Projet Montréal Nominates Two NDG Candidates
Candidates Pushing Public Transit and Transparency
Montreal’s municipal election may still be months away, but Projet Montréal has already nominated two candidates in the Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough.
Christian Arseneault will run under the Projet Montréal banner in the Loyola electoral district, while Peter McQueen, who won a seat on city council for Projet Montréal in 2009, will seek re-election in the NDG district.
Arseneault, 24, told The Link that despite his young age, he has a lot of political experience and knows the Loyola district—home to Concordia’s Loyola campus—very well.
“I do bring [to the table] the optimism and idealism that characterizes our youth, and I think that people will realize that’s a good thing, and not a disadvantage,” Arseneault said on April 21 at the NDG Sports Complex, where party members gathered to vote on who would represent Projet Montréal in the elections slated for Nov. 3.
“People write off the idealism and optimism of young people as naïveté and unreasonableness, and I think that they’re wrong in [doing] that,” he said.
“While some people might have qualms about my age, I can guarantee that five minutes with them will have them convinced otherwise.”
Both Arseneault and McQueen told The Link that public transit would be a major issue during the election campaign.
Arseneault said the 105 bus—well-traveled by Concordia students along Sherbrooke St. W.—presents a particular challenge.
“While we have very frequent service, the fact is we have so many people using it,” he said, noting that even small changes could improve on the travel time and comfort of passengers.
McQueen said the Société de transport de Montréal, the city’s public transit authority, has a plan to create a bus lane on Sherbrooke St., but it won’t help students.
The buses will use the reserved lane to travel eastward, toward downtown, in the morning and westward, toward N.D.G., in the afternoon—in other words, against the flow of students.
“I want better service on the 105 bus,” said McQueen. “I would say, bring the [articulated] accordion buses as soon as possible, increase the frequency.”
Arseneault also noted that Projet Montréal has previously called for the price of monthly transit passes to be reduced for students and low-income earners to make their commutes more affordable.
Transparency and openness in government could be another major campaign issue, if Arseneault has his way.
“I hope to show people, through the way that I run my campaign and the ideas that I propose, that in six months from now, we’ll be in a position to encourage greater citizen participation through openness and, as a result, that we’ll be able to improve the delivery of services to citizens all over the borough and all over the city,” he said.
Arseneault has a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from McGill and previously worked in the N.D.G. constituency office of Liberal MNA Kathleen Weil.
McQueen, a Concordia graduate and entrepreneur, ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for the Green Party in the 2007 and 2008 provincial elections before getting involved in municipal politics.
While McQueen’s nomination was unopposed, two people sought the party’s nomination in the Loyola district. Arseneault was chosen in a vote of 141 to 104 over Sharon Sweeney, a former tour planner who is now involved as a volunteer and fundraiser in several community organizations in the borough.
Mayoral Race Heating Up
Projet Montréal leader Richard Bergeron will be running to become Montreal’s mayor in the November election, as will Vision Montréal leader Louise Harel.
Seemingly ending months of speculation that he would throw his hat into the mayoral race, Liberal MP Denis Coderre registered a political party in his name—Équipe Denis Coderre pour Montréal—on Friday.
According to The Gazette, Union Montréal interim leader Richard Deschamps has not confirmed whether or not he will run for mayor. Former Union Montréal leader Gérald Tremblay resigned as mayor on Nov. 5, 2012, following allegations of corruption in the awarding of municipal construction contracts.
Many city councillors elected under the Union Montréal banner in 2009 have since left the party to sit as independents, including Susan Clarke, the current city councillor for the Loyola district.