Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Looking back to 2013...Looking forward to 2014

Happy New year to y'all.

I hope your holiday season was everything you hoped it would be, despite the fact that it rarely is and that the traditional January letdown is a bit disconcerting considering the intense cold, darkness and the inevitable dread of the December credit card bill coming due.

Here in Montreal, thoughts of global warming could not be farther from mind as a particularly intense cold snap has those of us who have not escaped to sunnier climes, fearfully restricted to the safety of our over-heated homes, while those in Toronto, still reeling after the nastiest, costliest and most bothersome ice storm to ever hit that city, reminded as well, that Mother Nature still rules.

There's little doubt that this last year was a humbling affair for Quebecers as the stench of pervasive and entrenched corruption reached into almost every domain and aspect of society, where even the manufactured issue of those so-called 'Quebec Values' could not displace the ubiquitous and over-powering issue of corruption as dominant news story of 2013.

From crooked mayors to crooked city halls and from corrupt police in high places to a business and professional community exposed as cheap crooks in bespoke attire, bereft of morals, integrity and decency.
Where the largest and most prestigious corporations of Quebec were exposed as two-bit bribers and where dubious and shamefully illegal practices were exposed as de rigueur or standard operating procedures and where collusion, corruption and banditry were more the practice than the exception.

The open sore that was the Charbonneau Commission laid bare the depth of that depravity which made Quebec look no better than a corrupt third world banana republic.

Years ago I travelled to Mexico on business and hired a driver to ferry our group around town, a bit frightened to rent a car  myself in fearful consideration of the lawlessness that gripped the country.
I cannot tell you of my surprise at the audacity of a certain member of the Policía Federal who demanded from our driver a small fee in order to park our car in an open spot by the curb in 'his' protected street over which he seemed to hold dominion.
I remember thinking to myself how uncivilized the brazen and open corruption was, only to realize now that it was a foolish assumption that we here in Quebec had evolved as a society beyond such dubious practices.
I reflected back to that naive assumption this year, as I took in the news that the three of the former highest members of the Sureté du Quebec (provincial police) were being investigated for dipping into a secret slush fund (used to pay informers) for their own benefit. Add to that, two highly placed moles were exposed, one on active duty in the Montreal police, the other an ex cop, who is accused of selling information to the Hell's Angels and pocketing up to $500,000 in payoffs. The first killed himself in a Laval motel in light of his arrest, a scenario right out of a cheap crime movie.

Nope, it's hard to write up 2013 as a banner year for Quebec, no matter how you slice it, but for the self-delusional, Quebec's problem's can be described away as nothing too spectacular, the problems overblown and over-stated by federalists, eager to tarnish and sully the hitherto shiny reputation of Quebec's distinct society.

And so for these 'optimists', the Charbonneau commission isn't an embarrassment, it is a heroic effort by Quebecers to come to grips with corruption, something no other province has the courage to do.

It is a province that despite being named, for the umpteenth year  in a row, as the absolute cheapest Scrooge in regards to personal charity, can be portrayed as kinder and more socially responsible, the lack of giving merely a measure of Quebec's different path, where in consideration of the higher taxes paid by Quebec taxpayers, the government is charged with the task of helping those in need, rather than the public.
For these self-deniers, the economy isn't great, but no worse than elsewhere and the debt as well as the deficit, well under control, both exaggerated by enemies of the state, just ask Jacques Parizeau, who gave us an outstanding lesson in spin..

It is a place where immigrants are expressly blamed for not assimilating and for not finding jobs in sufficient numbers and where Quebec society, described as kind and open to foreigners, abused for its hospitality.........Yikes!  

At any rate, rather then make some fearless predictions for 2014, let me just make a few observations about events to unfold.

A 2014 provincial election
Almost a certainty, because two out of the three major political parties want it.
The PQ is keen to roll the dice over the Charter of Values issue, there's only so long that the pot can be kept boiling.
While the chance of a majority PQ government is slim, for Pauline, another minority government is acceptable, buying her another two years in power, something she can certainly live with.
And so to allow a watered-down Charter of Values law to pass, with enough amendments to satisfy the CAQ and buy its support, doesn't make sense to the PQ on any level.
With the charter issue safely put to bed, the PQ will have played the only trump card they possess and with that, the public debate would return to the economy and the deficit, a suicide debate that would only lead to ignominious defeat at the polls.

The economy
No rosy forecast here, but not a reach as a prediction.
The PQ will continue to offer subsidies for companies to invest here, giving the self-delusionists the appearance that jobs are being created and that the PQ is working hard on the economic front.
In fact, if one does the sums correctly, the entire Quebec deficit can be blamed on these subsidies which takes billions and billions of dollars out of the public purse each year.
Quebec spends about six times as much as Ontario (per capita) on buying and preserving jobs through these dubious programs.
A good example of this perverse interference of the free market system, is the entire Montreal based video game industry, a creation of public money, the gift that keeps giving this industry life and it's raison d'etre to locate in Montreal.
As for these subsides, have you noticed that they are directed almost exclusively at American and European concerns?
Is it because the PQ is leery of offering Canadian companies a shot at these programs or is it because Canadian companies are just too fed up or fearful in invest in Quebec?

The Deficit
Another $2-5 billion for sure, and this with increased payments from Ottawa for equalization. The economy will continue to weaken as Hydro-Quebec stumbles over low international electricity prices as well as reduced activity in resource based industries.
The housing market is receding and private investment drying up. Quebec's economy is growing half as fast as Canada's and as long as the PQ remains in power, the future cannot be rosy.

The Charbonneau Commission will roll on but with diminishing returns. The promised and highly anticipated appearance of the keystone player in all this, Tony Accurso, will likely not happen as he uses the courts as a delaying tactic to avoid testifying.
Speaking of the courts, I'd implore readers to pay attention to the debacle that our criminal justice system has become.
Of all those lawyers, politicians, businessmen and professionals arrested and charged with corruption in 2013, not one will actually have a trial where they plead innocent, in 2014.
That is how slow our criminal justice system has become and how inherently vulnerable to interminable delaying tactics.
Big shots can use high priced legal talent to draw out proceedings with agonizing delays and one should note the marked difference between the Canadian and American justice system, where in the latter, you can only do so much to delay the inevitable.
From the time Conrad Black was first charged with fraud in the United States to the time he was convicted and sent to jail was about a year and a half, this despite all his legal manoeuvring.
Compare that to Garth Drabinsky of Livenet who was charged with fraud in Ontario in 2002 and did not go to jail for another seven years and that was in Ontario where trials are speedy compared to Quebec.

While all of Quebec celebrated over the David versus Goliath Supreme Court victory of Claude Robinson over Cinar in a case of plagiarism, the eighteen year long battle resulting in the long anticipated win, can best be described as a Pyrrhic Victory.
It remains to be seen if the author can get any of the $4 million award as Cinar is bankrupt and the other defenders spread across Europe.
I've already described, in a previous piece, how ridiculous and futile it is in Canada to sue over these types of issues, as is the idiotic and futile case of André Boisclair.

So if Quebecers are anxious to see these criminals finally face justice, they will need a bucket load of patience, because in Canada and particularly Quebec, the wheels of justice grind slowly.

I'd like to close by naming my biggest villain of the year and I invite you to use the comment section to name your biggest villain of 2013.

Stephen Harper?...Pauline Marois?...Tony Accurso?....Mike Duffy?.....Arthur Porter?.....Gilles Vaillancourt?

Let's hear from you.

For me, the biggest villain of 2013 is Michael Applebaum, for two very important reasons. 
First it is always easy to point fingers at someone other than 'your own' but betrayal from within one's community is all the more painful.
It is true that what Applebaum is charged with, accepting bribes of $50k or so, is rather small potatoes or chump change when compared to the alleged systemic looting of Laval by ex-mayor Gilles Vaillancourt, but for me, Applebaum was the bigger villain.

Applebaum had the interminable chutzpah to get himself appointed mayor of Montreal on an anti-corruption platform, only to be charged with accepting bribes in relation permits and zoning changes. 

The last idiot to try that in Montreal was Benoit Labonte, a mayoral candidate running on an anti-corruption platform, who also suffered a Humpty-Dumpty fall from grace when it was revealed that he was accepting money under the table from the infamous Tony Accurso. Read the story

At any rate, All during the long and not so secret investigation of Applebaum by police, he cynically assured us on several occasions that he wasn't the target but rather just providing information to police, this in an effort to preserve his position should the investigation not have resulted in his arrest.
Talk about brazening it out...

Applebaum humiliated the Anglo community, but particularly Montreal's Jewish community, who were thrilled to have the city's first Jewish mayor and then deeply humiliated by his arrest, which was, to say the least, a powerful deception.

But Applebaum did demonstrate one thing, that corruption in Quebec isn't a French, English or an ethnic is a Quebec 'thing' that transgresses all lines and showed us that we of different backgrounds and ethnicity can work together in harmony.... at least in the commission of felonious crimes!..

And so in Quebec, it is fair to predict that 2014 will be interesting, but I remain mindful of that old Chinese  proverb, "May you live in interesting times' which is actually a curse.


  1. Thanks for the yearly wrap up - it is so hard to keep the details of our citizen paid "leaders" behavior. There is indeed a stench.

  2. Not only is investment in Quebec drying up, it's leaving dodge in ever increasing numbers. All of us in the English speaking community know another exodus is underway. Young and Old, people are either looking for opportunities elsewhere or are just tired of fighting the recurring nightmare that is The PQ. Count the "a Louer" rent signs along the Trans Canada just to get an idea how bad things are. You have to give credit to the PQ for one thing, they know how to clear a room of "money and ethnics", fast.

    1. Now that Rizzutto is dead Quebec politicians, unions and civil servants can focus on getting a non-Italian to head the local mob.

      Finally then the Quebec economy can get back into full swing.

      The major companies (the ones that didn;t move ALL their CEx to London like SNC-Lavalin) can get back to scamming.

      Life might even be easier for the politicians. The francophone that the politicians hanging out at Club 357 elect to run the local mob probably won;t be as violent as the Italian he replaces.

      Finally Quebec can have it's own mob head.

      We won't have any private business at all. The only biz will be politicians passing biz to construction companies, "engineering firms" with kickbacks all around.

      Quebec culture can finally emerge and not be embarassed after Charbonneau.

  3. My villain of the year...well, people assume that my villain is actually two people, but it's not true.

    My my villain is the two-headed hydra known as Jean-Francois Drainville.

    The Bernard head is responsible for concocting schemes that border (if not completely touch down upon) retardation.

    The JF head then swoops in to lull the public into drinking the arsenic that is the scheme and duping them into appreciating the effects the arsenic has on their bodies. Hell, he even tries to convince you it tastes like candy. Lovely.

  4. By AnecTOTE

    My villain of the year is a group of people at city hall who had the power to make a difference for the citizens who elected them and abused their positions to line their pockets instead. Worst still...those who were in-the-know the entire time and did nothing.

    This province has proven that there are no limits to corruption. People have no moral fabric, no Principles and no Ethics. AND how humiliating to be singled out as the province who contributes the least to charity, a reflection on all the citizens of this province. Corrupt to the core AND cheap to boot, does anyone wonder why some deny being from here?

    A distinct society indeed...eeeeshh.

    1. One thing I have learnt in life is that the more loudly an individual or group claims to be one thing, the more, in fact, they are the opposite. Those who claim to define and know what it is to be Quebecois spend a lot of time claiming moral superiority over non-Quebecois, but as the editor has pointed out the claims have no substance and generally the opposite is true.

      Sadly corruption is infectious, it is hard to turn down bribes, even more so in a corrupt system where the majority accept bribes and as a consequence enjoy more power and influence and a higher standard of living. People do not immediately profit from integrity, in the long term they do but in the short term corruption pays better. The long term damage to and consequent decay of society caused by corruption is evident to non-partisan observers of Quebec. I suspect the acquiescence to the ill-treatment of non-francophones in Quebec is partially because those non-francophones who would otherwise complain end up being on the receiving end of the corrupt policies.

      The poor me attitudes used as an excuse for immoral behaviour are not restricted to francophones. When I lived in Montreal I paid $500 for an object when considering going into business with a female anglophone Quebecer, I could name her she works at McGill in quite a high profile non-academic position, but the editor fears libel charges so I will not. The business idea was in the very early stages and did not advance. She helped herself to the $500 dollar object I had paid for on the grounds her need was greater than mine as she considered me to be in a better financial position and naturally more talented. She said she had discussed it with others and they agreed that she should take the $500 object. It was of course theft. Plain and simple theft. I also gave her and her daughter free board and lodging for a while. At the time I said nothing. I even believed she had the right to steal my property because her need was greater than mine. Of course later 'the scales fell from my eyes,' and I experienced shock and horror that she could so casually steal from me and believe it was justifiable. She had found someone else to subsidise her lifestyle. She may have been hard-up but she was not destitute

    2. From Ann
      Corruption or trying to pull a fast one is found at all levels, from all walks of life irrespective of language, culture, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation etc. People who abuse welfare or employment insurance, people who make false claims on their taxes, people who cheat on exams or plagiarize papers. There are all kinds of ways that people act without integrity.

    3. True, but the idea that others should subsidise their chosen lifestyles is endemic amongst the Quebec socialists, and it is true that people rarely willingly reduce their own standard of living to increase the standard of living of others. What is particular to Quebec is the sense of superiority, general and moral, the sense of entitlement and the accompanying corruption and criminality.

    4. 'This province has proven that there are no limits to corruption. People have no moral fabric, no Principles and no Ethics. AND how humiliating to be singled out as the province who contributes the least to charity, a reflection on all the citizens of this province. Corrupt to the core AND cheap to boot, does anyone wonder why some deny being from here? ' Bang on, so true...what a mess...

    5. FROM ED
      The character of a nation cannot be judged by the actions of one woman anymore than we can judge the Jewish people because of the actions of Michel Applebaum.What you say here is true.
      FROM EMS "One thing I have learnt in life is that the more loudly an individual or group claims to be one thing, the more, in fact, they are the opposite. Those who claim to define and know what it is to be Quebecois spend a lot of time claiming moral superiority over non-Quebecois."
      EMS, you are right on. We have to look at the actions of the majority and what causes them to follow a certain pattern.
      I blame a lot of the mess on the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The underst6anding that any money the Church takes is "for the Lord' and thereby unarguable. Also, their exclusivity kept Catholics thinking that what they were doing was right don't listen to anyone else. As a boy I can remember standing outside the fence of an R.C. schoolyard in Verdun listening to the Christian brother telling the boys not to play baseball with myself and my friends. He told them to 'stay with their own kind' because these others will mislead you. My friend who was a student there told me the Priest said the same thing from the pulpit.
      The fact that English students did not stomp the streets banging pots and heads tells us they were raised differently without "the world owes me attitude'. Finally the fact that so many can live a life of dependency on others and still feel like they are the ones who deserve to be above tells the whole story. That group has been taught to think that way and it wasn't by Pauline Marois in one year. She simply took advantage of it. Ed

  5. From Ann,
    I think that there are a number of villains of the year in Quebec, each one with their own angle of villainy...Marois, Lisée and Drainville for inciting hate and preying on people for power; those in municipal politics and the police force who had violated the trust of the people to line their own pockets; those corrupt people at the top levels of corporations (and the MUHC) who lined their own pockets at the expense of the tax paying public and didn't care about the dire consequences to everyday people trying to get around the city and trying to get health care; the senators, particularly those who used to be journalists who should have known better, who used public money as if it was their personal bank account. I can't say that any one person is more of a villain than the next, because all of them have done egregious harm to the average citizens just trying to live their life..they are all equally disgusting to the core.

  6. By AnecTOTE

    To what I wrote above, I would like to add, that if I am completely honest and objective ...the biggest villains of this province are the citizens themselves, for allowing this behavior by those they elect to perpetuate. They are villains for not being truly outraged, incensed and angry enough to storm the streets and demand reform so that all vestiges of corruption can be rooted out. Or at least, make corruption damn near impossible at all levels of government.

    We have brought this upon ourselves for not demanding a higher standard from those we elect and not settling for anything less. Our sheer complacency has made this province the laughing stock of this country...and we have only ourselves to blame.

    1. From Ann,
      I wouldn't go so far as to blame the citizens. Political, corporate and police corruption is rampant around the world. Citizens in many countries, developing and developed, are in the same pickle where the politicians, and corporate heads took it all and left the citizens paying the bills. If you look around the world there are people protesting everywhere about the same thing. The "Occupy" movement was about the same kind of thing. The middle east protested against government corruption and it just gave them a different but equally corrupt government. I don't know what the answer is on how to stop this, because politicians and head honchos just don't care about their citizens, they only care about their own power and life of luxury. Look at Mayor Rob Ford....he shows no shame in anything he has done, no matter how inappropriate and humiliating to himself. The problem is that no matter what political stripe they are, they are cut from the same cloth so no matter who you vote for, it all ends up pretty much the same.

    2. Hypocrisy is not limited to those in power, those involved in the occupy movement were in possession of the electronic fruits of the order they claim to despise. Capitalism may make some members incredibly wealthy, but it has also produced products at a price affordable to almost all. Even the poorest in the poor countries have mobile phones.

    3. The problem is that Quebeckers want their free healthcare and free daycare and they're ready to overlook small things like character and honesty to get it.

    4. ROM ED
      You're falling into typical Quebecois thinking when you blame the victims. Remember the press has never been honest with the people in Quebec and most of Canada. The Conservative (read Republican ) press accross the country were not courageous in any way. A perfect example of that is when Brian Mulroney used the Sun Press to destroy John Turner. No one dared speak against them. That the majority of corruption has been amongst francophone politicians is understandable since taking has been the French way since ancient France customs came to Canada.. France was always poor since Cardinal Richelieu gave priests the right to go into the homes of parishioners and take any money the could find for the Church. The citizens were left to forage in any way they could. So if the Church can take, why not me? I remember as a boy poor Mrs. Donnelly came across crying to my mother that the Priest had emptied the sugar bowl where she kept her paltry few dollars and drove of in his late model Buick. Cadillacs were too ostentatious for a Priest . The Pope allowed Buicks.
      Myself and my English friends in the gang I grew up with used to wonder how the French kids could steal milk bottles with coins in them left out at night for the milk man's delivery. One family used to steal the chickens from Langevin's Bakery in Verdun and told Mr. Langevin it was the English kids that were doing it. I also remember when I first started driving that if you were stopped by the police you handed him your license in your wallet with a five dollar bill sticking up. The wallet would come back with the bill gone and you'd be told to move on but don't try it if the cop was English. Since the poiticos were always French in Quebec anglos knew little about the workings of Government. Most English spoke little or no French. My Father and others used to seek out Mr. Poirier at election time to tell them who to vote for.. He always worked for one party or the other like the Vicar of Bray depending which side the Church who directed him was on. Anglos went on building their families and homes in the life style set out by Church leaders like Queen Elizabeth the first, King James, Charles Wesley and a series of Monarchs and leaders who promoted honesty with a "if you don't God will get you" attitude which seemed to work very well. People, like the press closed their eyes to the dishonesty but had no idea how deep the lot of rot had got.
      Fear was always a problem. Terrorism did not begin with the FLQ. Robespierre ruled "The reign of Terror " after the French revolution and the whole country feared the Guillotine. Today Jean Charest wanted to begin an enquiery into corruption but feared to until Jacques Ducheneau came out to support him. Imagine the courage it took for both of them remembering what happened to Mayor Drapeau's home when he went against the unions.
      Lifestyles such as honesty usually start at the bottom and continue to the top. From the citizens to the leaders.
      In Quebec it would have to work backwards. if the Charbboneau enquiery can change the leaders thinking it may work down to the hoi polloi, but that will take generations possibly. Education with good decent honest teachers is probably the key. Ed

    5. From Ann in Quebec is far from free...we are paying taxes for our healthcare, just like they do in Ontario, Manitoba, and all the other provinces in Canada. If you don't like "free healthcare" perhaps the United States would be a better option for you...of course we know that nobody is crooked in the United States! I would rather see Quebec get rid of the $7/day daycare, free fertility treatments, the OQLF, bloated government and all the rest of the government waste such as paying for useless fact finding missions.

  7. My villain is the clown who put this in print:

    "The Government proposes to implement a "bail-in" regime for systemically important banks. This regime will be designed to ensure that,in the unlikely event that a systemically important bank depletes its capital, the bank can be recapitalized and returned to viability through the very rapid conversion of certain bank liabilities into regulatory capital. - Canadian 2013 Budget
    page 155

    Few people a dumb enough to tell, in advance, they will steal from you. Stephen Harper put it in print that when the Canadian banks need their bail out he will bail in the banks with your money!

    Still wonder you this villain works for? It isn't us!

    1. edit
      You s/b who, as in:
      Still wonder who this villain works for

    2. I like the first one too. A change in punctuation would made it perfect: Still wonder... You, this villain works for?! It isn't us!

      This sneaky government tactic of hiding the alarming things in as big a pile of crap as possible... What happened to transparency?

  8. FROM ED
    When Donald Gordon brought all the banks under the Bank Of Canada rules, a law was made that deposits must be insured up to the tune of sixty thousand dollars on each account. I believe that the safety still stands. I realize you are referring to larger amounts than this. The rule was made after the depression so that families would not go completely bankrupt.. Ed

  9. "But Applebaum did demonstrate one thing, that corruption in Quebec isn't a French, English or an ethnic is a Quebec 'thing' that transgresses all lines and showed us that we of different backgrounds and ethnicity can work together in harmony.... at least in the commission of felonious crimes!.."

    One of the most eye-opening things I learned in living in ROC is that English Quebeckers-- the ones who were born and bred there-- do think and act a lot like des pure-laines. When you grow up in Quebec, you think because you're English, the rest of English Canada thinks like you and nothing could be further from the truth.

    1. From Ann
      The same can be said for anyone living anywhere....People in Ontario think Ontario is the centre of the universe...people in Alberta think Alberta is the centre of the universe.....people in New York think New York is the centre of the universe etc. As a native born Quebecer, I have seen the comments from the ROC on news articles regarding the problems of Quebec and no, they don't think like English Quebecers because they are sitting in the comfort of their province not dealing with the language discrimination. There is very little sympathy and understanding from the ROC for the English speaking population of Quebec. Even those anglophones who have left Quebec suddenly turn their backs on fellow anglo Quebecers and act smug because they left. English Quebecers are fighting for their own survival and they are getting criticized by anglos in the rest of Canada or they are lumped together with the separatists.

    2. FROM ED
      Suzanne, Please read my thoughts above on this. I am not out to critisize Francos for living their lifestyle but am trying to openly state what that life style is and the Question is, what can you do about it? Ed

  10. Murray LevineMy Money = My Language
    LETTER TO THE EDITOR--THE SUBURBAN: With regard to Anglophones demanding more respect for English The Suburban Jan 1; I thank award winning journalist Joel Goldenberg for bringing the matter to the attention of the readers of The Suburban.

    Within four weeks of our GOOGLE: IS SOMETHING ROTTEN AT FAIRVIEW campaign, The Bay put up bilingual signs at Fairview and Dorval (perhaps elsewhere). Considering that ten years of petitions had failed to bear fruit, while four weeks of emails/Facebook messages plus four small demonstrations did, we may have found a method that works.

    CBC TV reported before Christmas that several stores had put up bilingual signs BUT the most important detail, was that Fairview itself had left the sidelines and was now actually encouraging their retailers to post bilingual signs.

    Retailers at Fairview are now very aware that West Islanders are being actively encouraged to shop in the USA where after only 48 hours each person may legally return with $800 in merchandise.

    Down the street, L’Equipeur was advised two months ago that Target would be opening up in the same shopping centre, and their signs would be bilingual. Upon hearing this, bilingual signs went up at L’Equipeur in both Point Claire and DDO.

    Many in the West Island threw up their hands in November and said that nothing would change the status quo. After seeing what was being accomplished those that threw up their hands began to put their fingers to their keypads and wrote to the retailers. Through rights groups such as Unity, Canadians for Coexistence, the Quebec Office of the English Language, and others, the angst of Anglos, Allos and yes, even Francos, was harnessed, and hundreds if not thousands of messages went out (and still are).

    The Fairview boycott story has been covered by all of the English TV networks, by CJAD, by English newspapers including The Suburban, on French radio, BUT the best was having the story covered by La Presse and Le Journal de Montreal’s Gilles Proulx. The Society St Jean Baptist has bestowed upon me the honour of being a Francophobe, as has l’Imperatif Francais BUT that was a direct result of a La Presse reporter putting her biased nationalist words into my mouth!

    On top of that, the effort and I were covered, in not only one, but two columns of the widely read No Dogs or Anglopohones blog. I doubt that even the highly respected activist and Suburban editor Beryl Wajsman can lay claim to such an honour!

    Meanwhile, the point is very clear. If everyone were to inform retailers that their competitors now have bilingual signs, while they do not, and “Guess where I am going to shop?”, the retailers would once again begin to show some respect for their clients, especially in the West Island and west end of Montreal.

    The rest will be gravy, BUT at the very least the retailers should have the minimal amount of decency, and show some respect for us, in our own backyards!

    Murray Levine

  11. Never give up folks until they repeal bill 101 and give us back out equal rights as protected under the BNA act...keep fighting, you do have support outside Quebec.

    1. That's nice to hear and I sure hope it's true - we do (and will) need it if things get worse here such as the PQ getting a majority next election. Many of us are fighting back in every way we can and it works as you can see from Murray's posting.

    2. FROM ED
      Cutie, Great news! Every gain is a step closer.. They could possibly announce an election as early as next month.
      As for French on signs I think that even if the Libs don't rescind bill 101.which I hope they don't, at least the OFLQ would not have the same teeth. We will see people ignoring the law and putting up signs that will help their business.

    3. Happy New Year Ed - the people aren't ignoring the law, they are simply finally putting English on signs which is totally legal albeit smaller in size than French. That businesses are told they are not allowed to display English is pure BS but a lot of them believe it when approached by the militants that we have to deal with in quebec. They will never, ever, be allowed to abolish English, (covered under the BNA Act) even though they want to, unless they leave Canada. That's when the shit will really hit the fan.

  12. From the Rationalist:

    Lies, lies and more lies: According to La Presse, even though Quebec scored 64th of the 64 North American jurisdictions when it comes to giving, statistics lie.

    They don't give to churches. They don't ask for tax receipts. And according to Yvan Comeau, "titulaire de la Chaire sur la culture philanthropique de l'Université Laval" (evidently a beneficiary of Quebec taxpayers' generosity), Quebecers are just so giving of their time. If translated to a minimum wage of $10.00 per hour, an extra $ 4 billion would be added to the $ 1 billion actually given. Trouble is, he provides no comparison with the other provinces. According to Statistics Canada, "volunteers from Nova Scotia (207) were among those with the highest average hours volunteered in 2010. On the other hand, Yukon and Quebec were among those with the lowest average hours volunteered in 2010. Volunteers from these provinces gave approximately 130 hours on average in 2010."

    Check it out for your first hearty laugh of the New Year:

  13. ""Good news from Le Figaro:Manuel Valls has announced that only 1,067 cars were burned on New Year’s Eve, a 10.6% reduction over last year. The figures cover the period from 6:00 p.m. December 31 to 6:00 a.m. January 1.

    Quebec can only hope to inflame tensions to the same level.

    Is it natural and normal that France has burning cars in such numbers while Quebec does not? Do "Les Quebecois" have so little pride that they would let France exceed Quebec so spectacularly?

    Please Pauline and other asshole PQ members. Inflame tensions more. We've got 1067 cars to burn in 24 hours.

    1. That's where we're heading cebeuq unfortunately for all of us. The more people are pushed, the greater the push back. In North America, where we are not used to having rights and freedoms revoked on a whim, the more likelihood of people saying "enough is enough". Who can blame them? The PQ are deliberately pushing the envelope and damn the consequences. A majority government and separation from Canada is all that matters and they don't care how they achieve their end result. Civil strife does not matter to them; if it did, they would be condemning some of the incidents that have taken place over the past year but you will notice that not a word was uttered. Hateful, power hungry deviants; that's about all I can say about them.

  14. B.R

    I wonder why you guys are so angryphone, always the same team here.Where all this hate is coming from?

  15. Have we ever asked ourselves why there are so many corrupt politicians and companies in Quebec?

    I would guess that it is simply harder to become honestly and legally wealthy in this province than elsewhere in Canada.

    Let's look at the facts:

    The only ways to get really rich are to:

    1. Start a company that becomes very profitable, from which you live off the dividends or from simply selling it for a large sum.
    2. Work for a large company that has both high salaries and stock incentive programs.
    3. Become a rock star, famous actor or internationally renowned writer.

    There are evidently other ways to get rich legally but my point is that it is not from earning a normal base salary, even if you are a doctor or a lawyer.

    Paths 1 and 2 are the most realistic for ambitious bright people. So what could make it more difficult in Quebec compared to Ontario?

    Starting a company
    Starting a company is not terribly difficult - it's the employees, the customers and the product and or service that will require the most effort. For starters, anyone starting a manufacturing business in Quebec is more likely to have to deal with unions setting up in your plants, making work flexibility difficult and increasing your operating costs. You will face hurdles of paperwork to deal with your payroll. You will face higher payroll taxes. You will need to deal with inspectors from the CSST and the environment. And if you're lucky enough, you'll have a visit from the OQLF where they will tell you to change all your software. To add to this, selling products locally is more difficult simply because Quebecers don't have the same disposable income as they do in Ontario.

    Working for a large company
    This can be summed up quickly - there are no large companies in Quebec (OK, a few, but they can be counted on your fingers). As most of you know, practically all the large head offices are in Toronto. Therefore the high-paying jobs (i.e. VP Finance, VP Marketing, VP Operations etc.) that come with stock options, are simply not in Quebec.

    So what are you to do if you are smart, ambitious and simply want to become wealthy? You could seek greener pastures elsewhere. But if you choose to stay here when the legitimate opportunities are few and far between, you could resort to less ethical methods.

    In my opinion, we have some very ambitious, intelligent and industrious people in this province, but there is no conduit for them to put this skill set to work. Therefore I would state that the reason we have so much corruption in Quebec is that the environment is not favourable to the development of legitimate wealth and that the government of Quebec has implemented policies which reinforce this.

    1. MTL1973,

      I am a bit in disagreement with you. Look at your point no. 3:

      3. Become a rock star, famous actor or internationally renowned writer.

      This is the part which many Quebecers excel. The caveat is, they ALL do it in English. Celine Dion (without accent), Arcade Fire, Simple Plan, Karine Vanasse, Caroline Dhavernas, Roy Dupuis to name a few. By extension, Cirque du Soleil can be put in this category. Even though there is little to no dialogue in their shows, the bulk of their revenue comes from shows in English-speaking places where the shows are delivered in English.

  16. FROM ED
    The only way separatists will ever leave Canada is if they lile into a ship or plane and go to another country. The Province of Quebec will never leave Canada. We are not going to give a piece of the most beautiful country in the world to a bunch that will turn it into a rat pit.
    A new government will change the mood of the people. Just being able to elect a Liberal government would tell us that most of Quebecers are fed up with tyranny.and separatism. The reason II say they should not repeal 101 is because it has been useful and will continue to be so..Mulcair is thinking of starting a Quebec wing of the NDP. If the candidates are anything like the ones we've got, they will be no problem. Ed

    1. FROM ED
      I agree with every word you say but the question remains; People knew about it for years. Why did no one complain earlier.
      I believe that people realizing there was wrong doing but not the depth of the corruption closed their eyes to it. When the thinking of masses of people are similar the logical thing to do is look for a common denominator. I believe that in Quebec the indifference of people to minor corruption stems from their lives under the Roman Catholic Church.
      This is not easy for me to say being a staunch Catholic myself and having a deep love for the Church and our Lord Jesus Christ.
      As I stated earlier today the Church's thirst for money along with their sense of entitlement to what the parishioners could or could not afford passed off unto the masses. (If they"re entitled, why not me?)
      Corruption in Quebec went viral when Rene Levesque gave power to the unions with no check rein. Mayor Drapeau gave the contractors an open cheque book, which is why the corruption is so heavily centered in Montreal.

    2. From Ann
      @ED. I have to disagree with the part the Roman Catholic Church being to blame. Everyone has their own conscience and can figure out right from wrong. There are plenty of men and women who grow up with not so wonderful parents...some turn out just like their parents while others realize that is not the way to behave and become better people. In other words, we all have choices on how we want to behave and people can choose to not follow the messages they grew up with. The ones who are corrupt were intelligent enough to make up their own minds on how they wanted to conduct their lives...the Church did not make them greedy, they themselves were greedy.

  17. Friends, I have reconsidered my position.

    I now believe the Charter of Values is the right way to go.

    After mulling it over the holidays, I realize now that the separatists are right. If we allow these goddamn immigrants to come over here and do as they please in OUR COUNTRY, it's bound to have a negative effect that will come back to haunt us.

    In fact it's already happening.

    Here's proof that pur-laine Quebecois are already turning to Islam and plotting against us:

    Evil, treacherous heathen.

    And then this woman has the nerve...the bloody NERVE to claim she's only covering up her face to "protect herself from the cold."


    We're smarter than that. She's got a bomb underneath that winter clothing...and we all know she's going to use it to blow up a Belle Province restaurant in the name of Halal.

    Feels so much better to just speak the truth and I owe it all to the infinite wisdom of our separatist brothers and sister.

  18. FROM ED
    You're talking individuals. I am thinking en masse. How is it that the Francophone kids believe in self entitlement and English kids don't? Where do they learn it. You didn't see English students banging pots or blocking other people's rights to an education. There is no other common denominator for the 8 million Quebecers who believe this way that the French Roman Catholic Church. I discussed this with an English R.C. priest of more thanr 50 years service. who told me that in France Cardinal Richelieu when he was running things made the Church survival more important than the people and the state. (Although he knew he actually needed the State to maintain the Church and his beloved life style) It is not easy for me as a Catholic to say these things but being pragmatic is essential if you want to get to the truth. Ed

    1. ED,

      I'm all for blaming the catholic church. Places like Mount Cashel dont happen over and over in the same organization without the organization itself being part of the problem.

      Really tho, as you and other have said before. For Quebec govt has replaced the church. Instead of breaking out and thinking for themselves they just shifted all personal responsibility for their lives to the govt.

      Look back to your schooling in Quebec. 50 years of francophone racists rewriting the history books and setting the curriculum is also responsible.

      DO you think the Quebec govt started doing "matriculation" exams because they encourage independent though?

      No, they need to know that the up and coming "citizens" are properly and measurably indoctrinated in the idiocy of the land.

      Even if children are educated by rational intelligent teachers they have to knuckle under to the propaganda of the Quebec govt in the education system if they want their students to be able to graduate.

  19. Quebec Demographics

    Not necessarily the subject of this article but always interesting nevertheless.

    I went to a Christmas party over the Holidays on my French side of the family. The inevitable demographic decline coming our way within a very short time is shocking. Here is what saw:

    My grandmother was part of a litter of 6 or 7 kids, of which I only got to know one sister.

    Between my grandmother and the sister I knew, they collectively produced 10 children (a birthrate of 5 kids per couple, meaning a 250% replacement rate). This was on the low end of child bearing at the time but very high by today's standards. Of these 10 children, 11 children were born (a birthrate of 1.1 kids per couple, meaning a 55% replacement rate). This is certainly nowhere near enough to maintain our current population.

    I know that a snapshot of 10 kids having 11 children is not enough to draw any scientifically certain conclusions, but I am sure that this is happening with other large Quebec families as well.

    Since Quebec's population is rising every year, but the de-souche replacement rate is very low (probably in the 1.1 to 1.5 kids/couple range), almost the entire growth is coming from immigration and the children of immigrants. It would not surprise me to see 50%+ of new births in Quebec come from non-pure-laine mothers. In the long-run this means Quebec's French-Canadian population will eventually dwindle well below 50% of the total population.

    Rather than pass all sorts of ridiculous language laws and focus attacking immigrants and their culture, I believe the effort would bear more fruit if it focused on creating favourable conditions to starting families. To start families, young couples need a healthy work environment where jobs are abundant and pay well. The rest will fall into place on its own. To create this environment, the Quebec government needs to slay its sacred cows (bill 101, high taxation, overly powerful unions, excess government jobs, excess social programs, subsidies to companies, etc.) and let businesses prosper. The governments we have elected over the past years are all guilty of doing little to create a better environment, but PQ is the one that created most of the mess in the first place.

    Those who have supported these recurring nationalist-socialist governments for the past 45 years have succeeded in poisoning their own well. When demographics finally hit them like a brick wall, who will they blame?

    1. From Ann,
      I agree that the language laws need to go and they need to promote saving their culture from within. However, I can't imagine they will ever go back to having lots and lots of babies. If anybody wants any kind of decent standard of living, it is just not economically feasible to have a large number of children. Even if the job market is wonderful, I can't see many couples having more than two or three children.

    2. Based on demographics alone, I am starting to believe that Quebec culture and language is in serious threat of disappearing - not tomorrow but over the next century. The only way it will survive is if immigrants become "Quebecers". However with policies that make new immigrants feel uncomfortable with Quebec (example: Bill 60 for Muslims and Bill 101 for those from non-francophone countries), I don't believe the cultural transfer is or will take place. It is really up to de-souche Quebecers to keep up with the pace. If Quebec could focus on prosperity instead of Nationalism all the time, we would be better off.

      If Alberta were a Francophone province, everyone would be learning French to have a crack at the high-paying jobs out there.

  20. B.R

    You are not a minority - just as extension of Ontario & USA within Quebec boundaries,stop complaining about your minority rights.

    1. The entire foundation of Western Civilisation is the protection of minority rights. Minorities are to be free from the tyranny of the majority. This is how Great Britain built a worldwide empire, which lives through today by being the most widely accepted culture.

      When you trample on the freedoms of your citizens, you stifle innovation and creativity, both elements which are needed to develop a successful society. Did you notice how the IPhone, Google Facebook, were all invented in the US and not Russia or Afghanistan?

      Quebec could learn from this basic principle by letting its people live in a more open and prosperous society. Do you think it's a coincidence that that the Royal Bank, Bank of Montreal, Sunlife, and several hundred other large Canadian companies all left Montreal at the same time René Levesque came to power?

    2. By AnecTOTE


      All that you have stated is true, however even the most democratic of governments (not quebec's case), will always behave like tyrants if they can get away with it. In essence, it is the public itself that must remain vigilant in order to safeguard it's own interests especially when it becomes aware that those who lead it are pushy little bullies who promote their own agendas at the cost of what is in the best interest of citizens. If bill 101 will ever be repealed, it must start with the public who understand and realize it is the greatest hindrance to their progression. You repeal 101, the rest will follow. It is absurdly embarrassing that anyone living in North America cannot choose for themselves what language they wish to use in order to express themselves. Bill 101 was the biggest abomination to Rights and Freedoms any democratic free society has had to endure and that is the simple truth regardless of what poor and lame and excuses you use to try and justify it.

    3. Hey B.R. - you are the minority in Canada and no one removes your rights - just why do you think you are all so "special" over everyone else that lives in this province? Our language and culture are just as good as yours and I'm proud to be Canadian; I will never be Quebecois. Millions of us feel the same. Just to set you straight - you're no better than I or anyone else that lives here so get over yourself! This demand that you people have to be treated with "special" treatment is what's killing the economy of quebec and will continue to do so should you keep this place in political turmoil as you have for the past 40 years. Do you not understand this? God - hard-headed separatists - fools; the lot of them.

    4. Slavery ended in the British Empire - not when the Africans cried out that it was unjust - but when the White British citizens themselves became completely disgusted.

      It took a band of White skinned Brits to get the word out to their brothers, friends and neighbours to get the ball rolling. Once the population was clearly informed of what was going on, the rest fell into place on its own.

      In Quebec, we need Quebecers to get the word out of the injustice of bill 101 and how it's hurting them. The rest will be taken care of on its own.

    5. By AnecTOTE

      Exactly MTL...that should be the Action Plan...keep shinning the light brightly on the political and linguistic abuses this little small pathetic province indulges in. Embarrass them again and again and again. And once you're done embarrassing them, do it again...that should be the strategy. Let them call it "bashing", when you are this stupid, you deserve it.

    6. From Ann
      Yes, the pressure needs to be from everyone, business people, the top brass at public institutions, average citizens. Everyone has a role to play to get the politicians to cease and desist with their discriminatory laws that end up ruining the province.

  21. Well,i understand now why Quebecers hate so much their anglophone neighbours.

    1. Do they really hate (i.e. dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest) their Anglophone neighbours?

    2. @Anonymous 1
      I work with hundreds of Francophones (from all regions of Quebec) and the vast majority of them love talking to me in English. I would even say that many of them go out of their way to practice with me. When you say Francos hate their English neighbours, perhaps you are talking about yourself.

    3. "I work with hundreds of Francophones"

      And you don't communicate with them in French? very odd

    4. No, it's not "odd". People communicate the way they wish which is how it should be in a civilized society. Damn arrogance of the separatists thinking they have the right to tell everyone else how to speak and in what language. Sick society and culture that feels this way. And I have plenty of francophone friends, have had all my life, and because they are "friends", I have to presume they do not hate me which is quite logical is it not? I don't "hate" anyone because of the language they speak - that is just plain sick and stupid.

    5. I have plenty of francophone friends

      Astonishing ,really

    6. @ AnonymousS aturday, January 4, 2014 at 5:00:00 PM EST

      "I work with hundreds of Francophones"

      And you don't communicate with them in French? very odd

      I hate to be arrogant in my response but I feel like I need to educate you on the reality of today's Quebec under 40-yealr old Francos.

      Of the hundreds of Francophones I deal with, including colleagues, clients and suppliers, 100% of them were first addressed to in French. To my honest surprise, most of them, usually under 45 years old, switch to English with me within a few minutes. My French is impeccable (I have French-Canadian blood) so I have asked myself the question why they always switch. My first educated guess is that they simply want someone to practice their English with. They know I speak French so they can slip in a few French words when they don't know them in English. They don't have to be shy around me. My second guess is that they actually like speaking English, as opposed to what Imperatif Francais and SSJB would like to make us believe.

      Why not just let people decide for themselves what they want to do? Are we not all adults?

  22. FROM ED
    Cebeuq, You and I are on the same page. I see you recognize the fact that if 8 million think alike there has to be a common factor. There is one thing I perhaps haven't made clear. I feel corruption and self entitlement are two different things. I blame the Church for creating a sense of 'me first' but not for the corruption. However the sense that entitlement creates is a fine line easily crossed, which would include the abuse. The sense of entitlement goes against the commandment, "Thou shalt not covet." but Hell, Capitalism is based on "I want what he's got.". Corruption on the other hand breaks many Church laws such as "Thou shalt not steal" and. outright greed..
    As MTL points out the English have a totally different outlook about honesty. They are able to see that if it is not stopped it will soon
    become uncontrollable while Francophones prefer to look away since their sense of entitlement makes them feel a little guilty. themselves.
    The English Catholic Churches, like the Anglican Catholics are more steeped in the thinking of the Christianity of the Franciscan Priests (St. Francis of Assissi) and Dominicans, unlike the Jesuits that came to the New World from France such as Father Jean De Brebeouf who converted many Indians. We must remember that until John 23rd converted the language only a few years ago the French kids were learning very little from the service being in Latin. Ed

  23. FROM ED \
    Anonymous Coward, surely you can't mean those lovely pleasant ladies that serve us so well in many outlets. I think you are putting us on. I agree that covering the face is a step too far. In a world of bombings carried out by muslims hiding one's face makes people nervous.
    ANN, It will be a long time before they lose 101. We need it. Robert Bourassa, brilliant man that he was used it to quell the rumblings from the FLQ who were still sabre rattling and making the whole population nervous. Trust me, Francophones were as nervous as Anglos back then never knowing who the next innocent victim would be. It also made The French feel they had gained something. If it was taken away the whole 8 million would feel the loss. For all that it costs us, bear with it. It will die it's own death naturally. Ed
    TO THE IDIOT TROLL, using th anonymous banner. Like you, I would not identify myself if my words were as stupid as yours. Ed

  24. FROM ED
    I can't express how good it feels to see sensible discussion returning without S.R. and Student.
    Incidentally, we could do without the nut using anonymous for a title. He is obviously just out to twist words and annoy posters. Ed

  25. @ED

    Unfortunately, they will be back soon.

    They're been freshly armed with welfare checks (January 1st), but are likely still shaking off the effects of drinking shoe-polish alcohol.

    Wouldn't surprise me in the least to hear that SR, student and YL are in the hospital with massive alcohol poisoning right now.

    Which of course means that our year is off to a very jolly start indeed.

    1. Damn - and that was exactly what I asked Santa for for Xmas - to be rid of those pests forever! Hope you're wrong AC. Anyway, we've had a few days reprieve.

    2. They're all gone at the same time, who'd of thought?

    3. They are paid trolls.

      Mechanical turk.

  26. FROJM ED
    Cutie, I'm sure anonymous Coward is right but when they come back let's try to convince everyone to ignore them. It's tripping over twenty or thirty posts and answers that is so flustering. Ed

    1. Worse than the trolls is all this anti-French crap that gets posted all the time. Stupid stereotypes about French Canadians being poor or not speaking "real French" and such. Those kind of posts aren't being ignored enough, either.

    2. UN GARS BIEN SYMPATHIQUE DE FRANKFORTSunday, January 5, 2014 at 1:42:00 PM EST

      This blog is blatantly racist. 99% of anglos that live within quebec won't leave as they like their lives in quebec. The others, that include some of them, post here are part of a racist group that use fabricated anti-anglo discrimination, biases and other questionable arguments to demean the quebecois majority.

    3. "99% of anglos that live within quebec won't leave as they like their lives in quebec."

      Where did you obtain that 99% figure? Over 40 percent of Anglos declared in a poll taken last year that they were considering leaving Quebec. If there is only "fabricated anti-anglo discrimination" then why do so many want to leave?

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