Denis Coderre

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His Worship
The Honourable

Denis Coderre
Denis Coderre 2011.jpg
44th Mayor of Montreal
Assumed office
November 14, 2013
Preceded by Laurent Blanchard
MP for Bourassa
In office
June 2, 1997 – June 2, 2013
Preceded by Osvaldo Nunez
Succeeded by Emmanuel Dubourg
Personal details
Born (1963-07-25) July 25, 1963 (age 52)
Joliette, Quebec
Political party Liberal (Federal)
Équipe Denis Coderre
Spouse(s) Chantale Renaud[1]
Residence Montreal, Quebec
Profession Insurance broker, public relations officer, announcer

Denis Coderre, PC (born July 25, 1963) is a Canadian politician from Quebec, Canada. On November 14, 2013, he was sworn in as the 44th Mayor of Montreal. Coderre was the Liberal Member of Parliament for the Montreal riding of Bourassa from 1997 to 2013.[2] On November 3, 2013, he was elected as the 44th Mayor of Montreal after winning the 2013 municipal election, as leader of Équipe Denis Coderre pour Montréal.


Born and raised in Joliette, Quebec, Coderre is a political science graduate from the Université de Montréal and completed a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Ottawa. He and his wife Chantale Renaud have two children, Geneviève and Alexandre.

Federal politics[edit]

Unsuccessful Liberal candidate[edit]

Coderre ran unsuccessfully three times prior to being elected: first, in the 1988 election in the riding of Joliette, losing to the Progressive Conservative Party candidate, Gaby Larrivée; second, in a 1990 by-election in the riding of Laurier—Sainte-Marie, losing to Gilles Duceppe; and third, in the 1993 elections in the riding of Bourassa, defeated by the Bloc Québécois candidate, Osvaldo Núñez.

Member of Parliament[edit]

Coderre was elected as a Member of Parliament in 1997 representing the riding of Bourassa, located in Montreal, and was re-elected in the 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2011 federal elections.

Cabinet Member[edit]

Coderre entered cabinet in August 1999 when he was appointed Secretary of State for Amateur Sport. In January 2002, he was appointed Immigration minister.

On 12 December 2003, Prime Minister Paul Martin advised Governor General Adrienne Clarkson to appoint Coderre to the Cabinet as President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada where he was responsible for a number of files, such as the creation of the new Public Service Human Resources Management Agency. He was also the Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians, the Minister responsible for La Francophonie and the Minister responsible for the Office of Indian Residential Schools Resolution. Coderre was not re-appointed to Cabinet following the 2004 general election, in which he was re-elected in his riding.

As Minister of Immigration, Coderre supervised the application of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which came into effect on 28 June 2002. As Secretary of State for Amateur Sport, Coderre successfully negotiated a number of national and international agreements and helped to establish the World Anti-Doping Agency in Montreal.

Adil Charkaoui[edit]

As Minister of Immigration, Coderre was responsible, along with his cabinet colleague Wayne Easter, for the detention of Adil Charkaoui, a Moroccan immigrant with a checkered travel history, on a security certificate. Restrictions on Charkaoui's conditional release were gradually lifted, and were cancelled in September 2009,[3][4] on his final release order by Federal Court Judge Danièle Tremblay-Lamer.[5]

Not long after his release, Charkaoui unsuccessfully tried to help Bloq Quebecois candidate Apraham Niziblian defeat Coderre in the Canadian federal election, 2006. Charkaoui was unsuccessful in his attempt to unseat Coderre.[6]

Charkaoui opened on 22 February 2010 a $24.5 million lawsuit against the Canadian government in Quebec Superior Court in which he demanded compensation for wrongful arrest and detention. He sent a letter asking for an apology, Canadian citizenship and compensation for lost income and legal fees after a federal judge quashed a security certificate against him. Past federal ministers Denis Coderre, Wayne Easter, Diane Finley and Stockwell Day were named in the suit.[7][8] Charkaoui has been a Canadian citizen since July 2014.[9][10]

For a time prior to 2015, Charkaoui rented classroom space every Sunday from Collège de Maisonneuve, a Montreal Cegep near the Olympic Stadium, for Muslim indoctrination and studies in the Arab language,[11] which he calls l'École des compagnons.[12] Charkaoui also rented classroom space at the nearby Collège de Rosemont, also a Cegep.[12] It was reported in February 2015 that six of his young students had absconded to Syria, allegedly with intent to join an Islamic terrorist group, either ISIS or the Nusra Front.[11] Before the week was out, Charkaoui threatened to sue both Colleges because they had terminated the arrangements under which he leased the classroom spaces.[12][13] At a press conference, he deemed unacceptable and dishonest the termination.[13] An interview of Charkaoui by ICI RDI's Anne-Marie Dussault sparked quite a bit of controversy the following week.[14] Dressed in a djellaba, Charkaoui presented himself as a victim and rejected calls for him to condemn violent jihadism and the Islamist project.[15] Instead he accused occidental (Western) politicians of promoting violence against Muslims everywhere in their degenerate, Islamophobic culture.[15] Charkaoui maintained that ISIS was a creature of the US government, and on his website he hyperlinks to praise of Osama bin Laden.[15] He rejects any interference of the wider community in which he lives on his religious rights; he finds this argument to be nefarious.[15] At least one commentator was shocked because of what his position meant in the context of his pedagogical pursuits.[15] Coderre later reminded everyone that he considered that he had done a good job in 2003 when he signed the original security certificate to detain Charkaoui.[16]

Sponsorship Scandal[edit]

During the events of the Sponsorship Scandal Denis Coderre was accused of frequent confidential conversations with Pierre Tremblay, head of the Communications Coordination Services Branch of Public Works.[17] Coderre has denied these allegations. His previous position as vice-president of public affairs for Le Groupe Polygone Éditeurs Inc. is judged to be the key connecting factor. [18] Close links to Claude Boulay of Groupe Everest, another actor in the sponsorship scandal, were also made during the Gomery Inquiry,[19] which cost him his cabinet position in 2004.[20] No legal action has been taken to substantiate or disprove the allegations.[citation needed]

The Shane Doan incident[edit]

During the 2006 election, Coderre accused National Hockey League player Shane Doan of uttering ethnic slurs directed against French-speaking referees at a game in Montreal. Coderre wrote a letter to the Canadian Olympic Committee asking them to keep Doan off Canada's 2006 hockey team competing at the Olympics in Turin, Italy. Globe and Mail columnist Eric Duhatschek noted that "the NHL is tough on ethnic slurs ... if Mr. Coderre has any proof he should produce it. Otherwise he should just shut up." Hockey commentator John Davidson accused Coderre of "grandstanding" and criticized his accusation, saying that "a person shouldn't go stand on a platform and yell and scream about it when he doesn't even know the facts."[21]

Doan was given a gross misconduct penalty for verbal abuse of the officials at the end of the December 13, 2005 game between his team, the Phoenix Coyotes, and the Montreal Canadiens. Referees and linesmen for the game were all francophones from Quebec. Although one of the linesmen, Michel Cormier, filed a report against the player, Doan was cleared by NHL Executive Vice-President Colin Campbell, the league's chief disciplinarian, who concluded that the allegations were baseless. Doan himself has denied that he ever made the ethnic slur.[21]

In January 2006, Doan sued Coderre for character defamation seeking $250,000 in damages with Doan promising to donate all damages awarded to charities to benefit Canadians. On April 2, 2007 Coderre counter-sued Doan for defamation seeking $45,000 in damages after referee Michel Cormier reiterated under oath that Doan made a racist comment against him as a Francophone.

Opposition Member[edit]

Coderre won re-election to the House of Commons in 2006, but the Liberals lost the campaign and became the Official Opposition party. Coderre was the Liberal Defence Critic. In 2007 Coderre made allegations against the previous Chief of Defence Staff General Rick Hillier (retired) of being a "prop".[22] Hillier in return has accused Coderre of being more concerned with party image than in protecting Canadian Forces members.[23] In October 2007, Coderre made a self-planned visit to Afghanistan to visit the war-torn country and the Canadian Forces in the Kandahar region. He criticized the Harper government — who did not invite him on an official tour of the country that was made by Ministers Bev Oda and Maxime Bernier a few days before him — and consequently, Coderre, as Liberal defense critic, had to travel by himself at his own expense, mentioned that the mission in Afghanistan must change in 2009. The government had accused him of staging a stunt while Coderre fired back that the Conservatives overestimated the success of the mission.[24]

Quebec lieutenant[edit]

On January 22, 2009, Coderre became the Quebec lieutenant of Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. He had been offered the same assignment by former leader Stéphane Dion, but had declined the offer.[25]

On September 28, 2009, Coderre resigned as Quebec lieutenant because of a disagreement with Ignatieff. Coderre had been tasked with picking 'star candidates' for the next election, attempting to replace Montreal-area MPs Stéphane Dion, Lise Zarac, and Bernard Patry, as well as Laval MP Raymonde Folco, at Ignatieff's request.[26] Coderre had chosen Nathalie Le Prohon to run in Outremont, formerly a Liberal safe seat now held by the NDP's Thomas Mulcair. However, Martin Cauchon was seeking a return to politics and wanted to run in Outremont, a riding he had held for 11 years prior to 2004 when then-Liberal leader Paul Martin would not guarantee Cauchon's nomination. Cauchon had served as Jean Chrétien's Minister of Justice and Quebec lieutenant. Cauchon preferred to seek help from Alfred Apps from Toronto instead of talking to Coderre and his team. Cauchon and Coderre had previously been close when both were part of Chrétien's cabinet, but some suggest that Coderre now saw Cauchon as a potential rival for influence over the Quebec wing of the Liberals, and perhaps in a future leadership convention.[26][27] Ignatieff initially sided with Coderre, then reversed his decision and allowed Cauchon to run in Outremont.[27]

In Coderre's first press conference after resigning as Quebec lieutenant, he criticized Ignatieff's aides, all of whom were from Toronto. Coderre also skipped votes in the House of Commons in protest. Ignatieff later warned that Coderre would face expulsion from caucus if he did "any more damage to the party."[28]

In 2012, Coderre confirmed that he would not run for the leadership of the federal Liberal party.[29]

Mayoral campaign[edit]

Coderre resigned on June 2, 2013 to run for Mayor of Montreal in the 2013 Montreal municipal election.[30][31] He formed the Montreal municipal party Équipe Denis Coderre pour Montréal (alternatively Équipe Denis Coderre) though he had no previous provincial or municipal experience. Coderre was elected mayor of Montreal subsequent to the municipal elections of 3 November 2013.[32]

Lawsuit by Hamza Chaoui[edit]

Hamza Chaoui, a self-styled imam who pursues his trade in Montreal, wanted, and was denied permission by Coderre on 31 January 2015, to open an Islamic community centre in the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood of Montreal because Chaoui effectively had preached that Canadians ought to change their legal system to sharia. Chaoui threatened on 30 March to file a lawsuit because he "had been sacrificed on the altar of public security".[33] Chaoui on 9 July filed his threatened lawsuit for defamation against Coderre and the city of Montreal. Chaoui characterised as an attack on his dignity, his honour and his reputation the remarks at a press conference by Coderre in March that:[34]

Real Menard, the mayor of the neighbourhood, strongly supported Coderre when he said that:[34]

Montreal raw sewage incident[edit]

From October 18, 2015 until October 25, 2015 Coderre authorized the dumping for 8 billion litres of untreated Sewage into the Saint Lawrence River to facilitate repairs to Montreal's sewer system. The incident was widely criticized by Environment and Climate Change Canada, Infrastructure Canada, and a petition of over 55,000 signatures.[35]

Energy east opposition[edit]

On January 21, 2016, Coderre formally opposed the Energy East Pipeline based on environmental concerns. His statements were branded as hypocritical by Brian Jean considering Coderre had authorized the dumping of 8 billion litres of raw sewage into the Saint Lawrence River just 4 months prior, had by proxy accepted billions of dollars in equalization payments from Western Canada generated by fossil fuels, and favored purchasing energy from nations with Human rights issues over friendly domestic producers.[36] The consultation facilitated by the Greater Montreal community (Communauté Métropolitaine de Montréal) showed strong public opposition in the City of Montreal and its boroughs.[37] The decision to oppose the pipeline was similar to that of Ontario's consulation process by the Ontario Energy Board commissioned by the Kathleen Wynne government in 2013, citing environmental risks as greatly outweighing potential economic benefit.[38]

Other activities[edit]

Coderre formerly co-hosted's web segment Ma vie culturelle avec Denis C. with Marie-France Bazzo.[39]


  1. ^ "Denis Coderre: le Rocky de la politique". La Presse, November 9, 2013.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Anti-charter rallies going ahead in Park Ex, Quebec"
  4. ^ "The course of the case", 24 Sep 2009
  5. ^ "R. v. Charkaoui: A David and Goliath story", 24 Sep 2009
  6. ^ "Charkaoui wants to help defeat Liberal Coderre", 6 Dec 2005
  7. ^ "Charkaoui to sue Ottawa for $24 million", 12 Mar 2010
  8. ^ "Easter named in Charkaoui lawsuit", 17 Mar 2010
  9. ^ " "Faut-il interdire les prédicateurs musulmans?", 6 Mar 2015
  10. ^ "Adil Charkaoui obtient sa citoyenneté après 19 ans d’attente", 26 Jul 2014
  11. ^ a b "Du cégep à la Syrie: six Québécois manquent à l'appel", 26 Feb 2015
  12. ^ a b c "Un autre élève d'Adil Charkaoui en Syrie", 28 Feb 2015
  13. ^ a b "Suspension des locations de locaux: Charkaoui «sidéré»", 27 Feb 2015
  14. ^ "Entrevue avec Charkaoui: mesurer le malaise en clics", 4 Mar 2015
  15. ^ a b c d e "Faut-il interdire les prédicateurs musulmans?", 6 Mar 2015
  16. ^ "Emprisonnement de Charkaoui en 2003: Coderre estime avoir «fait son travail»", 9 Mar 2015
  17. ^ Toronto Star article
  18. ^ "Indepth: Sponsorship Scandal Who's Who". CBC 2004-02-17. Retrieved 2015-05-25. 
  19. ^ Gomery Inquiry, summary of the testimony
  20. ^ Elections 2004, report by TVA
  21. ^ a b "Shane Doan takes legal action against Liberal MP". CBC News. January 18, 2006. 
  22. ^ "Liberal slur worst insult, Hillier says". 2007-03-01. Retrieved 2010-09-06. 
  23. ^ A Soldier First. Harper Collins books. p. 421. 
  24. ^ CTV News (2007-10-07). "Coderre arrives in Kandahar to speak with troops". CTV. 
  25. ^ Coderre devient lieutenant politique au Québec, La Presse, January 22, 2009
  26. ^ a b [1]
  27. ^ a b Coderre steps down as Quebec lieutenant
  28. ^ Delacourt, Susan (October 2, 2009). "Rebel Coderre could get the boot". The Star (Toronto). 
  29. ^ "Coderre not running for Liberal leader, mum on mayor's race". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 31 October 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  30. ^ "'Denis Coderre' registered as Montreal political party". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 26 April 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  31. ^ "Denis Coderre makes mayoralty bid official amid protests". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 16 May 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  32. ^
  33. ^ "Mise en demeure de l'imam Hamza Chaoui - Le maire Denis Coderre refuse de s'excuser", 30 Mar 2015
  34. ^ a b "L’imam Chaoui poursuit Denis Coderre et la Ville de Montréal", 9 Jul 2015
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ CMM. « Rapport de consultation publique de la Commission de l'environnement ».
  38. ^ Ontario Energy Board, “Giving a Voice to Ontarians on Energy East”, August 2015.
  39. ^ Official Website

External links[edit]

27th Ministry – Cabinet of Paul Martin
Cabinet Post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada
Lucienne Robillard
Special Cabinet Responsibilities
Predecessor Title Successor
Denis Paradis Minister responsible for La Francophonie
Jacques Saada
Ralph Goodale Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians
Andy Scott
26th Ministry – Cabinet of Jean Chrétien
Cabinet Post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Elinor Caplan Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
Judy Sgro
Sub-Cabinet Post
Predecessor Title Successor
Secretary of State (Amateur Sport)
Party political offices
Preceded by
Céline Hervieux-Payette
Quebec lieutenant for the Leader of the Liberal Party
Succeeded by
Marc Garneau