Valerie Plante on CJAD 800: 'I feel like I gave a very strong direction to this city'


On the second anniversary of her election victory, Montreal mayor Valerie Plante says overall, she continues to have a clear vision for the city — and, that Montrealers have come to understand it more than they did a couple of years ago.

 "I feel like people are getting me, they understand our party better, and they understand the direction I'm taking the city on," Plante told CJAD 800's Elias Makos on Tuesday. "I'm very proud of our [record] after two gives me so much energy for what's coming up."

Plante cited her record on housing and public transit as hallmarks of her first two years in office. On housing, she says she gave herself a grade of 9 out of 10, thanks to her administration's creating half of her stated objective of 12,000 new social housing units.

While she's a supporter of the forthcoming REM light-rail project, her much talked-about idea for a pink metro line remains on the shelf — thanks to premier François Legault's refusal to fund it. But Plante remains committed to providing better public transit options.

"I totally understand that for some people in the city, if you live far east or west, I don't blame people for using their cars, because there's no option," she says. "There had to be more transport options so that they feel comfortable with leaving their car at home."

'We need to celebrate diversity within Montreal'

Getting funding for new public transit projects isn't the only area where the mayor is butting heads with the CAQ government — there are also the current battles over the CAQ's contentious  language and immigration policies. Plante suggests Montreal needs all the quality workers it can get to fill the city's booming technology and artificial intelligence sectors, among other things.

She also says she'll continue to defend Montreal anglophones and their role in Montreal society.

"I always feel it's not an easy one, but at the same time, I think we need to celebrate the diversity within Montreal," she says, "respecting the francophone heritage, of course, and celebrating it, but do need to be aware of that strength."

But what if the CAQ comes along and says that only the 'historical anglophone community' can have access to English-language services?

"Well, that becomes really complex, because I wonder, how does it become applicable?" Plante said.