Take a look at the picture below, which depicts newly-elected mayor Valérie Plante’s executive committee, and see if you can point out a problem.
No, nothing? Well, despite the fact that there’s gender parity in Plante’s executive committee, there is a distinct lack of diversity.
Here it is, mayor Valerie Plante's new executive committee. pic.twitter.com/bZYoqbe0YY— Stéphane Giroux (@SGirouxCTV) November 20, 2017
There are no visible minorities represented within Montreal’s new executive committee.
The members of Plante’s 13-person executive committee were announced today. Leading the committee is Benoit Dorais, Sud-Ouest borough mayor, a choice already publicized by Plante. City council members Sylvain Ouellet (François-Perrault) and Magda Popeanu (CDN-NDG) will serve as vice presidents.
Luc Ferrandez, mayor of Plateau-Mont-Royal, and councillors Éric Alan Caldwell, Craig Sauvé, and Alex Norris will also be on the executive committee. Jean-François Parenteau, formerly of Équipe Denis Coderre, is also on board.
Other members include Christine Gosselin, Nathalie Goulet, Robert Beaudry, Rosannie Filato, François William Croteau, Laurence Lavigne Lalonde, Jean-François Parenteau. Each has their own distinct responsibility, outlined by CBC here.
Plante’s picks are all well and good, representing a diverse range of experience in politics and various boroughs and a. Except, of course, for the distinct lack of representation.
This would be a problem on its own, but it’s made even worse given the fact that Plante actually said her executive committee would have some level of diversity.
It would seem that a diverse range of voices, backgrounds, and lived experiences aren’t all that important to the new mayor. Or, at least, not as important as Plante made it seem during her campaign.
A lack of diversity is a major problem for Montreal municipal politics. Of the 65 councillors at City Hall, only 5 represent a visible minority or marginalized community.
The voices of visible minorities are already overshadowed by the white majority. Plante’s all-white executive committee only make the diversity problem worse.
Plante had a chance to rectify this problem, at least to some degree, by making an effort to create an executive committee representative of Montreal’s diversity. Instead, we’re getting the same old “white people in power” schtick.
Now, this isn’t to say Plante is an enemy of diversity or racial representation. There may be a reason for her choices. A lack of qualified politicians to choose from, for example.
But that’s an easy excuse, one that propagates the problem. Visible minorities aren’t represented in Montreal (and Quebec) politics because they don’t see themselves as viable candidates. By skipping over any person of colour for the executive committee, Plante is adding to this (rather unfair) sentiment.