Friday, March 13, 2009

New Anglo Boss is Caisse de Dépôt's Ultimate Humiliation


It took a 40 billion dollar disaster to finally convince the government that they needed to hire the best candidate, and not necessarily the best Francophone candidate, to run the CDPQ.
In the past it has been the policy of both the PQ and Liberal governments to hire only Francophones for top jobs at state related enterprises (Hydro Quebec, SAQ etc..)

There'll be much hand-wringing and muttering over the next few days over the decision to hire Michael Sabia, to run the province's pension fund.

It didn't take long for the "Anglo" issue to come up. At the press conference announcing Mr. Sabia's appointment, a reporter couldn't be more blunt. Here's the exchange and a translation below;


REPORTER: The question is directed to Mr. Sabia, but I'd like Mr. Tessier to respond as well. Right now, There are voices being raised, who say that it's a little sad that despite your choice of Montreal as your home for the last sixteen years, that we entrust the Caisse de Dépôt et placement to an Ontarian. How would you respond?
Mr. Sabia looks a bit surprised at the question and looked at Mr. Tessier, inviting him to make the response. Mr Tessier responds;

TESSIER: I'll start my response by asking; What is the length of time required to live in Montreal to become a Quebecker? If you have a rule..ugh.....

Of course, the reporter is basing his question on a faulty premise, one that he invents as the basis of his question. It is the assumption that you can't be a Quebecker unless you are born in Quebec, a cretinous idea on any level.
He was called out on it by Mr. Tessier, who didn't allow the statement to slide.

The truth is that reporter used the word 'Ontarian' as code for 'Anglophone.' Somehow, questioning Mr. Sabia's roots and defining him as an Ontarian (wrongly) doesn't sound too racist.

Had the circumstances of Mr. Sabia's birth be different, do you think the reporter would have dared to ask the same question?;
Reporter: ...it's a little sad that despite your choice of Montreal as your home for the last sixteen years, that we entrust the Caisse de Dépôt et placement..........to a Haitin.
......to a Jew
......to an Italian
......to an Arab
I don't think so, even in Quebec, that would cross the line. However anglo bashing is always acceptable in Quebec, whether the term Anglophone, Ontarian or Canadian is used.

Now another complainer who used code instead of the word "Anglophone' was ex-Premier Bernard Landry, who when asked by the RDI network to comment on the appointment, said that;.
"The Caisse needs a leader who has lived his entire life in the socio-economic reality of Quebec"
Or in other words .... NOT AN ANGLOPHONE!

The first person to publicly complain about the Anglo factor was Pierre Duhamel, a reporter for "L'Actualite" magazine. In his blog, he says language isn't the issue, but on TV complains that the choice of Mr. Sabia is a wrong not only because Mr. Sabia ran his old company (BCE) poorly, but because he filled the top executive ranks exclusively with anglophones.

The Premier knew that appointment of Mr. Sabia's would be controversial, that's why he used the old political trick of announcing it on a Friday afternoon.

It won't be very long before the nationalist yahoos weigh with their particular take on Mr. Sabia. It's likely that they will attack the appointment, but it will be interesting to see, on what basis.
I shall report on their reactions next week.

6 comments:

  1. The myth of the anglophone harassed by francos is still strong. Poor and miserable yourself.
    The doubt on the nomination of Sabia is not about his language but:
    1 - His record at the head of BCE
    2 - His lack of experience in the financial institution.
    3 - and his culture background showing, (I precise the word showing, it is maybe true or maybe not), showing, until now, no connection and no comprehension of Quebec.
    It is intolerance to question somebody who will have to manage this money when we have so many doubts over his credentials.
    I think it would be time to many anglos to question the fact they use the ethnic argument to undermine important issue.

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  3. Granted some idiots might wring their hands about the fact that the guy comes from an anglophone background.

    This being said, he's not the right man for this job, period.

    And I agree with french reader that hiring someone to manage Quebec money should at least be a bit knowledgeable about the province he's going to work for.

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  4. If the reporter felt this was a bad choice, why would he focus on Mr. Sabia's Ontario roots while at the same time acknowledging that Sabia has spent several years in Montréal.

    This may be hard for the Québecois to accept, but Québec is still in Canada. Should a Québecois gets a job in Alberta, and it happens folks, no one would ever EVER suggest that they were inappropriate for the job because they were from Québec.

    And do you know why?

    Because that would be considered racist. They may think it, but they would never actually say it aloud. It is unacceptable.

    One need not have been born into a particular region to gain an understanding of the reality of said region. I'm from Alberta but made a home in Montréal. It saddens me that no matter how good my french, or how long I live in Québec, I will not be accepted due to circumstances I can do nothing to change.

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  5. yes, racism in it's purest form, and also harassment of the Anglo minority in QC.
    I find it disgusting Landry states this in public, I have written about it here: http://www.sqlservercentral.com/blogs/hugo/archive/2009/03/15/weeding-out-racism-in-the-workplace-a-letter-to-government-institutions-in-quebec.aspx

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  6. @ french reader

    if this was the case, shouldn't the question be something along the lines of:

    "REPORTER: The question is directed to Mr. Sabia, but I'd like Mr. Tessier to respond as well. Right now, There are voices being raised, who say that it's a little sad that despite your choice of Montreal as your home for the last sixteen years, that we entrust the Caisse de Dépôt et placement to a professional with less than satisfactory record as the head of BCE and with lack of experience in a financial institution?"

    I have not added the third point, as I fail to make the connection between cultural background and pension management.

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