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Humbert in Alley Cat Gallery (all images courtesy John Jordan)

Yesterday, the CBC reported that a new candidate with a reputation for fighting illegal graffiti has joined the running in a local Montreal riding that will determine the region’s representative in Canadian parliament. The new independent candidate for the tony, predominantly anglophone NDG–Westmount district is a four-year-old cat named Humbert. He is also the official muse for a local art gallery that opened last year as a way to discourage unwanted graffiti.

One of Humbert’s campaign posters with the motto, “Treats for Everyone” (click to enlarge)

Alley Cat Gallery, located in a small alley off busy Sherbrooke Street, was born when Humbert’s owner John Jordan decided to cover the many tags on the alley’s brick walls with works of art so that his aspiring feline politician could hang out in a clean courtyard. The idea evolved into a full-fledged gallery exhibiting cat-related artworks exclusively, including original pieces by local artists. Ever since, the space has remained clean.

As of press time no official poll has been conducted to gauge public support for Humbert. However, as a tiger tabby with a hint of Maine Coon, he may at least appeal to voters seeking a candidate with a more diverse background than the feline’s all-white, male, human competitors.

Always interested in paw-litical candidates with a stake in the arts, Hyperallergic reached out to Humbert’s spokesperson, campaign manager, and owner to learn more about the cat’s campaign platform.

*   *   * 

Claire Voon: Does Humbert align himself with any political party?

John Jordan: Humbert is fiercely independent and highly suspicious of things on two legs regardless of party affiliation.

CV: What plans does Humbert have to support and promote the local arts? Where does he stand on government-subsidized art? Would he try to devote a portion of his budget to public art?

JJ: We hope Humbert’s story will inspire people to invest more in public art, to take it upon themselves to beautify and inspire with art in their neighborhoods, and not just rely on corporate and public funds to do it. We must become the change we wish to see in the world.

One of Humbert’s campaign posters with his motto, “Let’s Keep the Box Clean” (click to enlarge)

CV: Is Humbert running for office on an anti-graffiti platform? What policies will he hope to implement to combat illegal street art?

JJ: Humbert’s motto is “Let’s Keep The Box Clean.” He is a serious groomer and feels strongly about keeping up a good appearance.

CV: What are Humbert’s thoughts on the national minimum wage? LGBT-related issues? Taxes? How will he improve public transit?

JJ: Treats must be equally distributed; spay or neuter your pets regardless of proclivity; tax less/spend less; and everyone should have a job they can walk to.

CV: Incumbent Liberal MP (and former astronaut) Marc Garneau challenged Humbert to a radio debate. How will Humbert respond?

JJ: Humbert will step up to Mr. Garneau if there’s a chance he can put a cat on the moon.

CV: Does Humbert identify as an anglophone or a francophone?

JJ: Humbert has no trouble understanding anyone.

Alley Cat Gallery

Rupert Bottenberg, “Black Cat”

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Claire Voon

Claire Voon is a former staff writer for Hyperallergic. Originally from Singapore, she grew up near Washington, D.C. and is now based in Chicago. Her work has also appeared in New York Magazine, VICE,...

2 replies on “Cat Running for Canadian Parliament on Anti-Graffiti Platform”

  1. This is funny, and given the typical nature of politics, refreshing, but with complete farce PM Stephen Harper intent on destroying Canada, one would think Humbert’s candidacy could somehow include a credible threat to his rule, rather than only bourgeois worry over the unseemly appearance of writing on the wall, instead of its meaning.

  2. Humbert’s candidacy is certainly a welcome change from the usual fat cat politics we have to endure, and I would be glad to support him. However, when I informed my feline cohabitants Nikita, Lucinda and Pandora of this development, their first question was, what is he proposing to do about getting cats the vote? It’s a valid question; I think we should be told.

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