More dirty anti-demerger tactics

05.28.04

I’ve maintained all along that one of the strongest arguments against the megacity – and, consequently, best reasons for demerger – is that the major unions would have less power and therefore wouldn’t be able to negotiate contracts that are ridiculously costly to the city.

Now it seems that the City of Montreal is trying to remove that incentive by hurrying to sign union contracts with city employees:

After all the delays in settling on new contracts, why the sudden rush now? At a minimum, any contracts signed in this uncertain period before demerger referendums should contain a clause exempting any boroughs that vote for independence on June 20.

Anything else risks locking any demerging boroughs into costly contracts that could, if city hall weakens, even include wasteful minimum-staffing clauses or the expensive four-day week.

[ . . . ]

The temptation to hog-tie any breakaway boroughs by trapping them into onerous contracts must be formidable. But if Tremblay thinks suburban voters are angry now, then he really doesn’t want to see their reaction to open-handed, hastily-signed new contracts.

I’ve lost count of the number of dirty tricks that the pro-mergerites have employed so far. Outdated registration lists containing names of people who’d been deceased for a decade, no door-to-door registration but door-to-door verification of list deletions, scare tactics and overly-biased campaign materials… not to mention the way the merger itself was carried out in the first place, as a steamroll over democracy.

Given all that, I find it hard to be surprised at this latest tactic. If Tremblay wants to cut off his left foot to avoid allowing citizens to demerge, then he’s a bigger fool than I thought. Unfortunately, it will once again be Montrealers who will pay.

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