Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante defends linguistic, cultural mix of executive committee

The city's official opposition questioned Montreal's new mayor on what priority she is giving anglophones and racial and cultural minorities as city council met for the first time since Plante's election on Nov. 5.

Équipe Coderre opposition names Anglo affairs, Indigenous reconciliation critics to shadow cabinet

Today marked Plante’s first city council meeting as mayor, and the city’s first ever with a woman in charge. (CBC)

Montreal's official opposition questioned Mayor Valérie Plante on what priority she is giving anglophones and racial and cultural minorities as city council met for the first time since Plante's election on Nov. 5.

The interim leader of the official opposition, Lionel Perez, offered words of encouragement to the council, calling this a "historic" moment for the city in terms of diversity and gender equality. However, he said, there is still work to be done.

Coun. Frantz Benjamin, newly named critic for citizen relations, asked Plante to explain the lack of racial and cultural diversity on her executive committee. 

"It's an issue I take very seriously," Plante responded. "I will do everything possible to better value all diversities in the city of Montreal."

The critic for anglophone community relations, Dimitrios Beis, echoed Benjamin, asking Plante about her commitment to English-language speakers, given the lack of anglophone representation in her inner circle.

"Today, we can state that the shadow cabinet better represents the population," Beis said.

Plante pointed out Projet Montréal Coun. Craig Sauvé is a native English speaker and said she is happy to have an executive committee that represents all parts of the city.

"Montrealers can see beyond the language [of councillors]," Plante said.

Équipe Coderre's shadow cabinet

Marie-Josée Parent, Lionel Perez, centre, and Francesco Miele are at the helm of the official opposition's shadow cabinet. (CBC)

Montreal's official opposition, still called Équipe Denis Coderre for now, introduced its slate of critics to key municipal portfolios before Monday's council meeting.

At the helm is Perez, a city councillor for the Darlington district in Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, who is also responsible for metropolitan affairs, governance and international relations.

"There's several matters that the current administration has elected to omit, in terms of their responsibilities on the executive committee," Perez said.

He named Marie-Josée Parent leader of the cabinet. She will also be responsible for the status of women, gender equality, culture and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

Francesco Miele will be the caucus chair and deputy leader, critic responsible for urbanism and parks.

In other positions:

  • Dimitrios "Jim" Beis, anglophone community relations, sports and leisure.
  • Karine Boivin Roy, housing, planning and downtown strategy.
  • Christine Black, social and community development, social economy.
  • Alan DeSousa, finances, property tax evaluation, public transit and transportation electrification.\
  • Chantal Rouleau, water, environment, sustainable development and climate change.
  • Hadrien Parizeau, cycling, mobility issues, government relations.
  • Patricia Lattanzio, water and sewer infrastructure, electric services and legal affairs.
  • Frantz Benjamin, democracy, citizen participation, office of public consultation, ethics.
  • Mary Deros, diversity and cultural communities.
  • Richard Guay, citizen services, human resources and labour relations.
  • Effie Giannou, Smart city and innovation, transparency and corporate communications. 
  • Benoit Langevin, homelessness and youth.
  • Abdelhaq Sari, public security, major projects and information technology.
  • Pierre L'Heureux, large sites including the Champlain Bridge and Turcot Interchange.
  • Suzanne Décarie, children's policy, seniors and universal accessibility.
  • Aref Salem, economic and commercial development.
  • Chantal Rossi, heritage, design and Space for life.
  • Dominic Perri, supplies and fleet management.

With files from Sean Henry