It’s getting to be a no brainer. Henry Aubin’s column in Saturday’s Gazette only skims the surface of recent allegations that should be cause for great concern amongst all citizens. Check out this paragraph,
“The city has, for example, signed two 20-year leases for offices in buildings near city hall for $300 million. It could have bought them for a lot less: Their combined evaluation was $100 million.”
Now that is beyond irresponsible, it’s flagrantly stupid. Still, there is a history here of taxpayer’s getting shafted with The Olympic Games being the obvious and most spectacular example. So why should anyone care now?
It’s about the quality of life in the city. When hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on projects or acquisitions that do not do anyone much good (except those on the receiving end of the cash), there then develops a complete lack of support for things that may be generally deemed to be important (social housing, public works projects, etc).
Montreal today is a city bogged down by mediocrity at the government level. It takes forever to get badly needed projects going such as improved public transit, airport to downtown rail, and other necessary projects off the ground. Highly questionable projects, such as the Griffintown development, which had some elements of patronage similar to the current water contract issues, seem to get pushed through relatively easily.
We are on the verge of massive spending on infrastructure in Quebec, as elsewhere across North America. And we are going to need strong, reliable, and trustworthy leaders to get us through this period or the Olympic debt will seem like a small business loan compared to what we could be in for.
Mayor Tremblay has been the only mayor of the MegaCity era. The mergers have been universally condemned as a failure that has, predictably one might add, created denser bureaucracies, while maintaining the Executive Committee as an elite group that makes decisions without real public input, and generally behaves as if it knows what is good for us all. That’s okay when no one is paying attention I suppose. But it’s time that Gerald Tremblay be accountable for that failure, amongst other things.