When Benoit Dorais became involved as a teenager, volunteering with seniors he did not know that these people would be the common thread in his civic commitment. It was as a school commissioner and then as a political attaché that he discovered the dynamics of the six Sud-Ouest neighbourhoods. When Louise Harel showed him that he had a vision for his part of Montreal, Benoit had a revelation; inspired, he took the plunge and was elected mayor of the borough in 2009. Re-elected in 2013, He received a third mandate from the public under the Projet Montréal banner in 2017.
Benoit, who had long believed - wrongly - that municipal politics was simply a matter of managing a few simple issues, has noticed since his first mandate that his initiatives have concretely improved people's lives. Living in the borough himself, this is the best way to confirm his decision-making with his fellow citizens, whom he meets every day. Benoit values these frequent contacts and is involved on a daily basis with his team to follow up with local citizens.
In the borough, Benoit puts residents at the heart of all his decisions. He is pleased to have consolidated and expanded the notion of public consultation in the Sud-Ouest, where citizens are truly involved in the decisions that affect them. Social and affordable housing has become a priority for Benoit, so the urban development department has a mandate to include such housing at every opportunity. The number of parks has increased and the borough has redesigned the ones which sorely needed it. Begun with the Saint-Pierre woonerf (a green play alley where car access is limited), the vision Benoit presented in December 2009 for this area will finally be completed 12 years later, with the extension of the Lac-à-la-Loutre park.
In November 2017, Valerie Plante appointed Benoit as chair of the city's executive committee. His role? In particular, to ensure that the decisions of the mayor and city council are operational and financially feasible, and also to maintain the climate of trust and mutual respect with the city's employees. The Ten-Year Capital Program he implemented is a rigorous and complex exercise, but one that provides greater accountability, and makes the public service and elected officials more accountable. He hopes that this innovative planning will be one of his legacies for Montreal. Despite his responsibilities at City Hall, Benoit frequently schedules special meetings in his borough, such as his annual holiday tour, a “speed dating" tour of all the seniors' residences and low-income housing complexes in the Sud-Ouest. People tell him they appreciate this closeness and consistency. Benoit will always remain close to his world and a "little guy from Saint-Henri"!