Denis Coderre

Denis Coderre PC (born July 25, 1963)[2] is a Canadian politician from Quebec, Canada. Coderre was the Member of Parliament for the riding of Bourassa from 1997 until 2013, and was the Immigration minister from 2002-2003 and became the Mayor of Montreal in 2013, but lost in 2017 to Valérie Plante.

Denis Coderre

Coderre in 2015
44th Mayor of Montreal
In office
November 14, 2013  November 16, 2017
Preceded byLaurent Blanchard
Succeeded byValérie Plante
MP for Bourassa
In office
June 2, 1997  June 2, 2013
Preceded byOsvaldo Nunez
Succeeded byEmmanuel Dubourg
Personal details
Born (1963-07-25) July 25, 1963
Joliette, Quebec, Canada
Political partyLiberal (federal)
Équipe Denis Coderre
Spouse(s)Chantale Renaud[1]
ResidenceMontreal, Quebec, Canada
ProfessionInsurance broker, public relations officer, announcer


Born in Joliette, Quebec, Coderre is the son of Elphege Coderre, a carpenter, and Lucie Baillargeon. The family moved to Montréal-Nord in 1973, where Coderre attended École Secondaire Henri-Bourassa and Cégep Marie-Victorin. He has a BA in political science from the Université de Montréal and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Ottawa.[2]

Federal politics

Unsuccessful Liberal candidate

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

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. In August 1999 he was appointed Secretary of State for Amateur Sport.

Cabinet Member

In January 2002, he was appointed Immigration minister.

On December 12, 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, despite being 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 June 28, 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

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]

Sponsorship Scandal

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.[6] 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. [7] Close links to Claude Boulay of Groupe Everest, another actor in the sponsorship scandal, were also made during the Gomery Inquiry,[8] which cost him his cabinet position in 2004.[9] No legal action has been taken to substantiate or disprove the allegations.

The Shane Doan incident

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. The 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."[10]

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.[10]

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

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".[11] Hillier in return has accused Coderre of being more concerned with party image than in protecting Canadian Forces members.[12] 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 he fired back that the Conservatives overestimated the success of the mission.[13]

Quebec lieutenant

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.[14]

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.[15] 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.[15][16] Ignatieff initially sided with Coderre, then reversed his decision and allowed Cauchon to run in Outremont.[16]

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."[17]

In 2012, Coderre confirmed that he would not run for the leadership of the federal Liberal Party.[18]


2013 election

Coderre resigned on June 2, 2013 to run for Mayor of Montreal in the 2013 Montreal municipal election.[19][20] 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 November 3, 2013.[21]

2017 election

Coderre ran for re-election in the 2017 Montreal municipal election on November 5, 2017.[22] In a surprise, Coderre lost the mayoral race to Valérie Plante, making her the first female elected Mayor for the city of Montréal.[23]

Political stance

Lawsuit by Hamza Chaoui

On January 31, 2015, the Coderre administration denied a request to open an Islamic community centre in the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood of Montreal because its imam Hamza Chaoui, had allegedly preached that Canadians ought to change their legal system to sharia.[24] Chaoui filed a lawsuit on July 9 for defamation against Coderre and the city of Montreal. Chaoui characterised Coderre's remarks as an attack on his dignity, honour and reputation.[25] Real Menard, the borough mayor of Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, supported Coderre's position.[25]

Coderre jackhammer vs. mailbox stunt

In August 2015, Coderre took a jackhammer to a Canada Post community mailbox foundation in l'Anse-à-l'Orme Nature Park. He was dismissive of concerns that his action was illegal. The Province of Quebec's Crown prosecutors office confirmed that Coderre would not face charges for the media stunt.[26]

Environmental issues

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.[27]

On January 21, 2016, Coderre, along with other officials of the Montreal Metropolitan Community (Communauté Métropolitaine de Montréal), formally opposed the Energy East Pipeline project based on environmental concerns.[28] His position was denounced by Conservative Party of Canada interim leader Rona Ambrose, Saskatchewan Party leader Brad Wall and Alberta Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean.[29][30][31]

Pit bull ban

On September 27, 2016, Montreal passed a citywide pit bull ban. Coderre was a big advocate for the bylaw stating that "My duty as mayor of Montreal is making sure I am working for all Montrealers, and I am there to make sure they feel safe and that they are safe."[32] The bylaw creates a citywide ban on new pit bull-type dogs from being owned and restrictions on those currently in the city. The bylaw also places new restrictions on all dogs and cats within the city and its 19 boroughs, which has led to a lot of controversy.[33] Animal protection groups such as the Montreal SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) stated that if the new bylaw passes they will take legal action against the city.[34]

On October 3, 2016, a Quebec judge temporarily suspended the pit bull ban part of the bylaw.[35] Two days later the judge decided to extend the suspension on the grounds that the bylaw was too vague and imprecise, claiming that "This court has the impression that certain articles of the bylaw were written in haste."[36] An appeal court overturned the decision and Coderre's pit bull ban was in effect in Montreal from December 1, 2016[37] to December 20, 2017, when the administration of new mayor Valérie Plante repealed it in favor of a new animal by-law that didn't target specific breeds.[38][39] Opposition to Coderre's pit bull ban was an electoral issue during the 2017 Montreal municipal election.[40][41]


Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for Canada
Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for Canada


  1. En couple avec Rebecca Moreau "Denis Coderre: le Rocky de la politique". La Presse, November 9, 2013.
  2. "15 ans de vie politique pour Denis Coderre".
  3. " "Anti-charter rallies going ahead in Park Ex, Quebec"". Archived from the original on February 3, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  4. "The course of the case", September 24, 2009
  5. "R. v. Charkaoui: A David and Goliath story", September 24, 2009
  6. " - Toronto Star - Canada's largest daily".
  7. "Indepth: Sponsorship Scandal Who's Who". CBC February 17, 2004. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  8. Gomery Inquiry, summary of the testimony
  9. Elections 2004, report by TVA
  10. "Shane Doan takes legal action against Liberal MP". CBC News. January 18, 2006. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  11. "Liberal slur worst insult, Hillier says". March 1, 2007. Archived from the original on November 9, 2012. Retrieved September 6, 2010.
  12. A Soldier First. Harper Collins books. p. 421.
  13. "Coderre arrives in Kandahar to speak with troops". CTV. October 7, 2007. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007.
  14. "Coderre devient lieutenant politique au Québec - Politique canadienne". January 22, 2009.
  15. "Coderre steps down as Quebec lieutenant". Archived from the original on September 30, 2009.
  16. Delacourt, Susan (October 2, 2009). "Rebel Coderre could get the boot". The Star. Toronto.
  17. "Coderre not running for Liberal leader, mum on mayor's race". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. October 31, 2012. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  18. "'Denis Coderre' registered as Montreal political party". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. April 26, 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  19. "Denis Coderre makes mayoralty bid official amid protests". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. May 16, 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  21. "Montreal elections 2017: Mayor Denis Coderre reflects on last four years". Global News. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  22. "Valérie Plante will be next mayor of Montreal, CBC projects". CBC News. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  23. "Mise en demeure de l'imam Hamza Chaoui - Le maire Denis Coderre refuse de s'excuser", March 30, 2015
  24. "L’imam Chaoui poursuit Denis Coderre et la Ville de Montréal", July 9, 2015
  25. "No charges for Mayor Denis Coderre in jackhammer vs mailbox stunt".
  26. "'We didn't have a choice,' Coderre says of sewage dump". October 6, 2015.
  27. CMM. « Rapport de consultation publique de la Commission de l'environnement ».
  28. Maloney, Ryan. "Rona Ambrose: Denis Coderre's Opposition To Energy East 'Not In The Spirit Of Confederation'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
  29. Kotzer, Madeleine. "'This is a sad day for our country': Premier Brad Wall slams Montreal Mayor". CBC News Saskatchwan. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
  30. "Prairie Politicians Condemn Montreal Mayors' Rejection Of Energy East". The Huffington Post.
  31. "Montreal passes controversial pit bull ban". CBC News. September 27, 2016. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  32. "Montreal adopts controversial pit bull ban". September 28, 2016. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  33. "Montreal SPCA to take legal action against new bylaw targeting pit bulls". CBC News. September 28, 2016. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  34. "Judge temporarily suspends controversial Montreal pit bull ban". The Globe and Mail. October 3, 2016. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  35. "Judge extends suspension of Montreal pit bull ban". CBC News. October 5, 2016. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  36. "Appeal court overturns suspension of Montreal's pit bull bylaw". Montreal Gazette. December 2, 2016. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  37. "Montreal to lift controversial pit bull ban". CBC News. December 8, 2017. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  38. "Montreal suspends controversial pit bull ban, new animal control bylaw in works". CBC News. December 20, 2017. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  39. "Round 2 in the Plante vs. Coderre debate: Rivals clash over dogs, taxes and transit". CBC News. October 23, 2017. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  40. "Mairie de Montréal: pitbulls, baseball et affichage bilingue". Le Devoir. October 24, 2017. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
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
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