Civic Party of Montreal
The Civic Party of Montreal (French: Parti Civique de Montréal) was a municipal political party in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It existed from 1960 to 1994. Throughout its history the Civic Party was dominated by the personality of its leader Jean Drapeau.
|Former municipal party|
The Civic Party won two thirds of the City Council's seats as well as the office of Mayor in 1960 and remained in power until 1986. It is credited with:
- the abolition of council seats reserved for home owners;
- the construction of the Montreal Metro system and the Place des Arts concert hall and
- the advent of Expo 67 and the 1976 Summer Olympics.
It also helped bringing Major League Baseball to Montreal with the creation of the Montreal Expos.
During the 1970s, Montreal was a virtual one-party state, with the Civic Party facing only token opposition in City Hall.
Drapeau's retirement in 1986 proved ominous for the party. It was increasingly seen as tired and complacent, and Drapeau had no clear successor. The 1986 municipal elections saw the Civic Party swept from power in a massive RCM landslide. Drapeau's replacement as leader, Claude Dupras, was heavily defeated in the mayoral race by Doré, and only one of its candidates, Germain Prégent, was elected to council.
The Civic Party sank into near-paralysis in opposition. Having spent all but a few months of its existence prior to 1986 in the governing party, it was unable to get the better of the RCM. It was soon torn between a reformist faction led by Dupras and a traditionalist faction. Although Prégent had previously blamed Drapeau for the severe beating the party took in 1986, he identified with the traditionalist faction, and left the party to sit as an Independent by 1988 when Dupras tightened his hold on the party.
The party managed to win a by-election in 1989, which it held at the 1990 municipal election. However, its candidate for mayor, Nicole Gagnon-Larocque, only won 21 percent of the vote. It won another by-election in 1992. It regained the status of Official Opposition by merging with the Parti Municipal (Municipal Party) in July 1992. However, in 1993, it lost further ground when Jérôme Choquette left the party to form the Parti des Montréalais. Choquette had been defeated by Clément Bluteau for the party leadership.
Shortly afterward, the once-mighty party collapsed with dramatic speed. Bluteau resigned as party leader after less than a year, and in August 1994, the rump of the party merged into Choquette's Parti des Montréalais. Choquette ran for Mayor in 1994 and finished third with 13% of the vote. Only two of his candidates were elected to City Hall.
|Election||Mayoral Candidate||Popular Vote for Mayor||Number of Councillors|
|1986||Claude Dupras ||29%||1/58|
|1990||Nicole Gagnon-Larocque ||21%||1/50|
- Elizabeth Thompson, "Choquette bolts from troubled Civic Party; Former Outremont mayor follows Gagnier, Auf der Maur out door," Montreal Gazette, 13 October 1993, A3.
- Michelle Lalonde, "Civic Party planning to team up with Choquette," Montreal Gazette, 29 July 1994, A3; Graeme Hamilton, "Tattered remnant of party founded by Drapeau dies Monday," Montreal Gazette, 6 August 1994, A3.
- Claude Dupras ran as the Progressive Conservative candidate in the district of Saint-Henri—Westmount against Liberal incumbent Don Johnston in 1980. He finished second with 18% of the vote.
- Nicole Gagnon-Larocque was the Civic City Councillor for the district of Octave-Crémazie from 1978 to 1986.