Community builder, Keeton Clarke has his eyes set on the Mayoral seat of the Sud-West borough on a Mouvement Montreal ticket. And he is looking forward to leading the drive to develop the district, part of which is home to Montreal’s historic Black community.
He spoke to the CONTACT about the party, their philosophy and brand of politics. “Mouvement Montreal, stands for just that, Moving forward, moving Montreal forward,” he says.
“The city wouldn’t have discourse with Mr. Holness on systemic racism until he collected about 22,000 signatures to force consultations on the issue within the city.
We know that systemic racism lurks everywhere: in the workplace, in the police and other institutions, so we had to have the conversation. Mouvement Montreal is all about that, moving in the right direction.”
He says the south-west area was suggested to him and he took the suggestion and thought it would be a good place for him to vie.
“I thought coming here would be a good challenge, I really feel the area is in great need of support, great need of changing and we are up to the challenge.
Clarke who is one of the more seasoned candidates in the Mouvement Montreal team is running in his second municipal election.
He is the president of (C.O.R.E.) Community Outreach Resource Equity Group Canada. A Social Enterprise / NGO, that networks with community groups on matters of capacity building, empowerment and community development, with special interest in socio-economic integration practices and politically diverse cultural representation.
And has also been at the forefront of several community development initiatives including serving as the president of the Council of Caribbean Associations of Montreal and as vice president of the Centre d’Education Populaire de la Petite-Bourgogne et St-Henri.
And as a long-standing advocate on minority rights, he points to the issues that are high on his list.
Safety is also one of my priorities,” he says. “Security and safety are very important but we need to look at the police and how they are protecting us, the type of policing that we have come accustomed to.”
He says we have to find a different path forward.
“We must look into community policing. When it comes to security, public security protection, we have to look at community organizations as a frontline for security because anytime something happens one of the first places they turn to is the community organizations.
These organizations provide programs and help and support to individuals, so they don’t go to police first. So, we need to look at supporting organizations making sure that their funding is adequate.”
Clarke says part of his party’s mandate is to turn Montreal as a city-state which they believe will help the city retain more control and steer development in the right direction.
“If the city can govern itself, we can have more control and move our citizens in the way they need to go, economically, see them grow and make those necessary changes.”
The party promises bilingual serviced (English and French) within Montreal while maintaining its French Charter..
“Economically the contribution of the English within Montreal and Quebec has made the city what it is. And it’s only fair to keep it as it is,” Clarke says. “Language should not be a hindrance to our success. Because communication is key and we shouldn’t be limited.”
Clarke is encouraging the community to vote and find ways to participate in the November 7, elections.