In the short time since his election as Mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre appears to be a bit of a throw back to mayors of the past. And as far as I’m concerned that’s not a bad thing.
A couple of days ago Coderre floated the idea, as politicians are wont to do, that Montreal should extend its bar-closing time from the current 3:00 A.M. to 6:00 A.M. There is no shortage of literature on the subject of Montreal’s ‘Sin City’ past, but that’s not where the mayor is going with this. While this is not a new idea – I recall in the eighties a suggestion to add one more hour and close at 4:00 A.M. – the mayor isn’t merely looking to further bloat the livers of Montrealers and tourists.
Rather there is a concern that at the current 3:00 A.M. closing all the bar patrons spill out onto the streets at essentially the same time. This often leads to traffic nightmares (Montreal used to be known for it’s 3:30 A.M. downtown traffic jams), altercations and incidents (okay … fights) and is frankly a pain in the ass for police. It is hoped that by moving the closing to 6:00 A.M. (or perhaps doing away with a ‘closing time’ entirely) people will leave on a staggered – and no doubt staggering – schedule.
Another example of Coderre’s style that I noticed was about ten days ago when a row of houses was razed by a huge fire. Needless to say a virtual army of firefighters and police was present as were those poor souls who lost everything. And there was Mayor Coderre checking on his people and his emergency workers. There was a time when this was a common thing for mayors to do when tragedy struck, but recent Montreal mayors seem to have opted to give it a pass. Being a mayor of and for the people is what municipal office is all about.
It’s still early days yet in the mayorship of Denis Coderre, but so far I’m pleased with what I’ve seen.