NEWS

Montreal mayor wants promises from provincial parties

08/13/2012 06:14 EDT | Updated 10/13/2012 05:12 EDT
With a provincial election date set for Sept. 4, Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay decided Monday to share his electoral wish list and opinions on the promises made so far during the electoral campaign.

He expects the projects to cost $3-billion over the years to come.

Tremblay said he refuses to take sides in the election, as he wants to represent citizens of all political allegiances.

The mayor sent a letter to six party leaders asking for their stance on five main issues pertaining to the City of Montreal:

- Investment plans to help update infrastructure around the city, specifically water and transportation systems.

- Investment in a second phase of development for the Quartier des spectacles area.

- Funding of Montreal's economic development.

- Hiking gas taxes and licensing fees or creating some other system to better fundpublic transit.

- Creation of a new plan for the eastern side of Montreal, particularly to decontaminate old industrial sites and cut down on traffic congestion on Notre-Dame Boulevard.

"We have to continue – if we want that boom – to invest in our infrastructure," said Tremblay. "Are they willing to invest in infrastructure?"

The mayor said he understands that Quebec's current financial state would not be able to finance development for the city's metro and commuter train systems.

Tremblay said he wants political parties to take a position on allowing higher licence fees for non-green vehicles and to adjust the fuel tax to finance public transit.

Tremblay said the suburban train services and metros need to be expanded in order to help reduce highway congestion and cut gas emissions.

"Public transit is a must in Montreal. We're on an island so we have to invest in public transit. We know that the Quebec government doesn't have the existing funding to do that, so we're giving the solution to the Quebec government," he said.

Tremblay comments on party promises

Leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec, François Legault, recently stated, that if elected, he would reduced the number of municipal councilors in Montreal from the current 103 to less than 50. He also proposed giving back to the central administration some of the powers currently in the hands of boroughs. He claimed the current administrative costs are slowing down Montreal's development plans.

Legault said that the 205,000 citizens in cities linked to Montreal are represented by 113 elected officials while Toronto and New York, two cities with a bigger population, are governed by 45 and 57 officials.

Legault also said he would make changes to Montreal's transport agency by having a public corporation take care of the planning, financing and work on infrastructure projects.

Montreal mayor did not care for Legault's propositions. Tremblay suggested they would lead to unnecessary shake-ups.

"Montreal needs stability. To destabilize Montreal would take it back 10 years," said Tremblay.

CAQ plans splits the municipal opposition

Opposition party leaders at city hall said the mayor's wish list makes sense, but they are not sure the provincial politicians on the campaign trail are paying attention.

Anie Samson, a member of the opposition party Vision Montréal, said the provincial parties do not have to and promise much since the west of Montreal is known to be primarily Liberal and the east votes for the Parti Québecois.

However, Vision Montréal agrees with the CAQ's plan to reduce the number of elected representatives.

"Since 2002, we went from 51 elected officials before the fusion to 103. We doubled the number of elected officials, we doubled the administrative structure and finally, we did the opposite than what the fusion was supposed to do," said Samson.

For his part, Projet Montréal leader Richard Bergeron believes the CAQ should focus on developing the commuter train system towards the east of the city rather than the metro.

He believes that with this approach, the CAQ could gain more voters in Montreal's easternmost boroughs.

PQ avoids criticizing structures

Parti Québecois leader Pauline Marois said she has "no intention of interfering in [Montreal's] structures."

"We have more ambitious projects for public transport and big plans we would like to apply to the metropolitan area," said Marois.

The PQ leader said Montreal's current administration is "heavy" and "complex" because of the work done by the provincial Liberal Party but does not plan to rework the structure.

"There may be improvements that we could bring, but I do not have the intention of changing the structures unless there is a consensus and desire for modifications. For now, we will work with what we have."

MORE:cbcNews