Yves Ryan

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Yves Ryan
Mayor of Montreal North
In office
Succeeded by final mayor
Personal details
Born February 28, 1928
Died February 2, 2014

Yves Ryan (28 February 1928 – 2 February 2014) was a Canadian politician in the province of Quebec. He served as the mayor of Montreal North from 1963 until 2001, when the suburban city was amalgamated into the new city of Montreal.[1]

Family and early career[edit]

Ryan was the son of Blandine (née Dorion) and Henri-Albert Ryan. He was the youngest brother of Claude Ryan, a prominent politician and journalist in Quebec.[2] Like his brother, he was a newspaper editor before entering political life.[3] He edited Le Montréal-Nord from 1952 to 1956 and later co-founded Le Guide de Montréal-Nord.[4]


Ryan was personally involved in many aspects of municipal government and was acknowledged, even by his opponents, as a very popular figure in his city.[5] He was often re-elected without opposition or by large majorities, and he had little difficulty controlling city council through his Renouveau municipale party.[6] In 2005, a journalist in the Montreal Gazette wrote that Ryan was usually able to "direct city business by doing little more than forcefully pointing his cigar butt."[7]

Ryan was also known for his tight budgetary spending; in December 1985, he said that Montreal North had the lowest per-capita spending of all Quebec cities of a comparable size.[8] Montreal North did not introduce a curbside recycling program in the 1990s, largely because Ryan did not want to introduce the requisite tax increase.[9]

In 1999, anti-poverty groups accused Ryan of neglecting low-income housing; he disputed the charge, saying that his administration participated in three provincial programs and had created significantly more units than his opponents suggested.[10] Some critics have charged that Ryan was unwilling to deal with long-term poverty issues in the Montreal North and was ultimately responsible for economic decline in the region.[11]

When Ryan first became mayor of Montreal North, he promised that his community would receive a Metro transit line. He continued to promote the line for most of his time in office but was opposed by other municipal politicians, who argued that it made little sense in a broader urban framework.[12]

Regional councillor[edit]

In addition to serving as mayor of Montreal North, Ryan was for many years a member of the regional Montreal Urban Community (MUC). In 1972, he was the main proponent of an accord that brought Montreal Island's twenty-five police forces into a single organization.[13] He later served as president of the MUC's security council, which oversaw the unified force.[14] He announced in 1979 that Montreal would resume issuing English-French bilingual driving tickets, following a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that required bilingual tickets in Manitoba. (Quebec's Charter of the French Language, introduced two years earlier, had mandated that tickets be issued in French only).[15]

Ryan was a member of the Montreal Urban Community Transportation Commission (MUCTC) in the mid-1980s, when the commission consisted of a largely autonomous chairman and two commissioners. In 1985, he supported reforms that put the commission under the control of six elected officials and two citizens.[16] He himself was named as the first chairman of the restructured board (which was renamed the Montreal Urban Community Transit Corporation) in December 1985.[17] He stood down in 1986 and was replaced by Robert Perreault.[18]

Ryan was appointed to a second term as MUCTC chair in 1994, after Perreault was elected to the National Assembly of Quebec.[19] He opposed funding cuts introduced by Montreal mayor Pierre Bourque in 1997, on the grounds that they would jeopardize the future of public transit in the region.[20] During the 1998 municipal election, he complained that candidates in Montreal were not taking transit issues seriously.[21]

Ryan was replaced as MUCTC chair after the 1998 election.[22] In 2001, he complained that transit had suffered cutbacks for too many years, leading to longer wait periods and more crowded buses.[23]


Ryan was a vocal opponent of the Quebec government's plan to merge all of Montreal's municipalities into a single city, and in late 2000 he played a prominent role in a large street protest in opposition to the plan.[24] The protest was unsuccessful, however, and the amalgamation bill was passed into law on December 20, 2000.[25] Ryan chose to retire in 2001 rather than run for a seat on the new city council.[26]

In 2004, Ryan was appointed by the new provincial government of Jean Charest to chair a committee overseeing the demerger of Longueuil.[27]

Federal politics[edit]

Ryan ran for the Canadian House of Commons in the 1968 federal election as a candidate of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. Considered one of the party's most prominent Quebec candidates, he was defeated by Liberal Jacques Trudel.[28]

Electoral results[edit]

Canadian federal election, 1968: Bourassa
Party Candidate Votes %
Liberal Jacques Trudel 19,778 55.1
Progressive Conservative Yves Ryan 10,939 30.5
New Democratic Gérard Marotte 3,443 9.6
Ralliement créditiste Gérard Ledoux 1,401 3.9
Unknown Rolland Denommée 339 0.9
Total valid votes 35,900 100.0
Municipal (incomplete)
1998 Montreal North mayoral election results
1994 Montreal North mayoral election results
1990 Montreal North mayoral election results
1986 Montreal North mayoral election results
1982 Montreal North mayoral election results
1974 Montreal North mayoral election results


  1. ^ Yves Ryan, longtime mayor of Montreal North, dies at 85. CTV News, February 2, 2014.
  2. ^ Alexander Norris, "Links with ethnics crucial for new police chief: paper," Montreal Gazette, 2 October 1993, A4.
  3. ^ Irwin Block, "On the right track: Ryan," Montreal Gazette, 10 February 2000, A8.
  4. ^ Gérard Therrien, "Le maire tourne la page" Archived June 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.‹The template Wayback is being considered for merging.› , La Nouvelle Edition, December 2001, accessed 25 May 2011.
  5. ^ Debbie Parkes, "Montreal North, St. Leonard show different election styles," Montreal Gazette, 20 October 1986, A4; Irwin Block, "Spite could cost Bourque: Many in Montreal North - the largest island suburb, with a population of 82,355 - are angry with the Montreal mayor over forced amalgamation," Montreal Gazette, 3 October 2001, A6.
  6. ^ Mike King, "Battling 272 years of experience," Montreal Gazette, 21 October 1994, A4; Mike King, "Ryan wins again," Montreal Gazette, 7 November 1994, A5.
  7. ^ James Mennie, "Potential for chaos looming large when ballots cast Nov. 6," Montreal Gazette, 15 October 2005, A7.
  8. ^ Debbie Parkes, "Ryan says budget is most frugal in the province," Montreal Gazette, 19 December 1985, X15.
  9. ^ Michelle Lalonde, "Taxpayers bear heavy burden: Environmentalists urge less wasteful approach," Montreal Gazette, 7 December 2002, A3.
  10. ^ Allison Lampert, "More subsidized housing needed," Montreal Gazette, 2 February 1999, A6.
  11. ^ Katia Gagnon, "L'héritage d'Yves Ryan", La Presse, 23 January 2009, accessed 25 May 2011.
  12. ^ David Wimhurst, "It took 22 years, but Mayor Ryan is about to keep promise on Metro," Montreal Gazette, 16 January 1985, X2; "Montrealers get new transit czar," Montreal Gazette, 1 December 1994, B2.
  13. ^ "Today in History," Montreal Gazette, 24 February 1996, A3.
  14. ^ "Only police director has the right to run force, Montreal judge rules," Globe and Mail, 7 January 1998, p. 11.
  15. ^ "Bilingual tickets in Montreal," Globe and Mail, 21 December 1979, p. 9.
  16. ^ "MUC approves transit changes," Montreal Gazette, 18 April 1985, A3.
  17. ^ Ingrid Peritz, "Montreal North mayor seen as first transit chief," Montreal Gazette, 17 December 1985, A3.
  18. ^ Lewis Harris, "City, suburbs split power on new MUC council," Montreal Gazette, 27 November 1986, A3.
  19. ^ Alexander Norris, "Yves Ryan set to be next transit boss," Montreal Gazette, 27 November 1994, A3.
  20. ^ Aaron Derfel, "MUC funds cops, cuts transit," Montreal Gazette, 12 November 1996, A1.
  21. ^ Aaron Derfel, "Transit crisis ignored: Municipal campaigners have little to say as service deteriorates," Montreal Gazette, 1 October 1998, A3.
  22. ^ Linda Gyulai, "Transit faces $30-million cut: Yves Ryan voted out as chairman of MUC agency," Montreal Gazette, 27 November 1998, A3.
  23. ^ Linda Gyulai, "MUCTC service slipping Buses packed: letter," Montreal Gazette, 22 February 2001, A6.
  24. ^ Michael Mainville and Monique Beaudin, with Charlie Fidelm and Darren Becker, "Huge No to megacities: Premier must heed our call, protesters say," Montreal Gazette, 11 December 2000, A1.
  25. ^ "Mayors fume as Bill 170 becomes law," Montreal Gazette, 21 December 2000, A6.
  26. ^ Darren Becker, "Changing of the old guard: Many veteran municipal politicians quitting rather than switching," Montreal Gazette, 29 August 2001, A4.
  27. ^ Linda Gyulai, "Tremblay reassesses his team," Montreal Gazette, 22 June 2004, A1.
  28. ^ "Strong candidates in Quebec offer hope of real decision" [editorial], Globe and Mail, 28 May 1968, p. 3.