Targeted by a wave of criticism who accuse her of having made excessive expenses when she headed the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM), Dominique Ollivier resigned from her position as president of the City's executive committee from Montreal on Monday. She believes that the climate was not sufficiently calm to allow her to retain her functions, especially since she claims to have been the target of numerous messages with racist and misogynistic connotations since the controversy broke out.
< p>Two days before the submission of the City's 2024 budget, Dominique Ollivier withdrew, the controversy surrounding this affair having continued to gain momentum in the last few days.
“For ten days, I have been faced with a situation that prevents me from fully and confidently carrying out the mandates entrusted to me by [Montreal Mayor Valérie] Plante, following the publication of a series of articles of the last days,” she explained during a brief press briefing at city hall.
The elected official maintains that during the last week, she received a few messages of support, but above all a multitude of hateful messages. “I have constantly received – and when I say “constantly”, it means daily, at all times – numerous messages […], especially messages which are violent, which are misogynistic, which are racist, which carry attack on my integrity, both moral and physical, which will range from “go home” to “we hope that you will spend the rest of your life in prison”. »
“You understand that in this context, while we have important meetings ahead of us for Montrealers, and also because I have a lot of respect for the work of all my colleagues, for the leadership of Ms. Plante that for the population of Montreal, I find that it is becoming absolutely impossible to allow the current controversy to undermine the confidence of the population,” she continued.
A “household” at the OCPM
Dominique Ollivier will leave her position as president of the executive committee, but will remain an advisor in the Vieux-Rosemont district.
She also has appear before the City's Finance and Administration Commission on Friday to explain the management choices she made while chairing the OCPM.
Valérie Plante accepted Ms. Ollivier’s resignation, agreeing that the climate was no longer favorable for her right-hand man. It is the mayor of Plateau-Mont-Royal, Luc Rabouin, who will serve as president of the executive committee, while the mayor of Sud-Ouest, Benoit Dorais, will take the reins of the interim finance file two days before the presentation of the City’s budget.
The mayor, who came to the defense of Dominique Ollivier last week, continued to praise her qualities, describing her as a “competent woman of great value”.
However, she had harsh remarks about the current president of the OCPM, Isabelle Beaulieu. She also invited her to leave her post. “The sound management of public funds is a responsibility that applies to all public organizations, and unbearable questions still remain unanswered,” she said. Ms. Beaulieu no longer has the confidence of the municipal council of the City of Montreal. » She also said she supports the emergency motion that the opposition will table at the municipal council on November 20 to request “the immediate dismissal of the president of the OCPM and its general secretary.”
Without questioning the relevance of the OCPM, Valérie Plante believes that “cleaning” must be done.
Reports published by Quebecor media beginning over a week ago revealed that on numerous occasions, OCPM leaders used public funds to pay for expensive meals at restaurants as well as trips abroad whose benefits remained unclear.
Ms. Ollivier, who chaired the OCPM from 2014 to 2021, notably spent a total of $17,000 on restaurant expenses in four years . Among these expenses is a $347 oyster meal in Paris which marked the birthday of a collaborator and former business partner, Guy Grenier.
“It is not because the expenses are legal and permitted that they are acceptable,” Dominique Ollivier indicated last Wednesday. I particularly regret that certain expenditures affect the population's feeling of confidence. »
President of the OCPM since February 2022, Isabelle Beaulieu has also been criticized for spending on catering, and for purchasing expensive equipment such as $900 wireless headphones.
The opposition at City Hall has been demanding the resignation of Dominique Ollivier for almost a week. “I think that today, resignation was the right thing to do,” said the leader of Ensemble Montréal, Aref Salem. Ms. Ollivier no longer had the trust of Montrealers to exercise her function as guardian of common funds and municipal taxes. »
The leader of the opposition also believes that Isabelle Beaulieu, as well as her secretary general, Guy Grenier, must in turn leave their functions.
According to him, Mayor Plante's administration will emerge weakened from this episode. As for the OCPM, its mission remains important, but its management will have to be tightened, says the head of Ensemble Montréal. “We must focus on the mission of the OCPM, which is to consult Montrealers and not to go around the world with taxpayers’ money. »
Remember that the City's general auditor was given the mandate to conduct an audit on the management of the OCPM.
With Stéphanie Vallet< /p>