The mission to Europe a success: six cities in seven days
Montréal, May 3, 2016 – The Honourable Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montréal and President of METROPOLIS, the World Association of Major Metropolises, painted a positive picture of his mission to Europe. The mission resulted in the creation of 215 quality jobs in Montréal, the mayor announced, and it also helped to strengthen and consolidate institutional, economic and political ties between Montréal and six European cities.
“I believe it’s essential to forge strong alliances with several of the world’s major cities and capitals. The future belongs to metropolises, and cities must form a united front in order to tackle issues related to climate change, sustainable development and the prevention of radicalization. It’s important for me to promote the concept of urban diplomacy. As I’ve often said, if you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together,” said Mr. Coderre.
“For Montréal International, this mission to Europe made it possible to strengthen ties with investors and explain the many advantages of choosing Greater Montréal as the gateway to North America,” said Mr. Stéphane Paquet, Vice-President, Investment Greater Montréal of Montréal International. “What’s more, the mayor’s presence helps to expedite agreements with new players and solidify relations with those already present on our territory.”
The mayor kicked off his European tour in the Swedish capital of Stockholm. At the invitation of the Eureka network, he served as a guest speaker during Eureka Innovation Week 2016. Made up of researchers and developers from more than 40 countries, including Canada, the Eureka network places innovation and international collaboration front and center, particularly when it comes to smart city initiatives. Before an audience of experts, directors of small or medium-sized enterprises, academics and local elected officials assembled by the National Research Council of Canada, Denis Coderre promoted the Montréal, Smart and Digital City strategy and reported on the advances achieved to date.
Mr. Coderre also took advantage of his stopover in Stockholm to meet the mayor of the Stockholm, Ms. Karin Wanngård. The two mayors – who first crossed paths at last December’s COP21 climate conference in Paris – seized the opportunity to further discuss issues of climate change and the new role cities and metropolises must play on the international stage, as well as issues linked to living together. Mr. Coderre and Ms. Wanngård pledged to continue their cooperation, with Mayor Coderre expressing his wish to stage a “Stockholm Week” in Montréal in order to highlight the many points in common between the two Nordic cities.
Mayor Coderre also paid a visit to the studios of Swedish telecom giant Ericsson, which employs 1,500 people in Montréal. In addition to promoting Montréal’s know-how in urban innovation, information and smart city technologies, Mr. Coderre reminded Ericsson executives that Montréal remains an attractive place to carry out research and development, thanks to its world renowned universities and skilled workforce.
London (United Kingdom)
After Stockholm, Mayor Coderre flew to London for a two-day visit. At a meeting with the editor-in-chief of the prestigious news magazine The Economist, Mr. Coderre vaunted Montréal’s vitality as a diversified and innovative international metropolis, and he went on present a speech at Ironmongers’ Hall before an audience of about 100 business people brought together by the Canada-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce.
During the evening, Mr.Coderre again promoted Montréal’s strengths at a dinner organized by the Canadian High Commission and attended by a number of influential personalities from the United Kingdom. The following morning, he explained Montréal’s transportation electrification strategy before an audience of experts gathered at the Québec Government Office in London.
Mr. Coderre also took advantage of his time in London, Europe’s financial centre, to meet potential investors identified by Montréal International.
“It’s my duty, I feel, to use these missions abroad to attract investments in our metropolis. My role is to meet business people in order to explain the advantages Montréal has to offer in terms of creativity, innovation, and research and development. The decision announced last week by the British company IOCS/Dealflo to set up shop in Montréal and create 115 jobs in the financial technologies sector proves that Montréal is an attractive social, cultural and economic ecosystem for foreign investors,” said Mr. Coderre.
The mayor also discussed issues concerning the prevention and integration of new immigrants with the president of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD). The ISD contributed to the creation of the American Department of State’s Strong Cities Network (SCN), which counts the mayor of Montréal among its founders. Mr. Coderre and Ms. Sasha Havlicek agreed to sign a cooperation agreement between ISD and Montréal’s Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence.
The mayor also met a senior official with the New Scotland Yard program for the prevention of extremist violence. The two men discussed their respective security and radicalization prevention strategies.
Later, in a meeting with Mr. Lord Tariq Ahmad, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State responsible for countering extremism at the U. K. Ministry of Interior, the mayor explained the Montréal model behind the creation of the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence, which, unlike the London model, does not come under the authority of the police department.
The mayor also had the opportunity to discuss public transit and urban mobility with Mr. Mike Brown, the Commissioner of Transport for London — the world’s most influential transport commissioner.
The mayor wrapped up his stay in London at the Palace of Westminster, where the House of Commons and the House of Lords sit. There, he met with British MP Andrew Percy, the U.K. Trade Envoy to Canada, as well as with a senior public servant, with whom he discussed the devolution of powers in the United Kingdom.
Upon arriving in the Irish capital, Mr. Coderre made his way to the head office of Keywords Studios – an international technical services supplier in the video game sector – for a meeting with its CEO, Mr. Andrew Day. At the conclusion of their meeting, Mr. Day announced his intention to step up his activities in Quebec’s largest city by initiating an expansion of the company’s Montréal-based studio. This will result in the creation of 100 additional jobs over the next three years. Keywords offers technical services to companies in the video game sector. The Montréal studio currently employs a workforce of 350 employees. To carry off its expansion project, Keywords Studios will be able to count on support from Montréal International, the firm dedicated to promoting the economic development of Greater Montréal.
“The decision by Keywords to reinvest in our metropolis is further proof of Montréal’s strength in the video game sector. What’s more, this announcement speaks to the essential role this sector plays in our economy, and it shows that Montréal’s the place to be for gaming,” said the mayor of Montréal.
Mr. Coderre – the first Montréal mayor to visit Dublin – also reiterated the fact that a natural alliance exists between the two cities by virtue of the Irish contribution to our city’s development. In order to seal this historic alliance, Mr. Coderre made his way to Mansion House in Dublin to meet with Lord Mayor Ms. Críona Nì Dhálaigh. The two mayors signed a friendship recognition and cooperation agreement aimed at identifying areas of cooperation related to culture, migration, and the smart city. This agreement paves the way for the pursuit of common objectives. Dublin has also confirmed its intention to join the International Observatory of Mayors on Living Together.
This historic union culminated in the presentation of a commemorative plaque by Mr. Jim Killin, president of the Saint-Patrick Society of Montréal. Mr. Killin accompanied the mayor on his visit to Dublin.
Mr. Coderre – who is of Irish descent through his maternal grandmother – took advantage of his first stay in Ireland to stop in Cavan and walk in the footsteps of his ancestors.
“I had the feeling I was going home. I’m the first member of my family, a proud descendent of John McCabe, to travel to Cavan. For me and for my family, this was a milestone moment, and I was extremely touched by the warmth and hospitality shown by the people of Cavan,” said the mayor of Montréal.
During his stay in Dublin, the mayor took the time to meet people from the Irish business community, first at a breakfast organized by the Canadian Embassy in Dublin, then at a lunch organized by the Irish Canadian Commerce Association. Also taking part in these meetings was Mr. Vivian Doyle-Kelley, President of the Montréal chapter of the Ireland-Canada Chamber of Commerce. The mayor went on to announce that he hopes to create a direct air connection between Montréal and Dublin.
Mr. Coderre used his mission to Europe to pay tribute to the people of Brussels and express the feelings of solidarity held by Montrealers in the wake of the deadly terrorist attacks on March 22, 2016. Upon arriving in Brussels, the mayor of Montréal made his way to the front of the stock exchange building alongside the mayor of Brussels, Mr. Yvan Mayeur, where he observed a moment of silence and laid flowers in tribute to the victims.
The two mayors discussed these tragic events as well as issues of vigilance, solidarity and inclusion.
Düsseldorf and Berlin (Germany)
In Düsseldorf for the second to last leg of his tour, Mayor Coderre announced a twinning agreement between the two cities, standing alongside his German counterpart, Mr. Thomas Geisel. Montréal and Düsseldorf have a great deal to share, in fact, in the sectors of green technology, life sciences and the smart city.
Mayor Geisel, for his part, affirmed the principles of living together, which Montréal promotes on the international stage. It’s worth recalling that Düsseldorf is a member city of the International Observatory of Mayors on Living Together, which was created in Montréal in June 2015.
Finally, Mr. Coderre travelled to Berlin for the final leg of his European mission. There, the mayor of Montréal was received by the Central Council of Jews in Germany for a discussion on anti-Semitism and vigilance. At the invitation of the mayor of Montréal, the director of the Council agreed to take part in the table on anti-Semitism, an initiative put forward by Mayor Coderre following the Paris attacks in January 2015, and the Living Together Summit, an international meeting of mayors first held in Montréal in June 2015.
The two men then visited the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, where the mayor observed a moment of silence after laying flowers in memory of the victims of the Shoah.
Before his departure to Montréal, Mr. Coderre held a meeting with his counterpart, Michael Müller, the Governing Mayor of Berlin. Mr. Müller is also among the co-presidents of METROPOLIS. Mr. Coderre shared his vision of a vigorous urban diplomacy meant to forge alliances between cities in order to deal with the myriad issues they face. The concept was well received by the mayor of Berlin. Messrs. Coderre and Müller agreed to continue their close collaboration, particularly on issues of inclusion, living together and trade relations.
“As a metropolis, Montréal has a role to play on the international stage, and we fully assume that role. If we want to achieve progress in our quest to become a better city and offer our citizens a better quality of life, then we need to be active in international networks and to make our own contribution, for the benefit of our citizens,” concluded Mr. Coderre.