People are not pleased with Montreal’s Mayor Valérie Plante. After an election built off of huge promises and optimism, reality has set in, with Plante’s shiny veneer losing its sheen.
Plante’s fall from grace is mostly because of the newly unveiled 2018 municipal budget, with many saying the mayor has broken some key electoral promises. And, when you look at some of Plante’s commitments before being sworn in as mayor, that’s not exactly a wrong statement.
In the spirit of holding politicians accountable, especially given the 2018 budget, here’s everything Valérie Plante has messed up (thus far) as mayor. Here’s hoping these problems are identified and rectified before the next election.
No Pink Line
A key electoral promise, the general public expect Plante to immediately make moves on her proposed Pink Line metro project. In some ways, Plante did, gaining some support from the provincial and federal government. But in Montreal’s 2018 budget, the Pink Line is nowhere to be seen. No money is set aside for the Pink Line nor is there even a team or office dedicated to moving the project forward. Montreal may be waiting a good long time for a Pink Line, if it ever gets off the ground.
Raising Rents And Property Tax
During her campaign, Plante promised not to raise taxes past the rate of inflation. Montreal’s 2018 budget basically did the opposite of that, increasing property taxes by an average of 3.3%, one of the largest increases in recent years. Property owners across Montreal now have to pay more to live in their homes and many landlords will be forced to pass on the tax hike to their tenants, increasing rents to cover the costs.
Saying “No” To Heated Sidewalks On Sainte Catherine Street
In all fairness, installing heated sidewalks on Ste-Catherine St. was a promise made by Denis Coderre and was included in the downtown retail strip’s reconstruction project. The Plante administration, however, doesn’t think heated sidewalks are a good investment, mainly because of the high cost and potential technical issues. Plante and her team may be right, but Montrealers were already promised heated sidewalks, so it kind of sucks we all got jazzed about the idea for it to be nixed by the new administration.
Making Montreal’s Diversity Problem Even Worse
As Montreal’s first female mayor, Valérie Plante broke a very real gender barrier. Some assumed, then, that Plante would then make an effort to dismantle the diversity problem at City Hall, where next to no one in an elected position is anything but white. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, as Plante actually made Montreal’s diversity problem somewhat worse, appointing an executive committee solely made up of white folk.
Still No End To Calèches
Calèches are a controversial industry in Montreal, to say the least. Every summer a video of a tired or abused horse goes viral and everyone calls on the city to end the practice of calèches. Mayor Plante has gone on the record to say that her administration will not fund calèches and will put an end to the industry. Aside from a verbal commitment, however, the Plante administration hasn’t made any effort to actually end calèches. Maybe they’re just waiting for the summer to roll around.
Doing Harm To Local Businesses
The Plante administration’s new budget isn’t just raising taxes for property owners, local businesses will also experience a tax-squeeze. According to estimates from the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, the 3% tax increase for businesses will harm “the business environment and reduces the attractiveness of the city for businesses,” reports Radio-Canada.
Making Life Harder For Young Families
Yet another campaign promise of Mayor Plante was ensuring young families had living space in Montreal. Plante plans to make food on the promise by enforcing a policy on condo builders to make 20% of units include at least 3 bedrooms, so kids and parents have room. And that may still happen, but Plante’s new budget is already making life harder for young families in Montreal. Families in certain boroughs where property taxes are rising by quite a bit, like Rosemont, fear that their funds will be depleted to pay for the tax hike. One mother in Rosemont actually called Plante out, saying to TVA she “thought Valérie Plante was very pro family” but now finds that hard to believe as her family’s money will be “taken by the throat” because of the property tax hikes.