Denis Coderre PC (born July 25, 1963) 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. In 2013, he was elected mayor of Montreal.
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. 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. Close links to Claude Boulay of Groupe Everest, another actor in the sponsorship scandal, were also made during the Gomery Inquiry, which cost him his cabinet position in 2004. No legal action has been taken to substantiate or disprove the allegations.
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.”
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.
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.
Coderre is running for re-election in the 2017 Montreal municipal election on November 5, 2017.
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