Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montreal, November 2, 2009 --- Racialized Montrealers are still under-represented on Montreal City Council after yesterday's municipal elections.

According to preliminary results, of the 65-member City Council (including the Mayor) only 3 are from visible or racialized minorities: incumbent Alan de Sousa (of South Asian background, who is also the Mayor of the Saint-Laurent borough), Franz Benjamin (Black), the new Councillor for the Saint-Michel district who defeated Hispanic incumbent Soraya Martinez and Aref Salem (Middle Eastern) the new Councillor in Saint-Laurent. All three elected Councillors are members of the Mayor Gerald Tremblay's party, Union Montreal.

On the Opposition side, neither Vision Montreal nor the Projet Montreal managed to get racialized members elected among their respective caucuses of 16 and 10. One Projet Montreal candidate, Nimâ Valérie Machouf, who is of Middle Eastern background, was elected in the Plateau Mont-Royal district, but as a co-candidate with Projet Montreal mayoralty candidate Richard Bergeron, she will step aside for the latter to assume his seat as party leader on Council.

Racialized minorities, who represent 26% of the City of Montreal’s 1.62 million residents, now make up 5% of City Council.

A close look at the election results further shows the complete exclusion of racial representation on City Council in boroughs with more than 20% of racial diversity such as Lasalle (26%),Ville-Marie (downtown, 28%), Ahuntsic-Cartierville (28%), Montreal North (32%), Côte-des-Neiges - Notre Dame de Grâce (41%) and Villeray-Saint-Michel-Park Extension (42%). Racialized minorities are largely excluded from local borough councils, except in Montreal North where Monica Ricourt, a Black candidate, has been elected under the Union Montreal.

Preliminary results also show that 23 of the 65 City Councillors are women.

“There is a serious democratic deficit when only 32% of eligible voters did cast their ballots and when City Council still does not look like the population it is supposed to represent. This kind of racial and ethnic exclusion within our municipal structures may hinder social cohesion and positive race relations,” said Fo Niemi, CRARR’s Executive Director.

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