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Municipal elections of 1954 and 1957

The morality dispute raised new issues on the local scene.  Up to that point, political life had been mainly dominated by teams set up during election periods for the sole purpose of favoring the election of certain candidates.  Those teams had no platform they were willing to defend.

The first political groups were set up in the 1950s.  The Civic Action League was established at the end of January 1951 by members of the Public Morality Committee.  Its objectives were to clean up the city and revamp the government.  Councillor Pierre DesMarais was chosen as chairman.  The League had 34 candidates at the 1954 election, and its campaign was centered on housing, public transit and traffic.

In October 1954, the Civic Action League scored a victory with the election of Jean Drapeau as mayor, as well as 28 of its members.  Pierre DesMarais became chairman of the executive committee.  City council was made up of 99 members, but since the League formed a minority, the proposed reforms were brought to a standstill.

Lucien Croteau, then member of the executive committee, established the Great Montreal Rally, along with 34 councillors, barely a few months before the election scheduled for October 1957.  It had the support of the anglophone and Jewish communities.  Former senator Sarto Fournier was chosen to run for mayor. 

The Great Montreal Rally campaigned for a metropolitan government and vowed to solve the numerous problems relating to services and transportation.  Sarto Fournier defeated Jean Drapeau by a majority of a few thousand votes.  The Rally won 20 seats, while the League won 33.  That election marked the only victory in the brief existence of the Great Montreal Rally.


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