So a Canadian mayor was arrested Monday and, no, it was not the one you expect. Montreal's mayor was taken from his home early this morning, and it's making us ask a very serious question: what is going on with Canadian mayors lately?
Quebec's anti-corruption cops arrested Montreal Mayor Michael Applebaum at his home around 6 a.m. Monday morning. Applebaum was chosen by city council as interim mayor in November to replace Gérald Tremblay who resigned over corruption charges. Applebaum faces "14 criminal charges, including fraud towards the government, breach of trust, conspiracy and municipal corruption," the CBC reports. In his short time as mayor, Applebaum has already defended himself from allegations of mafia connections.
Two others were arrested Monday -- Jean-Yves Bisson and Saulie Zajdel -- who have connections to Montreal's Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough office where Applebaum previously sat as borough mayor. Bisson is a former borough manager and Zajdel is a former city councillor. UPAC raided the office in May but Applebaum wasn't named as a suspect at the time.
But when a Canadian mayor makes headlines for getting arrested in the shadow of Rob Ford (allegedly!) smoking crack cocaine on video, well, certain questions like ours get raised. What, exactly, is going on with our unassuming northern neighbors? There's something rotten not in Denmark, but in Canadian cities across the country.
Consider this brief recent history of Canada's misbehaving mayors:
- November 5, 2012 - Gérald Tremblay resigns as Montreal mayor after corruption and bribery charges, with connections to the Montreal mafia, crept closer and closer into the mayor's office.
- November 21, 2012 - London, Ontario, mayor Joe Fontana charged with fraud, breach of trust by a public official and uttering forged documents by the RCMP in November 2012. He's accused of passing a $1,700 Government of Canada check to cover his son's wedding reception in 2005. He has refused to step down.
- May 9, 2013 - Laval, Quebec, mayor Gilles Vaillancourt was charged with running an "organized and structured network" of gangsters during his 23 year stint as mayor of Quebec's third largest city.
- May 16, 2013 - Toronto, Ontario, mayor Rob Ford is accused of smoking crack cocaine on video. In the intervening weeks, the video is connected with the killing of 21-year-old Anthony Smith, a violent beating with a metal pipe, and a raid on members of local chapters of the Bloods.
- May 25, 2013 - Winnipeg, Manitoba, mayor Sam Katz accused of littering. He spit out a piece of gum and a journalist asked him to pick it up. This transgression obviously pales in comparison to his fellow evil Canadian mayors, but this is the same guy who once kicked a kid in the face, and on video no less. So, you know, he deserves a spot here.
That's all a bit much, no? It was enough to make National Post scribe Bruce Arthur, who inspired this post, to name the group the "league of Canadian mayoral supervillains." It doesn't have the catchiness of Scott Pilgrim's "league of evil ex-boyfriends," but for now it will have to work.
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