My opponents in the mayoralty race have been distorting the old issue about merger / demerger as a distraction from some of the important current issues related to taxation, urban planning, transparency, etc.
In 2001 I was against the government’s forced merger. The debate about demerging three years later was a complicated debate about municipal structures and taxation. I was not against true demerger but opposed the Liberal government’s Bill 9 at the time and its under-handed version of demerger. Bill 9, the so-called demerger law allowed former suburbs to demerge according to a controversial voting formula but stripped our municipality of clout and political power and forced us into a “taxation without representation” straitjacket. The City of Montreal would control more than half of our budget and directly tax us without our residents having any say or vote in elections. I took what appeared to be an unpopular decision at the time because I felt it prejudiced CSL with regard to taxation and political influence on many issues that deeply affect the municipality.
Since then, the initial law was changed to some degree. We now send Montreal an allocation instead of being taxed directly.by them.
About half the current council, including Dida Berku, Mike Cohen and Alan Levine supported the exact same position that I did at the time as did the Gazette Editorial Board which called demerger a poisoned fruit.
Some of my concerns have come to fruition. Our municipality has gone from among the lower tax rates, to the second highest of all 35 municipalities and boroughs on the island of Montreal. Also, some major issues such as the Cavendish extension moved to the backburner as CSL lost any influence on important regional issues.
I have always fought for my constituents at multiple levels of government based on what I believe is right and I will continue to fight relentlessly with conviction for the residents of CSL when re-elected Mayor.
Click here to read: The Demerger Gazette Editorial
Click here to read: Why I am voting “NO” to Demerger Bill 9