'A terrible campaign': Equipe Coderre councillor autopsies election defeat

'A terrible campaign': Equipe Coderre councillor autopsies election defeat
'A terrible campaign': Equipe Coderre councillor autopsies election defeat

Lionel Perez, one of the 25 Equipe Coderre candidates to hang on to their seats in the wake of Sunday’s breakthrough victory by Valérie Plante’s Projet Montréal, has taken to social media to analyze how his party so dramatically ran off the rails.

And while Perez, who was executive committee member responsible for infrastructure in the administration of Denis Coderre, remains proud of his party’s record while in office, he is decidedly less so when it comes to assessing his party’s attempt to seek a second term.

“First, Équipe Denis Coderre pour Montréal (EDCM) ran a terrible campaign,” Perez wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday morning. “Our platform was uninspiring and for the most part limited ourselves to reiterating what our administration had already done or announced — we didn’t articulate a vision of hope for a better tomorrow.

“Our party’s mistake was thinking that because we had an incredible track record (and yes, we did) that such a record would be sufficient to coast across the finish line with the lead. It was a defensive campaign and ultimately the wrong strategy, which ignored the particularity and dynamics of a two-way race where all those opposed to the incumbent can aggregate in a singular ‘anybody but incumbent’ camp.”

Perez, the only Equipe Coderre candidate who remains on the borough council of Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame de Grâce, also complained about a fundamental lack of organization in his party’s campaign.

“It was unclear to many in caucus who actually was the campaign manager,” he wrote. “Also, we didn’t have a communication director or press attaché until about three days before the start of the campaign and in both cases, it was personnel transferred from the mayor’s office. You can’t run a campaign with people who jump on ship at the last moment. You need planning, foresight and an effective structure — we didn’t have any of that.”

Perez also credits Projet Montréal with running “an excellent campaign,” one that addressed Plante’s lack of public profile with daily outings and news clips.

“Since they could not beat us on our record, they made it into a referendum on Denis Coderre’s personality instead. The omni-mayor’s greatest asset became his greatest liability. (Projet Montréal) exploited this, and the media were only too happy to play along. (Projet Montréal) tactically outmaneuvered us, plain and simple.”

Perez also criticizes his party’s campaign for having “underestimated the resentment that the extensive infrastructure work, granite tree stumps, pit bull ban and E-formula race generated.”

“The media fed into this discontent where each of these ‘news’ stories took a life of their own, snowballing into an uncontrollable tsunami, becoming symbols of the mayor’s perceived arrogance rather than his perseverance on issues to improve things for Montreal.”

“Yet after two years of lambasting our administration with these stories, many of the same media endorsed the mayor because of his record. Too little, too late.”

Perez finally notes that thanks to the Coderre administration’s achievements — special status for Montreal granted by the provincial government, the creation of the post of inspector general to oversee city contracts, the settling of contracts with five city unions and changes to the city’s housing and urban planning policies — “(Projet Montréal) will be in better position to implement their platform.”

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