The vote to appoint the interim mayor of Montreal was held on Friday November 16th. Montreal’s city council members cast secret ballots in a race that consisted of only two candidates; Richard Deschamps (of Union Montreal) and Michael Applebaum (formerly of the same party but now running as an independent). In the end the vote was close, but with a final tally of 31-29 with 3 spoiled ballots Applebaum managed to come out on top.
Michael Applebaum’s victory is a historic one because he’ll be the first anglophone mayor in a century. The last English mayor of Montreal was Henry Archer Ekers; a brewery owner who served the city from 1906-1908.
Because of his victory Michael Applebaum must now resign his current post as the borough mayor of Cote-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grace, one of the city’s largest boroughs with a population of approximately 170,000 citizens.
Michael Applebaum has stated that as mayor he intends to create a political atmosphere of transparency. The interim mayor has also declared that he will not be running for mayor in the next municipal election which is slated for November 3, 2013.
Although there has been a great deal of discord within city council one thing everyone seems to agree on is that the new 49 year old interim mayor has his work cut out for him. His job will be to bring together the fractured city council, deal with the city’s $4.9 billion budget, and cope with the ongoing revelations coming out of the Charbonneau Commission.
When embattled mayor Gerald Tremblay stepped down on November 5th he left behind a city council ripe with internal discord as well as reeling from allegations of widespread political corruption. After a number of high profile defections (including Applebaum himself) Union Montreal, Tremblay’s former municipal party no longer holds a majority on city council. The new interim mayor will have to work hard to bring together not only his former party members but also those from Vision Montreal, Projet Montreal, as well as a number of independent council members