Today, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal submitted its brief on Bill 9, with respect to the consultation of citizens on the territorial reorganization of certain municipalities
Montreal, August 22, 2003 - Today, on behalf of its some 7,000 members, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal submitted its brief on Bill 9. This brief proposes that the Quebec government adopt an approach that would first offer the possibility of holding public consultations on the endorsement of the new cities. This approach would enable the elected representatives of the cities involved to present their proposal for reorganization before any process leading to demergers is launched. This approach embodies the pragmatism and efficiency necessary to reduce as far as possible the uncertainty surrounding the rethinking of existing municipal structures.
"For the Board of Trade, one of the most important motivations for producing this brief was to ensure that Quebec's urban centers - particularly that of Greater Montreal - retain their ability to stimulate economic activity in Quebec. This concern must remain at the heart of the discussions and of the choices to be made. This is an issue that should concern not only merchants and companies in the metropolitan area but all of Quebec, since Greater Montreal accounts for more than 50% of the province's gross domestic product and about 70% of its exports," declared Benoit Labonté, president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
In this context, the Board of Trade believes that the first challenge to be met by Bill 9 is to ensure a balance between the right of local communities to express themselves on the political organization of their territory and their duty to participate in the decisions and responsibilities resulting from their participation in their city's economy.
Faithful to the spirit of Bill 9, the Board of Trade therefore presents the following five major proposals in the brief it is presenting today:
|1. || Extend the scope and the dissemination of the impact studies: |
| ||1.1 || Have the completion and public dissemination of the impact studies precede any formal public consultation; |
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| Ensure that the impact studies provide a complete picture of the issues surrounding the question of municipal organization; |
| ||1.3 ||1.3 Increase the time limit for preparation of the impact studies to 120 days. |
|2. ||Preserve the coherence, cohesion, and capacity for initiative of the urban areas in terms of economic development: |
| ||2.1 ||Include the jurisdiction over economic development among those requiring a compulsory agreement between the city and the reconstituted municipality; |
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|Add major non-residential facilities to the list of equipment, infrastructures, and activities that must be covered by an agreement between the central-city and the reconstituted municipality. |
|3. || Include participation in the operation of a metropolitan community among the jurisdictions that must be covered by an agreement between the central-city and the reconstituted municipality. |
|4. || Increase the value of the equalization payments. |
|5. ||Give priority to the presentation of administrative reorganization proposals solicited by the ministerial statement of June 20, 2003, and allow a process of public consultation primarily focusing on endorsement of the new cities. |
"The new cities exist and should therefore serve as a point of departure for any process aiming to improve, in any way, the territorial organization of Quebec's major cities. For the Board of Trade, the concern for saving resources and energy should compel us first to look together at how the new cities could be adjusted to meet the needs of citizens," added Labonté.
"I would like to stress that it was in a spirit of contribution and responsibility that the Board of Trade made its recommendations to the Quebec government. We would like to repeat our desire to cooperate with it to support the progress of Metropolitan Montreal, particularly with regard to its development and economic success," concluded Labonté.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has nearly 7,000 members. Its mission is to be the leading group representing the interests of the Greater Montreal business community. Its objectives are to maintain, at all times, relevance to its membership, credibility towards the public and influence towards government and decision-makers. The Board of Trade relies on its three service branches - Info entreprises, the Electronic Commerce Institute, and the World Trade Centre Montréal - to offer specialized services to the greater business community.
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To obtain a copy of the brief, please consult the Board of Trade's Web site at www.btmm.qc.ca
Vice-president, Strategies and communications
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: (514) 871-4000, ext. 4010