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Montreal Election – How Cycling was Affected by the Outcome

by John Symon

November 2, 2009 (Montreal, QC) – Incumbent Mayor Gerald Tremblay of the Union Montreal Party has secured a third four-year mandate to govern Canada’s second most populous city reports The Gazette. With some 80% of all votes counted, Tremblay, and is leading with 37% of the vote in a tight, three-way race. Louise Harel (Vision Montreal) is in second with 33 % while Richard Bergeron (Projet Montreal) follows in third place with 26%. The election campaign was notably marked by allegations of corruption, Mafia involvement in municipal contracts, and questions about party financing. The campaign was also marked by many issues involving cycling in what is notably Canada’s most bike-friendly city.

On October 1st, Tremblay sat beside bike race promoter Serge Arsenault, and Canada’s most acclaimed former pro rider, Steve Bauer, to announce that ProTour racing is coming to Montreal on Sept. 12, 2010 – for more on this story click here.

A simultaneous press conference in Quebec City saw the local mayor there, Régis Labeaume announce the first of the two ProTour race awarded to Canada to be held on Sept 10, 2010. Lebeaume easily won re-election yesterday in Quebec City, and Tremblay’s victory in Montreal means that municipal support for the two races will proceed unaffected by the election.

The Tremblay administration has also developed and promoted the Bixi self-serve bike rental system. The program has been highly successful and recently celebrated the one-millionth bike rental since the system was initiated in May. But Andre Lavallee, the man behind the Bixi program, went down to defeat while seeking re-election as the borough mayor of Rosemont.

Michel Labrecque, a well-known bike activist also running for Tremblay’s Union Montreal Party was similarly defeated in his bid to become borough councillor of the Plateau area. A councillor since 2005, Labreque served as president of Vélo Québec from 1983 to 1998 where he helped with the creation of the Maison des cyclistes on Rachel Street and with Quebec’s Route verte system of bike paths and bike routes. His campaign was endorsed by Suzanne Lareau, Vélo Québec’s General Director, and by Robert (Bicycle Bob) Silverman, co-founder of Le Monde a Bicyclette lobby group.

Lachine Mayor Claude Dauphin of Union Montreal, a notable supporter of the Mardis Cyclistes de Lachine bike races, has been re-elected in that borough.

The victorious Union Montreal Party has no monopoly on bike-friendly policies or on bike advocates running for office. Silverman also endorsed John Symon, a bike activist and Pedal journalist running for Projet Montreal in the Lachine district of Du Canal. Symon lost in his bid for that seat.

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