.thstms.m Stmb 2013
The Senior TimeS
Irwin Block I o see a tall, crl-haired manon a Bixi bike in the west end, itma well be Rssell Copeman, theormer Liberal member o the Na-tional Assembl or N.D.G.
He has a dierent route these daysand won’t be heading downtown tohis oce at Concordia University where or the past ve years he wasa senior administrator—at least untilthe November 3 civic election.Copeman, 53, has taken a leave o absence rom Concordia to run orborough mayor in CôtedesNeiges—NotreDamedeGrâce, underthe banner o mayoral hopeul Marcel Côté and Coalition Montréal.He hopes to take over the reins o the city’s largest borough, which has165,000 residents.He is the bestknown candidateamong those who have entered therace. His main opponents: KevinCopps, brother o ormer ederalLiberal cabinet minister SheilaCopps and successul operator o aim Hortons outlet in Verdun, has joined the Denis Coderre team; andMichael Simkin o Projet Montréal,a lawyer and consultant to notorprot community organizations.Why is Copeman returning to thepolitical world he le in 2008, leavingaside a job he says was a “ascinatingexperience and very satisying”?As associate vicepresident o external relations, he’s been dealing withall three levels o government to ad vance Concordia’s interests and “really learned a lot about how the city operates.” He also taught a course inQuebec public administration.“Biking and driving around N.D.G.and seeing the state o our inrastructure, I became increasingly interestedin the state o our city and borough.And we saw what was happeningwith the leadership o the city.”When approached by the Côtéteam, he says he “elt a sense o responsibility” and condence in thegroup that seeks to run the city.“I elt that they were people withsome experience and some desireto see positive change, and i peoplewith integrity don’t come orward,the situation will never improve.”Public service, he says, is his only goal, and i elected he’s ready or thelatenight meetings, sudden crises andthe cutandthrust o political lie.“It’s a big change, but my wie(writer Bev Akerman) and amily (Alex, 27, Romney, 24, Emma, 18)were all very supportive.”When the testimony began rollingout at the Charbonneau Commissioninto corruption in Montreal, Copeman said he was “surprised by thedepth o the problem, very distressed.”“One had heard rumours and speculation or a number o years, butthe testimony seems to indicate thatthere was a airly wellorganized system o inated costs, and potentially derauding taxpayers to a degree thatI really had not imagined.“We have to hope that the Charbonneau Commission will makesome very concrete recommendations on how to ght what appearsto be systemic raud.“We need people o integrity in politics, but also a systemic response,” he said, and the Quebecgovernment has started.Te rot is alleged to have includedthe borough he wants to run. Teprevious borough mayor, MichaelApplebaum, who went on to replaceGérald remblay as mayor o Montreal, has been indicted on 14 countso raud, conspiracy, breach o trustand corruption. Saulie Zajdel, a ormer borough councilor, has beenindicted on ve counts o raud, corruption, breach o trust and paymento secret commissions related to construction permits issued in 200611.“We have to let the courts do theirwork,” is all he would say about theseallegations.Copeman was equally discreetwhen asked about ormer ederalLiberal MP Denis Coderre and hisgroup, and that o Richard Bergeronand Projet Montréal.But he says he knows and likesCôté, whose rm SECOR producedan economic impact study or Concordia, and a similar one or McGill.
Russll Copan ains lra in rac or borou ayor
Continued on page 4Avid cyclist Russell Copeman wants tofx crumbling urban inrastructure.
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