Posts Tagged ‘politics’
Marcus Gee’s article in The Globe and Mail regarding the chances for a Toronto-Montréal alliance
Forget about the two solitudes. Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre says he wants Montreal and Toronto – leading centres of French and English Canada, and great rivals for generations – to become sister cities.
He says that the two need to work together on solutions to common urban problems. Together, he says, they may have more luck persuading Ottawa to take cities seriously.
“The two solitudes are over,” he told the media on Wednesday after meeting Toronto Mayor John Tory at City Hall. “Clearly, the time has come that the metropolis of Quebec talks to the metropolis of Canada,” he added later at a lunchtime talk to Bay Street heavyweights.
[. . .]
Sister-city deals are nothing new. Mayors make them all the time and they usually amount to little more than symbolism and platitudes.
But when Montreal and Toronto talk sisterhood, something more interesting is happening. The two cities are historic competitors in sports – Leafs versus Habs – and in many other things. It was a milestone in the life of the country when Toronto surpassed Montreal in population and became its main economic hub.
The divide between them has always seemed much wider than the six-hour drive would indicate. Many Torontonians never make the trip, many Montrealers wouldn’t think of it. Montreal’s French-speaking intellectual elite looks to Paris, Toronto’s elite to New York.
But times are changing. The separatist cause is faltering. Quebec has a new, pragmatic, federalist Premier in Phillipe Couillard. Mr. Coderre, a Liberal MP and cabinet minister for 16 years before Montrealers elected him mayor in 2013, seems cut from the same cloth. He is energetic, funny, open-minded and bursting with fresh ideas.
The Toronto-Montreal sisterhood is one of his freshest. Mr. Coderre notes that Canada’s two biggest cities have loads in common. Both have diverse populations fed by heavy immigration. Both are struggling to fix crumbling infrastructure. Both are trying to find the money to build out their transit networks.