Montreal-North - The example of what not to follow

    MONTREAL, Aug. 25 /CNW Telbec/ - In a letter sent to the Mayor of
Montréal dated August 19th 2008, the Leader of the Official Opposition,
Mr. Benoit Labonté asked him to be proactive and request that the city's
Public security committee hold a public hearing that would shed light on the
causes that led to the tragic events that took place in Montreal-North. As of
today, no answer has yet been sent by the Mayor.
    'Two weeks after the Montreal-North events and the Mayor is still failing
to grasp the seriousness of the matter and the underlying causes that led to
the tragedy, denounced the Leader of the Official Opposition and Mayor of
Ville-Marie borough'.
    'If no special public hearing is held, the Official Opposition will take
it upon itself to quickly organise a Forum that will produce real and
effective measures regarding the issue of social cohesion in Montreal. The
experience acquired during the Social and Economical Forum that took place in
Ville-Marie last May, serves as a perfect example of the kind of pro active
solutions we are seeking to develop in this case.
    Mrs Claire St-Arnaud, Leader of the Official opposition in council and
Public Security spokeswomen for Vision Montreal, will present the basic ground
rules for the Forum that will be conducted by independent experts whose
contribution is vital to this process. It is time for action!
    What occurred in Montréal-North should not, under any circumstances, be
isolated or branded as particular to that neighbourhood. 'The Mayor of
Montreal is acting irresponsibly by pinning the existing realities of other
boroughs solely on local, Montreal-North escape-goats. Often, the same causes
produce the same outcomes, regardless the specificities of each borough. This
is why a quick response is essential. This was and is the responsibility of
the Montreal's Mayor.
    Ever since 2002, a complete diagnostic was well known. The borough
summits that took place then, in preparation for the Montreal 2002 Summit,
pointed towards rising social problems such as poverty, exclusion and
intercultural relations in Montreal-North.
    While a true culture of dialogue exists in Montreal-North, the feedback
received by Mr. Labonté from the various community organisations that spoke
publicly or privately about the issue, have noted one very important variable:
concrete actions are missing.
    Despite all these realisations, in 2007, the same conclusions were
reached after the borough developed its local family plan. All these years
being aware of the problems, and yet the administration did very little to
solve it. When it comes to interventions in sectors such as social housing,
youth integration, poverty and exclusion, the interventions made are well
under what they should be.
    'We cannot ask the boroughs of Montreal to assume 100% of proximity
services for their citizens, when they receive only 23% of the city's budget.
Montreal-North is the perfect example and no borough is totally protected and
safe from unfortunate circumstances', concluded Mr. Labonté.

For further information:

For further information: Irène Marcheterre, Communication director,
Chief of staff (interim), Leader of the Official Opposition's Office, City of
Montréal, (514) 872-2990

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Ville de Montréal - Cabinet de la chef de l'Opposition officielle

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