Trust, transparency, and a promise to expand transit propelled Montreal opposition leader Valérie Plante to victory as the first female mayor of Canada’s second-largest city over the weekend.
In suburban/rural Terrasse-Vaudreuil, outside Montreal, Climate Reality Canada’s Audrey Dépault won her town council seat by a 381 to 356 margin.
Plante, leader of left-leaning opposition Projet Montréal since last December, is a former community organizer who “was hardly a household name before the campaign began,” CBC News reports. But she upset pundits’ establishment favourite, incumbent mayor Denis Coderre, to take 51% of ballots cast. After conceding his loss inSunday’s municipal election, Coderre announced he would exit politics.
Plante serves on the board of the Broadbent Institute and “had strong support from local New Democrats, as well as members of Québec Solidaire, a left-leaning party in Quebec’s National Assembly,” the National Observerreports.
While Plante did not make climate or the environment central themes of her campaign, she shared Coderre’s opposition to the Energy East pipeline and urged Quebec to develop clean energy resources instead.
And her platform was built largely around a promise “to create a new Metro line, the ‘Pink Line’, that would connect Montréal-Nord, one of the lowest-income neighbourhoods in the city, to downtown,” the Observer notes. “Stops on the line would be named after women and members of minority communities who have marked the city with positive contributions.”
On the hustings, Plante made a point of playing off Montreal’s famously under-maintained streets and the traffic congestion caused by efforts to repair them, saying that while “the city can’t build new roads, it can build some new Metro stations.”