Written by Bhromor Rahman
Where the question of sovereignty and nationalism is concerned in Quebec, the discourse is mostly centered around the social, political and cultural dimensions. However, the question that is explored in this podcast is ”Why did Toronto supplant Montreal as the Canadian economic hub in the 70s and 80s?”
To that effect, Bai Chao Chen and Hugo St-Pierre explain how the geography, the the political dynamics and linguistic barriers facilitated the eventual exodus of businesses from Montreal to Toronto. The two guests also explain the context that led to the sovereignty debate and what Quebec should do in the present day to move forward.
You can read the scholarly articles below if you want to better understand the subject at hand!
POLÈSE, Mario « La thèse du déclin économique de Montréal, revue et corrigée ». L’Actualité économique 66, no 2 (1990) : 133–146. https://doi-org.ezproxy.marianopolis.edu/10.7202/601525ar
This article explores some reasons as to why Montreal declined and became the second urban center in Canada while Toronto became first. The article emphasizes that it requires a major event to dislodge a city from its top spot by using New-York’s status in the United-States as an example. The premise of this thesis states that a metropolitan hub distinguishes itself by superior services and industries. However, the author then cited Montreal’s already declining manufacturing sector and financial sector starting earlier in the 1950s. That alone would not have doomed the city, but fears of the mostly anglophone business class in Montreal caused by language laws and independence talk eventually led headquarters moving to Toronto, dramatically transforming both cities. The author, Mario Polèse, is the Senior Canada Research Chair in Urban and Regional Studies and is a professor at the ‘‘Institut national de la recherche scientifique’’ in Montreal.
SOMERS, Kim, and François Vaillancourt. “Some Economic Dimensions of the Sovereignty Debate in Quebec: Debt, GDP, and Migration.” Oxford Review of Economic Policy 30, no. 2 (2014): 237-56. Accessed February 4, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43664605.
This paper explains how the sovereignty movement in Quebec impacted its economy. Notably, how it led to a decline in GDP, increased the public debt and disrupted the labor force in the 70s. The rise of the independence movement may have prompted many corporations and head offices to move from Montreal to Toronto. This fear was caused by the grim economic prospects of a Quebec independent of Canada, but also the uncertainty of how much of the debt Quebec would be responsible for or even what currency the new country would use. Finally, anglophones in Quebec might have migrated to Ontario causing a significant labor force migration which harmed the prior’s development and bolstered the latter’s not to mention the potential for a post-independence exodus. Kim Somers is an economic sciences Masters at Université de Montréal and François Vaillancourt is a professor emeritus at the department of economic science in the faculty of arts and science from the same university.
LEHRER, Ute, and Thorben Wieditz. “Condominium Development and Gentrification: The Relationship Between Policies, Building Activities and Socio-economic Development in Toronto.” Canadian Journal of Urban Research 18, no. 1 (2009): 140-61. Accessed February 4, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/26193248.
This article details the development of Toronto as it adapts to an influx of newcomers, new business and a new status in Canada. The authors describe the city’s real-estate evolution as it attempts to house scores of new immigrants, some who have moved from Montreal, increasing the concerns of gentrification. The new businesses starting as a result also contribute to this influx. Finally, the increasingly multicultural city struggles with its development as new policy is required to integrate new arrivals into the workforce. Ute Lehrer and Thorben Wieditz are both faculty members of the York University Faculty of Environmental Studies with a specialization on Urban studies.