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The arrival of Jean Charest at the head of the Québec governement in April 2003 launched the debate on municipal mergers. Anxious to respect an electoral promise of the Liberal Party of Québec, the new minister for municipal affairs, Jean-Marc Fournier, introduced  bill 9  on the consultation of citizens with respect to the territorial reorganization of certain municipalities.

From May 16 to May 20, 2004, the city of Montréal, on behalf of the Québec government, held registers within each of the 28 former municipalities to collect the signatures of residents in favor of a referendum on keeping Montréal, as is, or on reconstituting cities with their territories, as they existed on December 31, 2001. At least 10% of the people entered on the list of electors had to sign the register before a referendum could be held.

The residents of 22 former cities chose to hold a referendum. Following the referendums held on June 20, 2004, 15 former municipalities were reconstitued. Montréal now has a population of 1 580 000.


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