Hey Montreal, I hope you remember that after the federal election is over on September 20, you'll be in the throes of yet another election, this time for the mayor of Montreal, city and borough councils.
By now, we should all know the candidates, the parties, and what they claim to stand for but some of us might have no idea how to vote, when to vote, or how this whole mayoral election thing even works.
Project Montréal forms the current administration, lead by Valérie Plante. Plante has been the leader of the party since 2016 and was elected mayor in 2017. Plante is the first woman to be Montreal's mayor.
Plante dethroned former mayor Denis Coderre and his party Ensemble Montréal at the last election, prompting him to exit politics.
But Coderre is back and wants to regain the office of mayor. Ensemble Montréal has served as the official opposition in City Hall since the 2017 election.
Mouvement Montréal, meanwhile, is a new party with a charismatic leader in former CFL player Balarama Holness who promises to change Montreal and bring it into the future. Holness and his party have introduced bold policy moves, which include making Montreal a city-state within Quebec and making public transit free for everyone under 25.
The parties officially kicked off their campaigns on September 17, with promises and election signs aplenty.
There are 103 elective positions in 58 electoral districts in all 19 boroughs of Montreal. The breakdown is as follows, according to Elections Montréal:
mayor of Montreal
18 borough mayors who are also city councillors;
46 city councillors;
and 38 borough councillors.
There will be four full days of elections with two advance polling days and two official election days.
How to vote
There will be four full days of elections in Montreal plus mail-in voting.
Advance polling days will take place on Saturday and Sunday, October 30 and 31, 2021, from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. in select polling stations.
The actual election will take place over two days on Saturday and Sunday, November 6 and 7, 2021, from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. in over 400 polling stations around the city
In 2017, 42.5% of registered voters participated in the election, according to Elections Montréal. Will we eclipse that number this year?
Montreal mayoral candidate Balarama Holness told MTL Blog he was "disappointed and saddened" by a racist and violently hateful email that was sent to him.
This article contains graphic content that might not be suitable for some readers.
The email, which he posted to his social media accounts, claims to be from a "proud Quebecer." It repeatedly calls Holness the N-word, refers to him as an "immigrant" and wishes violence upon him.
"It feels like an emotional concussion. You know, I wasn't expecting it," said Holness.
"There's a tremendous amount of pressure when you're running for mayor of Montreal and with everything going on, it did affect me. I get a lot of these things with the N-word, but never to this point of talking about suicide and giving someone a gun to shoot me [...] This was over the top."
Holness received an outpouring of support in his comments sections, as well as from his political opponents Denis Coderre and Valérie Plante on Twitter. But the email has shaken the mayoral hopeful.
"I'm not fully confident that people are ready to build a society where everyone can come as they are," he said.
Valérie Plante has big plans for downtown Montreal if she's reelected mayor and has outlined her party's ideas for the city's economic and social recovery after the pandemic.
From free parking to planting hundreds of thousands of trees, here's what her vision for the future of downtown Montreal looks like.
Her plan, self-described as "ambitious," aims to boost what she already says has been the "best economic recovery" in Canada post-pandemic.
But while the economic aspect of downtown is looking positive, "there is still work to be done to enhance our downtown area and make it more attractive to workers, businesses, tourists, and Montrealers from all over the island," according to her party.
If reelected mayor, Plante promises to:
"support the Palais des Congrès expansion project, and consequently the covering of a part of the Ville-Marie highway;"
"offer free parking downtown on evenings and weekends in December to support our merchants during the holiday season;"
"[accelerate] construction sites and [limit] potential nuisances;"
"support the redevelopment of large offices into adequate spaces to accommodate [small and medium enterprises] and start-ups;"
make "a $1 billion investment by 2030 to develop beautiful, large public plazas in downtown, redevelop key commercial arteries and create vibrant living environments;"
"green" downtown by planting 500,000 trees in four years;
and "facilitate the transformation of vacant office space into housing."
The Montreal municipal election is on November 6 and 7.*
If either Valérie Plante or Denis Coderre get elected mayor in November, Montreal would be "more dangerous," according to mayoral candidate and Mouvement Montréal leader Balarama Holness.
"Montreal will be more dangerous under a Plante or Coderre administration because they both avoid accountability and fail to address the root cause of city violence: poverty, social exclusion, and marginalization," Holness said in a statement shared with MTL Blog.
@mouvement_MTL and @RPMTL2021 have a common vision to provide Montrealers with better services, remedy the housing… https://t.co/yXXZIqzTwQ
Holness called out Mayor Valérie Plante and former Mayor Denis Coderre for, in his words, "blindly investing in the SPVM."
"We have seen the budget skyrocket from $400 million to $800 million per year in the past few decades," he said, calling for a record of "every dollar spent by the SPVM" to be made public.
Under a Holness mandate, SPVM expenditures would be greatly reduced and much of the police budget would be frozen or eliminated altogether, "including the $57 million dollar gun range that was earmarked for 2020-2022," the statement from the party reads.
Rather than funding the police, Holness says his administration would invest $1 billion into building new sports and recreation facilities in Montreal in order to "improve urban health, limit high school dropouts, and build stronger and safer communities."
Specifically, Coderre and his party, Ensemble Montréal, say their administration would study the possibility of turning the surface above a stretch of sunken highway between chemins Queen Mary and Côte-Sainte-Catherine into a "new green urban park" with "outdoor sports facilities, family facilities and a relaxation area with a fountain."
🏗️ Le recouvrement de Ville-Marie mettra la table pour l’agrandissement du Palais des Congrès, qui permettra à Mont… https://t.co/E5o0nS5jba
"It's been 50 years since we've been talking about covering the Décarie Expressway and no one has yet taken the time to commission a detailed and ingenious feasibility study with a budget and a timetable for the project to become a reality," Ensemble Montréal candidate for CDN-NDG borough mayor, Lionel Perez, said in a statement.
The party says it would reduce the roads on either side of the highway to two lanes each.
Coderre also has a plan to cover part of the Ville-Marie Expressway downtown through the expansion of the Palais des congrès and the creation of a public square between rue Sanguinet and boulevard Saint-Laurent.
Ensemble Montréal says covering the Décarie would cost $700 million and covering the Ville-Marie Expressway would cost $400 million.