Less than one week after the federal election was called, Montreal’s mayor has officially shared her list of demands for the political party that will form the next federal government.
At the top of the wish list are mobility, housing and the environment — but Valérie Plante is choosing to steer clear of a contentious issue in Quebec, after initially speaking out against Bill 21.
“I’m not in a campaign so I will not be answering that question,” said Plante about François Legault’s controversial religious neutrality law, tabled last spring. “It’s Mr. Legault’s prerogative to decide for this law and he has to manage this with the different political leaders.”
Plante’s demands are divided into five themes: ecological transition, mobility, housing, economic development, and culture and heritage. If she had to chose just one, she said it would be mobility. Housing and the environment are tied for second place, she added.
“The more mobility options we have, the more I can ask Montrealers to leave their cars at home and use public transit,” said Plante.
The woman whose campaign two years ago was largely driven by the proposal of the pink line on the Metro hasn’t given up on her dream to see Montreal more accessible, with more public transit options.
Plante insists that part of her plan to extend the Metro’s orange line to the west and to add a pink line to the network is dependent on more federal funding — and that isn’t sitting well with the city’s opposition leader.
“She wants the federal government to pay for the pink line,” said Ensemble Montreal leader Lionel Perez. “These are promises that she made and now she’s passing the buck and asking for the federal government to pay for it.”
Plante refused to disclose which federal party best aligns with her vision, but she did offer all leaders a few words of advice.
“All I can say to all the parties out there is that I got elected on a very strong platform connected to the environment, housing and mobility so all the leaders should be aware of that,” she said.
Other requests Plante has for the next federal government include making it mandatory for trucks to be equipped with guard rails and cameras. This is a request that Perez would have liked to see her make at the municipal level first.
“We also find it ludicrous and unacceptable that they are once again passing the buck when it comes to lateral bars, guard rails on trucks,” said Perez. “If they want to show that they are true leaders in public safety then let them go ahead and do it in Montreal.”
Plante said she would also like current federal funding levels maintained for social housing. She seems confident that those running will be listening.
“I take for granted that all the leaders are looking at Montreal saying I need Montreal to win this,” Plante said punctuated with her signature laugh.