Montreal has its first Anglo mayor in 100 years – for the interim
Published Friday, November 16, 2012 9:31AM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 16, 2012 10:14PM EST
Montreal has a new mayor -- and he's an Anglophone.
In a secret ballot with several parties casting free votes, councillors chose the city’s former second-in-command Michael Applebaum as interim mayor on Friday. He is the city’s first Anglophone mayor since 1912.
Already mayor of the city’s Cote-des-Neiges/Notre-Dame-de-Grace borough, Applebaum defeated rival Richard Deschamps 31 to 29. Three ballots were rejected.
Councillors were forced to select an interim leader for council following the resignation of Gerald Tremblay on Nov. 5 in what he described as a "sacrifice" over allegations of corruption at City Hall.
The ongoing Charbonneau inquiry into corruption and Quebec’s construction industry has seen city engineers admitting under oath that they accepted cash bribes, gifts of wine and golfing vacations. Tremblay has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, saying he was unaware of such activities.
Applebaum had been Tremblay's right-hand man and leader of Union Montreal until he left the party just this week, forming alliances with the opposition parties to vote against Union Montreal’s chosen candidate.
In a short speech, Applebaum said it would be an honour to work for the betterment of the city.
"I assure you we will all work together," he said, before walking over to Deschamps and shaking his hand.
Applebaum is one of many councillors who tried to sever ties with Tremblay’s beleaguered Union Montreal, which has seen its numbers shrink as its name continues to surface during the Charbonneau inquiry.
Since Wednesday, a total of nine councillors have left the party. The once-dominant Union Montreal now has 26 seats – no longer a majority. Vision Montreal has 16, Projet Montreal has 10 and 12 sit as independents.
Running for the interim mayor position as an independent, Applebaum promised to include members of Vision Montreal and Projet Montreal in a coalition government if elected, and to revise the budget to limit a tax increase to 2.2 percent.
He will be inaugurated on Monday after asking for a delay so his family could be present.