The recent change in political leadership of the City of
Montreal, marking the end of the Drapeau regime, offers an
opportunity to look back on the evolution of Quebec's metropolitan
center during the long reign of Mayor Drapeau, which began at the
same time as that other major political event, Quebec's Quiet Revolution. Under Drapeau's direction Montreal underwent a transformation that, in certain ways, parallelled and reflected the changes
that swept the whole of QuÃ©bec society.
This issue begins with a special section on Montreal, organized by Editorial Board member Martin Lubin. In the opening
article, Henry Milner draws on his unique perspective as a
participant-observer to analyze the forces that led to the defeat of the
Drapeau regime through the political victory of the Montreal
Citizens' Movement (Rassemblement des Citoyens de MontrÃ©al).
Focusing on administrative rather than political organization,
Andrew Sancton looks at the evolution of the CommunautÃ©
urbaine de MontrÃ©al, a unit of metropolitan government that,
Sancton claims, after eighteen years of existence still remains obscure and incomprehensible to most citizens of Montreal.
If the workings of urban government remained hidden, however, even casual visitors to Montreal could not help but notice the
physical transformation of the city center during the Drapeau years.
Although Drapeau announced no comprehensive city "plan,"
Michel Barcelo's examination of the policy direction given to a
number of apparently unrelated projects discloses the outlines of
what was, in fact, a clear and powerful planâ€”so powerful that
Barcelo terms it an "authoritarian Quiet Revolution." Moving from
architectural to economic change, Marc Levine documents the
transformation of Montreal's economy in the wake of the political
Quiet Revolution and, especially, of the French language legislation
put in force by the government of RenÃ© LÃ©vesque. In Levine's view,
Montreal has, in recent years, been the site of an economic reconquest by Francophones.