Montreal Casino Initiative Canceled

Published March 19, 2006 by OCR Editor

Montreal Casino Initiative Canceled

Following a ten month public campaign against the Montreal Casino initiative, it was canceled. The $1.2 billion project's aim was to build an enormous complex at the Sud-Ouest borough in Montreal.

Besides the casino itself there were other entertainment facilities to be built around it. The complex would have a performance center, a convention hall, a shopping mall and even a spa inside the complex. It could produce 6,000 new job opportunities for the people in the area.

Although the neighborhood targeted for the initiative has the highest poverty rates in Canada, the opposing voice against the project came from within the neighborhood itself. The Montreal Casino initiative was first made public on June 23. Patricia Murphy, head of St. Columbia House, A community organization in the neighborhood was the leader of the public campaign against it. Murphy and people like her feared of the negative influence it would have. The public was concerned with issues such as crime, sex work, loan sharking and similar aspects that are often associated with such operations. The $1.2 billion investment could be to a welcome contribution to the neighborhood, but Murphy and the people against the initiative would have liked to see the money invested in revitalization.

The Quebec and Montreal governments were, at first, supportive of the initiative. Nevertheless, it seems that Loto-Quebec, one of the partners responsible for the imitative, did not take into account the social affects a complex could have in the middle of Canada's poorer neighborhoods. With growing public pressure and even government comities signing off against the project there was no other solution and Loto-Quebec has dropped out. The initiative was canceled. The other parties of the initiative has yet to release a statement regarding a new position for the casino, but the people running the campaign against it say that it is only a matter of time before the battle will start again.

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