Ensemble Montréal Leader Denis Coderre is once again standing by a controversial candidate running for his party in the upcoming municipal election.
Dan Kraft’s face is on election signs all over the main thoroughfares of Outremont, but some in the area are shocked that he is still running for borough council on the Ensemble Montréal ticket.
“I am in disbelief that they would keep him on,” said Outremont resident Sarah Dorner. “I am in disbelief that they even considered him as a candidate in the first place.”
Earlier this month, Kraft apologized for posting a link to a climate change denying documentary back in September, and for accusing a Black man who questioned a traffic stop of seeking his 15 minutes of fame.
Coderre accepted the apology.
“There won’t be another chance if I witness that again from Mr. Kraft,” he said on Oct. 8.
Now Kraft is creating controversy again.
Last week. in a now-deleted Instagram post, he compared Valérie Plante’s party, Projet Montréal, to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. Stalin’s repressive regime was estimated to have killed 1 million people.
“My children are the descendants of someone who fled from the Soviet communists as a refugee. It’s just so completely absurd and inappropriate,” said Dorner.
Concordia professor Ted Rutland, who researches urban politics and policing, is speaking out about blog posts Kraft wrote in Portuguese in 2020 that have now been made private.
Rutland says one post addressed the death of George Floyd at the hands of police.
“He says that ‘George Floyd lived like a delinquent and died like a delinquent. He doesn’t deserve my flowers for being the victim of a police officer. I prefer to honour innocent victims,'” Rutland says.
When asked on Monday if he still plans to keep Kraft on, Coderre said, “Of course.”
“We have a team, the team is there, and the election is in less than two weeks,” he elaborated.
“Montrealers need to know this candidate exists with these perspectives. They need to think about why Dan Kraft has been welcomed and kept as part of the Ensemble Montréal party when he’s expressing these kinds of perspectives,” said Rutland.
When reached by phone, Kraft told Global News to speak with Ensemble Montréal party officials.
Ensemble Montréal then said he was not available for an interview.
In a statement, Projet Montréal expressed shock about Coderre’s defence of Kraft.
“It’s particularly astonishing that Mr. Coderre has decided to keep someone who makes statements that are racist, xenophobic and skeptical about climate change, when he keeps talking about the need to ‘live together,'”” the party said.
The party accuses Coderre of minimizing Kraft’s unacceptable statements.