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Thursday, October 21, 2021

As the strict French-language law looms, is it time to recognize Montreal as a city-state?


Now that the federal election is over, we in Montreal are turning our attention back to the November mayoral election scheduled for November. The two potential candidates are the current Valerie Plant of the Project Montreal Party and its predecessor Dennis Code of Ensemble Montreal, who want a return to their parties together with 97 percent of the seats available.

Nevertheless, despite the futility of his candidacy, I am a newcomer to the municipal political battle, interested by Balrama Holness of the recently formed party Mouvement Montréal. Holness is a former football player for the Montreal Allies.

Like the code, Holens resents the provincial government’s iron hold on tax revenue from Montreal, where two million Quebecers live. Coderre wants to achieve more financial independence for the city through half of the goods and services tax, which he claims will add about 200 200 million to the city’s budget, which is currently dependent on property taxes.

But Holness has a bold idea. He promised to completely overlap Quebec City and called on the federal government to recognize Montreal as a city-state. Such dignity would give the city sovereignty over files on immigration, social services, education, and of course the perennial third rail of Quebec politics, language rights, and so on. About half of Quebec’s population, but virtually the entire Anglophone and Allophone population, lives in the greater Montreal area of ​​about 4 million people, which in 2018 produced 1 181.6 billion of Quebec’s $ 368 billion.

Hollens no doubt took inspiration for his idea from the introduction of Bill 96 by Premier Francois Legalt, which would replace Bill 101, the French-language charter established in 1977 by then-Prime Minister Renেনে Lovesk. Bill 96 would upgrade the French language from Quebec’s “official” language to Quebec’s “common” language, a provision that dramatically reduces Anglophone language rights. The bill is certain to pass by 2021, and will severely affect local businesses and foreign investment (for example, one of the effects of Bill 96 is to close the loopholes for foreign children to enter English language education.)

But this is not the first time that the proposed English-suppressed language law has sparked interest in city-state solutions. In 2013, as the Party Quebecois returned to power, its English-hostile leader, Pauline Marois, introduced Bill 14, which was designed to suppress English at every step of life. The bill even revoked the right of English-speaking members of the armed forces to teach their children English in Quebec on a temporary basis.

Today Bill 14 is largely forgotten, because Marois was a minority government and lacked sufficient support to pass. But the effort to protect Montreal from another wave of Anglophone flight and business panic has raised a critical mass of anxious Anglophones and realist Francophones in the grassroots rights movement called Canadian Rights in Quebec (CRITIQ). CRITIQ puts significant weight behind its transient but somewhat late strategic adviser Michelle David’s 2013 report, “Montreal: City-State, Rewinding Our Governance”.

The report is aptly observed, with all parties in Quebec having regional, ethnically homogeneous voters, with no direct share in Montreal’s fate. Only political and economic autonomy has been given “special administrative status”, David claims িত pointing to the example of Cree First Nation in northern Quebec, which has been self-governing its territories for decades in collaboration with Quebec City পারে to bring Montreal back to its former glory. . (Before the separatist movement, Montreal was the business hub of Canada, and Bill 101 came out of the headquarters of banks and insurance companies in Toronto.)

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So, in fact, David was not really calling for a real city-state like Monaco, Singapore or the Vatican City, which operates completely independently of the countries in which they live or land and whose language and culture they share. David said Montreal did not need complete independence to improve, but the economic situation demanded a kind of action. As evidence, he cited research from a Boston consulting group that painted an impeccable portrayal of Montreal’s economic performance over more than 15 years compared to Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. For five Canadian cities, Montreal’s GDP growth was the slowest, at 37 percent vs. 59 percent.

The economy and culture of Montreal differs from the rest of Quebec (ROQ) and is unique to Canada. In terms of organization and management, David said, Montreal could be identified as a special economic zone where official bilingualism would immediately trigger a wave of foreign investment and human capital. The object was a win-win outcome for both Quebec and Montreal, with the economic benefits of the project split in two.

David’s report contains the results of ROQ’s Ipsos survey on the Montreal Islands, the greater Montreal area and the current situation and future of Montreal. Across the board, about 80 percent of respondents agreed that “Montreal has lost its status over the past few decades.” More than 100 percent of Montrealers agree, but only one percent of ROQs agree that Montreal “should have more autonomy to make its own decisions for the future.” Language law was recognized as an obstacle to Montreal’s prosperity. Surprisingly, about 75 percent of Montrealers agree that “ensuring complete bilingual status” will help.

The main acceptable points of Montreal residents in the survey were as follows: a distinct society in Montreal Quebec (90 percent); To stop its decline, Montreal must take drastic measures to improve its performance (91 percent); And Montreal deserves special status in Quebec because it is a world-class cosmic city (74 percent).

The city-state movement lost momentum when the Liberal Party, led by Philip Quillard, defeated the PQ in 2014 to win 70 of the 125 assembly seats. Quillards had a reassuring message to Quibars, “My dear friends, the section is over. Reunion has begun. ”

And yet, Quillard has disappointed himself with the CAQ (Quebec on Coalition Avenue) in 2018, here we are again. Francois Legalt is not Pauline Marois, a staunch separatist. But he is still a nationalist, and he has shown with Bill 96 that he is willing to sacrifice the prosperity of Montreal on the altar of racial pride.

Montreal’s economic situation has improved somewhat since 2011, but it will be reversed immediately if Bill 96 comes into force. The 1995 referendum Quebec nationalists never gave rise to the idea: “If Canada is divisible, Quebec is divisible.”

As a bilingual, multicultural, business-friendly city, Montreal’s potential is endless. Why should a handsome, cheerful and strong horse be forced to pull a cart full of cement while walking, when it can pull a cartful of money in a gallop?

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the author and The Epoch Times.


Barbara K has been a weekly columnist for the National Post since 2003, and also for other publications, including ThePostMillennial.com, Canadian Jewish News, Quillett, and The Dorchester Review. He is the author of three books.


This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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