Standby for la tempête



Jean Charest’s Liberals have nominated noted Upper Canadian Michael Sabia to lead the Caisse de Dépot. Sabia kicked things off with a press conference in his heavily-accented French. Bernard Landry has already piped up in record time, calling Sabia’s appointment “a disaster”.

“My reaction is very negative, not because of where he was born, but because of his economic outlook,” Landry said this afternoon (link in French). “His culture is federalist. It is ‘Canadian’, which isn’t a fault in and of itself, but which doesn’t qualify him to run the biggest financial institution on the Quebec nation.”

(Landry, you’ll recall, brought Henri-Paul Rousseau to the Caisse, which subsequently lost $40 billion. I wonder what sort of culture that represents?)

This is going to be so messy. Quebec must the only place in the world where it actually matters what language money speaks.

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Standby for la tempête

  1. Two quick thoughts:
    Will the tempête be stronger or weaker, do you think, than if, say, hypothetically, a bilingual anglo Ontarian would dare to fire his French Canadian subordinate and take over as head coach of les glorieux? I’m not saying that would even be possible, but– oh, wait…
    Why do I think hiring a thoroughly non-fluent American would have been greeted with less vitriol than a somewhat bilingual anglo Canadian?

    • Really good question MYL. Could be you’re thinking it because your subconscious noticed something peculiar about Quebecers’ political sensibilities. I’m waiting to see what, if anything Martin offers as a response.

    • To your second tought: Maybe… When an american is coming in Quebec, he has a fresh eye on a very complex situation. Some remains of a colonial attitude disturb some canadians minds. Suspicion is one of the main value in Canada, in french and in english.
      Last fall I talked with a McGill teacher, american born but here since over 20 years . We were chating about politics and he told me how he was still surprised to see the animosity in the comments from english canadians about Quebec.
      As far I can see in this debate, the judgement of some people seem altered because Landry commented the question and just because of him.
      But to come back to the question: Mr Sabia doesn’t have the competence and the experience to do the job. Plus, as Mr Landry suggested: hiring someone to manage Quebec money should at least be a bit knowledgeable about the province he’s going to work for.

  2. I thought at first you wrote ‘ trempête ‘. It’s dinner time.

  3. I only have one question. Where did you find that awesome picture??

    Seriously, what combination of words do you need to Google in order to come up with that? I tried “angry man pointing at watch.” No dice.

  4. It’s so strange that Landry is still a) talking to the press on everything and b) getting his comments reported like they were important. I can’t think of a parallel in which a retired premier, one moreover who had his head handed to him by his own grassroots, still serves as the point-man for his ideology. Is he collaborating with the PQ (saying what they can’t say), or is he really off on his own? If the latter, the only reason I can think of that journalists still print interviews with him is that he always gives them good (i.e. rather inflammatory) quotes.

    • Landry has been a media commentator for some time now and does not speak for the PQ. Until recently, he wrote a column for Le Journal de Montreal. He quit when he learned that the paper was using Ontario workers to subsitute for its locked-out workforce. Heh.

      • I used to despise hardcore separatists like Landry, but now I mostly feel sorry for guys like him. The big dream that has guided his whole life still looks as unattainable as ever. Now he’s just an old man reduced to impotent griping, and he will die a citizen of Canada rather than Quebec.

        • Critical Reasoning,

          keep dreaming that the sovereignty movement in Quebec is unattainable. Landry’s dream is still alive.

          I feel sorry for guys like you who are about to get a rude shock.

          • Hasn’t poor Landry suffered enough? Now you want to have him cryogenically frozen!

  5. As a future RRQ pensioner, my confidence was a bit shaken in la Caisse. But after learning of Sabia’s appointment, I have lost my confidence in it. I guess I’ll have to buy more RRSP.

    The guy’s a major snake oil salesman. Any holder of BCE shares under his reign would tell you.

  6. It’s amazing to blast Mr Landry because he uses the words language, federalist, etc.

    The caisse was created to support the Quebec’s economy. The nigthmare of every quebecer, anglos and francos is to see somebody with a foreigner allegeance to manage what to do with our money.

    I know, Mr Sabia, is quebecer but his record doesn’t show any accointance with Quebec’s economy.

    But I’m not surprise to see the enthousiasm welcome from the anglos, everything who can enrage a separatissssse is good even if it’s meaning a catastrophic moment for everybody.

  7. Is such ‘racist’ (for lack of a better term) musing par for the course in Quebec? I wouldn’t care if a Pakistani were hired to run the CPPIB, if he or she were deemed best qualified.

    • why is what Landry said racist? Isn’t it normal that the top guy for the most important financial institution of Quebec demonstrate his love and attachment to Quebec, that he considers Quebec’s best interests the most important of all?

      Don’t Canadians, like you, demand the same thing for their prime minister and for other important jobs that affect Canadians like you.

      You Canadians are so hypocritical, it makes me sick. That is one of the reasons I became sovereignist.

      • Isn’t it normal has started so many ridiculous nationalist arguments in Québec over the last decades, I am surprised it continues to be attempted. But, I’ll bite.

        NO!!! IT’S NOT NORMAL!!!

        You need someone to do a job? Here’s a tip: Hire someone who’s qualified, trustworthy, has experience, a track record, whatever. Love and attachment? T’es pas sérieux? Steinberg, Provigo, Videotron, Domtar, etc., etc., etc. That’s what happens with love and attachment, Antonio.

        You can argue against Sabia’s fitness for the job, absolutely. But, merci monsieur Landry, it now becomes HARDER to do so because Bernie just managed to expose you to the charge of nationalistic stupidity.

        • Why is not normal to ask to somebody: who will he serve first? The Caisse was created to contribute to the quebecer’s economy with their own money. Will he serve the Quebec’s economy.
          It is suicidal to be indifferent to this question and it is normal to look to your own interest.
          Bernie didn’t expose any nationalistic stupidity. He raised a good point.
          The debate raise an other question: Could it be possible for Landry to say something and be listened and not be called racist?

          • Who will he serve first?
            Care to describe the choices here?
            I am hired by the government of Québec to preserve and improve the financial health of the investment fund for the public pension and other public investments. In return I shall be paid an agreed-upon compensation. Done.
            What’s with the first serve?

  8. What is your politic about comment? Do we have to agree with you to be published?

  9. What’s the point to not question Mr. Sabia appointment.
    All the controversy is coming because we question his background.
    Don’t you think it’s normal to question somebody when you’re hiring him. Do you ask if they have the credentials to make the job. Do you ask if they have experience? Do you ask if they share the goals of the enterprise?
    If you don’t do: it’s bad business.
    Many commentators raise good arguments, even Mr Landry. Please, go beyond your prejudice and admit he has some quality even if you hate him.
    I think it would be time to many anglos to question the fact they use the ethnic argument to undermine important issue.

    • Bernie screwed up royally on this one, yet again! By questioning Mr. Sabia’s ethnicity, Bernie has single-handedly lowered the debate to street level insults. All those people of good faith who legitimately questioned Sabia’s controversial record at BCE will now be silent not wanting to be associated with Bernie’s ethnic cleansing broad brush approach to Quebec politics.

      And so the debate about Sabia’s credentials to take on the CDP job has been sidetracked by language extremists for all the wrong reasons.

      Meanwhile back at the CHUM, another delay. The Dorval circle for 2012, maybe. Highway 30, who knows.

      Plus ça change…

      • I think you’re taking your dream as the reality. The debate about Sabia is not at all about ethnicity even at the street level.
        You’re mixing up some little things like questioning the cultural background and language fight. Mr. Landry pointed the fact Mr Sabia is not connected with Quebec, economically and culturally. I don’t thing it’s a sin to question that even if it’s not rue. Asking question it’s not accusing.
        Yes, maybe Bernie is the devil. Big deal. He’s not Premier. He’s a commentator who has the freedom to speak. And sometime he’s raising some arguments like those in this question of Sabia’s nomination.
        Language and culture are still important in Quebec. And will stay a fondamental issue in every debate in Quebec. It’s certainly possible to ask quebecers to lower this question, but don’t ask to deny it.
        By the way it’s very insulting for Landry to use the word royallly for him, well done.

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