On Friday morning, current mayor of Côte St-Luc, Mitchell Brownstein, announced that he was putting in his candidacy to run for another term as mayor of the city.
At the Elna Bistro press conference, Brownstein made the announcement with the support of six city councillors present and with statements read from two other city councillors who were unable to attend.
He was also supported by Anthony Housefather, member of Parliament for Mount Royal, Lawrence Bergman, former minister of revenue, and Peter Trent, former mayor of Westmount and former president of the Association of Suburban Mayors.
“Mitchell has the capacity of reuniting people and this characterizes his strong leadership skills,” city Coun. Sidney Benizri said.
When Trent spoke, he mentioned that he had originally written a speech that focused on Brownstein’s accomplishments but since he learned yesterday that another candidate would be running, he decided he needed to speak about Brownstein’s potential opponent.
“I didn’t want to use the L-word at that point,” Trent said.
“But then yesterday, I discovered that Mr. Robert Libman has decided to put his toe in the water to see the temperature with regard to running again as the mayor of Côte St-Luc.
And I thought it was important that I give some context to this rather strange desire on the part of Mr. Libman to come back.”
Trent said that during 2002 and 2004, he led the de-merger movement.
“And my comrades in arms were Anthony Housefather and Mitch.”
Trent placed his hand on Brownstein’s shoulder as he spoke.
“I have seen them fight for their city which I think is important that potential electors realize,” Trent said.
Trent explained that five weeks before the 2001 election, Libman thought the mega-city would be a “bureaucratic monster” and that Libman was “completely against it”.
But, Trent said, then he changed his mind.
“From then on, he became the biggest cheerleader for the mega city, to the point that when we managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat and have a chance at de-merging, he actually argued against de-merging,” Kent said.
According to Trent, the de-merger is the most important thing to happen to Côte St-Luc.
“You can judge a person’s character on how they behave during a tough time,” Kent said.
Trent added that Brownstein has the capacity to “do the right thing when times are tough” and that history has proven that Brownstein can stay the course and fulfils his promises.
Housefather said that you can tell a lot about a man from what he does when the chips are down, and told a story about how Brownstein lifted him – and others – up.
Housefather reminded the crowd about how difficult it was to bring the de-merger to life back then.
WATCH BELOW: Westmount mayor Peter Trent leaves politics
“There was not an incentive from the government for us to de-merge,” Housefather said. “They put a process in place that was exceptionally difficult.”
He explained that at the time the symbol used to support the concept of a de-merger was a blue ribbon and told a story about how, one weekend, they all went out and put up blue ribbons on both public property, and the private property of those who requested it, across the city.
He said he was shocked and discouraged when he heard that then-mayor, Libman, was on the news opposing the ribbons and had Public Works crews out taking down all their blue ribbons.
This year, his first year as mayor, they ran a surplus of over a million dollars, he says, but with the Association of Suburban Mayors, they were able to negotiate a deal with Montreal where the city of Côte St-Luc will be paying $2.4 million less, phased in over three years, in order to support island-wide services.
“That is really who I want to be as mayor,” Brownstein said at the press conference when it was his time to speak.
“Someone who could create consensus, who can work together for what the people want.”