Of course the story rockets to the top of the human interest section in all the English media and within days, the mortified owners of the mall, usually based in Toronto, reverse the gaff committed by a mid-level inexperienced mall manager.
This year was no exception, with the offending mall located smack dab in the middle of Angloville, in the Montreal suburb of Dorval, where veterans were told by the new mall manager of the Dorval Gardens Shopping Center that their poppy drive would be restricted to a couple of days.
The decision by the mall manager and the related fallout didn't likely sit well with David Jubb, the Toronto-based President and CEO of Edgecombe Realty, owner of the mall, as well as many properties across Canada, including Montreal's prestigious Ogilvy Department store development. I've met him on several occasions and I can assure readers that such shenanigans wouldn't sit well with him. He's a decisive, no nonsense type of executive who reacted immediately by reversing the decision quite publicly, as well as cutting a cheque for $10,000 for the Legion.
Well done! All's well that ends well.
The incident which repeats itself all too often in Quebec is not really a case of disrespect, but rather ignorance. The contribution of our military and the importance of Remembrance Day is roundly ignored in French schools, controlled largely by left-leaning unionized nationalists, who have little use for Canada's military which they consider a 'foreign military force.'
Although Quebec federalists outnumber the separatists, it's this latter group that dominate the media and the schools. Students are so badly brainwashed by separatists in schools, that it's a testament to the enduring qualities of Canada that there remains a stubborn federalist majority in Quebec.
And so this type of incident is nothing new and nothing out of the ordinary when it happens in Quebec. But when it happens somewhere in the rest of Canada, it's very big news.
A decade ago, a similar decision by a mall manger in the Champlain Mall in Dieppe, New Brunswick (a suburb of Moncton) led to a national outrage.
When the local media got hold of the story, the mall manager, an arrogant sort, stood firm on her decision, making matters much worse by antagonizing the press. It took a couple days for the controversy to filter back to the Toronto head office and by then the story had gone viral.
Suffice to say that the decision was reversed rather quickly with the mall manager sent packing.
Its the way most of these stories usually end.
I met the Toronto-based executive, an old business acquaintance, who was in charge of that mall, on a flight out to Moncton, where I kidded him about the incident. I asked him where he found the one idiot in New Brunswick who would disgrace the Legion like that.
He told me dejectedly that it was he who hired the mall manager, who he had head-hunted away from a large mall. Now he was taking quite a bit of heat for the decision from his bosses.
All became clear when he explained that the mall manger in question was a francophone recruited out of Montreal. .....Ouch!! I even knew who he was talking about ! No wonder the locals were so angry, she's a
Yesterday, I was watching the Remembrance Day ceremony on TV and immediately after the 11:00 am minute of silence, surfed the channels to see what the French language coverage was like.
Alas, it's sad to say that with the exception of the CBC French channel, there was nary an interruption in the local programming, not even on the two French news channels, RDS and LCN.
In a particularly classless and shamelessly partisan statement, Guy André the veterans critic of the Bloc Quebecois chose to remember only those soldiers from the Quebec based regiment, the Royal 22nd (Van Doos) in his press release... sigh...
It's no secret that the armed forces are viewed rather negatively by separatists and the Quebec media which is nationalist and left-wing. The fact that it was Canadian soldiers that helped liberate Europe, including France, from under the control of the Nazis, in World War II, is no never mind.
Every day we hear calls from them to spend the money 'wasted' in Afghanistan or on the F-35 warplane program on 'needy' and 'pressing' projects in Quebec.
It seems that in Quebec, the latest rallying cry is " Make Civil Servants, Not War!"
Last year's Remembrance Day celebration in Montreal which was moved to the McGill University campus due to construction, was a memorable affair. Students added an intergenerational connection that was excitingly fresh.(Check out the photo!)
I shall leave you with this stirring news story tribute to our fallen Canadian soldiers as seen through the eyes of NBC News in America. If you are a sentimental type, please watch it.