Marie-Eve Brunet on Youth and Development

29-Year-Old Candidate Running for Borough Council in Verdun

Marie-Eve Brunet. Photo Michael Wrobel

Marie-Eve Brunet, one of the younger candidates seeking election in Montreal’s upcoming municipal election, says culture and the place of young Montrealers in the community are key campaign issues in the Verdun borough she’s running in.

The 29-year-old mother of a 10-month-old is running with political party Équipe Denis Coderre pour Montréal, looking to win one of two borough councillor seats in the Champlain–L’Île-des-Soeurs electoral district.

“I’m an action girl, so I have to have people around me who don’t just want to do politics on paper,” Brunet said, explaining that what initially drew her to mayoral hopeful Denis Coderre’s team was that she didn’t want to join a political party which would make campaign promises without a clear understanding of how to deliver on them after the election.

“[The team of candidates running for Denis Coderre] had stars in their eyes and believed what they were talking about,” she said. “They asked me what I would like to do […] for Verdun and for Montreal.”

Improving Nuns’ Island for Residents

Nuns’ Island, a part of the electoral district Brunet is running in, has only one elementary school, which is becoming overcrowded.

A second primary school was to be built in Verdun’s De la Fontaine Park, but the location chosen for the new school stirred up sufficient opposition among residents for the project to be abandoned.

A second plot of land at the extremity of the park was then proposed, a location that the city’s public consultation office threw its support behind in September after holding six meetings with residents.

“We have to make sure that young people have a role during the construction [of this school],” Brunet said. “There was squabbling between adults over where the school should be situated. Now that it’s been decided, we have to make sure that children […] feel like they’re welcome in the community and are a part of it.”

Nuns’ Island has seen considerable residential and commercial development in recent years. When asked how to strike the right balance between development and setting aside enough room for parks and public spaces like schools, Brunet said there’s a need to look beyond the short term.

“We have to look at the long term, and make sure that, yes, we allow development, but also that it’s in harmony with [public] spaces,” she said. “We also have to make sure that there are sufficient city services.”

She said residents would like more local activities to be organized on Nuns’ Island. According to her, the waterfront isn’t being utilized as fully as it could be.

Brunet said that the water’s edge could easily be used for day camps or kayaking classes, among other activities, and that the team of candidates running under Coderre’s banner in the borough would work to “reclaim” the waterfront.

On Montreal’s Youth and Culture

Brunet said she’s aware that the city’s youth council—the Conseil jeunesse de Montréal, which advises Montreal’s mayor and executive committee on matters related to the city’s youth—has recommended the creation of new educational programs similar to Calgary’s City Hall School in order to teach young Montrealers about their city’s governance structures.

In an interview with The Link, CjM President Michael Ryan Wiseman said a lot of the city’s younger residents lack the knowledge needed to understand how their municipal government works and how they can engage in the political process.

“I think we [as city or borough councillors] have to go into high schools and talk to teenagers and make them realize how important [their municipal government] is,” Brunet said.

Brunet also said other Montreal boroughs have city-operated cultural venues where different types of community events can take place—dubbed maisons de la culture—but that Verdun doesn’t have one.

The Verdun borough needs such a venue, and the candidates with whom she’s running would work to make one a reality, Brunet said.