Young voters the focus as Montreal mayoral candidates debate
Four mayoral candidates took part in a debate Tuesday night with a focus on young Montrealers.
Presented by six local youth organizations, the debate at the University of Montreal welcomed anyone running for mayor of Montreal. Of the 10 candidates on the ballot, four took part.
It was an unusual format: the candidates took the stage individually, answering moderator questions without any interaction with their opponents. There were several youth-oriented themes, but the questions for each candidate varied.
On the issue of affordable housing, Projet Montreal’s Valerie Plante called it a huge challenge for all major cities.
“In our next mandate we've already announced there will be 2,000 units for students,” she said, promising those units will be affordable.
Denis Coderre of Ensemble Montreal highlighted similar goals from his platform.
“We're talking about a goal of 2,000 student units and when we talk about student housing, it's also families, so it's housing with three apartments,” he said.
But Balarama Holness on Mouvement Montreal said with nearly 200,000 students in Montreal, a few thousand units won't cut it.
He promised to fix loopholes in Projet Montreal's housing regulation to make housing more affordable.
When asked about mobility, Holness promised free rides on the STM.
“Over a period of 10 years, we'll ensure the STM is free for the population,” he said, adding he believes it will cost $500 million per year.
Plante highlighted collective transportation improvements already in the works, including the REM and the extension of the metro’s Blue line. Coderre also pointed to the need to complete the Blue line.
Mayoral hopeful Gilbert Thibodeau of Action Montreal went in a different direction, saying he'd expand Yellow and Orange metro lines.
“There's a colour that exists and it's Yellow and Orange and my intention would be to finish the loop,” he told voters.
The candidates all agreed on one issue: the importance of young people engaging in local politics and casting their vote.
Municipal elections are on Nov. 7. Details on how to register to vote are here.