The political landscape in Montreal shifted significantly Sunday night as Valerie Plante became the 45th mayor of Montreal, and the first female in the city’s history to fill the role. 

Relatively unknown just a few months ago, Plante won in a stunning victory over incumbent Denis Coderre with 51 per cent of the votes cast for mayor.  

Coderre followed closely behind with 46 per cent of the ballots.

As Plante took the stage to make her victory speech, the crowd gave her a standing ovation, clapping and cheering ‘Valerie! Valerie!’

Plante jumped up and down on the stage before beginning her speech.

“It’s an enormous privilege to stand before you as the first female mayor of Montreal,” she said.


“I’m going to put Montrealers first, I’m going to get Montreal moving again.” 

Plante also spoke directly to the English community.

“My team is diverse and represents the various communities that make up Montreal,” she said. “I believe our city is stronger when we work together. I also believe we move the city forward when we work together. The Anglophone, the francophone, the allophone communities of Montreal have more in common than many people want us to believe.” 

Plante will be backed with a majority at City Hall.

Montrealers elected 34 Projet Montreal councillors.

The opposition will consist of 25 members of Team Denis Coderre, three people from Barbe Team, two people from Team Anjou, and one Coalition Montreal councillor -- Marvin Rotrand.

In Montreal voter turnout was 41.75 per cent. Although 1,142,948 people were registered to vote in Montreal, only 477,125 ballots were cast.

Plante’s hard-fought campaign

Plante is a political neophyte, a former community organizer who became leader of Projet Montreal last December.

She started the race as an underdog but her campaign surprised many as she gained momentum, rising in the polls and even taking a slight lead on Coderre.

Just four months ago, 66 per cent of Montrealers didn’t know her name, which was one of her biggest challenges during the race.

Plante’s campaign placed mobility and public transportation and improved traffic flow as top priority issues, with a signature proposal of building a new line to the metro in the next five years - the 29 stop Pink Line would run from Lachine, through the downtown area all the way up to Montreal North.

Plante has estimated its cost at over $5 billion.

She also campaigned on the promise to add green spaces and social housing and and promised to abolish the welcome tax for families with children or those expecting children. 

Plante entered politics when she won a city council seat in 2013 and was elected to her party's leadership last fall.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted his congratulations to Plante on her win, and for becoming the first woman mayor of Montreal.



Coderre leaving municipal politics

Denis Coderre is now the first Montreal mayor since Sarto Fournier, elected back in 1957, to be elected for only one term. Coderre’s campaign headquarters at the Olympia Theatre stayed quiet all night.  

During his concession speech Coderre called announced he is leaving municipal politics. 

“I’m very proud of my people, I’m very proud of my team, and I’m not going to shy away from what we’ve accomplished in the last four years,” he said. 

Critics initially thought Coderre's re-election would be a cakewalk, as he campaigned on the city’s booming economy and he was endorsed by all three major Montreal newspapers.

However, Coderre was also a figure of controversy who angered many with an attitude that was deemed arrogant. 

His legislation banning pit bulls, following the death of a woman killed by a pit bull, angered the SPCA and other animal rights lobby groups, while his attempt to legislate the city’s caleche industry also drew much criticism.

Perhaps the biggest controversy during Coderre’s mandate was over the Formula E race. It was recently revealed that 20,000 of the tickets for the race were given away, Coderre has admitted not providing the ticket sales earlier was a mistake.

Coderre didn’t take questions from reporters on Sunday night but said he will hold a press conference on Wednesday.