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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:02 pm

Montreal's new independent interim mayor, Michael Applebaum, won his post with a two-vote margin among 63 city councillors on Friday, but he now faces a newly divided city council and a $4.9-billion budget it needs to deal with — soon.

This weekend, Applebaum can ponder his remarkable victory and think ahead to Monday at 10:30 a.m. when he is set to be sworn in as Montreal's 42nd mayor, the first non-francophone mayor since just before the First World War.

"I grew up in Montreal (and) I speak French, I speak it with an accent. But for me I think what's important here is how are we going to change the city of Montreal. What are we going to bring forward? What type of changes? People may criticize me for my French. I will make errors, but I'm very proud to be able to speak and work in the French language.

"I'm going to do the best I can."

A heartfelt congratulations to Mr. Applebaum. That is quite an accomplishment on his part. It's not every day that someone who's first language is English is elected mayor of Montreal. Of course the Montreal area has many native English speaking mayors in the towns that make up the Island of Montreal (Point Claire, Beaconsfield, Kirkland ..etc). However these are small towns with English speaking majorities. The city of Montreal with a population of roughly 2 million has a French speaking majority, thus making his win all the more sweeter.

Let's hope though that he can tackle the corruption issues that have plagued the city. His strategy so far has proven successful. Specifically his move to merge the executive committee with the opposition parties. This eliminates any bias on his part in regards to his former ties to the Union Montreal party.

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