Balarama Holness was beaming as he stood on the steps of City Hall on the morning of July 27 surrounded by a group of young Montrealers as they prepared to deliver the 20,000 signatures gathered to demand that the City hold public consultations on systemic racism and discrimination.
The petition was delivered to the city clerk, who has 21 days to verify the signatures before municipal authorities issue a statement on the demands.
The 20,000 collected far exceed the 15,000 threshold that is required to get City Hall to act on the demands of the group.
Holness a Law student at McGill ran for the ruling Projet Montreal in the November municipal election but lost. The disconnect between with the party surfaced soon after the elections when it appears that he was sidelined by party leaders following their victory over Team Denis Corderre.
On the website of his group Team Montreal, Holness described his accomplishment as a “historic moment for all Montrealers.” as a
He went on to state: “welcome to a diverse City Hall, the new City Hall, of the people, by the people, that reflects your needs, interests and values.”
The drive for the petition was launched in February in collaboration with other advocacy groups such as Committee For Race Relations and the Cote des Neiges Black Community Association.
It hinged on data that shows a heavy over-representation of minorities in Montreal among the unemployed and under employed.
Also the under representation of minorities in the City of Montreal’s workforce of 25,000.