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Press release: Montreal is running at full steam: now's the time to develop a long-term competitive strategy

Montreal is running at full steam: now's the time to develop a long-term competitive strategy

Normand Legault, president, Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal

Montreal, September 14, 2000 – "The city is rebuilding itself at an incredible pace and even starting from scratch in certain areas. All this is possible because of its key strengths; namely, knowledge, creativity and entrepreneurship," affirmed Normand Legault at the annual meeting of members of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.

The new president underscored the remarkable growth Montreal is experiencing, especially in the aerospace, information technology, multimedia, telecommunications and biotechnology sectors. "The year 2000 is a watershed for Metropolitan Montreal. Last June, the prestigious American technology magazine Wired ranked our city fifth among the 46 most dynamic technology cities in the world."

Mr. Legault also highlighted the booming tourism and cultural industries, not to mention the thriving fashion industry. "The upcoming year, during which I will have the pleasure and privilege of presiding over one of the largest business organizations in Canada, will be a memorable one for Montreal. It will be a year of increased private and public investments, a year that will see the creation of thousands of lasting, well paying jobs," he added.

According to the new president, the business community should dedicate its efforts to transforming Montreal's image on the international scene in order to attract new major investors and make Montreal more competitive worldwide. "Montreal is now a Formula 1 car. We have a core of very high-performance companies in, among others, high-tech sectors. We also have quality human resources and recognized leaders in many areas of activity. But we need some fine-tuning to move up in the ranking and to enhance the financial health and well-being of the population of Greater Montreal and Quebec."

To help bolster Montreal's competitiveness, Normand Legault recommends, among other things, speeding up the reorganization of the metropolitan area. "For many years now, the Board of Trade has supported setting up a political and administrative body that would ensure a coherent development strategy for the City. We therefore support the efforts in this regard of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Greater Montreal, Louise Harel. We believe it is important and urgent to group and reduce the number of administrative structures so that Greater Montreal comprises five administrative sub-regions," stated Mr. Legault.

"To be a winning competitive city, you must have good teaching institutions, first-rate health-care services and good roads and communications infrastructures. A vibrant cultural life and a healthy environment are also important factors in strong economic development." The president also stressed the importance of quality transportation infrastructures. "We hope that the transportation plan announced several months ago by the Quebec Minister of Transport will quickly become a reality," he added.

In conclusion, Mr. Legault said that he subscribes to the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal's mission to promote the social and economic growth of Montreal and that he hopes to see the organization play a more active role by partnering with other regional business organizations.

The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has more than 7 000 members. Its mission is to be the leading group representing the interests of the Greater Montreal business community.  The objectives are to maintain, at all times, relevance to its membership, credibility towards the public and influence towards government and decision-makers.

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