Denis Coderre might have threatened the Hasids

With two days left until the election, Denis Coderre is defending himself from accusations — most of them from Projet Montréal — that he gave Outremont’s Hasidim an unfair ultimatum.

Denis Coderre addresses local Hasidim

It’s been a shitty week for municipal politicians on the unflattering-video front. The moment Rob Ford surely dreaded for months arrived when Toronto police announced that they were in possession of his crack-smoking clip. He sees no reason to resign, but his mood might change if the video is used as evidence when his friend Alexander Lisi goes to trial on extortion charges relating to it. You might recall that earlier this year, one of the people who appeared in the video alongside the mayor was murdered. Nonetheless, Ford went trick-or-treating last night (and might have called into a radio show, under the name “Ian,” to defend himself this morning), while his lawyer today asked that the video be released, since it would be impossible to pinpoint which substance the mayor was smoking in it.

Closer to home, with two days until our election, Denis Coderre is facing criticism — most of it from Projet Montréal — over a video that supposedly shows him addressing members of Outremont’s Hasidic community. In it, he tells the group that if they want him to be their friend (and, really, what ultra-Orthodox Jew wouldn’t?), they’ll need to vote for him as a block. Recognizing that he’s probably being filmed, he stops mid-sentence and says, “You’re not recording, eh?”

Coderre, however, is not apologizing. His comments, he told Breakfast Television this morning, were candid and taken out of context. Truth be told, the contents of the video are nowhere near as harsh as the exchange another one-time mayoral hopeful — a Jewish one, at that — had with an Orthodox Jew in a Brooklyn bakery. And it’s not like Coderre told the Hasids that some of his best friends are Jewish. But yeah, it wasn’t exactly a good look days in advance of an election polls suggest he’s going to win.

There’s no question, though, that whoever is elected — after the votes are collected and tallied by more than 14,000 people, because our voting set-up isn’t at all, you know, bloated — will face a shitload of tough issues, among them municipal labour relations, a subject that the campaign hasn’t really addressed.

But election or no election, the Charbonneau Commission soldiers ever onward. This week, we heard from Jocelyn Dupuis, the supposed middleman between the construction industry and — wait for it… — the mob. Startlingly enough, the two might have been linked. Oh, and the Hells allegedly helped rig elections in the union Dupuis headed.

Not that there’s any connection, but this column has to end in some type of way (sorry), so: Happy voting on Sunday!

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