Living together: between openness and vigilance

In his book Retrouver Montréal, Denis Coderre emphasizes the notion of living together: "From the birth of our metropolis in 1642, Jeanne Mance and Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve had this unique desire to make our homeland a unifying place. Montreal's "vivre-ensemble" is the fine balance between vigilance and openness that must guide the City's actions. In the next four years, we must support the idea of a French-speaking metropolis, open to diversity and a defender of all those who make it what it is, including its youth and seniors. But we must also support the vigilance agenda, which has been left out, by being relentless with those who threaten the peace and security of residents.

Openness

Living together is first and foremost about openness and respect for all the communities that make Montreal what it is today. 

Reconciliation with the First Nations, the Inuit

There is still a long way to go towards reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis. While the past must be acknowledged, it must not be erased, but explained. Here in Montreal, many First Nations, Inuit and Métis people suffer from precariousness and health problems. 

In order to improve relations with First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Montreal and enhance their quality of life, Ensemble Montréal proposes to:

  • Materialize the reconciliation strategy with the Indigenous people;
  • Intensify the interventions with the governments of Quebec and Canada, in order to accelerate the realization of the Indigenous architectural complex whose main mission will be to introduce and make known the arts and cultures of the First Nations and Inuit of Quebec;
  • Put in place adequate resources to address the issues faced by many First Nations, Inuit and Métis people experiencing homelessness;
  • Create a multi-stakeholder committee on First Nations, Inuit and Métis issues with the City, community organizations, universities and others;
  • Organize several meetings between the Executive Committee and the First Nations, Métis and Inuit community leaders;
  • Organize an annual “town hall” type meeting to follow up on policies and concrete actions taken in terms of hiring, for example.
  • Rename la place du Canada to la place de la Réconciliation

Senior-Friendly Montreal

Even though they have contributed and still contribute to building Montreal, seniors must face different issues, especially in terms of mobility and universal accessibility. 

The Ensemble Montréal team is extremely sensitive to these concerns and for this reason, it proposes to :

  • Create a Seniors’ Council within the first 100 days of the mandate, whose mission will be to advise City Council on finding solutions to the problems experienced by seniors;
  • Introduce free public transit for people 65 years of age and older;
  • Restore the navette Or principle with a modernized, tailored and personalized approach;
  • Adding age-differentiated analysis to public policy development;
  • Increase the number of urban furniture for seniors, including raised public benches throughout the city, prioritizing parks and commercial arteries, and ensure the presence of sports equipment adapted for seniors in the city’s parks
  • Equip all low-rental housing (HLM) dedicated to seniors with air conditioners to fight against the increasingly frequent heat waves;
  • Making our sidewalks safer in winter and summer by implementing a sidewalk maintenance program;
  • Accelerating the reprogramming of pedestrian signals to increase crossing times at problematic intersections;
  • Implementing a program to equip the doors of each metro station with a motorized system to make the network accessible to all Montrealers within the mandate.

Vigilance

Living together also means ensuring that all citizens of Montreal can live in safety and dignity, without compromise. We have produced a comprehensive document explaining our approach. We will summarize in this platform the promises made in that document.

Monitoring and intervening through police work

In the midst of the explosion of gun violence in Montreal, Ensemble Montréal is the only political party that has taken an unequivocal stand against disarming and defining the police since the beginning of the crisis. Security is everyone’s business, starting with the SPVM. At Ensemble Montréal, we believe that it is not the police officers who should be disarmed and that we should, on the contrary, give them all the support possible to allow them to fight against crime in our beautiful metropolis. For a safer city for all, here is what we propose:

  • No definancing, no disarmament;
  • Start a hiring process for approximately 250 police officers to reach the maximum number of police officers allowed by the regulation adopted with the Quebec government (approximately 4800);
  • Remain open to the idea of requesting a modification to the regulation to increase to 5000 police officers during the mandate if needed;
  • Obtain a permanent seat on the board of directors of the National Police Academy; 
  • Provide the city with a contingency fund for the SPVM corresponding to 5% of its budget in the event of a major security crisis, thanks to the money earned from parking tickets;
  • Make an inventory of the SPVM’s tools, including intermediate weapons and rolling stock, to ensure that tools in a state of disrepair are replaced; 
  • Open a debate on the presence of cameras at strategic points in the city; 

 MODERNIZE THE SPVM AND DEVELOP SOCIAL TOOLS

  • Make the Director of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal a new Deputy Director General, in order to promote osmosis between the work of the police and the rest of the services of the City of Montreal; 
  • Doubling the number of joint ESUP and EMRII community outreach teams to better respond to the many mental health and homelessness needs;
  • Diversion of homelessness treatment;
  • Review and improve ongoing training to counter social and racial profiling, particularly to counter the problem of “driving while black”, as well as ongoing training in de-escalation;
  • Equip SPVM patrol officers with hand-held cameras in the first year of the mandate;
  • Improve the mandate of the Public Safety Commission so that it can fully play its role;

PREVENT VIOLENCE IN OUR NEIGHBOURHOODS BY ACTING UPSTREAM

First of all, through a social approach:

  • Establish a youth sports strategy. It has been proven that sport is a great tool to keep young people off the streets and away from decisions that could seriously affect their lives and those of others;
  • Professionalize and support organizations whose mission is youth violence prevention (TANDEM program) by providing multi-year funding and expanding the service throughout the territory;

By creating an ecosystem of prevention and trust with the police:

  • Incorporate the notion of “maintaining public trust” into the core mission of the SPVM;
  • Increase the number of police bikes and foot patrols;
  • Accelerate the recruitment of diverse officers in the SPVM;
  • Carry out a public consultation to review the SPVM’s service coverage plan; 
  • Review the structure of the monitoring committees to ensure that they are active and at the forefront of the dialogue between the communities and the SPVM; 
  • Launch an initiative to support the public by the police, in particular by creating a campaign to promote police work; 

Through a scientific approach:

  • Adequately fund the Centre de prévention à la radicalisation menant à la violence (CPRMV); 
  • Work with universities to ensure that we are on the cutting edge of prevention methods; 

CURBING THE FLOW OF WEAPONS 

  • Build a coalition of Canadian cities that are heavily affected by urban safety issues to :
    • Share best practices in violence prevention;
    • Share best practices in urban health;
    • Speak with one voice to the federal government;

A credible response to homelessness issues

Homelessness is an issue that affects us all. It is impossible to remain indifferent to citizens who find themselves on the street. As a community-based government, the municipal government has a responsibility to offer a second chance to people who are struggling with multiple problems. Each person’s journey is unique, so responses must be adapted. Montreal would benefit from an urban health strategy to effectively address chronic homelessness. In all cases, resources must be enhanced and adapted on a territorial basis. Clearly, a responsible administration must be proactive and agile. 

First of all, Ensemble Montréal believes that we must put all the energy necessary to ensure that options are offered to the most vulnerable Montrealers so that they can live with dignity. To do this, a Coderre-Gelly administration is committed to:

  • Create 1800 housing units with psychosocial support services, one third of which will be reserved for women and another third for Indigenous people experiencing homelessness, with a logic of distribution of resources throughout the territory of Montreal;
  • Requalify hotels into new transitional housing with psychosocial support and rehousing services, specifically targeting women and Indigenous people, with a logic of distribution of resources throughout the territory of Montreal and the implementation of cohabitation plans. The makeshift camps along Notre-Dame and in boisé Steinberg pose public safety issues and must not become the new normal. It is necessary to respond to them as soon as possible and in an appropriate manner;
  • Seek increased funding for the Rent Supplement Program for people experiencing homelessness;
  • Create a housing bank for families who find themselves without housing on July 1st;

Increased funding is also essential to address the many needs of homelessness. A Coderre-Gelly administration commits to:

  • Set aside $36 million in the City of Montreal’s budget dedicated to homelessness to address post-pandemic needs during the mandate;
  • Renegotiating the Réflexe Montréal agreement on homelessness to invest a total of $60 million over the next four years;
  • Fund community organizations working with people experiencing homelessness over three years and on the basis of their mission rather than their projects;
  • Create a $10 million fund dedicated to commercial development corporations (SDC), notably to finance community services and to respond to the issues of cohabitation;

Finally, Ensemble Montréal is convinced that it is necessary to ensure harmonious cohabitation while making sure to better help the most vulnerable people. A Coderre-Gelly administration will ensure that an action plan is put in place to:

  • Update the annual portrait of people experiencing homelessness in order to establish post-pandemic planning;
  • Support community organizations in improving their emergency shelter and drop-in services so that they are open year-round, 24/7. This planning should be done with a logic of distribution of resources throughout the territory of Montreal and in collaboration with community organizations;
  • Support the year-round shuttle system, perpetuate the STM shuttle (the Solidaribus) in the most outlying neighbourhoods, reserve a shuttle for women experiencing homelessness and distribute free transportation tickets for community organizations;
  • Support the creation of a virtual platform for inter-agency collaboration that would provide a better picture of the resources available among the different agencies;
  • Double the number of joint community outreach teams (ESUP and EMRII) that do essential work in the field, ensuring the safety of all while meeting the needs of the most vulnerable and distressed;
  • Diverting the treatment of homelessness;
  • Restore a key role to the Commissioner of people experiencing homelessness in order to respond to issues of cohabitation between residents and people experiencing homelessness and to ensure personalized follow-up of the latter, in collaboration with community organizations;
  • Improve the offer of “wet shelters”, which are places where the consumption of people struggling with alcoholism is methodically supervised in order to gradually help them get out of it;
  • Create pilot projects for urban health in Montreal and increase funding for the prevention strategy, particularly to address the opioid crisis. The opioid crisis is rampant in Montreal and in Canada in general. The creation of urban health pilot projects and increased funding for the prevention strategy must be done in collaboration with the federal government;
  • Train and authorize municipal library staff to administer naloxone.

Finally, Ensemble Montréal would also like to organize a Summit between the City of Montreal, governmental levels, the private sector and community organizations in order to lay a solid foundation for the coming years and adapt to the post-pandemic context.

Stay informed!

Sign up to receive news about the Party, its ideas, initiatives, events and the work we are doing in your neighborhood!