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Racist, misogynistic, and violent messages prompt Montreal exec. committee president to step down

Montreal's Executive Committee President Dominique Ollivier announced her resignation Monday afternoon at at a news conference at city hall.

She said she received a number of violent, misogynistic and racist messages over the past week.

"They all attack my integrity, both moral and physical," she said. 

Ollivier came under fire last week following an investigation by the Journal de Montreal showing extravagant spending when she was the president of the city's public consultation office (OCPM).

Trips around the world, lavish restaurant expenses (including a $347 oyster dinner in Paris), and luxury office furniture were all paid for with taxpayer money, the newspaper reported in an extensive investigation into expense accounts for the Public Consultation Office at the City of Montreal and its former head, Ollivier.

"We have some very important commitments ahead of us for the people of Montreal, and I have way too much respect for the work of my colleagues, for the work of the civil servants of Montreal, for the leadership of Montreal, for the people of Montreal in general to allow the recent controversy to undermine the public's confidence in all the work that is currently being done and still has to be done to make the right choices," said Ollivier.

She added that she asked the finance committee to meet with her on Friday morning, where she will give an account of her "management choices" at the head of the OCPM.

The opposition at city hall called for Ollivier’s resignation, saying she had discredited herself.

Ensemble Montreal leader Aref Salem said Ollivier "did what she had to do, to resign."

"We knew that it was unacceptable, the facts that were done," he said. "There's a lack of trust between the administration and the citizens of Montreal."

He also called on OCPM president Isabelle Beaulieu and Secretary General Guy Grenier to resign as well.

"There's a lack of trust with the OCPM," said Salem. "The second step is to ask the mayor of Montreal to do what she has to do and ask them to resign."

Plante accepted her resignation and called Ollivier a "competent woman of great value who has given a great deal to Montreal."

"On a personal level, she has greatly supported me in my role as mayor," said Plante.

Plante gave Ollivier a bout of confidence last week but said on Monday that Ollivier told the mayor that she could not allow anyone to doubt the work the Projet Montreal administration is doing or its vision.

"The bottom line is that the conditions were no longer there to allow her to carry out her duties," said Plante. "Our position and the institutions we represent need to be protected. They must be protected."

Plante said the city will continue to run smoothly. Plateau-Mont-Royal borough Mayor Luc Rabouin will take over as chair of the executive committee. 

More to come.

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