, they at least have a direct line to Quebec city. The West Island’s reconstituted cities have LESS say than they did when they were (briefly) part of the Megacity.

    It was a *xenophobic* move by the mostly anglo/allophone area that only their children will really regret (but then again, most of them move into the city anyway!).
    You’re also dead on about local politics here. I have seen nonsensical decisions that can only be explained as political favors and quasi-corruption.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      But then, demerging was just plain stupid. It was a vote buying technique by Jean Charest that the West Island, like the bunch of sheep we really are, just bought, hook line and sinker.

      I don’t think the West Island bought into Charest’s demerger plan. In fact, many people there, including most mayors, dislike Charest for the demerger system about as much as they dislike Louise Harel and the PQ for the mergers.

      Now, we have no say in any decisions. You know why the metro is going east? Cuz they have a say!

      There are plenty of perfectly sane reasons why the metro isn’t heading to the West Island, starting with the fact that it’s just not as dense as St. Leonard or Longueuil. There’s also the giant dead space (the Taschereau train yards, Dorval Airport, St. Laurent industrial park and Bois de Liesse nature park) sitting between the metro and the West Island that would make it very expensive to tunnel under.

      In any case, metro extensions and highways are the provincial government’s responsibility. It has nothing to do with municipal politics. The reason Laval got a metro extension (and Longueuil will get another one) is because these suburbs swing between the Liberals and PQ and it makes sense to buy their votes.

      It was a *xenophobic* move by the mostly anglo/allophone area that only their children will really regret

      How was it xenophobic? They wanted their local governments, that’s all. And this isn’t an anglo issue. Montreal East is almost entirely francophone, as are the suburbs of Longueuil, Quebec City and La Tuque who voted en masse to reverse municipal mergers there. The fact that anglo suburbs have a strong connection with local governments is a factor here, but it’s not the only one.

      Reply
      1. Jean Naimard

        I don’t think the West Island bought into Charest’s demerger plan. In fact, many people there, including most mayors, dislike Charest for the demerger system about as much as they dislike Louise Harel and the PQ for the mergers.

        So why did they vote for the liberals, then? Charest out of political stupidity proposed the demergers. Then, he realized how profoundly stupid they were in the first place. Given that people who believe in political promises are really stupid, he could have walked away from it, but wanting to be even more stupid than the dopes who believed him, he tried to implement them anyways. Still realizing how stupid they would be, he tried to implement them as unsavourably as possible, but despite the presence of the holy bugaboo of taxation without representation, the ghetto nevertheless voted for them anyways, proving that they regard the french as being far worse than taxation without representation.

        There are plenty of perfectly sane reasons why the metro isn’t heading to the West Island, starting with the fact that it’s just not as dense as St. Leonard or Longueuil. There’s also the giant dead space (the Taschereau train yards, Dorval Airport, St. Laurent industrial park and Bois de Liesse nature park) sitting between the metro and the West Island that would make it very expensive to tunnel under.

        There is also the two commuter train lines. Granted, the Dorion line does not offer very good service, but with a shuttle to the Dorval Airport, there could be good service between Dorval and downtown, which is the most painful part of the 211.
        And the AMT is (will be?) buying the Deux-Montagnes line; then they could very well offer 10 minutes service to Bois-Franc and 30 minute service to Deux-Montagnes, obviating the need for any Métro expansion there.

        In any case, metro extensions and highways are the provincial government’s responsibility. It has nothing to do with municipal politics. The reason Laval got a metro extension (and Longueuil will get another one) is because these suburbs swing between the Liberals and PQ and it makes sense to buy their votes.

        I guess it’s time for the waste island to start voting PQ… Oh well, ethnic voting screws the ethnics far more than the french…

        How was it xenophobic? They wanted their local governments, that’s all.

        No, they didn’t want to be ruled by french people. The most imperialistic people in History cannot bear to be ruled by the people they colonized.

        And this isn’t an anglo issue. Montreal East is almost entirely francophone, as are the suburbs of Longueuil, Quebec City and La Tuque who voted en masse to reverse municipal mergers there.

        The case of Montréal East is the exception that proves the rule, and the south shore places who demerged are (except for rhodesian St-Lambert and Greenfield Park) douchebag nouveau-riche petty-bourgeois places who could not bear the thought of bearing the name of Longueuil, with in reality is really a big dump as ugly as Laval is. I will bet that if they named the whole place St-Bruno, they would not have demerged…

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          So why did they vote for the liberals, then?

          Beats me. But I figure they think they have to vote strategically, and sovereignty is still a big issue for them, which means if you’re not voting for the PQ, you have to vote Liberal.

          despite the presence of the holy bugaboo of taxation without representation, the ghetto nevertheless voted for them anyways, proving that they regard the french as being far worse than taxation without representation.

          Yeah, those voters in Montréal-Est, Brossard, L’Ancienne-Lorette, Lac-Édouard and Cap-aux-Meules, they really hate the French.

          And the AMT is (will be?) buying the Deux-Montagnes line; then they could very well offer 10 minutes service to Bois-Franc and 30 minute service to Deux-Montagnes, obviating the need for any Métro expansion there.

          The AMT is currently the only user of the tracks on the Deux-Montagnes line, and can run trains just about as much as it wants. The big bottleneck is the single track between the Bois-Franc and Roxboro-Pierrefonds stations, which means trains have to be 15 minutes apart to allow time to pass. The doubling of this track is in the city’s transportation plan.

          Reply
    2. Jean Naimard

      Being a Waste Islander, I completely (for once) agree with you Fagstein. Opposing the Merger was valid, it was an unpopular action.

      A statesman does what needs to be done. A politician does what the people want.
      This is why I am opposed to electing senators in Ottawa: nominated senators can do what has to be done.

      But then, demerging was just plain stupid. It was a vote buying technique by Jean Charest that the West Island,

      And pretty stupid on his part, too, because anyways, the west-island ethnic vote is something like 95% for the liberals.

      like the bunch of sheep we really are, just bought, hook line and sinker. Now, we have no say in any decisions.

      Not only that, but the Waste-Islanders voted for their anathema: taxation without representation!!!

      You know why the metro is going east? Cuz they have a say!

      It’s more like proximity to existing lines, and less density than in the west. But, in any case, extending the Métro anywhere is a hare-brained idea (the only extension that makes remote sense would be from Côte-Vertu to the Bois-Franc train station, and maybe the blue line to Pie-IX).

      No City of Montreal administration is under any obligation to do ANYTHING for the West. We can’t even get a reserve bus lane to Cote-Vertu metro.

      Oh, nooo! That would take lanes away from the beloved cars of the waste islanders…

      Laval and Longueil have a better say, they at least have a direct line to Quebec city. The West Island’s reconstituted cities have LESS say than they did when they were (briefly) part of the Megacity. It was a *xenophobic* move by the mostly anglo/allophone area that only their children will really regret (but then again, most of them move into the city anyway!).

      Well, the waste-island ghetto has consistently refused to integrate itself with the mainstream of Québec politics. Now it’s starting to bite them in the arse.

      You’re also dead on about local politics here. I have seen nonsensical decisions that can only be explained as political favors and quasi-corruption.

      Oh, well. We no longer can benefit from the insightful input from the West-Island; those selvish people decided to keep their wisdom for themselves…

      Reply
      1. Fagstein Post author

        Well, the waste-island ghetto has consistently refused to integrate itself with the mainstream of Québec politics.

        It’s funny how that’s considered a bad thing here when a minority maintains its cultural distinctiveness. You could argue that the “Quebec ghetto” has also “consistently refused to integrate itself with the mainstream” of Canadian politics.

        Reply
        1. Jean Naimard

          It’s funny how that’s considered a bad thing here when a minority maintains its cultural distinctiveness.

          "Multi-culturalism" is an anglo-saxon thing based on the "inherent" superiority of the anglo-saxon culture. It is best used in Canada to minorize the french. French societies integrate and assimilate immigrants, just like the USA does (why do you think we had a big extravaganza commission on "reasonable accommodations"??? Because the various demands of some immigrants groups were starting to clash big-time with our collective values).

          You could argue that the “Quebec ghetto” has also “consistently refused to integrate itself with the mainstream” of Canadian politics.

          Why should have we been? We have been there before; if there was someone who had to integrate, it was the english when they immigrated here.

          Reply
  3. Becks

    The “logic” that some folks here, use to back up their arguments and positions, are so twisted and convoluted as to defy belief…not to mention their chooseing to be willfully blind to the obvious.

    Reply
  4. Marc

    Actually, the waste island is getting some transit upgrades, albeit not for a while. First, once the Dorval circle is re-done, the bus terminus will be relocated to a new transportation centre at the airport. From said transportation centre, there will be an express bus to the new Lachine express tramway to downtown. If you’re familiar with Lachine the tram will start at Victoria & 28th ave. across from the McDonald’s and will run along Victoria, then Notre-Dame, right into downtown. 7 km of track needs to be built and no one needs to be expropriated nor any roads closed off. One of Lachine’s councillor’s (Blanchet) showed me all the plans for this a couple weeks ago. Not sure when it’ll happen but based on what he showed me, it’s all rubber-stamped and ready to go.

    Reply
  5. SMS

    What would help decongest the autoroutes as Monsieur Naimard has noted would be effective timed trainbus service to train stations. Unfortunately with trains already at (if not exceeding) capacity, we’re stuck with the status quo unfortunately.

    Reply

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