Montreal's mayoral candidates talk money for the REM and bodycams as campaign heads into final two weeks
MONTREAL -- Less than two weeks to go before Montreal’s municipal elections, the two front-runners were out making promises Monday morning.
Incumbent mayor, Projet Montreal’s Valerie Plante, was pledging big money for public transit.
Plante promised to spend at least $500 million to ensure the light-rail project, the REM, would be well integrated into the urban landscape. The money would give the city more say in the project.
“For us, we're part of the solution. We're here to say we want to contribute. We have the expertise, we have the knowledge, we want to make this a success,” she said at a news conference.
Plante wants part of light-rail system through the downtown east side to be built underground, something the builder, the Caisse de Depot, is against because would add billions to the price tag.
By helping cover some of the costs, Plante hopes the Caisse would be more inclined listen to her pitch to have some of the tracks below street level, the way they are currently planned for a portion of the downtown area.
She also wants the line to stretch out to Rivieres-des-Prairies, on the eastern tip of the island, instead of ending in Montreal North.
In [Riviere-des-Prairies-Pointe-aux-Trembles], I mean people don't have options there. Of course there's buses, but there has to be more than that,” she said.
Denis Coderre says more is also needed on the public safety front after a spike in gun violence in recent months.
The Ensemble Montreal leader said he'll hire 250 more officers and make them wear body cameras.
“It is not the sole tool, but it is a necessary one. It not only secures the file but it helps to see both sides. Sometimes with social media, they just show part of it and it defines the case,” he said.
Coderre and Plante will face off Monday night in another French-language debate ahead of the only English debate this Thursday evening.
Municipal elections in Quebec will be held on Nov. 8