Liberal MP Denis Coderre has all but entered the race to become the next mayor of Montreal, but he said his official campaign launch will only happen after his party chooses a new leader next April.
Mr. Coderre said he will continue working as a full-time MP until the Liberal leadership convention, stating that he will tell anyone encouraging him to run for the Montreal mayoralty to "stay tuned."
Mr. Coderre said he is staying on within the Liberal caucus out of loyalty to his party and a sense of duty. He added that the Montreal election, in early November, 2013, is more than a year away.
"I'm not a mayor in waiting, I'm not the future mayor in waiting; my job is being the MP for Bourassa. I'm not straddling two chairs. What you see is what you get," Mr. Coderre told reporters.
Asked specifically about a run at the Montreal mayoralty, he said: "I'm not there yet."
Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae said he was happy to keep Mr. Coderre in his caucus during the leadership race.
"There is much work to do within the party until the selection of a new leader," Mr. Rae said. "He has clearly told me that there will not be a final decision until the election of the permanent leader of the Liberal Party of Canada."
It has long been an open secret in Ottawa that Mr. Coderre has chosen to leave federal politics to enter the municipal realm. The city of Montreal is in the grip of a string of major scandals involving corrupt bureaucrats, party organizers and businessmen, and there is much speculation that current mayor Gérald Tremblay will not run for re-election.
Mr. Coderre said the current situation is "uncomfortable," but he did not call specifically for Mr. Tremblay's resignation.
"Montreal deserves better," he said, calling on the Charbonneau Commission to continue its work.
Mr. Coderre is holding a spaghetti dinner in his riding of Bourassa on Nov. 9 to celebrate his 15-year anniversary as an MP. He said he will speak to friends and colleagues at that point, but dismissed the notion that he will make a formal announcement.
Mr. Coderre completed an MBA while he was an MP. When the Liberals were in power, he served as junior minister of amateur sport and minister of immigration.
He has also been the party's Quebec lieutenant, until a falling out with former leader Michael Ignatieff's close circle of advisers.
More to come