Valérie Plante promises $110M for public security plan to fight gun violence, if re-elected

Montreal mayoral candidate Valérie Plante unveiled a campaign promise Saturday to spend $110 million on public security, if re-elected, in a bid to stem the rise in gun violence in the city. 

$15M would go toward squad to de-escalate crisis situations involving marginalized people

Montreal incumbent mayor Valérie Plante speaks during a news conference in Montreal on Saturday where she announced her plan for public security. Montrealers will go to the polls in a municipal election on November 7. (The Canadian Press/Graham Hughes)

Montreal mayoral candidate Valérie Plante unveiled a campaign promise to spend $110 million on public security if re-elected in an effort to help stem the rise in gun violence in the city. 

The announcement comes on the heels of the Quebec government rolling out its own $90-million plan to combat gun violence across the province.

Plante, the leader of Projet Montréal, unveiled her party's public safety plan at a Saturday news conference.

"Today, we are proposing a clear game plan with a value of $110 million to continue to fight against armed violence, criminal groups and ensure the safety of Montreal neighbourhoods," she told reporters.

If re-elected, Plante says $15 million over four years will go toward deploying mediation and intervention teams to help de-escalate crisis situations involving marginalized and vulnerable communities. This would expand the scope of Équipe mobile de médiation et d'intervention sociale, launched earlier this month. 

Other commitments include encouraging police officers to stay on at their local police station for at least three years to be closer to the community.

In recent weeks, Plante has tried to address the increase in shootings in the city. In August, the city announced $5.5 million in funding for the SPVM to hire 42 more officers 

Earlier this month, Montreal devoted $5 million for community youth groups working to prevent violence and crime. 

Plan criticized amid more violence

Denis Coderre, a former Montreal mayor and one of Plante's opponents in the upcoming municipal elections, has regularly criticized the Plante administration on the issue of public safety.

On Saturday, the public security spokesperson for his party, Ensemble Montréal, echoed that criticism, saying his party would "do everything it can to bring safety back to Montreal" if elected.

"Time and time again, the Plante administration has demonstrated its lack of leadership, all the more blatantly in matters of public safety," said Abdelhaq Sari in a statement.

"For its part, Ensemble Montréal is proposing sound management, an increase in staff and the promise not to defund or disarm the police."

The leader of Mouvement Montreal Balarama Holness says his party is pushing for a community approach to the problem. He adds that while Plante's plan is a good step, it doesn't go far enough. 

"We need better job training for police officers because eventually, they're going to have to intervene, and while this is one step in the right direction, it doesn't remedy the fact that the SPVM at large does not have the training necessary to deal with mental health crises," he said. 

Hours before Plante laid out her plan, Montreal police were on the ground investigating yet another incident involving gun violence.

A 19 year-old man showed up to a local hospital early Saturday morning after being shot, and died shortly after. It was the 22nd homicide of the year on Montreal police's territory.

Police also responded to shots fired in the Côte-Saint-Paul neighbourhood in the Southwest borough around the same time. 

The SPVM says it's not clear if the two events are linked.

With files from Valeria Cori-Manocchio