Montreal is a mess: It's mob-ridden, crooked and crumbling

    
    What went wrong with Canada's most glamorous city?

    ALSO IN THIS WEEK'S ISSUE OF MACLEAN'S MAGAZINE:
    Andrew Coyne and Paul Wells go head-to-head on Afghanistan: Noble fight
    or lost cause?
    

TORONTO, Oct. 29 /CNW/ - It used to be known for its charm, nightlife and great food, but these days, Montreal has been exposing a shockingly dirty, chaotic and crooked underbelly. Allegations of mobbed-up favouritism, brown envelopes stuffed with cash, wildly inflated city contracts, an aggressive blue-collar union - these, not joie de vivre and smoked meat, are Montreal's stock in trade these days. And with a municipal election looming (Sunday, Nov. 1), bizarrely, mayoral candidates are campaigning by bragging about their run-ins and bravery in the face of organized crime.

Even beyond the corruption, writes Maclean's Montreal bureau chief Martin Patriquin, Montreal is dysfunctional, with an archaic government structure and a bloated public sector (the city council has twice as many elected officials as New York City). More and more of its citizens are taking refuge in the suburbs, while big business continues to flee to Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. Montreal has the largest debt of any major Canadian city and its infrastructure is a leaking pot-holed mess. Who can fix it? Is it mayoral incumbent Gérald Tremblay, who recently reminded voters that Montreal's criminal element had threatened his home with two fire bombs? Ardent separatist Louise Harel, who refuses to speak English? Or political neophyte Richard Bergeron, who staunchly believes 9/11 was an inside job by the U.S. government? As Montrealers go to the polls, they can only hope that whoever it is, they can reverse the decay, clean up the crime and restore Montreal's tarnished image.

Afghanistan: Noble fight or lost cause?

Maclean's senior columnist Paul Wells says that if the Afghan mission is going to work, it needs more troops, more time - and a miracle. National editor Andrew Coyne says if we only fought wars we were sure of winning, we should never have fought any wars at all.

In this week's issue of Maclean's - and in a special round table discussion in Halifax Nov. 10 - two of Canada's most astute political journalists square off on this complex issue in a spirited debate that examines what needs to be done and whether the war is even worth fighting.

The debate in this week's issue is a prelude to a live, Nov. 10, "In Conversation with Maclean's" discussion on the same subject at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax, the second in a series of talks. The debate, broadcast live nationwide on CPAC, will feature Scott Taylor, a former soldier and the publisher and editor of Esprit de Corps, and military analyst Mercedes Stephenson, among others. The event will be moderated by CPAC's Peter Van Dusen, and include Maclean's columnists Paul Wells and Andrew Coyne as panellists.

For more information and for tickets, visit www.macleans.ca/inconversation

"In Conversation with Maclean's" is a four-city series. Watch the first round-table discussion, "Our Democracy is Broken: How Do We Fix It?" on video on-demand on CPAC.ca.

About Maclean's:

Maclean's is Canada's only national weekly current affairs magazine. Maclean's enlightens, engages and entertains 2.4 million readers with strong investigative reporting and exclusive stories from leading journalists in the fields of international affairs, social issues, national politics, business and culture. Visit www.macleans.ca.

SOURCE Maclean's

For further information: For further information: Louise Leger, (416) 764-4125, Louise.leger@rci.rogers.com

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