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Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante unveils city’s executive committee

Click to play video: 'Montreal’s new executive committee touted as diverse' Montreal’s new executive committee touted as diverse
Watch: Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante unveiled the team she’ll work closely with to tackle the city’s biggest files. She touts this new executive committee as diverse and representative of Montrealers. Global’s Gloria Henriquez reports – Nov 24, 2021

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante has unveiled the team she’ll work closely with to tackle the city’s biggest files.

Montreal’s new executive committee is composed of 13 members and three associate members, a total of 11 women and six men from diverse backgrounds.

“If we want to represent the entire Montreal, there has to be representation. To me, it’s just the right thing to do,” Plante said.

The former head of Montreal’s Public Consultation Office, Dominique Ollivier, was confirmed as president.

Ollivier’s load will be heavy. She will have to manage city finances, the French language file, human resources, government relations and the fight against racism and discrimination.

“I’m very happy and I would say very, very happy for once to be able not only to suggest things to the administration but also be the person that will be able to implement many of those recommendations,” Ollivier said.

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Read more: Mayor Valérie Plante wastes no time in her second mandate, lays out top priorities

Some notable appointments include Alain Vaillancourt, a social worker who is now in charge of public security.

“For me, it is a great message, it’s exactly what we have in mind,” Plante said. “There has to be police officers in our streets fighting crimes, fighting guns but there also has to be more work with the community groups.”

Vaillancourt was elected councillor in the Sud-Ouest borough for the Saint-Paul-Émard-Saint-Henri-Ouest district.

The STM is once again back as a file on the executive committee and Eric Alan Caldwell, councillor for Hochelaga, will head the transit agency’s administrative council.

“Right now we feel like it was the right thing to do because there’s so many opportunities and challenges connected to the STM and transport,” Plante said. “Whether it is building — finally — the blue line or the REM de L’Est. But also everything related to the ridership that went down during COVID,” Plante said.

Read more: Valérie Plante sworn-in for second term as mayor of Montreal

Political analyst Karim Boulos called the appointment “a very strategic move.”

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“How can you make public transit a priority without assigning it to a member who sits at the round table?” Boulos said.

While not a single member of the opposition was appointed to the committee, the mayor believes there are other ways to work together.

In a statement, opposition leader Aref Salem reinforced his offer to collaborate and praised the executive committee’s diverse makeup.

“The official opposition salutes the presence of a female majority and several elected officials who come from diverse backgrounds within the executive committee,” Salem wrote.

“We congratulate Dominique Ollivier, the first Black woman to hold the presidency. Our team reiterates its will to collaborate in order to advance municipal files.”

Read more: Plante pledges $110 million to tackle gun violence as Montreal police report 2 more homicides

Boulos says Plante has a lot to do after losing two years in her previous mandate due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“People aren’t going to be as understanding this time, so she’s better off having a full team backing her, who is going to be working with her,” Boulos said.

“If there is going to be criticism, it will not be because there is problems in the ranks. It will be her team running the show and then you can evaluate her on the performance of her duties,” Boulos said.

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The executive committee is set to hold its first meeting Thursday but it is still not complete.

Plante has yet to announce the chair of the council and the member responsible for the agglomeration.

Those positions are expected to be filled this week.

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