Montrealer writes open letter asking mayor to reconsider naming Griffintown REM station after Bernard Landry
Published Monday, December 9, 2019 7:56AM EST Last Updated Monday, December 9, 2019 11:12PM EST
MONTREAL -- One Montrealer is asking Mayor Valérie Plante to rescind her proposal to name a future Réseau express métropolitain (REM) station in the city’s Griffintown neighbourhood after former Quebec Premier Bernard Landry.
He calls Landry a politician who has created discord, accusing him of having made comments against immigration even though, King insists, the former premier is himself a descendant of French immigrant settlers.
In his letter, King also associates Landry with the destruction of Cree burial sites in northwestern Quebec in favour of Hydro-Quebec projects.
Plante had announced on Nov. 6 that the Griffintown REM station would recognize Landry's important contributions to the development of the downtown area.
She proposed the idea to the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, which is responsible for the project.
In his letter, King suggests Plante honour Landry’s legacy by instead naming a local dog park after him.
“This could become a world-class park and green space if Projet Montréal had a mind to put Bernard Landry’s memory and commemoration before cars, parking spaces and dog parks,” he argued.
Last month, another example of the area’s Irish history was uncovered when archaeologists found bone fragments from about 12 to 15 people in an area expected to host one of the REM’s pillars. The bones were sent to a laboratory for analysis.
On Sunday, Montrealers gathered in tribute of the people whose remains were found.
"They built the Lachine canal, the built the Victoria Bridge," King told CTV News on Monday. "These are our ancestors and we don't want the name of our neighbourhood being rebranded with Bernard Landry. We have nothing against Bernard Landry per se."
But Plante defended the idea to name the station after the former premier, suggesting her name proposal: Griffintown-Bernard Landry station is balanced.
"By recognizing Griffintown as a place where a lot of the Irish community first came and how they amazingly contributed to the city of Montreal," she said. "But also Mr. Landry contributed right beside with the Cite Multimedia which is just beside and also really contributed to the city of Montreal."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 9, 2019.