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Denis Coderre is quitting municipal politics, after 2nd mayoral defeat – CBC.ca

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Denis Coderre is quitting municipal politics — again — and will not be the leader of the opposition at city hall.

Coderre announced his decision Friday following a closed-door meeting with members of his party, Ensemble Montréal, at a community centre in the city’s Villeray neighbourhood.

He failed to win back his former spot as the mayor of Montreal during last Sunday’s municipal elections, losing to incumbent Valérie Plante by 14 percentage points, an even wider margin than when she defeated him in 2017.

Coderre told a group of reporters that after 40 years in politics, it was time to move on for good.

He also said he felt the latest municipal campaign was a referendum on his personality, instead of the parties’ platforms.

“In the end, it wasn’t about the issues, it was about me,” he said.

Four years ago, Coderre also stepped away from his party, which was called Équipe Denis Coderre, but was rebranded as Ensemble Montréal after he left.

His departure leaves a leadership void in the opposition at city hall.

The previous opposition leader, Lionel Perez, who is also a member of Ensemble Montréal, lost his bid to become borough mayor of Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce in Sunday’s election.

Last March, Coderre released a book called Retrouver Montréal, which he touted as his vision for the city, while announcing he would once again run for mayor.

For much of the campaign, opinion polls suggested a tight race between Plante and Coderre, who emphasized the importance of economic development and public safety during his mayoral run.

In the final week, the veteran politician and former federal cabinet minister came under criticism for initially refusing to disclose the consulting work he did prior to confirming his candidacy.

WATCH | Denis Coderre explains why he is leaving politics:

Denis Coderre quits politics after another municipal election loss

18 hours ago

Denis Coderre met with the reporters to explain his decision to quit politics and step down as the leader of Ensemble Montréal. 0:41

When asked why he believes he lost two consecutive elections to Plante, Coderre did not provide a direct answer.

“I was not running against Valérie Plante, I was running for Montreal,” he said, echoing something he said several times during the campaign.

Parting shots for Plante, low voter turnout

While addressing the media, the longtime politician took a few digs at the current mayor and leader of Projet Montréal.

“Unfortunately, during this campaign, we didn’t really talk about the [Plante administration’s] last four years,” he said. “I have the impression that environment [policies] from Projet Montréal was copying word for word many of our ideas.”

During his concession speech last Sunday, Coderre said the race “one of the dirtiest campaigns” he had ever experienced. On Friday, he reiterated his belief that his camp ran a clean campaign that focused on issues.

Coderre said he reached out to Plante in the days following her victory and congratulated her. He also insists he is not bitter about the election loss.

He also lamented the low voter turnout in the city, which was around 38 per cent.

“[Montreal] is starting to look like a “big school board,” he said, in reference to the extremely low voter turnout for school board elections.

In a statement, Plante described her two-time opponent as someone who cares about the city, wished him well in his future endeavours, and said her administration would “offer its full collaboration” to the person who succeeds him as leader of the official opposition.

The race for Montreal’s city hall in 2021 was a rematch between Valérie Plante and Denis Coderre. (Jean-Claude Taliana/Radio-Canada)

What’s next for Coderre?

Despite another convincing election loss, Coderre said he is encouraged by his party’s prospects, adding that he feels confident that Ensemble Montréal has “four or five potential candidates” that could become the city’s next mayor.

“We are the true alternative [to Projet Montréal],” he said. “I feel good about the team, I feel good about the people who are elected who are doing a great job.”

He did not specify what his plans were moving forward. He did say he would try to find different ways to make the city better, even if his career as a politician is over.

“I will contribute to the development of Montreal in other ways,” he said. “We have to make room for other generations.”

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Extremist Politics Threatens Chile's Economic Miracle – Bloomberg

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Chile has for decades been Latin America’s most stable nation and one of its most prosperous. Its pro-business outlook has drawn foreign direct investment and fueled economic growth, and its record in reducing poverty has been impressive. Much of that is now thrown into question. After the recent first round of elections, the two front-runners for the presidency are extremists — an ultraconservative who seems nostalgic for the dictatorial rule of Augusto Pinochet, and a leftist who promises not merely to reform but to dismantle Chile’s economic model. It’s hard to say which of these agendas might prove more toxic.

The candidate of the far right, José Antonio Kast, emerged with a narrow lead heading into the runoff vote on Dec. 19. His platform is thin on economics and heavy on social conservatism and authoritarian messaging. His counterpart on the left, Gabriel Boric, promises radical change to combat inequality, rein in capitalism and dethrone market forces. “If Chile was the birthplace of neoliberalism,” he explains, “it will also be its grave.”

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Now, more than ever, the N.W.T. government needs party politics – CBC.ca

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This column is an opinion by former Yellowknife MLA Kieron Testart. For more information about CBC’s Opinion section, please see the FAQ.

In 2019 near the end of my term as an MLA, I proposed implementing a caucus system that, among other things, would allow for political discipline of MLAs. At the time MLAs rejected any changes that would limit their jealously-guarded independence. What they failed to recognize was that this proposal was not about imposing discipline, rather it was about enabling politicians to effectively discipline MLAs when required. 

The Norn affair and the pronounced lack of any real accountability in the legislature over the government’s failings are the consequences of being governed by a gang of loosely aligned political independents who lack common vision and leadership.

This point was made by MLA Rylund Johnson who said, “In party systems, the party whip would probably make sure this never happens. Party caucuses would kick members out and make them irrelevant …Those aren’t tools that we have in consensus government.”

The consensus system is based on little more than good intentions and is powerless to address its own failings, with MLAs routinely using their constituents as a convenient smoke screen for their own bad behaviour. 

Sound familiar? It should, it happens all the time with the recent example of Steve Norn being the most spectacular failure of political will to date in the 19th Assembly.

Norn’s sustained attacks on his colleagues and the legislature were left virtually unchecked by MLAs, who stood by silently. Public confidence in elected officials has been shaken to the point that two former premiers have taken the extraordinary step of publicly criticizing sitting MLAs. Scandal and policy failures have become the chief commodity of the Legislative Assembly and Caroline Cochrane’s government.

While other provinces acted swiftly with new spending and policies to bolster their economies and attract new health-care workers, the Cochrane government has wrung its hands, paralyzed by bureaucratic inertia. We have watched in real time as our health-care system has buckled and broken under the strain of the pandemic, with no plan yet released for economic recovery after months and months of delay. And despite the outcry from Northerners for their government to act, the “unofficial opposition” of regular MLAs is absent, or at least silent, unable to muster the courage and unify to demand better government from the cabinet. 

In the Northwest Territories the people have a choice in who gets to take power but not in how that power is used, nor can they hold the powerful accountable during elections. MLAs appoint the premier and cabinet, who are solely accountable to each other. This means that voters have no say over who forms government or what that government does for its four-year term and cannot hold that government accountable for its decisions. This leaves accountability in the hands of an undisciplined committee of regular MLAs who lack resources, staff, and experience to provide alternatives to cabinet policies. Public policy development and implementation are the sole domain of unelected bureaucrats in the government’s senior management.

Despite the constant mythologizing of consensus government as a superior form of government, founded in the traditions of Indigenous Peoples, the fact is none of the N.W.T.’s self-governing Indigenous nations use consensus systems, nor did Indigenous people design the system when it was first implemented decades ago. That honour falls to federal bureaucrats when they devolved responsible government to our young territory. Despite their frustration, Northerners continue to consent to an undemocratic democracy where their electoral choices have been reduced to little more than an overblown hiring competition. 

A culture of silence has taken root in the N.W.T.’s democratic discourse. The fear of reprisal from those in power forces many to whisper in the back of coffee shops and speak anonymously to reporters, when they ought to be able to freely express their own views and see those views transformed into political action.

There was a time that the consensus system served Northerners well. But that time has passed, made clear by persistent scandal and public policy implosions that have not stopped since the last election. We’ve seen devolution create a modern N.W.T. granted nearly full responsibility over its land and resources. It is now time for evolution to transform our political system into a modern multi-party democracy that can provide unity and real action on the most pressing issues.

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Italy, France to deepen ties as Merkel’s exit tests European diplomacy

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The leaders of Italy and France will sign a treaty on Friday to strengthen bilateral ties at a time when European diplomacy is being tested by the departure of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Quirinale Treaty is aimed at enhancing cooperation between Paris and Rome in areas including defence, migration, the economy, culture and trade.

The signing ceremony comes shortly after a new coalition pact was agreed in Germany, ending 16 years of rule by Merkel, who was the undisputed leader of Europe and forged especially close ties with successive French leaders.

The new Berlin administration is expected to be more inward looking, especially at the start of its mandate, and both Paris and Rome are keen to deepen relations in a period clouded by economic uncertainty, the pandemic, a more assertive Russia, a rising China and a more disengaged United States.

“Macron’s intention is to create a new axis with Italy, while it is in Italy’s interest to hook up with the France-Germany duo,” said a senior Italian diplomatic source, who declined to be named.

RENAISSANCE

Originally envisaged in 2017, negotiations on the new treaty ground to a halt in 2018 when a populist government took office in Rome and clashed with Macron over immigration.

Relations hit a low in 2019 when Macron briefly recalled France’s ambassador to Italy, but there has been a renaissance this year following the appointment of former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi to lead an Italian unity government.

A French diplomatic source rejected suggestions that the new axis between the European Union’s second and third largest economies represented any re-alignment of Paris’s diplomatic priorities.

“We have never played a jealousy triangle with European partners. These bilateral relations, when they are strong … complement each other,” the source said.

The Quirinale Treaty, named after the Italian president’s residence and loosely modelled on a 1963 Franco-German pact, is expected to lead to Paris and Rome seeking common ground ahead of EU summits, just as France already coordinates key European policy moves with Germany.

Full details of the pact have not been released but there will be special interest in sections covering economic ties and cooperation in strategic sectors.

French companies have invested heavily in Italy in recent years, but Italian politicians have accused Paris of being less forthcoming when Italian businesses seek cross-border deals.

Earlier this year, state-owned shipmaker Fincantieri’s bid to take over its French peer Chantiers de l’Atlantique collapsed, thwarted by EU competition issues.

Italian officials suspected Paris actively sought to undermine the deal behind the scenes.

 

(Editing by Gareth Jones)

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