Montreal City councillor Harout Chitilian joins Denis Coderre
Montreal City councillor Harout Chitilian joins Denis Coderre –
Councillor Harout Chitilian, who lost to Laurent Blanchard by two votes to become Montreal’s new interim mayor in June, has joined mayoral candidate Denis Coderre’s team.
The councillor from Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough becomes the second former member of the once-ruling Union Montreal party to join Équipe Denis Coderre this week.
Lionel Perez, interim borough mayor of Côte-des-Neiges — Notre-Dâme-de-Grace, announced his move on Tuesday.
Chitilian, who is council speaker, was first elected to office in 2009 with former mayor Gérald Tremblay’s Union Montreal. He has been an independent since December.
“After the Nov. 3 election, I think we’re going to be in rebuilding mode not just in terms of infrastructure, but to rebuild the trust with the people,” Chitilian said Friday. “We have to get out there and meet people and … listen to them and listen to their frustrations.”
Chitilian, who was born in Lebanon and is of Lebanese and Armenian origin, said he considers Coderre accessible to constituents and a good listener.
Mayoral rival Marcel Côté, of Coalition Montréal, and running mate Vision Montreal Leader Louise Harel have talked of the need to unite the east and west ends of the city. However, Chitilian said he doesn’t understand the message.
“I’ve never seen the divide myself,” he said. “We’re all Montrealers — equal, of different backgrounds.”
Côté and Coderre will join fellow mayoral contenders Richard Bergeron of Projet Montréal and Mélanie Joly, who is forming a party called Vrai changement pour Montréal, in a first candidates’ debate at Université du Québec à Montréal on Aug. 16. The topics will be youth and citizen participation.