Final consult stage on Ville Marie governance

Ville Marie residents have the final say in choosing only three of their six sitting representatives.

Ville Marie residents and stakeholders will finally have their say about their borough’s electoral structure, after the city announced the next step in a two-year process, following up on a six-year-old administration pledge.

Executive committee member Robert Beaudry announced the March 31 session which will combine participants’ input and the report of an expert committee formed in 2021 accompanied by various scenarios to consider.

Currently the Mayor of Montreal is de facto borough mayor — of downtown Montreal — who then appoints two of six sitting councillors. For many it represents a democratic deficit from changes to Montreal’s charter more than a decade ago, and needs correcting, says Beaudry, himself elected in Saint-Jacques district. “It was important for us to proceed in a more participatory and open way than during the change made almost 15 years ago. This will allow us to hear from the population about the structure we have in Ville-Marie, how they would like it to evolve and the ideas that citizens and community stakeholders might want to submit to improve it.”

The expert committee was comprised of representatives of the city, borough, socio-community and economic sectors and municipal governance specialists.

The logic to the current structure was Montreal’s Mayor having greater control over the central district, which is a powerful economic and cultural motor for the city at large. But in 2023, citizens are increasingly wary of such arrangements, watching evaporating promises on federal electoral reform and many clamouring for provincial changes as well.

Under the current structure, which allows island-wide votes to determine who sits in the local Mayor’s seat, voters of the West Island’s Pierrefonds-Roxboro and Île-Bizard–Sainte-Geneviève potentially have more democratic weight in Ville Marie governance than actual Ville Marie residents. What’s more, the two appointed councillors were actually elected in Lachine and Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, further depleting the power of local voices.

“It was time for this initiative to see the light of day,” said Opposition leader Aref Salem. “It took a whole mandate for the Plante administration to keep its promise and begin the consultation process. We invite citizens of Ville-Marie borough to speak out in large numbers, as they are the first to be affected by the decision that will be made.”

Among scenarios being considered by the city are all councillors being elected, from which a Mayor can be appointed, or Mayors also subject to universal suffrage.

The consultation process will be managed by the Institut du Nouveau Monde (INM) and include a citizen discussion workshop on Saturday, March 18, discussion workshop with socioeconomic groups and associations on Thursday, March 23. INM will present its post-consultation report to Ville-Marie borough and the city this summer.

The short online questionnaire and consultation report are available at

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