November 5, 2017 was an important date and an important election result. Those who share a historical perspective have insights and lessons to share. We know that the Montreal Board of Trade and the Montreal Economic Institute as well as the real estate industry were very supportive of Coderre; we understand from experience that they will now make every effort to put a collar on Projet Montreal. We also know that scores of idealistic individuals, relieved that Valerie Plante and her party won, will say to themselves that now that their work in the election campaign was successful, that it is now time to let the politicians do their job while the rest of us go back to doing what we were doing before the intense campaign.
Those of us who carry historical memory know one thing very clearly: we cannot naively sit on our hands. We must come together and discuss our observations and reflections face to face. From this exchange, we must organize an effective civil society bulwark against the tendency for power to distort values, turning good people, once elected, into their opposite.
We remember all too well 1974, when the first 18 members of the Montreal Citizens’ Movement were elected to city council, and what followed in 1976 and 1978. And some of us remember the MCM victory in 1986 and what followed, including the splits and quarrels, the years 1989-1990 with the creation of the « Democratic Coalition » and Ecology Montreal.
We therefore propose to get together to discuss what should be done next. We wish to address, for example, the proposition of constructing a democratic common front of civil society actors who refuse to give Projet Montreal a blank cheque, instead providing a political counterpoint to the influence that money and power will have on the change that Projet Montreal was elected to deliver. We have an opportunity to prevent history from repeating itself.
Let’s get together to share our experiences, analysis and stake out a realistic future for Montreal. We begin by convening a select group of persons representing a diversity of social and environmental issues who can discuss democratically together what is now to be done.
Among the matters which preoccupy us: the urban environment, from climate change to green spaces;
social housing; public transit; municipal democracy; the $15 minimum wage campaign.
Date: 12 December 2017
Time: 6pm: wine, cheese and other goodies
7pm: community meeting
Location: Alternatives, 3720 av du Parc