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Ford foibles pale in comparison to Montreal-area mayors: Quebec media

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, centre, speaks to the media at city hall in Toronto, Monday, Nov. 26, 2012.

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Two cities, two ousted mayors, and there the similarities end.

In Quebec, observers noted that the controversy that cost Toronto Mayor Robert Ford his job paled into comparison with the municipal scandals unfolding in Montreal and elsewhere.

Quebec newspapers featured Mr. Ford's ouster but couldn't help drawing comparisons with the shocking tales of vice unfolding at the Charbonneau Commission.

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"Oh! Toronto! Them too! » wrote La Presse columnist Yves Boisvert on Tuesday. But he said Quebeckers should rein in their joy at watching Toronto's troubles.

Montreal mayor Gérald Tremblay resigned this month because of the depth of corruption that was eating away at his city, Mr. Boisvert wrote.

He and others noted that the rules in Ontario are a lot tougher than in Quebec, and Mr. Ford was forced out for a minor conflict-of-interest breach.

"The strictness of the Ontario law only reinforces the feeling that some Quebec mayors are taking advantage of a system that's too lenient," he said.

In Le Devoir, editorial writer Josée Boileau noted the same contrast between the two provinces. She, too, felt that Mr. Ford stepped down for a minor matter.

"In Quebec, even being accused of fraud isn't enough to push out a mayor, as Mascouche Mayor Richard Marcotte proves," she said, referring to a mayor in suburban Montreal.

Summarizing the tougher rules in Ontario, and the fact Toronto has had an integrity commissioner since 2004, she concluded: "Yes, Ontario has some lessons to teach us."

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The Montreal Gazette also found that Mr. Ford's transgressions are "in a very different league from the allegations of criminal misdeeds made at the Charbonneau Commission." Its headline on its story read: "An enforcement tale of two cities."

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About the Author

Ingrid Peritz has been a Montreal-based correspondent for The Globe and Mail since 1998. Her reporting on the plight of Canadians suffering from the damaging effects of the drug thalidomide helped victims obtain federal compensation and earned The Globe and Mail a National Newspaper Award, Canadian Journalism Foundation award, and the Michener Award for public service. More

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