Joint statement by Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Chamber, and a collective from the business community. List of signatories follows.
The virus has struck around the world. It knows no borders. And it has struck particularly hard in areas of high density, hitting major cities full force. Montréal was and is still reeling from it.
But the worst thing we can do is to throw up our hands and let discouragement take hold. We must raise our heads, get organized to weather the storm, and emerge from it even stronger.
The Montréal we have built is based on a plural, diverse, and vibrant economy. Long before the pandemic, we started addressing our challenges. We knew that we had to improve the accreditation of labour, increase business productivity, focus on innovation, talent, and the next generation of leaders, use our strengths in growth niches like artificial intelligence, and take advantage of our strategic position as a gateway to North America.
We need to build on our strengths and sustain the ambition that fuelled us before the crisis. We need to be clear-headed and effectively support the sectors that are suffering disproportionately – tourism, aerospace, air travel, and culture. We need to invest massively in projects that strengthen our strategic infrastructure, in particular the connection between the international airport and the city, the addition to Contrecœur port facilities, and the deployment of new public transit equipment.
We need to continue to attract large international enterprises, subsidiaries, and major funds to invest here and create quality jobs. We need to prepare our strategy to resume hosting trade shows and major international conferences.
It is time for us to rally. Collectively we need to breathe a dose of confidence into decision makers. We need to show leadership and insight.
We should never lose sight of the fact that Montréal has a unique role to play among major cities. In the eyes of visitors, whether investors, students, or tourists, Montréal is intriguing and attractive.
But there is more. Montréal is inclusive, tolerant, ambitious, safe, modern, aware of its environmental responsibilities, and turned toward the future. As social crises proliferate and others are struggling with disturbing eruptions of violence, we have built a society that can calmly debate its differences and move toward solutions based on consensus.
This form of collective maturity is what will guarantee the success of the nascent recovery.
In the coming weeks, we will work together to identify responses to the challenges that affect each of the city’s promising economic sectors, by building on these shared values that must underpin the recovery.
This movement depends on everyone’s commitment to succeed.
Yves Lalumière, President and CEO, Tourisme Montréal
Michel Leblanc, President and CEO, Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal
Stéphane Paquet, President and CEO, Montréal International
Philippe Rainville, President and CEO, Aéroports de Montréal
Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO, Montreal Port Authority