It Is Time to Stand Up for Montreal Because We Are All Montrealers: L. Jacques
- The President of BMO Financial Group, Quebec, unveils the
highlights of a study to revitalize Montreal
MONTREAL, QUEBEC -- (Marketwired) -- 10/21/13 -- "Our newly elected
officials will have to work together. They will have to speak with a
single voice to generate the attention and respect of the higher
levels of government. And to speak with a single voice, they will
need the support of the community, including the business community,"
said L. Jacques Menard, President of BMO Financial Group, Quebec, at
a lunchtime address today before the Canadian Club of Montreal.
Unveiling highlights of a study carried out by Boston Consulting
Group (BCG), Mr. Menard noted that, in the past 15 years, Greater
Montreal's economic development has been less dynamic than that of
the five other largest Canadian cities:
-- GDP growth was the lowest: 37 per cent in Montreal versus an average 59
per cent in the other major Canadian cities;
-- Unemployment was the highest: for 15 years now, unemployment has hovered
around 8.5 per cent in Greater Montreal, compared with an average of 6.3
per cent for the five other major Canadian cities;
-- Disposable income has risen more slowly: 51 per cent in Montreal as
opposed to 87 per cent in the rest of Canada;
-- And Montreal's demographic growth was less than half of the country's
other major cities, i.e., 16 per cent versus 33 per cent.
The BCG-BMO study examined 78 metropolises around the globe to
identify cities that were comparable in size and prosperity to
Montreal and that had completed a turnaround after going through more
challenging times. Seven cities met the criteria: Manchester in
England, Melbourne in Australia and Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in
Pennsylvania - all of which have rejoined the ranks of the most
dynamic cities in their respective countries - as well as Boston, San
Diego and Seattle in the United States, which have become model
Looking at the experience of these cities and the lessons they might
hold for Montreal, Mr. Menard pointed to various similarities,
-- Strong and clear leadership at the metropolitan level, leadership
supported by the higher levels of government;
-- Centres of excellence that favoured growth;
-- Private and public sector funding around a limited number of
-- The upgrading of transportation and telecommunications infrastructures
with an eye to sustainable development and improving citizens' quality
-- The importance of human capital and institutions of higher learning,
colleges and universities;
-- Actions branded with a single signature in all the cities of the
metropolis and, under this single brand, the development of a marketing
and promotion strategy.
-- Perseverance, because turning around a slow decline is a long-term
effort that transcends individuals and elections.
Some 50 leaders in Greater Montreal were also interviewed for the
study. According to Mr. Menard, they clearly feel that Greater
Montreal can count on advantages such as its centres of excellence in
the aerospace, high technology, multimedia and medical research
sectors, as well as proportionally more university students than
Boston, an abundance of major cultural and sports events and a
But despite Montreal's many advantages, the issue of leadership
remains key. "Leadership means mayors and ours have not always been
up to the task. Leadership also means higher levels of government
that need to pay more attention to Montreal and have the metropolis's
best interests at heart," said Mr. Menard, who also stressed that the
business community shares in the responsibility.
Noting that Greater Montreal generates more than half of all Quebec's
wealth, the president of BMO Financial Group, Quebec, concluded by
saying: "It is time we stood up for Montreal. Because standing up for
Montreal is standing up for all of Quebec. In the end, we are all
The full BCG-BMO report will be unveiled in early 2014.
Ronald Monet, Montreal
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