'Beyond the bounds of reality': Montreal Mayor Plante blasts Montgomery for 'fabricating stories'

FILE: Cote-des-Neiges Mayor Sue Montgomery and Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante walk together in this undated image.

The feud between Montreal's mayor and the mayor of its most populous borough is deepening – and neither side is mincing words.

In a statement released Tuesday, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said Cote-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grace Mayor Sue Montgomery made "completely false and inaccurate statements" that "are defamatory and go beyond the bounds of reality."

Plante asked Montgomery to immediately retract what she'd said and hardened that stance with a legal letter to that effect.

Montgomery was expelled from Projet Montréal last month because she stood by her chief-of-staff, Annalisa Harris in the wake of a comptroller-general's report accusing Harris of harassment.

Montgomery is demanding to see the report to understand the allegations against Harris.

Plante said she's not allowed to see or release the labour relations report, calling it "confidential," adding it is "is in no way my responsibility. 

"The Privacy Act is very clear in this regard. It is high time Ms. Montgomery stops fabricating stories and creating alternative facts," she said.

Montgomery said Plante pushed her to fire her chief-of-staff, adding that Plante said her "hands were tied."

"I said 'Valerie, you're the mayor of Montreal, you can see the report. You can ask to see the report. She said 'Sue, I know the report is bullshit,'" Montgomery claims. "You're going to risk everything we're doing right now for this little thing." 

I said, "This little thing? This is a person's life we're talking about here – a person's reputation. This isn't a little thing."

Montgomery said there's proof the party believed the report was bogus: they offered Harris a job in a different role within Projet Montréal organizing next year's election.

"Of course she's going to deny it, but I would sign an affidavit, I would stand up in court, and swear the truth, that that is what she said to me," said Montgomery. 

The borough mayor said her battle isn't with the mayor or her colleagues, but with the institution of the comptroller general, who, she said "seems hell-bent on participating to shut down and shut up a whistleblower and I think we have a right to question these institutions, to demand transparency." 

Plante called on Montgomery to end the "personal crusade" against her and the party and "do the job she was elected to do."

Montgomery is currently sitting as an independent at city hall, and said despite the rift, work in her borough is getting done.

READ MAYOR PLANTE'S FULL STATEMENT

At the CDNNDG borough council meeting yesterday, Sue Montgomery attributed to me completely false and inaccurate statements that were never made. Her comments are defamatory and go beyond the bounds of reality. I am asking her to immediately retract them.

She is also asking me to release a confidential labour relations report, which is in no way my responsibility. The Privacy Act is very clear in this regard. It is high time Ms. Montgomery stops fabricating stories and creating alternative facts.

Instead of going on a personal crusade against me, against her former political party, against the Comptroller General, against the city's team of labour relations experts and against all borough employees, I invite Ms. Montgomery to do the job she was elected to do. The borough's activities have been paralyzed for several weeks now, and this is not what the citizens of Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce deserve.

I would also like to reiterate our clear desire to support the CDNNDG borough during this difficult period in order to provide the services to which citizens are entitled and deserve.

I will make no further comments and I remind you that Ms. Montgomery has already received a formal notice from the City of Montreal for her defamatory comments.