Opinion: A unique opportunity to forge the identity of our new region
Published Friday, July 16, 2021 9:20AM EDT Last Updated Friday, July 16, 2021 11:06AM EDT
SAINT-CAMILLE -- The final integration of the MRCs of Brome-Missisquoi and La Haute-Yamaska in Estrie took place last week. This is great news for the future of our region.
In addition to a shared identity and common history, our nine territories are now united within the same administrative entity.
We also learned that in the coming months, our population will be consulted on the future name of our newly-enlarged region.
For 40 years, we have used two confused names: the Eastern Townships – Cantons-de-l’Est – for tourism and Estrie for administration.
Our generation now has the opportunity to choose the strongest and most evocative name. We owe it to ourselves to seize the opportunity to invest in this exercise rigorously.
Reflection must go beyond a choice based on emotional preferences. It should also focus on the cultural, social and economic benefits to be derived from our name and the capacity to generate the pride of the people here and in Quebec.
A name change certainly comes with logistical challenges for several regional organizations, but it can also generate a large number of structural benefits for our towns and villages, our citizens, our businesses and our students.
On Oct. 11, 2019, the members of the Table des MRC de l'Estrie (the organization which ensures regional consultation and brings together the prefects and a mayor of each of the territories) unanimously asked the Minister of Municipalities and Housing, Ms. Andrée Laforest, to consider changing the name of our administrative region to the Eastern Townships.
This strong position was assumed since several studies show that the name Eastern Township evokes a very positive reaction within the population, that it is consistent with our history and that it further promotes the social and geographic inclusion.
I sincerely believe that this is the one that best illustrates our distinctiveness and our unique territory.
Let us take this opportunity to make a choice that honours our past, while being promising for our future. A choice that will allow us, together, to define our identity among all the regions of Quebec.
- Philippe Pagé is the mayor of Saint-Camille and a member of the Table des MRC de l'Estrie