From public transit and infrastructure to culture and parks, Montreal’s November 5th mayoral election is clearly important for family life in Quebec’s largest city. What are candidates proposing and how will the choice you make at the polling station affect your family?

From public transit and infrastructure to culture and parks, Montreal’s November 5th mayoral election is clearly important for family life in Quebec’s largest city. What are candidates proposing and how will the choice you make at the polling station affect your family?

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Issue # 1 – The outcome of Montreal’s 2017 election will have an impact on infrastructure, public transit, and cycling

On November 5th 2017, voters all over Quebec’s most populous city will be casting their vote to determine who will be the next Mayor of Montreal. The two main contenders, current mayor Denis Coderre and Projet Montréal leader Valérie Plante, are doing their utmost to win the hearts of voters and to defeat their opponent on polling day. As family lawyers, we understand how important it is for the city to provide for families raising children on the island of Montreal and its surrounding areas. Here, we explore the main issues concerning families in the city. We will explore which candidate is more likely to put families first. We will consider how likely the candidates are to keep their promises to voters and to deliver results.

Whether you commute to work by car from the South Shore or whether you take the train from Lachine, transport is important to you. Montreal is notorious for its potholes and unreliable buses. For this reason, the mayoral candidates are putting a special emphasis on transport in this year’s election.

Denis Coderre is especially concerned about making Montreal’s transport network more environmentally friendly. Along with increasing the number of buses in STM’s fleet, Coderre intends to increase the number of electric vehicles on our roads. Moreover, Coderre promises to grow Montréal’s bike paths year over year for the duration of his 4-year stint. His proposal includes adding 50km to Montréal’s bicycle paths each year as well as 2 new bike paths: one running along the entirety of De Maisonneuve Blvd and another running down to the river.

In contrast, should she win the election, Valérie Plante intends to push for a new Pink Line on the metro, which would extend from Montreal North to Lachine via Rosemont. Like Coderre, Plante intends to increase STM’s bus fleet. However, she proposes boosting the fleet immediately by purchasing an additional 300 buses. Plante is another advocate for cycling in the city. Should she win, she promises to establish a new cycling network across downtown Montreal, making bike travel easier and safer for downtown cyclists.

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Issue # 2 – The future mayor will play a part in families’ financial prosperity

While former mayoral candidate Jean Fortier was promising to cut taxes by 10% over the four-year term, the current main candidates’ intentions differ considerably from those of Fortier. Mr. Fortier dropped out of the election on October 17th.

Rather than cutting taxes, Coderre has shifted his focus and he promises to build on Montreal’s reputation as a globally competitive city. On the other hand, as part of his plan should he continue as mayor, Coderre promises to introduce differential tax rates on the first chunk of the value of nonresidential buildings. This especially affects families who are business owners. Business-owning families who have been affected by roadwork in the city will be happy to know that Coderre and Plante both have projects in mind to help. Both Coderre and Plante intend to set up a compensation plan for those who have lost business as a result of roadwork.

Issue # 3 – Culture and the Arts

As you probably noticed, this year marked Montreal’s 375th birthday. While many agree that the event merited attention, some felt that too much was spent on the festivities. To avoid future unpopular overspending on cultural events, Valérie Plante proposes to make funding for cultural events more transparent. However, it is clear that she is still in favour of supporting the arts since she intends to add $5 million to the Conseil des arts de Montréal’s budget. This would be a considerable increase since the budget currently stands at $15 million.

While Coderre does not mention a budget in his manifesto, he does indicate that a continued focus will be placed on cultural events in the city.

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Issue # 4 Animal Welfare

Coderre’s new legislation against pit bulls has attracted a considerable amount of bad press. In contrast to Coderre’s push for pit bulls to be targeted as dangerous dogs, Valérie Plante indicates that owners should be educated about how to keep their families safe from dog biting incidents. She is against targeting particular breeds. While pit bulls may not be a good fit as a pet for every family, lawyers working on the file at Goldwater Dubé have strong feelings about the unjust nature of the legislation banning the pit bull breed. Listen to the Animal Rights edition of family podcast, The Goldwaters, for more information.

In addition, as part of Montreal’s 375 celebration, Denis Coderre received a lot of criticism for the urban rodeo that his administration defended. The rodeo festival, NomadFest, took place in August this year despite animal rights activists’ attempts to prevent the rodeo from going ahead. Coderre was accused of demonstrating a double standard regarding the welfare of horses in the city. While he showed great concern for the horses in Old Montreal, introducing new laws earlier in the summer to protect them, he seemed to show little concern about the horses who took part in the rodeo.

Issue # 5 Parks and Recreation

As far as cities go, Montreal has a lot to offer families when it comes to parks and recreation. Especially in the winter, families can make the most of the city’s green spaces for skating, hockey, and sledding. However, the cities parks need to be maintained in order to keep activities running all year round. Mrs. Plante promises to invest $7.5 million per year to prop up the city’s parks. She intends to reopen the ‘secret pool’ behind the old Royal Victoria Hospital with the additional idea of turning the space around the pool into a brand new park for families to enjoy.

Another proposal involves creating a riverside promenade on Saint Helen’s Island that would stretch all the way from La Ronde to Place des Nations. Coderre is placing his focus more on recreation centres. He has suggested opening a new sports complex for Lachine as well as a new aquatic centre in Pierrefonds-Roxboro.

The elected mayor’s new changes are bound to affect you and our shared community. A community is the sum of its parts, so choose the candidate you feel has you and your family’s best interests at heart. We urge all citizens to exercise their democratic right and vote!

Goldwater, Dubé is a family law firm based in Montreal, Quebec. We help families dealing with divorce, child custody, and the protection of assets. We treat all cases with compassion and expertise. We will put you and your loved ones first, protecting you and all that you hold dear. Book a consultation with one of our expert family lawyers today.

Images of Montreal by Alex Jodoin.

Election image by from CBC News.