Mayor Plante names social worker to head up public security in Montreal
MONTREAL -- Mayor Valerie Plante appointed a social worker to head up public security in Montreal, as she named her executive committee packed with women Wednesday.
Saying gun violence remains the city's top priority, Plante named Alain Vaillancourt, a three-term councillor from the Southwest borough to the file. His background in social work shows the mayor's commitment to a holistic approach to public safety, she said.
"There has to be police officers in our streets fighting crimes, fighting guns, but there also has to be more work with the community groups," she said.
Vaillancourt will join an executive committee that for the first time will be comprised of more women than men: 13 women will sit at the table and five men.
"I think this is great. This is a great way to show that, yes, it is possible. There are so many competencies and (so much) experience," said Plante.
In 2017, Plante was criticized for naming an all white executive committee, but said that over the past four years, her party has made an effort to get more diverse candidates elected.
"We said there has to be objectives, there has to be a plan, there has to be training, there has to be networking. We knew where we were going. We did put the time and effort, and it paid off," she said.
The new chair of the executive committee, Dominique Ollivier is the first Black woman to hold that position. The former head of the consultation office is now responsible for city finances, human resources, the fight against systemic racism and the French language.
"I'm very happy and I would say very, very happy for once to be able to not only suggest things to the administration but also be the person that will be able to implement many of those recommendations," she said.
Official opposition leader Salem Aref applauded the diversity of the executive committee, saying, "We congratulate Dominique Ollivier, the first Black woman to serve as chair. Our team reiterates its willingness to work together to advance municipal issues."
The new executive committee will meet for the first time on Thursday, when the public is expected to learn who will fill the roles of city council chair, agglomeration council chair and deputy mayor.