Agreements linking the Quebec Government, the City of Montréal,
and the reconstituted cities: recognition of the needs and role of the metropolis;
adoption of promising attitudes of collaboration
Montréal, Thursday, June 12, 2008 The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is pleased by today's announcement of the conclusion of two important agreements linking the Quebec Government, the City of Montréal, and the reconstituted municipalities on the Island of Montréal. For the Board of Trade, these agreements officially recognize the vital role played by the metropolis and the specific needs ensuing from that status and mark the adoption of new attitudes of collaboration promoting the smooth functioning of the Montréal agglomeration.
For a long time, the Board of Trade has hoped that the role of Montréal as Quebec's metropolis and the driving force of its economy would be more fully appreciated and that the decision-making tools befitting a metropolis would be made available to it. Montréal's formal recognition as metropolis is thus a highly symbolic act with concrete implications. The Quebec Government is granting greater autonomy to the City of Montréal by giving it enabling authority which, while limited, offers the City significantly greater capacity for initiative, declared Isabelle Hudon, president and CEO of the Board of Trade.
Concretely, this enabling authority confers on the City of Montréal the freedom to occupy a variety of tax fields, with the exception of those that are explicitly prohibited. This is a change whereby Montréal may now choose and even innovate rather than be confined by the Quebec Government to more limited options. At the same time, this increased freedom gives Montrealers a new responsibility: that of discussing, among themselves, the best use of the enabling authority and the revenues the municipal government may derive from it. We are convinced that Montrealers are prepared to participate in such debates and we expect the mayor of Montréal to obtain the support of Montrealers for any new tax initiatives, continued Hudon.
Among the other elements of the specific agreement concluded between the Government of Quebec and the City of Montréal, the Board of Trade is particularly pleased by the changes made to the governance of the Ville-Marie borough.
For the Board of Trade, it is natural that the downtown core, the cultural and economic heart of the metropolis, where half a million workers, students, tourists, and consumers converge each day, be the direct responsibility of the mayor of Montréal. A number of projects of strategic importance to the development of Montréal and the entire metropolitan area are concentrated here. We therefore consider it to be quite logical that, after 2009, the mayor of Montréal should be able to mobilize both his team and the resources of the downtown core to ensure the rapid and coherent development of the centre of the metropolis, added Hudon.
Finally, the Board of Trade is delighted by the conclusion of an agreement linking the City of Montréal and the reconstituted municipalities on the Island of Montréal and hopes that this marks the definitive end of the questions concerning the municipal reorganization of the Island of Montréal launched almost ten years ago.
During the parliamentary committee on Bill 22 last fall, we stressed the fact that you can't resolve an attitude problem by creating new structures. What we needed to address first of all was the working climate between Montréal and the reconstituted cities. From this perspective, we believe that all the partners to the agreement have made the right choice by prioritizing the identification of means, acceptable to all, for facilitating the transparent sharing of information. In the end, if this agreement satisfies all parties and contributes to the emergence of a sustainable attitude of collaboration, we will be able to consider the municipal reorganization of the Island of Montréal a thing of the past and finally concentrate on realizing our ambitions, concluded Hudon.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has some 7,000 members. Its primary mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montreal and to provide individuals, merchants, and local businesses of all sizes with a variety of specialized services to help them achieve their full potential in terms of innovation, productivity and competitiveness. The Board of Trade is Quebec's leading private economic development organization.
Coordinator, Media relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4015