2000–06 municipal reorganization in Quebec

Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec 2004 Quebec municipal referendums Municipal history of Quebec

The 2000–2006 municipal reorganization in Quebec[1] resulted in large-scale amalgamation (merging) of smaller municipalities in Quebec into larger cities. It was undertaken by one administration, and modified and partially undone by its successor.

The first phase involved many amalgamations from late 2000 until 2003, undertaken by the Parti Québécois government of Québec, headed by Premier Lucien Bouchard and his successor Bernard Landry. The most significant amalgamations, involving the largest cities in Quebec, mostly occurred on January 1, 2002. Some of the mergers were unpopular, and this became an issue in the April 14, 2003 Quebec election, in which the victorious Quebec Liberal Party led by Jean Charest campaigned on a promise to allow residents the right to choose to de-merge and reconstitute their former municipalities.

The new administration held referendums in various municipalities in 2004 to fulfill its campaign promise; however, a number of conditions were imposed, including a minimum voter participation threshold, which meant that not all merged municipalities held referendums and even fewer actually de-merged. The de-mergers that succeeded became effective on January 1, 2006. However, a new type of municipal structure, an urban agglomeration was created, which continued to tie the newly independent de-merged municipalities to their former amalgamation partners for the provision of certain municipal services.

The 2000–2003 municipal mergers were imposed on municipalities by the Québec government. In Canada, municipal governments are creatures of the provincial governments. However, a number of voluntary amalgamations (arranged by municipalities themselves) had taken place in the 1990s (see Municipal history of Quebec); these earlier amalgamations were not subject to de-merger referendums. Municipal amalgamations had been encouraged by the Quebec government on the grounds they would result in greater efficiencies and cost savings; critics disputed this. The government also cited the precedent of the 1998 amalgamation of Toronto and the 2001 amalgamation of Ottawa.

Merged cities

The following entities were created from these amalgamations:

Cities over 40,000 or mergers of more than five cities

Other mergers

Demerger referenda

After the 2003 election, the new Québec Liberal Party government led by Jean Charest adopted Bill 9, which created a formal process by which old municipalities could be reconstituted (in legal terms). Contrary to what was promised by Charest (full de-amalgamation), Bill 9 only restored specific powers to the demerged cities (e.g., animal control, garbage pickup, local street maintenance, some cultural facilities). The "bigger" expenses (e.g., police, fire, main streets, expansion programs) and the majority of the taxes remained in the hands of urban agglomerations, which are controlled by the central merged city because their larger populations give them greater voting weight. In Montreal, the de-amalgamated cities hold only 13% of the votes on the agglomeration council.

This consulting process about Bill 9 required 10% of voters residing within an amalgamated municipality to sign a petition to demand the holding of a referendum on de-amalgamation. To succeed, a referendum had to fulfill two conditions:

Referendums were held on June 20, 2004 in 89 of the former municipalities of Québec. The 'Yes' vote recorded majorities in several municipalities, but did not reach the required threshold of 35% of registered voters. A total of 32 former municipalities met the conditions required to de-amalgamate and were re-established on January 1, 2006.

The demerging municipalities were:

Additionally, Estérel voted to demerge from Sainte-Marguerite-Estérel, effectively reversing the merger between Estérel and Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson. After the demerger came into effect, the city changed its name back to Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson.[2]

See also

External links


  1. ^ Quebec municipal referendums
  2. ^ "Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson (Ville)" (in French). Commission de toponymie du Québec. Archived from the original on 2009-04-11. Retrieved 2009-03-18.