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Black community activist to run for borough mayor in Montreal North

Click to play video: 'Black community activist to run for borough mayor in Montreal North' Black community activist to run for borough mayor in Montreal North
WATCH: Will Prosper, a documentary filmmaker and former police officer, is running for the borough mayor in Montreal-North under the Projet Montréal banner. – Aug 11, 2021

Well-known activist and community worker Will Prosper is running to be the mayor of the Montreal North borough in this fall’s municipal elections.

The filmmaker and former police officer has joined forces with Montreal mayor Valérie Plante’s Projet Montréal.

Prosper grew up in the borough and says he’s familiar with some of the issues in the area.

“From a kid living in the same room with my two brothers facing some realities that we’re still facing nowadays in this community,” he told reporters at a press conference, “I feel privileged to run for mayor of Montreal North. It’s time for Montreal North to be run by people of Montreal North.”

Read more: Montreal North community leaders call for investigation after city workers allege racism

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Plante said Prosper brings a different way of doing politics to the borough.

“Bringing forward the voices of people that we don’t necessarily hear in the borough,” she explained.

Prosper has chastised Plante over the years, pointing out, for example, the lack of diversity in her administration.

Click to play video: '1 year from municipal election, Montreal community groups promote visible minorities in politics' 1 year from municipal election, Montreal community groups promote visible minorities in politics
1 year from municipal election, Montreal community groups promote visible minorities in politics – Nov 7, 2020

Now, he claims she’s changed.

“They’re really willing to make a change,” he told Global News. “Not a change that is cosmetic like other people are doing. A real profound change about diversity.”

He and Plante blame the current Ensemble Montreal administration for the problems in the borough.

As city mayor, Plante deflects criticism directed at her for conditions in the borough, claiming there was a lack of collaboration between the city and the borough.

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“It’s about just having the same vision and being ready to work together,” she pointed out. “Not having those little political fights.”

Read more: Montreal groups demand the collection of race-based data during COVID-19 testing

Incumbent borough mayor Christine Black pans Prosper’s nomination saying she’s not surprised.

In an emailed statement to Global News she claimed “as gun violence escalates in Montreal, the Plante administration is for police disarmament and defunding.  Mr. Prosper is its most fervent supporter.”

Both Prosper and Plante deny the allegation.

Head of Mouvement Montréal, Balarama Holness, is also running for the Montreal mayoralty.

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Inside look at the new Mouvement MTL political party as Montreal’s municipal election nears – Jul 18, 2021

He unsuccessfully ran for borough mayor alongside Plante last election and says he’s thrilled that Prosper, as a former activist, is running.

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However, he thinks Prosper will have a hard time winning, calling the riding a stronghold for the head of Ensemble Montreal Denis Coderre, a former Montreal mayor and longtime federal member of parliament for the area.

“The concern is that once again Projet Montréal is using minority candidates in non-winnable boroughs,” he told Global News. “But that is going to be their battle to solve, not ours at Mouvement Montréal.

Montrealers go to the polls on Nov. 7.

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