Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Branding Greater Montreal

The Montreal Gazette this morning tells us that the Montreal metropolitan region is now working on Branding Greater Montreal. At the same time they wish to make sure that Le grand Montréal fait sa marque.

They’re inviting us all to help:

Make your mark, by suggesting your ideas, slogans, logo designs and thoughts on an international brand image for the Montreal metropolitan region.

* What are Greater Montreal’s strengths?
* What features should Greater Montreal emphasize on the international scene?
* What sets us apart?
* What words or images best evoke Greater Montreal?

If you have any suggestions, then send them to suggestions@brandinggreatermontreal.com. That’s quite a challenge.

Related: Branding Greater Montreal – le défi

Vandoos and Football

This past Thursday I attended the home opener of the Als at Molson Stadium with some 1700 soldiers, the Vandoos from Valcartier. The idea apparently was to endear Canada’s famous World War II soldiers to Quebeckers.

It was somewhat bizarre I must say seeing some 1700 soldiers packing both end-zones and acting, well, like soldiers when presented with beer, football and cheerleaders.

My girlfriend, who’s never attended a football game, turned to me and said “are they always here like that?”. I had to chuckle. “Um, no, not in the 30 years my father’s been taking me to football games”.

A recent poll has shown that Quebeckers are unfavorable to the war in Afghanistan by a figure of 70%. I can’t help but think that this will grow once our boys from Quebec begin to come home in coffins.

Because this is exactly what I was thinking when I watched our soldiers drink beer, smoke cigarettes, cheer on the Als and generally lose their heads every time a cheerleader ran by.. I stared at them thinking if this particular soldier I was looking at would be the one that I see on the cover of my paper as being killed by a road side bomb.

My thoughts then drifted as to why we are really there and if it was really worth it.

Not so sure the PR move by the military was such a good idea.

Gérald Tremblay’s New Brand

The Montreal Island Citizens Union (MICU), Mayor Gérald Tremblay’s party, has been rebranded. It’s now called Union Montréal.

If you want to know more of what Union Montréal can do for you then you should visit their slick new website. It relies heavily on video clips to communicate party messages to users. Gérald Tremblay wants to make sure you get his message so you don’t even get the opportunity to switch off the sound. Nevertheless it’s a pretty effective production.

Related: Union Montréal – Brand New

I like it!

Mayor Tremblay announced his Transit Plan this past week and I was completely floored by how audacious and how environmentally progressive it is.

What is getting most of the chatter in the press is how Mayor Tremblay plans on financing his transport plan: with tolls.

Reading the various commentators and listening to the various ‘streeters’ that Radio Canada and TVA have done and it appears some quite haven’t gotten it.

Who really hasn’t gotten it is the mayor of Brossard, Jean-Marc Pelletier. Upon hearing of Tremblay’s plans to put tolls on roads that lead into Montreal (not on the bridges or the autoroutes) proclaimed that he too will put tolls on the roads leading to the Eastern Townships so that Montrealers will have to pay on their way to the Eastern Townships.
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Comment from an STM maintenance worker

A Metroblogging Montreal reader left this comment on Laiya’s post about the looming STM strike, and I thought that it deserved a wider audience. If any other STM employees happen to be reading, I encourage you to share your thoughts with us here.

Just to let you guys know, that maintenance people at the STM are not ONLY the people who clean the stations and garages. I work as a maintenance employee at the STM and my job involves repairing electronic equipment, which, with the aging of our metro, fails more often. We are asked to patch equipment that is over 40 years old with parts that we do not have. Our job just keeps on getting harder and harder over the years. Meanwhile, the personnel that retires is not being replaced/re-hired, so we end up with more and more work for the same salary.

It’s unfortunate that the strike affects the public, and personally, I am against it, BUT it is the only way that our employer and the general population will listen to us. We have tried talking to our employer, and they have closed their ears, saying that they cannot negotiate with us, even though our collective agreement has been expired since January.

I know that the majority of people are not on our side, but understand that this strike is not illegal, it has been allowed by our government. Essential services will continue, and the maintenance employees, although on strike, will still be working at maintaining the Montreal metro and repairing all of the obsolete equipment, so that you can get to work/school/etc on time.

I am not asking for sympathies, just for a bit of understanding. We do not want to take the population hostage, and believe it or not, but we are also left to ourselves when it comes to transportation, since we (dept I work for) start and finish at a time that essential services are not operational. I will be biking to and from work for the duration of the strike.

Hope we don’t end up going on strike, and that the STM has the decency to at least start negotiating with its employees, but if we do go on strike, rest assured that it’s not a vacation for us, on the contrary it’s more of a hassle than anything else.

Posted by: STM Guy at May 10, 2007 09:49 PM

Nostalgia

As you now doubt have read, listened and watched all over, this is the 40th anniversary of Expo ’67 – Man and His World.

You’ll no doubt have seen photos posted on Flickr, newsreels of the great events and listen to Baby Boomers all over lament as how those really were the good old days.. when Montreal made its mark on the world.

You’ll also hear later some of these same people complain, that our society today no longer has this vision. That these types of projects are no longer tolerated. They will point to the Casino/Cirque du Soleil as an example of ‘great’ projects that were killed.

I’m 35 years old. I wasn’t around for Expo ’67. I don’t remember the Olympics. But I am quite aware of the mess that was left over after these grand ideas. I am quite aware of the deficits and more importantly the environmental cost that was left over.
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Veil non-nonsense

So veils are in the headlines again. This time it involves the voting process. My first impression was that Boisclair was right on, after all, how are we supposed to ensure the identity of a voter if we can’t verify it visually? But then I got to thinking, “why should voting turn into a moral question for someone?” Wouldn’t it just be easier to have a woman at the voting place who could take the veiled woman aside for identity verification? Couldn’t everyone be happy then? Even though I hate the phrase “reasonable accomodation”, I’m all for the spirit of it. What do you think? It’s not quite as black and white as it seems.

Apathy

The one thing I’ve noticed about this election is that, the media not withstanding, there’s a huge amount of apathy in the population. I think I have a good chance to sample views, mostly from white collar workers who commute to work from the suburbs, and the overall theme is that “it doesn’t matter, they are all undesirable”. So people are either going to vote for the “least undesirable” candidate, or get to know their local deputé candidates to make their decision. I’ve noticed that people have great dissatisfaction with Charest, no confidence for Boisclair, and a sort of “underdog” phenomenon happening with Dumont. Still, the majority of my students (I teach adult Francophones English) are undecided. Sure this isn’t scientific, but might inform some of the speculation out there. Not much else to talk about in Montreal today. We’ve got snow, the St Patrick’s day parade (looks like a beautiful day for it – snicker) and the election. It’s going to be an interesting 8 days coming up.

“A vote against Montreal”

With polls showing that the outcome of next week’s provincial election is too close to call, an interesting trend has emerged. According to today’s Montreal Gazette, the campaign has divided voters along regional lines, pitting the disgruntled inhabitants of rural Quebec against the urban elites of Montreal. According to political scientist and ADQ supporter Guy Laforest:

Mr. Charest is seen as being part of the Westmount/Outremont/Sherbrooke politico-business elite. Mr. Boisclair is more connected to the media/cultural elite of the Plateau Mont-Royal. Mr. Dumont appears more like a champion of the regions.

What I find worrisome is that the split is based less on linguistic concerns than on broadly cultural ones–immigration and ethnicity, for instance, which both Tornwordo and Laiya have written about here, as well as Mr. Boisclair’s sexual orientation, which certain commentators have endeavoured to make an election issue.

If the pundits are right, the Quebec split mirrors the ideological boundary between America’s “red” and “blue” states, across which the so-called culture wars are endlessly fought. In both cases, cities are viewed as a source of undesirable ideas and values that are imposed upon non-urbanites against their will, often at the expense of issues that are important to them.

I’m curious to know what Metroblogging Montreal readers think about this. Is there a fault line between the city and the regions? If so, can it be bridged, and how?

Oui, M. Boisclair, c’est raciste

I normally don’t like to talk politics but this latest issue on the campaign trail hits too close for comfort. André Boisclair, leader of the Parti Québecois, refuses to apologize for referring to asians as those with “les yeux bridés”. Il prétend que “yeux bridés” est une expression acceptée et utilisée habituellement par les gens. He sees absolutely no problem with referring to people by one physical characteristic and does not believe this to be a racist act. Laissez-moi vous dire, M. Boisclair, étant une “Québecoise”, d’origine asiatique, née içi, au Québec, je trouve que votre choix de mots est en fait, extrêmement rasciste et offensif. It’s too bad that all the education in the world isn’t enough to enlighten small minds.

Si on se demande pourquoi le Parti Québecois n’attire pas le vote des immigrants, le vote “éthnique”, il ne faut pas penser trop pour trouver une raison. Comments like “slanted eyes” hurt. They hurt as much as they would to a small child in the school yard as they would to a fully grown adult. Si on ne peut pas vous appeler “une tapette”, M. Boisclair, qui vous donne le droit de référer aux gens commes des “yeux bridés”? Calling you a fag is as insulting as calling me slanted eyes.

Tant que le Parti Québecois continue à avoir cette mentalité de “nous” (les vrais Québecois blancs pur laines de souches) et les “autres”, le Parti Québecois n’atteindra jamais son but de bâtir une nation Québecoise. There is no room in André Boisclair’s vision of Quebec for “others”. Pour ma part, peu importe mes efforts, je ne me sentirai jamais acceptée comme étant Québecoise. Je m’identifie comme Montréalaise certainement, cosmopolitaine, mais malheureusement, pas Québecoise.

André Boisclair can claim to have many asian friends and be fascinated by asian culture but that doesn’t make him any less of a moron than those men who approach me with lines like “ni hao”, assuming that my being asian automatically makes me Chinese and madarin-speaking. Afterall, we all look the same and we must all be the same right? Tous les asiatiques sont les mêmes n’est-ce pas? André Boisclair’s vision of Quebec will never be able to compete with the global economy if he persists in his tunnel vision. Maybe one day, we will be able to live in a society that considers itself as one human race and not just races distinguished by big noses or big lips or slanted eyes.

All this at the start of Quebec’s Action Week Against Racism (March 15 – March 25). Incroyable.

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