More powers to Montreal key in 10-step plan to revitalize economy: study
One of Montreal’s largest financial institutions says it has a plan to give the city’s lagging economy a boost, and it’s a plan Mayor Denis Coderre calls “inspiring.”
BMO Financial Group, along with the Boston Consulting Group, released a ten-step action plan to kickstart the slumping city.
“Turning around a city is a complex and a challenging job,” said Jacques Menard, president of the BMO Financial Group.
Over the past 15 years, Montreal has the slowest growth rate of any major Canadian city. The study built a recovery model based on seven other cities that have bounced back from economic hardships.
One of the keys, based on the other cities studied, is giving Montreal special status and increased fiscal powers from the province.
“Cities are becoming more important, so I think they are going in the right direction,” said Karl Moore, a professor at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University. “There’s a lot of work to be done and a lot of it frankly is about Quebec City and its ability and desire to give power to Montreal.”
The group also interviewed 50 businesspeople in Montreal to get their ideas.
Some other ideas to improve the city in the report include recognizing Montreal's bilingual fact and altering language laws accordingly, creating funds for student-run startup companies, and giving the city special taxation powers similar to Toronto.
Many also said the city needed more power, funds and freedom to repair and alter existing infrastructure.
Menard said the goal is to stop the continual emigration from Montreal and Quebec.
“The government needs to lighten up on the obligation or the French-language tests that it asks graduating students to pass in order to have a permit to stay here. Once they’re here and they've learned to communicate they've learned to appreciate our city, we should be patient and give them a break and give them a chance to acquire a functional second or even a third language, for all I care,” he said.
Coderre said he approves of the recommendations.
"The impact of this report and the tremendous help that Jacques's group has put forward is that the time has come to stop the parade," said Coderre.
"Everyone needs to work together and I will work to make it happen."