First there was the story of a bus driver being so frightened of a twelve year old black girl, who incidentally is cute as a button and looks about as menacing as Tinkerbell, that he called the police,
The young lady, who is slightly challenged made the mistake of insisting that the driver answer her question which she posed in English.
The police met the bus and boarded to find the girl sitting quietly at the back of the bus.
Strong-arm the girl off of the bus on the say so of an obviously oversensitive and thin-skinned driver.
Obviously the police over-stepped their authority, after all, the girl was on the bus legally and was not doing anything wrong when the police intervened.
Of course we all know, that in relation to the police, 'Driving while Black' is a hazardous experience in Montreal. It now appears that 'Riding the bus while Black' is also an automatic determination of guilt by our supposedly colour-blind police. Read a frightening account of the story
Then there was a Montreal professional soccer player who Tweeted to his fans that Montreal was a racist city because of his harsh treatment at the hands of ticket sellers in the Metro. Link
"A Montreal Impact reservist is calling Montreal racist after problems with a city transit employee.Soccer player Miguel Montano says in a pair of tweets today that he was unable to buy a ticket to ride Montreal’s metro system because he didn’t speak French.The Colombian-born soccer player alleges that when he tried to converse with a ticket taker in English, he was told that he needed to speak French and his money was returned to him.“They are so racist in Montreal,” he wrote Wednesday on Twitter, in Spanish. “They didn’t want to sell me a ticket to let me in the metro because I don’t speak French.” Read the rest of the story
"Michael Dunning told the QMI Agency that when he asked, in English, for an all-day pass at a Montreal subway station on Monday, the two employees behind the glass laughed and cursed him."They didn't say: 'We don't have to speak English,'" Dunning, 55, told the QMI Agency on Friday. "They told me: 'We don't serve English people.'"Moreover, Dunning said he was dismissed on the phone when he called to register a formal complaint two days later. He said it was only when Montreal's English-language media reported on the story that he received a call from the transit authority's legal department.Read the rest of the story
Now I'm not going to tear into the above mentioned employees.
The vast majority of agents and drivers at the STM are polite, diligent and pleased to offer service in English if they can.
Like any large company with thousands of employees, there is a small minority of nasty, jaded racists, looking for an opportunity to pass along their anger by dumping on the innocent.
But it is the company's responsibility to keep things in check, first by creating a positive culture and next by punishing employees who embarrass the company with racist and anglophobic outbursts.
So readers, blame the company.
Over the last year, we've heard of disgusting sexist behavior within the ranks of the RCMP, where many detachments have in large part degenerated into a hostile work environment for female officers and employees.
The problem was so serious that the government had to take extraordinary actions, by bringing in an outsider to run the RCMP in order to break the institutional culture of sexism that permeated the organization, up to the senior ranks.
While employees bear responsibility for their personal behavior, the RCMP hierarchy itself is almost completely responsible for the breakdown in discipline and the loss of moral compass.
Company culture at the STM, just like the RCMP is driven by management and so responsibility for the recent spate of poor behavior by rotten employees can be laid directly on the doorstep of management.
Unfortunately for us, unlike the RCMP which is going through a cathartic process of renewal and redemption, at the STM, it is the same old, same old, with nobody in oversight, the least bit concerned with the culture of hate and intolerance condoned AND PROMOTED by management.
The real question Montrealers must ask themselves is 'Who really runs the STM?"
There's little doubt that a timid and frightened STM management has abrogated its responsibility to lead, leaving a vacuum that has been filled by militant French language fanatics and union goons.
Every time a language or race incident occurs, management rushes to cover up employee malfeasance by dropping a cone of silence on the incident, conveniently claiming that an investigation is underway and that any public comment would be prejudicial.
Invariably these so-called 'investigations' go nowhere and those who complain about their treatment at the hands of STM racists and goons are put through an institutional ringer that lasts for years, the entire process expressly designed to sap the energy of the complainer and to serve up an example to others, sending the message that if you attack the STM, you will be tormented until you give up.
We are not fooled.
Readers of this blog are sophisticated enough to understand that this rope-a-dope strategy is a disgusting abuse of the public trust.
In the incident described at the opening of the story, the young girl was painted in the most unflattering light by the STM spokesperson, leading one to conclude that no fair disposition of the incident can ever occur.
While the girl's identity and reputation was sullied, the identity of the bus driver and supervisor is kept secret.
Where is the transparency?
How on Earth is keeping the identity of the employee involved going to promote the public perception of fairness?
"Marianne Rouette, spokeswoman for the city's transit department, said it received Dunning's complaint and "an investigation is underway."I find myself at a loss.
Rouette said the investigation into the two soccer players' complaints had been concluded, and the transit authority wasn't going to publicize the results, nor say if any employee had been reprimanded.
She said she couldn't speak to the specifics of either case, but said by Quebec law, the city cannot force its employees to speak another language other than French.
How do we tolerate a public corporation telling us, without any shame, that they concluded and disposed of an investigation into a complaint of racism, but will not reveal the result.
Can any reasonable observer come to any other conclusion but a coverup?
Then the idiot spokesman dropped this beauty, evidence that the company has completely sold its soul to language militants;
"Article 45 and 46 of Quebec's French-language law stipulates that an employer cannot reproach an employee for not being able to speak a language other than French. Nor can employers force an employee to speak anything other than French on the job, unless their specific duties necessitate them knowing another language"Really?
Many government and quasi-government agencies, corporations and offices do offer English services and no, they aren't breaking any law either.
The STM excuse about Article 45 and 46 is hollow, dishonest and vacuous.
I cannot believe that the English media allows the STM to bluff their way with a lame excuse about the law.
All the STM has to do is to change some job descriptions for certain employees and voila, they could be required to offer service in English.
It is simply a question of either wanting or not wanting to provide service in English and clearly, enlightened readers know the answer to that question!
Would it be such a big deal to have one ticket selling window per station designated as bilingual with a sign indicating that English service is available?
Like I said, it's a question of motivation.
Now before I get a spate of comments about Montreal being a French city (which it is not) and that Montreal should be as French, as Toronto is English, lets throw cold water on this oft repeated fantasy.
I imagine that in certain Metro stations downtown and on certain bus routes in the West island, the majority of passengers and/or tourists are English speaking, which cannot be said about French anywhere in Toronto or anywhere else in the western hemisphere.
That the powers that run the STM can ignore this English reality is a demonstration of the fact that they are afraid to challenge the union, which like almost all unions in Quebec, are anti-English.
The sorriest and saddest aspect to all this is the position taken by French language militants against employees being offered extra pay for speaking English, which would probably be a neat solution.
Their position is that this practice is discriminatory because it puts unilingually French employees in a poorer financial position than bilinguals, something that they consider unfair, if you can believe it!
This same argument was put forward last year in Sherbrooke and Hull where bilingual employees were offered a small increase in salary, if they were able to offer service in English.
There was a huge outcry by French language militants decrying the practice, leading both cities to drop the program.
How very sad, petty and oh so typical of what passes for fairness in Quebec!
And so the STM continues to foster the fantasy that it does not tolerate racism and anglophobia.
It isn't true.
The STM encourages poor behavior by refusing to confront the bullies within and by refusing to make some English service available.
It is time for a monumental shift in culture at the STM and the first thing needed is a dose of the stern medicine that was delivered to the RCMP.
Fire the bosses.