Montreal mayoralty candidate, Marcel Côté, said he will not drop out after being sanctioned for unauthorized robocalls, instead suggesting that opponent Richard Bergeron should be answering questions about campaign posters that break election rules.
"They are scared of us because we are punching hard with the real issues of this campaign, which have nothing to do with that issue of last week," said Côté.
"It has to do with day-to-day citizens, their specific needs, which has to do with the nature of our streets, the quality of our streets, the quality of housing, that sort of thing."
Calls to quit race
Opponents have called on the coalition leader to drop out of the leadership race after automated calls were made attacking Bergeron.
The province's chief electoral officer said the calls broke election rules by not identifying Côté's party as being behind the ads. Côté maintains that this was an honest mistake.
- Montreal candidates spar over illegal robocalls
However, Côté said that Bergeron should answer questions about the thousands of campaign posters around the city that aren’t identified as being paid for by Projet Montréal.
"The only rule that was broken is that we didn't put 'authorized and paid by the official agent.' The biggest breaker of that rule is Mr. Bergeron who has several thousand posters still in place without that message," said Côté.
"So if we talk about breaking the rules, and the director general of the election knows about this, we are a minor player in that game."
- Côté sanctioned for robocalls
A price to pay
Concordia University Political Science professor, Harold Chorney, said that while breaking an election rule may be a genuine mistake, it projects a negative image when considering the city's history of corruption allegations towards politicians.
"It's a terrible mistake to use robocalls in an environment like Montreal, after we've had all these allegations of corruption and bad practices. So using them is an error of judgment, using them without actually identifying that they belong to you is actually a violation of the election act." said Chorney.
"[Côté] has a price to pay for that, and that will be a loss of support."
Promises to invest in community
Côté made the comments during an announcement in the Ahunstic-Cartierville borough.
He said if he is elected, he would invest $18 million for a community centre in the Bordeaux-Cartierville area, one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the city.
The new building would house the neighbourhood library and a number of community groups that have recently lost the space where they were operating.
"For 10 years, these organizations have worked to mobilize the community towards integrated urban revitalization. It is time for the city to do something concrete and initiate a real change," said Côté in a statement.