Gracia Kasoki Kahtawa is officially the mayor for Montreal's Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough, after her narrow, comeback election victory from earlier this month was subject to a recount.
Initially, Kasoki Kahtawa, a Projet Montréal candidate, was declared the winner by a margin of 212 votes.
She defeated Lionel Perez, a longtime city councillor for Ensemble Montréal who also served as the party's interim leader from 2017 up until March of this year.
Following the recount, her margin of victory is even thinner — 161 votes.
Kasoki Kahtawa is the first Black woman in the city's history to become borough mayor.
There was also a recount for the borough's seat in the Loyola district, and the victory of Projet Montréal candidate Despina Sourias was also confirmed.
The two recounts in Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce were requested by Ensemble Montréal.
The Court of Quebec also approved the party's requests for two recounts in the Rivière-des-Praires—Pointe-aux-Trembles borough, including one for the result of that borough's mayoral race.
On Nov. 25, the court announced Projet Montréal's Caroline Bourgeois had been re-elected as Rivière-des-Prairies mayor, but with a reduced margin. Bourgeois had led on election night by 303 votes but finally won with just 135 votes.
Another recount has confirmed the result of the borough mayor race in Outremont, where Ensemble Montréal's Laurent Desbois narrowly defeated the incumbent Philipe Tomlinson by 23 votes. The new tally shows Desbois won by 31 votes.
The last remaining recount is for the city council seat for the Tétreautville district in the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough.
Women make up majority of city's executive committee
The results of the recounts in Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce were announced on the same day Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante unveiled the city's new executive committee — and most of its members are women.
The committee which includes 15 members and four associate members, will be made up of 13 women and six men.
"This is a great way to show that, yes, it is possible," Plante said when asked about the strong presence of women on the committee.
"Hopefully this is a source of inspiration."
Dominique Ollivier was officially introduced as the executive committee's president, marking the first time in the city's history that a Black person has held that role.
Benoit Dorais, who served as the committee's president during Plante's first mandate, is now the vice-president. He will also be in charge of housing, real estate strategy and judicial affairs.
Alain Vaillancourt, a city councillor in the Southwest borough, will be in charge of public security, at a time when the city has made a commitment to tackle the issue of gun violence.
Plante said Vaillancourt's experience as a social worker, will be pivotal.
"Since the beginning, we always said we were working on three axes when it comes to public security," the mayor said.
"It's gun trafficking, it's criminalized groups but also giving more resources and support to community groups that are doing prevention and being connected to the different communities."
Eric Alan Caldwell will be the chair of the board of directors of Montreal's transit agency (STM), marking the first time since 2009 that an elected official is in that role. He will take over from Philippe Schnobb.
Here are the other members of the executive committee as well as their roles:
Ericka Alneus: culture and heritage.
Robert Beaudry: urbanism, citizen participation and democracy.
Caroline Bourgeois: large parks, Parc Jean-Drapeau, Mount-Royal, the Space for Life museums, sports and leisure.
Josefina Blanco: diversity, social inclusion, homelessness and universal accessibility.
Marie-Andrée Mauger: ecological transition and the environment.
Sophie Mauzerolle: transportation and mobility.
Magda Popeanu: organizational performance.
Luc Rabouin: economic and commercial development.
Émilie Thuillier: infrastructure, buildings, infrastructures, immeubles and asset maintenance.
Maja Vodanovic: water and collaboration among boroughs.
Marianne Giguère (associate member): active transportation.
Despina Sourias (associate member): the status of women, diversity, youth and seniors.
Alia Hassan-Cournol (associate member): reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
Alex Norris has been named the leader of the majority and will take part in executive committee meetings as a non-voting member.
The committee's first meeting will take place on Thursday.
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.