“We want to transform Montreal, and not just downtown, into a DIX30 or a Carrefour Laval, which are economically vibrant. This is the horizon confessed, in an uninhibited tone, by a new candidate for mayor of Montreal, Jean-François Cloutier. His party, dubbed Equity Montreal, intends to reshape the metropolis, reports the newspaper Subway.

Former municipal councilor at the time of the Union of citizens of the little tonic Gerald Tremblay, Jean-François Cloutier had defected from this organization, just before it got stuck in the quagmire that we know, to join in 2017 the political formation of Denis Coderre. A supporter of demergers, he later presented himself as a valiant promoter of decentralization.

Basically, it matters little here to examine whether this individual rather than another has a chance of being elected mayor. Whether it is him or someone else, in Montreal as elsewhere, an urban landscape structured around shopping malls is irremediably emerging, according to a sense of social life restricted to the needs of a short-sighted economy.

It makes you wonder if the fate of municipalities is now played out in the hands of a few managers of shopping centers whose ideas are recycled by political actors while the better-off in society obtain in return the guarantee that their way of life consumerist will be spared. The bulk of society, in any case, finds itself willingly sacrificed somewhere in this process of brutalization.

During the time of Mayor Coderre, promoters launched the Royalmount project, a copy of this stunning DIX30 district, where the REM. In 2015, during the initial presentation of the Royalmount project, its promoters did not fail to give it an ecological anointing, like everything that today requires publicity. A project manager went so far as to say that the plastic plants that were planned to be installed there should be considered more ecological than the real ones. “These are plants that have a much smaller ecological footprint than natural plants,” he said. As proof, real plants require maintenance and care, while plastic lets everyone go about their precious business. A city made entirely of plastic, in the name of trade, isn’t it ultimately the guarantee of a much better world?

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As the November elections loom, a record number of Montrealers are leaving the island. More than 35,000 people left the metropolis in 2020. A record that can be explained, at least in part, by the pandemic. This does not prevent Montreal from continuing to grow very slightly in terms of its population. The city is however far from the momentum which, in the first part of the XXe century, led to its densification.

On the contrary, Montreal has continued, for more than two decades, to lose many families and their children, to the sole benefit of suburbs which have the particularity of behaving like baronies. Do you think that these people are going to swell the circumference of the island of Montreal for the promise of a better world offered by shopping centers?

While we are more worried about Montreal’s commercial desertion than the erosion of its social fabric, French continues to be quietly liquidated. In Montreal, 46% of all pre-university students now attend an English-language college. No matter how much we convince ourselves that English is more of a code than a language, a key that opens the doors to money at all costs, there is something collectively disturbing about seeing an entire society go under the carpet in profit from a plastic world where everything is for sale. So much so that French no longer even appears as the expression of a desire to live the universal from a particular experience, but as a stopgap supposed to be able to model the same life as in Cincinnati, in Pittsburgh. , Cleveland or London, Ontario. After all, this appears consistent with the idea of ​​transforming the city into a vast “ lifestyle center ».

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Those who stay in town these days play it as on a theater stage, willingly giving lessons to those who leave, well certain that their example of the privileged offers itself to the multitude as a prospect of future to follow.

I was reading the other day, in Press, the uninhibited presentation of the personal real estate project of a couple of local performing artists. After having spent three months with two backpacks traveling the world, explain the two sparrows, they realized, these blessed ones, that they needed so little. A former workers’ residence in a popular district seemed to them to be the perfect place to give weight to the feeling of their weightlessness. The article describes a clean, bright and expensive interior decor. It is meant to reflect the uniqueness of those who inhabit it, but it could, in truth, be found anywhere in the world.

It’s when you can afford to have few needs, no doubt, that you find yourself floating aboard such a real estate liner. To the point of feeling the need to brag about it, giving in the momentum the appearance of avant-garde captains capable of sanctifying all the most worn-out paper images of a false simple life.

Living in the city perhaps supposes that we first take the measure of ourselves other than by measuring it at the height of our navel, this great crucible of artificial paradises of consumption.


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