Coderre ponders banning alcohol in Montreal parks after 8 p.m. if elected mayor

Denis Coderre, the former Montreal mayor who is hoping to win back his old office, doesn't want to see drinking in the city's parks once it starts getting late.

The candidate in this fall's municipal election said on Wednesday that if, if victorious, he would consider a ban on alcohol consumption in parks after 8 p.m.

“Sometimes we need to protect people against themselves,” he said.

The declaration came after a pair of violent incidents in parks over the weekend, which is also saw large gatherings that may have violated public health regulations.

“Our role is to make sure everybody feels safe,” said Coderre.

Coderre's opponent and incumbent, Mayor Valerie Plante, called Coderre out of touch, saying the last thing Montrealers need right now is another curfew.

“When you go in parks right now, you see families that don't have a balcony, they don't have a backyard, they're enjoying their meal with friends, in a safe way, because it's safer to be outside right now,” she said.

The back-and-forth between the two candidates came the same day that Plante lost a major ally should she see a second term. Executive committee member Cathy Wong announced she is stepping away from politics after a single term, saying she wishes to focus on her 10-month-old daughter.

“It's been a really intense year, but at the same time, I'm just really proud of everything we've accomplished,” she said.

Plante acknowledged that Wong's retirement comes as a loss.

“We worked together on fighting against discrimination and systemic racism. All those files are so important, so we're going to miss her, but I know the friendship is going to stay,” she said.

A third candidate was also making his presence felt on Wednesday. Balarama Holness of Movement Montreal unveiled a policy that would make public transit free for people under 25-years-old.

“The green initiative is going to mean that Montreal meets its emissions target by 2030 and we're also going to ensure that we're going to reduce road congestion,” he said.

Holness said he plans to ask the provincial and federal governments to subsidize the cost of the program, which he estimated at $270 million per year.  

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