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Found 98 results

  1. Montreal to host conference on reducing growth BY MICHELLE LALONDE, GAZETTE ENVIRONMENT REPORTER http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Montreal+host+conference+degrowth/6600947/story.html MONTREAL - Just as events are forcing Quebecers to debate some fundamental questions about our economy and our future, five Montreal universities happen to be hosting a weeklong conference on “degrowth” – a movement that questions whether economic growth should be our society’s primary goal. “Degrowth is an attempt to force us out of this lock-step way of thinking that growth is always good,” said Peter Brown, a professor at McGill University’s School of Environment and one of the conference’s organizers. Brown said the conference – which starts Sunday and ends Saturday, May 19 – has been in the works for years and is modelled on similar conferences in Paris in 2008 and Barcelona in 2010, and is leading up to a global conference on the issue next fall in Venice. But he admits the timing is serendipitous. The Occupy movement, the recent record-breaking Earth Day march in Montreal, concerns over the push to develop northern Quebec and the continuing student strikes are all signs that many Quebecers are questioning the “business-as-usual” approach to economic development. Brown says all of these movements may find common ground in the notion that a narrow focus on growing the economy at any cost, while discounting effects on the environment and human well-being have led mankind to commit some catastrophic errors. Gross domestic product should not be used as the key measure of a country’s well being, because it ignores the cost of creating wealth (for some), such as environmental degradation and human suffering, say proponents of degrowth. Errors like runaway global warming, habitat destruction and a widening wage gap between rich and poor will lead to calamity for future generations, and a forced, unplanned “degrowth” period that will be painful, they warn. “Any healthy civilization looks after future generations ... we just don’t do that,” Brown told The Gazette on Thursday. The conference will feature panels and lectures by academics and activists prominent in the North American degrowth movement. The big draw will be a public lecture by ecologist David Suzuki called Humanity in Collision with the Biosphere: Is it Too Late? on Friday at 11 a.m. at UQÀM. (Admission to Suzuki’s talk is free, but registration is required). The conference, titled Less is More; Degrowth in the Americas, runs from May 13 to 19. Registration costs $200 per day, or $390 for all seven days, with reduced fees offered to students or members of “grassroots Montreal-based organizations.” Talks will be recorded and posted on the conference website (montreal.degrowth.org). [email protected] Twitter: @mrlalonde © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette ********************************************************************************************************************* Québec - Forward Never, Backwards Ever
  2. Article by FDI intelligence (financial times) Rankings: 1. New York City 2. Sao Paulo 3 Toronto 4.MONTREAL 5. Vancouver 6. Houston 7. Atlanta 8. San Francisco 9. Chicago 10. Miami "Canadian cities Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively, and performed particularly well in the attraction of knowledge-intensive FDI. All three locations were among the top 20 key destination and source cities for FDI. With the exception of New York, Montreal-based companies invested in more FDI projects than other city in the Americas region" "Business friendly Canada Placed in third, Montreal’s success lies in retaining and developing relationships with existing investments – data from fDi Markets shows that one in five FDI projects since 2003 were expansions. Montreal tops strategy list The prize for Best Major American City for FDI Strategy 2013/14 is awarded to Montreal. It beat 126 competitors across North and South America who submitted information regarding their FDI strategies. In its American Cities of the Future submission, economic development agency Montréal International stated that its economic development strategy has centred predominantly around high-tech clusters, and in particular aerospace, life sciences and health technologies, as well as information and communications technology (ICT). Elie Farah, vice-president of Investment Greater Montréal, says: “The year 2011 was one of the best for Montréal International in terms of attracting FDI since 2005. This is partially explained by the investments from Europe which, in the past two years, have become the main source of FDI in the region.” http://www.fdiintelligence.com/Locations/Americas/American-Cities-of-the-Future-2013-14
  3. April 29, 2009 By LANDON THOMAS Jr. LONDON — Tetsuya Ishikawa reaped the fruits of London’s financial boom, structuring and selling his small share of the complex securities that fueled both his professional rise and the uninterrupted economic growth of Britain. When the boom went bust last year, he lost his job at Morgan Stanley, along with about 28,000 other Londoners working in finance. Mr. Ishikawa, who has written a fictional memoir, has no plans to return to the City, as London’s banking district is known. But Britain’s revenue-starved Labor government will find no such escape. “By 2010, the U.K. will have the largest budget deficit in the developed world,” said Richard Snook, a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Business Research in London. “The problem is that the financial services industry has been a huge cash cow for the British government for the last 10 years and now it is going into reverse.” The country’s budget deficit has soared to 12 percent of gross domestic product; its public debt burden could soon reach 80 percent of annual economic output, a figure that would leave it roughly in the same position as Greece. But at a time when Britain more than ever needs a financial sector firing on all cylinders, its economic engine is conking out — for a number of reasons, including some that critics blame on the government. All told, more than 70,000 jobs in finance are expected to disappear over the next two to three years, a big chunk of the total estimated job losses of about 280,000 in London. The British government has poured hundreds of billions of pounds into preventing several of its largest banks from falling into bankruptcy as the extent of their bad bets became evident. But there is little prospect of a revival anytime soon, as the government is about to impose stiffer demands on banks to keep high capital ratios and to rely less on leverage and once-lucrative trading activities. That, combined with a more aggressive posture by the regulatory authorities to put a check on bonuses, is likely to hasten what has already been a sharp falloff in corporate and income taxes from the City. The economic contribution from the British financial sector, according to the Office for National Statistics, peaked at 10.8 percent of G.D.P. in 2007 — up from 5.5 percent in 1996, just before Labor took over. By comparison, the contribution from financial services in the United States to the American economy never exceeded 8 percent. In a bid to capture more revenue, the British government has decided to raise tax rates on the affluent, many of them working in finance. But the new top income tax rate of 50 percent for those earning at least £150,000, or $219,000, may only make things worse, said Mr. Snook, the economist. “These people are highly mobile and they will leave London,” he said. “The impact on public finances will be negative.” Britain’s top tax rate will soon rank fourth behind those of Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands — not quite the advertisement one would expect from one of the world’s leading financial centers. In many ways, Mr. Ishikawa’s career tracked the credit explosion that has now imploded. When he began work as a lowly credit analyst in 2002, banks in London issued about £20 billion in securities linked to various mortgage instruments. His career took off as that figure surged to over £180 billion by 2008, when Mr. Ishikawa secured for himself a $3 million bonus from Morgan Stanley as a reward for peddling assets that turned out to be toxic. With that line of business virtually defunct, banks in the coming years must return to lower-risk and lower-return businesses like equity and bond underwriting, foreign exchange trading and traditional deal-making — businesses that may well be profitable, but can in no way make up for the loss of such a lush specialty. The Center for Economic and Business Research estimates that corporate and income taxes from the financial industry will shrink from 12 percent of the overall tax take in 2007 to 8 percent this year and perhaps lower in the years ahead, a prospect that could force Britain to increase its already substantial borrowing requirement. The crisis has humbled all financial centers, from Wall Street to Dubai. According to an index produced in Britain that ranks financial centers around the world, the City of London still comes out on top, closely followed by New York. The gap, though, between these two and Singapore, which is now third, is narrowing. Lord Adair Turner, the chairman of the Financial Services Authority, agrees that London as a financial center will be in for an adjustment and says that a large portion of the banking industry’s profit contribution to the economy was “illusory.” But even in a more restrictive environment, he points out, London’s importance as a global financial hub and the most valuable trading center in Europe will not go away. “The City is important today for the same reason it was important in 1890,” he said. As for Mr. Ishikawa, who is 30 and grew up in Britain as the son of a successful Japanese executive, he is putting his hopes into a new career as a writer. His book, “How I Caused the Credit Crunch,” chronicles the debauched excesses of the boom — he was briefly married to a Brazilian lap dancer — by lightly fictionalizing his six-year stint in finance. “I really don’t miss it,” he said, sipping a coffee near the building where he was laid off. “There are many more kids out there more hungry than me.” Like Faruq Rana, for example. Mr. Rana, the 26-year-old son of Bangladeshi immigrants, was born and reared in Tower Hamlets, a district abutting Canary Wharf that has Britain’s highest unemployment rate. From his window, he can see the towers of Citigroup and Barclays reaching into the sky and his ambition to one day work as a trader in one of those buildings soars nearly as high. “Every day when I wake up and open up my window, I can smell my job,” said Mr. Rana, who is a student in a government-financed program at Tower Hamlets College that prepares local youths for jobs in the financial industry. Unlike Mr. Ishikawa, Mr. Rana did not go to Eton or Oxford, but he remains undeterred. “I have the motivation and the drive,” he said. “I think I can be one of them.” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/29/business/global/29city.html?ref=global-home
  4. City has designs on becoming fashion centre $2.4 million for clothing industry. Quebec, Montreal launch 3-year plan to promote local couturiers The GazetteMarch 4, 2009 Retail sales are declining and people are thinking twice before spending money to renew their wardrobe. But as far as Quebec's minister of economic development is concerned, support for the province's clothing industry never goes out of fashion. "It's clear that consumers are slowing their spending because they don't know what's going to happen to them," Raymond Bachand told reporters yesterday as the Quebec government and the city of Montreal announced plans to promote this city as a centre of fashion design. "But there are still 92 per cent of Quebecers who are at work," he noted. "This is the best timing because what we're doing ... is focusing on our designers, helping our designers ... getting buyers from around the world to come to this fashion show, getting our designers to go elsewhere in the world ... branding Montreal as a city of creation and design and putting it on the world market. "This is not a one-shot deal. ... This a long-term vision of building Montreal. ... We always have to keep in mind where we want to be in 18 months, where we want to be in two years." Bachand and Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay met with reporters during the first full day of Montreal Fashion Week to announce a three-year plan to promote internationally this city's fashion and design industry and the people working in it. During Fashion Week's kickoff Monday night, the province announced a $1.1-million investment in three local fashion enterprises in addition to the $82 million over three years earmarked in 2007 to bolster the industry. Tremblay, who this week confirmed the economic downturn has compelled the city to trim $100 million in costs, shared Bachand's opinion that the $2.4-million set aside for the plan would be money well spent. "Everyone's talking about stimulus in the economic situation we're going through," Tremblay said. "We want to encourage Montrealers, Quebecers and Canadians to buy local, to encourage our local designers, the ones that are known and the ones that are less known. "We want to make sure we have better recognition around the world. ... We don't want to copy what is happening in other cities or by being Paris, London or New York. "We want to be different." The local fashion industry employs about 50,000 people and accounts for more than 80 per cent of the exports by Quebec's clothing industry. © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  5. Comme membre de cette communite pour 2 annees, j'entends beaucoup de bitchage. Nous bitchons que notre sort et a cause du federal/du provinciale/les anglais/les quebecois hors de Montreal etc etc. We have the power to change. If Montrealers united together to a project, an idea of rebuilding Montreal into a great metropolis - there is no reason why we cant get there. Why are we so focused on secondary or tertiary issues (language/NIMBY's/scandals).. instead of focusing on primary issues (economic prosperity/infrastructure investment/festival and idea generations). We are a product of our thoughts and intentions - and one cant help but to see how mediocre we've become in this city. We can change the city - its nobody's fault but OURS We let go of Mr.Drapeau dreams, we let go of thinking big, I cant help to think that Toronto stole our dream. End of rant...
  6. Le Petit Maghreb By Joel Ceausu Little Italy and Chinatown are getting a new sibling — and since it’s just a few blocks, maybe Louise Harel won’t mind. Le Petit Maghreb is now more than just a casual moniker for a certain part of the city: it’s an official part of Montreal’s commercial destination network, and an unofficial but growing tourism draw. The area in the Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension borough has received $40,000 from the city of Montreal’s Programme réussir à Montréal ([email protected] Commerce) recognizing the efforts of the local Maghreb business association for revitalization of Jean-Talon Street between Saint-Michel and Pie-IX boulevards. “Thanks to this support, local businesspeople finally have the means to create an official new district in Montreal,” said a clearly delighted borough mayor Anie Samson. “It’s excellent news for the Maghreb community, as well as the growing attraction of our borough and Montreal.” The local Maghreb community hails mostly from North Africa, particularly Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. Over the years, this important stretch of Jean-Talon has become a gathering place for Montreal’s Maghreb community — estimated at about 150,000 people. The funds will be used to develop a master plan to mobilize businesses, reach targeted communities, and carry out an economic and physical strategy to define a public image for the sector. About half of the 105 area businesses are related to Maghreb culture in bakeries, butchers, Arab pastry shops, restaurants and tearooms, along with hairdressing salons and travel agencies. Malik Hadid is also happy that after three years of work the designation will become official. “I am very happy that the Association can count on the support of [email protected] Commerce,” said the travel agency owner and local association president. He was quick to add that the Maghreb association also enjoys close cooperation with the borough, the local economic development agency and Station 30 police. The city’s [email protected] program is already at work in other neighbourhoods around the island, helping spruce up commercial districts and adding appeal to important arteries using architecture, infrastructure and marketing, and helping boost investment by matching funds of local investors. Other east-end streets selected for the program include Promenade Fleury, Jean-Talon St. in Saint-Leonard, and Charleroi in Montreal-Nord.
  7. Prosperity gap to widen, Conference Board says Growth in Quebec expected to hit 1.4% DAVID AKIN, Canwest News Service Published: 8 hours ago Booming Saskatchewan will lead all provinces in economic growth this year, while Ontario and Quebec will suffer through a difficult year, said forecasters at the Conference Board of Canada. The widening prosperity gap between the West and those in central and eastern Canada presents federal policy-makers with some unique challenges. The West may need policies that slow growth and curb inflation, while central Canada has few inflationary worries but needs some economic stimulus to encourage growth. In its semi-annual provincial outlook, the Conference Board says Saskatchewan's economy is booming thanks to surging commodity prices, particularly oil and potash, and as a result, the provincial economy there will grow by 4.2 per cent this year. In fact, the Conference Board said workers are leaving Alberta and heading to Saskatchewan to make their fortune. The report says that, as a result, retailers in Canada's flattest province may be in for a particularly good year. "The positive labour outlook, combined with lofty wage gains, is spurring a spending spree. Retail sales are expected to soar by 12.2 per cent in 2008," it said. Meanwhile, in Quebec, things will be a bit better this year, where growth of 1.4 per cent is expected. "Since the middle of 2007, the Quebec economy has been at a near standstill. The weakness in the manufacturing sector has eroded economic gains made in other industries,' the report said. Next door in Ontario, where manufacturers had particular trouble coping with the one-two punch of a fast-rising loonie and skyrocketing energy prices, economic growth will be just 0.8 per cent, the Conference Board said. Only Newfoundland and Labrador will see slower economic growth than Ontario this year. After a stellar year in 2007 with double-digit economic growth, the Conference Board said the pace in Canada's most eastern province is stalled. It predicts growth there of just 0.2 per cent this year. Overall, the Conference Board believes Canada's economy will grow by 1.7 per cent. The forecasters at the independent think-tank are much more optimistic than the Bank of Canada, which said last month it believes Canada's economy will grow by one per cent.
  8. " Moins il y a de liberté, moins il y a de richesse " Les Affaires, 2 août 2008 Le Québec fait piètre figure en termes de ce que vous appelez la " liberté économique ". Que faire pour améliorer la situation ? En effet, selon notre récente étude Economic Freedom of North America, le Québec possède un des niveaux de liberté économique les plus bas parmi les États de l'Amérique du Nord. Nous nous classons au 59e rang sur 60 ! Pour s'améliorer, le Québec doit réduire la taille de l'État, alléger le fardeau fiscal et éliminer les entraves au marché du travail. Par exemple, sur le plan fiscal, le Québec se classe 60e en Amérique. L'élimination totale de la taxe sur le capital pour les entreprises et la diminution des taux d'imposition marginaux pour les particuliers seraient deux mesures qui aideraient beaucoup. Quelles sont les entraves dans le marché du travail ? Le marché du travail au Québec est également plus contraignant qu'ailleurs, avec un salaire minimum et un taux de syndicalisation plus élevés. Par exemple, il est beaucoup plus facile de se syndiquer ici, au Québec, qu'ailleurs en Amérique du Nord. De plus, il y a des lois comme celles régissant les heures d'affaires qui réduisent la liberté économique et compliquent la vie des entrepreneurs. En quoi la liberté économique est-elle importante ? Parce qu'il y a un lien direct entre richesse et liberté économique. Moins il y a de liberté, moins il y a de richesse. Moins il y a de restrictions, plus il y a de possibilités et plus grande est la prospérité. Les Québécois ont moins de choix économiques et cela se reflète dans leur richesse. Seulement 1,8 % de la population gagne plus de 100 000 $ par année. Comment se classe le Canada à l'échelle mondiale ? Selon l'étude Economic Freedom of the World de 2004, le Canada était en 5e place, ex aequo avec les États-Unis et la Grande-Bretagne. Les premiers pays étaient, dans l'ordre, Hong-Kong, Singapour, la Nouvelle-Zélande et la Suisse. Le Québec ne figure pas dans cette étude. C'est précisément pour comparer les territoires à l'intérieur des États-Unis et du Canada qu'on publie Economic Freedom of North America. On constate qu'il y a une grande divergence entre les États américains et les provinces canadiennes.
  9. A new era of prosperity RICHARD FOOT, Canwest News Service Published: 8 hours ago Boom times for have-not provinces are redrawing Canada's economic and political map. The remarkable growth is resource-driven: potash and uranium in Saskatchewan, offshore oil in Newfoundland and Labrador To find the front lines of the global commodities boom, drive an hour east from Saskatoon on the Yellowhead Highway to Lanigan, Sask., home of the world's largest potash mine. Two huge, dome-covered warehouses, each about the size of a football field, stand on the mine site, eerily empty except for a few dusty sweepings of potash on the floors. "A decade ago there would have been a mountain of potash in here," said Will Brandsema, general manager of AMEC, whose engineering firm recently completed a $400-million expansion of the mine for the Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan. Potash Corp.'s Lanigan mine in Saskatchewan. The price of the mineral has soared to nearly $1,000 a tonne from about $100.View Larger Image View Today, worldwide demand for the pinkish, chalk-like mineral is so great, Potash Corp. can't keep its warehouses full. In the past four years, the price of potash - the basic ingredient of fertilizer - has soared to nearly $1,000 per tonne from about $100, largely because of rising populations in China and India and their sudden appetite for high-value, fertilizer-grown food. Thanks to a quirk of geologic good fortune, Saskatchewan is filled with potash and now produces more than a quarter of the world's supply. What was for years an unremarkable export has suddenly become one of the most treasured commodities on Earth - pink gold, you might call it - which, alongside surging sales of oil, uranium and even grain, is suddenly making Saskatchewan the economic envy of the nation. About 3,000 kilometres away, another once-poor province accustomed to life on the economic fringes is also reaping a windfall from its natural resources. Skyrocketing oil prices are fuelling an extraordinary economic turnaround in Newfoundland and Labrador, where a fourth offshore oil project will soon be in development. Petrodollars are transforming St. John's from a down-at-the-heels provincial capital into a bustling energy city brimming with stylish restaurants, affluent condo developments and a sense of euphoria not seen there since cod were first discovered on the Grand Banks. "The Newfoundland and Saskatchewan economies have gone from stagnant to stellar," Statistics Canada declared in its May Economic Observer. "These two provinces have moved beyond old stereotypes and stepped into a new era of prosperity." Both provinces led the country last year in growth of exports, in the rate of housing starts and in growth of gross domestic product - the only provinces, along with Alberta, whose per capita GDP was above the national average. In June, a report by the TD Bank Financial Group called Saskatchewan "Canada's commodity superstar" and said if the province were a country, it would rank fifth in the world among member nations of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, in terms of per capita GDP. It would trail only Luxembourg, Norway, the United States and Ireland. (Alberta would come second if ranked on the same list.) John Crosbie, who announced the cod fishery's shutdown as federal fisheries minister and is now the province's lieutenant-governor, expressed the mood of many Newfoundlanders while reading his government's throne speech in March: "Ours is not the province it was two decades ago," Crosbie said. "We are - for the first time in our history - poised to come off equalization very soon. This is a stunning achievement that will reinforce the bold new attitude of self-confidence that has taken hold among Newfoundlanders and Labradorians." What do such economic shifts mean for the country as a whole, and how will the rise of two weaker provinces, coupled with the manufacturing malaise in Ontario, affect the workings of confederation? First, many economists say it's a mistake to underestimate the resilience and strength of the huge Ontario economy. They also say the surging energy economies of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland face their own challenges, including cyclical commodity prices, the social costs of rapid development and severe labour shortages. Canada is already facing a labour crunch that's only going to worsen with time. In six years, said economist Brian Lee Crowley, president of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, there will be more people leaving the country's labour force than entering it. The new demand for workers in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, especially in construction and engineering, can only exacerbate the problem. In 2006, for the first time in 23 years, Saskatchewan stopped losing people, on a net basis, to other provinces, thanks to the thousands of workers streaming home from Alberta to new jobs in Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and elsewhere. As job opportunities also grow in Newfoundland, and competition for skilled workers intensifies, the availability of labour will decline and the cost of it will increase, putting further pressures on the dollar and on manufacturers. The rampant growth of Canada's resource-rich economies is also expected to force changes to the federal equalization program. In April, the TD Bank forecast that Ontario, a longtime contributor to equalization, could become a recipient as early as 2010 - not because Ontario's economy is falling apart, but because it is slipping relative to the extraordinary growth of commodity-producing provinces. As the resource boom pushes the average level of provincial revenues higher, provinces like Ontario will fall below that average, and the cost of funding equalization will increase. Yet the federal government won't be able to afford the program, because Ottawa has no access to the commodity revenues that are driving up its cost; natural resource royalties flow only to the provinces. "The amount of money required for that program is going to get bigger and bigger," said Wade Locke, an economist at Memorial University in St. John's. As for Newfoundland and Labrador, over the past decade its per capita GDP has risen to $10,000 above the national average from $10,000 below - the fastest 10-year turnaround of any province in Canadian Newfoundland and Saskatchewan both reaped a bonanza last year from commodity royalties. Newfoundland posted a record $1.4-billion budget surplus; Saskatchewan announced a $641-million surplus plus a $1-billion infrastructure spending spree. While those two provinces enjoy their economic rebirth, recession stalks other regions of Canada, in particular the industrial heartland of Ontario. There, many manufacturers are struggling with high energy costs and a strong dollar, and the North American automakers - once Canada's economic engine - are shedding jobs and shutting factories. John Pollock, chairman of Electrohome Ltd. in Kitchener, Ont. - he is winding up the affairs of a once-proud consumer electronics maker forced to the sidelines by overseas competition - predicts Ontario is entering a period of perhaps a decade or more in which it will no longer drive the country's economy. "There's going to be a period of transition that's going to be tough," he said. "Ontario has supported the rest of the country - provinces like Saskatchewan and Newfoundland - for years. Maybe it's time for a shift." Global financier George Soros recently described Canada's economy as a split personality - half beleaguered by a sluggish manufacturing sector, and half enjoying the wonders of the worldwide resource boom. Never before have the fault lines between Central Canada's energy-dependent provinces and the far-flung energy-rich ones been so stark, says Brett Gartner, an economist with the Canada West Foundation, a Calgary think-tank. "Of course, Ontario's not about to fade away. It still accounts for more than 40 per cent of the national economy," Gartner said. "But let's not discount what's happening in the regions. It's quite astounding." In Saskatchewan, for example, Potash Corp., buoyed by a share price that has made it one of the leading companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange, is spending $3.2 billion to construct new mines and expand existing ones. Much of that work has gone to AMEC, an international engineering firm that recently refurbished a second mill at the Lanigan mine after the facility was closed in the 1980s because of lack of demand. Will Brandsema, who runs AMEC's Saskatoon office, says he can't hire engineers fast enough to fill the jobs created by mine expansions in the potash and uranium industries. Eight years ago, AMEC employed 64 people in Saskatoon; today that number is 325. "You talk about have-not provinces," he said. "Ten years ago, I spent most of my time in the office looking for business. Now I spend most of my time with human resources, looking for people to hire. "It's just amazing the growth here, and not only in potash. Thirty per cent of the world's uranium comes out of this province. And we have other commodities - oil, gas, coal and the whole agricultural side. All of these are going to grow." Saskatchewan left the ranks of equalization-receiving provinces in 2007. Newfoundland and Labrador is expected to become a "have" province this year or next, a startling change considering that the cod fishery - once the foundation of the province's economy - has not substantially reopened since its devastating closure by Ottawa in 1992. "It's currently $13 billion. It's going to be $30 billion in 10 years. The federal government doesn't have the financial wherewithal to fund that program." Yet abolishing or changing equalization, a program required by the constitution, presents huge political problems, particularly in Quebec, which receives the largest equalization payment, although the lowest per capita amount. "You're going to see some serious restructuring of equalization, but not before the next election," Locke said. "The Harper government is not going to do it." Changes to equalization, not to mention a realignment of "have" and "have-not" provinces, could also prompt a new wave of regional beefs and resentments - the bane of confederation. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is already complaining about how much his province's taxpayers contribute to national transfer programs, a system Ontario governments once supported in better economic times. Oil itself could become a flashpoint that divides the country. Public demands in Quebec, Ontario or British Columbia for a national carbon tax would now raise the ire of more than just one oil-producing province. In the meantime, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, which typically wield little weight in national discussions, could use their new economic clout to campaign for a truly effective Senate, with real power to represent regional interests. "There is some realignment of economic power occurring that will influence the national political debate," said former Newfoundland premier Brian Peckford, who now works as a business consultant in British Columbia. "Premiers' meetings, for example, won't be dominated by only a few big provinces. Smaller provinces like Saskatchewan and Newfoundland won't have to shout and demand to be heard. We'll get noticed simply by being there." Still, Peckford - who grew up in a province so poor that he remembers, as a boy, studying his schoolbooks by kerosene lamp - warns Newfoundlanders not to let their budding affluence go to their heads. "I would caution them that as they grow financially, they must also grow emotionally and socially," he said. "The last thing Newfoundland and Labrador should do is get arrogant about this, because one never knows how long it will last. "A lot of Canadians helped us after we joined confederation, so it's our turn now to contribute back." Rags to resources: First of a series Boom times for the "have-nots" are redrawing Canada's economic and political map. Next: Day 2: Flush with commodities cash, Saskatchewan revels in its rebirth. Day 3: From misfit to petro-darling: Newfoundland's remarkable transformation. Day 4: Hard times in the industrial heartland: Ontario's painful transition. Day 5: The ''curse'' of resources: Post-fortune perils. Day 6: Finding new fortunes: Quebec's industrial heartland moves on. http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=6fd0d4f0-4e9c-462d-af41-4ae1b93545a0&p=3
  10. Take the test here Your political compass Economic Left/Right: 0.75 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.03 Graph
  11. I'm going to enjoy the popcorn and watch the whiners come out "http://business.financialpost.com/news/transportation/air-canada-wants-torontos-pearson-airport-to-be-a-mega-hub-but-high-costs-stand-in-the-way" "Canada has long been an afterthought for the global aviation market, an out-of-the-way destination with taxes and fees so high that some five million Canadians a year trek across the border to fly out of cheaper U.S. airports. But Air Canada and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) are determined to flip that view on its head by turning Toronto’s Pearson International Airport into a mega-hub on the scale of Amsterdam’s Schiphol, Singapore’s Changi or Dubai International Airport. Pearson is already well on its way to meeting that goal since it attracts more international passengers than any other airport in North America except John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York City. Toronto’s primary airport is now the fourth-largest entry point by air into the United States, surpassing many large U.S. airports, according to National Bank analyst Cameron Doerksen. But to become a true mega-hub comparable in scope and status to the Dubais of the world, a lot needs to change. Pesky taxes and fees make Pearson “the most expensive airport in the world at which to land a plane,” according to a 2012 Senate report. There’s also the problem of congestion — in the airport, on its runways and on surrounding roadways — that will only get worse unless significant investments are made in infrastructure. If these issues aren’t addressed, Pearson could miss out on an opportunity to become part of the exclusive mega-hub club — there are currently only 11 worldwide — and all the attendant economic benefits, including the creation of more than 200,000 jobs in the area. Jack Boland / Toronto Sun / QMI Agency Jack Boland / Toronto Sun / QMI AgencyToronto's Pearson International Airport is a hub for passengers coming into Canada domestically and internationally. The GTAA, which manages and operates Pearson, defines a mega-hub as an airport that processes 50 million passengers a year, including at least 20 million international passengers, and connects to 80 per cent of the global economy. Pearson is pretty close to those numbers. In 2015, it moved 41 million passengers, including 25 million international travellers, and connected to 67 per cent of the global economy. It was recently ranked 19th in the world for its connectivity — sandwiched between Philadelphia, which is not a mega-hub, and Frankfurt, which is — by air-travel intelligence company OAG. There’s plenty of potential for further growth at Pearson. Howard Eng, GTAA’s chief executive, said the airport has the largest catchment area — defined as the population within a 90-minute flight — of any airport in North America, bigger than even JFK or Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Pearson also has an enthusiastic partner in Air Canada, which accounts for 57.6 per cent of the airport’s seat capacity, according to the Centre for Aviation, and has been pursuing an aggressive international growth strategy using its new fleet of Boeing 787s. To support Air Canada, the GTAA has agreed to fix the airline’s fees for 10 years in exchange for agreed-upon passenger growth targets, and will offer rebates if it exceeds those targets. “They want to be a mega-carrier and, as a result of that, they need a mega-hub to work out of,” Eng said in an interview. “We’re both aligned on the concept.” One of Air Canada’s main growth pillars is expanding so-called sixth-freedom traffic, or traffic from a second country to a third country via an airline’s home market. In Air Canada’s case, that primarily means Americans travelling from their home cities via Toronto to destinations in Europe or Asia. The airline’s stated goal is to attract a 1.5-per-cent “fair share” of the U.S. sixth-freedom market, which would add $600 to $700 million in incremental revenue, but chief executive Calin Rovinescu said it can probably do “much better than that.” “We’ve been basically increasing our sixth-freedom flying by mid-to high-teen (percentages) in each of the last two years,” Rovinescu said in a recent interview. He hopes to turn Pearson into a “world-class hub” comparable to Amsterdam, Singapore or Dubai. Related How you can nab premium flights without paying through the nose Air Canada ready to compete with new, low-cost airlines, CEO says “Those countries don’t have a large population base, but they have built very powerful hubs,” Rovinescu said. “Toronto is still relatively speaking underserved in terms of the catchment area and the market potential for it.” But in order to become a truly successful mega-hub, Pearson will need to overcome two major limitations. The first is those exceedingly high costs that drive so many Canadians to U.S. border airports — the equivalent of 64 Boeing 737s every day, according to a 2012 report by the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications. The World Economic Forum’s 2015 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report ranked Canada 124th out of 141 countries on price competitiveness. This is a function of Canada’s “antiquated” national airport model, according to a recent review of the Canada Transportation Act (CTA) by former federal cabinet minister David Emerson. In 1994, the federal government transferred the management, operation and development of 26 major airports to non-profit airport authorities while retaining ownership of their land and fixed assets and charging them rent. The GTAA pays Ottawa $130 million a year in ground rents for Pearson. Add in government security charges and, in Ontario, a jet-fuel tax that will hit 6.7 cents a litre by April 2017, and the airport is at a real cost disadvantage compared to its competitors. Tyler Anderson/National Post Tyler Anderson/National PostHoward Eng, president and CEO of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) Pearson’s landing charges alone are “twice that at Boston Logan, a third more than at Chicago O’Hare,” said David Bentley, chief airport analyst at the Australia-based Centre for Aviation. “You know why that is? It’s because of the ridiculous rents that they have to pay.” Emerson’s review of the CTA concluded that the solution is to move towards a fully privatized, for-profit structure with equity-based financing from large institutional investors. “Will privatization make a difference to Canada? I think it probably would,” Bentley said. “Toronto would become more efficient in terms of its costs to airlines and, therefore, could compete better with the likes of Chicago and other airports in the region.” Eng at the GTAA will not say whether he’d prefer a share-capital structure to the current non-profit system. But he’s quick to emphasize that Pearson is already run like a private entity, paying down $500 million in debt over the past four years and investing $700 million of capital in airport infrastructure and amenities since 2010. Pearson has also frozen or reduced the airlines’ average aeronautical fees per passenger for eight consecutive years, for a total reduction of 30 per cent since 2007. “We run it like a private corporation,” Eng said. “My focus is on how we can generate the revenue in order to pay down the debt, reinvest in the airport and create the facility that’s needed to process the passengers.” The second limitation at Pearson is congestion. The airport’s passenger traffic has grown so rapidly that the airport’s infrastructure — its security and customs checkpoints, runways, de-icing stations and even the surrounding roads — are having trouble keeping up. “A lot of people say there’s no competition for airports because every city has one large airport,” Eng said. “But once you’re into the global hub status, in Pearson’s case almost 35 to 40 per cent of our traffic is what we call transfer traffic, they have a choice.” Passengers who are connecting to another destination are generally looking for the shortest connection time, he said. To that end, Pearson is working to improve the flow of passengers and luggage by offering things such as self-serve baggage drops, automated border kiosks and automatic luggage transfers for passengers travelling from certain global cities to other Canadian destinations. However, Eng stressed that Pearson also needs the government’s help to speed up security and border processing times, which are notoriously slow. Most passengers at Pearson wait 20 minutes for pre-board screening compared to five minutes for 95 per cent of passengers at London’s Heathrow Airport and Hong Kong International Airport. “We’re not asking for a special favour, (just) that they provide their processes in a manner that is equivalent to what the best airports are doing around the world,” he said. Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun/QMI AgencyTravellers at Terminal 1 at Toronto Pearson International Airport The GTAA is also working with other airports in southern Ontario, including those in Hamilton, London and Kitchener-Waterloo, to encourage them to take some of the burden off Pearson by providing more short-haul, private-jet, cargo and charter flights. Another key part of Pearson’s mega-hub strategy is to improve the notoriously bad road traffic around the airport region. According to the GTAA, only 10 per cent of Pearson’s passengers arrive on public transit compared to 39 per cent in Amsterdam and 63 per cent in Hong Kong. A recent study by the Neptis Foundation found that there are a million car trips per day in and out of the Pearson region by employees and travellers. The recent launch of the Union Pearson Express rail line to downtown Toronto has helped, but “not enough,” Eng said. “We probably need various domestic lines, special lines, high-speed rail lines,” he said, adding that the GTAA is prepared to help fund the development of a ground-transportation hub at the airport, but it will need government support as well. fp1201_mega_hub_transitIf Pearson isn’t able to lower its costs and improve its infrastructure, it could miss out on a huge potential economic opportunity. According to Frontier Economics, becoming a mega-hub will increase the airport economic zone’s GDP by 75 per cent to $62.1 billion and create more than 200,000 jobs by 2030. “Airports are changing from city airports to airport cities,” said John Kasarda, director of the Center for Air Commerce at the University of North Carolina. Kasarda devised the concept of the “aerotropolis,” a notion that airports are far more than just transportation infrastructure, but rather anchors of regional business development. “The 21st-century airport is quite different than the 20th-century airport,” he said. “They’re multi-modal, multi-functional enterprises that attract a substantial amount of commercial development.” This can create a virtuous circle of expansion, Kasarda added. “Not only does the better airline connectivity, the route structure, serve as this magnet for business, but as business grows it generates greater volumes of passengers and cargo, which supports more airline connectivity,” he said. “It’s mutually reinforcing.” Smoother connections can also help keep airlines’ costs down by generating more non-aeronautical revenue from retail, restaurants and other services. “It’s a necessity, not an option,” Kasarda said.
  12. http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/montreal-now-a-member-of-the-world-tourism-cities-federation-575257221.html MONTRÉAL, April 11, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Montréal is now officially a member of the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF). This non-profit organization is a select club made up of the world's leading tourism cities, such as Los Angeles, Paris, Berlin and Barcelona. Initiated in 2012 by Beijing, its primary objective is to promote exchanges between top international destinations and share tourism development experience. With its headquarters in China, the organization is committed to improving the attractiveness of tourism cities and promoting harmonious economic and social development in these centres. "We are delighted to see that Montréal has a seat at the table with the world's biggest tourism superpowers. This is an excellent opportunity to position our city among the very best urban destinations on the planet," said Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montréal. "Montréal will have the chance to draw inspiration from these reputed destinations to enhance its tourism potential. In addition to participating in discussions, we will seize the opportunity to forge closer ties with various Chinese institutions. China is an important market for Montréal, with very promising tourism and economic opportunities," added Yves Lalumière, President and CEO of Tourisme Montréal. With new direct flights to China and increased economic missions to the country, Montréal is now in an excellent position to attract more tourists from this rapidly developing country. Moreover, tourist traffic from China is expected to increase 15% annually for the next three years. About Tourisme Montréal Tourisme Montréal is responsible for providing leadership in the concerted efforts of hospitality and promotion in order to position the "Montréal" destination on leisure and business travel markets. It is also responsible for developing Montréal's tourism product in accordance with the ever-changing conditions of the market.
  13. Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Citizen 03.17.2015 Ottawa’s share of new immigrants continues to decline as newcomers increasingly opt for the economic opportunities of Western Canada or the cultural diversity of Montreal. A Statistics Canada study released Wednesday reveals that the percentage of immigrants who cited Ottawa as their intended destination has dropped to 2.4 per cent in 2012 from 3.4 per cent in 2000. It means that the actual number of immigrants settling in Ottawa has gone down even as Canada welcomed more newcomers. Annual immigration to Canada rose to 280,700 in 2012 from 227,500 in 2000. “The recession hit Ontario pretty hard and it’s normal that immigrants don’t want to go to someplace where economic conditions are not as good,” said Gilles Grenier, a University of Ottawa economics professor who specializes in labour market and immigration issues. The Statistics Canada research paper, Changes in the Regional Distribution of New Immigrants to Canada, examines the country’s evolving settlement pattern. It shows that new immigrants have started to look beyond Toronto and Vancouver to destinations such as Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Saskatchewan, where — at least until the recent crash in oil prices — economies have been booming. Montreal, already a major destination, has also seen its share of newcomers increase substantially to 18.1 per cent in 2012. Meanwhile, Toronto, which attracted almost half (48.4 per cent) of all new immigrants in 2000, saw its share of newcomers fall to 30 per cent in 2012. Still, that city remains the country’s biggest magnet for immigrants. StatsCan analysts suggested that the new settlement pattern reflects changes in regional economic activity and employment. “In short, labour market conditions were better in Western Canada than they were in the rest of the country,” the report concluded. That more newcomers were settling outside of Toronto and Vancouver was also a reflection of Canada’s revised immigration system. Provincial nominee programs (PNPs) allow provinces to select and nominate immigrants to meet their own economic goals and growth targets. “Over the 2000s, the PNPs considerably increased the number of immigrants going to destinations that previously received few immigrants,” the study found. The percentage of immigrants arriving in Canada as provincial nominees increased to 13 per cent in 2010 from one per cent in 2000. The program has been particularly successful at attracting immigrants to Manitoba, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. StatsCan analysts said the distribution of newcomers within Canada has also been affected by shifts in the country’s immigration sources. In the late 1990s, most of Canada’s immigrants came from China and India, and they tended to settle in Toronto and Vancouver. By 2010, however, the Philippines was the biggest source of Canadian immigrants, and they have settled in cities across the country, the report said. Montreal’s growth as a destination city was driven by increased immigration from Africa, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. Gilles Grenier said the study shows that Canada’s immigration system is maturing. “It’s a good thing that immigrants disperse in Canada,” he said. “Because Ontario, for many years, was the main destination for immigrants in Canada, especially Toronto, where almost half the population is foreign-born.” The recent drop in oil prices, however, could cause immigration patterns to shift again, Grenier warned, as immigrants chase new job opportunities. BY THE NUMBERS 48.4: Percentage of new immigrants who wanted to settle in Toronto in 2000 30: Percentage of new immigrants who wanted to settle in Toronto in 2012 5.5: Average unemployment rate in Toronto in 2000 9.2: Average unemployment rate in Toronto in 2010 21.3: Percentage of Canadian immigrants that came from China in 2000 12.8: Percentage of Canadian immigrants that came from China in 2010 14: Percentage of Canadian immigrants that arrived from the Philippines in 2010 Source: http://www.montrealgazette.com/News/ottawa/Ottawa+share+immigrants+decline+newcomers+look+Montreal/10902540/story.html
  14. http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Celine+Cooper+Montreal+city+state/9536579/story.html Montreal as its own city-state? BY CELINE COOPER, THE GAZETTE FEBRUARY 24, 2014STORY Quebec Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau, left, is applauded by Quebec Premier Pauline Marois, right, and members of the government after he presented his budget speech, Thursday, February 20, 2014 at the legislature in Quebec City. Photograph by: Jacques Boissinot , THE CANADIAN PRESS Greetings from Administrative Region 06. What’s that? Oh. You may know it by another name — Montreal, the second largest city in Canada. The economic hub of Quebec. The city that generates approximately 65 per cent of provincial tax revenues. One might assume that buoying a metropolis — investing in the human potential, entrepreneurship and global networking opportunities the city has to offer — would be a central plank in any provincial or federal budget. Then again, one might be wrong. Last Thursday, Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau tabled the 2014-15 provincial budget. In his budget speech in the National Assembly, Marceau stated that his government acknowledges Montreal’s unique status as the metropolitan economic engine of Quebec. His budget commits to the renewal of the province’s annual $25-million investment in the city. In anticipation of the 375th anniversary of Montreal in 2017, a total of $125 million is earmarked for four projects: Parc Jean Drapeau, Espace pour la vie, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History. But dig a little deeper and things start to ring hollow. For example, there is no detail regarding what Montreal will get back from these investments, or whether these projects may, in fact, increase the city’s operating expenses in terms of security, maintenance or infrastructure. On more pressing challenges facing Montreal, the budget doesn’t go far enough. There is $6 million set aside for fighting homelessness — an urgent concern for many residents of the city. But there is no new money allocated for social housing, public transit or immigrant integration, and no money earmarked for the retention of families on the island of Montreal. To be fair, it seems almost silly to take this budget seriously. No one expects it to be voted on in the National Assembly. Before Marceau had even completed his announcement, the Coalition Avenir Québec and the Liberals had roundly rejected it. Beyond the proposed increase in daycare user fees from $7 a day to $9 by 2015, it is non-controversial and lacking in detail. There are no general tax increases to irk voters. Detailed spending information is conveniently omitted. In short, this is less a budget than a financial framework for an election campaign. With the latest CROP poll putting the PQ into majority-government territory and MNAs headed for a two-week leave on Thursday, many expect an election to be called as early as this week. Either way, Marceau’s announcement gives voters an idea of how Montreal will be positioned symbolically (or not) in the coming electoral campaign. Why does this matter? With half of the province’s population concentrated here (close to 4 million people), our metropolitan area has some serious demographic heft. As Journal de Montréal columnist Benoît Aubin recently pointed out, if Montreal decided to go its own way and become the 11th province of Canada, it would be more populous than all the Atlantic provinces combined. Yet provincial governments across Canada — including Quebec’s — continue to take a relatively flat approach to budgeting. Despite our urbanizing world, cities are still seen as “creatures” of the provinces, just another administrative region on an electoral map — in Montreal’s case, Administrative Region 06. But in the imminent general election campaign, expect to see some pushback. Real acknowledgement of Montreal as Quebec’s metropolis means revising the fiscal arrangement between Quebec and Montreal and negotiating a meaningful devolution of powers from the province to the city. “It’s time a major economic engine of the province and the country is accorded more rights,” as Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre was quoted as saying in a Gazette article last week. Interestingly, François Cardinal, a columnist at La Presse, has emerged as one of the strongest, most coherent champions of giving Montreal more power. In an article titled Manifesto for a City State published recently in the journal Policy Options, he writes: “ … what Montreal needs is special treatment, more autonomy and more diverse sources of revenue. In short, it needs a premier who will stand on the balcony of City Hall and proclaim: “Vive Montréal! Vive Montréal libre!” On issues of both economy and identity, cleavages between Montreal and the rest of Quebec have been growing deeper. Although often dismissed as a pie-in-the-sky idea, I’m starting to see an increased momentum behind the idea of Montreal as its own city-state. As we head into an election, provincial parties would wise not to dismiss it out of hand. Twitter:@CooperCeline
  15. Edmonton's economy hottest in Canada: CIBC Western city tops ranking for first time as Calgary slips into second spot OTTAWA -- Edmonton's weather may be cold but its economy isn't, says CIBC World Markets, which reported Monday that the Alberta capital has the hottest local economy in Canada, surpassing Calgary. Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver also rank high in economic activity, while there's little economic momentum in the national capital region of Ottawa-Gatineau, according to CIBC's economic activity index, which is based on nine economic variables. "For the first time on record, the city of Edmonton tops our city ranking in terms of economic momentum," it said, crediting strong population growth, impressive employment gains, low unemployment rate, and below-average personal and corporate insolvency rates. Calgary, meanwhile, slipped into second spot with a score of 24.5, compared with 30.1 for Edmonton. Calgary's slippage reflects what the report said was a slowdown in the pace of job creation momentum in the city -- less than that of Edmonton, Saskatoon and Victoria -- and a cooler housing market. Saskatoon reached third spot with a score of 23.7, propelled by strong job and population growth, and the hottest housing market in the country. "Interestingly, Montreal is currently enjoying some renewed momentum," the report said, noting that Montreal's third-place score of 22.8 -- the only other city with a ranking above 20 -- indicated improvement in labour and housing market activity. However, the report cautioned that the momentum in Montreal's industrial economy -- based on data up to September -- is not likely sustainable with a loonie at or near parity with the U.S. dollar. Toronto, the country's largest city, had a consistently strong showing in the rankings with a score of 17.5. This reflects the growing diversity of the city, which has the fourth-fastest population growth in the country, and which boasts relatively high-quality employment. However, its labour market is softening with below-average job growth and above-average unemployment of 7%. Vancouver's ranking, at 17.3, just slightly below Toronto's, is due to the fact that -- while it did not excel in any area -- the city was above average in many areas, including strong population and job growth. Among the larger cities, Ottawa-Gatineau had the lowest ranking at just 4.7, reflecting what the report's author CIBC economist Benjamin Tal said was "some softening in employment growth, housing activity and non-residential building permits." There has been a cooling in the city's large high-tech sector, which was very strong over the past two years. The other cities and their rankings were: Sherbrooke 16.3, Victoria 15.8, Trois-Rivieres 13.6, Regina 12.5, Saint John 11.4, Quebec City 10.2, Halifax 9.1, Kitchener 8.8, Greater Sudbury 7.9, London 7.8, Hamilton 6.0, St. John's 5.5, Kingston 3.4, Thunder Bay 3.0, St. Catharines-Niagara 2.4. Two cities had negative readings -- Saguenay -2.8 and Windsor -3.3 -- highlighting the difficulties in their manufacturing sectors. "The recent appreciation in the dollar and the weakening in the U.S. economy are probably adding another layer of difficulties facing those cities," the report said.
  16. http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/healthy-economic-outlook-for-montreal-and-quebec-city-in-2016-570899271.html OTTAWA, March 3, 2016 /CNW/ - Quebec's two largest cities are forecast to enjoy healthy economic growth in 2016. Montréal and Québec City can expect growth of 2.3 per cent and 2 per cent, respectively, according to The Conference Board of Canada's Metropolitan Outlook: Winter 2016. "The depreciation of the Canadian dollar and a healthy U.S. economy is bringing good news to Québec City and Montréal and their export-oriented industries. Economic growth in both cities has been on the upswing. In fact, we expect real GDP growth in both Montréal and Québec City to outpace the national average for the second consecutive year in 2016, after trailing it for five straight years" said Alan Arcand, Associate Director, Centre for Municipal Studies, The Conference Board of Canada. Highlights Montréal is expected to see real GDP growth of 2.3 per cent in 2016, up from 1.7 per cent last year. Québec City's real GDP growth is expected to reach 2 per cent in 2016. Vancouver's real GDP is forecast to grow 3.3 per cent, making it the fastest growing economy among the 28 census metropolitan areas covered in this edition of the Metropolitan Outlook. Montréal Montréal's economic improvement will be driven by a strengthening manufacturing sector, a rebound in construction, and steady services sector gains. Manufacturing output is forecast to expand by 3 per cent in 2016, bolstered by the combination of a weaker Canadian dollar and healthy U.S. demand. Two massive infrastructure projects—the $4.2-billion Champlain Bridge and the $3.7-billion Turcot Interchange—will help the local construction industry shake off three straight years of declines. However, a decline in housing starts will limit overall construction output growth to 2 per cent in 2016. Growth among the services-producing industries is projected to be 2.2 per cent in 2016, the same rate as in 2015. All eight industry sectors will advance this year, with the biggest gains coming from the business services sector and the personal services sector. In all, Montréal is expected to post real GDP growth of 2.3 per cent this year, up from 1.7 per cent in 2015. About 26,000 jobs are expected to be created in 2016. A similar rise in the labour force will keep the unemployment rate at 8.2 per cent, well above the national average of 7 per cent.
  17. Less Charter, more economy. MONTREAL — There was an initial sense among many observers that the Liberal election victory would be good for the economy, at least in the short run. It’s true that some measure of political stability will return to the province as the PQ’s divisive Charter of Quebec Values is thrown in the wastebasket and as the immediate risk of a referendum on sovereignty is removed. But the sobering truth is that Quebec could face years of mediocre economic growth unless it undertakes some major structural reforms. That warning came this week from Glen Hodgson, senior economist at the Conference Board of Canada, who said Quebec is heading for a prolonged period of economic underperformance unless decisive steps are taken by government and the private sector. “Quebecers could face the disagreeable prospect of deteriorating public services combined with a rise in income taxes” unless the province’s competitive position improves, he wrote in an opinion piece in La Presse. Interviewed Tuesday, Hodgson noted that over the past couple of years, during a period of economic recovery, Quebec has been unable to do better than a growth rate of around one per cent. That raises the question: What’s in store once the North American economic cycle shifts back to recession? The current underperformance has weakened the government’s fiscal position and made it less able to withstand the next economic downturn. Combined with a slowdown in private investment and little growth in the job market, this is playing havoc with government revenues. There are reports that the $2.5 billion deficit projected for 2013-14 may run as high as $3.3 billion once the Liberals get a full picture of public finances. Meanwhile, Quebec’s public debt is the highest in Canada, equalling about 50 per cent of its economic production. The Conference Board estimates growth of two per cent this year as the recovery in the United States picks up steam and extends into next year. “But the recovery will not last,” said Hodgson, “because the foundation for growth in Quebec is not solid.” The province’s long-term growth potential is around 1.5 per cent, he says, which will put it behind the eight ball. “You can’t grow at 1.5 per cent and be able to pay for health care when it’s growing at five per cent.” One doesn’t have to look far to find the reasons for Quebec’s troubles. “It’s really driven by demographics, private investment and productivity,” Hodgson said. Demographic forces are hitting Quebec harder than Ontario, which is also struggling with a weak economy. As active participation in the Quebec labour force declines, paying for expensive government programs like health care and education will get more difficult. The Conference Board projects growth in the labour force of just 0.5 per cent after 2015 as baby-boomer retirements kick in. Compensating for that reduction will require integrating more immigrants into the economy, providing more job training and boosting productivity. Former Liberal finance minister Raymond Bachand says he’s optimistic that some of those hurdles can be overcome. Bachand has agreed to head a new economic think tank called the Institut du Québec, which will be a joint venture between the Conference Board and the HEC business school in Montreal. The goal, he says, is to stimulate public debate with evidence-based research on the economy and public finances. Too many think tanks these days have a political bias, he believes. “We’re going to come up with a fiscal outlook in the next few weeks as our first piece of research,” Bachand said. “We know that we have a demographic challenge. We need the labour market to be healthy. “We have to get private investment back and we have to get our health costs under control. That’s the real goal of the Institut: to contribute to the debate from a fact-based point of view.” Between the Conference Board and HEC, the joint venture will have 400 researchers at its disposal to try to contribute to the debate. That should help the new finance minister and other government players get a better sense of the policy options available.
  18. Excellent texte de François Cardinal (de La Presse) sur pourquoi Montréal devrait avoir un statut spécial : Manifesto for a city-state Montreal has paid the price for being treated like just another region. Quebec’s economic hub deserves better. François Cardinal Policy Options, November 2013 Far from being a land of forests, plains and prairies, Canada is an urban country. Nearly 70 percent of the population lives in urban centres and more than 90 percent of demographic growth is concentrated in those metropolitan areas. These proportions put Canada at the top of the world’s most urbanized nations. And yet all of Canada’s cities, from Montreal to Toronto, Calgary and even Ottawa, are neglected by federal and provincial political parties. They are short-changed by electoral maps. All are forced by the provinces to labour under a tax system that dates from the horse-and-buggy age. All are relegated to the status of lowly “creatures” subject to the whims and dictates of higher levels of government. It’s as if the country has not yet come to terms with the changes it has undergone since its founding. “Cities do not exist under the Constitution, since it was drawn up in 1867 when we were a rural, agricultural country,” Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi pointed out when I interviewed him at City Hall. “But today the country is highly urbanized, a fact that, unfortunately, is not reflected in the relations higher levels of government maintain with the cities.” The 2011 federal election offered a good example of this oversight. Every party targeted the “regions,” those wide-open spaces of rural and small-town Canada. The Conservatives’ slogan in French was “Notre région au pouvoir” [Our region in power]. The Liberals cited “rural Canada” as a priority but barely mentioned urban Canada. The Bloc used the slogan “Parlons régions” [Let’s talk about regions] but had no urban equivalent for the metropolis. More critically, the parties felt compelled to appeal to voters in the regions by positioning themselves in opposition to the cities. The most glaring instance came during the French leaders’ debate, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper castigated Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff over his promise to build a new Champlain Bridge. “I would not take Mr. Ignatieff’s approach and divert money from the regions to finance infrastructure for Montreal,” Harper said. The Liberals were not much better. They pledged to develop a plan for public transportation but never specified what it would look like. They promised support for social housing but said they would take the money out of funds for urban infrastructure. The reason for this is not rocket science. With the big-city vote so thoroughly predictable, the parties focus on rural areas or the suburbs where they believe their policies might swing votes. They rarely target the city centres. At the provincial level, the situation is pretty much the same. In fact, the Quebec government was able to relieve Montreal of its “metropolis” title and its dedicated ministry nearly 10 years ago without raising eyebrows. Thus Montreal became just one “region” among all the rest: Administrative Region 06. In the 2012 election in Quebec, Montreal did move up a notch. There was more discussion about the city. But since then, unfortunately, good intentions have been replaced by a charter of Quebec values, which has been broadly criticized in Montreal. Imposing it confirms the implicit trusteeship under which the government rules the metropolis. But even more than urban centres elsewhere in the country, Quebec’s parties have limited reason to take an interest in the city. Montreal is either politically safe (for the provincial Liberals) or a lost cause (for the Parti Québécois). In short, Quebec is no different from other Canadian provinces in treating its major city like a big village that must be attended to, certainly, but not more than any other municipality. The cost of showing the city favour is to risk losing precious votes in rural areas. But major cities are no longer the same municipalities they were in the past. Today, Montreal and Toronto are expected to compete with Paris and New York. They are expected to attract and hold onto businesses, court foreign creative talent, draw more private investment and deliver more and more services to residents, from social housing to public transportation. Providing support services for recent immigrants, developing the knowledge-based economy, building social housing, dealing with antigovernment demonstrations and adapting to climate change are all responsibilities that now fall to cities. They are nothing like the urban “creatures” of the 19th century. Lucien Bouchard could not have been more clear when he said in his 1996 inauguration speech after being elected premier: “There can be no economic recovery in Quebec without a recovery in Quebec’s metropolis.” For once, it appeared the government of Quebec was going to recognize Montreal’s special character and grant it preferential treatment. “The complexity of the city’s problems calls for special treatment and even, I would say, for the creation of a specific metropolitan authority,” Bouchard continued. It seemed as if he was about to usher in an exciting new era. There was now a minister responsible for “the metropolis.” A development commission was set up for the Montreal metropolitan area and it was to be invested with significant powers. A true decentralization of power was in the offing. An economic development agency, Montréal International, was created at this time, as was the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT). But just when it appeared Montreal was going to receive special attention and treatment, the government’s old habits returned with a vengeance. Like a parent who has given too much to one child, the Quebec government decided to restore the balance by giving to the regions with its left hand what it had given Montreal with its right. A local and regional development support policy was introduced in 1997. Then the Ministry of Regions was created and local development centres set up. A few months later, they added government measures for the province’s three metropolitan areas and then, finally, measures for all urban areas. “The reforms demonstrate, once again, the government’s efforts to address Montreal’s specificity without neglecting the needs of the rest of Quebec,” political scientist Mariona Tomàs explained in her fine book Penser métropolitain? But the result was a government policy similar to the previous ones, an across-the-board approach based on a view of Quebec as a collection of communities, rather than a province organized around its main economic hub. “The government’s desire to maintain a territorial balance can be seen in the powers of metropolitan structures,” Tomàs observed. “The law provided the same types of powers for all the urban communities created in 1969, and then for all the metropolitan communities in 2000.” Giving the rural Outaouais region the same powers as Greater Montreal reduces the latter to just one region among many. To this way of political thinking, the metropolis must not be allowed to overshadow any other town, must not be given too much. It cannot receive more attention than others, and cannot be elevated above any other. Canada’s “hub cities,” those few major urban centres like Montreal, are the drivers of economic activity in the country. That was the conclusion of a recent Conference Board study, which pointed to the collateral benefits of a thriving metropolis. It found that strong growth in metropolitan areas spurs growth in neighbouring communities and then in the whole province. But how can Montreal play its role as an economic driver if it is not treated as such? We need only look outside the country to be convinced that we need to roll out the red carpet for the metropolis: to the United States, where big cities have the attention of the country’s leaders; to Asia, where the treatment of major centres sometimes borders on obsessiveness; or even to France, a country that, like Quebec, is marked by a deep divide between “the metropolis” and “the provinces.” France provided a telling illustration of this awareness in early 2013, a few months after François Hollande’s Socialist government took office. Although France was in dire straits, burdened by crushing public debt and being forced to reconsider the fate of its precious social programs, Hollande did not think twice about launching a project of heroic proportions to relieve congestion in Paris. The price tag: the equivalent of $35 billion for a brand new “super metro,” plus $10 billion to extend and upgrade the existing system. Was this completely crazy? On the contrary. Hollande was being logical and visionary. France understands the importance of investing in its metropolis. This is a country that is ready to look after its towns and villages, while not being afraid to give Paris preferential treatment. “A strong Paris is in the interest of the provinces,” commented L’Express magazine in March 2013. Quite so. The article notes, for example, that much of the income generated in Paris is actually spent in the rest of the country. All financial roads — tourism, commuting for work, national redistribution, whatever — all lead to Paris, with benefits to the provinces. L’Express cites the case of Eurodisney to illustrate. Disney had hesitated before settling on building its amusement park in Paris — not between contending French cities, but between Paris and Barcelona. Herein lie the value and importance for the entire country of having a strong metropolis. “Weakening Paris would slow France’s locomotive,” argued L’Express. “And in a train, the cars seldom move faster than the locomotive.” Clearly, what Montreal needs is special treatment, more autonomy and more diverse sources of revenue. In short, it needs a premier who will stand on the balcony of City Hall and proclaim: “Vive Montréal! Vive Montréal libre!” Worryingly, the current state of affairs in Montreal — the revelations and insinuations of political corruption and collusion — is prompting many observers to call for the Quebec government to take the opposite tack and tighten the city’s reins. According to this view, more provincial government involvement is needed to check the city’s propensity for vice. But in fact the only way to make the city more responsible and more accountable is to give it greater power, wider latitude and more money. Montreal’s problem is that it has all the attributes of a metropolis but is treated as an ordinary municipality, subservient to the big boss, the provincial government. Its masters are the minister of municipal affairs, the minister’s colleagues at other departments involved in the city’s affairs and, of course, the premier. Montreal is under implicit trusteeship. This encourages, even promotes a lack of accountability on the part of the municipal administration, which is only half in charge. “It’s not complicated: Montreal is currently a no man’s land of accountability,” says Denis Saint-Martin, political science professor at the Université de Montréal. “There is a political and organizational immaturity problem, which explains the political irresponsibility we have seen in recent years. Montreal needs more power, not less. Montreal needs to be more accountable, more answerable.” Essentially, the metropolis needs to be treated like one, with the powers and revenues that go along with city status. Montreal is a beggar riding in a limousine. Invariably, after a municipal election, the incoming mayor announces a wish list and then gets the chauffeur to drive him up provincial Highway 20 to Quebec City to knock on the provincial government’s door with outstretched hands, hoping for a little largesse. Montreal’s mayor has to beg because the past offloading of responsibilities for delivering services to citizens onto the municipality has not been accompanied by new money. “In Quebec, the province is responsible for much of the regulatory apparatus under which cities operate, which the cities feel restricts their autonomy,” said political scientist Laurence Bherer in 2004, speaking at the 50th anniversary of the Université Laval political science department. “And far from decreasing in recent years, provincial intervention has spread to a variety of areas such as the environment and public security, further relegating the cities to the role of operative rather than architect.” It is unacceptable for the provincial government to be the “operator” of a metropolis. That is why municipalities are rightfully seeking greater autonomy and greater freedom of action from their provincial masters. This is what is starting to happen in other provinces: in Alberta, with its Municipal Government Act, with British Columbia’s Community Charter and especially in Ontario, with the City of Toronto Act, which reads in part: “The [Ontario Legislative] Assembly recognizes that the City of Toronto, as Ontario’s capital city, is an economic engine of Ontario and of Canada.” The Ontario government appears to understand the special role Toronto plays in the wider economy. The City of Toronto Act goes on to say, “The Assembly recognizes that the City plays an important role in creating and supporting economic prosperity and a high quality of life for the people of Ontario [and] that the City is a government that is capable of exercising its powers in a responsible and accountable fashion.” Quebec’s largest city deserves similar treatment: strict accountability in exchange for recognition of its status as an autonomous government and the ability to tap more diverse sources of revenue. Indeed the main reason Montreal is regularly forced to pass the hat in Quebec City is its heavy dependence on property taxes for its income. As a creature of the province, it still operates under the good-old British tax model that sees it derive the bulk of its revenues — 67 percent — from property taxes. This was not a problem a hundred years ago, when Montreal provided only property services to its residents. But its responsibilities have expanded. The standards imposed by Quebec City have proliferated, and the portion of the budget allocated for services to individuals has grown considerably. Yet its tax base remains just as dependent on a single sector: real estate. This situation has a huge drawback. The City does not share the economic benefits that it generates. It might well pour money into the Formula One Grand Prix and summer festivals, invest in attracting conventions and tourists, renovate public spaces to make the urban environment more attractive and friendly. But it will get not a penny back. On the contrary: these investments only increase the city’s expenses in maintenance, security and infrastructure, while the federal and provincial governments reap the sales taxes. Take the city’s jazz festival. Montreal has to pay for security, site maintenance, public transportation to bring visitors to the site, and must deal with the event’s impact on traffic. In return, it gets happy festival-goers and tourists who spend money, stay at hotels, eat at restaurants — and fill provincial and federal coffers with sales tax revenues. They enrich the governments in Quebec City and in Ottawa, but not Montreal, which picks up the tab for the costs. The result is that the hole into which large cities are quietly sinking gets deeper. Big-city economies are dematerializing. The knowledge-based economy, in which Montreal shines, is based on innovation, research and brains, not factories. But for now, grey matter is not subject to property tax. Add to the mix an aging population with more modest housing needs, the increase in teleworking, self-employment and e-commerce, and you have a Montreal that is not only under implicit administrative trusteeship but also in an increasingly precarious financial position. And then people wonder why our metropolis is not playing the role it should be playing. another region. Quebec’s economic hub deserves better.
  19. Opinion dans la Gazette. Cooper: Can Montreal become a ‘future city?’ BY CELINE COOPER, SPECIAL TO THE GAZETTE APRIL 8, 2013 Revellers at this year’s Nuit Blanche warm up by the fire at Montreal’s Quartier des spectacles. In his new book A History of Future Cities, Daniel Brook writes: “The true city of the future is not simply the city with the tallest tower or the most stunning skyline but one that is piloted by the diverse, worldly, intelligent people it assembles and forges.” Can Montreal be one of these? Photograph by: Tim Snow , The Gazette MONTREAL — What is Montreal’s place among the world’s future global cities? I recently picked up Daniel Brook’s new book A History of Future Cities. In it, he skilfully braids together historical detail, journalism and storytelling to trace the impossible rise of Shanghai, Dubai, Mumbai and St. Petersburg from developing world “instant-cities” into four of the world’s most influential global hubs. Brook looks at how these cities in China, the United Arab Emirates, India and Russia were forged. His description of how soaring cityscapes were planned and erected out of deserts, frozen marshland, oceans and rice paddies through both the ambition of visionaries and the cruelty of despots gives us some context for the emerging Asian era that we are witnessing today. We learn a bit about how the economic development of the world’s nations has come to be inextricably linked to the development of global cities. So what does this have to do with Montreal? As it happens, I started reading this book about future cities on the same day that a sinkhole swallowed two cars at Montreal’s Trudeau airport. On top of the crumbling bridges, man-eating potholes and mould-infested public schools, there was also news that day about Bill 14, the Parti Québécois’s bid to bolster the province’s language laws and further regulate who can speak what, when and where. Much of this discussion focuses on the fear that Montreal is becoming “anglicized.” Which brings me back to the question: what is Montreal’s place in this new world landscape that is no longer necessarily one of nations, but of cities? For many of us who live here, Montreal occupies a special place on the global grid and in our imaginations. We often think of it as a metropolis that straddles old and new, French and English, Europe and North America. But thankfully Montreal and its inhabitants are much more complex than that. As Columbia University sociologist Saskia Sassen and other scholars who study global cities have argued, cities are where new norms and identities are shaped. Despite the fact that it has been hemorrhaging economic clout since the late 1970s and the 1980s, and that its infrastructure is falling apart at the seams, Montreal remains an inspiring, dynamic city. Montreal’s creativity — its colourful population and the ideas they bring to life — is without a doubt the city’s greatest asset. And yet while other urban hubs are leveraging their cultural and linguistic diversity to build intellectual and economic corridors that connect them to the rest of the world, here in Quebec we are told (by our government, no less) that Montreal’s diversity is not an asset but a problem to be managed. There is too much pasta and caffè in our restaurants. Our artists are composing songs in the wrong languages. Our children are learning too much English in the classroom. These things must be regulated with new bills, laws and decrees. It reminds me of a line by urban thinker and activist Jane Jacobs in her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, published in 1961. Jacobs wrote: “There is a quality even meaner than outright ugliness or disorder, and this meaner quality is the dishonest mask of pretended order, achieved by ignoring or suppressing the real order that is struggling to exist and to be served.” And so it is. A History of Future Cities attests to the fact that a built urban environment is important. Dazzling feats of engineering, architectural brilliance, skylines of human-made steel and glass stalagmites are meant to be both inspiring and functional, a draw for the world’s financially and intellectually ambitious people. But one of the most compelling lines in the book — and the one that resonated with me as I pondered Montreal’s future in the world — was this: “The true city of the future is not simply the city with the tallest tower or the most stunning skyline but one that is piloted by the diverse, worldly, intelligent people it assembles and forges.” In other words, a fancy cityscape matters, but the people who live there matter more. For Quebec to succeed as it moves into the future — whether as a sovereign country or as part of the Canadian federation — it needs Montreal to thrive. Montreal’s place among future global cities will depend on not only attracting the world’s best and brightest, but allowing them the freedom to be diverse, to be themselves, and to be brilliant. [email protected] Twitter: @CooperCeline © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette Original source article: Cooper: Can Montreal become a ‘future city?’ Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Celine+Cooper+Montreal+become+future+city/8202375/story.html#ixzz2Puw40uY7
  20. A very nice quote from the guide: INTRODUCTION Montréal is by far Canada's most cosmopolitan city. Toronto may have the country's economic power and Vancouver its most majestic scenery, but the centuries-old marriage of English and French cultures that defines Montréal has given the city an allure and dynamic unique to North America - a captivating atmosphere that is admittedly hard to describe. Its ethnic make-up is in truth fairly diverse, what with plenty of Italians, Greeks, Eastern Europeans, Jews, Chinese and Portuguese putting down roots in various neighbourhoods over the last century. But ever since the French first flew the flag here back in the 1600s, the struggle for the city's soul has centred on - and largely set apart - its English and French factions. As such Montréal has always been a pivotal player in the politics of Québec separatism, the tension between the two main linguistic groups having reached a searing low in the late 1960s, when the Front de Libération du Québec waged a terrorist campaign on the city as the province was undergoing a "francization" that would affect Montréal most of all. In the wake of legislation that enshrined French-language dominance in Québec, English-Quebecers fled in droves, tipping the nation's economic supremacy from Montréal to Toronto. After decades of linguistic dispute, though, a truce appears to have at last settled in, and nowadays it's hard to believe that only a few years ago a narrowly failed 1995 referendum on separation transformed the city into a pitched battlefield over linguistic and territorial rights. It seems virtually everyone can speak French, while the younger generation of Francophones also speak l'anglais - certainly a blessing for English-speaking visitors who should have no problem finding someone who speaks the language. The truce has also gone hand in hand with the city's economic resurgence, which sees Montréal at the fore of Canada's high-tech industry. The duality of Montréal's social mix is also reflected in its urban make-up. Sandwiched between the banks of the St Lawrence River and the forested, trail-laced rise of Mont Royal, the heart of the city is an engaging melange of Old and New World aesthetics. Busy downtown, with its wide boulevards lined by sleek office towers and rambling shopping malls, is emblematic of a typical North American metropolis, while just to its south, Vieux-Montréal preserves the city's unmistakable French heritage in its layout of narrow, cobblestone streets and town squares anchored by the radiant Basilique Notre-Dame. Balancing these are traces of the city's greatest international moment, Expo '67, echoes of which remain on Parc Jean-Drapeau, the islands across from Vieux-Montréal that hosted the successful World Fair. A few kilometres east stands perhaps the city's greatest folly, the Stade Olympique built for the 1976 Olympics, its leaning tower overshadowing the expansive Jardin Botanique, second only to London's Kew Gardens. Specific sights aside, it's the street-level vibe that makes Montréal such a great place to visit. Like the homegrown Cirque du Soleil, Montréal has a ceaseless - and contagious - energy that infuses its café and lounge culture, its exciting into-the-wee-hour nightlife, and the boisterous summer festivals that put everyone in a party mood. Nowhere captures this free-spirited ethos better than Plateau Mont-Royal, the trendiest neighbourhood in town and effective meeting point of Montréal's founding and immigrant cultures. Here, the best restaurants, bars and clubs hum and groove along boulevard St-Laurent, the symbolic divide between the city's French and English communities, under the watchful gaze of the city's most prominent landmark, the cross atop Mont Royal that recalls Montréal's initial founding as a Catholic colony. In some contrast, Québec City, around 250km east, seems immune to outside forces, its walled old town steadfastly embodying the province's French fact. Perched atop a promontory with a commanding view of the St Lawrence and laced with winding, cobblestone streets flanked by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century stone houses, it ranks as Québec's most romantic and beautifully situated city. Closer to Montréal, two other enchanting regions - the Eastern Townships (Les Cantons-de-l'Est) and the Laurentian mountains (Les Laurentides) - provide excellent getaways, along with top-notch skiing, away from the teeming city centre.
  21. I wonder what some will have to say about this Henry Aubin: Can our city gain influence? By Henry Aubin, The Gazette January 2, 2013 0 Story Photos ( 2 ) Henry Aubin: Can our city gain influence? Henry Aubin MONTREAL — A study by U.S. intelligence predicts that the power of the world’s major cities will continue to grow in coming decades. Meanwhile, the power of most countries will wane. “The role of cities will be an even more important feature of the future as urban areas grow in wealth and economic power,” says the study by the National Intelligence Council, which reports to the U.S. intelligence czar James Clapper and which has made its study public to “stimulate strategic thinking” by decision-makers everywhere. “Increasingly, cities are likely to take the initiative on resource management, environmental standards, migration, and even security.” Meanwhile, countries in general “will struggle to keep up with the rapid diffusion of power.” So, can Montrealers count on their city wielding more clout? Sadly, no. The intelligence study does not deal with many cities individually, and it does not mention Montreal. But the study’s assertion that a city’s growth in influence hinges on its growth in “wealth and economic power” points to Montreal’s disadvantage. According to the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal’s calculation based on 2010 data, the Montreal area ranks dead last among the 32 largest Canadian and U.S. cities for per-capita GDP. On current form, it’s hard to imagine Montreal moving up very far. The Canadian constitution gives far less autonomy to cities than does U.S. law: In Canada, provinces control municipalities. That doesn’t hurt Toronto: The provincial legislature is located in that city, legislators know the city’s needs first-hand and there is no Ontario nationalism to distract them. Montreal has no such luck. The emergence of strong Quebec nationalism means the dominant political discourse is to gain more power for l’état québécois (either as a province or as a republic). Montreal mayors keep asking Quebec for more autonomy, but that would mean less power for l’état — and the mayors never obtain it. It’s all the easier for Quebec legislators to ignore Montreal’s needs because the city is a) far from the legislature geographically, b) far from the rest of the province socially because of its large non-francophone population and c) far from the levers of influence because it has so few swing ridings. Here, in no special order, are six ways in which the Quebec government, deliberately or not, adversely affects Montreal’s economic development. In a study of the Montreal metropolitan area, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says a “tangled muddle” of institutions is harming the area’s development. The respected think tank recommends that Quebec — the institutions’ ultimate master — chop many of them. That was in 2004. Quebec has done nothing, The Montreal area thus has more bureaucracies dealing directly or indirectly with economic development — and often working at cross purposes — than other North American metropolitan areas. Count’ em: Five administrative regions, seven conferences of elected officials, 12 counties (MRCs), 20 local development centres (CLDs) and 20 public transit boards. Studies show that immigrants, including those with solid credentials, find the labour market harder to crack here than in Toronto and Vancouver — where newcomers help fuel those cities’ economies. Quebec gained the power to help Ottawa select immigrants 17 years ago; it wanted to choose people who could best fit in here. Yet it has been too passive about fighting private-sector bias, too stuck in its ways to serve as a role model by hiring a more diverse public service. Universities have been the city’s best hope for success in the knowledge economy. Now the Parti Québécois government has cut their already subpar funding. Entrepreneurs also fuel cities’ economies. As it is, Montreal has too few of these job creators. Now a PQ plan would in effect make Montreal less hospitable to them by extending Bill 101 to companies with 26 to 49 employees. This could impede the recruiting of non-French-speaking knowledge workers from out of province. Much of Bill 101 is necessary for the health of French. This is not. Quebec is, to be sure, not consciously anti-Montreal. Its coercive merger of the city with many of its suburbs was in part an attempt to make Montreal a player on the world stage. But the premise — that bigger means better — was naive. After 11 years, the enlarged city has become unmanageable, more corrupt, more marginalized. At the heart of much of the city’s economic decline is the perpetuation of political uncertainty, thanks to the PQ’s goal of sovereignty. Yet much of the political class — including two mayoral aspirants, sovereignists Louise Harel and Richard Bergeron — won’t acknowledge the self-evident: that another referendum would further harm Montreal’s economic interests. Sad. The U.S. intelligence study might predict that cities’ power will grow as countries’ power declines, but Montreal is unlikely to be part of this trend. The rise of nationalism has coincided with a decline in the political class’s sensitivity to the city’s interests. No change is the wind. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Henry+Aubin+city+gain+influence/7768030/story.html#ixzz2Gwu4GC4l
  22. Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2010/01/29/qc-charest-protests-india-asbestos.html#ixzz0e4r4XXPU