The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

Viewpoint: Exploiting our creativity

Original text signed by Isabelle Hudon, Interim President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, published in Le Devoir .

January 18, 2005

Exploiting our creativity

Having read Robert Spickler's letter entitled “Lettre-fiction aux Montréalais à l'occasion de l'adoption d'une politique culturelle pour Montréal” published in the Monday, January 10 edition of Le Devoir , the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, on behalf of its some 7,000 members, would like to share its opinion on the role culture plays as a means of developing Greater Montreal.

According to an economic study published by the Board of Trade in April 2004, “Montreal 's quality of life stems from its many and varied cultural events organized each year, a low homicide rate, the diversity created by its numerous cultural communities, and its multilingual environment.” Everyone knows that outside Montreal , and indeed, Canada , culture is an important part of the City's signature as a great place to live. Through major cultural events and avant-garde artists in a variety of fields, culture contributes to Montreal 's international visibility. As such, the prospect raised by Mr. Spickler's assertion that ridding the city of culture is tantamount to shutting the door on Montreal as we know it certainly strikes a chord.

The business community is well aware of the important contribution culture makes to our city's vitality. The survey conducted last year as part of the Board of Trade's study showed that most business people in Greater Montreal agree that the city stands out for its quality of life and that culture plays a big part in this reputation. Although their first concern is the competitiveness of their company, and by extension, of the Greater Montreal economy, business people also believe culture should continue to be an important facet of the city's enviable reputation.

In our view, it is therefore important to make Montreal a true cultural metropolis and provide it with innovative ways to maintain and enhance the cultural vitality that sets it apart. For some time now, the Board of Trade has worked to promote the City's cultural richness as a powerful economic lever. In its Policy statement, the Board of Trade underscores the need to preserve and enhance this quality of life and to support the vitality and diversity of the cultural and linguistic environment to ensure that the City of Montreal is not only a nice place to live but also a great place to visit.

Given that they contribute to quality of life and economic development as well as boost our international competitiveness, Montreal 's cultural vitality and creativity must be actively supported. Faced with other urban centres in the world that are devising ingenious ways to compete, organizing themselves and working together, we have no choice but to exploit our creativity, particularly to find lasting solutions to the problem of financing cultural events and organizations.

As the City of Montreal works on defining its Cultural Policy, the Board of Trade would like to reiterate its commitment to promote and defend the important role culture plays in the economy and quality of life of Greater Montreal. We too will tap into our creativity to find ways to bring together the business and cultural communities.


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