Montreal is a disaster

The once-glamorous city is now a corrupt, crumbling, mob-ridden disgrace. What went wrong?


Montreal is a disasterIt says something about a city when tales of bravery in the face of organized crime are apparently a prerequisite to governing it. Five weeks into an increasingly bizarre election campaign dominated by scandal, graft and good, old-fashioned backstabbing, Gérald Tremblay wants it known that he is scared for the well-being of his family. Montreal’s mayor and leader of the municipal party Union Montréal (Quebec has parties at the city level) is vying for a third term. He says his decision to clean up city hall during the past four years has made him a target of Montreal’s criminal underbelly. He recently reminded voters of the time police found two fire bombs behind his country house in 2005. Then there was the time when, as Quebec’s industry minister, he denied a liquor permit to a Montreal-area wine producer—who was subsequently found dead in the trunk of his own car. “I’m not naive,” Tremblay told Le Devoir last week. “I’m very well informed. I knew exactly what I was getting into with the city of Montreal.”

Not to be outdone, Tremblay’s opponents offered up their own brave bona fides. Tremblay’s main challenger and leader of the rival party Vision Montréal, Louise Harel, reminded voters that her late husband, journalist and union leader Michel Bourdon, was repeatedly threatened by the Mafia. Richard Bergeron, of the upstart Projet Montréal, says he has requested police protection, though he makes it clear that his crusade against municipal corruption hasn’t garnered him any death threats—yet. “Everyone knows where I live,” he told a reporter recently.

While other cities grapple with garbage collection, snow removal and other humdrum realities of municipal politics, Montreal has, in the past several weeks, become a chaotic and dirty throwback to its bad old days. Allegations of mobbed-up favouritism, brown envelopes stuffed with cash, wildly inflated city contracts, an aggressive blue-collar union perpetually at odds with the mayor’s office: these, not its many charms and joie de vivre, are Montreal’s stock in trade these days.

Just who gets to fix this disaster will be decided soon: Montrealers go to the polls on Nov. 1. All three mayoral candidates—including Tremblay, who claims to have seen and heard nothing of the excesses perpetuated on his watch—have promised once again to clean up city hall. Should Tremblay fall, and there is a growing chance that he will, he will be replaced either by an ardent separatist and former Péquiste minister (Harel) who often refuses to speak English, or a relative political neophyte (Bergeron), whose greenish anti-corruption credentials are undermined by his staunch belief that 9/11 was an inside job perpetuated by the U.S. government.

The winner will inherit a chronically underperforming city burdened by an archaic governmental structure, a bloated public sector (Montreal’s city council has twice as many elected officials as New York City), and what many say is an endemic culture of corruption. More and more of its citizens are taking refuge in the suburbs, while big business continues to flee for Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. Montreal is saddled with the largest debt of any major Canadian city, and its infrastructure is a leaking, potholed mess. It costs 30 per cent more to build a stretch of road in Quebec than anywhere else in the country, and a recent multi-million-dollar water contract was cancelled after its cost ballooned from $154 million to nearly $356 million. The city’s political culture, one of its disgraced former politicians said recently, is hopelessly, institutionally crooked, “infected with gangrene.” Meanwhile, the province’s language hawks are yet again glancing sideways at the supposed creeping English presence among the city’s immigrant populations. The parade of bad news afflicting what a La Presse columnist once dubbed “a beautifully messy Latin city” has raised the question: how could something so beautiful go so wrong?

Montreal’s political and social landscape didn’t look nearly as grim eight years ago, when Gérald Tremblay rode into office with a promise to bring democracy and transparency to Canada’s second largest city. A former perfumer, hockey agent and provincial cabinet minister in Robert Bourassa’s Liberal government, Tremblay has cultivated the image of a squeaky-clean (if somewhat bland) politician whose idea of excitement, until his knee surgery three years ago, was a nice, long run through his neighbourhood of Outremont.

And Montreal welcomed him, in large part because he was so beige. The city has long been considered Quebec’s existential nightmare, “the rottenest city on the continent,” according to religious pamphleteer Evanston Hart in 1919, a place where every vice and threat—games of chance, naked flesh, the lion’s share of English people in the province—could be experienced in abundance. Though the city has since been rehabilitated somewhat, its reputation for secretive, top-down governance à la Jean Drapeau (who took power in the 1950s and ruled for nearly three decades) remained, all the way to Tremblay’s predecessor, Pierre Bourque. In his first two years in office beginning in 1994, Bourque’s party pleaded guilty to 122 counts of electoral and campaign finance charges. “Ever since Drapeau, Montreal mayors have had the tendency to last a couple of terms and then get into trouble,” says Harold Chorney, a professor of public policy at Concordia University in Montreal.

For years, it seemed Tremblay would buck the trend, thanks to Montrealers’ yawning indifference to municipal matters: barely 35 per cent of voters bothered to cast a ballot in the 2005 election. Whiffs of scandal—the city’s real estate corporation, run by Tremblay’s former chief of staff, was found to have made a sweetheart land deal to a well-connected developer—bounced off the mayor, as did the news that the city’s consultant and outsourcing budget had nearly doubled over six years.

Tremblay managed to withstand the revelation last April that Frank Zampino, his former right-hand man on the city’s powerful executive committee, had twice vacationed on the yacht of Tony Accurso, whose firm was ultimately awarded a $356-million water- meter contract without any debate in city council. “Frank Zampino didn’t make the best decision,” the mayor said of his lieutenant’s choice of vacation. The mayor nonetheless defended the water-meter contract, only to cancel it when an auditor general’s report said it was rife with “irregularities [and] deficient management.”

Still, a poll conducted in the heat of that scandal gave Tremblay a five-point edge over his closest rival, Benoit Labonté, a former member of Tremblay’s party whose electoral campaign included promising to bring a major-league soccer team and the world’s fair to Montreal, as well as a pledge to make city hall more transparent. “Tremblay ahead, despite it all,” read an incredulous La Presse headline in May. The reason? “People find him to be a congenial, pleasant and decent man who is surrounded by people who are maybe less than that,” Chorney says. “Tremblay was heroic in the federalist media. Everything in Quebec revolves around how this does or doesn’t make a contribution to the issue of sovereignty. There was a feeling among Anglos that Tremblay, a federalist, might be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch, so they turn a blind eye to certain excesses.” Judging by the election results, which saw Tremblay beat rival Pierre Bourque by 16 percentage points, French voters largely followed suit.

The first truly devastating bombshell came earlier this month, shaking Montrealers of their indifference: a Radio-Canada investigation into the province’s construction sector uncovered a wide-ranging price-fixing scheme in which 14 construction companies colluded to fix bids on public construction jobs, and in some cases used Hells Angels muscle to intimidate rival firms. One of these contracts included the refinishing of the facade of Montreal’s city hall, though most were for road construction and repair in and around Montreal.

These firms, the investigation alleged, would typically pay three per cent of the value of the public works contracts to what one former Transport Quebec official dubbed “the Montreal Italian Mafia.” Coincidentally or not, an ensuing La Presse investigation found that a former Union Montreal fundraising official named Bernard Trépanier was in charge of a scheme that saw three per cent of the value of contracts distributed to political parties, councillors and city bureaucrats. (Mr. Trépanier, dubbed “Mr. Three Per Cent” by La Presse, denied involvement in the scheme.)

Furthermore, La Presse noted, 16 of the 272 firms who worked for the City of Montreal since 2005 received nearly half the city contracts. The overwhelming majority of them went to . . . Tony Accurso, the yacht-owning friend of Zampino, and a politically connected businessman who has extensive construction interests in both Quebec and Ontario. Accurso also had business ties to Claude Blanchet, husband of Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois. In 2007, Accurso allegedly picked up the $14,000 tab for an Action Démocratique du Québec fundraising dinner held at Accurso’s restaurant. Zampino himself left city politics to work for Dessau, which was part of the consortium* with an Accurso-owned company that was awarded Montreal’s water meter contract, in January 2009 (though he left the position three months later).

“Tremblay is either crooked, incompetent or just lacks the courage to attack difficult problems,” says John Gomery, he of the Gomery commission on the sponsorship scandal, who now serves as honorary chairman of Bergeron’s Projet Montréal.

But Tremblay’s party certainly hasn’t had a monopoly on scandal. Louise Harel promised to clean up city hall “with a broom”—en français, bien sûr, given her triumphant inability to speak English. She chose as her running mate Benoît Labonté, who kindly stepped aside as leader of her party, with a promise from Harel that he would become president of the city’s powerful executive committee if she was elected. Armed with near-instant favourable polls, Harel depicted Tremblay as dithering, clueless and willingly blind to the corruption going on under his nose. She called Labonté, a borough mayor, formerly with Tremblay’s Union Montréal banner, “a man of principle” who left Tremblay’s side because he couldn’t stand the stench.

The Harel-Labonté juggernaut (such as it was) lasted four months—until a journalist for the online newspaper Rue Frontenac found that Labonté himself had met with and solicited money from none other than Tony Accurso on several occasions in 2008. Labonté peppered his subsequent, vehement denials with threats of lawsuits against Frontenac. By way of her Twitter feed, Harel denounced the “false accusations.” Her indignation lasted all of 24 hours, however; the next day, Labonté was fired.

Labonté soon found himself in a nondescript hotel room in front of Radio-Canada’s cameras, wearing what might be described as post-catastrophe casual, admitting to everything he’d denied over the last week. Yes, he’d lied. Yes, he’d met with Accurso several times. Yes, people close to him accepted cash from Accurso on his behalf. Moreover, Labonté said, there is corruption of this sort at every level of government—even in Harel’s Union Montréal party, where “sectoral finance” was code for soliciting campaign donations from big business, illegal under Quebec law. “The reality is that every party, municipal as well as provincial, and there are no exceptions, collects cash and gives it to front men, who then write a cheque to the party in question,” Labonté said.

Put off but undeterred, Harel stashed away her broom. She would need nothing short of a vacuum to clean up this mess, she said.

That’s an understatement. Even beyond all the corruption, Montreal has become unruly and dysfunctional. It’s perhaps easy to see why it’s so difficult to get things done when you consider the city has four levels of municipal government and 105 elected representatives—by comparison, Toronto has 45; New York City, 51. It’s also saddled with one of the largest public sectors of any North American city. Tremblay put this system in place to keep several recently (and forcibly) merged boroughs from separating. It didn’t even succeed in that aim; in 2005, 15 mostly English boroughs voted to leave the amalgamated city. Result: these boroughs pay taxes to the city of Montreal, yet their citizens cannot vote in the municipal election. It also means these boroughs have become de facto fiefdoms that regularly stymie island-wide projects like expanded rail service and highway access. The city’s governing structure is “a Swiss-cheese mess,” says Concordia’s Chorney.

Maybe it’s why so many people and so many businesses continue to leave. According to a recent Quebec government report, 21,000 Montrealers decamped for off-island suburbs between 2007 and 2008—a bigger exile, percentage-wise, than from Quebec’s desolate, perpetually destitute North Shore, and the sixth year in a row that the city lost more than 20,000 people. Head offices, too: Montreal, according to a recent Fraser Institute report, continues to lose them to other parts of the country—even though the threat of separatism, Montreal’s eternal albatross, has been practically non-existent for some time. People who remain, according to statistics, are less likely to finish school (the city has a 45 per cent dropout rate), more likely to be unemployed, less likely to get a physician, and more likely to become pregnant at a younger age than anywhere else in the province. And the usual tussles over multiculturalism continue. Former Péquiste premier Bernard Landry, decrying the fact that immigrants and anglophone students now outnumber their old-stock French counterparts in Montreal-area schools, recently called for the provincial government to modify Bill 101 so as to restrict access to English colleges, known as CEGEPs, for recent immigrants. Old ghosts, it seems, die hard.

The man who wants desperately to hang on to all of this is still standing—shaking in his boots, maybe, but standing nonetheless. At one moment, Mayor Tremblay denies knowing anything about payoffs, price fixing or mob connections within city hall; the next, he says he is scared for the well-being of his loved ones because he has stood up to these very influences in the past. He has even brought his non-denial-denial shtick to the airwaves. “One of your colleagues at work decides to do something a little shady,” Tremblay says in one radio advert. “Do you think they’re going to tell their boss or you? Face it: they’re not going to tell anybody.”

His dithering might be serving him well for now. The Gazette, whose journalists broke several key stories about spending irregularities within Tremblay’s government over the years, endorsed the outgoing mayor regardless. “[T]he least distressing candidate in an unprepossessing field,” read an editorial earlier this week. Tremblay also has boots on the ground: come election day, Union Montréal has the (unofficial) use of the Quebec Liberal party’s formidable vote-getting machine, the very same one that has helped deliver three successful elections for Premier Jean Charest. Internal Union Montréal polls suggest Tremblay will likely squeak back into office, albeit by a greatly reduced margin. “They’re taking advantage of the fact that [Montrealers] have been asleep,” says former Montreal police chief and one-time mayoral candidate, Jacques Duchesneau.

There is one Montreal party with ethics on its side. Indeed, this election campaign has turned into something of a perfect storm for Projet Montréal, whose plainly simple environmental policy—less cars, more public transport and green space—is nearly as righteous as its financing rules, which are stricter than those set out in Quebec law.

The party is particularly popular in the Plateau, the artist- and hipster-infused bohemia where its leader Richard Bergeron has held a seat since 2005. “We have a monopoly of virtue,” Gomery says—largely because of Gomery himself, who joined the party in August, when its support was in the single digits. Things have changed: according to the most recent polls, Projet Montréal is nearly tied for second place with Harel’s Vision.

And it would likely be more popular were it not for Bergeron, the man who founded it. Simply put, he believes in the mother of all conspiracies. “Regarding the two other planes that crashed, one at the Pentagon in Washington and the other in a field near Pittsburgh, Pa, we enter into what I refer to as a macabre farce,” he wrote in Les Québécois au volant, published in 2005. “It might be that what we witnessed on Sept. 11, 2001, was a simple act of state banditry of titanic proportions.” It’s a telling, sad indication of the state of things in Montreal: the only mayoral candidate untouched by scandal believes 9/11 was an inside job. At the very least, Bergeron shouldn’t expect a congratulatory call from the mayor of New York should he win.

Scandals eventually fade, and any city, given the proper leadership, can tackle corruption. Gérald Tremblay is right to be scared—for his political future, for his family, but especially for the future of the city. The old, dysfunctional scandal-ridden Montreal of yore was a fun myth. The newer version is just sad. With Philippe Gohier

*Dessau was mistakenly identified as an Accurso-owned company in the print edition of this story.


Montreal is a disaster

  1. I can't believe they're putting the city on the cover in this manner. Annual attacks on Toronto are fine, but questioning the divinity of the Holy City of Montreal? Nobody at Macleans will be allowed to schmooze with the national elite anymore!

    • Your post invokes an interesting question…is the issue really that Montreal has become a corrupt, mob-ridden city…or is it that the "main stream media" just willing to widely report it now?

      Certainly as a businessman who has seen "funny business" in how Montreal…in fact most of Quebec…selects and rejects bid winners…I suspect that corruption and Quebec go together like priests and choir boys. Both "dirty little secrets" that have (finally) "gone public."

    • Montreal is hardly a city holy
      Unless you refer to the pot holey
      Pure, Montreal ain't
      Less you count up all the saint
      Then she is—holy-moly!

    • Lets all go get a beer and forget this,, GOD SAVE THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND ha ha ha hahahahahhahahah

      • Ha ha ha ha ,, so funny LOL

    • Holy city >>>> the money is being drained through a holy money grab.
      Maclain's is right. Right to have the courage to expose the truth >>> and if the truth hurts >>> well then it is time for the City to clean up it's short comings.

      Torono is not a perfect place for sure. It has 2 police forces, One that hides behind lamp posts with radar guns ON the Lakeshore among other places and the other police force hand out parking tickets 24 hours a day. However, there is very little if any corruption.

  2. Too many social programs and not enough money.Streets and bridges can crumble, but if you want years off with the baby, two if you have twins, we will pay you.This is not new – their money management stinks

  3. Folks, we are talking about Montreal – the corruption is nothing new nor is it surprising. What is surprising is that it took this long for anyone to question it. The city has been in decline for decades; what reasonable, honest business would like to move into a city that may or may not be part of Canada in the future – into that vacuum moved the less than reasonable and less than honest business men. The history of corrupt unions, organized crime and less than stellar public officials in Quebec goes back a long way – remember, a young man named Mulroney made his name on a Royal Commission investigating similar corruption in the construction industry in 1974. And, let's not forget the whole AdScam testimony that, at times, came straight out of a Soprano's script. Maybe this time, something will be done — commence the breath holding.

    • Oh great. Here comes the Quebec bashing crew…

      • If we have an opinion, why is it automatically bashing- It's an opinion, like it or not.

        • Who's "we?" The bashers? My post is in response to ron's comment. Why would you feel targetted, I wonder?

          • If your reply was to ron's comment, why did you not use the singular reference? If what you say is true, your reply should have said 'Here comes the Quebec basher'. Instead you used the plural, 'here comes the Quebec bashing crew…'
            Your own grammar betrays you and methinks we smell the strong scent of BS hovering around your straw-man, red-herring response to frenchie 101.
            No PolJunkie, you meant exactly what you said, 'Here comes the Quebec bashers'. So now that your own sentence construction has betrayed your real intent, and the straw-man that you set up has now been threshed, when are you going to get around to answering frenchie's question: "If we have an opinion, why is it automatically bashing – it's an opinion, like it or not."

          • I have to, once again, ask the question: Since my comment was directed at bashers, ron being one of them, why would frenchie and now yourself think that I was referring to you?

            If you don't consider yourself to be a basher, don't use the pronoun "we" in response to my comment, oh grammar checker. And yes, THAT grammar checker w/o an "s" comment is about you, Ceeger.

          • Lame. You still haven't answered the question.

      • Eille Tabarnak , MOe J viens du Quebec pi Ron a raison .

        C fait longtemps que ste gand de crosseurs la on le controle icitte.

        Tu peut pas avoire plus Qubecois que moe ok
        fac vien pas blamer les anglais encore une fois.

        Ya pas juste tout le monde en parle, le Journal de Montreal pi TVA qui on le droit de dire se qui pense dans la tribu ok.

        Sincreme ……………..

        Mario Trottier
        MTL 514 690-4868
        Los Ang 213 261-6543

    • As a native Montrealer, you are right on! The mob and corruption have long been entrenched in Montreal. Remember the construction scandals surrounding the 1976 Olympics?

      • Corruption in Montreal is not new news, though I agree it is nice to see it get some attention in the mainstream press. As for money management and crumbling infrastructure, I don’t think anyone in TO should be throwing stones.

        I do take issue with the cover suggesting Montreal is no longer Canada’s most glamorous city! Our roads may be crumbling and City Hall operates like something out of a Batman comic, but it is still the most “glamorous” city in Canada.

    • Mulroney built Petro Canada with  payers money and then sold it to his buddies at Suncor 

      Energy in Calgary.
      That phony bastard even took
      $225,000   cash money from   Karlheinz Schreiber for the Airbus contract.

      He probably has a beautiful oceanside villa somewhere with scammer partners as neighboors.

  4. Martin, aren't we exaggerating just a tad, here?

    • This does smack a bit of fear-mongering sensationalism for the purposes of increasing sales…

    • As someone who lives in Montreal, THIS IS NO EXAGGERATION!!! I am fed up and I am leaving! I have lived in several other Canadian cities and Montreal is supposed to be one of our top cities? How can that be? Has anyone noticed how crumbling and decrepit our roads and buildings are here? There is constant construction and road work going on here and the city always looks like a mess! I know this construction scandal is true, I won't comment on how! I am not moving to Winnipeg, but even Winnipeg is a better city than Montreal. I am out!

      • Bye Bye! Don't come back! I hear the roads are real nice in Calgary, go check it out!

        • The only problem with the roads in Calgary are the Quebequois. phuque yieux!! LOL

          • lol sick of the bs sed al that stuff up there and all u guys r talking bout is the first sentence the person sed wich wuz "im leaving!"lol…i luv blogs i love ppls comments they can be alil also a 7th grade girl =)

        • The good 'ol Kweerbec sour grapes refrain!!

        • You should go too

    • PJ, he's not exaggerating.

    • Exagerating??? All you have to do is look at the postal code. It's Quebec!!!
      In fact if you want to trace the fall of Canada as an internationally respected nation to the third world festering sink hole we are today just trace back to when Quebec hijacked Ottawa under Trudeau, Chretien and Martin. And then we pay the 8 Billion a year in transfer "Mob" money.
      This story hasn't even scratched the surface.

    • …and now we have 'brickgate'. And did you see those hockey jersey's … baberpole? They looked more like prison wear than sports wear. LOL in spades!!!!

      I love it.

  5. and toronto is so much better? PLEASE. its the same over there. Nobody has the cojones to write about it or talk about it. infact, its probably worse, in the big T.O. since there is way more money to spread around over there.

    • "and toronto is so much better?"

      Based on my personal experience with contract bidding processes for both jurisdictions…yep.

    • It's easier to make money in Toronto legitimately. Or at least legally.

      I don't think David Miller ever feared that he would be a mafia target.

      Toronto has loads of problems and likely has corruption – but our biggest problem in government is one of competence, not one of corruption.

    • I disagree. Montreal is worse. Politicians in toronto are not getting threats of violence.

    • Have you ever noticed how much better the roads are as soon as you drive on to the Ontario side of the Ontario/Quebec border? Seriously T.O. is not sqeeky clean but what goes on in Montreal is unbelievable.

  6. My family left Montreal in 1972 part of the crest of a wave of Anglos fleeing the persecution of the PQ, after years of harassment by the Union Nationale and the Liberals. Along with us went many of the head offices of prominent Canadian corporations.
    Montreal's loss was gain to Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary & Vancouver. The vacuum created by this exodus of talent & money was filled in by the corrupt, mobsters & bikers.

    So, if you must blame someone, blame the separatists.

    • Indeed. From my office window I can see the headquarters of Bank of Montreal, Royal Bank and Sun Life – all huge contributors to Toronto's economy.


      • support your big fat corporations by all means but keep them out of Quebec.
        We still have people and culture here!

    • Fred – need I remind you that this wester wind also carried headquarters from other eastern cities, including Toronto? That this may have been synchonous with the PQ gaining power – in 1976 and not 1972 – but that, while it was a contributing factor it was not the main reason?

      As for the word "persecution"… If you objectively compare the rights and resources available to the Anglophone population in Quebec compared to that of Franco population elsewhere in Canada.. Well, I find that word a bit strong. I have always been t loss to understand folks who have lived in the province all their lives and can't speak the language. Or have unrealistic expectations – If I am in Calgary I speak English, in Quebec City I speak French, and in Madrid Spanish. It's called respect.

      We all have our opinions – I love Saskatoon, Halifax, dislike Toronto, for many reasons. But that does not reflect on my appreciation of the inhabitants, their history and culture.

      As for corruption – where there is money to be made there will be the mob. Are you so sure that YOUR administration isn't as corrupt – or are they just more careful at hiding it? Wait a few years and we'll talk again.

      Meanwhile Montreal will have cleaned up its act and taken measures to prevent it happening again. Hopefully…

      • I'm fully aware that the PQ didn't gain power until 1976, but by 1972 the writing was on the wall. Many of us didn't want to stick around for the implementation of draconian language laws, tat we knew were to come.

        You can't believe what a relief it was to leave behind all of the franco/anglo tension of that time. The freedom was like being sprung from prison.

      • compare the rights and resources available to the Anglophone population in Quebec compared to that of Franco population elsewhere in Canada

        Go ahead, make the comparison. Are french signs legal in Ontario? Are you allowed to speak French at work, or is it illegal?

      • compare the rights and resources available to the Anglophone population in Quebec compared to that of Franco population elsewhere in Canada

        OK, let's make the comparison. In Ontario:
        -can you be fined for putting up a french sign?
        -can you be fined for speaking french at work?
        -can you be fined for addressing a customer in french, even if you know the customer is a french speaker?

        • OK, let's continue with the comparison. In Québec:

          – you will be fine for putting an English sign in Québec only after having ignored a request for adding French on it.
          – you won't be fined for speaking English at work.
          – you won't be fined for addressing a customer in English, especially when the customer is an English speaker.

          • Hmmm…

            – so you are admitting that in Quebec it is illegal to put up an English sign, in the rest of North America you can put up any darn sign you like (that's what they call freedom). Wow, this one was easy. Therefore the french minority in the rest of Canada is treated better in this regard.

            – yes, you can be fined for speaking English at work, it has happened before and it will happen again
   "The fundamental right of employees to carry on their activities in French would cover oral communications between an employer (through its representatives) and its employees that are work-related"

            – yes, the law in Quebec states that when adressing customers, you MUST start in French, and only afterwards can you switch to English. Many businesses have been fined for this.

          • Well, there's nothing to admit really. It's the law, French is mandatory on signs. As for English at work, there are plenty of organizations where an employee must know English to get around, Canadair (Bombardier), CN, Air Canada…

            As for addressing customers in English first and getting fine for it, I'd like to see evidence of this. It's ridiculous, really. I've been approached in English in Montreal businesses many times and always calmly reply in French. When the salesperson has linguistic limitations, I'm always glad to help out. The important thing is that all is done with courtesy.

            The Charter of the French language is a protectionist legislation; there's no sense denying it and that's how it should be looked at. Canadian Content Regulations are also a protectionist legislation; it makes it illegal to put non Canadian music above a certain percentage of airplay. There's nothing wrong with wanting to ensure the perpetuation of a valid culture confronted with the overwhelming domination of another. Now, the beauty of Québec's law is that it doesn't prevent English to be used, it simply makes French mandatory. Languages are cumulative.

    • Give me a break! it's that kind of antiquated thinking that fuels the separatists' fires. I completely agree that Montreal has major issues regarding corruption but to blame the separatists? I'm one of the Anglos who stayed…and Montreal is all the richer for having lost blathering idiots like you. Hope you're enjoying the finer things in life that Winnipeg has to offer like Tim Horton's, and…..hmmmm sorry can't think of anything else. Sorry, Winnipeg!

      • YUL – the point here is not that Winnipeg is less fun and less interesting than Montreal; that's self-evident. the point is that you like too many Montrealers seem to think Montreal being fun means the corruption isn't a big deal. I agree in one sense that blaming "the separatists" is silly; they're not some tiny little clique, they're representative of 60% of the mass of the white Francophone population. Regardless, the proportion of crooks in Montreal increased drastically when the WASPs and Jews, the most economically productive people, started leaving en masse. Ironically, the same vaccuum problem exists in the Winnipeg you mock too, which exports most of its best people to Calgary and Vancouver, leaving a disproportionate amount of the wretched and a bad biker-gang problem

      • All the richer for losing all those head offices?

      • When you can't make a sensible argument you resort to name-calling. I can assure you that I am not a blathering idiot, and neither is any of my family or friends who also left. (OK, maybe my little brother). You're assessment of Winnipeg simply displays the same ignorance of many who've never been there. Many Winnipeggers leave for other parts of the country, and the world, and many return. No one I have met or known has moved back to Montreal after moving away. Not that there isn't much about Montreal that I love, and I never wanted to leave. I've been back to visit, but life is just too simple and peaceful here to ever move back to such a nasty, corrupt place.

        • Pleased to meet you: I am a Montrealer who left and returned. Warts [i.e. separatistes] and all, I cannot think of any other city in Canada in which I woudl rather live. That is not to say it is best, but it is home. Certainly we can all look at our respective cities' advantages and shortcomings without labelling, name-calling and one-upping?

          • Ok, that 's one.

    • I do believe that the separatists and socialists (most of the time they're the same people) in French speaking Montréal helped Toronto and other Canadian cities to grow. I actually think that T.O. is ironically the greatest creation of the Parti Québécois. But, corruption existed in Montréal (and elsewhere) before your family left the city in 1972 :

      Eerie pattern of corruption scandals in Montreal politics
      « "Montreal is the rottenest city on the continent," Justice Henri Taschereau wrote in a 1905 report to city council that attacked the Montreal police force's tolerance of vice, according to William Weintraub's 1996 book, City Unique: Montreal Days and Nights in the 1940s and '50s. »

    • Effectivement, il y a des cas de corruptions de signaler dans certaines villes du Québec. Par contre les problèmes de corruption ne sont pas l'apanage du Québec, regardez dans votre cour Canada anglais. Quant au propos teinté de racisme de votre commentaire les québécois sont très heureux de s'être débarrasé de personne de votre genre..!!!

      • I've never met more racist people than Montreal francophones. When I lived there, I was spit on on the bus and the subway. I was assaulted almost daily in the playgrounds and streets of Ville LaSalle, Lachine, and Hochelaga.

        I've been coast to coast in Canada and the US, and never been spit on anywhere else. The only assault was in downtown Minneapolis after bar closing.

        When I was a child in Montreal, my grandmother cared for Mrs Cotroni, mother of the mobster brothers. We were well aware of their presence and influence. I doubt it has diminished.

        • cue the air violins, jeez!

          • Nice empathy PJ.

        • Fred,

          Spit on almost daily?… really?… you sound like an Angryphone. You make ridiculous statements and expect to be taken seriously. Of course, it's easy to believe that you've had your share of bad experiences. I've also had my share of sterile encounters with Anglophones. But was it because they spoke English? I think not. As in any demographic group, you'll find a proportion of idiots among English speakers.

          The issue doesn't come down to Anglophones being this and Francophones being that (I can't believe I'm typing this). You obviously don't realize it, but by casting individual characteristics to a group (in this case, implying that Montréal Francophones are racist), you are taking exactly the same shortcut you're accusing them of.

          • I didn't say "spit on almost daily" read it again. I said that I had some kind of altercation on an almost daily basis.

            It wasn't because I was "an idiot", it was because of the environment of the times. When we went to visit my grandmother in the East end (Haig & Hochelaga), my brother and I would be harassed be French kids every time we went to the the variety store for pop. It was "their turf" and they didn't want the "maudit anglais" stepping on it.

            It was the same thing when I lived in Ville LaSalle. If we were using the ball diamond, or the football field, or the hockey rink, invariably a group of French kids would show up and try to evict us, or try to provoke an altercation.

            Two of my friends and I were jumped by a bunch of French kids close to the Lachine Canal as we walked home from a school dance one night. There was no provocation, they just didn't like the "maudit anglais" crossing their turf.

          • There was a lot of hostility against the English back then, and if you want to deny the truth, then go ahead. I'm not angry, I just think that the truth needs to be told.

            The government policies of Quebec relegate everyone who is not Quebecois to second class status. If that's not racist, then what is?

          • OK, here is a completely different set of circumstances to Fred's with a very similar outcome. I've lived here for 2 years now and have encountered systematic racism at work, when shopping and especially when being pulled over by the overzealous Montreal police force. This is all based around language.

            I'm old enough and have lived in enough cosmopolitan cities to know the difference. At work I have to use a voice mail system that I do not understand and am forced to use a french language keyboard. Who is served by this? Does it really help the Quebec cause to produce successive generations that make speaking English something to be mocked?

    • get lose

    • You, are an incredibly idiotic human being. What kind of persecution are you talking about here, give me one good example. And speaking of persecution, the anglophones of Québec persecuted millions of francophones in the 20th century, so if for you, a nation rising up to get rid of anglophone pests that persecuted them is persecution to them, i salute your stupidity. And for your comment on people spitting on you in the bus, I must say a British gentleman from 1950 would have done the same to you seeing the way you speak.

      Thank you for leaving Montréal, we are well of without you.

      • oh dear.. the Harel-Mugabe voter rears its head

      • You seem to be a typical Montreal hothead. You ask about persecution? Where have you been for the last 50 years? For at least fourty years, anyone who wants to attend an English school in Quebec has been harassed by the government. Since I was a youngster there have been a succesion of bills and laws designed to restrict the public's access to an education in English, even if it is their mother tongue! Is that not persecution? Never mind the sign laws and persecution since the coming of the PQ.

        I was spit on and called a "maudit anglais" just for speaking my mother tongue to a friend on the Metro. You say you would do the same.

        In Winnipeg, riding the bus I encountered Philipinos speaking Tagalog, Asians speaking Pakistani, Mennonites speaking low German, and Franco-Manitobaines speaking French. Never did it cross my mind that I should spit on these people for any reason.

        As far as persecution of francophones by anglophones in the 20th century, that was obviously before I was born, because I never observed it.

        Also, you are hardly a British gentleman if you would spit on a complete stranger for having a different point of view than you.

        • Hello Fred!

          I just had to put my two cents in, since I lived in both Montreal, and Winnipeg. Montreal is a beautiful city, yet as an anglaphone who lived there during the year of 1995 was a very difficult time, and I decided to move to another part of Canada where I'd feel more accepted. Winipeg gave me that, however, my car was continously broken into, and I never seen anything like Main street before. ( and the winters really are horrible) So we decided to move again, and yes I wouldn't move back to Montreal, or Toronto, so we picked London Ontrario. Realy nice city to live in-but I can't find work! Bottom line- no city in Canada is perfect! I really do hope Montreal will clean up, it truly does have unique culture there.

    • You should have stayed in Montreal because your house would have increased in value. Have you checked real estate prices in Montreal lately?

  7. Who cares. Sending money to Quebec is the cost of maintaining our Coast to Coast to Coast empire.

    Look at it this way, for around $8 Billion a year in transfer payments, plus another $5 – 7 Billion a year to maintain a "Bi-Lingual" (read French) Civil Service in the "National Capital Region", we Canadians get to have Continental sized country, a G20 economy, and a generally great standard of living.

    Who cares if the money we send to Quebec is spent on Hospitals & Schools, or Porsche Cayennes for the wives of Mafia Bosses? What difference does it make to those of us on the ROC if Quebecois can't drive down the street without a cement block falling on their head? Who cares if 12 year old Francophone kids get blown to bits playing in the streets of Montreal? We throw the money scraps from our ROC economy into the province every year, and locals get to fight it out to see who gets the cash. Sit back and enjoy the show, after all, you're paying for it!

    • Lord,
      You say 5 – 7 Billion a year to maintaina "Bi-Lingual" Civil Service in the "National Capital Region" Would you mind posting your source for this number. I'd be curious to read that site. Thanks,

      • That's really just mean spirited. I bet you are hatefull af many things.


        Even Reid's estimates pale in comparison to the public and private-sector total cost calculated by a retired Toronto chartered accountant who has used the government's own statistics to extrapolate how much money is channeled into maintaining official bilingualism year after year. Jim Allan's comprehensive calculation includes the costs to federal and provincial governments, as well as the burden shouldered by the private sector. His astonishing results show that between 1969—when the Official Languages Act was adopted—and the government's recent fiscal year-end of March 31, 2005, the total cost of forced bilingualism was $772 billion, which is more than one and a half times the national debt. That's an average of $21 billion a year . English language advocates across Canada often cite Allan's calculations to support their argument that governments try to fudge the real cost of official bilingualism by not reporting private-sector costs.

    • Hey Harper … We get phuqued "with a litte help from your friends"

  8. Once more, Montreal makes Canada an exciting country to live in. Otherwise, it would be a very dull place to live in. Very productive and clean, but dull as a curling tournament. Yes, curling is safe.

    seriously, this kind of front page coverage has me more worried about the state of our great media outlets, which should be producing inspiring investigative journalism pieces, as oppose to perpetual current event commentaries which they now do according to their owner's hockey preferences. That, also, is a sign of democracy falling apart.

  9. Only one party is not up to its eyeballs in corruption scandals and ties to developers, construction tycoons and other vested interests. Projet Montreal may have a lot less money than Tremblay's and Harel's machines but it's a lot more honest and a lot more credible. I predict Projet Montreal and Richard Bergeron will surprise a lot of people on Sunday night.

  10. "For the rest of this story, check out this week's issue of Maclean's, on newsstands now."

    I'll wait for the movie.

  11. Typical Maclones… Fakery is fine as long as it makes an ideological point: that photo of a crumbling street isn't from Montreal as the police car makes obvious.

    • You're right. it's probably not Montreal – the “pothole” is a little small.

      • Not an idiot is right. That's not a Montreal police car. Look at the side of it. Montreal police cars have a single blue trip and then all white underneath. What a joke!!! Do a Google image search on 'Montreal police car' to see what I mean.

        • That is true, I am a Montrealer and we do not have these kind of police cars here. Plus the Bus shuttle is red in MTL , not blue.. Not quite reliable, isn't?? Shame on Macleans!

    • You are right. It is in Laval when the Concorde bridge fell over the 19.

    • THats true, the cop car is actually from Laval, you can see the Laval city logo on the trunk. I believe the picture was taken when that overpass collapsed in 2006. I guess it isnt just Montreal that is in the hole, the suburbs around it are too!

      To be honest, i live in montreal and despite the corruption, it is still a fine city to live in. However, much work has to be done to improve our economic competitiveness vs. other Canadian and North American cities. Montreal still has a long, long way to go to improve itself, acting against all this corruption is only a start.

  12. Calling the city of Montreal a disgrace is a little over the top. In fact, it's quite frankly shameful.

    As a proud Canadian, i don't approve of this sort of reckless bashing. There's a way to examine issues without letting it get personal.

    Instead of spreading exaggerations, lies and misconstrued information, why not do a positive story, one that looks at problems but also solutions?

    This is senseless bashing pure and simple. For shame, Macleans. For shame.

    • Save your nationalism for someone else…Montreal is crumbling in more ways than one. It is a Canadian city that we are ashamed of now…

      • Ashamed of!!! Have you ever even been to Montreal to be able to speak like this? Yes, Montreal has it's problems, as does Toronto. Let's not forget the wonderful garbage strike and the while Miller handing out bonuses to himself and his friends…. and it seems now Toronto is so broke they will be closing libraries!!! So there are problems in every city. An important point, is that Montreal has very little power and little money. We need to agglomerate the city with the other surrounding and independent boroughs.. like all other big cities have done. If the Charest hadn't put his nose in our municipal affairs, the city would have more money and less bureaucracy. DO you know that Montreal has 12 mayors….

      • Quebec ultra nationalists will always try to censor debate by labeling it as Quebec bashing. instead of having a public dialogue they label any perceived criticism of Montreal and Quebec as ‘bashing’. it’s a great way to censor debate in this country and for the Quebec ultra nationalists to deny the problem even exists and therefore never gets solved.
        Quebec ultra nationalists only deny deny deny problems so that the money will keep flowing in from hard working Canadian taxpayers to fund their failed socialist experiment in Quebec.
        This political corruption of federal politicians pandering to Quebec separatists need to end as well. Stop political corruption in Quebec please!

    • Can you cite any factual detail in this report that qualifies as exaggeration?

      • THE TITLE!

        • Did you read the story itself? The title is a succinct rendition of the story. Unless you can refute any of those details, you have a hard time refuting the "disaster" nutshell.

    • Rght On, McLeans, Right On!!!!!!!

  13. Whether or not this labeling is justified is almost irrelevant. The good thing is that it got some attention and may be (just may be!) things will now begin to change. It’s been going on for years and nobody was willing to talk about it. Acknowledging the problem, even if in a very tabloid way, is a good first step.

    Montreal is truly a bizarre place where certain oft-mentioned family names don’t have any of the Hollywood-tinted nostalgic overtones they might have for many of today’s New Yorkers who grew up since The Godfather: these names are *still* the daily reality of our lives. Occasionally, as it was the case with Maxime Bernier scandal last year, the rest of the country notices the dirty underbelly of local political life, and shakes their heads in disbelief and amazement, but that interest quickly wanes.

    Let’s hope this time will be different.

  14. Just goes to show when you keep getting something for nothing you eventually spiral down into degradedness and poverty. Time to cut off the equalization payments and than maybe Quebecers will start pulling up there boot straps and feeling good about themselves rather than acting like poverty stricken drug addicts.

    • you know what you're a dick. You've obviously never traveled and it's comments like this that make people want to seperate.

  15. I chose to live in Toronto for a simple reason, it was a better business environment for me. I would have preferred to live in Montreal, a great city.

  16. You have article about Montreal being corrupt because you resent that the city is really booming while Toronto is in decline along with automobile industry. Toronto is looking more and more like Detroit.

    • HUH? Montreal booming? That's a bit of an overstatement.

      • Montreal has not declined nearly as much as other centres. But then, about that starting point…

    • None of what you said is true.

    • Hahaha! Montreal is corrupt and it is all Toronto's fault? It is such an annoying and childish past-time in Montreal to bash Toronto. Please get over that old lie. Get over yourselves and realize that Montreal needs to compare itself to Montreal – and grow up and out of corruption. It is blatantly obvious and sad. Montreal has a possibility to do great things like any city, but instead it is jealously wallowing in crime and unkindness towards allophones, towards anglophones and towards anything that has the potential for success.

  17. Sensational title and falls a little short of describing what every day life is like here, but you know, gotta sell magazines right? I moved to Montreal a little over 2 years ago. For the most part, it is a wonderful city. But without question, infrastructure is horribly managed and it always has been from what I can tell. What's the most damaging about the most recent scandals are that they've cost elected officials their credibility on all subjects related to infrastructure. When my life is inconvenienced by a construction site, I don't think "Oh, that's tiresome, but it sure will be nice when they finish that new road/bridge/metro station. Because invariably, the work is slow, overpriced, and the results are substandard.

  18. Really who is surprised? Almost all the big corruption scandals in Canadian history come out of Quebec or have Quebecers as their key players. I’d be shocked if City Hall in Montreal wasn’t filled with corruption.
    Why is it possible? Because Quebecors don’t care. They know the money being wasted comes from Alberta or Ontario so they don’t care how it gets spent.

  19. Freedom's just another way for gangs to take control
    And the police force has it's arms tied behing their back
    Canadian liberal culture is fertile ground for crime
    And the US has put us on the watch
    An exporter country is what we are
    Another narcostate O'Canada

  20. movie for free on youtube "fall of the republic full hq" every city is under threat.the bankers have declared war on free humanity!!!
    wake up!

  21. RBC Bank President Gordon Nixon – Salary $11.73 Million


    I'm a commercial fisherman fighting the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC Bank) over a $100,000 loan mistake. I lost my home, fishing vessel and equipment. Help me fight this corporate bully by closing your RBC Bank account.

    "Fighting the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC Bank) one customer at a time"

  22. Having lived in both cities, I can assure you that Toronto is worse. At least there are not that many immigrants in Montreal .

    • Quel commentaire de merde

    • Oh really? A couple of years ago my wife and I attended a trade show in Toronto. We stayed in a hotel not far from the airport. There was not one white person on staff at that hotel. Down the street was an Asian grocery store and a strip mall. Across the street was an enclosed shopping mall. We dined there at a Vietnamese noodle restaurant, and then browsed the malls. We never encountered another white person anywhere.

      I'm not trying to be racist, but it was just remarkable to us coming from a city with only a handful of people of visible minority. Having been born and raised in Montreal, I've never seen such an area totally devoid of white people, even in Little Burgundy.

    • What are you smoking? Montreal is full of immigrants, and not of the higher quality kind. Usually they are the ones who are leftovers from other countries that would not accept them because of their lack of education, criminal ties, and/ or insincerity of their application for residency. Canada accepts approximately 60-70% of the immigrants that have been rejected from other countries, namely the U.S. and England. Even higher for Montreal's immigrants…Ride the metro for a while and you will see what I mean.

      • You guys are racists. 60% of Immigrants have University degree, and the average rate for local Canadians is around 23%.

        What kind of quality kind are you talking about?

      • You speak very wisely my friend. So very true.

    • Maybe there aren't as many visible minorities in montreal as in Toronto, but its still ridiculously multicultural. Everyone is a minority just under 50% speak french as a first language, ~20% are english and ~30 allo..

      • The problem is that Montreal and Toronto are not "ridiculously multicultural"… it`s the reserve you live in or the small village in the middle of nowhere that is "ridiculously monocultural".

    • I am assuming by your immigrants comments that your ancestors are Abboriginal Canadians. I hope they are, because otherwise, your ancestors could possibly have been immigrants. Oh what a shame that would be.

    • Wow, many awful comments in this subthread, but then the tone was set quite awfully by Maurice.

  23. I was just reading that Ontario is now a have not province that receives equalization payments and Toronto has a higher homicide rate than Montreal. Toronto should change its name to Detroit, Canada.

    • As of today (3-Nov-2009) there have been 46 homicides in Toronto this year. Detroit indeed.

  24. My god. What a bunch of drama queens.
    Also, Maurice Hurtubise's comment is improbable, I call fake bigotry.
    To bad Maclean lost a opportunity to have a fresh look at the city, Canadians
    deserve to know better.

    • Hey Sasha This is the fresh look at Montreal. Up until now we have been fed lies about it being a world class, modern and hip. Now we see the real Montreal. It rates up there with the ruins of Rome and ancient Greece!!!

  25. Why put a picture of the city of Laval (at left, the collaspe of the concorde bridge in 2006) and the two candidates of Montreal ( at right) together ? Nice impact but totally off.

  26. Poor Montreal,
    The Mayor does not trust the blue collars union the performance of which is below any criteriia
    The Mayor hires consulting firms (law, engineering and more) who think they have free hand to loot as they please
    The big contractors hire all the who's who of the city administrators.
    We now face a choice:
    Bergeron a lunatic that believes that 9/11 is a CIA plot and other imaginary plots
    Harel who wants revanche against anglos and what to centralize even more the city to make sure that suburbs are equally as badly treated as Montreal is
    Tremblay who tries to make sense of a corrupted administration that eludes him.
    What is needed: open all tenders to canadian and US firms and give powers to a new Elliott Ness to put order in the actual mess

    • Poor Montreal indeed Alain. You sum it up well. Is our best choice more Tremblay? I can't figure out if he is well-meaning but weak, or somehow implicated in all that's gone on. Maybe we need to hold our noses and vote Harel if it's the only way to clean anything up.

    • Well said, Alain! I don't remember ever witnessing such a dearth of choices. Bergeron was going to be my protest vote until it was discovered that he's a fringe lunatic!! Oh what to do? Oh what to do?

  27. Oh, please.

    When I moved here, fifteen years ago from Vancouver, I was shocked at how safe this city was. It still is. Women walk the streets alone at night without fear. You can leave your CDs, and even your stereo in the car overnight – and they're still there in the morning. What's more, unlike Vancouver and Toronto, people who work for a living can still realise the North American dream of owning their own home.

    Lowest murder rate for a big city in the country. Lowest rate of petty crime.

    Does the author even live here?

    • Most of what you say is true, though the lack of stereo thefts seems a bit questionable to me. Safety on the streets is not the point of Patriquin's article though. Often Mafia neighbourhoods are the safest ones since the big shots don't like it when petty stuff brings cops to an area.

    • Yes, the author lives here.

    • Hey Doc
      Try leaving French tapes or a copy of the Koran and we will see if they leave you alone.

      All I know is that I have visited the city twice and both times I have been victimized. Both through crime (vandalism and burglery) and also by Language. It galls me to come to Quebec and be refused service in English yet when I return to Alberta I have the French demanding their rights be upheld and they be served in "The Mother Tongue" French.

      Montreal is in the state it is in because all of the decent, intellegent and courteous people (French and English) have left for a better place. Once the body weakens the Cancer spreads!!!

      Get out before it's too late!!!!

    • Its the only city in Canada, that I as a female am not scared to walk about in.
      It still has culture, small streets and less of a driver/cell phone crowd.
      Oodles of small cultural venues too.
      Its a very old city and it needs to keep its slower pace.
      The metro is fabulous.

  28. Pat: please make a little chart detailing significant companies that have moved west from Toronto since the early 70s. Offhand I can think of one: Imperial Oil, going to its natural home in the oilpatch. Your argument doesn't hold water. Separatists always try to blame this mysterious "western wind" force for loss of head offices.. as if Boston or even crime-ridden New York were hollowed out during the same period!
    Anglos fearing `persecution' was always an overblown concern in Quebec (Though it didn't seem that way during the 60s, when bombs were actually going off) but the corruption issue sure wasn't overblown. Believe me, nothing in the rest of Canada comes close. Great to see Maclean's putting this on its front cover — it's the only news organization I see that's writing about the "real" Canada as it's experienced day to day.
    Growing up in Montreal, it was amazing how many of my friends' parents were involved in a business that was at least slightly shady. Living in Winnipeg and Toronto later in life, this just wasn't the case. I found living in Montreal really fun but on some level deeply corrosive to the soul.. it reminds me of talking to Italians about why they left Italy.
    The sad thing in Quebec always was that the clean-government movement was much too often left to separatists / left wing politicians. We can laugh about Mulroney being a crime fighter given how Baie Comeau boy's life has turned out, but in 1974 he was working for Robert Cliche, an NDP'er.

    • From FP Magazine: Top 500 Corporate HQ's in Canada:
      1990: Montreal 96 (19.2%) Toronto 186 (37.2%) Calgary 44 (8.8%)
      2008: Montreal 76 (15.2%) Toronto 176 (35.2%) Calgary 79 (15.8%)

  29. I understand the frustration implied in many comments here are based on the cultural difference and the french factor but i think this is a very naive way of looking at this. This has NOTHING to do with any separatist movement or any other ideology as a matter of fact. To say that it is is to admit your own lack of knowledge or even worst your eyesight is blinded by a vail of prejudice.
    Anyone from any city anywhere thinks this sort of situation is not happening in his own community wopuld be a totally naive individual. I am far from being a paranoid person but i am convinced this is just the tip of the iceberg. Should any journalist from any other city (and notice that dont say here major city but rather imply any city), i am sure before long we would hear the same horror story.
    Being a montrealer myself, i must say that i am not proud but also not surprised. But i naively hope that this is a start of a clean up stage that will spread to all levels of government and to the entire country.

  30. Mob influence and corruption are a cancer, it spreads without being seen and becomes a bigger problem, it is not new and NOT limited to Montreal, its just the place where the problem has become quite apparent. The stench of corruption is widespread, the Provincial Goverment is fighting tooth and nail to avoid a Public Inquiery against overwelming clamor from the population and it really looks like they have something to hide or 'friends of ours' to protect from scrutiny.

  31. I'm a Montréaler. Mayor Tremblay does not have that much power since most of the city's political power is with civil servants in Québec City. It's not surprising we're a mess. The PQ have been trying for years to weaken Montréal because it's the nerve centre of the province and it is really bilingual, two aspects incompatible with PQ ideology. And I think they also feared we wanted to separate to become a city-state which would be a great idea.

    • I am a Montrealer as well and I totally agree. Montreal is better off alone. MTL is truely a bilingual city and if Qc becomes a country, we have to go with the family; CANADA :o) But the question is: what should we do in order that MTL can have more power as all the decision making are in Qc city??

  32. Toronto had a corruption scandal that sparked the Bellamy Commission (2002-2005). Judge Bellamy made 241 recommandations that showed the way to establish ethics in the Toronto administration. Toronto still has problems (inequalities, street gangs, etc.) but it now has accountability mechanisms that are lacking in Montreal. The problem in Montreal is that only the Provincial Governement has the right to create a public inquiry. Having to rely on the Provincial Government is not the best solution for any municipal administration, be it in Ontario or Quebec.

  33. Lets not forget the murdering police force who keep getting away with being "trigger happy" with minorities and the homeless… I lived in Montreal for most my life… and recently left. I will always be a Montrealer at heart, but let's face it… the place is a mess and it breaks my heart that the citizens do not take more action against its municipal leaders, its unfair rental laws, police, metro police, city workers who sleep on the job.

  34. Yeah, the picture of the crumbling street, is in fact a picture of the overpass that collapse on the A19 in Laval, in Montreal suburb.

    • same metropolitan area, same mob. the mob built Laval!

  35. I live in Montreal – I was born in Montreal … and that was 40 years ago.
    So I am placed to talk.

    The cover of this issue is correct and I have watched this city ROT for 4 decades ….. once proud of a beautiful city on the world scale, Montreal is now a complete slum of dirt, broken roads and ugliness.

    I am ahamed !

    Montreal was at it's peak in the 70's – one of the world's best and beautiful cities …. then the separatist power came in and an expensive olympics hurt it badly – and it never quite recovered.

    • it shows that you left a long time ago and montrealer is not a slum you poor ignorant, stay where you are if youre that disgusted by our city piece of x bon debarras! na na na na na na na na hey hey hey good bye!!

      • get yourself another hit of crack.

    • I wonder what will happen with T.O. if they get summer olympics, too. Winter games are less expensive, but summer games? Could be something really good or really bad for Toronto.

  36. Tremblay's record of turning a blind eye over the last 8 years and Harel's record of being nothing more than opportunistic and lets face it is trying to place control of Montreal in the hands of the PQ. People then have been turning to Project Montreal's leader Richard Bergeron as the alternative. This is something Montreal voters may want to reconsider. His platform is nothing more than a socialist nightmare, making promises in the billions for Tramways. When he was confronted with the logistics of his plans and that the only way the city could afford them was to significantly raise taxes his response was shocking to say the least. " I will go and get the money from the Provincial and Federal government". Hey Genius, that money is tax money!!! His plan to fund low income housing is to force developers to make 25% of any development low income housing. I they don't then there will be a fine of $25,000 for each unit built. Who is going to come a build under that kind of administration? Nobody. He criticizes the other parties for spending massive amounts of money on campaigns and yet his party has signs on every corner of the city, pamphlets , mass mailings, ads in major media outlets. To fund a campaign of that size requires some significant funds and that money did not grow on trees. Speaking of trees, isn't Richard Bergeron the big self-righteous environmentalist crusader? His banners made from non-recyclable materials (coroplast), pamphlets which may be printed on "recycled material" however the printing process is not so environmentally friendly and in the end these pamphlets will end up in the garbage. Wow, maybe he deserves a spot in Montreal politics, for saying one thing then doing the complete opposite.

    The people of Montreal deserve a better alternative and her name is Louise O'Sullivan for mayor of Montreal. Go and vote for her and her team if you want to see some real change in Montreal.

  37. Although there are facts in the article I am sick of you Toronto people batching Montreal …as if Toronto or any city is clean….the fact that these issues a suddenly erupting in the media (because of the elections) shows that there is questions about how the city is ruled and Montreal's politics are at the crossroads….Toronto has not event came to this ‘'Pandora box opening'' yet!!! True that there is corruption in Montreal but name me ONE CITY in this world that is rally clean??? Chicago? Ha! Ha! Washington OMG? New York maybe? Not event your Toronto. In France and the UK you can find similar or worst cases in many cities. I bet if you dig more you will find some skeletons in your own Toronto's closets. This kind of language (used in this article) is rude and shows again the Toronto's arrogance toward any other Canadian city.
    Montreal is not only about mobs and brown envelopes..Montreal has a LOWER crime and murder rate than Toronto; it's in fact safer than Toronto… and one of the safest in North America. Once this election will be over and justice will come back people will all forget about this and we will move on.
    I'm From Montreal and I'm proud.

    • I totally agree :O)

  38. By the way the one who you call lunatic Mr. Bergeron …and his conspiracies theories about the 9/11 … well he say OUT LOUD what a lot of people around the word think about 9/11 but not dare to say the in public. But that is something you the USA colony of Toronto have a hard time to understand…

  39. When I get the opportunity, I'll leave Montreal once and for all. I would like to live either in Toronto or Calgary…

  40. too many overlooked things.. not enough money. If it ain't broke, don't maintain it!
    But if we listen to the Bloc and PQ, once Quebec separates, EVERYTHING will be fixed instantaneously. Like magic!

  41. This is NOT my experience of Montreal. It is my experience of Vancouver.
    Horrendous traffic there and hectic consumerism.
    Montreal still has a large 'small is good' mentality and ethnicity is still evident .

  42. Great title for a cover. I hope that:
    1. The author spent some precious extra time fiddling around on his keyboard when dreaming up this title.
    2. The author at least lived in Montreal and knows about some of it's ever present good qualities.
    3. Can go out and pay for a great meal at a nice restaurant this weekend with his well deserved salary.

    Now which municipality will be next to have it's reputation destroyed indefinitely. It's bad enough we have to worry about hockey players not wanting to play here cause they can't drive their Ferrari's on our city streets or God forbid have their children learn a different language.


  43. the mayor is like the cops he have to eat in italians resto

  44. We LOVE Montreal,
    For sure it is the best City in North America.
    It is also Paris of The New World.
    I enjoy living in Montreal for almost 35 years.
    I can not stand Toronto for 35 days.

    So, Maclean's can look in the Mirror,

    • Yes Montreal is the Paris of North America … the PARIS HILTON of North America -shallow, superficial, trashy, slutty and narcissistic.

  45. They did it to Chicargo, then New York..Now it s Montreal???
    This too shall pass.

  46. Good for you Nicolas, Wish there were more like you. This article about Montreal in the Macleans magazine is nothing new but typical Toronto bashing. Strange nothing was written in Macleans about the tons of garbage that Toronto was buried under earlier in the year or the police corruption, subject of a program on W-5. Just returned from a trip to the West Coast and was never so happy to return home to Montreal even with all its faults. While there read that the city of Kelowna has the worst crime rate in the country. This could be a nice story for Macleans.

  47. i am worried about this kind of sensationnalist article, worried about the hatred that involves, i live in montreal and have been in toronto several times,i am working in a company where 85% of the clientele is from ontario, and i have a membership with mcclean,by the way i cant believe that i am paying for that crap, i cant believe neither that canadians outside quebec didnt get over the "quebeccer majority separatist and anti anglo" , referendum was almost 15 years ago! Hello! come on!! And sadly surprised to see that member of mcclean that left message seems to aprove that b.s, thats true that theres is corruption and waste of money somewhere,godd that it comes out and those party will be judge adn the problem will solve soon, but it doesnt do our city a disaster, our city has weakness like others, but it is growing,infrastrucure, immigrants, economy, arts, culture, Hockey lol "maple leafs what a joke" but still love u guys!! Pls dont reproduce those bashing its really low and extremely poor standards!!

  48. Investigating journalism is fading away. Sensationalism is the game now. To sell at any cost in order to survive, that's MacLean front pages now.

  49. I live in down town MTL. I pay 500$ for my rent. I'm protected by a rental board, since 15 years, I was increased on coast of living. To go to work, I travel on a rented bike, the BIXI. I can walk at midnight without any fear. French, English? people are like a switchboard here, step by step, bilingualism is amazingly becoming a culture of its own here in MTL. Culture is everywhere by the way, more Canadian that ever in fact, since Montreal, in the cultural field is a global city, not an American sub-culture but rather a mix in European, Canadian and American, North, South.
    My case is common, many of my friends enjoy this true quality of life in this city. Sunday we'll vote for a change, you can bet on that.
    MacLean's front page came from the work of courageous investigating Montréal journalists, NOT from your magazine who's only playing the sensationalism trend.The front photos are not even related to the real events.
    Nonetheless, I'm proud and lucky to live by choice in this environment and I know most Montrealers feel the same.
    Good day to all.

    • Montreal embarrasses me and no amount of idealized stories about how much culture there is here makes up for this fact.
      (Culture in Quebec and Montreal is funded mostly by the federal government and hard working Canadians by the way – Quebec doesn’t even fund most of its so called much vaunted culture. CULTURE in Quebec is bought and paid for by hard working Canadians you lazy m*o*u*t*h*e*r*f***e*r*s!!!)

      Let’s fund culture more fairly to other parts of Canada. Why should the majority of Canadian arts funding and culture funding go to Quebec with this money going to support mostly separatist artists. Most artists in Quebec support Quebec separatism. Why is the MAJORITY of arts and culture funding money of hardworking Canadians going against their interests and going to support separatist artists in Quebec. They are the beneficiaries of the majority of arts and culture funding in this country. Why does the left wing parties NDP and Liberals) support the majority of the arts and culture funding in Canada going to support separatist artists in Quebec time and again? Why do left wing political parties hate the rest of Canada so much?

      I don’t feel lucky to live in Montreal. I am embarrassed as all hell that in Canada there are 2 levels of citizens – the french who get more rights and money for their population size than do other Canadians. This is what the left wing loonies of this country have brought about – a 2 tiered political citizenry system with Quebecers entitled to more rights, protected freedoms and bailout moneys than other Canadians simply because they are French and white. This is racism! which the left wing politicians refuse to take responsibility for. this is the hall mark of a leftwing politician in Canada refusing to take responsibility and doling out all sorts of rights and protections of freedoms and major bailout money to Quebec to satisfy its never ending manipulation of dumb left wing politicians in this country. Yeah that’s some democracy.

  50. 100%. Montreal is a disaster ! The mass exodus of companies in the 70's and 80's has destroyed the vitality of the city. Montreal is a mickey mouse town ! The Expos left town 5 years ago and the Habs are a joke !

  51. Is this the new growth strategy that the Toronto establishment is coming up with in times of crisis? The better economic performance in Quebec lately relative to Ontario must be hard to swallow indeed. So is the success story of the cirque du soleil on cover last summer… When is a scandal over Bombardier for?

  52. I moved 10 years ago from the west and much of what is implied in this Macleans articles is sadly true. I was very open-minded when I came here but over the years I am continually shocked by the mismanagement and corruption in this city. Its not just at the political level but it permeates everybody.

    I see it at my work..where people call in sick all the time when they are not..grossly incompetent tradesman..horrible custimer service..widespread use of cash to pay for services to avoid paying the sales tax. Even large companies have told me that I can pay cash..everybody does it here. People dont think twice about breaking the law or abusing the system..nobody thinks about the long term consequences. People think the government is there to keep feeding them money whether they deserve it or not..there is no sense of pride in the city or country. It does seem that this city is in a continuous state of decay..yes there is more construction now but I suspect its shoddy work just as it was 30 years ago.

    There is just a total lack of integrity in general that I have never seen anywhere else. I have lived in 5 other cities across Canada and Montreal is by far the worst.

    • too many italians

  53. Does Maclean's have any idea how many Montreal subscribers like me are going to flush their renewal notice? It's one thing to call your own mother fat, and another for the neighbour to do it. Shame, and bad marketing strategy. As if there's no corruption in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, etc…

  54. Wow Macleans magazine must be hard up for sales. Sensationalist headlines with little or no relevant facts. Believe it or not Maclean, the mafia probably control the majority of road construction companies in North America, never mind just Montreal. The fact that dodgy contracts have come to light should surprise noone. The only reason it did was because a municipal politician got caught taking kickbacks for a water metre contract. I guarantee you an audit of city contracts in any other major city would reveal similar results. I don't read your magazine and with ill thought headlines like this you shouldn't wonder why. What's next……Vancouver officials admit Olympic games will net zero profit, leave massive debt for years to come and the majority of big contracts were handed out to mafia controlled companies? It aint news….it's the way things are.

    • Little or no relevant facts that are also likely applicable elsewhere.

      Do you even READ your comments before submitting?

  55. The decade-long "FLQ crisis" that rocked Montreal, led to the growth of separatist feeling, damaged the Quebec economy and sent thousands of Anglos scurrying for the security of Toronto and Vancouver, was quite a typical CIA "psy op" supported by Montreal's entrenched elite and elements in the Canadian military and intelligence community. It was really an attack aimed at mainstream Quebecers, who had begun to assert their rights and become "Maitres Chez Nous." A series of Quebec politicians died suddenly, under mysterious circumstances in a short period of time — Duplessis, Paul Sauve, Daniel Johnson — and the real reason for their sudden deaths was the gradual takeover of Canada by US and British intelligence. It was happening in Central America, and the tactics were the same: divide and rule. But no one in Canada ever seems to get this. It's so obvious when you read the history.

    • Are you for real? The CIA and British Intelligence taking over Canada? I think you the "Acute Schizoprenia Paranoia Blues" (The Kinks – Muswell Hillbillies, 1972)

    • I suppose the best satire is when you are not sure that it's satire. And yet…

  56. C'est vrai, Montreal is a disaster
    But politicians here cover up faster
    Like my landlord who saves
    With a few magic waves
    It's a wonder what you can do with plaster.

  57. Funny, when I read a couple of years ago that former prime minister Brian Mulroney was given a million dollars for his opinion on the all ready chosen site for the McGill English Super Hospital, I wondered if anyone would speak up? When the University of Quebec in Montreal, UQAM, lost half a billion dollars when building two new buildings (one they put up for sale because of cost overruns), I was perplexed that no one thought this was unusual. The former rector is being sued for the money – good luck! Now the municipal elections have arrived with stories of back room deals, brown bags filled with cash, and 'influence' peddling! Wow. The newspapers (actually a web site) started doing their jobs, for once…

    Montreal, home of the Ponzi scheme, of the smoked meat sandwich, of pot holes that could eat all the other cities in the world. Is everyone smoking funny cigarettes here? The best news is that Montrealers are up in arms over the closing of the 'Red light' district; save our strippers, no strip malls! In other Canadian cities you can die of boredom – not in Montreal! Don't worry, this too will pass. Maybe we need a million dollar Royal commission so that more paper will be produced with little real results. The red light district needs some more business…

  58. Once again Montrealers who hear anything bad about their city resort to Toronto bashing, even if the issue has nothing to do with Toronto. You guys have one hell of an inferiority complex. How about next time an article like this comes out instead of using it as excuse to say bad things Toronto, use it an an oppertunity to examine your cities problems (which as much as you would like to believe do not exist, do), and move forward. That's what everyone else is doing. Also, to all those people who say they are sick of Torontoians bashing Montreal, the author of this article is from Montreal…

    • Toronto bashing and Canada bashing is what keeps the english and the french from bashing each others heads in here in Montreal. Whenever tensions get too much in Montreal between the english and the french – the anglo media and journalism elite resort to Toronto and Canada bashing to inject a little levity and lessen tensions. But these idiots never get to the bottom of the problem. They just mindlessly bash Toronto and bash Canada. But the problems still remain you dumb anglo idiots!

      La creme de la creme of anglo Montrealers left Montreal to Toronto during the 70’s and the 80’s . The anglos that remain here are mostly brain dead idiots who live in an idealized past, still talk on adnauseum about the Expos and resort to bashing Toronto to feel good about their pathetic sad little lives as second class citizens living in Montreal. The anglo media in this province are truly pathetic. Dumb and useless.. The best , the brightest, the most entrepreneurial, the most creative and the most monied of the anglo Montrealers left for greener pastures elsewhere.
      The anglos that remain in montreal will always Toronto bash given that they are second class citizens in Montreal after the French. Bashing Toronto gives them what little pleasure they have in their sad little second class lives.

  59. This is the way things have always worked in Quebec. It is embedded in the French Quebecers belief in top down government. Quebecers never take individual responsibility or demand individual liberty. A variation is the United Empire Loyalist views embedded in Ontario, a province created by intellectual cowards who believed they needed a King to rule them rather than risk taking the responsibility of individual freedom and responsibility. Thus Canada was born. We elect people to tell us what to think, what to do and when to do it.

  60. If it's the separatists fault in this issue of disgrace, how come the Anglos from Montreal support so massively Tremblay's corrupt administration?

  61. Mr. Patriquin,

    I feel that Macleans is turning into a sensationalist magazine. Yes, there is corruption in Montreal, and so there is in any big city, including Toronto. Despite that, it is still one of the best place to live and it is quite safe compared to many other canadian cities. By the way, the picture of the pothole is not even from Montreal… How do I know? Do your homeworks, the police car seen in the picture is not from Montreal… We do have potholes, but this one is not ours…

  62. I visited Montreal this summer, my first visit in 13 years. There was a noticeable change in how much more run down the city was. It was shocking actually. Right before my visit the big news was a piece of building (concrete) fell off and killed a lady at a restaurant. I love visiting Canada, but I don't think I will be returning to Montreal anytime soon.

  63. I signed up just to leave a comment.
    I find it shameful that the author constantly puts down Mme Harel's inability to want to speak english.
    Just a reminder that French is the ONLY official language of the Province of Quebec and The City of Montreal, she doesn't need too, by law.
    Sure it's nice sometimes to get out to another demographic, I mean she does speak some english after all. But I live in Ottawaa where there is a strong french minority and the mayor can't speak french.
    The mayor of Toronto doesn't speak any minority language either.
    What's the big deal?
    Why can't anyone just respect the fact that Quebec is a francophone province.

    • You have a point. Montreal is 20% french. Ottawa is 15% English. Gatineau is 13% French. All of these mayors mayors should be bilingual, with such large percentages.

      It is especially important these days after amalgamation has taken place and eliminated councils that were able to speak all the languages of their constituents.

    • Davoo, it's not nice that the Ottawa mayor doesn't speak French. I wish he did given he represents the national capital of a nominally bilingual country. But that's neither here no there: it would be a disgrace if a mayor of Montreal couldn't speak English. Despite the best efforts of the Harel tendency over the last 35 years to erase historic street names and avenge the centuries where we Anglos built Montreal while most of the Francos were kept safely in factory work or in the care of the ultramontane Catholic Church, Montreal remains an important North American business city and retains some of its pre-1980 global prominence. The most famous university in Canada, which draws international scholars, is English Montreal's McGill. The most famous singer from Quebec is anglo Leonard Cohen. The city is on the international clubbing, culture and tourism circuit. Companies like Bombardier, Power Corp, SNC Lavalin and what remains of Alcan's local presence try to play on a global field. A nice future for Montreal would be if it were a city like Stockholm or Amsterdam, globally oriented capitals of small nations that actually care about their place in the world (Quebec is a nation after all), and mayors of both of those cities speak English. With Harel we would have got into Marion Barry territory – seeing the ugly truth about the reality of the pleb vote out there. Thank god Tremblay got in again.

      • The most famous singer from Quebec is Celine Dion. What rock have you been hiding under?

    • I'm a Franco Montrealer and I disagree with you. Even if we were in a Quebec country, Montreal needs a bilingual mayor. Whether you like it or not, English is the preferred language for business, and an important part of the city is Anglo. I think this is one of the things that make our charm: a bilingual city. I couldn't care less if Regis Labeaume (Quebec City mayor) was a french-only speaker, but in Montreal things are different. That is why I couldn't vote for Harel (even if I'm a potential separatist, while not at the moment), and the 9/11 story with Bergeron with his socialist unrealistic financial plan had the same effect. I didn't vote yesterday, but I'm happy to see Tremblay back.

    • It's relevant for the campaign. Once elected, it is no longer relevant, as the voters will have spoken.

      Harel lost.

  64. Ahhh Montreal. New Jersey with French language traffic signs! Pittsburgh with a Continental accent!

    No one is more convinced of the city's cultural superiority and greatness than Montrealers themselves. Probably because they never go anywhere, except maybe Hollywood Fl.

    So glad I left. A bunch of insecure whiners, as the comments to this article demonstrate.

    • well we're glad you left too. Obvioulsy you didn't make any friends or you were hangong out in the wrong part of town. I wonder why Europeens prefer coming to Montreal…. hmmmm

      • Why do I care if white trash Euro creeps prefer Montreal anyways? Look at France and her nasty vile treatment of Muslims in that country. If anything these nasty xenophobic homogeneuos Euro trash deserve to take multicultural AND cultural lessons from Canada. Canada is so much more superior than those Euro trash countries will ever be.

      • actually way more Europeans go to Vancouver, Toronto, the Rockies than to Montreal… WAY more! Who visits Montreal? Mostly American weekenders who can't afford travelling to Europe and imagine Montreal to be some cheap European destination because people here speak some funny language… and yes, for the strippers and the blowjobs :)))
        Having lived in Vancouver for years I find it eerie how seldom one can here European languages on the streets of Montreal in summer… And where are the Japanese tourists?!

  65. I read somewhere that Quebec invests more in other cities in the province since they fear a powerful city state should the province become independent. However, I couldn't help but notice the growth in new suburbs on the south shore and real estate prices have sky rocketed in Montreal. The city has a vibrant night life which attracts thousands of tourists each year. Most of whom I don't think care about who runs the city and is getting rich. Yes, the infrastructure built in the 50s and 60s in in need of repair but I noticed that was happening this year on my trip there. Maybe Toronto with its automobile and financial industry in decline because of corruption should focus more on attracting tourists with there own vibrant night life. Frankly, I will stick to Montreal because I think Toronto would be boring and I won't go there now as I was planning next year because you bash my favorite city.

    • er.. corruption in Toronto's financial industry has put it in decline? I guess should check out the Allo Police business section more often, they seem to have the scoop.

  66. Well, Montreal does have its share a problems. True, the roads are in bad shape, there is corruption, etc. But it would have been nice on the part of the journalist, just for the sake of adding some shades to its cIty's portrait, to write about the good things that have happened here in the last decade: the wonderful revitalization of Old Montreal (the western part in particular), the amazing Quartier International (which have won many international prizes in urban design), the Quartier des spectacles, the transformation of St-Laurent boulevard, the demolition of the Des Pins Interchange, the BIXI, the new Quartier Concordia, etc.

    I have been living in Montreal for the last 27 years and, beyond all the potholes, the city is actually more beautiful now than when I came here: less surface parking lots, more beautiful parks, more trees, more arts, more fountains, etc. The nightlife is still the best in Canada, the shopping is still great, the culture is amazing, the architecture is fantastic (at least compare to any other Canadien city), the streets are safe… Montreal, a disaster? Well, check Detroit if you want to see a city that really match that word. I mean, come on!

    • Amen, Martin. Good points.

    • I tend to agree that the street experience of the city is far better.. Pierre Bourque instigated a lot of that stuff , and he had his moments. As part of the 70s generation he had a sense of Montreal having its place in the world, something that would have been lost of the Harel Mugabe tendency had been victorious, as it nearly was, or if Bergeron's loony left got in.

      I just wish I had a better idea of where all the money was coming and going for all the civic improvement. The Macleans journalist Patriquin used some hyperbole, definitely, but his main allegation stands: name another city where the incumbent mayor said he was worried for his life because of mob threats!! Maybe in Calabria or something. Not North America.

    • But corruption became the major issue of the campaign.

    • For chrissake! Listen to CBC sometimes! Talking about Montreal on one's knees is a requierment , just as constantly bad mouthing or ridiculing Toronto! (One more time I hear about "joie de vivre" of Montreal I'm gonna puke!) !
      Finally, for a change, someone (a Montrealer!) dared to be critical of this city and the Montrealers go histerical. And like some infantile idiots start pointing their little fingers at… Toronto! "No, it wasn't me, it was HIM, he did it?"

      Grow up Montreal! Been living here for the last 8 years, and this narcistic, egocentric pile of dump- REEKS! Wake up and smell the truth!

      • Was my comment hysterical? Did I say word about Toronto? Get a grip and learn to read.

  67. Montreal's and Canada's scandals

    A quick look at the voting distribution of last night shows that Tremblay got reelected by a bit over 1/3 of the vote in the ridings that overwhemingly vote to stay in Canada so the fear of ex-PQ MNA Harel and unknown radical Bergeron was greater than the need to rid Montreal of organized crime corruption. I can not think of another explanation because everyone knew of the construction company scandals. I also remind readers that the sponsorship scandal came about to lure Quebeckers into staying in Canada so this scandal actually was Canadian too.

  68. Before Montreal can be cleaned up, there has to be an admission of the truth. Much like an addict must admit to being one before they can be rehabbed.

    There are a lot of negative comments here about Montreal, but also rebuttal and denial.

    There is much to love about Montreal and its "joie de vivre", but you can't route out corruption by denying it exists. Out here we are proud to be called "Friendly Manitoba" and people actively try to live up to the slogan.

    Montrealers have a nasty, bad attitude that needs to be addressed. A defensiveness that is not very attractive. You need to drop the bitterness and show some hospitality, even to your own citizens!

  69. Toronto gets "bashed" every day, we just don't take it personally because as you all like to point out, we think are the centre of the universe so why should it bother us?
    In my opinion, I hope Macleans and other media continue to expose corruption in it's many forms and it's many places. Without the media bringing our attention to these problems, they would proliferate at an even greater rate than they have over the years. Now we just have to figure out what to do about it.
    I think we can all agree that all our governments at every level have been so guilty of various forms of corruption, scandal and the like that we don't even know who to vote for anymore. And that applies no matter where you move to, there is just no escaping it.
    Canada, no matter where you live is not nearly as lily white as some people like to think. And we all need to read about it, and get out and vote against those people who abuse our trust. Don't get offended when you read about it, find out if it is true and do something instead.

  70. Oddly I agree with everyone here. Montreal is affordable, easy to get around in. Wonderfully livable.

    At the same time I was appalled by the infrastructure. It is no wonder that the mob and everyone else wants a piece of the action, because just to bring things to a reasonable level will take vast sums.

    And yet who will pay? The Montreal I remember had miles upon miles of industry, distribution, head offices. No longer it seems.

    A family member was working for a small business, owned by a recent european immigrant. She watched with amazement when two young men showed up one day selling protection.

    Like an elderly lady, living on the last of the family fortune. Elegant, threadbare. Sad.


  71. Before this article came out, I , in Vancouver was speaking with friend in Toronto. We were both born and lived in Montreal most of our lives and discussed how the construction industry scandal didn't surprise us one bit and wondered why it took so long for the media to break this story. The mafia and biker gangs have their fingers in almost everything, including most of the night clubs. The CBC even did a story on the mafia in North America concluding by an ex mafia member under the witness protection plan, that the mafia in New York was pretty much squashed , but the main Italian mafia in North America is centred in Montreal.
    In any case, things that would be illegal in most other Canadian cities, seem to be tolerated in Montreal.
    Regardless, I still love my hometown.

  72. You just never know really. The city (as with any other) can be spun as the best place on earch, it can also be strewn as a ravaged wortorn chunk of real estate with bombed homes and abandoned children. Personally I like Montreal. But I wouldn't want to live beside Tremblay apparently.

  73. Does Maclean really thinks our politicans are clean exept in Montreal ?! The cleaning has started because some people in Mtl have guts to make it happen. Those people could die. They are leaders in this prossess and I hope others majors canadian cities will take example.

    As for Montreal's infrastructure, it is under deep reconstruction/restoration and it won't stop tomorrow.

    If i remember well, an *sshole is someone who thinks pushing down others make him better. Maclean has a lot of cleaning to do.

  74. As a candidate for City Councilor in a downtown Montréal district, I read, with interest, your recent article concerning corruption in our city.

    However, your article seemed to indicate that there were only three (3) candidates for Mayor when, indeed there were actually six (6) candidates for Mayor of Montreal.

    One individual that was in this race was Louise O’Sullivan. And, Ms. O’Sullivan is experienced, having been a city councilor and a member of the powerful executive committee at Montreal City Hall. She is competent – founded and has operated her own business for more than 35 years. She is fluently bilingual, with a French speaking mother and Irish father. And the policies of her Parti Montréal Ville Marie were logical and aimed to keep Montreal as a world class city.

    With a slate of more than 30 candidates, you have to wonder why the Montréal media, from the beginning of the campaign, simply ignored, downplayed, and, on occasion, even ridiculed her campaign. Was it because she has an Anglo-Irish name?; Because she is a woman? Or most likely because, she was such strong candidate that the Montréal media (particularly the English language media) was concerned that she might split the vote with Mr. Tremblay and allow Ms. Harel (the separatist) to win? And, there is no question that certain media,. like the Montreal Gazette newspaper, supported Mr. Tremblay from the start – for all his possible involvement in the alleged corruption scandals,.

    Perhaps corruption and collusion of the Montréal media with City Hall is too strong a statement. But, in my opinion, the local media definitely ignored their duty to provide enough information about Louise O’Sullivan and her campaign to allow the voters to make an informed decision.

    There is no doubt that the media will explain their exclusion of Ms. O’Sullivan with some ridiculous justification, and/or consider my comments as “sour grapes” since in the end, unfortunately no member of the O’Sullivan team won a seat on the council.

    But, the basic fact is that their non-reporting of her campaign deprived the voters and manipulated opinion.

    Of course, the Montréal media are safe, since no other media, in general, would ever consider investigating or be critical their fellow publishers or broadcasters.

    The shame is that for Montréal to regain its position as a world class city, a clean sweep was needed – and with the local media supporting the status quo, it is unlikely that the situation will improve in the near future.

  75. I am so happy I left Quebec years ago.

    • And we are so happy you did.

  76. What a contrast to the fond memories I recorded in "Memories of Snowdon in the 50's" Bill Conrod

  77. Suck a cock Macleans

  78. Toronto is no better, yes. Our politicians are just as greedy and crooked. I don't think our infrastructure is crumbling as badly as Montreal's though. My father worked for CN Rail for 35 years and I can remember him saying even as far back as the 80's when I was a kid that Montreal was a dying city. Shops and businesses that use to be around when he'd visit Montreal in the 70's were all slowly vanishing.

    I have a francophone business colleague here in Toronto who recently commented on the irony of a street in Montreal being named after René Lévesque… my friend said it would have been more fitting for Toronto to have renamed Yonge Street (or another major street) in thanks and honour of René Lévesque – because HE is the man Toronto owes all its fortunes too :)

  79. Of course Monteal is booming. What do you expect from a welfare state that lives off the backs of the real workers in Ontario and Alberta??? At least Ontario has the heart and the ability to bounce back. All Quebec has the ability to do is whine and demand more welfare.

  80. Of course there are not as many imgrants as Toronto. No one wants to live there … not even Quebecers.

  81. Sorry Gab
    There is no more money in Toronto than in Montreal. Even in this global melt down Quebec is still front of the line in both Welfare handouts and Pork Barrelling. Everyone is posting deficits except Montreal. We must satisfy Mr Harpers deviant sexual appetite!!!

  82. Former Montrealer born & raised there. Coudn't be happier after leaving 4 years ago. Amazing how much delusion we put up with to feel better about our city & thus I guess ourselves.

    Montreal is a dilapidated, corrupt, grey city. The worst stereotype of the crumbling New York of the late 70s – With a general malaise that seeps into every aspect of life living there. Toss in non-business friendly economics & a general nanny-state attitude and it is no mystery why. It is simply put, unsustainable. Worse, the 35 year long state of denial has only plunged the city so deep who knows if it & Quebec can ever recover.

  83. Ontario is now a welfare state because the auto industry has collapsed and its so sad that Alberta now has to share its oil wealth with them.

    • At least Ontario appreciates the help of fellow Canadians….what litte they get.

      Most of the transfer money goes to the spoiled, lazy, childish and sleazy Montreal and the Quebequois. If you don’t believe me then let’s quote the distinquished Quebec politician and linguist Gene Krettin “If you have proof, then it is a good proof and you have proof of the proof then you don’t need any more proof”.

      • Its funny that you say this because I noticed that the Quebecois have cleaner houses then Anglos. I would say spoiled and lazy best describes Ontario with its failing auto industry.

        • Quebecers work the least amount of hours per week just so they can be supported by working Ontarians and Albertans. Yeah Quebec has ‘joie de vivre” bought and paid for off the hard working backs of Albertans and Ontarians. it’s only ‘joie de vivre when other people have to pay for it. Don’t even get me started on Quebec “socialized daycare” in this province again bought and paid for by hard working Canadians but only Quebec gets the benefits of. Not much benefits to the working stiffs – it’s a corrupt daycare system like much else in Quebec with the middle and upper class parents making the most use of it instead of the lower middle classes for whom it was intended. Stealing from hard working Canadians is Quebec’s cultural legacy really.

          Macleans needs to do a piece on how much political corruption is going on to support Quebec and official bilingualism in this country to the massive detriment of the Canadian economy.
          Imagine if Quebec had gotten the raw end of the deal with the Newfoundland hydro deal back in the day? Would the corrupt left wing politicians have supported Newfoundland like they always do Quebec? Never.

          it seems everything in this country is done to support Quebec and yet they are always in deep debt and deficit. Someone is profiting massively from the massive influx of Canadians hardworking monies to this province.

          • I think your full of it.

      • You sound like racist corrupt southerners in the US that don't like freedom for black people because you need someone to do your work because your the lazy one.

  84. Kudos to Maclean's for telling the truth about that garbage hole aka Montréal. The city should be demolished and most of its inhabitants should be in jail or deported.

  85. The media is jumping on this latest "corruption scandal" as though it were something entirely new and shocking. My God, read up on the history of Montreal. There's a reason it became home to the "Sixth Family" back in the 1970s. There's a reason the Hells chose Montreal as the place to establish their Canadian beach head in the 1980s. And there's a reason other biker & OC gangs were willing to fight the Hells in a deadly turf war in the 1990s (death toll 125+). That reason is: Montreal officialdom has been corrupt from top to bottom for 100 years or more. It's a comfortable place for OC to exist and do business. It has ALWAYS been the organized crime hub of Canada.

    I'm not saying that to crap on Montreal, as I quite like the city (crumbling infrastructure aside). In fact, it's the only one of Canada's three major cities that I enjoy visiting. But let's not pretend this corruption is some shocking new development. This stuff is tame compared to any other period of Montreal's history.

  86. "It's perhaps easy to see why it's so difficult to get things done when you consider the city has four levels of municipal government and 105 elected representatives—by comparison, Toronto has 45; New York City, 51."

    Obviously the writer knows little about decentralized city systems. The problem isn't the system;but, the culture. Integrated federated local systems are an economic tool. hey even the Chinese know that and used them to create foundation for economic growth. major European cities are decentralized and have been so since the 1980s. hey even Karachi's decentralization led to a better system than before.

    Less public officials does not mean less corruption in the system. Obviously, you missed the decades lasting corruption ring in the property tax department of NYC, that even the Financial Control Board missed;or fact 2 thirds of plumbing inspectors were found to be on the take!

    Then there is Chicago. Another bastion of corruption. Toronto is less successful post consolidation as they have although the weaknesses of centralization. Remember how the costs sky rocketed post consolidation?.

    Vancouver is party of a successful integrated federated system;and has a culture promoting excellence. Montreal could learn from having that spirit.

  87. i hope this will bring to light the problems which we are helpless to deal with. …was the article over the top , exaggerated, journalistic hyperbole…NO…living here with bridges that collapse; roads crumbling; water system beyond repair. Of course it's corrupt…Rizzo et. al. lives here…everyone including the premier are afraid to tackle the issue…Montreal will become like Naples at this rate.

  88. I think that this article bashing Montreal has more to do with the anger that Anglos feel towards a city they left and hoped would decline but instead its Toronto thats now in decline. Is there no corruption in Toronto? Come on.

    • At least Ontario and Alberta share their taxes with the rest of Canada including Quebec. Does Quebec give their valuable Hydro Quebec taxes to Canada. No. they keep it for themselves.
      In Quebec it’s “what’s canada’s is mine and what’s mine is mine.”
      No wonder Quebec has the highest rates of suicide in the the whole western industrialized world. With such greed and a ‘me me me-first’ attitude that only breeds corruption and despair in people.
      Such a “culture of shallowness, selfishness and greed” is nothing to be proud of.

      • I just read that Quebec's suicide rate and death rate have dropped while Quebec's birthrate has increased to the highest in Canada. I think you are a victim of francophobia. Are you proud of your shallowness?

    • Deny, deny, deny!!!!

      I take no pleasure it witnessing the crumbling of my birthplace. But if Montrealers (and Quebecers) keep denying the obvious, Montreal will eventually crumble and fall into the St Lawrence.

      In the 1960's Montreal was Canada's first city, cosmopolitan and the hub of business. It is no longer. Toronto (I hate to say it), Vancouver, Edmonton & Calgary have all surpassed Montreal in importance.

  89. There is a systematic branding going on in favor of Vancouver,Edmonton and Calgary.These three are some of the most dullest cities that I ever come across,along with their lack of professionalism and drive.Montreal by contrast seems so exuberant even at its lowest ebb in political and infrstructural timeline.It may not be the best of times in Montreal but it still stands up to newer and feeble cities like Vancouver,not to mention Calgary and the rest.
    Although corruption,mafia and brown envelopes are something to recon with, it is far subtle as compared to Vancouver's gangwars,routine shootouts and notorious crack pot culture.

  90. There is a systematic branding going on in favor of Vancouver,Edmonton and Calgary.These three are some of the most dullest cities that I ever come across,along with their lack of professionalism and drive.Montreal by contrast seems so exuberant even at its lowest ebb in political and infrstructural timeline.It may not be the best of times in Montreal but it still stands up to newer and feeble cities like Vancouver,not to mention Calgary and the rest.

    • Yeah if you find racism and persecution of minorities and anglos to be ‘exhuberant’ !!! Montreal is a racist hell hole living off the reputation of its glory years …. in Montreal people either live in a highly sentimentalized past or they live in the lalaland of a future fantasy of Quebec independance. Montrealers DO NO LIVE in the present…. it is too scary, ugly and realistic to live in present day Montreal so off to their gloried past or to la la fland of a anatsy future (of a separate idealized Quebec) they go.

      Such a messed up province in many ways due in no small part to federalist politicians pandering for votes and letting Quebec off the hookof democratic rights and giving unearned and unfair major bailout money to this chronic welfare province.

      Imagine what a great country Canada could be without Quebec and the evil left wing political loonies that excessively supports this welfare nanny province against the will of decent hardworking Canadian people. It’s criminal how the left wing loonies continue in their excessive support of Quebec to the detriment of fundamental rights and freedoms in Canada being constantly abused by Quebec.

      Shame on the NDP and the Liberal parties for historically creating a shameful pattern of rewarding Quebec excessive and delusional demands at all times. You are to blame for this mess which will only get worse if you don’t continually satisfy the welfare appetite of Quebec.

      • Your worst than a racist southerner in the US that can't accept that Black people are free. Get a life loser

      • Julie your racist yourself

  91. Montreal also has the historic old world charm that these cities can't match. My favorite section of Montreal is the waterfront area of Old Montreal with its cobble stone streets, old houses and restaurant cafes.

    • Montreal and Quebec is supported from the taxes hard working Canadians that this hell hole of a province continually disses. I find nothing old world charming about a lazy and corrupt province that lives off the sweat of other provinces and only produces hatred and harm to my country.

      Canada has nothing to learn from a spiritually and morally derelict province such as Quebec.

      • This is nothing more than hate speech. Dude get a life.

      • Your oil rich province is a hell hole of an environmental disaster with global warming and great lakes drying up. What do you know you corrupt moron.

        • Has anyone noticed that even the Human Rights Commission has not jumped in to defend Montreal on this one? Even those corrupt gutless morons know a loser when they see one. LOL

          Hey Mark. Let’s hear a story of how the Muslims are going to come in and take over the Gambini family and clean the place up just like they have in Afganistan, Pakistan, France and Jolly Old England.

  92. Montreal has a unique charm no other North American city has. it should start showing what a decentralized system can deliver. It's the largest decentralized city system in North America;and was being eyed by Los Angeles reformers during the secession crisis as a source of guidance. You should read the articles that described one of the decentralized plan floated during that time.

    Right now in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley residents are unhappy captives of Los Angeles. You might want to read what they were saying during the secession crisis which was averted by a larger vote from those outside San Fernando Valley against secession.

  93. Suppressed Medical Records

    St. Catharines, Ont.

    – Privacy Commissioner of Canada (Sect. 25,26,28)

    – C.M.H.A – Brock University

  94. Hey Ben
    A truly intellegent and insightful debate challenges the facts and does not resort to calling people racist and telling them "they are full of it".

    If you want to defend Monteal then refute the facts in the article. State the rebuttle in a clear and concise manner and show that MacLeans is dead wrong.

    Of course in this case you are totally in the wrong so there!. Nana, nana, PooPoo. Plughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

    • I am not challenging any facts such as the infrastructure which I hope they will improve. I was just debating some of the racism that I think is present among anglophones and their hatred of the Quebecois. It just reminds me of intolerant Southerners in the US who hate blacks and bashing someone because of there culture, religion or race I think is wrong.

  95. What a pile of garbage. Also a terribly written article. Montreal has more style, glamour, culture, grace, sense of community, appreciation of art , fashion, and language, then Toronto (or ANYWHERE else in Canada) could ever dream of having in a city.

    Such a shame that it is being portrayed as the Detroit of Canada when we all know that title goes to Toronto and the horrendous "GTA" disaster.

    • Obviously the city has little appreciation for spelling and grammar, however.

  96. The only reason montreal seems exciting in the eyes of the montrealites is they're always drun ha ha ha

  97. Whats so fine about a city that begs for living.
    Whats so intriguing about a city what "was"
    Montreal in like an old man who drinks his wine, and always indulged in his past n his wine…. nothing to look forward to

  98. As long as the crime and corruption happen in French and not English the police will not be interested.

  99. there are a lot of canadians who clearly derive satisfaction from the idea of a declining montreal, whether or not it's true.

    as for me, i am anglo and happy here. canada? well… look: i suppose i have some residual warmth for it, but really, what am i supposed to do with it? move to calgary? toronto's great, but the rest is a bit outdoorsy, a bit suburban and a bit staid. it has too many of the sort of sunday-paper fist-shakers you see in this comments section. it's angrier than it lets on. it's a bit too much like maclean's magazine, actually.

    • You're a pretentious turd, like most anglos that move to Montreal. The most nauseating thing about the city are the Canadians that move here from elsewhere and all of a sudden think they're living on the Left Bank.

  100. Different cultures have different ideas of what constitutes corruption.

    This sounds a lot like Lousiana where would also consider the politics to be corrupt. Is it possible that it is just part of the ex-french culture where different norms and standards exist?

  101. It's the culture! Here in Montreal, that's the way things are done. We are a bunch of incompetent yahoos. It you want quality immigrants, being in more Scandinavians, Germans, Dutch, French…then we will see more quality workmanship, beter roads, better education, better money management, and less of "We are the best in the world".

    • Oh, you mean people like the Anglophones that were ethinically cleansed over 30 years, and left.

      You mean Quebec needs more people like that..?

      Well thanks, but 30 years too late…

      Now you have middle-easterners and Africans to replace us…

      Congrats, job well done… doofuses..!

  102. I've lived in both Montreal and Toronto, and I love them both in different ways.

    Montreal is charming, beautiful, and cosmopolitan. But decaying. It's a city that feels like its best days are gone and it's trying desperately to hang on.

    Toronto feels fresh and young. There's a really weird energy in the city – one that Montreal doesn't have. It's being surrounded by everything and people from everywhere – it gives the city an "anything is possible" vibe. And I'll get swiped for it, but Montreal is ONLY more cosmopolitan than Toronto if you define that word in a (neocolonial) European-sense. Otherwise, Toronto beats Montreal, hands down.

    Montreal needs to quit telling itself that its better than Toronto, and get to work on the problems it has. Honestly, Toronto doesn't even consider Montreal anymore – it's an afterthought.

    • As a New Englander..i thought Toronto was incredibly overrated. An overgrown large midwestern city…that happens to be known because its the biggerst city in Canada and has produced some people that have moved to Hollywood. The arctitecture of Toronto is on par with Des Moines…glass atrium. Montreal may be a crumbling mess…but it was more vibe and charachter on two city blocks than most of the flat, gray, sprawl known as Big Smoke. Name one original food dish that was invented in toronto…..there's NONE. That should tell you much about your city.

      • Then how come Toronto gets the lion share of immigration and is the most ethinically diverse city on the planet…

        Ladies and Gentlemen, facts please…

        Hope and wishes are not a Plan or Excuse…

        • yeah the immigrants that Montreal dont want. Toronto is lame, ugly people, boring atmosphere and rude people.

      • Peameal sandwich on a bun, is one.

  103. I resent to hear that most people can easily bash Detroit. Having lived in Windsor I can say that without the aid of a tarnished Mayor, Detroit was a spring board of energy towards its rebuilding. Give Detroit a chance to come back, its economy would benefit any city within 1000km. Detroit has more progress to be made, but if you visited 5 years ago and again today, you would see a HUGH difference downtown. Like I said, keep the jabs close to home, MTL is a good town and so is Toronto, but both cities need to buck a trend of overspending. Can't have it all!!

  104. Everyone here seems to be defending a city, while dening the reality of the article. The city is run by gangs. This is a product of prohibition of drugs. If someone wants to stay high all day I don't care. But when they have to steal $500 worth of stuff to pay for $200 worth of dope that is really only worth $20 if it were legal, I shake my head again. People hooked on these drugs are comiting horrendous crimes for drugs that would be dirt cheap if they wern't illegal. While I would never wish my grandaughter to be a prostitute, there are many who are. Being controlled by ruthless disgusting men. All drugs should be legalized, ( crack and meth were created by cost) Prostitution should be legalized, and regulated. Our police force was created to fight injustice, stealing, violence and murder. They could do a much better job nipping crime if their job was more simple. Gangs own drugs and prostitution, the tendrils into other crimes lead from there, lets deny them that foothold, and fight them from a better stance.

  105. Give me a break – we've just moved here after living in the UK for years. We think It's a fantastic city. Obviously not perfect, but quality of life here is amazing. Toronto was a very close 2nd. I would be very happy to raise my family in either cities. We're amazed at how friendly and safe it is. I'm originally from Victoria and was shocked at the crime when I moved back there last year. Try comparing walking around downtown Victoria (even at 8:00pm) any night of the week versus walking around downtown Montreal at midnight and tell me which city feels WAY safer. Hands down, it's Montreal. Considering how much bigger Montreal is, that's got to say something.

    • You are not truthful…

      Victoria… really..?


      • Yep, sorry Lloyd, I'm being very "truthful" about the sad state of Victoria these days.

        Here's a quote from an article in Macleans about the most dangerous cities in Canada:

        "The West continues to have chronically high crime levels. Of the top 10 crime centres, only Halifax (No. 7) is east of Winnipeg. The others in the top 10 include Edmonton (No. 5) and the B.C. cities of Prince George, Chilliwack, Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria."

        Here is the article:

        It's not the city it once was.

  106. I'd rather have the Italian mob in my area then little thugs drinking colt45 and walking with their pants falling off.
    Or Asian gangs.

    • so funny ,,, ha ha haha

  107. fu

  108. Canada s**ks! Montreal, Toronto and Honcouver (Vancouver) are a sh**hole mah place!
    It's a dump!
    I wasted my time going and living there!
    It isn't worth a penny!
    The place is plenty of drugs, crimes (police violence, fraud, assault, scam), etc.), corruption, terrorism, gangs, stupid people, potholes, bad infrastructure, lack of investiment, racism, poverty, money laundering, bad cops, drunkers, terrible public services, low paid jobs…not to mention the worst weather in the world (it can easily get minus – 40 degrees).

  109. I tried submitting something just now but got the following error message:-

    "Your comment is a little too long".

    Could someone please tell me the maximum number of characters allowed, including spaces?
    Please e-mail me at


  110. John West: Your comments are racist and only surpassed by your ignorance, when you state that Haiti is in Africa or Jamaica is a former French colony. Haiti is in the Caribbean and Jamaica is a former Spanish possession known as Santiago that later later became the British Crown colony of Jamaica. There are plenty of countries around the world that are filled with hatred, senseless violence and financial mismanagement that are led neither by the French nor by the blacks. Chaos, regardless of where it takes place in the world, has more to do with human greed and ambition than skin colour. By writing such blatant comments, you are demonstrating for all to see that you have a tiny, little mind.

  111. Quote from "Jo B"'s posting above:-

    "Calling the city of Montreal a disgrace is a little over the top. In fact, it's quite frankly shameful.

    As a proud Canadian, i don't approve of this sort of reckless bashing. There's a way to examine issues without letting it get personal."

    On the contrary, the City of Montreal and its business community is a far worse disgrace than even this Macleans article would suggest.


    It's about time that evil, stinking cesspit of a town and its rotten business community was cleaned up. And we should start with SNC-Lavalin Inc. and the Royal Bank. See my web site,

  112. Quote from Paul Fraser's comment above:-
    "RBC Bank President Gordon Nixon – Salary $11.73 Million


    I'm a commercial fisherman fighting the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC Bank) over a $100,000 loan mistake. I lost my home, fishing vessel and equipment. Help me fight this corporate bully by closing your RBC Bank account.

    "Fighting the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC Bank) one customer at a time" "

    I can relate vey easily to what Paul Fraser says.

    In 1991, when Montreal consulting engineering firm The SNC Group were taking over Lavalin Inc. , SNC allowed their Royal Bank bank account to be seized for refusal to pay a Court order in respect of my wrongful dismissal lawsuit. This was preceded by the seizure and sale of an entire floor of office furniture at their downtown Montreal H.Q. (2 Place Felix-Martin), for the same reason. Guy Saint-Pierre, SNC's then-President and C.E.O. , was a Director of the Royal Bank and was kept on as such by Royal Bank President and C.E.O. Allan R. Taylor and his nominated successor John E. Cleghorn, even though I told them what was going on. I have it all documented so don't ANYBODY try disputing what I've said.

    The Royal Bank should do its part to expunge the corruption that was carried on at my expense, which was all covered up because people in the media whom I spoke to at the time and since then have consistently refused to report anything. Following the Supreme Court decision just a few days ago – on December 21st, actually – in which the Court court ruled that libel lawsuits will rarely succeed against journalists who act responsibly in reporting their stories when those stories are in the public interest., there is now NO EXCUSE WHATSOEVER for continued cover-ups and attempts to deny what happened at my expense.

    Reference: Wednesday's Globe and Mail Published on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009 10:04AM EST Last updated on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009 10:13PM EST , "Top court transforms press freedom with new libel defence ".

    I demand that this filthy and disgusting mess be exposed thoroughly, cleaned up and that the corruption at my expense be expunged.

  113. As an anglophone who has lived in Montreal for most of my 52 years even with all the BS. There is no other place in North America that comes close to Montreal for everything it offers. As much as I want to leave Quebec because of the ongoing childish behavior of our politicians and the language issues. I have found no other city like it !

  114. Its not only the cities mangement that is corrupt but also the Business Development Bank of Canada office in Montreal.

    These guys are mandated to help develop new business ventures ,,, hhhhhmmmm ,, these are the french speaking greaseballs in the country.

    We call these Jabba the huts ,, Bandits a cravate.

    Mario Trottier
    Inventor of Footage

    Montreal 514 690-4868
    Los Angeles 213 213-6543

  115. I agree with eveything… but please just remember that it's not only the Italian MOB that's ruining the city…. other organized crime groups and the POLITICIANS themselves have managed to ruin this beautiful city's reputation.

  116. With respect to the comment by "sdt " above – quote:-

    "Give me a break – we've just moved here after living in the UK for years. We think It's a fantastic city. "

    All I can say is that "sdt " has been luckier than I was.

    It isn't clear whether he / she moved to Montreal from the U.K. to retire, or for some other reason that happens not to involve the necessity of having to earn a living in Montreal in order to survive and not be thrown out on to the street..

    I suspect that once he's been there long enough and met a representative cross-section of people – including some who happen to be out of work – then his impression of the place might change substantially.

    Anyone who has read my less-than "glowing" comments about the city and its business community, submitted as recently as recently as 2 weeks before now, should realize that I have everything documented. Therefore, any argument that someone might make to the effect that I'm a "crank", or some such, should be dismissed as un-founded.

    My previous comments were about SNC-Lavalin, the Royal Bank and Montreal's legal profession and my wrongful dismissal lawsuit. The law firm involved in perpetrating the corruption directed against me, on behalf of SNC, was Dunton Rainville located at 800 Square Victoria in Montreal – and now here's the punch line: somehow, they have somehow found their way on to the list of "recommended" lawyers on the web site of the British High Commission in Ottawa!!



  118. The simple solution to all of Montreal's problems would be to allow unilingual anglos to get real jobs in Montreal.

    • That's part of it. More particularly, I think this comment would apply to the federal Public Service; there have been numerous reports about the corrupting effects of the official federal government bilingualism policy concerning employment but I'm not going to cite "chapter and verse" about that here.

      With regard to Montreal in particular, in my view the first step in solving the problems would be more comprehensive public exposure and action to expunge corruption of the type that I have referred to in my previous postings, directed at me personally. In my case it was further compounded by the people responsible – some of whom I have already named – passing themselves off in public as doers of "good works" through their sponsorship of and fund-raising for charities such as the United Way ("Centraide" in Quebec).

      And that about sums up my experience of Montreal and Quebec, and Canada in general – places infested with corrupt and duplicitous business leaders, aided and abetted by stupid bureaucrats and corrupt lawyers.

      In other words, they were and are harpies whose sole interest was and is to create a "good impression" to benefit themselves and their public images, and nobody else. Through their corrupt business dealings – covered up by a compliant media community that did not want repoprt anything about what was going on – they put people in the position of being forced to depend on the charities that these business leaders appear to support in the name of doing their bit to be good corporate citizens and alleviate poverty.

  119. I really want to get ouf of here,

    • are u stuck there nina ,,, LOL ,, this such a funny message board

  120. I really want to get ouf of here,

  121. One simple answer. Politics.

  122. What a piece of crap journalist about "Montreal" when is all about "Montreal municipal affair"! Are there is no mafia in NYC or Vancouver? No underbelly and shady bankrupt district and part of town in this cities or in Windsor? Toronto? Miami? Phoenix or any WASP city where speculation is king? Did the crisis fall on Canada and USA and NOT on Quebec lately? Which World Class Canadian Cy move its headquarter from Toronto to Montreal this past few years? CAE. And that despite the multi-billion dollars goodies industries in Ontario get! Did that mean the business environment in Alberta is bad because of the local rise of the separatist there, or it's because Canada separate from UK in 1982?

    And the crap continue in the readers section when a "PQ persecuted" family left in 1972 when the PQ took power in 1976…
    Good lord!

  123. Toronto had a corruption scandal that sparked the Bellamy Commission (2002-2005). Judge Bellamy made 241 recommandations that showed the way to establish ethics in the Toronto administration. Toronto still has problems (inequalities, street gangs, etc.) but it now has accountability mechanisms that are lacking in Montreal. The problem in Montreal is that only the Provincial Governement has the right to create a public inquiry. Having to rely on the Provincial Government is not the best solution for any municipal administration, be it in Ontario or Quebec.

  124. I suggest PM Charest to step down. It’s indeed against human rights!
    In other words, Quebec shouldn’t be a dustbin anymore. I don’t think that any civilized political party in Canada will accept this comedy.
    Thus, it’s time to leave before making more “catastophies”.”Dictatorship” is an old fashion tradition Mr. PM.
    In sum, I should ask your family being more civilized. I’m sorry but you could do something else for living. I’m ashamed because I had to vote for you !

  125. Montreal is a disaster!

    I lived there in 1971 to 73 and it was corrupt then and all knew it.

    They should investigate ALL the municipalities for the past 30 years!!!!!

    Drapeau was the big crook then.

    How come it is ALL coming out now, I knew the French are slow but 30 years slow.

    Wake up CANADA!!!!

    Thank god I live in Vancouver!!!!

  126. The nation’s elite are traitors to society and their country,and so they deserve to all schmooze in an electric chair and mummified and exported to Alcatraz as a tourist attraction like their holy rotten wooden trees … they would be the first to betray our country in war time!

  127. I agree that is a corrupt violent disaster. The people (and it seems if there were any decent ones they all moved) are atrocious and full of venom and very high strung. I was assaulted here in the street at least 5 times already. One french guy punched me in the shoulder and a french woman tried to break my foot by ramming her stroller into it. Another woman, this one english, tried to ram her shopping cart into my leg and a lot of these people simply ram into me on the street without an excuse me or anything. Women alone in this city are not safe. These people pick on anyone who they see as an easy mark. What are people like that doing on the streets? There is a lot of tension between french and english still and the cyclist are also getting nasty by trying to ram into people on the streets and block traffic. One guy tried to ram his bicycle into my leg. These people seem to have a thing about breaking people’s legs. They are complete psychopaths. They look psychotic too. I think they are like that naturally. And the govt says they don’t have enough money to deal with these people so they let them walk around freely. The taxes are so high.What are they doing with the money? Take a guess. The city is filthy too. The kind of filth that looks like people’s sick and depression and it looks like it has been there a long time. Garbage cans are overflowing with garbage, some garbage just lies in the street with no garbagecan around. The food is not very good anymore if you eat out. Most of the good chefs probably left the city and moved on to greener pastures. The bus drivers are rude and act like nazis. They demand that the public bow down to them it seems. And it seems the public does. They must be afraid of the drivers, but take out their frustrations on women. They are sheeps in wolve’s clothing. They cannot stand up to the govt but like to come across as toughies. Not a good town to visit or live in. I think it is the worst city in canada and perhaps north america. Nothing fascinating about it. Whoever thinks this must have really bad taste. What planet are they from?