Five questions for Vrai changement leader Justine McIntyre

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Over the last three weeks, there has been talk about the Vrai changement pour Montréal party and the Projet Montréal party merging in anticipation of the next municipal elections in 2017.

And Vrai changement leader Justine McIntyre’s name was floated as a possible candidate in the leadership race already underway for top spot with Projet Montréal.

Last week McIntyre announced she would not be entering the leadership race.

McIntyre is a borough councillor in Pierrefonds-Roxboro for the Bois-de-Liesse district and is a member of Montreal’s Social Development and Diversity Commission as well as the city’s Finance and Administration Commission.

The 45-year-old McGill University graduate and former music teacher at École Charles-Perrault in Roxboro has a diploma in arts management from the University of Washington and is married to software engineer Jean Karim Metwalli. The couple has three children: an 11-year-old daughter and two boys, 15 and 14 years old. 

The Montreal Gazette asked McIntyre five questions.

Q: What got you into politics?

A: In 2013, Montreal had been rocked by corruption scandals. My husband and I decided to get involved. He ran for borough mayor and I ran for councillor. We formed a team with (current Pierrefonds-Roxboro councillor) Roger Trottier and then we met (now Liberal MP) Mélanie Jolie. We agreed on so many issues. Naively, I thought we would all get elected, or none of us would get elected. So when I was elected and my husband wasn’t, it took a toll on the relationship. But it was also a time when we were looking to reorient our careers, so the election was my reorientation and my husband quickly found a good job and his career took off.

Q: Was there a single, local issue that you thought might benefit from your entering into negotiations with Projet Montréal to perhaps create a more powerful political base?

A: After I was elected, the proposed development of Pierrefonds West was brought to my attention. I’ve spent the last year and a half trying to figure it out. It is a very important file. We need to protect our few remaining green spaces and be smarter about development. Projet Montréal feels the same way. We share information. I have the contacts with the local community and Projet Montréal has a great research team.

Q: Why did you decide not to enter the Projet Montréal leadership race?

A: I’m being cautious. It’s my first mandate. After Mélanie left (for federal politics) I felt very strongly about staying and keeping the Vrai changement team together. I have been approached by Projet Montréal on several occasions to run for the leadership. This last time it was (interim leader) Luc Ferrandez who contacted me. He is a person of great integrity with a clear vision for the Plateau. We agreed on a lot of issues, but I felt that perhaps his vision did not reach the West Island.

Q: What are the chances of the Projet Montréal and Vrai changement pour Montréal merger happening?

A: The upcoming election will be the third for Projet Montréal. I don’t want my fledgling party jumping in too quickly and getting consumed. And it will depend on who becomes PM leader and what that leader’s vision is. Will it be broad enough to include the whole island and will diversity — with the voices of women and ethnic communities added to the mix — factor into the vision? 

Q: Will you be running for borough mayor in Pierrefonds-Roxboro in the next municipal election, Nov. 5, 2017?

A: It is too soon for me to comment on that.

kgreenaway@postmedia.com