Laurence Lavigne Lalonde clinches mayorship in VSP
The people of Villeray—Saint-Michel—Parc-Extension went to the polls last Sunday in Montreal’s municipal election. Electors decided to vote in majority for Projet Montréal’s Laurence Lavigne Lalonde, who will serve as the boroughs’ new mayor.
With several years of experience in politics, this is the first time she has been elected mayor of a borough. She had previously worked as a City Councillor in the cities’ south-east and also sat on the executive committee.
Her candidacy was announced on Jun. 15 and ran her campaifn against outgoing Mayor Giuliana Fumagalli, Ensemble Montréal’s candidate Guillaume Lavoie and Mouvement Montréal’s Julien Kakpovi. She won with 16,160 votes accounting for over 53 percent of ballots cast.
But who is she and what is her vision for the borough? With her victory now sealed, citizens can start to look at what to expect during her mandate in the coming four years.
Who is she?
Laurence Lavigne Lalonde is no stranger to politics. She was elected in the borough of Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve in the district of Maisonneuve–Longue-Pointe in the Nov. 2013 election.
Lalonde was a member of Valérie Plantes’ executive committee at Montreal City Hall and was responsible for files such as environmental transition, place for life and urban agriculture. In her previous mandate, she was the deputy leader of the official opposition and vice-president of the committee on finance and administration.
She has also sat on several boards of directors, including those of PME Montréal, Climate Caucus and the Greater Montreal Climate Fund.
Lavigne Lalonde made clear she would quickly get to work on several of her campaign promises. Among others, she promised to complete long-awaited social housing projects in the borough, including Plaza Hutchison and the Villeray Chinese Hospital.
As for transport, her local platform outlines that her administration would ensure the completion of both the Ogilvy and de l’Épée railroad crossings, as well as completing the borough’s bicycle path network.
She also promised to develop a greening plan and substantially increase green space and parks in the neighbourhood. This includes an increase of up to 10 percent of agricultural spaces in the borough.
Lavigne Lalonde also wants to study the possibility of developing a trade fair on Saint-Roch during the summer, as well as developing a strategy to keep the borough clean and free of garbage.
Diversity as boroughs’ greatest wealth
Lalonde will therefore be moving from a position as a city councillor to that of Mayor in the cities second largest borough, where she now lives with her family.
“I want to get involved in the district where I grew up and where I chose to raise my family, Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension,” stated Lalonde when her candidacy was announced in June.
“I want to work with the population of the borough to better protect tenants, to make our commercial arteries more attractive, to diversify green spaces and to make safe the major arteries that cross our neighbourhoods,” she added.
Lalonde also said that she felt the boroughs’ greatest wealth is its diversity and added that it should be better protected. She further underlined that point in a victory message thanking electors for their vote and congratulating all other candidates who ran in the elections.
With a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the Université de Montréal and a master’s in international development from the University of Paris I: Panthéon-Sorbonne, Lalonde has worked in development and community organizing both in Canada, Latin America, Asia and Africa.
In 2011, she worked as a project manager at the Les Jumeleurs community space in Saint-Michel, where she implemented a business plan for a social economy project while also recruiting new volunteers for the organization.
Lalonde also worked overseas with several non-governmental organizations such as the French Red Cross and Oxfam Québec, both in Laos and Peru.
Lalonde’s first council meeting will be held on Nov. 23 at 6:30 PM.