The saga of REM surface towards downtown and the east of the island of Montreal reminds me of the rantings of Jean Drapeau, mayor of Montreal, who for some time seriously considered giving his city a monorail rather than a underground metro. It had taken common sense and the relentlessness of his right-hand man, Lucien Saulnier, to prevent him from continuing this whim. It was Saulnier who convinced him to go visit the Paris metro to drive the nail into the coffin of this aerial delirium.

Politicians often prefer visible projects rather than discrete ones. The various municipal administrations have neglected for decades the maintenance and repairs of the pipes that carry water in the basement of the island of Montreal, but supported the financing of spectacular projects (Expo 67, Olympic Games, etc. .) whose political fallout is easier to gather. Cutting a symbolic ribbon to inaugurate a sewer system is not very profitable. We are paying the price today by slaloming between the thousands of orange cones that scarred our streets.

Once again, with the REM project towards the city center and the east of the island, the choice seems to be to invest in short-term political profitability rather than to patiently and seriously develop the underground network of the metro. Which provincial “Lucien Saulnier” will have the courage to invite the Premier of Quebec to come and visit Paris to understand how this capital continues to extend its public transport system by extending its metro? And don’t come and tell me that Montreal’s basement is too fragile or cluttered to dig tunnels […]. I have traveled by metro in cities like Istanbul, Budapest, New York, London, Boston, Paris, Rome and Mexico whose builders have had to dig deeper in order to bypass obstacles or not destroy historic remains. […] to offer their citizens a fast, safe and efficient means of transport.

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Entrusting the responsibility of developing and financing the REM to the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is a crude subterfuge that will allow unelected people to disfigure the city center, to further dehumanize the eastern neighborhoods, allowing the the same blow to the political leaders of the province not to openly present a deficit budget, but to hope to reap in the short term the political fallout so dear to those who imagine that it is necessary to know how to “get laid” to be seen and heard.

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