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Worries for Montreal

THE city of Montreal faces serious problems at the Canadian Grand Prix if unions go ahead with a threat to disrupt the city's public transportation system. A large percentage of the 115,000 people who attend the event travel to the Ile de Notre Dame using the Montreal subway system with around 20,000 an hour arriving on race day. Without the subway being in operation there will be serious problems because there are no boats or trains and access for cars is highly limited because the island can only be reached by two bridges which will quickly become clogged up if too many cars try to use them. The track also has insufficient parking to deal with a large number of cars.

The negotiations over pension contributions broke down a month ago and the unions want a solution and hope that by taking action they will force the city's transit corporation to give way to their demands. The unions say that this is the first chance they have had to make an impression on the corporation without upsetting Montreal's commuters.

It is possible, however, that the strike action will be declared illegal by the state of Quebec's Essential Services Council on the grounds of safety as in the event of an emergency the island could not be properly evacuated and traffic jams would block the passage of emergency vehicles.

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