Mayor Valérie Plante is calling for Quebec and Ottawa to do more to help vulnerable people – including asylum seekers on Roxham Road – who are changing the vibe of the Village in downtown Montreal.
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During Monday’s town council, Ms Plante argued that the village was an area “under high pressure” and had been “for a long time”.
The mayor claimed she didn’t want to “push back” the metropolis’ vulnerable populations, but wished for Quebec and Ottawa to have a greater presence on this file.
“I will ask the respective levels of government to assume their responsibilities if we suddenly add vulnerable asylum seekers [à un quadrilatère qui est à pleine capacité] and that we mix it with other people who have special needs,” she said.
She then answered a question from opposition leader Aref Salem, who lamented the state of the once “celebratory and lively” neighborhood, which has “become a place of desolation”.
Ms Plante acknowledged that alongside refugees there is an overpopulation of homeless people with mental health or addiction problems.
“We’ve been sounding the alarm for months,” she said. The role of the Mayor of Montreal and Ville-Marie is to bring everyone around the table, but sometimes you have to speak up to make sure those around you are meeting their responsibilities.”
A few days earlier, the mayor had regretted the inaction of the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal. She accused him of not responding to mental health inquiries.
“For me, someone is absent from the table right now, and it’s the CIUSSS,” she said last Wednesday.
For his part, CIUSSS spokesman Jean-Nicolas Aubé had confirmed that the center was very present at the discussions.