Chapter 8 IntroductionHochelaga 1500-1642Ville-Marie 1642-1665French Empire 1699-1763Small French Town 1665-1760Conquered City 1760-1800British Commercial Takeover 1800-1850Industrial City 1850-1896Canada's Metropolis 1896-1914North-American City 1914-1929Depression and War 1930-1945Modern City 1945-1960Québec's Metropolis 1960-1992ConclusionQuizEducational Resources

An explosion of

A society in transformation

Urban living

A dynamic political climate

Chapter 8 / CANADA’S METROPOLIS / A dynamic political climate  Previous pageNext page
A dynamic political climate  

In the political arena, the struggle between Populists and Reformists continued and intensified. Reformists attracted French-speaking businessmen to their ranks. In 1909, they obtained a public inquiry into the City’s management. This investigation shed light on the reigning climate of corruption and patronage, rendering citizens more sympathetic to Reformist arguments.

Reformists called for a reduction in the number of councillors and the transfer of certain powers from the Council to a Board of Commissioners elected by the entire population. Voters approved this major reform in a referendum. In 1910, almost all Reformist candidates were elected, ushering in the “rule of honest folks”, an era that would last until 1914. The new administration improved the city’s internal management and reorganized public service, but had difficulty meeting the population’s expectations for road infrastructure and public facilities. Traditional politicians saw their popularity rise again by 1914.

Montréal society had become more diverse, complex and difficult to govern. Inequalities persisted, but actions by reform groups began to bear fruit, giving rise to considerable improvements in living conditions. Montréal now had all the trappings of a lively and dynamic urban centre, where French and British traditions met and mingled with American influence and contributions offered by new immigrants.

Hydroelectric plant
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