Eastern REM: Tower of Babel

Cheerfulness and the fight against “cynicism” were announced during yesterday’s Legault-Plante meeting on the “REM de l’Est” project..

However, the Prime Minister and Mayor had just announced that this train would probably never exist.


Like the original REM – the western one announced in the Couillard era – this eastern REM was designed and built by CDPQ Infra, a branch of the Caisse specializing in the management of large infrastructure projects.

But since the CDPQ absolutely has to go back, they wanted the train to go through the city center. Whether it disfigures him or not.

Furthermore, the same imperatives had led to her poorly anchoring her train to the subway network.

The rivet of Montreal and Quebec City made it clear to the Caisse that it had to leave its seat.


There is something to share the relief of Valérie Plante. Tall structures often look great in architect drawings. But in reality they block the landscape, create terrible barriers, not to mention that they are quickly degraded in our climate. Downtown Montreal doesn’t deserve this. Luckily, the Quebec government watered down their wine. A few weeks ago we got the impression that he wanted to overtake the “steamroller” (permit me to resume my “pun” on the surname of the Minister for Metropolitan France) by ignoring the reluctance of the population and the main transport players in Montreal . Minister Chantal Rouleau was downright lyrical. She elevated the REM to the rank of a “social project,” arguing that “the whole world [avait] Eyes glued” to this project and let “incredible development opportunities” dangle. There was no choice but to let the CDPQ do it.


The opposition, which accuses François Legault of arrogance, has to admit that he was not stubborn and ended up destroying his minister’s “airy” argument structure.

Mayor Plante has found a right place in the process, she who felt “backed against the wall” a few weeks ago.

Yesterday she was almost ecstatic about it: “I dreamed of this!” The fact remains that by commissioning the ARTM-MTQ-MTL-STM quartet with the project, we increase the probability that this train will one day run in the metropolis reduced to almost zero.

Let’s remember that the Couillard government called on the CDPQ’s expertise precisely because we were fed up with the constant postponement of transport projects in big cities.

Where do we find the billions that the CDPQ wanted to invest? In addition, the possibilities of a deadlock between the agency, the STM, the ministry, the city (and its districts) are almost unlimited.

So it’s sort of a transport tower from Babel where Mr. Legault and Mr.me Plante commissioned this project. You may say that you are impatient with the realization of this Eastern train, but we are entitled to be skeptical.

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