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Montreal's Revival Has Begun, Says BMO's L. Jacques Menard

MONTREAL, QUEBEC -- (Marketwired) -- 03/31/14 -- L. Jacques Menard, President of BMO Financial Group, Quebec, today said that Montreal's revival is under way in a speech to the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.

Mr. Menard pointed to recent major commercial real estate investments as well as the change in attitude and the involvement of stakeholders in the fall 2013 summit, which aims to be a pivotal opportunity for mobilizing support and for making decisions about the metropolis under the theme "I see Montreal".

Mr. Menard stressed the importance of establishing priorities for Montreal and investing in these priorities. He noted that this approach has been used by the seven metropolises comparable to Montreal that succeeded in turning themselves around and were examined in depth in the BMO-BCG report on revitalizing Montreal released in February.

In his address, Mr. Menard touched upon the ten proposals contained in the report:

Proposal 1:  Set an economic ambition: first to rejoin the pack and then to
             become one of the best.

Proposal 2:  Mobilize the business, academic and social community in
             partnership with Montreal's mayor and the MMC.

Proposal 3:  Repair the city.

Proposal 4:  Project ourselves into the future.

Proposal 5:  Retain, attract and welcome talent from everywhere.

Proposal 6:  Favour the emergence of new international leaders.

Proposal 7:  Give Montreal the powers of a metropolis.

Proposal 8:  Give the metropolis the necessary fiscal resources.

Proposal 9:  Promote a unique identity.

Proposal 10: Rigorously measure the progress made.

"Revitalizing a city can happen only when the whole community is involved," said Mr. Menard. "But the starting signal has to be given by the business community. It is our metropolis. We are the creators of jobs and wealth. And if we apply ourselves to the task, we won't be able to recognize Montreal a decade from now."

At the same time, Mr. Menard emphasized that uncertainty has a dampening effect on investment. "Is a company whose market is the United States or Mexico going to invest $100 million in Montreal if it's not sure Quebec will be part of NAFTA in three years?" he asked.

However, Mr. Menard also said he was happy to learn that Quebec's next government would want to take part in Montreal's revival by considering some sort of formal recognition of Montreal's status so that it can compete on a level playing field with North America's other metropolises. In particular, he applauded the alliance between Montreal mayor Denis Coderre and Quebec City mayor Regis Labeaume, stating that the desired Metropolis-Capital pact would give a new boost to Quebec's two largest cities.

Lastly, Mr. Menard shared the results of a Leger poll on how Montreal is perceived in Quebec:

--  71 per cent of Quebecers from all regions combined believe that the
    better Montreal's economy does, the better Quebec's economy will do
--  69 per cent of respondents think that reviving Montreal should be a
--  72 per cent believe that Montreal's diversity is a good thing for Quebec

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services organization based in North America. The bank offers a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers. BMO Financial Group had total assets of $593 billion and more than 45,500 employees at January 31, 2014.

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