By Tracey Arial
Leading Montreal’s three-day trade mission to New Year is one of eight ways Mayor Denis Coderre plans to rejuvenate his city. So he told Southwest business leaders during a lunchtime speech at Cegep André Laurendeau in LaSalle last Thursday. He spent part of his speech giving his audience a preview of his New York visit.
“My role is to bring investment here by acting as an ambassador,” he said. “Starting this weekend, we’re going to work with Montréal International, Investissement Québec and Tourism Montreal to create economic missions in major markets around the world.”
During the speech, Coderre outlined a series of ways in which Montreal operations will be revamped and improved. He said that he’s counting on political rivals to help him, including Marcel Coté, who became a special advisor to Coderre in November.
“It’s time to do things differently,” he said. “We all love our city and we all have to work together to get it on the right track. Even independent councillors, we will work together.”
As he said this, Coderre nodded at Southwest borough mayor Benoit Dorais and LaSalle borough mayor Manon Barbe. Both were rivals during the last election. Barbe’s entire team attended the speech along with Monique Vallée, the only Coderre team borough councillor in LaSalle.
Both Dorais and Barbe will sit on a new committee to discuss the reorganization of borough services. They will also be part of a new initiative in which all the mayors within Greater Montreal will meet four times a year.
Several other administration changes were outlined, including a committee for management performance, a new inspector general and the manpower plan announced last month, in which the city won’t replace half of the employees who resign or retire. As much as $200 million can be saved over five years by eliminating duplication. All savings will go into capital cost infrastructure, which will be established over a ten-year period instead of the current three years.
“Instead of PTI, it will be PMI to match Quebec’s plans,” said Coderre. “Coherence at all levels will make everything easier to manage.”
On the outreach side, Coderre plans to create a new department of economic development. He’s also heavily promoting Montreal’s ‘Smart city’ initiative, in which data from city programs are digitized and released publicly. Coderre believes that public access will help root out corruption and lead to more potential savings.
Streamlined operations and new investments will ensure that Coderre’s economic, social and sustainable development goals for his city can be reached.
He’s also launched his own full-scale public relations campaign.
In both his speeches in Montreal last week and in New York this week, Coderre pitched Montreal as an ideal location for North American companies wishing to build international reputations. He says that now is the time to make sure that businesses all over the world recognize Montreal’s importance as the second major city in Canada and its strategic role as a European city in a North America context.
His office released news first thing Monday morning that the New Jersey software company Orion Systems Integrators, Inc. will establish a research and development centre in Montreal.
That won’t be the last success if Coderre can help it. He plans to make similar pitches in Paris and Brussels in May and he’ll be heading to Asia after that.
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