Projet Montreal's Valérie Plante has come out as Coderre's top contender for the position of mayor. And with her heavy focus on public transit and accessibility, it's easy to see why.
But as with any politician, Plante may be making grandiose gestures just to secure votes. On the other hand, Plante may be the new political leader Montreal needs to bring the city into the future.
That is, of course, for you to decide. But to help you get a handle on everything Valérie Plante hopes to do as mayor, here's a brief rundown of her current platform.
Cheaper Public Transit For Low-Income Earners
Dubbed a "social fare," Plante has committed to making public transit 40% cheaper for anyone in Montreal livind under the poverty line.
Free STM Use For Kids And Elderly
Making public transit even more affordable is Plante's other promise, that taking a bus or metro will be 100% for children under the age of 12 and adults over 65. Plante says the last two promises are feasible by using existing provincial funding.
A New Pink Line On The Metro
Otherwise known as "la ligne diagonale," the proposed Pink Line would cut through downtown up to Montreal's north-east end, going through several existing metro lines to do so. Plante is also making the Blue Line extension a priority.
300 Hybrid Buses On The Streets
By 2020, Plante wants to have 300 hybrid buses on the streets of Montreal. The STM dropped this initiative already, pushing back the date to 2025, but Plante wants the timeline moved up.
No Tax Hikes For The Metro
Despite all of these public transit additions, Plante says that taxes won't be raised to pay for all of the initiatives. According to Plante, Montrealers already pay enough in taxes.
Better Construction In Montreal
Everyone hates Montreal roadwork, mainly because of how, once a repair on a pothole is finished, it’s only a matter of time before the road is damaged again. Plante wants to fix that by streamlining construction practices in Montreal and ensuring that, once a job is done, it’s done right the first time.
No Taxpayer Money For A Baseball Stadium
Whether or not Montreal will get a new baseball complex remains to be seen, but if it does happen, Plante promises it won’t come out of the pockets of Montrealers. Where the $500 million it will cost to build a stadium will come from remains to be seen.
More Room For Families
To ensure families have the space to live on the island of Montreal, Plante wants to impose a new policy on builders. If elected, Plante says she will make 20% of units in new condo construction projects have at least 3 bedrooms, so parents and children both have space.
No More Caleches
After the caleche-debate reignited over the summer, Plante called for an end to the “inhumane and unsafe industry” on Twitter.
More Transparency From City Hall
Plante promises to make city spending more visible to the public, and will start with Montreal’s 375th anniversary celebrations. If elected, Plante says she will let everyone see exactly how the city spent $125 million for the anniversary celebrations.
Montreal's police budget is getting a substantial boost again. An additional $45 million is earmarked for the SPVM in 2022 – one of the biggest cash injections the city's police force has ever received.
"The budget of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) has been increased by $45 million and now totals $724 million. Mixed squads will be added to the SPVM and will further improve the fight against violent incidents," explained a press release.
Le budget 2022 et le PDI 2022-2031 de Montr\u00e9al sont responsables et coh\u00e9rents. Nous agissons concr\u00e8tement pour une relance verte et inclusive de la m\u00e9tropole, en plus de proposer des mesures pour offrir un r\u00e9pit financier \u00e0 la population. #polmtl http://bit.ly/budg22\u00a0pic.twitter.com/l6MtqDDzN3
According to Mayor Valérie Plante, the proposed 2022 Budget "is a responsible budget that respects the population's ability to spend. It is also consistent with the priorities that guide our actions and that we share with the population, namely the affordability of the metropolis, urban safety, environmental resilience and the vitality of our neighbourhoods."
"The turbulent times are far from over and we have an obligation to put a lot of energy into helping Montrealers emerge from the pandemic, we must stay the course on the need to build our future together," added Dominique Ollivier, President of the Executive Committee.
But it seems that the future means, once again, more money for the police and less money for community services and groups, and fighting poverty in the metropolis.
(The increased police funding isn't a complete surprise, given the rhetoric around policing, violent crime and public safety in Montreal during the election campaign.)
The proposed investments in "public security" represent 17.7% of the city's entire operating budget for 2022 — more than any other investment.
The SPVM's proposed $45 million cash injection is more than is planned in 2022 for support for the homeless ($5.9 million), more than is planned for fighting "poverty and exclusion" ($10 million), and more than community groups who do "crucial work in crime prevention" will receive ($20 million, over 4 years).
According to official documents, the SPVM will use $17 million of its total budget to purchase body cameras, $52.6 million of its total budget to improve 911 services and $1.2 million in "the fight against conjugal violence."
The rise in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases in Quebec doesn't look like it'll be slowing down anytime soon... The Government of Quebec has admitted to its concern of the presence of the Omicron variant, and with seemingly good reason since the province just broke another record of new daily cases of COVID-19 reported for December 18.
The ministry of health recorded 3,846 new cases in the last 24 hours, with a rise of 29 hospitalizations, including five more people in intensive care.
A record number of cases was reported earlier this week as well, with 3,768 cases listed on December 16. This was over 1,000 more new cases compared to December 15, when the number of new cases was 2,736.
#COVID19 - En date du 18 d\u00e9cembre, voici la situation au Qu\u00e9bec: http://bit.ly/3u2lZJO\u00a0pic.twitter.com/7iAIsVnogY
Prior to December 2021, the previous record of most new cases in a day was on January 6, 2021, with 2,880 cases of COVID-19 in Quebec. Unfortunately, these numbers aren't the kind of record breaking we can get excited about.
New measures are being put in place to try and stop the spread of the virus on Monday, December 20, including reducing capacity to 50% in restaurants and bars.
"Experts believe that the number of cases will continue to increase and the number of hospitalizations as well [...] among other things because of the presence of the new Omicron variant, which according to experts is more contagious," said Premier François Legault at a press conference on December 16.
And even the mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, is currently isolating because she tested positive for COVID-19, which acts as a reminder that any of us can get it.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
She made the announcement on Twitter on Saturday afternoon.
Malheureusement, j'ai re\u00e7u un r\u00e9sultat positif \u00e0 un test de la COVID-19. \n\nJe poursuivrai mes activit\u00e9s en virtuel pendant mon isolement.\n\nLa variant Omicron est tr\u00e8s contagieux. Restons prudents et respectons les r\u00e8gles de sant\u00e9 publique. Nous traverserons ensemble cette vague.
"Unfortunately, I tested positive for COVID-19," she tweeted.
"The Omicron variant is very contagious. Let's be careful and respect the public health rules. We will ride this wave together."
Plante added that she will be continuing her usual activities virtually while she is in isolation.
Earlier the same day, in the wake of soaring COVID-19 case counts and new health measures, Premier François Legault took to social media to ask Quebecers for a "Christmas truce."
"What we all realized this week, the experts, Christian Dubé, Dr. Arruda and me, is that the Omicron variant is progressing at a lightning speed. It's hard to imagine. We haven't seen anything this overwhelming since the pandemic began," he said.
"If I had one wish this morning, it would be that we all call a Christmas truce. If we could just for 2-3 weeks stop the attacks, on social networks and in everyday life, it would help us all get through [...] Let's call a truce and focus on what we have to do in the next few weeks. Reduce our contacts, go for a 3rd dose, do everything we can to relieve our caregivers and take care of each other. It would be a nice collective Christmas present to ourselves."
On Saturday, the province reported its second-highest number of new cases since the start of the pandemic — 3,631 — while hospitalizations saw their largest spike in almost a year.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
Montreal police say a 20-year-old man has died following reports of gunfire in the borough of Anjou. Officers found the man unconscious inside a vehicle after responding to a call at around 7:15 p.m. Thursday evening.
He was pronounced dead after emergency crews transported him to the hospital. The SPVM confirmed this was Montreal's 32nd homicide of 2021.
A second victim with what police described as minor injuries was found near the same vehicle. The victim, a 17-year-old male, was released from the hospital and spoke with investigators.
SPVM spokesperson Raphaël Bergeron said the 17-year-old is known to police.
Investigators are still analyzing the incident and as of 3:30 a.m., they had not determined a motive, Bergeron said.
The death of the 20-year-old man comes just over two weeks after the shooting death of 16-year-old Thomas Trudel in the Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension borough, which marked Montreal's 31st homicide in 2021.
Trudel's death on November 14 led to widespread outcry from Montrealers and political leaders both local and provincial who called for an end to gun violence in the city.
Mayor Valérie Plante and Premier François Legault both visited the site of the 16-year-old's death. Many have criticized the unequal attention both leaders appear to have given the tragedy involving Trudel, who media reports have identified as white, compared to two minors of colour who have been killed in recent months, 16-year-old Jannai Dopwell-Bailey and 15-year-old Meriem Boundaoui.
Mayor Plante has repeatedly called for a nationwide handgun ban to combat violence in Montreal and elsewhere in Canada.
In January, the SPVM will host a forum with community stakeholders to refine its strategy in the fight against gun crime.