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Is Agglom mess indifference or just plain arrogance?

If you read Don Wedge’s Civic Alert column last week, a biting criticism of the Agglomeration Council, then you surely must realize that, Quebec, we have a problem.

This disastrous, bureaucratic mishmash has gone from beyond ridiculous and sublime to dangerous and disheartening. The suburban mayors, at least those who are still showing up, are either being treated as second-class

citizens, or sometimes, like your senile Uncle Frank, who is humoured by everyone when he shows up for family reunions.

These reunions are the ultimate insult, not only to the suburban mayors, but to the residents who ‘dared’ to vote themselves out of the mega-city. Now, they are paying the price — literally — not only by funding god-knows-what in the City for Montreal, but also by being denied any due democratic process.

Some, like Hampstead mayor Bill Steinberg, have decided to boycott the Agglom meetings. Steinberg feels that a provincial party should run in the next election on the need to reform or abolish the council.

Well Mayor Steinberg, that party should be the Quebec Liberals, who, if they didn’t see this mess heading down the municipal highway, should have. Instead, it has become quite clear that Premier Jean Charest and his fellow Grits have decided not to fix what so obviously needs to be fixed.

As we approach the next provincial election, it has become quite evident that Charest has no plans to alter the Agglom. The reason? It is either indifference, or arrogance, or both. The Liberals don’t feel the need to touch the Agglomeration Council because they feel they are untouchable in the suburbs. Unfortunately, their arrogance is probably well-founded, as anglophone voters really don’t have a viable alternative to the Liberals.

What is the solution to this dilemma? Steinberg has it just about right. We need the equivalent of the Equality Party of the late ’80s — a one-issue party to battle against the obscene inequities of the Agglom. Unfortunately, the days of a Robert Libman-like figure to ride in and save the day are over.

A heartwarming idea in MoWest

The old joke about the Legion Rink

in Montreal West is that it is the only

hockey rink where fans go outside in the dead of winter to warm up.

Yes, the rink, even with its relatively new heating system, is cold. Damned cold. So the news was greeted warmly last week when it was announced that a group of MoWesters, led by Andy Michelin, are spearheading a project to build a new arena in the town.

The project will hopefully spark more hockey interest in the town, as well as being a source of pride for residents. A new arena won’t only warm the hearts of MoWesters, but their extremities as well.

Organisations: Agglomeration Council, Equality Party

Lieux géographiques: Montreal West, Quebec

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