Valérie Plante says housing a top priority to kick off 2nd term

·4 min read
Valérie Plante says housing a top priority to kick off 2nd term
Fresh off her election night victory, Valérie Plante met with reporters on Monday, accompanied by several elected members of her party.  (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada - image credit)
Fresh off her election night victory, Valérie Plante met with reporters on Monday, accompanied by several elected members of her party. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada - image credit)

After scoring a decisive victory to keep her job as Montreal mayor, Valérie Plante says dealing with the city's housing crunch will be a top priority during the first 100 days of her second term.

Plante, the leader of Projet Montréal, racked up 52 per cent of the votes and defeated Ensemble Montréal leader Denis Coderre by 14 percentage points — an even wider margin than during their first showdown in 2017.

"[The issue of] housing is huge," Plante said, flanked by several elected members of her party during a news conference on Monday. "Not only is it [important] for the next four years, but also in our first 100 days. There's going to be very concrete action being done."

During the campaign, Plante promised to create 60,000 affordable housing units over 10 years.

To get there, she said, the city will adopt a bylaw similar to one that was passed last year regarding its right of first refusal on properties going up for sale.

That bylaw allowed it to purchase properties for the purpose of creating social housing units. Plante says a similar bylaw for affordable housing units is in the works.

"We saw how much [housing] is an issue, something that worries people in every neighbourhood," the mayor said. "Everyone wants to make sure we preserve a social, economic, cultural and generational mix in neighbourhoods."

Plante also reiterated her plan to implement an "owner certificate" for landlords with buildings of eight or more units, to protect tenants from "renovictions" and illegal rent increases.

She also listed the city's economic recovery, the fight against climate change and public security among her administration's priorities.

"We are honoured by this mandate that Montrealers have given us," she said. "We take it very seriously."

Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada
Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada

'I don't want to disappoint'

During the news conference, Plante described her few years as mayor as "an amazing, crazy, learning curve," and said she feels readier to be mayor this time around, while acknowledging there is pressure to deliver on her lofty promises.

"The pressure is different. There's less pressure because, of course, I know the job," she said. "But it's true that the fact that Montrealers chose me again with a big number — and it's a great victory — I don't want to disappoint them."

Plante also vowed to "continue being the mayor for all Montrealers," including those living in boroughs that did not elect Projet Montréal candidates.

"Although we all have the same big objectives, like, for example, fighting climate change, we understand that it may not be the same way to achieve that in a borough like Ville-Marie [compared to] Rivière-des-Prairies or Pierrefonds-Roxboro," she said.

"We need to adapt, based on the reality of the different boroughs."

Projet Montréal increased its majority at city council by grabbing 37 of the 65 seats — four more than what it started the campaign with.

Coderre's Ensemble Montréal party will hold 23 seats on council.

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

'It was not a good campaign for Denis Coderre'

Coderre's second consecutive loss to Plante may put an end to attempts at a political comeback.

During the campaign, Coderre portrayed himself as a pragmatic and experienced politician who had evolved since his defeat in 2017.

According to Daniel Béland, a political science professor at McGill University and the director for the Institute of the Study of Canada, the last week of the campaign was damaging for Coderre.

Béland described the Ensemble Montréal leader's initial refusal to reveal his financial records and the list of companies who employed him recent years as "the final straw."

"If he had revealed this information early on, even before the beginning of the campaign, this wouldn't be an issue," Beland said.

"It was not a good campaign for Denis Coderre."

During his concession speech on Sunday, Coderre did not say whether he would stay on as the leader of opposition at city hall.

His spokesperson said he would not speak publicly on Monday. Béland expects Coderre to quit municipal politics again instead of staying on as the leader of the opposition at city hall.

"I would be surprised if he decided to stay because he lost badly," Béland said.

WATCH | Valérie Plante outlines priorities for 2nd term during Sunday's victory speech:

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