MONTREAL, May 12 /CNW Telbec/ -The Board of Trade of Metropolitan
Montreal today unveiled its "X = X ?" campaign to raise awareness among the public and Members of the
National Assembly about the importance of fair representation of the
Montréal area in Quebec's democratic system. The Board of Trade
strongly opposes institutionalizing the city's underrepresentation in
"Current debates on redrawing the electoral map are a denial of
electoral justice," said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board
of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. "We are asking elected officials to
respect the metropolitan area and its electors. One vote in Montréal,
Longueuil, Laval or Sainte-Thérèse must have the same democratic weight
as one vote in the regions. The Government of Quebec is dragging its
heels in responding to the city's needs. The principle of effective
representation of all electors is and must remain the foundation of our
"The metropolitan area represents over 50% of the Quebec population and
yet has only 54 of the 125 electoral districts, or 42% of them," Mr.
Leblanc said. "It's unacceptable and disrespectful to the city's
citizens and taxpayers. The government and the official opposition have
not put forward any proposals to resolve this situation."
"Introducing a minimum number of electoral districts for each region,
with no consideration for the number of electors who live there, or
creating two categories of electoral districts, urban and rural, are
proposals that would hurt Montréal," Mr. Leblanc said. "Electors in the
Montréal area are full citizens of Quebec, and their electoral weight
must reflect this reality."
"We need to remember that the Legislative Assembly of Ontario has 107
elected officials for a population 50% larger than that of Quebec," Mr.
Leblanc said. "Quebec has sufficient parliamentary representation, so
redrawing the electoral map should not involve adding new electoral
districts, but rather a complete redistribution that takes into account
the demographic evolution of Quebec. Montréal Island has already lost
electoral districts to reflect population movements; why flout this new
As part of this initiative, the Board of Trade released a statement of
opinion from Stéphane Beaulac, a constitutional law expert and
professor at Université de Montréal's faculty of law. According to this
opinion, "the possible gaps in electoral representation following the
reforms presented would be unconventional and, consequently, violations
of the constitutional guarantees of democratic rights."
"In reading this opinion, it becomes clear that it is the electors, and
not the regions, that have a right to representation," Mr. Leblanc
said. "If unique geographical realities impose constraints on the
electoral map, as is the case for the exceptional divisions in the
Magdalen Islands and Northern Quebec, the principle guiding of any
redrawing of the map must remain the effective representation of the
electors. We assume that all the members from the Montréal area, no
matter their party, will care about defending the right of electors to
fair democratic representation."
This initiative began on Tuesday with the Board of Trade sending a pair
of identical pens, only differing in size, to the 125 Members of the
National Assembly, as well as to members of the press gallery. This
gesture was intended to show that in exercising their right to vote,
the citizens of Quebec are not equal.
For more information, please visit www.inegale.info.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has some 7,000 members. Its
primary mission is to represent the interests of the business community
of Greater Montréal and to provide individuals, merchants, and
businesses of all sizes with a variety of specialized services to help
them achieve their full potential in terms of innovation, productivity
and competitiveness. The Board of Trade is Quebec's leading private
economic development organization.
SOURCE BOARD OF TRADE OF METROPOLITAN MONTREAL
For further information:
Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4015