The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal presents
its brief to the Parliamentary committee on Bill 9
regarding the consultation of citizens with respect to the territorial
reorganization of certain municipalities Montreal, September 11, 2003 Today, on behalf of its some 7,000 members, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal presented its brief on Bill 9 to the Parliamentary committee responsible for the consultation of citizens regarding the territorial reorganization of certain municipalities.
The basic issue underlying the Board of Trade's analysis of this bill was its economic repercussions on metropolitan Montreal.
The Board of Trade's brief proposes that the Quebec government adopt an approach that first offers the possibility of holding a public consultation on endorsing the new cities. The primary goal of this pragmatic approach is to promote support for the existing situation.
For the Board of Trade, one of the undeniable merits of the recent municipal reorganization despite its compulsory nature was to offer concrete and extremely relevant solutions enabling the entire metropolitan area to realize its full development potential. The mergers of the municipalities on the island of Montreal and those forming the new city of Longueuil have given them increased political weight and allowed them, along with the city of Laval, to assume the necessary and long-awaited leadership of economic development for the entire metropolitan area. This is why we believe it wise to proceed, first of all, with a public consultation on endorsing the new city. This would be a positive approach that should prove profitable over the long term for all citizens, declared Benoit Labonté, president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
The new cities are working; they deliver services and are concerned about improving them even more; they are negotiating labour contracts with their unions long-term agreements in the case of Montreal, something never before seen; they are consolidating their organizational structures. In short, the new cities exist and should logically serve as the point of departure for the next step in the exercise undertaken by the government. Under these conditions, the Board of Trade considers that it would certainly be more efficient and cost-effective to see how to improve them rather than to immediately open the door to their dismantling. All the more so since Montreal like many other large cities has already presented concrete proposals for its administrative reorganization. These are, in many respects, very sensible and relevant and deserve to be studied, added Labonté.
It was thus in a spirit of contribution and responsible action that the Board of Trade today presented the following five major proposals in its brief to the Committee:
|Extend the scope and the dissemination of the impact studies: |
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|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; |
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|Increase the time limit for preparation of the impact studies to 120 days. |
|Preserve the coherence, cohesion, and capacity for initiative of the urban areas in terms of economic development: |
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|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 centre city and the reconstituted municipality. |
|Include participation in the operation of a metropolitan community among the jurisdictions that must be covered by an agreement between the centre city and the reconstituted municipality. |
|Increase the value of the equalization payments. |
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 process launched by Bill 9 is extremely important to the residents of the cities involved. It is also critical to Quebec's entire economy, since it affects the province's major growth centers. The economic, social, cultural, community, and environmental issues linked to the municipal reorganization are thus issues that undeniably concern all residents of the new cities. So inviting them all to discuss the future of their existing city would, in our opinion, be a far more democratic exercise than that being proposed an exercise marked by respect and pragmatism. We are firmly convinced that this approach would allow the government to fully honour its commitment to respect the will of the people while promoting the success of the new cities, something it is also committed to doing, 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.
Mr. Labonté's speech (Complet text) and the brief (Complete text (PDF, 1 Mo))
Coordinator, Media relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: (514) 871-4000, ext. 4015