Montreal, May 20, 2004 Montreal Coalition a group of more than 200 leaders from the business, cultural, academic, social, union and sport sectors lament the signatures obtained in favour of a referendum in several former Greater Montreal municipalities.
We have to wonder about the democratic merit of an exercise where 7% of the registered voters (i.e., those who signed the registers) entitle 28% (i.e., total voters that will be invited to vote at a referendum) to decide the future of Montreal 's municipal structure. Although only a few territories will probably leave the megacity following the June 20 referendum, this split will have negative consequences on the population of the island of Montreal. We appeal to the conscience and good judgment of this 28% of our citizens and ask them to reconsider the need to keep a united, strong megacity, declared Benoit Labonté, President and Chief Executive of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and a Montreal Coalition partner. It is crucial to stress the fact that more than 84% of voters from former suburbs have not bothered to sign the registers. We ought to take note that a significant majority of citizen still believe in the full potential of the City of Montreal as it is now.
In the current global context where large cities play an increasingly important and strategic role in the economic, social and cultural development of nations, Montreal must ultimately acquire the means to act coherently and cohesively. From the impassioned demonstrations of the demerger supporters, it unfortunately looks like we're heading down to new jurisdictional squabbles rather than channelling our attention and efforts to the real issues of the day. Do we need to remind everyone that Quebec is now at a turning point in its development and that it won't have another chance to have a true world-class metropolis for years to come? continued Benoit Labonté.
The former municipalities must stop competing against each other so that we can raise Montreal to a higher level of urban intelligence. In order for the City to meet the challenges of the 21st century with modern management and infrastructures, rely on neighbourhoods where residents work to improve their environment and enjoy the remarkable visibility provided by its artists and major cultural institutions, we have no other choice but to work together. Only then will Montreal become a real City of the world. That's the real challenge, added Philip O'Brien, Societies administrator and founder of Devencore, and Coalition partner.
The Coalition for Montreal is a non-partisan initiative launched by Simon Brault, president, Culture Montréal; Benoit Labonté, president and CEO, Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal; Robert Lacroix, rector, Université de Montréal; Phyllis Lambert, president, Canadian Centre for Architecture; Henri Massé, president, Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec; Nancy Neamtan, president and CEO, Chantier de l'économie sociale; and Philip O'Brien, Societies administrator and founder of Devencore.
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