Notre Montréal is a CRITIQ (Canadian Rights in Quebec) initiative encouraging Mayor Denis Coderre and Montreal residents to adopt special status for the city. CRITIQ’s efforts have been instrumental in the widespread acceptance and push for a ‘special status’ for the city of Montreal. The purpose of this document is to define the objectives of special status for Montreal and provide examples from other jurisdictions.
Special Status vs. City state
Special Status and City State are terms that are sometimes used interchangeably yet differ in scope and application as reflect varying levels of city autonomy. Special Status refers to cities which, due to their size and economic influence, receive a greater level of autonomy vis-a-vis their regional governments.
A city-state is an independent or autonomous entity not administered as a part of another local government, whose territory consists of a city and possibly its surrounding territories.
There are arguably only 3 city states in the world:
- Vatican City
Special Status (or Special Administration Regions)
Cities that have a special status can enjoy a high degree of autonomy while remaining under the sovereign rule of another state. The primary characteristic of and purpose for having special status “is to recognize the uniqueness of the city and to customize the legislation to the individual cities responsibilities and needs. Provincial policies and programs that are designed for province-wide operations often do not fit the needs or operations of a major urban area.”
Other terms used for special status can be “Special Administration Regions”, “Special Economic Zone” or “Chartered Cities”. Examples of cities having special status with varying degrees of autonomy:
- New York City
- Hong Kong
- Abu Dhabi
Each special status city has the necessary levels of autonomy to address its specific needs. “It’s a devolution of the powers required to create an environment that supports the city’s economic and cultural goals.”
- Toronto, Ontario: More autonomy on taxes levies & revenue collection.
- New-York City, NY: Power to establish, construct and maintain bridges & tunnels and major infrastructure.
- Berlin, Germany: Receives a 15% of the national income & wage taxes.
- Eilat, Israel: Has powers to stimulate trade & tourism.
- Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Receives increased funds from the central government for the city’s goals.
Canadian cities that are arguing for special status today are Montreal, Quebec City and Calgary.
CRITIQ is a Quebec based organization dedicated to the protection of all fundamental civil rights and liberties available to Quebec residents by our nation’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and by the international conventions to which Canada is signatory. It seeks to answer a recent call to put a stop to the economic demise of Montreal.
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