Valérie Plante plans to make vaccination mandatory for Montreal's elected officials

·3 min read
Incumbent Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante's proposed vaccination requirement is viewed favourably by the city's main municipal party leaders.  (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Incumbent Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante's proposed vaccination requirement is viewed favourably by the city's main municipal party leaders. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press - image credit)

A mandate requiring Montreal city council's next elected officials to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 could be adopted by the city's executive committee in the coming days.

According to incumbent mayor Valérie Plante, no one without two shots should be allowed to enter Montreal's City Hall.

"Aspiring municipal officials are required to lead by example," said Plante in a Friday tweet, responding to an article from Radio-Canada.

"This is why all elected officials will have to be able to show their vaccination passport during the next meetings of the municipal council."

A regulation on the vaccination passport will be adopted next Wednesday in the executive committee, then submitted to a city council vote.

Since no municipal council meeting is scheduled ahead of the Nov. 7 elections, the decision will submitted to the next elected officials, likely by the end of the year.

Montreal is not the first city to want to impose vaccination on municipal workers. To work at Ottawa City Hall, employees must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1 unless they have a medical exemption.

A vaccination passport has also been imposed at Quebec's National Assembly, but so far there's nothing of the sort at the federal level in the House of Commons.

Parties support vaccine mandate

Plante's proposed vaccination requirement is viewed favourably by Montreal's main political parties.

Plante's Projet Montréal says its 103 candidates are already fully vaccinated. The same goes for the 98 candidates of Denis Coderre's Ensemble Montréal party, who had made the decision in September to eject Julie-Pascale Provost, then candidate for mayor of Lachine, from the caucus.

Ensemble Montréal said she had failed to provide proof of vaccination to the party.

Mouvement Montréal Leader Balarama Holness is also in favour of the idea.

Both he and Coderre want to take it a step further and make vaccination compulsory for all 28,000 city employees — something Plante had said she wouldn't do.

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press, Holly Cabrera/CBC, Charles Contant/CBC
Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press, Holly Cabrera/CBC, Charles Contant/CBC

Meanwhile, at least two Mouvement Montréal candidates have come under fire recently regarding their stance on public health measures.

Rita Ikhouane, who is vying for city councillor in Côte-des-Neiges – Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, told Radio-Canada she is not against vaccines, but she doesn't see her vaccination status as anyone's business.

"If society thinks [getting vaccinated] is the right thing to do, I'll do it. But I like to take my time and think, without feeling like I'm doing something wrong," she said in a phone interview.

Holness said he was not aware of her vaccination status and said "she will not be invited to any public event." She can, however, maintain her candidacy.

Another elected member of Mouvement Montréal, Marc-André Bahl, was recently removed from his party. On Saturday, Holness said he fired Bahl immediately upon learning of his controversial social media posts.

Bahl shared conspiratorial content about the pandemic on his Facebook page. He also wrote "Islamophobia is not racism" and posted an anti-Semitic cartoon depicting Montreal's Hasidic community.

Bahl was the candidate for Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie and came to Mouvement Montréal after the merger with the Ralliement pour Montréal party.

Holness says the party does not welcome any form of discriminatory remarks or behaviour. He says a closer look at other candidates who entered the party after the merger is now in order.

Other political staff not affected

Plante's proposed vaccination requirement will be limited to elected officials in Montreal. The measure will therefore not concern political staff and other municipal employees working at City Hall, such as people working in housekeeping or security guards.

According to Radio-Canada, there could be discussions with different unions on the subject in the coming weeks, in particular about imposing vaccination on all City Hall employees.

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