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Proposed renaming of Outremont park in honour of former premier Jacques Parizeau stirs controversy

Denis Coderre speaks out on proposed Vimy Park name change
WATCH ABOVE: Denis Coderre says renaming Outremont's Vimy Park in honour of former Parti Québécois premier Jacques Parizeau is not a political issue. The proposed name change is being criticized as an affront to the memory of the soldiers who fought for Canada during the First World War.

MONTREAL – Anger is growing in Montreal after the borough of Outremont proposed to rename one of it’s parks in honour of former Quebec premier Jacques Parizeau.

The tree-lined park in the tony Outremont neighbourhood, is just a short walk away from Parizeau’s childhood home and even bears a plaque honouring his first wife, writer Alice Poznanska Parizeau.

A plaque honouring the memory of writer Alice Poznanksa Parizeau in Outremont’s Vimy Park on Thursday, June 16, 2016.
A plaque honouring the memory of writer Alice Poznanksa Parizeau in Outremont’s Vimy Park on Thursday, June 16, 2016. Billy Shields/Global News

It seems like a fitting tribute to one of Outremont’s more famous residents – but not everyone is on board.

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The current park is known as Vimy Park, named in honour of the soldiers who fought in the battle of  Vimy Ridge in the First World War. It is Canada’s most celebrated military victory but it came at a heavy cost, with more than 10,500 Canadian soldiers wounded or killed.

The former Parti Québécois premier was the driving force behind the 1995 sovereignty referendum; he retired from politics after the ‘Yes’ campaign narrowly failed.

READ MORE: Quebec releases English version of 1995 Parizeau speech prepped for Yes win

Former Liberal MP Bob Rae weighed in on twitter, saying that the timing of the announcement was particularly offensive.

A Dollard-des-Ormeaux man agrees and started an online petition, asking that the park retain its original name.

The name change was initiated by Outremont’s historical society. The City of Montreal’s executive committee approved the request at a meeting Wednesday night.

Municipal council will vote on the motion on June 20.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article said Outremont city council would vote on the motion June 20. It is in fact Montreal’s municipal council that is set to vote on the proposed name change.

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