12 top business quotes of 2012

Who said what … and why

TORONTO – Business speak isn’t always serious. Here’s a look at 12 of the top business quotes of 2012:

“It is like negotiating with the monkey with the organ grinder standing behind you with the sword of Damocles over your head.” — Capt. Paul Strachan, president of the Air Canada Pilots Association in March on how the government undermines the collective bargaining process when it intervenes.

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“I did my own reality check on where the entire company really is … It’s now very clear to me that substantial change is what RIM needs.” — Newly installed Research In Motion (TSX:RIM) CEO Thorsten Heins following the announcement in March that Jim Balsillie was leaving the company.

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“This is not Pepsi Cola and Coca Cola with some formula of how to make the fructose. This is railroading.” — New Canadian Pacific CEO Hunter Harrison in July, speaking to concerns he would leak confidential information from former employer and rival Canadian National.

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“If I knew I was in a Turkish bazaar, I wouldn’t have put my best foot forward. I feel like a fool.” — Juergen Kuhn, the head of business development for MTU Aero Engines, the losing-bidder for Aveos’s liquidation of its engine repair business, testifying in Quebec court in August and characterizing last minute negotiations with winner Lufthansa Technik as unprofessional.

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“As far as trade is concerned, Canadian businessmen don’t know who Pussy Riot are.” — Konstantin Trofimov, Russia’s trade commissioner to Canada, speaking in August of the potential that the jailing of punk band Pussy Riot would discourage Canadian businesses from pursuing opportunities in his country.

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“It’s sweet apples and sour berries on the same day… it’s just ironic … of all the bad luck.” John Pliniussen, professor at Queen’s University School of Business on RIM’s BlackBerry outage the same day as Apple’s iPhone 5 was released in September.

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“We’ll still get there. I’ve written the book. Y’all just gotta get to the right chapter here.” — Canadian Pacific CEO Hunter Harrision speaking about the railroad’s performance during the company’s third-quarter earnings conference call in October.

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“The culture is very similar. Similar dreams. Similar aspirations.” Leon’s chairman Mark Leon, commenting on the company’s move to acquire rival The Brick in November.

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“The fact is, the smartphone market has changed in the last 24 months and RIM is not only late to the party, the party has moved to a different location and RIM is showing up at the wrong house.” — Analyst Brian Blair of New York’s Wedge Partners, remarking that rising expectations for the BlackBerry 10 provided false hope for RIM’s investors in November.

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“Why not become a circus clown?” — Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney acknowledging in October that he was approached by the Liberals to run for the party leadership, but maintaining he was not interested.

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“I was brought up in a certain way. There is no bad job, the only bad job is not having a job.” — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in May after introducing reforms to Employment Insurance that redefine suitable employment.

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“We have operated 100 years and we haven’t had this kind of problem and we’ve retained lots of agents and done thousands and thousands of projects around the world, so I think we have to put this into perspective.” — SNC Lavalin board chairman Gwyn Morgan in March in the wake of fraud allegations launched against senior executives of the company.




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