Sue Montgomery has fired the starting gun on what could prove to be a chaotic race to lead Montreal’s most populous borough: the independent Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough mayor has created her own political party.
“Équipe Sue Montgomery” is listed on Élections Québec’s website as having been registered on Sept. 30.
Montgomery was first elected in 2017, when she narrowly defeated incumbent Russell Copeman. The former Montreal Gazette journalist was a member of Projet Montréal at the time, and was considered a star candidate for now-Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante’s party.
Plante and Montgomery enjoyed a fairly close relationship for Projet’s first two years in power. However, in a report from the city’s comptroller general released in January, Montgomery’s chief of staff, Annalisa Harris, was accused of psychological harassment targeting several bureaucrats in the borough.
When Montgomery refused to fire Harris, she was ejected from the party’s caucus. Since then, she has remained in office as an independent.
According to Élections Québec’s website, Harris is listed as a senior official of Montgomery’s new party.
Équipe Sue Montgomery will be in for a fight in next year’s municipal campaign: both major municipal parties have deep bases of support in the borough and can be expected to put up their own candidates against her for control of the coveted borough hall.
Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce does not have a significant history of electing independents or local minor parties, unlike, for example, the nearby borough of LaSalle, which has been governed since its foundation in 2003 by Manon Barbe and her political party, Équipe Barbe.
In Montgomery’s borough, the lone independent is long-serving Snowdon Coun. Marvin Rotrand, who has been re-elected in recent elections as a member of the minor party Coalition Montréal. But even Rotrand was first elected in 1982 as a member of the Montreal Citizens Movement, which was the major opposition party on council at the time.
Municipal elections are scheduled to be held across Quebec on Nov. 7, 2021.