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City of Miseries

by Archives March 10, 2009

This past week our long-time mayor Gerald Tremblay announced a surprise budgetary deficit of $150 million for the city. The implications of his announcement are that numerous city boroughs and municipal agencies have to patch up the difference. Bottom line: higher taxes for reduced services.
First of all, what’s surprising about a deficit? Where was our guardian Tremblay when for the last 15 months everyone on Earth was shouting “recession?” Did we prepare any kind of a “rainy day” fund? No. Instead, we spent half a million dollars on a goofy crayon-coloured logo. The best-paid jobs in this city aren’t construction worker or metro-booth lady; it’s mayoral consultant.
Look, the way successful functional democracies are supposed to work is that the government’s authority is to be kept in check by two mechanisms.
The first check is, of course, elections. Our electoral system here is already hopelessly flawed. The proof? According to a Leger Marketing study, Tremblay, our Bushian king, is polling at 32 per cent or 27 points above his closet rivals in the other municipal parties. So much for an informed public.
And who’s fault is it that the public is so woefully complacent about the decline of our belle ville? The answer is the second of those asleep-at-the-wheel checks against abuse of power: the media.
Let’s start with that flag-bearer of the English language, the Montreal Gazette. With its total obliviousness to reality, a dearth of investigate reporting and a weird, outdated obsession with sovereigntists, the Gazette has rendered itself more irrelevant than ever. The Journal de Montréal’s writers are on strike. And our nightly newscasts are either kept to 22 minutes (with 15 of those minutes dedicated to sports, entertainment and the weather), or have simply been taken off the air (see: TQS).
On second thought, thank God our media is utterly inept because if we had any kind of decent news coverage, the entire world would learn the full extent of how far Montreal’s fallen into a disgraceful rut.
The third-world quality streets, the bloated, corrupt bureaucracy, the ancient, collapsing infrastructure, 40-year old metros, the mind-numbing traffic, smog, fascist police who protect their own (even while killing 18-year-old kids), abject poverty in every part of the city except Westmount, TMR and Cote-St-Luc/Hampstead . . . I could go on and I’m sure you could to.
How about that “Quartier des Spectacles” Mr. Tremblay? Why can’t the AMT trains run on time? Why isn’t there a metro line anywhere west of Decarie? Is there any kind of functioning green policy? What’s happening with that wasteland-cum-superhospital next to Vend

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