33 years on, Dollard mayor's future hangs in the balance

33 years on, Dollard mayor's future hangs in the balance
33 years on, Dollard mayor's future hangs in the balance

Dollard-des-Ormeaux Mayor Ed Janiszewski speaks in October 2016 to protesters who want Hydro-Québec to bury new power lines that will be installed between Sources and St-Jean boulevards. Peter McCabe / MONTREAL GAZETTE

Will he or won’t he seek re-election? Dollard-des-Ormeaux Mayor Ed Janiszewski, who turns 84 this fall, has been serving continuously on council since 1978, initially as a councillor before being elected mayor in 1984 when he replaced Gerry Weiner, who made a successful jump to federal politics.

To put Janiszewski’s term as mayor in perspective (which includes one term as a borough mayor after Dollard was forced into the Montreal mega-city in 2002), Prime Minister ’s father, Pierre, was still PM in early 1984.

Janiszewski, and his wife, Sylvia, moved to Dollard in 1964, four years after it was incorporated as a municipality.

In an interview with the Montreal Gazette almost exactly 10 years ago, Janiszewski addressed his future as mayor.

“So maybe as long as I’m in Dollard, and in good health, I won’t retire,” he said back then.

This summer, Janiszewski noted that, as it stands, he would run again. Whatever direction he takes, Janiszewski, a retired chartered accountant who has prided himself on being frugal with tax dollars, says his political plans will be confirmed Monday at the Civic Centre.

Two Dollard mayoral candidates have already declared their intentions: Raman Chopra, a real estate broker, and District 7 councillor Alex Bottausci, who has been on council for 12 years, serving on various committees including public works, finance, environment and recreation.

An interesting comparison can be made with neighbouring Kirkland. In the 2013 election, John Meaney was ousted as Kirkland’s mayor after being challenged by longtime councillor Michel Gibson. Meaney was first elected mayor in 1994 (and sat as borough mayor during the mega-city term) and he previously served as a councillor for about 15 years.

In the past, Janiszewski has either been acclaimed mayor or often won in landslides, such as in 2009 when he captured about 85 per cent of the votes (while defeating Shameem Siddiqui) and in 2013 when he didn’t face any opposition.

Veteran councillor Errol Johnson, who is seeking re-election in District 2, said he would remain neutral with regards to his two council colleagues. He expects it to be a very interesting election campaign for Dollard voters.

“If people in town want change, it’s up to them to do it (at the ballot box),” he said in a phone interview Monday. “As a longtime councillor, it’s important for me be stay neutral at this time. I’ve worked closely with both (Janiszewski and Bottausci) and know they are both capable of running the city.”

Johnson noted that if Janiszewski does run again, he would face the stiffest electoral challenge of his career because he would be facing off against someone from his own council for the first time. Municipal elections are Nov. 5.

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