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“l’Homme de la Situation/Man for the Job:” What Valérie Plante’s Victory Means for Montreal

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at McGill chapter.

Last Sunday, with an unexpected turn of events, Valérie Plante came out as the surprise winner of the Montreal municipal elections. Her party, Projet Montreal, notched an impressive glory – a critical victory against Denis Coderre, elected mayor in 2013 who was running for a re-election. With this, Plante becomes Montreal’s first female mayor, which ironically resonates in her celebrated campaign slogan, “l’Homme de la Situation/Man for the Job.”  

Principle to Plante’s campaign were ideas such as more bike lanes, urban agriculture, affordable housing, streamlined construction and pedestrian-friendly streets, which also have been core to her party, Projet Montreal, founded in 2004. Despite being on the political scene for more than a decade now, Projet Montreal had never done better than third place in a mayoral campaign. And now, Plante, as much as she is the impossibly likeable iconoclast, faces a new kind of hardship; she’ll be leading an administration with virtually no experience running an entire city. 

So what can we expect from Plante and her administration? Here is a list of her major campaign pitches:

The Infamous Pink Metro Line

This was at the core of Plate’s campaign. The said pink line would connect low-income communities with the downtown core. On the surface, it is a bold and an exciting plan; however, a tough one. Montreal hasn’t built a new subway line in thirty years, and given the reputation of the construction in the city, the pink line’s construction would take too long and cost too much. And yet, Plate came up with the perfect pitch. She would draw from a fund set up by the federal government specifically for costly municipal projects. So even if the public is sceptical of the pink line, it nevertheless tapped a nerve; the city wanted a big plan, and it looks like it’s getting one.

12,000 New Units of Social and Affordable Housing

According to Plante, the best way to harness the growth in real estate is to ensure more new housing units made available to families and low-income residents. Plante has often stated that there are currently 25,000 families on the waiting list of the Office municipal d’habitation de Montréal (OMHM) as she argued for the need to expand Montreal’s affordable housing. And the changes she proposes in law would lead to the construction of 12,000 social housing units over the next four years, including units with more rooms to keep more families in the city. The affordable housing plan was and is definitely the bread-and-butter stuff of Plante’s left-wing municipal campaign and administration.

Public Transit Reforms

As well as the addition of a pink metro line, improving the public transit and its accessibility in other ways has been another one of Plante’s priorities. Her plans to ensure this improvement include:

  • free STM service for children (12 and under) and for elderly (65+),
  • cheaper public transit (40%) for low-income earners living under the poverty line,
  • 300 Hybrid buses on the streets by 2020,
  • No tax hikes for the metro despite the public transit additions

Valerie Plante positions herself for the improvement of innovation, sustainable development, sound and transparent management, democracy and quality of life for all. As an uplifting antidote for nowadays, tainted with the depressing news of Weinstein, Spacey, Louis CK, and others, Plante is the promise of an upbeat, 21st-century style of administration as “l’homme de la situation.”


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