POLITICS

Montreal mayor asked about problems in Toronto, for a change

05/27/2013 05:25 EDT | Updated 07/27/2013 05:12 EDT
MONTREAL - The mayor of Montreal, a city awash in problems lately, has no interest in weighing into another city's woes.

Mayor Michael Applebaum is used to being grilled about police corruption investigations at city hall; a historic boil-water advisory; chronic shutdowns of Montreal's subway system; and pothole problems because the city's usual asphalt suppliers have been tied up in scandals.

He was asked on Monday, however, if he had any advice to offer the scandal-plagued mayor of Toronto.

"I'll look after my own affairs and I'm sure he'll look after his in his city," Applebaum replied.

"So I don't have any advice at all."

He said it's not up to him to pass judgment on the performance of Rob Ford, who is losing staff members after being accused of smoking crack — an allegation Ford appears to have denied.

"It's not for me to determine what type of a job he's doing now," Applebaum said. "I think that, over here, my job is to try to serve citizens the best as possible."

The interim mayor reiterated, though, that he won't be serving citizens in his current position for much longer. Applebaum insisted he will keep a promise he made last year, when he got the temporary post, not to run again in November's municipal elections.

Recent polls have suggested his presence might have reshaped the race and complicated life for the presumed front-runner, Liberal MP Denis Coderre.

Coderre recently announced that he's running to become the next mayor.

Applebaum called the arrival of Coderre "good for democracy."

"The more people present themselves, the better it is for the city of Montreal and for the choices of the different people who will vote in the next election," he added.

A web poll conducted in May by CROP for La Presse revealed that among 14 potential candidates for mayor, he ranked a close second in popularity to Coderre.

Applebaum has also rejected the idea of a tandem or coalition with any of Montreal's municipal parties. He says he will be an independent candidate for mayor of his Montreal borough.

He made his comments at Montreal city hall while sporting an Ottawa Senators jersey.

That's because he lost a bet with Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson on the outcome of the first-round NHL series between the Montreal Canadiens and the Senators. Ottawa took the series in five games.

"I'm sure next year we're going to be once again No. 1 and the Habs are going to be able to win the series next year," Applebaum said.

He also told reporters to have a good look at him in the Ottawa jersey: "because it's going to be the only time that I'm going to be wearing this."

The loser had agreed to wear the winning team's jersey and also fly the NHL team's flag inside city hall for one week.