The Ensemble Montréal wants to “end” its growing debt

Denis Coderre’s former party emerged from the last municipal election with a huge debt of more than $ 760,000, showing numbers obtained by The Press. Now that the former mayor has retired, the Ensemble Montréal aims to “get out of debt” and “go green” by the end of 2024, under a recovery plan already in action.

Posted at 5:00 am

Henri Ouellette-Vezina

Henri Ouellette-Vezina
The Press

“We all want to end this debt once and for all. All of our elected officials are working to raise money, “said opposition leader Aref Salem, who has been in the lead since Denis Coderre was ousted, following his second defeat against Valerie Plante.

On December 31, Ensemble Montréal accumulated a substantial debt of $ 764,919.75. However, a reimbursement from the CEO, which should come this year after the release of the financial statements in early April, will provide $ 450,000. Ultimately, by increasing its credit line of $ 80,000, a bank loan of $ 271,000 and loans to its voters of $ 130,600 – but reducing revenues from fundraising activities – the party estimates that the its debt would be $ 481,600.

This is more than $ 57,000 more compared to the $ 424,387 debt announced by the Montreal Ensemble in April, when Denis Coderre took over the reins of the formation.

Mobilization of members, fundraising campaigns, redefining the party: everyone is in line to get out of “debt”, Aref Salem said, however, in an interview with The Press. According to our information, the idea of ​​demanding a deposit of several thousand dollars from elected party officials has spread further in recent months, which the party refuses to confirm, however.

“At this rate, in the best of all possible worlds, we estimate that in two and a half years, we will be able to start saving money for the next campaign. We will surely have a kitten in 2025 that will hold elections without borrowing. Big thing, what we are starting as an operation, “assured Mr. Salem, who himself was a member of the executive committee of the former Coderre administration.

Generating “record” donations

Ensemble Montreal general manager Sébastien Lachaine said he wanted to build on a very successful year with donations, despite a campaign worth nearly $ 1.4 million. “In 2021, we had donations and revenue from our members that were really record, honestly. We’re talking about donations of $ 607,000. We have never had one like that. And there’s also $ 22,155 in membership revenue, so it’s been a very good year, ”he said, referring to a“ not bold ”but“ realistic ”recovery plan.

Except at that time, the “Coderre effect” was primarily responsible for the increase in donations. Despite this, Aref Salem is not too worried about the impact of the former mayor’s last departure on his party’s coffers.

We always have people there. Our depth is still there to take the party elsewhere.

Aref Salem, leader of the Montreal Ensemble

He also wanted to “rebuild” the Ensemble Montréal to make it a party “in good and appropriate form”. “We will no longer be a banner. At the municipal level, a party is often the mayor, who always has a certain power. What we are going to try to do here is create a party that is independent of a mayor, with values ​​that people believe in. This is a change of perspective, of culture, ”Mr. Salem stressed.

“Our group has more elected officials than in 2017, and more young elected officials as well. We’re seeing this wave in young people willing to give. We’re trying to make the party attractive for a leader in eventually. I, I see in 2025, it will no longer be anyone’s campaign, neither in character nor in temperament. It will be more of a campaign based on what we can offer, “Mr. Salem added, who regretted that the last campaign focused “on the personality of Denis Coderre” and not on his party’s platform.

According to the latest news, Projet Montréal, the mayor’s party, is on its side in a better position, with $ 567,000 in its coffers and an election kitty of $ 476,829. In 2017, the party held $ 170,674, down $ 306,155. Updated party numbers will be known in early April.

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