With election weekend just one sleep away, here's what the parties were up to

Election weekend is just one sleep away in Montreal, with the polls opening Saturday at 9:30 a.m.

Between addressing controversies, outlining budgets and reinforcing promises, here's what candidates have been up to in their final hours.

PROJET MONTREAL LOSES CANDIDATE

Incumbent mayor Valerie Plante was out campaigning Friday, but without one of her top candidates and closest collaborators, Craig Sauve.

Sauve, the councillor for Saint-Henri-Est-Petite-Bourgogne-Pointe-Saint-Charles-Griffintown, announced his departure from the Projet Montreal party in a Thursday night Facebook post.

He did so hours after divulging to the public that he was at the centre of a 2012 sexual assault allegation.

That morning, a CBC report had accused Plante of falsely claiming in 2020 she didn’t know about the allegation and a mediation process that ended in 2018.

Sauve was not named in the initial report, but later came forward and identified himself as the subject -- although he points out that the allegations were deemed "unfounded."

In his Thursday evening post to social media, Sauve said he is choosing to sit as an independent "to avoid becoming a distraction in this electoral campaign."

Plante says she supports this decision.

“We felt that it was the right thing to respect the process," she said, addressing the press. "Whatever action he takes and whatever action the plaintiff [...] might be taking.”

ENSEMBLE MONTREAL REVEALS FINANCIAL PLAN

Denis Coderre had no public appearances Friday, but released his financial plan.

His party, Ensemble Montreal, will require an additional $273 million in added to the city's operating budget to cover promises made during the campaign.

According to the financial plan, the new budget will cover costs such as hiring more police officers, covering portions of the Decairie expressway, and building tens of thousands of housing units.

Coderre's plan is roughly $100 million more expensive than Projet Montreal's.

Saint-Laurent borough mayor Alan Desousa says Ensemble Montreal will fulfil all of its budgeting promises by enforcing a hiring freeze and cutting any of the former administration's projects it sees fit.

“There could be stuff that’s in the pipeline that is still part of the wish list of the previous administration, and clearly those are the ones we’ll be looking at in targeting," said Desousa at a press event.

But Plante says releasing such an important plan on the even of election weekend is too little, too late.

She says it should have been done in time for advanced voting public debates on the matter.

“It’s really problematic, I find it [dis]respectful to Montrealers, because when people go to vote they want to know what are the promises and how much it’s going to cost me," she said.

When asked why it took so long for the party to release its budget promises, DeSousa said his team needed the time.

"We wanted to make sure every promise was in," he said.

MOVEMENT MONTREAL UNDERSCORES MESSAGE

Balarama Holness' Movement Montreal continued hammering home its key message: that it will shift $800 million in funding from police to community programs, and that it is the voice of inclusion and change.

"This is the only platform fighting for your rights. We are the only party that is ensuring everyone living in the city have equal rights. Every voice should be heard," said Nadeem Sohail, a candidate for Pierrefonds-Roxboro.

A Thursday poll from Mainstreet Research shows Holness polling at just 6 per cent, but he insists the pollsters and the pundits are in for a surprise.

“We’re going to shock the world on Nov. 7" he said.  

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