Hands off our boroughs!

08.12.03

Yes, Je Me Souviens des fusions forcées. And I probably always will.

When Pierre Bourque first floated the megacity idea, everyone thought he was a megalomaniac who had gone off his rocker. But alas, the mergers were forced through, despite the opposition of everyone who claimed they would result in higher taxes, reduced services, and lower quality of life.

Back then, we said “Hands off my city!” and implored the provincial government to leave well enough alone. They didn’t listen. So now, instead of living in the city of D.D.O., I now have the dubious privilege of being a citizen of the borough of D.D.O./Roxboro.

And guess what happend? We now have higher taxes, reduced services, and lower quality of life. What a shocker!

Pierre Bourque was tossed out on his ass in the first megacity municipal election, widely despised in the suburbs for orchestrating this whole merger fiasco in the first place. I can’t say I think Gerard Tremblay has done a wonderful job as mayor, but at least he’s not Bourque. At least he’s advocating decentralization, and giving borough councillors as much power as possible.

So now we hear that Bourque (having returned as opposition leader after a disastrous stab at provincial politics, running for the ADQ), has a new idea: it wasn’t enough to merge the city, now he wants to merge the boroughs:

According to a report published Tuesday in La Presse, Vision Montreal’s proposal calls for the merger of the former municipalities of the predominantly anglophone West Island into one or two boroughs.

The proposal from former Montreal Mayor Pierre Bourque’s party would reduce the number of boroughs elsewhere in the city and eliminate the function of borough councillor.

This strategy seems fairly obvious. Consolidate as much power as possible under Montreal’s reign, and eliminate even the remnants of decentralization that have survived the merger. Get rid of the last vestiges of Anglo influence by reducing all of the West Island to a single borough with no say, councillors, or power. Destroy any hopes of ever demerging and getting our cities back.

People might think it’s a crazy idea, and it will never happen. But remember, they said that about the mergers too.

I have no great attachment to my borough, but having local representation has got to be better than feeding the Pierre Bourque power machine. So I call on suburbans to unite in one strong, unified voice. Let’s write letters. Let’s protest. Let’s make sure that people know damn well what will happen if they vote Vision Montreal next municipal election. Let’s tell them hands off my borough!

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