Montreal Mayor race is on
The official municipal election campaigns have begun in municipalities across Quebec – and in Montreal it is already proving itself to be one of the hottest matches between the present Mayor Denis Coderre and official opposition leader Valérie Plante of Projet Montréal.
From now until November 5th political candidates will be wooing Montrealers for their votes. And for the main seat at City Hall, it is really going to be a two-way race.
On social media, Montrealers have clearly been voicing their ever-growing discontent with Coderre’s performance and decisions he made over his four year tenure, decisions made which he alone thought were right, regardless of expert opinion and what his constituents felt and wanted – even some of his own party members. A few of the more prevalent issues many Montrealers feel he ignored them on include:
– BREED SPECIFIC BYLAW (BSL) where he showed his true colors. Not only did he ignore the experts and protesters – at a council meeting when a citizen was criticizing him for the bylaw, he simply ordered the person’s microphone to be turned off, uttering ‘cut the mic’. It was caught on video.
– $1 BILLION SPENT ON THE 375TH Anniversary Celebrations, including the Urban Rodeo event and the re-lighting of the Jacques Cartier bridge – while 25% of children live in poverty.
– PUBLIC TRANSIT AND CYCLISTS where there are many issues – and only band-aid solutions offered. Coderre does not use public transit.
– TRUST AND TRANSPARENCY: Well, you just have to look at the Formula E Race as an example, a race the majority of people did NOT want and put many businesses on the brink of bankruptcy. He still refuses to divulge the numbers before the November 5th municipal elections, claiming it is ‘complicated’ – but any one of us could have stood there and counted the people who attended.
It would appear Montrealers are ready to vote him out, but Mayor Coderre is part of an ‘old boys club’. And let’s face it, he knows how to play the ‘Habs’ card very well. People can become complacent. But in the end, Coderre might regret his ‘my way or no way’ attitude and how he has treated the very citizens who voted for him in the last election.
Montrealers are now paying serious attention to Valérie Plante and Projet Montréal. They have been a growing force on the political scene. Plante is very well-versed on all the issues Montrealers are concerned with and has been doing the groundwork – literally. She knows what she is up against, but that has not deterred her. Using public transit, cycling and walking, she and her team have been on the streets, visiting all 19 boroughs and meeting with people where they live, listening to them and coming up with concrete solutions and plans to address their problems and concerns.
She may have first been perceived as an ‘unknown’ with less political experience – but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Coderre has more experience as ‘politician’. He had 16 years under his belt as a Liberal MP and cabinet minister with the Federal government, before being elected as Mayor in 2013 – but given his track record and how people feel about politicians today, it might not be a plus for him.
Plante on the other hand comes from a grassroots movement. She is a downtown resident and officially got into municipal politics in 2013, when elected the party’s councilor for Sainte-Marie, defeating former provincial minister Louise Harel. She became the opposition critic for downtown tourism as well as women’s affairs – and was also named vice-president of City Council and substitute mayor for the Ville-Marie borough. In December of 2016 she was chosen to lead Projet Montréal into the municipal election against Mayor Denis Coderre.
Her interest in politics goes back to her early 20’s. She has worked as a project and communications coordinator in cultural community and unionized sectors – where her interest in social justice, fighting against poverty and citizen participation greatly increased. Plante also sat on various boards such as the nonpartisan Groupe Femmes Politique et Démocratie and has been involved with the Broadbent Institute. Her journey might have been different, but she is far from inexperienced.
As for where she and the party stand on the same issues:
– BREED SPECIFIC BYLAW (BSL) where they will repeal the bylaw. They believe it is very wrong and will seek expert opinion. Together they will look at the best models already out there, such as what is place in Calgary and Laval – where the onus is put on the pet owner.
– $1 BILLION SPENT ON 375TH Anniversary Celebrations is something Plante considers outrageous. ‘Let’s have a party’ she said, but they would have consulted Montrealers on what they envision for the city and would have created projects that speak to those wishes.
– PUBLIC TRANSIT and CYCLISTS – She uses public transit and is very aware of the problems commuters face, including constant delays and breakdowns, which would be addressed, and air-conditioning would be put in buses. As for cyclists, they would greatly improve the infrastructure, with a better circuit and divided bike lanes – and not the painted ones which have proven to be very dangerous.
– TRUST AND TRANSPARENCY is something Valerie takes very seriously and realizes in the present political climate, she will have to earn Montrealers trust. As for transparency, the party is already looking into many areas needing to be addressed – and concrete measures will be put into place.
November 5th will soon arrive – and with it a chance to create change. Will you take the time to vote? And who do you see running City Hall for the next four years… a Mayor or a Mayoress?