No reaction from Samson and Deros, who belong to mayor’s party
News reports saying that Montreal mayor Denis Coderre is lobbying Quebec to abolish many of the powers of the city’s 19 boroughs have been met with a muted response from two leading elected officials in Villeray/St-Michel/Parc Extension.
Curtailing the boroughs
A spokesperson for VSP Borough Mayor Anie Samson and Parc Extension city councillor Mary Deros, both of whom are members of Coderre’s municipal party, said this week that the two were unavailable to comment.
According to a report in the Montreal daily La Presse, the Coderre administration is asking Quebec to withdraw powers from the boroughs which were granted in 2003 when the newly-created megacity was decentralized during negotiations to keep several of Montreal’s suburbs from demerging.
Reducing their privileges
According to the report, Coderre, while attempting to get Quebec to confer a special “metropolitan” status on Montreal, is seeking to expand the centre city’s powers, entailing the abolition of many of the boroughs’ current privileges.
The report maintains that powers currently enjoyed by the boroughs which would be eliminated include adding extra salary amounts for members of borough councils, the power to negotiate collective agreements of officers and employees assigned to the boroughs, the power to create borough departments and to appoint department heads and assistant heads, the power to purchase buildings and supplies, and the power to obtain loans for maintenance, improvements or infrastructure work.
New ‘metropolitan’ powers
Other reasons cited for Coderre’s wanting to re-centralize the city include his alleged dislike of provincial agencies such as the Régie des alcools, des courses et de jeux which prevented the mayor from extending opening hours of bars, as well as Quebec’s Ministry of Heritage which opposed Coderre’s plans to demolish the Maison Alcan downtown to redevelop that area.
Coderre issued a statement last week, saying that he and other officials with the City of Montreal “are in the process of creating a metropolis. What we want is more coherence. It’s not to create a battle between the central city and the boroughs. We need to let go of that idea.
“When the bill is presented, the National Assembly can, in a parliamentary commission, hear all the parties who wish to comment on the propositions that will be made,” he continued. “From now until then, we will not negotiate in public.”