No visible minorities were chosen to be part of Montreal mayor Valérie Plante‘s executive committee Monday.
“Having to choose an executive committee is a tricky exercise, it’s a puzzle and so, it was important to find a balance — as I said, parity was priority Number 1,” Plante said.
“It is not a message that I’m sending that it [ethnic diversity] is not a priority, actually it is.”
Plante said she plans to work harder to increase the number of minorities in the coming years.
“We need to do better because right now, 30 per cent of the population is from diverse backgrounds and this is not being represented at city hall,” she admitted.
Municipal politics analyst Karim Boulos points out a greater issue is finding people who come from ethnic backgrounds to run for office.
“At a glance, it [the executive committee] is awfully white. 30 per cent of the population comes from a diverse background, so at least 30 per cent of council — or candidates — should be,” he said.
“We respect, we welcome people, but the reality is no one is working hard to integrate them into society.”
The 13-person committee was revealed Monday which includes seven men and six women, including the mayor.
WATCH BELOW: Valérie Plante addresses lack of minorities in executive committee
“It was important for me to find the right balance between men and women, between experienced politicians and experienced professionals,” Plante said.
“We promised an inclusive and balanced executive committee, and that is what we delivered.”
Sud-Ouest borough Mayor Benoit Dorais was appointed president — something Plante announced during the campaign ahead of the Nov. 5 elections.
Outspoken Plateau-Mont-Royal borough Mayor Luc Ferrandez was assigned the parks, sustainable development and major projects file.
WATCH BELOW: Valérie Plante promised gender parity in her committee
Verdun borough Mayor Jean-François Parenteau is now responsible for services to residents.
Parenteau ran with Équipe Coderre, but left the party to sit as an independent in order to sit on the committee.
“What we’ve been asking people is to recuse themselves from their caucus if they wanted to sit on the executive committee. That was the ask that we’ve been making,” Plante said, though she denies that she asked people to leave their parties and says it was the individual’s decision to do so.
In addition, city councillors Craig Sauvé and Alex Norris will form a five-person associate team charged with assisting the committee.
However, they will hold no official seat.
“We have to work together and I’m confident that we will since we all share the same goal objectives, which is to get Montreal moving again,” Plante said, reiterating her promise to improve public transit, services and housing.
WATCH: Montreal’s new mayor Valérie Plante said she struggled to find people from diverse backgrounds to be part of her executive committee. Municipal politics analyst Karim Boulos explores why that might be with Global News Montreal Senior Anchor Jamie Orchard.
Members of Plante’s executive committee:
Plante’s team will meet for the first time on Wednesday.
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