Valerie Plante becomes Montreal’s first female mayor

montreal's first female mayor

Valerie Plante scored a stunning upset in Montreal’s mayoral election on Sunday, defeating incumbent Denis Coderre to become the first woman to win the post.

Coderre said just after 10:30 p.m. that he’d called Plante to congratulate her. He later announced he was leaving municipal politics.

In her victory speech, Plante reiterated her campaign promises, which include improving public transit and lessening road congestion, as well as adding green spaces and social housing.

“During the course of this campaign, I had one goal in mind: I wanted to put Montrealers first and I’m not going to change that,” she told a roomful of cheering supporters at a downtown theatre.

“I’m going to put Montrealers first, I’m going to get Montreal moving again, I’m going to build safer roads for pedestrians, seniors and cyclists.”

Plante, 43, was leading with over 51 per cent of the vote with almost all polls reporting, compared to just under 46 per cent for Coderre.

She entered municipal politics in 2013 when she won a council seat in a contest that pitted her against former provincial cabinet minister Louise Harel.

In 2016, she was elected leader of the left-leaning party Projet Montreal.

Plante began the mayoral race as a relative unknown but opinion polls showed her steadily gaining on Coderre as the campaign continued.

The mother of two, who cycles or takes public transit to work, sought throughout the campaign to present herself as less flamboyant and more in touch with Montrealers than her opponent.

Her signature campaign promise was a new 29-stop subway line that would link the city’s densely populated northeast to downtown.

During her victory speech, she appealed to the provincial and federal governments to partner with her on her two biggest campaign promises: the subway line and increasing social housing in the city.

The Canadian Press

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