Calling All Anglos!

Another city election is upon us and with it comes the usual campaign rituals; name calling, lip service, vague promises, and a smorgasbord of useless facts, and that is just from the incumbent. And no matter what they all say you know for sure you are going to get your brass polished for a few minutes before they go back to ignoring you for four more years. It’s an endless cycle of things not getting done, rising costs, ineffective bureaucracy (and the merged city made that much worse), more broken promises, and a general decline in the quality of services (you should see bus stops in Verdun in winter).
Our current mayor, Gerald Tremblay, campaigns amid a sea of controversy surrounding corruption charges, selling very, very valuable city property at bargain basement prices, while trying to convince us that highly unpopular billion dollar projects, like that at Griffintown, are good for the city. There is no logical reason to vote for Tremblay, unless you are one of the businesses that contributes to his campaigns of which apparently 94% will receive city contracts. There isn’t much integrity or personal pride in any of it.
So what do we do?
Louise Harel of Vision Montreal certainly deserves a chutzpah award for having the sheer gall to run. She was one of the architects of the universally acknowledged failed mega city and 8 years later we can clearly see that she has no true fundamental insight into how Montreal should be run most efficiently. But you probably don’t like her anyway as you simply could not support anyone for mayor of Montreal who was a Minister in a Parti Quebecois government. You don’t like what you feel is an obvious political agenda.
Fair enough.
But voting for Tremblay would just be really dumb.
I can guarantee you one thing and that is that the strategy of voting for the person who is not a “seperatist” is going to continue to backfire in perpetuity. There will be little comfort knowing Harel did not win if you are going to allow Gerald Tremblay and his developer buddies to just continue to sell low, build high, and do it all on your dime!

Let’s move in to the 21st century.
There is an alternative, a very real third party called Projet Montreal. Projet Montreal – go ahead, call it Project Montreal, it’s okay – is not an out of left field party, only popular with certain groups, and gone in a few years. It is, in fact, a rapidly growing movement of people from all walks of life determined to build a great sustainable city that is economically and socially responsible, with a strong commitment to the environment, while giving a voice to all it’s boroughs, neighborhoods, and citizens. Projet Montreal is the party for people who are fed up with the lies and tunnel vision ideas of traditional politicians who are quickly becoming irrelevant.
The leader of Projet Montreal, Richard Bergeron, has a PHD in Urban Planning. He thoroughly understands the issues facing the city in transportation, economic and sustainable development, and city administration. He is a good man who has shown much passion for the concerns of everyday ordinary citizens.
Just last week Richard Bergeron stated that the city needs to be studying an extension of the Metro Blue Line west of Snowdon to Montreal West (and you can see the three stations on Projet Montreal maps). Some might think it’s only another campaign promise. Well, sure, the timing is there, but this idea has become part of Projet’s Montreal transportation plans. He brought it up because the others have ignored it. And he understands the frustration of residents in the west end, and the West Island, who have to endure seeing places like Laval and Longueuil being offered the transportation carrots while they continue to get ignored. Projet Montreal understands that there is life west of Decarie!

Projet Montreal celebrates Montreal’s ethnic and cultural diversity. And it likes Montreal’s English community. It respects who you are, what you bring to the city, and hopes you want to participate. As an “Anglo” candidate I have been treated with much respect and warmth by candidates and supporters alike and really hope you will all at least give this party a look. You might like what you see!
The world is and has always been changing, but we are the brave pioneers of the Climate Change era. What we choose to do today will determine how well we may be able to live tomorrow. And we owe it to our children, our grandchildren, and future generations to be strong and just caretakers of this wonderful city. You have choices and you can have a voice if you give your support to a party that would like to listen.

Ken McLaughlin
Projet Montreal Candidate
Verdun – Champlain/Ile des Soeurs


21 responses to “Calling All Anglos!

  1. I’ve been very involved in the Turcot mobilization over the past year and as a result, have learned more about car emissions and transportation infrastructure than I would have ever imagined.

    I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and learning from many professors in Urban Planning about what makes for a sustainable and healthy city.

    Sophie Thiébaut, a social worker with whom I worked in the Mobilization, is now running as a Project Montreal candidate…Why? Because she believes that Turcot is far too important for Montreal’ s development and that we cannot afford to let private interests sacrifice Montrealers’ health and well being. Turcot is part of a complex network that needs to get on track with the current realities of climate change.

    I found a flyer in my mailbox today from Harel’s party that exemplifies how the two main parties are cashing in on the work of others: A big picture of Turcot on one side and on the other, the Vision team proclaiming that a better Turcot is possible… What’s ironic is that it took a year of public pressure for them to take any position at all but now they are literally ‘borrowing’ the slogans from the mobilization.

    The general public has no way of knowing these kinds of details and to most people, all parties seem to spout the same lingo.

    Richard Bergeron is an urban planner; from the start, he was/is the only party leader that saw the folly in rebuilding Turcot and had the guts to say so publicly; (all the others waited to see which way the wind blew).

    It’s hard to get the message out when the issues are as complex as Turcot and a city’s infrastructure but Bergeron is the only guy who knows what realistic measures are needed to get Montreal back on track in a way that protects our future and fosters sustainable growth.

    Check out the very diverse team of Projet Montreal candidates… Whether community leaders, organizers, teachers, they are all very committed to changing the way government listens to it’s citizens

  2. I agree with you, Jody. Richard Bergeron has been attending all the public meetings regarding Turcot since the early days and his presence was very encouraging when there was no other political support at all.

  3. Another important point about the Harel team and their proposed solutions to the Turcot: they clearly don’t know what they’re talking about. In their presentation to the BAPE commission (summarized here the Vision Montreal team talks about burying the Ville Marie between the Turcot and Guy, and some improbable scheme of electric buses on the highway itself. As Boston has demonstrated with its “big dig”, burying highways just entrenches their presence in the downtown core and adds congestion to their approach roads.

    I’ve been won over by Bergeron’s understanding of the city’s transportation issues and practical measures he proposes.

  4. The number one thing is for Bergeron’s supporters to get out and vote. Absolutely central. Few people vote in municipal elections so the few that do, decide it.

    Let’s bug our friends, meet our friends at the polling station before going out to supper, whatever. We need to just show up…well, and then vote of course.

  5. I pretty much universally agree with Richard Bergeron’s views and believe he is an amzing urban planner. The only question I have: Does he have the tactics and timing to be a good politician? This is probably more important than most who support Mr. Bergeron are willing to admit. He might be a better free-wheeling insightful thorn in the side of an established regime, than a leader who is held back with trying to run city hall. Not saying he’d be a bad leader, but politicians are always held back after they get into any form of real power. Just look at Obama! Montreal needs a visionary leader with hope for the future though, and I wish Mr. Bergeron lots of luck!

  6. I agree that turcot is an important issue but i have a question: can a municipal party actually stop a mega MTQ project?
    Tremblay opposedthe highway 25 bridge but that went ahead anyways. Same with Notre Dame “boulevard” trench highway. The city didn’t agree with the MTQ’s plans but all they managed to bargain for was a bunch of money for traffic calming in the adjacent neighbourhoods, no fundamental change to the plans.
    What is the stragegy?

  7. You raise an interesting question, Alanah. Should cities be able to intervene on provincial government projects that take place in their jurisdictions? One would hope the answer would be yes, but it doesn’t look like it is like that now. And I have my doubts that Gerald Tremblay would have done any intervening if it wasn’t for the swell of support for a different Turcot project and an election year. The whole Turcot thing could be a turning point on how things are done in Montreal. We have seen everyone from the local neighbors to academics and various professionals and, when push came to shove, the politicians come on board. In any case, and whatever the outcome, I do believe Turcot has been a much needed learning experience for many, many, people.

  8. Ça ne vous dirait pas de vous intégrer un peu et de respecter le caractère francophone de Montréal?

    J’ai pensé voter Projet Montréal, mais à voir de quelle façon même ses candidats se prostituent en anglais, j’ai vite déchanté.

  9. I am sorry you feel that way, Louis, but I think my point here is to suggest that Montreal’s English community actually stop voting along linguistic lines and simply vote for the better party with a plan based on honest values. For me the language debate stopped being an issue front and center at some point in the late 20th century and I think most Montrealers might agree with that. And, yes, this is an English blog, because it is written in English, by an English person. But to suggest that this blog, or it’s author, and by extension, Projet Montreal, somehow does not respect the French nature of Montreal, or the French language, just strikes me as being some kind of typical internet baiting game that is just looking for an argument or an opportunity to provoke negativity. Louis, let me make one thing clear – I don’t want to play!

  10. Je m’excuse, mais je ne comprends pas vos propos. Nous sommes à Montréal, deuxième ville francophone, et nous parlons donc le français.

    Aurait-on idée de s’adresser aux gens en Russe à New York? En espagnol à Moscou? Ici, c’est en français que ça se passe.

    Si vous désirez vivre dans une ville anglophone, il y en a des milliers sur la planète. Mais celle-ci est francophone, c’est la nôtre, et si vous ne désirez pas vous intégrer, vous n’êtes pas bienvenue.

  11. I have no idea what audience you think you will find here, Louis, but let it go, Louis, just let it go, as this blog may not be as popular as you might think it is.

  12. Ayant visité le New York à plusieurs reprises, je dirai à M. Lafontaine que, en effet, il est possible d’entendre parler le russe à New York, en plus d’une multitude d’autres langues (incluant le français). C’est cela que fait la richesse de cette grande ville.

    Ses propos ne sont pas clairs. Réproche-t-il à Neath le fait d’écrire un blogue en anglais? Si c’est le cas, c’est le comble du ridicule.

    Ou est-ce qu’il est fâché parce que Neath a fait appel aux “anglos” de voter Projet Montréal parce que Louise Harel a la difficulté avec la langue de Shakespear?

    Si c’est le dernier, je trouve un peu plus justifié sa critique, mais il aurait avantage de clarifier ses propos, et laisser tomber le langage provocateur qui s’apparente à un genre de racisme (“Si vous ne desirez pas vous intégrer, vous n’êtes pas bienvenue”). Ce genre d’intolérance ne fait que nuire à sa cause…

  13. I would add that Louise Harel did some other disgusting stuff as PQ minister, like freezing social aid checks and thus impoverishing further thousands of Quebeckers, francophone and anglophone alike.

    I gotta be honest with you, though, Neath, Richard Bergeron strikes me as a kind of kook. What’s this business about 9/11 being an inside job? Okay, I know he wrote that before going into politics, but the point is, he sticks by it, and it would kind of worry me, having a mayor with theories based on pure speculation, without concrete evidence. And I read an interview with him in La Presse in which he praised authoritian Drapeau as a great Montreal mayor. Does he plan to model himself on that autocratic style?

    Don’t worry, though, no chance at all I’d vote for Tremblay (if I vote at all for mayor…I will vote for local candidates, though).

  14. The problem here is a mixed metaphor — Russian in New York City isn’t a threat to the linguistic vitality of English there. By contrast, English in Montréal (including this comment) is a threat to the linguistic vitality of French in Montréal.

    As you know, English acts as a global language of assimilation — being the means of transmission of choice of the “monoculture”; it is also the continental language of international trade and the “national” majority language of Canada.

    Knowledge of English was also essentially a requirement for entry into well-paying jobs in Montréal (as Marc Levine, for example, points out in his book “The Reconquest of Montréal”) until the bogey-men in the PQ addressed this situation somewhat. Thus it was also the language of the Montréal elite and remains so : compare the richest English-majority municipalities in Québec with the richest French-majority municipalities. Compare McGill’s humanities library with UdeM’s.

    Saying that the protection of French harms diversity is laughable — language legislation and subsidies for cultural language products are the contemporary preconditions of diversity. All this shows a painful reversal of the “diversity” rhetoric against itself, in favour of a postmodern “aggrieved (well-off) majority” discourse.

    English-speakers don’t need an “assimilate or begone” missive, enforced through social discouragement and the rather ineffective OQLF, because they already have a more powerful one at work: the globalised free market.

  15. Richard Bergeron’s ideas about 9/11 are okay with me, I prefer a person for mayor who does a little bit of his/her own thinking, providing it isn’t part of some deep paranoid psychopathology:P
    Drapeau was a hero to most Montrealers because he brought in all those great projects (Metro, Expo, Expos, Olympics, etc) at a time when Montreal was supposed to go downhill after the opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway. Instead we became world class and it was all his doing. He was very, very hard to resist. Like many I only became anti-Drapeau well after the Olympic games, as I slowly over the years began to see what the real long term effects of his reign had left us with beginning with a 30 year debt. Hindsight is 20/20 of course. But the way he ran the city was very totalitarian, a democracy we were not. Much of the corruption scandal stuff we hear today, such as contractors grossly overcharging for materials, became entrenched during the Drapeau era, at least on a very large scale anyway. I think for many people it is quite hard to let go of the idea that he was some kind of a super mayor. I also think it is important to note that the Montreal Canadiens 25 year domination of professional hockey ( 1955-1979) also runs pretty much parallel to the the Drapeau era, so it is really hard for people to think of those times as anything but the “good old days”. Drapeau is a paradox, a great mayor whose lofty ambitions put us in the hole.

  16. NEUmontreal, Maybe I am just naive with how language still plays out here. I tend to think the French language is reasonably safe, and that us Anglophones and Francophones can be very good for each other, but of course I know nothing of how French may be getting gradually eroded with the presence of English on the internet or other ways.
    History can always be counted on to give us reasons to be uncomfortable with each other if we choose to go that way. I feel the time is right to build together, that our basic humanity will rise to the occasion as we face a new era in human experience. And if in Montreal we do it in French that is very okay with me!

  17. I thought NEU pretty much got it right, it’s important to recognize that though anglophones are a minority here, we are an immense majority in North America…There are no vacuums where everyone is just equal.

    Now, I heard this morning on the radio, “Richard Bergeron has requested police protection” because he is concerned that the powerful mafias that control the city will target him as he rises in the polls.

    Then I read in the paper: he hasn’t actually received any threats. He’s just assuming he will. You see, that’s the kind of conceptual leap I find a little dangerous. I wouldn’t call it pathological, but I do detect a strain of paranoia in there. My personal experience is that conspiracy theorists can be extremely difficult to work with, because any criticism tends to be perceived by them as part of the conspiracy…again, independent thinking is one thing, lack of intellectual rigor is quite another.

  18. I’m not so sure the police protection thing is paranoia. The more revelations about corruption and possible mafia links to City Hall, the more rational some kind of protection sounds.

    Something very ugly has been going on at City Hall for quite a while (eg. before Tremblay). If Bergeron becomes mayor it will be beautiful for the citizens and the city but it will probably be rocky for a while – none of the shadow players will be happy about losing their handouts.

  19. I agree with Embe. Right now contractors are waiting on some of the most lucrative contracts in the history of the city (Turcot starts at 1.5 billion) and we have a very real political movement that is threatening to change the way things are done at City Hall. It’s probably a very good thing that this became public information now than wait for something bad to happen. In fact, this might even help prevent something bad from happening.

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