Montreal needs special status, new business study says

Montreal's economy has been declining for years, and the city needs more control over its own affairs if it is to thrive.

That was the main conclusion of a study released today by the Bank of Montreal and The Boston Consulting Group.

It says over the past 15 years, the GDP is over 30% lower than other major Canadian cities and the unemployment rate is 2% higher.

The study looked at seven other metropolises around the world who's economies were suffering, and pulled 10 recommendations based on what they did to get out of the rut.

Among them are, the important of attracting and retaining talent, emerging as an international leader and most of all, the groups say, Montreal needs to get special legislative status from the provincial government — essentially, more autonomy, rather than being treated on the same level as any other small town in Quebec.

It says Montreal should be given control of its infrastructure, urban development and income sources, including having special taxation powers, similar to those of Toronto.

"Cities can do things better than the provinces can, governments basically write laws, but cities need to live the effects of these laws," Jacques Ménard, president of BMO said.

Ménard said political parties need to start putting focus on the important of Montreal's economy.

He also said Montreal would be better at retaining the large number of talent that study's here if language laws and tests were more flexible.

The report says if the suggestions are put in place, with a good leader and progress being measured, the economy could turn around in ten years.

Mayor Denis Coderre, who was present for the unveiling, said he agreed with the report and would take action.

BMO and BCG interviewed 50 business heads to create the report. The seven metropolises that they looked at were: Boston, San Diego, Seattle, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Manchester and Melbourne.

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  1. Eric posted on 02/25/2014 02:31 PM
    Don't hold your breath.When the PQ destroy Quebec completely that will also include burying Montreal! They will never let Montreal do what it wants, have it's way to rebuild itself.
  2. maria posted on 02/25/2014 02:32 PM
    Good luck with that!!!
  3. clint posted on 02/25/2014 04:10 PM
    All fine and dandy.....but the people you need to convey this message to don't live in Montreal.....there's nothing in it for them....the "hinterland" must see a positive for them to be concerned what happens here.
  4. Paul posted on 02/25/2014 04:25 PM
    The single most significant reason for Montreal's decline is the existence of the PQ. Ontario owes a great debt of gratitude to the PQ for exporting head offices and businesses of every kind to Ontario.
  5. Jerry posted on 02/25/2014 06:28 PM
    Their efforts are futile as the PQ government is too ignorant and too arrogant to allow Montreal to be the master of its destiny. The PQ government is focused on ridding Quebec of Anglophones and Allophones. They are interested in winning a majority in the next election and they know Montrealers will not vote for them so their solution is to make our lives so difficult that exiting the Province is a viable alternative.
  6. Sam posted on 02/25/2014 08:13 PM
    All of these suggestions to turn around the economy of Montreal will fail unless the nationalist, supremacist provincial restrictions language and religious freedoms are eliminated. That will not happen until Montreal is freed from the oppressive yoke of the cosmopolitan hating Montrealphobic provincial government. Montreal must be liberated to allow its distinctiveness to flourish. Montreal Libre!!
  7. anonymous posted on 02/26/2014 07:56 AM
    The city of Montreal is many times the population of Prince Edward Island, so why not the Province of Montreal or even Montreal and the Eastern townships?
  8. More BS posted on 02/26/2014 08:49 AM
    It took 40 years to figure this out , RIP Montreal you were great once. The separatists took care of that .
  9. markR posted on 02/26/2014 02:09 PM
    Hey Mayor Coderre, we dare you to hold a referendum to seperate Montreal from the province of Quebec! That's the only way we will see prosperity and peace. You game?
  10. Syd45 posted on 02/26/2014 07:04 PM
    Why would Montreal look south of the border for comparisons when they've got Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and Ottawa right here in Canada? The laws governing our cities would likely be easier to understand and adopt than those of the U.S.
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