Today marks Montreal’s 375th Birthday. Events, parties, and special celebrations are being planned around the city to showcase it to the world.
On May 17, 1642, Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve brought French settlers here to establish a colony. At some point, the British migrated here, and many other cultures have since followed. This gave credence to a city known for its cultural diversity. It is something that all Montrealers should take pride in. Sadly, I don’t.
There are only two languages that matter in Montreal – French and Money.
Celebrating a monumental birthday is a great way to build community spirit. And, I am all about the party. But, at what cost?
According to an article in McGill’s TheLink, Mayor Denis Coderre set aside $329 million for this project. Knowing the history we have with proposals and tenders, this number will likely double by the end of the celebrations. The “Big O” is a perfect example of Montreal’s incompetence when it comes to making big on promises. What was supposed to cost a few million ended up costing taxpayers somewhere in the billions. After numerous attempts to fix the roof, we are going to have to sell it if we can’t find a use for the stadium. Perhaps a major league baseball team could use it? Oh, that’s right, we don’t have that either.
I imagine someday it will be turned into an animal shelter to house all the homeless dogs that people can no longer afford to keep because they have been labelled dangerous. Yes, only in Montreal is man’s best friend considered an enemy of the state. Fido will now be the canine version of a rag to riches to rags story.
The Olympic Stadium is an eyesore. It is nothing more than a daily reminder of how corruption in Montreal comes with a huge price tag.
Do I need to mention that 40 Million dollars (of Coderre’s Celebration budget) are being used to light up the Jacques Cartier Bridge?
Because this is how our city will attract tourism he argues. Yes, our mayor thinks that lights on a bridge will attract tourists and not the famous festivals, culture and nightlife that we are already contributing tax dollars to.
Let’s put things into perspective.
Bombardier is Montreal’s golden company.
It is the pride and joy of Montreal. A family owned corporation that leads the world in vehicular and aeronautics technologies. It employs a huge number of Montrealers. But, troubling times led both governments to bail them out to the tune of an estimated half a billion dollars in loans according to the Montreal Gazette.
And yet, Bombardier will cut 2830 Canadian jobs, including about 500 in Montreal.
Hydro Quebec overcharged its clients. (and got caught!)
CTV Montreal reported that Hydro Quebec overcharged its clients 4 billion dollars, during an 8 year period. This amounts to roughly 350 dollars per client.
The worse part? The Quebec government knew about it. They were using the money to cover unforeseen circumstances. You know, things like bailing out Bombardier.
Bombardier dropped a Bombshell
This headline in the Financial Post says it all. “Bombardier’s top execs get almost 50% pay raise as the company lays off thousands, taps government aid.” Enough said.
And yet, Bombardier is a major contributor to Montreal’s Birthday Celebrations. Where did they get the money for such frivolous things?
And, then Mother Nature Reared it’s Ugly Head (Twice)
A heavy rain fell on the city a few weeks ago creating massive flooding and tonnes of damage to its infrastructure. A harsh winter, countless accidents and a Highway 13 legal disaster that still hasn’t been settled are laying heavy on our minds. Hundreds of Montrealers lost their homes and livelihood in the recent floods. Most are still cleaning up and we have no idea what the final cost will be. I don’t think they feel like celebrating.
All we know at this moment is that Montreal has offered 250,000 to flood victims. Quebec has pledged about 500K. This amount wouldn’t even cover the Bombardier executive bonuses.
Figures don’t lie and liars never figure
All of this on top of the fact that Montreal has been battling corruption scandals and language issues since the 1970’s. Recently, the province’s former deputy premier was himself charged with corruption.
In 2014 the Charbonneau commission was created to look into corruption in the construction industry.
The past 40 years has nearly destroyed this city. Racism, corruption and gross mismanagement are just some of the reasons why. But, we aren’t supposed to talk about it. Canadians are great at sweeping things under the rug. I think we have gone too far. The dust is piled too high. It’s time to clean house.
In the past few years, Montrealers (and Quebecers too) have spent billions of dollars on funding corporations and political kickbacks. These same corporations are now laying off people and consistently overpaying and overcharging. We have lost billions of dollars and resources to corruption meanwhile our hospitals, justice system and schools are in crisis? The Government of Quebec has paid back most of this with money that is owed to us. And, now they are trying to tax churches for helping people. Sound about right?
Today, I should be celebrating Montreal’s Birthday. Instead, I am protesting.
I can honestly tell you that I no longer take pride in this city or province. If I could leave, I would, but the truth is, I cannot afford to do so. The government owes me too much in interest.
Montreal is a city in the Province of Quebec in the country of Canada. Nothing more. If not for the people who actually live in it, it would have already sunk into the St. Lawrence River.
In the one moment that it could have shined, its elected officials didn’t even have the decency to recognise some of its founders and the real beauty of the city. The citizens who come together no matter what language they speak. #itsacompletefail
For the past 40 years, anglophones and allophones have been a simple afterthought. People like McGill and Dorchester made this city great. It is now a huge metropolis screaming for political change and sinking deeper into debt by the minute. Imagine how many lives in the city could be saved right now with that money. Now that would be a legacy I could get on board with.
Houses for the homeless, jobs for those in need and better access to Doctors. Budgeting is not rocket science. It is about understanding priorities and knowing what the needs of your citizens are. Lighting up a bridge is probably not high on that list.
The ultimate slap in the face? Our own Prime Minister refuses to acknowledge our existence. He did not mention the British, Irish, Italian, Greeks (and just about every other culture) in his celebration speech.
These are the very same people who built the bridges
If there is one thing the Liberals think they can count on is the English Vote. They know that the alternative scares us even more. But, I would not be so confident this time. For the first time in my life, I am thinking that I will vote for someone else. How many others will do the same?
I want my money back – Montreal is a terrible investment when you don’t speak ignorance.
other sources cited: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/montreal-decline-neil-macdonald-1.3501352