Rosie Awori (LJI)
There has been a cascade of victories for Black candidates in the recently concluded municipal elections on November 7, redefining representation in the city.
Just off the island in Chateauguay Arlene Bryant thrust herself onto the political landscape with a convincing win in the recent vote.
As part of the Equipe Eric Allard of Alliance Chateauguay, Bryant a mortgage broker by profession, snatched 67% of the votes to emerge city councillor in District 2.
Allard received 53% of the votes cast to become mayor of Chateauguay and seven members of his team were elected.
A long-time resident of the city Bryant told the CONTACT that she was moved to run because she wanted to be part of the future and help usher in real change in the city and in her community.
“I’m from Chateauguay and it is a multi-cultural city, and we need different people in City Hall to have proper representation,” she says. “So, I want to be a part of the decision-making process when it comes to beautify our city and improving the quality of life to make our children want to stay here.”
The way she sees it, her win comes from her ability to listen and interact with her community.
Her “grassroots movement” brought her in contact with a wide cross section of her district and her community.
She says she visited as many of her constituents as she possibly could, got to know them and listened to what they wanted to see and change in the area.
“I visited almost everyone in the area, I talked to them and listened to them and heard what they wanted to see changed in the area. Even when it comes to jobs, a lot of people that live in Chateauguay work in Montreal. We want to be able to create jobs for the people that live here.”
In her capacity as city councillor, she hopes to be able to contribute in helping to improve the quality of life for seniors also, who are clearly in need of more resources and life-enriching activities .
She also has her eyes set on infrastructure improvement such better sidewalks and increasing the number of parks, all priorities she heard on the campaign trail.
Bryant credits her win in part to good organisation, her children’s help, the people of Chateauguay and the “grace of God.”
Looking forward, she continues to be motivated by the opportunity to be in position to promote sustainable development, progress and improvement in the lives of the people of Chateauguay.
The November 7, elections also saw several other Black candidate elected including Dominique Ollivier in Montreal’s Vieux-Rosemont district, will become the first Black person to be president of the city’s executive committee.
In Notre Dame de Grace (NDG) Gracia Kasoki Katahwa is the first Black woman to become a borough mayor in Montreal. (The results are currently being recounted.)
Ericka Alnéus,, was elected as city councillor in the Rosemont–La-Petite-Patrie. Martine Musau Muele, won a council seat in the city’s Villeray district. Rolanda Balma, Reine Bombo-Allara and Affine Lwalalika will all sit on the city council of Longueuil, on Montreal’s South Shore.
Carla Pierre-Paul was also elected on the town council of Saint-Jerôme, on the city’s north shore.