Caleche owners fearing for their jobs under a Plante administration

Last week's election of Valerie Plante as Montreal's next mayor is leading caleche drivers to fear for their livelihoods.

Old Montreal stable owner Luc Desparois told the Journal de Montréal he wants to meet with the new administration to find out whether it plans on keeping his industry alive in some way.

Plante and her Projet Montreal party are well-known for not being fans of the horse-drawn carriage industry. This past summer, after a video of a horse collapsing on an Old Montreal street had gone viral, she referred to the industry as "inhumane" and "unsafe", and pledged to do away with it.

She has said she plans on gradually withdrawing permits from caleche drivers, and replacing caleches with a more modern transportation option.

Desparois, who owns about 20 horses at his Lucky Luke stable along the Lachine Canal in Griffintown, told the newspaper there's no proof that his animals are mistreated, and suggests there are too many misconceptions floating around about the industry's treatment of horses.

Last year, the Coderre administration attempted to take caleches off the roads for a year while it came up with new rules to govern the industry. He backtracked after caleche drivers managed to get a temporary court injunction allowing them to operate.

Another caleche driver interviewed by the Journal suggests Plante — who takes the oath of office on Thursday — wants to ensure that pit bull owners follow the rules rather than banning the animals, while at the same time not giving horse owners the same privilege.