Denis Coderre talks to Elias Makos about taxis — and Bill 21

Former Montreal mayor Denis Coderre says he's been getting some quality time in the boxing ring lately — but could it be a prelude to a political comeback?

Coderre says that's not in the offing for the time being, but he is suggesting that public service will always be a part of him.

17 months after his defeat to Valérie Plante in the 2017 mayoralty election, Coderre appears to be slowly clawing his way back into the public sphere. Last week, he was front and centre at Olympic Stadium for the Blue Jays' exhibition baseball games.

Now, he's in training for a charity boxing match, which is set to take place at MTelus — what used to be known as the Metropolis — on May 30, to benefit a group called Les Princes de la Rue.

And it's hard not to notice there's literally a third less of him than there was while he was in office — he's dropped about 100 pounds since leaving City Hall.

"I'm 55. The guarantee is going out, so you've got to take care of yourself," Coderre told CJAD 800's Elias Makos on Friday. "It's all about self-esteem. If you don't take care of yourself, who will?"

 

During his interview, Coderre didn't shy away from offering his opinions on two major hot-button issues of the day — the ongoing taxi protests and Bill 21.

He says he's for open competition in the industry, but that all the main actors have to have a level playing field. He says he sympathizes with cabbies, who he referred to as "ambassadors" for the city.

"We're talking about 22,000 families here," Coderre says. "I'm not a big fan of Uber...and I'm a promoter of taxis. Of course the industry has to refurbish."

Meanwhile, he says he's dead set against the CAQ's attempt as banning religious symbols for government employees — as he was dead set against the PQ's Charter of Values, the debate around which was happening as he was running for City Hall for the first time in the fall of 2013.

"There's several questions you have to ask yourself. Is it doable? Can you apply it?" Coderre said. "If I have a judge who's wearing a kippa...he's a professional. He's not there to provide me with an hour of religion. It's about their own beliefs."