By this time next year, both of Canada’s largest cities may be run by former federal politicians — and one much sooner than the other.
It has been a rough couple of months for Canada’s mayors. Gerald Tremblay of Montreal and Gilles Vaillancourt of Laval have been forced to resign due to corruption allegations, while London’s Joe Fontana is under pressure to step aside after being charged with fraud. And in Toronto, Mayor Rob Ford has been ordered from office by an Ontario Superior Court judge, which could result in a byelection
In Montreal, Liberal MP Denis Coderre has long been known to be eyeing the city’s top job. He recently announced he would stay on as MP for his Bourassa riding until after the Liberal leadership campaign is over. He brushed aside questions about his intentions by saying he had previously stated he would either run for Liberal leader or mayor of Montreal and that he had decided not to run he isn’t running for Liberal leader.
At this stage, with the next municipal election in the city scheduled for November 2013, Coderre is the frontrunner. A poll taken in early October showed Coderre to be the choice of 26 per cent of respondents as the best candidate among a list that featured, among others, former Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe. Coderre also had the best head-to-head numbers against Louise Harel and Richard Bergeron, current leaders of the city’s two main opposition parties, with 32 per cent support to 12 and 11 per cent, respectively.
A run for the mayoralty by Duceppe is merely speculation at this point, fuelled in part by a recent radio interview where he did not rule out a run and gave hints he was considering it. Duceppe finished second behind Coderre in that early October poll, with 14 per cent.
In Toronto, Olivia Chow (NDP MP for the city's Trinity-Spadina riding and former city councillor) has been touted as a strong contender to replace Ford – though the speculation was at first geared toward the 2014 election. With a byelection potentially on the horizon, Chow has not ruled out a run.
In a poll released earlier this week, Chow received the support of 41 per cent of respondents compared to 32 per cent for Ford. The incumbent mayor had higher support than Chow in Scarborough and North York, but Chow beat Ford in the downtown core and Etobicoke. If Ford is barred from running again, Chow would also be able to beat his brother Doug, with 40 per cent to 26 per cent support.
This is not simply a matter of defeating an unpopular mayor. In fact, Ford would be able to beat other potential candidates if Chow does not step forward, including councillor Adam Vaughan (by a margin of 37 to 33 per cent) and former PC leader John Tory (29 to 26 per cent, with Vaughan still taking 27 per cent of the vote). This would suggest Ford still has the support needed to win again, and about one-third of the vote to bank upon.
Many politicians make the jump from municipal to provincial or federal politics, rather than moving down the ladder in reverse. But instead of sitting on the opposition benches, these current and former federal MPs have the chance to run municipal governments that hold sway over populations larger than most provinces. A big prize is at stake and they have a shot at winning it. Will they take the plunge?
Éric Grenier taps The Pulse of federal and regional politics for Huffington Post Canada readers on most Tuesdays and Fridays. Grenier is the author of ThreeHundredEight.com, covering Canadian politics, polls and electoral projections.
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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (centre) dances with participants ahead of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival in Toronto on Saturday July 30, 2011.
Toronto City Mayor Rob Ford, left, celebrates after defeating wrestler Hulk Hogan in an arm-wrestling match to promote Fan Expo in Toronto on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013 .
Twenty-two month-old Micah MacMilan reacts as he is picked up by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford while Ford was signing bobblehead dolls in his likeness at City Hall in Toronto on Tuesday November 12, 2013.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford holds up a replica Grey Cup as he attends the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats CFL Eastern Conference final football game in Toronto on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford laughs with fans as he attends the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats CFL Eastern Conference final football game in Toronto on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. Ford showed up at Sunday's Canadian Football League playoff game, despite a request by the league's commissioner that he stay away.
Canadian recording artist Drake, left, and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford laugh at a news conference announcing that Toronto will host the 2016 NBA All-Star game, in Toronto, Monday, Sept. 30, 2013.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford displays a milk moustache as he takes part in voting with city council members in Toronto on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013.
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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford poses for photographs inside a giant shark mouth while attending the grand opening of the Ripley's Aquarium of Canada in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. After two years of construction, delays and (Canadian) $130 million in costs, Ripley's Aquarium of Canada opened to the public Wednesday.
City of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford poses for a photo opportunity with other dignitaries in a shark's jaws at the opening of Ripley's Aquarium of Canada in Toronto on Wednesday, October 16, 2013.
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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford grabs the Grey Cup by the handles during a parade celebrating the Toronto Argonauts victory in the Grey Cup final in Toronto on Tuesday November 27, 2012 .
Rob Ford Meets Butter Rob Ford
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Butter Rob Ford
As part of an exhibition at the CNE, Toronto-based artist Olenka Kleban has made a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/24/butter-rob-ford-sculpture_n_1828527.html" target="_hplink">butter sculpture of Toronto's mayor</a>.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford hoists the Grey Cup on stage with Toronto Argonauts players while celebrating the team's Grey Cup victory in downtown Toronto on Tuesday, Nov.27, 2012.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford stands at the door to his office as he waits for an elevator in Toronto on Thursday November 14, 2013.
Mayor Rob Ford speaks at city council in Toronto on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013.
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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford jumps on stage dressed as a Cannon Doll during a performance of the Nutcracker in Toronto on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pawel Dwulit)
Rob Ford's ballet debut
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford acts on stage dressed as a Cannon Doll during a performance of the Nutcracker in Toronto on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pawel Dwulit)
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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford emerges from his office holding slices of a birthday cake to offer to members of the media at city hall in Toronto on Tuesday May 28, 2013.
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Dave Chappelle And Rob Ford
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