Valérie Plante returns as Montreal mayor following a significant victory, but with much greater challenges ahead.
The leader of Projet Montréal has promised to prioritize the environment and housing during the next four years.
Valérie Plante has renewed her contract for another four years. It’s been an extraordinary run for a politician who came to prominence in 2017, unseating veteran politician Denis Coderre to become mayor of Canada’s second largest city.
Plante’s rematch with Coderre featured a more measured set of suggestions than she did the first time, when she drew attention with her proposal for a new Metro line, a renewed emphasis on the environment, and a promise to get the city’s gridlocked streets moving again.
Nonetheless, there was no shortage of promises in 2021, and she displayed a more seasoned approach to politics after four years in power.
She portrayed herself as the ideal choice to lead the city through what she called a “ecological transition” to combat climate change, with increased funding for public transit, an expanded network of bike lanes, and a vow to plant half a million additional trees over the next decade.
While her program continues to reference the projected Pink Metro line, she scarcely highlighted it throughout the campaign after failing to get money from the provincial and federal governments during her previous tenure.
The party retains its best support in the densely populated, stylish Plateau-Mont-Royal neighborhood, where locals applauded cycling-friendly planning and traffic-calming measures, but it has also gained support in the city’s more car-dependent outer reaches.
Given the rising cost of housing in a city that was once known for its low cost of living, Plante also committed to creating 60,000 affordable housing units by 2030 and implementing new measures to prevent landlords from illegally raising rents or evicting residents in order to resell the property.
And, in an attempt to ward off Coderre, who emphasized a summer rise in gun crime, she committed to hire 250 additional police officers, despite the fact that members of her party had asked for service reforms.
Her candidacy undoubtedly touched a nerve.
After a contest in which Plante and Coderre were neck and neck for the majority of the campaign, Plante won 52% of the vote Sunday night, 14 percentage points ahead of Coderre. Additionally, her party is anticipated to win a majority of council seats.