Editorial: What We Want Out of City Hall
If all those placard faces weren’t enough of a hint, it’s officially municipal election season in Quebec.
With Montrealers heading to the polls in a little over a month, we’ve compiled the issues most important to us; issues we feel should be addressed and resolved.
Corruption is the most serious of them all, with various city politicians recently under the microscope, including our last two (resigned) mayors. A few Montrealers lining their pockets with our tax dollars not only wastes money and discourages competition, but it inclines honest people to stay the hell out of Montreal politics. Corruption breeds more corruption, and the same team gets re-elected if nothing is done.
But it doesn’t need to be that way. Contract postings should be made publicly available, and a position should be created to monitor government dealings without having to answer to the executive committee, as suggested by some candidates.
Internal documents should be proactively released and made available online so citizens can look into the data themselves. It’s that kind of transparency that’s needed to keep the city of Montreal honest. Putting this information in the public gaze can stop the kind of collusion that happens before contracts are released. A public directory of work that will be contracted could go a long way towards preventing corrupt firms from monopolizing the construction business.
The city needs to hire young people, the people that will live in the Montreal that today’s politicians are shaping. The more young people that are working for a party, the more we feel we’re being represented—and listened to.
We need to continue finding ways to give Montrealers reasons to avoid using their cars. Reducing parking isn’t enough; we must also ensure that a car-free everyday life is enjoyable, and practical for those with children. The new municipal government must hold the Parti Québécois to their pledge of extending the metro to the East. With no proposed timeline, it could be left as an empty promise if no one keeps pressure on the province.
Natural and agricultural space must be protected, and the quality of our air improved with a green belt around the city. The municipal government must work with the Montreal Metropolitan Community to curb urban sprawl, and cleaner air would make living on the island an easier sell.
City hall must also ensure housing stays affordable in Montreal. After all, keeping rent low benefits more than just us student-types. It also means that young parents can afford to raise their children here, and the flow of those leaving for the suburbs can be stemmed.
This city’s world-renowned culture must not only be preserved, but also nurtured. This means cheap, central art and rehearsal spaces must not dry up as we see higher-income-bracket condos rise. Our culture is made strong by our diversity—and that must be strongly defended against encroachments by the provincial government.
Montreal’s complex council situation, with over 100 seats for boroughs and city councils, is a product of the mergers and demergers of municipalities on the island. We need to figure out what boroughs do best themselves and what the city’s central administration does better so we can do away with such a complex overlap.
And, of course, the city must protect the freedom to assemble by striking down the amendments to bylaw P-6 passed during the Maple Spring.
Now that we’re officially in election season, we’re going to be covering these issues more closely, and those who are vying for the jobs to run this city. What issues matter to you? We want to hear it.
We all love this city and its eccentricities—if we didn’t we would’ve left long ago. The name of Montreal has been smeared in recent years with revelations of crooked dealings, but it’s a necessary process. Moving forward, we need a city hall that lives