More demerger obstacles

04.21.04

The city of Montreal is clearly biased to the “no” side for the June 20th demerger referendum. If you – like me – want the demergers to go through and for people to get their cities back that were stolen away from us, here are a few more roadblocks, courtesy of our “friends” in city hall:

First of all, the register padding has gotten ridiculous. Names of people who haven’t lived here in over a decade are still showing up on the lists. And there were only 4 days to get a name struck from the list… and you had to go in person.

I dutifully went in person to register my change of address. I was the only person in the room. I guess the large number of people who were elderly, working, out of town, living in another country or overseas, or simply unaware of the complicated procedure stayed home. So their votes now count automatically FOR the megacity. Great system.

But while the city apparently has no money to go door-to-door to do a proper enumeration, they DID have the money to go to my old address to check to make sure I really did want to take my name off the register from my old municipality. They don’t check additions but they sure check subtractions. Cause guess who’s in charge of the whole thing: the City Clerk’s office. The same people who will be out of jobs if the demerger goes through. Conflict of interest, maybe?

And you want your city back? You have to sign a list. 10% of people on the voter register in each former municipality have to sign the list, or else there won’t even be a referendum. And guess what: there’s only 4 days to do that… and no, they won’t ring your doorbell, you have to go in person.

Even if that 10% magical number is reached, the referendum itself is no picnic. There won’t be roving polling stations for the elderly or the hospitalized. There’s one day to vote and it’s in the middle of summer, when a lot of people are away. You can’t send in your vote if you’re out of town. And 35% of people have to vote to demerge… not 35% of people who vote, but 35% of all people on the list.

Now, with all those hoops to jump through, if any municipalities actually manage to get a demerger vote through, it’ll be pretty decisive. But at that, with the PQ’s promise to overturn any demerger votes, should they win the next election, it may all be for nought anyway.

So with the deck stacked against, why bother? Well, because the deck is stacked against. These smug assholes think they can steal our cities, screw up our services, kowtow to the now all-powerful unions, and get away with it. They need to be taught a lesson.

Je me souviens des fusions forcées.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Knave 04.22.04 at 5:38 PM

Out of curiosity, what is the argument in favour of a demerger?

I always thought the argument went something like this:

“We are a rich municipality (eg. CSL) and we’ll be damned if we share our great tax base with some little poor nobodies (like VSP)”

As you may have gathered, it doesn’t impress me much…

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2 segacs 04.22.04 at 5:43 PM

For me the argument is twofold and clear:

1) The cities were merged in an undemocratic way, without giving any say whatsoever to the citizens.

2) The main effect of the megacity has been mega-unions with mega-power. That means they do less work and get paid more, and we all pay.

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3 Knave 04.23.04 at 4:21 AM

Some reasonable arguments, I’ll address each separately:

(1) Democratic Process: Municipalities exist as a figment of the Provincial government’s imagination. If the province doesn’t like a municipality, they can simply legislate it out of existence.

Citizens do have a say, if they don’t like what the provincial government does, they can vote them out in the next election. Its just like any law that the government passes… just because lots of people don’t like it doesn’t mean it suddenly becomes worthy of a referendum.

(2) Unions: Well, your problem there is with the unions, not the mega city. Thats a whole other bag of potatoes.

also… as part of (1)

(3) Justice:

Montreal (the previous small city) was paying for services that were being used by people in the suburbs. The burbunites were getting a free ride. It simply wasn’t fair, and the megacity addresses that inequality

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