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10 résultats trouvés

  1. Publié le 29 octobre 2015 à 19h33 | Mis à jour le 29 octobre 2015 à 19h33 Retour des Expos: une lettre envoyée aux équipes de la ligue Frédéric Daigle La Presse Canadienne Le maire de Montréal, Denis Coderre, et l'ex-actionnaire des Expos de Montréal Stephen Bronfman ont fait parvenir une missive aux 30 équipes du Baseball majeur afin de mousser la candidature de la ville auprès de ses gouverneurs, a appris La Presse Canadienne. La lettre, envoyée il y a quelques semaines, présentait également l'option la plus probable pour le site d'un éventuel stade - le bassin Peel. Mise à jour Avec la venue probable d'une station du REM sous le bassin Peel, il semble de plus en plus probable que le futur stade éventuel des Expos serait construit au sud du bassin Peel entre les rues Wellington, Bridge et Mill :
  2. MTLskyline

    Expos coming back?

    No Pro Baseball in Montreal, and Little Hope of Any - The New York Times
  3. mtlurb

    Expos de Montréal

    Expos gone, baseball alive in Montreal Aspiring baseball players and history keep sport going By Stephen Ellsesser / Special to MLB.com MONTRÉAL -- On a Sunday morning, the corridor between Pie IX Station and Olympic Stadium is almost completely deserted. Based on some of the crowds that came out to the Big O in 2004, the final season for Major League Baseball in Quebec, it almost seems the Expos never left. After touring Olympic Stadium, it's almost as if they were never there. Montréal, the world's most truly bilingual city, is known for its tolerance, but Stade Olympique may have walked away from the Expo-dus with hard feelings. Baseball in Canada's Sin City existed long before the Expos became the Washington Nationals, and today it lives on in many different forms, some nearby and some farther away, but hardly any of it at Olympic. A catcher, a piece of meat and a glorified Muppet form an interesting picture of the ville's offerings to the sport. Catcher Russell Martin is bringing back Dodger Blue to Montréal, giving the city another Major Leaguer to support, along with Eric Gagne, who won a National League Cy Young Award with the Dodgers, but now comes out of the bullpen for the Red Sox. Both played for the same high school, and both are among the greatest offerings to come from Baseball Quebec's feeder system, which remains strong, according to Gilles Taillon, the group's administrative director. "The actual departure of the Expos had no impact whatsoever," Taillon said. "The major impact was in 1995-97, when the Expos got rid of a championship team. We experienced a decrease in our membership mainly due to the bad publicity that baseball was getting in the media." In 1994, the strike-suspended season clipped an Expos club that was cruising along, on pace to win 105 games. The ensuing firesale disenchanted the fan base. The team parted with Marquis Grissom, Larry Walker, Delino DeShields and John Wetteland after the year, and the foundation began to crumble. By the time the Expos rolled into their final season, Montréal had lost all momentum, not to mention a considerable amount of local interest. After the Expos' fate was sealed, there was no last-minute spike of support. For the opener of the final series at the Big O, a crowd of 3,923 watched the home team fall to the Florida Marlins. The worst part? That was only the fifth-smallest turnout of the year. Yikes. "You really can't blame them with some of the decisions that were made," said former third baseman Tim Wallach of the fans who stayed away. "When fans follow guys and they have no chance of staying when it's time for them to get paid, that turns people off." The Expos succumbed to a combination of economic factors, all of which, Wallach said, slowly took hold after original owner Charles Bronfman sold the team in 1991. "I feel bad because there were a lot of people who loved that team," said Wallach, who played for the Expos from 1980-92. "It was good, and it should have been good for a long time. But it went bad, and now it will never be there again." Martin remembers fondly the Expos and their days north of the border. "It was different for me because I loved baseball," he said. "I could care less how big the stadium was or how many fans were there, as long as I was at the stadium. I grew up going to that stadium and watching the Expos, so that was a big thing." Montréal, with a metro-area population of 3.6 million, is large enough to support an MLB club, but what the area baseball community is most focused on is starting smaller. "For MLB to come back, it would have to go through the Minor League route first," Taillon said. "At this point in time, efforts are being made to bring a Can-Am League team in." The Can-Am League is an independent league composed of eight U.S.- based teams, one road team and one Canadian club, based in provincial capital Québec City. "It would be nice to see baseball back up there, but they would have to give it a better venue, a smaller stadium and more fan-friendly activities," Martin said. As for the piece of meat, sometimes life is stranger than fiction. On eBay, someone (Cirque du Soleil's founder, interestingly enough) paid $2,605 Canadian for what was billed as "The Last Hot Dog of the Expos," which was -- as one might expect -- a hot dog, which was almost a month old at the time of sale. All of a sudden the $2,100 sale price of Montreal-Expos.com looks like a bargain. "It was different there because there wasn't that many fans that loved baseball," Martin said. "But those that did love baseball, they were always at the stadium." Indeed. Nothing says loving quite like a thousand-dollar piece of processed meat. But the apocalypse is not upon us yet ... proceeds went to charity. Ignoring any discussions of shelf life, the Expo with the most staying power has been mascot Youppi!, who joined the rotation at Bell Centre, home of the Canadiens, Montréal's hallowed NHL franchise. Youppi! hit the ice just more than a year after his team's departure put him out of work. His presence, along with that of a banner honoring the Expos' 1969-2004 existence and the team's retired numbers, makes Nos Amours more visible there than at the Big O. The luxury condos that stand where Labatt Park -- the proposed downtown stadium that would have helped the franchise stay put -- would have been built are only a couple blocks away from Bell Centre, so it almost makes sense for it to feel closer to home. Where the sport thrives, however, is in Baseball Québec's tight infrastructure. The organization emphasizes getting kids involved early through two main programs, Rally Cap and Winterball, which is sponsored by MLB. In Rally Cap, players ages 4-7 are taught skills and techniques, being evaluated as they meet different performance targets. With each level advanced, they get a new hat of a different color. "Winterball," Taillon said, "is designed to provide gym teachers with plans to initiate students in grades 3, 4 and 5 to baseball." Prospective players are evaluated for Baseball Québec's high-performance leagues between ages 14 and 15. From there, it is Midget AAA and the Ailes du Québec program, the province's U17 team. Those who continue play in the ABC program in the fall and winter and the Elite League in the summer. Players at this level are at the top of their game, and many are either drafted or signed to play college baseball in the United States. Martin and Gagné are veterans of the ABC program. One player hoping to follow in their footsteps is James Lavinskas, a 20-year-old third baseman for the Montréal Elites, one of the only shows in town for baseball fans. A three-sport star in football, baseball and hockey at a Connecticut prep school, Lavinskas came up through the Elite League's feeder programs, and now he is heading to the United States for college ball. Lavinskas will play for Seminole State College in Oklahoma, following once again in Gagné's footsteps. "Guys are getting drafted every year," Lavinskas said, summing up his hopes after moving on from the Elite League. With Baseball Québec's work, the sport's foundation in Montréal is stabilizing, with or without Olympic Stadium's help. Aside from a single postcard and one or two minutes of a 30-minute tour, baseball's only other fingerprint on the facility stands right out front, a statue of Jackie Robinson. After signing Robinson, Branch Rickey sent him to Triple-A Montréal. On the road, Robinson was jeered just as he would be when he was promoted, but in Montréal, fans loved their star second baseman. Robinson batted .349 with the Triple-A Royals that season, leading the team to a 100-win season. During Robinson's final game with the team, fans gave him a standing ovation, and a second curtain call, amazing support for a black athlete in 1946. "The fans just chased him after the game because they loved him and didn't want him to go," Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame president and CEO Tom Valcke said. "Rachel Robinson once said, 'That must have been one of the first times a white mob was chasing a black man for a good reason.' Don't tell me Montréal has bad baseball fans. They've always been great." Even if baseball did not live on at Olympic Stadium, at least baseball left a marker of tolerance in its place, and that is worth more than a hall of jerseys and signed balls. Stephen Ellsesser is a contributor to MLB.com. Associate reporter Jayson Addcox contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. A ballpark that never was MONTREAL -- Labatt Park has had two deaths -- not bad for something that never actually existed. Condos now stand where the downtown park would have been built, and after the project was canned, the model of the park was passed to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. On one truly unlucky night in the Hall's archives, the model also met its destruction. "They just destroyed it, the two very troubled young men," said president and CEO Tom Valcke, recalling a day he said literally brought tears to his eyes. "It could have been a stagecoach or an old ping-pong table, but they wanted to destroy whatever got in their way that night." The 12-by-12 model, too large to be a regular fixture at the St. Marys, Ontario, museum, was in storage. Although a smaller Labatt Park model exists, the larger one (valued at $80,000 Canadian) was a sight to behold. "It was something -- one of the showstoppers in our collection," said Tom Valcke, director and CEO of the Hall. "I've never seen anything else like it, nothing before and nothing since. The detail -- individual seats, trees, all the concession stands -- it was beautiful." The model made an initial showing at the Hall, then Valcke put it away until a proper space could be created for it. Less than a month after the Expos franchise began its new life at RFK Stadium, two teenagers broke into the building where the model was kept and destroyed it, adding a bizarre and somewhat ironic twist to the life of the park that never was and never would be. Valcke said the Hall kept the pieces and that it could be reassembled, but that the task would be daunting and that it would be difficult to recapture the piece's original majesty. "We kept every single splinter of it," he said. -- Stephen Ellsesser
  4. http://www.ledevoir.com/sports/actualites-sportives/356928/la-casquette-des-expos-est-tres-tendance-chez-les-jeunes-nord-americains
  5. monctezuma

    Stade des expos centre-ville (2001)

    Quatre images.
  6. theWestisDead

    Expos Office Complex (1998)

    This is a La Presse article from May 1998 regarding the Expos building an office complex to support their stadium construction project. The two towers next to Windsor station represents the two 50 floor towers that was part of the Canadiens original building plans, as mentioned in the second part of the article.
  7. MTLskyline

    Le baseball renaît au Québec

    http://fr.canoe.ca/sports/nouvelles/baseball/archives/2011/02/20110215-011334.html
  8. Philippe

    Montreal primed for NFL/MLB/MLS franchises

    Un article intéressant sur portfolio.com que j'ai trouvé sur skyscraperpage.com. Selon cet article et selon les revenus personnels disponible (API), Montréal serait, avec Riverside, les deux seuls villes capables de faire vivre une nouvelle équipe de Baseball... Et Montréal se classerait 3ème en Amérique du Nord pour attirer une franchise de la NFL ... Extrait de l'article Just two markets currently outside of MLB have income bases sufficiently large to join its ranks: Riverside-San Bernardino, California, and Montreal. And the latter is tainted because it lost a baseball franchise, the Expos, to Washington five years ago (the Expos were renamed the Nationals). La charte pour tous les sports http://www.portfolio.com/resources/SportsChart.pdf L'article: http://www.portfolio.com/industry-news/sports/2009/12/04/how-cities-rank-for-potential-sports-expansion/index1.html
  9. this is kinda old, but it's well written and pretty interesting from an 'historical' point of view, of sorts ... it's a 1999 washington post tourism piece, set in the context of a d.c. man visiting montreal, and going to a ball game "to see the team washington will probably inherit". it nicely highlights the city's unique attractions, all the while quite accurately summing up the general mood that surrounded baseball in montreal at the time. oh, and for extra sentimentality, read with in the background ... ----------------------------------- Montreal, Expos'd Visiting the City Whose Team Might Call D.C. Home By Mike Tidwell The Washington Post Sunday, July 11, 1999 Hundreds of crazed fans in this crowd of 5,000 foreigners begin standing and savagely slamming the backs of their chairs up and down, up and down to register their intense approval of what's going on on the playing field. The act creates sharp explosions of sound not unlike small-arms fire. The only people not banging chairs, it seems, are the sticky-fingered children eating deep-fried dough or forking strange mounds of fried potatoes laced with cheese and gravy. Suddenly, down on the field halfway through this "match," something bad happens for the home team. The French-speaking fans begin yelling at the mostly Spanish-speaking players: "Pourri! Pourri!" Rotten! Rotten! People whistle and blow long, booming plastic horns. I am, of course, taking in a major league baseball game in Montreal. I'm watching the pinstriped Expos on their home turf, a nine-inning experience that's perhaps the best multicultural adventure available to Washingtonians within easy flying distance of Reagan National Airport. It's a spectacle, a combination of God's two greatest inventions: baseball and international travel. As a junkie for both, I'm borderline apoplectic, immersed in fastballs and home runs, foreign billboards and surnames I can't pronounce. But a worrisome question nags as I sip my Molson: Do we really want these guys? Unless you're tone deaf to sports news, you probably know there's rampant speculation that the financially troubled Expos may move to the D.C. area. So I've come here as more than a sports tourist. I'm on a scouting mission, crossing the border for a sneak preview. I've already told my 2-year-old son, an emerging fan back in Takoma Park, that this is his team. He wears a tiny Expos hat when we play Whiffle ball in the back yard. But seeing this team firsthand reveals the naked truth: They're awful. Just now, an Expos batter strikes out on four pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies, triggering grumbles from the sparse crowd at Olympic Stadium. The team mascot--an orange and hairy something called "Youppi" (French for "hooray")--leads the fans in more chair-slamming fun, trying to keep a rally alive. The next batter runs the count full, teasing the fans, before popping out to the pitcher. More grumbles. The Expos have the lowest team payroll in baseball and some of the youngest players--and they are off to one of their worst starts in the team's 30-year history. Two nights ago, the players committed six errors in a single game. Again: Do we really want these guys? The answer, of course: Oui! Si! Yes! Please! Pretty please! Pretty please with whipped cream and a new, stylishly retro downtown stadium within easy walking distance of the Metro on top! Expos second baseman Wilton Guerrero steps to the plate as Youppi waves his hirsute arms wildly and the fans begin yelling things in French I can't understand. Guerrero, like the rest of the team, is in a terrible slump, and he falls behind in the count just as I come to a realization: Whatever happens in this game, I'll leave without regrets. If the Expos decamp for Washington, this will be the last summer to see French Canadian big-league baseball, a phenomenon worth catching before it goes, if for no other reason than it provides something found nowhere else in North America: minor league baseball with major league players. For anyone fashionably tired of big pro salaries, high ticket prices, arrogant players and the hassle of big crowds, the Expos offer the best of all worlds. I took a cheap Air Canada flight here, spent two days touring one of the world's great cities, and now I'm getting the farm league treatment: a tiny crowd, players barely old enough to shave, a crazy marriage proposal in the stands brokered by the mascot, and a wooden outfield scoreboard with numbers updated manually by teenagers. All this for the ridiculously low ticket price of less than $5 U.S. and a seat so close to the action that I can almost smell the pine tar. Guerrero bounces to second for an out, ending the inning. I do the only sensible thing. I order another Molson. My innkeeper in downtown Montreal, Madeline, says in accented English, "So what if the Expos leave town? There are many things fantastique and unique in Montreal besides just the Expos." She's right, of course, and during my two-day stay I'm determined see some "things fantastique" before hitting the ballpark. I begin by renting a mountain bike and pedaling straight to the top of Mont Royal, the dramatic, forested mountain (okay, a big hill) in the dead center of town that gives the city its name. A winding gravel road takes me through stands of Canadian maples to a beautiful summit park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. It's odd to stand at the grassy pinnacle and be eyeball to eyeball with the tops of skyscrapers just 10 blocks away. On the way down, pausing for great views of the lovely St. Lawrence River, I pass a pair of oddly segregated cemeteries--one for French speakers, one for English speakers--a site that mutely summarizes the long-festering cultural divisions within Quebec. I pedal to the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal, a 40-square-block delight of colonial structures and alleyways filled with horse-drawn caleches and itinerant artists. A warm spring sun has unloosed crowds of diners on the city's Euro-gamut of outdoor cafes, bistros and restaurants. The legendary French Canadian reputation for highly developed leisure skills is on full display this Sunday afternoon amid a sea of white tablecloths and red wines so good that even the vin de maison is a pretty sure bet. I eat grilled salmon served rare with escargots on a bed of scallions and garlic, and nearly swoon. The next day is game day. I visit the Old Fort on St. Helen's Island, in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, before heading to Olympic Stadium. After the War of 1812, the British prepared for a possible American invasion of Montreal by building this moated fortress with eight-foot-long cannons and two-meter-thick stone walls. As something of an invader myself, I grow slightly self-conscious inside those walls. Maybe I'm paranoid, but the eyes of those period-dress sentries make me think they're onto me, pegging me as the expeditionary fingertip of Washington's long arm reaching up to snatch the Expos. I make a discreet but hasty exit. I arrive three hours before the game, leaving plenty of time to tour the flag-festooned Olympic Park. I buy a ticket for the highly touted gondola ride rising from the spine of Olympic Stadium. Photos of the 1976 Games ornament the waiting area: Nadia Comaneci, Kornelia Ender, Sugar Ray Leonard. But I soon learn something unexpected about myself: Facing backward in a gondola rapidly moving upward at a 45-degree angle makes me afraid. At the top, pale and sweating, I take in a dramatic aerial view of the famous Olympic Village, the Montreal Botanical Garden and the city's 1967 international Expo site. Back on terra firma, there's time for one more stop: Moe's Deli and Bar, where Expos fans gather. It's a friendly place with exposed-brick walls, barbecued ribs and desserts kept in an old phone booth by the bar. It's happy hour--two-for-one Labatt beers--till well past game time, perhaps to anesthetize the fans for the poor play sure to follow. I sit at the bar next to Daniel, a baseball-hatted Expos loyalist, who has a message for D.C. fans. "Don't accept our Expos," he tells me. "You've lost two teams of your own before, so you know what it feels like. Please don't do this to us." I grimace and finish my second Labatt and push back my stool while Daniel, like all Montrealers I meet, remains a friendly sport to the end. "When you reach the stadium," he says, "buy the cheapest ticket in the house. It's only $7 Canadian [$4.80 U.S.]. Then, after the first pitch, sit wherever you want." "A $7 seat, please," I tell the stadium ticket seller moments later, handing over my money. I walk through the turnstile, past the popcorn and pennant venders, toward Section 139, right field. Virtually alone in my area, I take in batting practice amid thoroughly modern trappings: artificial turf, a space-age stadium roof, a gargantuan replay screen in center field. But already it doesn't quite feel like major league baseball. First, of course, there's the ticket price, about a quarter of what you'd pay at Camden Yards. Then there's the action on the field. An Expos coach is pitching batting practice using a wobbly shopping cart full of baseballs, and he's throwing to the beat of French rock music blasting over the P.A. Thirty feet below me, two teenage boys are standing on a crude scaffold, diligently updating a sprawling pre-World War II-type wooden scoreboard that gives results from around the league. This old-fashioned work, utterly exposed to those of us in the cheap seats, involves taking scores from a press-box official, then reaching into several wooden troughs for wooden slabs hand-painted with numbers and sliding them into the appropriate slot. One of them wears a felt Gatsby hat. I exit the stands for a quick pregame bite. "One order of poutine," I tell the uniformed attendant at a concession stand. Poutine, a uniquely Quebecois concoction combining french fries, cheddar cheese and beef-stock gravy, is so popular that it's served at McDonald's restaurants throughout the province. I watch the cook in back combine the fries and cheese in a tall paper cup, then slop on a ladleful of thick gravy from a stainless-steel vat. He pauses and then, momentarily indecisive, adds a second, heaping ladleful. I'm back at my seat in time for the national anthem, spearing dripping mouthfuls of poutine with a fork. For extreme junk food, it's not so bad, though halfway through the serving my stomach begins making odd noises that compete with the junior high school band playing "O Canada" with tubas and French horns on the field. The Expos take the field next, and the crowd, sprinkled more or less evenly across the stadium, begins banging empty seats up and down in preparation for the opening pitch. Twenty-five-year-old Expos pitcher Mike Thurman is on the mound, and as he warms up you can almost sense the whole place cringe. With an 0-2 record and an ERA of 8.05, he's the worst pitcher on the second-worst pitching staff in the National League. Just two nights ago, Expos pitchers gave up 17 runs in a game. But the first pitch from Thurman is a strike on the outside corner, and cheers go up just as the strange migration begins. True to Daniel's prediction, everyone in the stands not already seated behind home plate makes a beeline for amazingly choice (and empty) lower-level seats just 20 rows from the field (above a narrow VIP section) in an arc from dugout to dugout. I grab the rest of my poutine and join the exodus. By the end of the first inning, we fans are huddled cozily around home plate. In the third inning, the Expos stage a mini rally. Third baseman Mike Mordecai lines a clean single to left, and the juices start flowing in the stands. I get caught up in the excitement--this is my team, too--so I stand and begin slamming the back of my chair and cheer madly like those around me. The noise coming from these fans is, no exaggeration, as much as I've heard from crowds four times as big in other parks. Despite the high-decibel support, the rally sputters when Thurman strikes out trying to lay down a bunt. Next to me, a serious fan named Jean Yves Leduc is studiously scoring the game. He says he's attended at least 40 Expos home games every year for the past two decades. He puts down his scoring pencil and reminisces about highlights, including the 22-inning game against Los Angeles in 1987 and the time he shook hands with third baseman Tim Wallach in the parking lot before a game. "I could feel all the calluses on Wallach's hand from taking extra batting practice every day," Yves says. "I'll never forget those calluses. He was so dedicated to this team and to the game." And what will Yves do if the Expos leave town? "I had a talk with my girlfriend," he says, "and I decided that, with all my new free time, I would just go ahead and get married and have a life." It's the top of the fourth when Thurman makes a mistake pitch and Phillies right-fielder Bobby Abreu lifts a second two-run homer into left field. Four-zip, Philadelphia. "One more Phillies run," mutters the old farmer next to me after removing his teeth, whistling and putting them back in, "and I'm going home to watch hockey." Halfway through the fifth inning, Yves gets into an animated conversation with a hot dog vendor. It's all in French, and they both laugh a great deal, and I ask Yves what's so funny. "The crowd's so small tonight that the stadium is telling all the vendors--when they go back for more hot dogs--to go home. They're getting paid for only half a game. But this vendor's decided to avoid the order by not going back to resupply. That way, he can at least get his base pay for the rest of the game." Sure enough, the vendor walks away with a smile, barking to the crowd, "No hot dogs here! No hot dogs! Pas de chiens chauds!" Unexpectedly, the Expos make a heroic comeback with three runs in the seventh, while a young relief pitcher called up from Double-A somehow keeps the Phillies scoreless. By the bottom of the ninth, the drama escalates. The Expos are down 4-3 with two outs and a man on second. First baseman Ryan McGuire, who has power, steps to the plate. We may be few, but we fans do our best. Youppi claps his hairy orange hands and directs our cheers to the field. Chairs are banging. The vendor has stopped not selling hot dogs and is rooting like everyone else. The scoreboard guys are smoking nervously, peeping through a hole in the outfield scoreboard. The guy with the false teeth, true to his word, has stayed to the end. On a 2-1 pitch, McGuire lifts a towering blast to left field. We jump for joy and cheer louder and louder. But the Phillies's left fielder refuses to give up on the ball. He drifts back, back, back and, incredibly, makes the catch standing against the outfield fence. Five thousand people collapse in their seats in anguish and disbelief. It was a good game, and the young Expos have no reason to drop their chins. But there is something very sad about the way these previously boisterous fans shuffle slowly out of the stadium. An unusually large number stop and linger at souvenir stands by the exit gates. Souvenir. A French word meaning "to remember." For many of these fans, this may very well be the last time they see their Expos. They buy hats, T-shirts, pennants. To remember. I take the Montreal Metro back to downtown thinking two things. First, I sincerely hope Montreal figures out a way to keep its team, and prosper, even if it means we in D.C. don't get one. Second, if the Expos do come to us, I can't wait for the day when I can take the Washington Metro to a baseball game with my son. I'll really show him how to make a stadium chair hum. ----------------------------------- :rolleyes:
  10. ouaouaron

    Kids will walk without Quebec turnabout

    Kids will walk without Quebec turnabout KONRAD YAKABUSKI Globe and Mail March 20, 2008 at 6:00 AM EDT Jacques Ménard has got a batting average that has earned him a reputation as the Alex Rodriguez of Quebec investment banking. As Bank of Montreal's Quebec president and chief rainmaker at BMO Nesbitt Burns, Mr. Ménard has been handed some of the toughest M&A mandates Canadian business has ever seen. Yet, like Yankees sensation A-Rod, Mr. Ménard has knocked more than his fair share out of the park. TSX Group's recent $1.3-billion deal to buy an initially hostile Montreal Exchange probably wouldn't have happened – or at least not as quickly – without him. Power Financial's $4-billion (U.S.) purchase, through its Great-West Lifeco unit, of Putnam Investments bore his fingerprints, too. If baseball metaphors come to mind, it's probably because Mr. Ménard saved the sputtering Montreal Expos – twice. In 1991, he put together a group of Quebec Inc. bigwigs to buy the team from Charles Bronfman. And as Expos chairman in 1999, Mr. Ménard negotiated the financially strapped team's sale to Jeffrey Loria, once again preserving major league baseball in Montreal. Even the best strike out now and then, though. Mr. Ménard, now 62, couldn't stop the Expos from ultimately leaving in 2004. And BMO's Quebec team couldn't work miracles for Alcoa in its doomed attempt to buy Alcan last year. Mr. Ménard can accept the occasional walk. It's getting pulled from the batting line-up that really gets his goat. That is essentially what happened when Quebec Premier Jean Charest summarily shelved the 2005 report on the province's cash-sucking health care system that was tabled by a task force led by Mr. Ménard. The latter watched with similar frustration last month as Mr. Charest did the same thing with the recommendations – including higher consumption taxes and user fees – of yet another government-commissioned task force to plug the province's health care black hole. Health care expenses account for 44 per cent of Quebec's program spending. They're headed toward almost 70 per cent by But with the highest debt per capita, highest taxes, shortest workweek, most generous social safety net, lowest productivity growth and most rapidly aging population in Canada, Quebec is already struggling to stay afloat. What kind of future does that suggest for the young Quebeckers who will be left to pick up the tab for the hip replacements and Cialis their baby boomer grandparents seem to consider a God-given right? Hence, Mr. Ménard's cri du coeur in the form of a book, out this week, titled Si on s'y mettait (rough translation: If We Got Busy With It). Part reality check, part road map to growth, Mr. Ménard's essay is aimed primarily at the generation between 18 and 35. They vote far less than their elders, seemingly resigned to watching the politicians of their parents' generation mortgage their future. Few Quebec business leaders these days are willing to go public with their disillusionment with Mr. Charest's failure to tackle such problems. Not Mr. Ménard. “It's astounding the extent to which Quebec's poverty jumps out at you when you come back from a trip abroad,” Mr. Ménard writes, comparing Quebec to a “developing country whose roads have been literally abandoned for generations.” Mr. Ménard dismisses the so-called “Quebec model” of extensive social programs as “a Cadillac with a Lada motor.” The debate over the sustainability of Quebec's public services, given the province's relative demographic and economic decline, has been turning in circles for years. In that respect, the most useful contribution of Mr. Ménard's book probably comes from polling data on young Quebeckers and Canadians the author commissioned himself. It's long been thought that the language barrier and Quebeckers' attachment to their distinct culture is a natural barrier against their mobility. Indeed, governments seem to take for granted that francophone Quebeckers will never leave home. Mr. Ménard's research tells a very different story. Not only are young Quebeckers more outward-looking than their English-Canadian peers, they're more willing to move for a better job. More than half (51 per cent) of Quebeckers between 18 and 35 say they like the idea of working in a foreign country, compared with 43 per cent in the rest of Canada. Forty-five per cent of young Quebeckers say they would “without hesitation” leave Quebec to work elsewhere if a more interesting or better-paying job came up. So, if the best and brightest leave, who's going pay for the boomers' new hips? A wealthy investment banker like Mr. Ménard doesn't have to personally worry about that – leading his critics in Quebec's still-powerful union movement to charge that his policy prescriptions are just part of the same old right-wing agenda to privatize public services. Mr. Ménard denies that. He admits, though, to having his own selfish reasons for writing the book: “I'd like to watch my grandkids grow up without having to go through airports … Mea culpa. I've a got a conflict of interest.” http://www.reportonbusiness.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080319.wyakabuski0320/BNStory/Business/home