Coderre, Plante pledge gen­der par­ity at city hall

But both may­oral hope­fuls’ teams are still short on fe­male can­di­dates

Montreal Gazette - - CITY - JA­SON MAGDER James Men­nie of the Mon­treal Gazette con­trib­uted to this re­port. jmagder@post­ Twit­ Ja­son Magder Face­ Ja­son Magder Jour­nal­ist

Two main may­oral can­di­dates promised gen­der par­ity at city hall, but in truth, both of their par­ties fall short of equal rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

Sur­rounded by fe­male can­di­dates Thurs­day morn­ing at Place Ém­i­lie Gamelin, De­nis Coderre promised the city’s next ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee will be the first to have an equal num­ber of men and women.

The ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, con­sid­ered to be the mayor’s cabi­net, sets the city’s pol­icy and drafts by­laws, which are then voted on by the city coun­cil.

Named by the mayor, the 11-mem­ber com­mit­tee con­sisted of seven men and four women be­fore the elec­tion cam­paign be­gan.

De­spite be­ing asked three times by re­porters, Coderre did not ex­plain why he did not ap­point an ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee with gen­der par­ity when he was first elected in 2013.

“You heard the song, ‘step by step, higher and higher,’ ” Coderre asked. “Ev­ery time we had to make a de­ci­sion, we were fo­cus­ing on that kind of value, to pro­mote it.”

He said he was proud of his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s record and the ad­vances made to pro­mote gen­der equal­ity.

“We have to thank the women who did a fab­u­lous job in our ad­min­is­tra­tion,” Coderre said. “Take Anie Sam­son: We gave her the re­spon­si­bil­ity for pub­lic safety. She was vice-pres­i­dent of the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee.”

Re­act­ing to Coderre’s pledge, Pro­jet Mon­tréal Leader Valérie Plante said in a news con­fer­ence at Place Vauquelin, next to city hall: “What took him so long?”

Plante said her party has had par­ity as a pol­icy since its in­cep­tion, and has put in place mea­sures to en­cour­age more women and mi­nori­ties to run for of­fice.

“In terms of par­ity, I’m of course ques­tion­ing the record of the mayor in the last four years,” Plante said. “I think he should have demon­strated his in­ter­est for par­ity in his first man­date. His record doesn’t show that he takes this se­ri­ously. In his first man­date, he had the op­por­tu­nity, the oc­ca­sion and the means to do this, and he didn’t do it.”

Coderre ad­mit­ted his slate of can­di­dates falls short of gen­der par­ity; in fact, only 46 of Équipe De­nis Coderre’s 103 can­di­dates are women.

Plante, how­ever, said Pro­jet Mon­tréal is run­ning an equal num­ber of male and fe­male can­di­dates, when in fact the party is just shy of par­ity with 51 fe­male can­di­dates out of 103. Plante also said her party is run­ning an equal num­ber of men and women to be bor­ough may­ors, when in fact both par­ties have only eight fe­male can­di­dates in the 18 bor­ough may­oralty races.

Coderre added that his ad­min­is­tra­tion would fo­cus on get­ting par­ity among city em­ploy­ees, in­clud­ing man­agers. The city will also work to get more fe­male fire­fight­ers hired. As for elected of­fi­cials, Coderre pledged that all com­mis­sions of coun­cil will be in the “par­ity zone,” mean­ing at least 40 per cent would be women. He added the city will work to put in place more fam­ily-friendly poli­cies to help par­ents bal­ance work and fam­ily life.

Plante said her ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee will have par­ity, and all com­mis­sions will also have par­ity.

“I don’t even have to say it — we do it by ex­am­ple al­ready,” Plante said. “And I wouldn’t wait un­til my sec­ond man­date to do it.”

On Sun­day, TV view­ers will be able to see the two may­oral can­di­dates on Ra­dio-Canada’s Tout le monde en parle.

The talk show, which for politi­cians can be a lion’s den or a price­less way to share one’s plat­form with an au­di­ence of more than one mil­lion view­ers, an­nounced Wed­nes­day evening via Twit­ter that Coderre and Plante will be guests on the broad­cast.

The pro­gram will be aired four days be­fore a French-lan­guage may­oral de­bate or­ga­nized by the Board of Trade of Greater Mon­treal and eight days be­fore an English-lan­guage de­bate or­ga­nized by CJAD, CTV and the Mon­treal Gazette.

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