On November 7, Montrealers will go to the polls and cast their ballot on who will run their city and boroughs. Here at the VCSA Insider, we have summarized on who are the candidates running across the city.
- Valérie Plante – The Incumbent
Valérie Plante made history in 2017 when she was as the first female elected mayor of Montréal. Plante, then a relatively unknown politician, defeated one-term mayor Denis Coderre and her party Projet Montréal took control of City Council. Plante’s term as mayor has been marked by her progressive and environmentalist ideals which focuses on public transit and other car-free alternatives for transportation around the city.
Her administration received criticism from suburban homeowners and small business owners over her municipal tax increases and controversial bike lanes arrangements. Despite these disagreements, Plante is determined on making Montreal an eco-friendly city. Plante and Projet Montréal have also proposed to plant 500 000 trees and reduce carbon emission by 55% by 2030. In addition to her ecological transition agenda, the incumbent mayor promised to build 60 000 affordable housing units in the next 10 years to tackle Montreal’s housing crisis. Projet Montréal will be the only party who will be running candidates in all 103 elected positions across the city.
- Denis Coderre – The Comeback Attempt
After stepping out from the political spotlight for three years, Denis Coderre has announced earlier in the year that he would be running to reclaim his old job as mayor of Montréal. Coderre, who’s first mandate was marked by international festivals, like the eFormula race, and his Ensemble Montréal team is running on a campaign of renewing Montréal with emphasis on economic growth and exporting the metropolis’ attractions. Coderre has reinterred that one of his main priorities would be public safety. Coderre proposes increasing police presence and installing body cameras on patrol officers to tackle the rise of shootings and homicides in Montreal. Coderre promised to make 50 000 housing units by 2025 and make the metropolis more attractive for real estate brokers for his housing plan.
Some of Coderre’s propositions have raised eyebrows from the public, especially the now-reversed plan of banning alcohol at night in parks and allowing buildings to surpass the height of Mount Royal. Regardless, Coderre is dedicating his time to making his vision for Montreal a reality.
- Balarama Holness – The Third-Way Option
While all eyes will be focusing on the Plante vs. Coderre rematch, a new third party has risen to the prominence of Montréal politics. Former football cornerback Balarama Holness and his party Mouvement Montréal is running on offering Montréal a new, grassroot alternative to both Plante’s Projet Montréal and Coderre’s Ensemble Montréal. Holness, a former candidate for Projet Montréal, has attracted media attention with plans to cut funding to the SPVM and hold a referendum to make Montreal a bilingual city-state. Holness has doubled downed on some of his policies to ensure Montréal would get a Third-way alternative in this election.
In addition, Mouvement Montréal has also presented 71 candidates to run for borough mayor, city councillor, and borough councillors.
- Rise in local borough parties
Ever since the 2001 merger of independent cities on the island of Montreal, local borough parties have always been present in Montreal politics. There are currently two boroughs that are entirely controlled by these local parties, Anjou and LaSalle. This election saw the rise of new local parties in the spotlight.
After 18 years of serving as borough mayor in LaSalle, Manon Barbe announced that she would be retiring this year. Her party, Équipe LaSalle, holds all seven seats at the Borough Council. Barbe will be replaced by Nancy Blanchet as leader of Équipe LaSalle. The party will be competing against Projet Montréal, Ensemble Montréal and Mouvement Montréal for control of LaSalle.
In Anjou, Luis Miranda of Équipe Anjou will be seeking another term as borough mayor. Denis Coderre’s Ensemble Montréal will be supporting Miranda’s team by not running candidates in Anjou.
In Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, borough mayor Sue Montgomery will try to get re-elected under her new party, Courage. Montgomery, who was first elected in 2017 under Projet Montréal, has been expelled from her old party for allegations of workplace harassment. Montgomery isn’t the only borough mayor who will be running under a newly-formed local party. Villeray—Saint-Michel—Parc-Extension mayor Giuliana Fumagalli will be seeking re-election with her party Quartiers Montréal. Like Montgomery, Fumagalli was expelled from Projet Montréal under similar circumstances. Both Montgomery and Fumagalli have denied all allegations of workplace harassment.
Overall, this November, Montrealers across the city will have access to a diverse field of candidates to choose from. It will be up to them to decide who shall run their cities and boroughs for the next four years.
by Jacques Wang