Politicians under close surveillance | Press

Two political opponents who get into trouble the same weekend. Looks like a movie script.

Posted on 1is June 2021 at 6:00 am

Mario Girard

Valérie Plante was so anxious to lounge on a terrace that for a few minutes she forgot about the sanitary measures. She was seen on Friday evening with four people. All these beautiful people were seated at the same table.

As for Denis Coderre, he was photographed driving his car leaning over his cell phone while he waited at a red light. The image suggests that the politician was texting.

Mayor Valérie Plante quickly did her mea culpa. She didn’t really have a choice. In his case, the fault is flagrant. To deny it or to seek excuses would have been a mistake.


“Things are not going smoothly for Denis Coderre. Even if he continues to obtain good scores in the polls, he should not appreciate these small slippages repeatedly, ”writes our columnist.

Denis Coderre waited 48 hours before explaining himself. He did it Monday afternoon, on LCN, in front of a perplexed Paul Larocque. He did so vehemently, even silencing the host at one point. To tell the truth, the former mayor of Montreal seemed to be in a beautiful green joual.

According to his version of the facts, the phone fell from its cradle and he recovered it. It was at this point that the photo was allegedly taken by an anonymous person who was in a nearby car.

This explanation did not convince me at all. But hey, I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to the former mayor of Montreal.

Still, I don’t understand how an experienced politician like him could have thought that keeping up the mystery or trying to sidestep the subject for two days was the right thing to do.

It was the worst thing to do. Any political adviser will tell you.

If what really happened is as banal as Denis Coderre claims, why did he not say it on Sunday?

The attitude that Denis Coderre had will give his detractors one more opportunity to wonder if the man has really changed. This “transformation” exaggeratedly put forward is a stone in the shoe of Denis Coderre. He is constantly reminded of that.

This “cellular gate” is added to other incidents which make Denis Coderre experience a curious start to the campaign. First, there was the announcement concerning Ali Nestor to whom Denis Coderre would have liked to entrust the role of special adviser on public security, youth and diversity within his party.

But as soon as he was appointed, Ali Nestor was kicked out of Ensemble Montreal. Hours after the press briefing, party leaders discovered allegations of assault and sexual assault against the boxer.

And then there was this photo taken with rappers Jordan and Brandon Buissereth. Wanting to play it cool, Denis Coderre took the pose with the two men as well as Luka Hollinger, son of the new recruit of Ensemble Montreal, Heidi Hollinger.

The catch is that the Buissereth brothers have behind them a criminal past, the first about a story of stolen weapons and the second for drug trafficking.

In short, things are not going smoothly for Denis Coderre. Even if he continues to obtain good scores in the polls, he should not appreciate these small slippages repeatedly.

These two cases are a reminder of how much scrutiny politicians are. And that the citizens’ demands on them are enormous. We want them to be exemplary, benevolent, sincere, credible, authentic and inspiring. All this in the same day.

But they don’t always succeed. Like us elsewhere.

Politicians are leaders. At least, that’s what we like to see in them, especially during trying times like the pandemic we are living through. They cannot afford to lose the trust of the public.

I admit that on Saturday, when Valérie Plante apologized and then asked us to continue to follow the sanitary rules, her words no longer had the same weight as before.

These two incidents also tell us that with the tech and media world we live in, the slightest discrepancy in public figures can be brought to light in a fraction of a second.


The mayoress of Montreal, Valérie Plante (right), seated with four other people on a terrace in Montreal last Friday

Valérie Plante had not finished her glass of wine that the photo of her and the four other people who were at her table were found on Twitter. This is the price to pay for the media coverage that politicians often seek.

On this subject, the most surprising passage of Denis Coderre’s interview with Paul Larocque is the one where the candidate for mayor of Montreal talks about the intrusion of “anonymous” into people’s private lives and this obsession with wanting to submit. compromising photos at the People’s Court.

He is right when he says that we are witnessing a loss of control and that things need to be tightened up. But these wise words are still amazing from someone who has been feeding the beast of social media handsomely for many years.

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