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?