Montreal After Drapeau
Gerald J. Stortz is an assistant professor of history at St. Jerome’s
College, University of Waterloo.
Jean-Francois Leonard and Jacques Leveillee both teach political science at the University of Quebec at Montreal. The former specializes in public planning, the latter in municipal politics.
To an outsider, the politics of Montreal have always seemed enigmatic whether in the colourful era of Camillien Houde, the wide open 1960s, the reform era of Jean Drapeau, the glory of Expo ‘67, or the controversy surrounding the cost overruns of the Olympics. With the passing of the Drapeau era, however, civic politics has become even more complicated. What Leonard and Leveillee have attempted here is an analysis of the two major groups: Drapeau’s Civic Party (CP), now headed by Claude Dupras, and the Montreal Citizen’s Movement (MCM), headed by Jean Dore.
It is by no means a dispassionate study. Clearly the two authors saw the MCM, which includes “feminists, ecologists, pacifists, gays, and preservationists of Montreal’s architectural heritage” as preferable to the CP, which has worked through “the more established associations of property owners and merchants, social clubs like the Kiwanis and the kind of recreational organizations found in the Catholic parishes of the city (p. 45-46). Yet there is a pervading sense of disappointment, which sometimes approaches a feeling of betrayal, that as the prospect of power loomed the populist principles were watered down, and that once in office the MCM has reneged on many of the planks of their electoral platform. Given this analysis, it should be interesting to see how the electorate of Montreal who obviously desired a change of government in style as well as party, behave in the next municipal election.