Montreal-North candidates promise better public safety, recreation


MONTREAL – A community hard hit by the pandemic and reeling from recent incidents of gun violence, Montreal-North election candidates say the borough needs a strong voice on council.

Even on a rainy weekend, the mayor’s hopes hit the sidewalk on Saturday in an attempt to garner support from their neighborhoods.

“The citizens of Montreal-North need proactive teams that listen to them,” said Christine Black, candidate for Ensemble Montreal, former youth worker and outgoing mayor.

She is betting her re-election, in part, on wishes to build a new sports center, as well as improve road safety and parks Рshe blames Montreal mayor Val̩rie Plante for the delays. It also pledged to build more social housing.

Montreal-North was one of the hardest-hit communities in the country by the pandemic, and vaccination rates lagged behind other regions.

Project Montreal candidate Will Prosper says the borough could have better managed the pandemic.

“We were the epicenter of COVID-19 across Canada,” he said. “Our organization [was the first] to distribute masks and healthcare to the population ”,

Prosper co-founded the Hoodstock youth group after police shot dead Fredy Villanueva in 2008.

Faced with several apparent cases of gang violence, he wants more funding for youth services and more resources for the police.

“Right now, we are investing in adding social workers who understand the realities of people with mental health issues to be the first responders,” he said. “I think it’s a huge step forward from what we’ve seen in the past”

His candidacy was not without controversy, however. Prosper was forced to resign from the RCMP for disciplinary reasons over 20 years ago, it was recently revealed.

Another candidate, Carl-Henry Jean-François of the Montreal Movement, presents himself as an alternative. He says previous administrations have not done enough to address long-standing issues within the community.

In the past, Jean-François has blamed an increase in gun violence in the borough on the inaction of the administration of Black and former mayor Denis Coderre, in particular their “failure to invest in the urban youth of Montreal-North ”.

“We are going to come, and we are going to work on the problems,” he said on Saturday.

All three agreed that whoever is in power after the Nov. 7 vote, the administration should allocate more resources to police and recreational facilities.

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