And when I say that, I don't mean it in that glancing, angry-in-the-moment-but-not-truly-angry sort of way.
They're everywhere, and they're bloody persistent. They're like weeds. Nerve-wracking, reflex-testing, suspension-obliterating weeds. And each time I roll over one, I shake my fist at the powers that be and demand to know: WHY?
But enough about me. What about you?
The issues that matter, big and small
Everybody has a bone to pick. Maybe it's over the fact that it costs $3 an hour to park downtown; or the fact that the last weeknight Metro leaves Berri-UQAM station at 1 a.m.
How about snow removal during the winter? BIXI availability in the summer? Highway infrastructure, year-round?
Or we can think even bigger. Let's talk about the fact that Montreal has had three different mayors in fewer than 12 months. Or... taxes, anyone?
On Oct. 22, we're giving you a chance to hear the four most prominent Montreal mayoral candidates speak about all of these issues — and more.
We've already seen them in action during Radio-Canada's French-language debate. In English, though, while we've heard plenty from three of the candidates, a fourth — a dark horse — has emerged.
And increasingly, Montrealers want to hear what she has to say.
Just two weeks ago, Mélanie Joly was a distant blip on the radar. Now, as we've seen in a recent CROP poll, she's leapfrogged her way to second place, showing she can more than hold her own. Whether through her natural charisma, or the notion that she embodies a kind of anti-politician — she has momentum on her side.
Most of her gains have come at the expense of Marcel Côté, a man whose self-proclaimed greatest asset is his business acumen. He says he can apply the same rigours of the private sector to City Hall — "clean the stables," as he so often puts it.
Denis Coderre may be new to municipal politics, but make no mistake: he knows how to play the game. He's been elected and re-elected six times, federally, in the Montreal riding of Bourassa. His experience has won him the support of key members of the old guard (think Union and Vision Montreal), and with him, as he says, "There's no learning curve." Coderre is running high in the polls, and doesn't appear to be losing steam.
Finally, there's Richard Bergeron, the municipal veteran. As the leader of the only party to survive the slew of recent corruption scandals, he says he knows the territory, has the team to clean house, and perhaps more importantly, has the track record to back it up.
Where and when
One of these four people will very likely be Montreal's next mayor. It's a big job with big challenges ahead, and the outcome matters.
I'll be moderating the debate between these four candidates at McGill University, in Tanna Schulich Hall (527 Sherbrooke St. West), Tuesday, Oct. 22 from 5 to 6 p.m.
The hall is full, but we'll be broadcasting live on CBC Television, Radio One (88.5/104.7FM), and we'll be streaming the entire debate online. Join us Tuesday via live chat at cbc.ca/montreal.
Tune in — or better yet, see you there!