1-on-1 with Projet Montréal's Valérie Plante

With about one week to go before election day, Montreal mayoral candidate Valérie Plante sits down with CBC Montreal News at 6 anchor Debra Arbec and answers your questions on Facebook.

The mayoral candidate sits down with CBC Montreal News anchor Debra Arbec, takes your questions on Facebook

Valérie Plante, 43, is vying to be Montreal's first female mayor. She was chosen to lead opposition party Projet Montréal in December 2016. (CBC)

Ten months ago, she pulled off an upset, winning the leadership of Projet Montréal.

But does Valérie Plante have what it takes to beat her opponent, Mayor Denis Coderre?

The 43-year-old, who is vying to be the city's first female mayor, has a platform that focuses on transit, more affordable housing and helping businesses cope with construction.

Projet Montréal has traditionally done well in the densest, central parts of the city, where its emphasis on public transportation and cycling tends to resonate.

Plante was first elected in 2013 as city councillor for the Ville-Marie borough's Sainte-Marie district, and chosen to lead Montreal's opposition party in December 2016.

With about one week to go before election day, Plante sat down with CBC Montreal News at 6 anchor Debra Arbec and also answers some of your questions on Facebook live.

You can watch the full 23-minute conversation here.

Plante answered a range of questions in her interview with CBC and here are some highlights from the conversation.

The answers have been edited lightly for length and clarity.

Are you ready to be mayor?

Absolutely, absolutely. That's why I decided to go into this race, for sure. 

And, leading my party in the last eight months, as a new leader of Projet Montréal, I was capable of bringing people together from different parties and … I convinced them to say, "Come with Projet Montréal. We will win this election. We will make the Montreal what we want."

How will you pay for all your big plans?

Let's talk about transport because I keep on saying, and I believe, that I will be the mayor of mobility. And so I've been talking about the Pink line as an example. But this is not something that Montrealers will necessarily put money into because the envelopes are both in Quebec and Ottawa.

That's very important. There's a window of opportunity to take that money that exists.

We actually received a letter from the government saying, "Okay, how do you want to spend the money that is just for you, Quebec? Do you have projects for us?" We do. There is a Pink line.

In terms of money, there is about, I would say, $20 million that is for public transport in Canada. There's a big piece that is for Quebec, so let's use that.

Plante's Projet Montréal has promised to build a new Metro line from Montreal North to Lachine. (CBC)

Will you add English announcements on the STM?

That's a question that was brought up during the English debate and I actually said yes, in case of an emergency I think it's important … that people in the bus [and] in the subway understand what's going on.

Then we checked again and actually it already exists: within the STM, it's already the situation where if there's an emergency, the messages are in both languages.

The position we've been taking on [English announcements at all times on the STM, not only during emergencies] is more to go with symbols or icons, ways to actually go even broader than English and French … It would be in using more icons or symbols.

How will you empower the boroughs?

That's a subject that I am really attached to because to me, every borough has its own history, its own dynamic. It's also the way that the population connects with the city, is through their boroughs. This is how they get their services.

And right now, we feel that the way it was centralized by the outgoing administration is a lot of power and resources were taken away from the boroughs.

So my goal is to work in partnership — real partnership — sitting with the borough mayors and deciding "Okay, where can we save money or maybe resources?" But also, "Where can I give you more power [and] empower you to give the services that Montrealers want?"

Plante and mayoral rival Denis Coderre (right) have been described as polar opposites. (CBC)

Make a date with CBC for election night this Sunday, Nov. 5:

Online: Get breaking news and live results at after polls close at 8 p.m.

On Facebook: Join host Debra Arbec for a 90-minute Facebook Live starting at 10 p.m. with results, analysis and reports from across Quebec.

On TV: Watch our live results show at 11-11:30 p.m. on CBC Television.

On Radio: Listen to CBC Radio One starting at 8 p.m. for a province-wide show hosted by Mike Finnerty in Montreal and Susan Campbell in Quebec City.