The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

To the newly elected representativesViewpoint by Isabelle Hudon

Original text published in Le Devoir, the Journal de Montréal and the Métro.

April 2, 2007


By Isabelle Hudon
President and CEO
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal

First of all, on behalf of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and its members, allow me to extend our warmest congratulations on your election on March 26.

To earn the trust of the voters in your ridings, you clearly had to demonstrate your commitment to promoting the interests of your respective electoral districts as well as defending and promoting the greater interests of Quebec.  For this reason – whatever choices they made on election day – all Quebecers have a right to expect that all new members of the National Assembly will work together in good faith to ensure the progress of Quebec.

While nations around the world compete fiercely to attract talent and investment, Quebec must continue to move forward – in fact, it must accelerate its progress.  It would thus seem appropriate at this time to remember the importance to Quebec of the development of Montreal – our cultural metropolis, our knowledge city, and our region of economic clusters and innovation.

Given that Greater Montreal represents almost 50% of Quebec's GDP and population, 70% of its exports, and more than 80% of its private investment in research and development, the city's strategic importance to the success of Quebec is unquestioned.  It is thus no exaggeration to call Montreal the “economic engine” of Quebec: whether by generating greater demand for goods produced elsewhere in the province or through its role at the heart of very real regional complementarities – such as in the agri-food and aluminium sectors, for example – the growth of Montreal can have a ripple effect on the rest of Quebec.

In this context, it matters little what party or riding you represent: the development of Montreal is an issue of concern to all Quebecers – and therefore deserves the attention of all members.

Undeniably, the regions face major challenges and have pressing needs. Equally true, a metropolis the size of Montreal demands resources and investments on a scale unparalleled in the rest of the province.

That said, we must at all costs avoid establishing relationships of cause and effect between these two very separate realities.  Far from depriving the other regions, investments in the success of the metropolis are beneficial to all Quebecers – if only because the government's return on its investments can then be invested elsewhere, in other regions.

This is why the last general election has presented you and your colleagues in the National Assembly with an unprecedented challenge.  On the one hand, you must succeed in making this government – the first minority government seen in Quebec in modern times – function effectively.  On the other hand, you must raise awareness, both in Parliament and within your respective ridings, that the metropolis and the regions are in fact complementary and that promoting their development – with the appropriate measures and resources – should not only serve the greater interests of Quebec but also be your greatest source of pride.

Let us ensure that a commitment to performance is seen not as pretension but rather for what it truly is: a strong desire for success.


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