By Rhonda Massad
Demerged cities need to take a page out the Laval Mayor Marc Demers’ handbook on using the provincial elections to demand fiscal justice.Laval, the third largest city in Quebec, published a shopping list last week to demand fair compensation from whoever forms the next provincial government.They will unlikely get all they demand but, by making their demands an election issue, over time the repetitive beating of the drum will help them to get something.The demerged suburban mayors need to do likewise and speak out officially in a resolution that will be heard by provincial candidates.
The demerged municipalities on the island of Montreal have little to no voice when it comes to decisions on how to spend some 50 per cent of our tax dollars. That 50 per cent heads downtown to a forum where we are always outnumbered 87 per cent merged municipalities versus 13 per cent for demerged cities. At one point, our taxes will become too high for citizens to bear. At what point will they take to the streets with colorful squares pinned to their clothing and demand action?The provincial election campaign period is a unique opportunity to be heard. We do not expect a decrease in our taxes. That is not a reality in these economic times. But we expect is our leaders to take an active stance on this issue.Demerged municipalities will never have enough votes to win a decision. Never.
Montreal will never have the same needs as the demerged municipalities nor will it always have the same objectives. Our collective voice needs to be heard and the election presents a rare occasion to be heard, because votes are on the line.With ten days to go before the ballot, what are the demerged mayors waiting for?