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  1. As predicted and discussed with the prophet greenlobster. Media Advisory - Air Canada to Make Major Montreal Announcement MONTREAL, Sept. 22, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - On the occasion of the visit to Canada by the Premier of China, Air Canada invites the media to attend a press conference in Montreal for a major announcement concerning air service to China. DATE: Friday, September 23, 2016 TIME: 07:15 a.m. Registration and light breakfast 07:30 a.m. Press conference starts 08:20 a.m. End of press conference WHO: Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer, Air Canada, accompanied by invited government officials and dignitaries. LOCATION: Le Westin Montreal 270 Rue Saint-Antoine Ouest, Montréal, QC H2Y 0A3 Salon Ville-Marie A, 9th Floor Metro: Place-d'Armes PLEASE RSVP: media@aircanada.ca SOURCE Air Canada
  2. Solid blog. What do you guys think? Huffington Post At the beginning of September, as Sherpa Delegate, I will lead a delegation of 35 young Canadian entrepreneurs, who have been selected to participate in the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Summit in China. They will join some of the top 500 young entrepreneurs of the G20 nations to recommend policies to foster youth entrepreneurship and tackle youth unemployment. Among these 35 Canadians, 16 are from Montreal. This fact clearly reflects that there is currently a boom of new entrepreneurs in this city. As a business person myself, I witness a vibrant entrepreneurial community. Montreal hosts many startup events and hackathons, and boasts an increasing number of incubators and co-working spaces. In the last three years, I have had the opportunity to meet entrepreneurs from various countries, through my active involvement in a global youth movement, called the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance. This international experience has made me realize that Montreal has everything it takes to be among the best cities for entrepreneurs in the world. Like an unpolished diamond, it merely requires some efficient government measures. Technology has enabled even smaller entrepreneur-led businesses to expand into global markets, which can be a powerful driver of growth. We need to implement concerted strategic policies on federal, provincial and municipal levels, to make Montreal a high-standard international entrepreneurial city. Policies that take into account the following points: Firstly, Montreal is the second biggest university city in North America, after Boston. The government should tap into this strong suit in order to make it an entrepreneurial city. We need a clear strategy that encourages and supports the creation of university-based incubators and accelerators in partnership with the private sector, institutions and foundations. University students in Montreal should have the opportunity to start businesses throughout their studies, with the support of and resources from their institutions. As a target, I propose to increase the number of university students involved in entrepreneurship by 50 per cent in five years, and students’ R&D investment/collaboration with entrepreneurs by 50 per cent, to complement formal entrepreneurship education. Secondly, many young entrepreneurs want to go global and do business with other cities, provinces and countries. Technology has enabled even smaller entrepreneur-led businesses to expand into global markets, which can be a powerful driver of growth. We need to devise a joint game plan on federal, provincial and municipal levels, to adopt policies and incentives that support young entrepreneurs as they assess their activities and expand into external markets. For instance, inclusion of young entrepreneurs in trade missions led by our mayor, premier and prime minister, training of diplomats and trade commissioners in the realities of young entrepreneurs, encouraging Montreal incubators to collaborate with those of other countries, and creation of co-working hubs and incubation services for early-stage exporters in diplomatic missions (to trade offices, embassies and consulates). Finally, Montreal is an open, creative and multicultural city, with a great quality of life. Let’s make our city the number 1 destination in the world to start a business! Entrepreneurs are a rare breed. We need to attract them. I suggest federal, provincial and municipal collaboration to implement long-term visas and fast clearance for entrepreneurs. A landing pad for entrepreneurs, in conjunction with university-based incubators and the private sector, is also required. On August 26, 2016, the Obama administration proposed a rule aimed at attracting thousands of the world’s best and brightest entrepreneurs, to start the next great companies in the United States. I think our federal government should be inspired by this initiative. The city of Montreal plans to release an orientation paper on its international relations in the coming months. I sincerely hope our municipal administration integrates “Montreal as an international entrepreneurship capital” into its vision. Winston Chan is an entrepreneur and former Chairman of the Federation of Young Chambers of Commerce in Quebec. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  3. Solid blog. What do you guys think? Huffington Post At the beginning of September, as Sherpa Delegate, I will lead a delegation of 35 young Canadian entrepreneurs, who have been selected to participate in the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Summit in China. They will join some of the top 500 young entrepreneurs of the G20 nations to recommend policies to foster youth entrepreneurship and tackle youth unemployment. Among these 35 Canadians, 16 are from Montreal. This fact clearly reflects that there is currently a boom of new entrepreneurs in this city. As a business person myself, I witness a vibrant entrepreneurial community. Montreal hosts many startup events and hackathons, and boasts an increasing number of incubators and co-working spaces. In the last three years, I have had the opportunity to meet entrepreneurs from various countries, through my active involvement in a global youth movement, called the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance. This international experience has made me realize that Montreal has everything it takes to be among the best cities for entrepreneurs in the world. Like an unpolished diamond, it merely requires some efficient government measures. Technology has enabled even smaller entrepreneur-led businesses to expand into global markets, which can be a powerful driver of growth. We need to implement concerted strategic policies on federal, provincial and municipal levels, to make Montreal a high-standard international entrepreneurial city. Policies that take into account the following points: Firstly, Montreal is the second biggest university city in North America, after Boston. The government should tap into this strong suit in order to make it an entrepreneurial city. We need a clear strategy that encourages and supports the creation of university-based incubators and accelerators in partnership with the private sector, institutions and foundations. University students in Montreal should have the opportunity to start businesses throughout their studies, with the support of and resources from their institutions. As a target, I propose to increase the number of university students involved in entrepreneurship by 50 per cent in five years, and students’ R&D investment/collaboration with entrepreneurs by 50 per cent, to complement formal entrepreneurship education. Secondly, many young entrepreneurs want to go global and do business with other cities, provinces and countries. Technology has enabled even smaller entrepreneur-led businesses to expand into global markets, which can be a powerful driver of growth. We need to devise a joint game plan on federal, provincial and municipal levels, to adopt policies and incentives that support young entrepreneurs as they assess their activities and expand into external markets. For instance, inclusion of young entrepreneurs in trade missions led by our mayor, premier and prime minister, training of diplomats and trade commissioners in the realities of young entrepreneurs, encouraging Montreal incubators to collaborate with those of other countries, and creation of co-working hubs and incubation services for early-stage exporters in diplomatic missions (to trade offices, embassies and consulates). Finally, Montreal is an open, creative and multicultural city, with a great quality of life. Let’s make our city the number 1 destination in the world to start a business! Entrepreneurs are a rare breed. We need to attract them. I suggest federal, provincial and municipal collaboration to implement long-term visas and fast clearance for entrepreneurs. A landing pad for entrepreneurs, in conjunction with university-based incubators and the private sector, is also required. On August 26, 2016, the Obama administration proposed a rule aimed at attracting thousands of the world’s best and brightest entrepreneurs, to start the next great companies in the United States. I think our federal government should be inspired by this initiative. The city of Montreal plans to release an orientation paper on its international relations in the coming months. I sincerely hope our municipal administration integrates “Montreal as an international entrepreneurship capital” into its vision. Winston Chan is an entrepreneur and former Chairman of the Federation of Young Chambers of Commerce in Quebec. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  4. Solid blog. What do you guys think? Huffington Post At the beginning of September, as Sherpa Delegate, I will lead a delegation of 35 young Canadian entrepreneurs, who have been selected to participate in the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Summit in China. They will join some of the top 500 young entrepreneurs of the G20 nations to recommend policies to foster youth entrepreneurship and tackle youth unemployment. Among these 35 Canadians, 16 are from Montreal. This fact clearly reflects that there is currently a boom of new entrepreneurs in this city. As a business person myself, I witness a vibrant entrepreneurial community. Montreal hosts many startup events and hackathons, and boasts an increasing number of incubators and co-working spaces. In the last three years, I have had the opportunity to meet entrepreneurs from various countries, through my active involvement in a global youth movement, called the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance. This international experience has made me realize that Montreal has everything it takes to be among the best cities for entrepreneurs in the world. Like an unpolished diamond, it merely requires some efficient government measures. Technology has enabled even smaller entrepreneur-led businesses to expand into global markets, which can be a powerful driver of growth. We need to implement concerted strategic policies on federal, provincial and municipal levels, to make Montreal a high-standard international entrepreneurial city. Policies that take into account the following points: Firstly, Montreal is the second biggest university city in North America, after Boston. The government should tap into this strong suit in order to make it an entrepreneurial city. We need a clear strategy that encourages and supports the creation of university-based incubators and accelerators in partnership with the private sector, institutions and foundations. University students in Montreal should have the opportunity to start businesses throughout their studies, with the support of and resources from their institutions. As a target, I propose to increase the number of university students involved in entrepreneurship by 50 per cent in five years, and students’ R&D investment/collaboration with entrepreneurs by 50 per cent, to complement formal entrepreneurship education. Secondly, many young entrepreneurs want to go global and do business with other cities, provinces and countries. Technology has enabled even smaller entrepreneur-led businesses to expand into global markets, which can be a powerful driver of growth. We need to devise a joint game plan on federal, provincial and municipal levels, to adopt policies and incentives that support young entrepreneurs as they assess their activities and expand into external markets. For instance, inclusion of young entrepreneurs in trade missions led by our mayor, premier and prime minister, training of diplomats and trade commissioners in the realities of young entrepreneurs, encouraging Montreal incubators to collaborate with those of other countries, and creation of co-working hubs and incubation services for early-stage exporters in diplomatic missions (to trade offices, embassies and consulates). Finally, Montreal is an open, creative and multicultural city, with a great quality of life. Let’s make our city the number 1 destination in the world to start a business! Entrepreneurs are a rare breed. We need to attract them. I suggest federal, provincial and municipal collaboration to implement long-term visas and fast clearance for entrepreneurs. A landing pad for entrepreneurs, in conjunction with university-based incubators and the private sector, is also required. On August 26, 2016, the Obama administration proposed a rule aimed at attracting thousands of the world’s best and brightest entrepreneurs, to start the next great companies in the United States. I think our federal government should be inspired by this initiative. The city of Montreal plans to release an orientation paper on its international relations in the coming months. I sincerely hope our municipal administration integrates “Montreal as an international entrepreneurship capital” into its vision. Winston Chan is an entrepreneur and former Chairman of the Federation of Young Chambers of Commerce in Quebec. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  5. https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/jul/04/new-toronto-most-fascinatingly-boring-city-guardian-canada-week Cities Guardian Canada week Welcome to the new Toronto: the most fascinatingly boring city in the world From the endless scandals of Rob Ford to the endless hits of Drake, Stephen Marche reveals the secret of his hometown’s transformation into the 21st century’s great post-industrial city Toronto’s multicultural waterparks show the true radical potential of the city. Photograph: Alamy Cities is supported by Rockefeller Foundation Stephen Marche in Toronto Monday 4 July 2016 10.43 BST Last modified on Tuesday 5 July 2016 00.04 BST The definitive moment of the “new Toronto” took place, somewhat inevitably, in New York. On the TV variety show Saturday Night Live in May, Toronto’s hip-hop icon Drake played a gameshow contestant named Jared – a cheerful goof with dreadlocks and a red check shirt with a slight Caribbean lilt. The skit, called Black Jeopardy, was a take on the long-running game show Jeopardy, using a series of African American cliches: uncles who wear long suits to church, the cost of hair weaves, the popularity of Tyler Perry movies, and so on. In this matrix of stereotype, however, Jared didn’t quite fit. To the answer: “This comedian was crazy in the 80s with his Raw and Delirious routines,” (clearly indicating the question: “Who is Eddie Murphy?”) Jared instead asked, to the perplexity of all: “Who is Rick Moranis?” When they also didn’t know hockey legend Jaromir Jagr, Jared was stunned: “The man won the Art Ross trophy four years in a row, fam.” Jared is black, but not a kind of black that the host or the other contestants recognised. “I’m from Toronto,” he explained. “Wait, you’re a black Canadian?” the host asked. “Obviously, dog.” The miscomprehension built from there to a confrontation in which Jared angrily demanded: “Why do I have to be your definition of black?” Was the host’s confusion understandable? To Americans, and outsiders in general, the new Toronto and its people can seem disconcertingly familiar and strange at the same time. It’s a city in mid-puberty, growing so rapidly, changing so suddenly, that often it doesn’t quite know how it feels about itself. *** Last year, the increasing population of Toronto passed the declining population of Chicago. Comparisons come naturally. What Chicago was to the 20th century, Toronto will be to the 21st. Chicago was the great city of industry; Toronto will be the great city of post-industry. Chicago is grit, top-quality butchers, glorious modernist buildings and government blight; Toronto is clean jobs and artisanal ice-creameries, identical condos, excellent public schools and free healthcare for all. Chicago is a decaying factory where Americans used to make stuff. Toronto is a new bank where the tellers can speak two dozen languages. You feel a natural ease in time when you touch down from another city; you don’t have to strain for hope here. The future matters infinitely more than the past. Toronto is now grown-up enough to be rife with contradictions Toronto’s growth has been extravagant. If you approach from the water, almost every building you see will have been constructed in the past two decades. The city has been booming for so long and so consistently that few can remember what Toronto was like when it wasn’t booming. There were 13 skyscrapers in 2005; there are now close to 50, with 130 more under construction. The greater Toronto area is expected to swell by 2.6 million people to 7.5 million over the next decade and a half. A line has been crossed. Toronto is now grown-up enough to be rife with contradictions – and its contradictions are making it interesting. It is, for example, by far the safest city in North America – an extraordinarily law-abiding place by any measure. It also produced Rob Ford, the world’s most famous crack-smoking mayor, a man whose criminality did little to affect his popularity. Other contradictions reveal themselves only on closer examination. Toronto’s dullness is what makes it exciting – a tricky point to grasp. Toronto’s lack of ambition is why the financial collapse of 2008 never happened here. The strong regulations of its banks preventing their over-leverage meant they were insulated from the worst of global shocks. In London and New York, the worst stereotype of a banker is somebody who enjoys cocaine, Claret and vast megalomaniac schemes. In Toronto, a banker handles teachers’ pension portfolios and spends weekends at the cottage. Mist rises from Lake Ontario in front of the Toronto skyline during extreme cold weather. The population of the greater Toronto area is expected to reach 7.45 million by 2031 – and approaching from the water almost every building you see was built in the past two decades. Photograph: Mark Blinch/AP The worship of safety and security applies across all fields and industries. A reliable person is infinitely more valued than a brilliant one. The “steady hand” is the Toronto ideal, and Toronto’s steadiness is why people flock here – and all the people flocking here are making it exciting. That’s why Toronto is the most fascinating totally boring city in the world. The fundamental contradiction of the new Toronto, however, is that it has come into its own by becoming a city of others. In the Canadian context, Toronto is no longer first among equals in a series of cities strung along the railroad between the Atlantic and Pacific. It has become the national metropolis, the city plugged into the global matrix. At the same time, Toronto is 51% foreign-born, with people from over 230 countries, making it by many assessments, the most diverse city in the world. But diversity is not what sets Toronto apart; the near-unanimous celebration of diversity does. Toronto may be the last city in the world that unabashedly desires difference. Toronto may be the last city in the world that unabashedly desires difference This openness is unfortunately unique. In a world in which Australia runs “You will not make Australia home” advertisements, Donald Trump is the presidential nominee of a major American political party, and a British MP was killed by a man shouting “Britain first”, Canada has largely escaped this rising loathing for others. A 2012 study, by the chair of Canadian studies at Berkeley, found that “compared to the citizens of other developed immigrant-receiving countries, Canadians are by far the most open to and optimistic about immigration.” The lack of political xenophobia (which must be distinguished from the various crises of integration) has emerged for reasons that are peculiar to the Canadian experience, and not because we’re somehow better people. Toronto’s success in 2016 began in the national near-catastrophe of 1995. The 1995 referendum on Quebec independence brought the country within a photo finish of not existing anymore. In an infamous drunken ramble of a concession speech, the then premier of Quebec, Jacques Parizeau, blamed the loss on “money and the ethnic vote”. I was 19 when he said that, and I knew even then that for the rest of my life, Canada’s future would be built on money and immigrants. I wasn’t wrong. Most Canadian business headquarters had already taken the five-hour drive west. After 95, the rest followed. Montreal decided to become a French-Canadian city. Toronto decided to become a global city. The gaze into the abyss separated English-speaking Canadians from the rest of the Anglosphere. The most important finding from the Berkeley study was that “in Canada, those who expressed more patriotism were also more likely to support immigration and multiculturalism. In the United States this correlation went in the opposite direction.” That’s the key difference between Toronto’s relationship to immigration and the rest of the world. Canada can only survive as a cosmopolitan entity. Blood and soil rip it apart rather than bind it together. With the US border to the south and three brutal oceans on the other sides, Canada is protected, as few places are, from uncontrolled immigration. There are no desperate huddled masses, yearning to breathe free here. Instead we cull the cream of the world and call it compassion. Syrian refugees are greeted by Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on their arrival from Beirut at the Toronto Pearson International Airport. Syrian refugees are greeted by Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau. Photograph: Mark Blinch/Reuters To take the case of the Syrians, the federal government took 25,000 refugees since the Trudeau government came to power last year, which sounds impressive when you compare it to the 2,800 that the US has allowed. It isn’t when you consider the specifics of the case. There are already plenty of Muslim families in Toronto and they are as boring as any other Canadians. In my own existence, the people of Muslim heritage I have known have served some of the following roles: they were my father’s business partners; they have prepared my taxes and my will; they gossiped constantly in the cubicle beside mine at a legal publishing house where I used to work until I had to buy noise-cancellation headphones; they gave me tips on how to pass my special fields examination while I was doing my PhD; they looked after my children at the local daycare centre. So when I heard that 25,000 Syrians were coming, I did not imagine 25,000 poor angry men. I imagined 25,000 accountants and dentists. Which is exactly who has come. Toronto’s multiculturalism no doubt has its crises, and those crises are accelerating. When the province of Ontario (of which Toronto is the capital) announced a new sex education curriculum that included open discussions on homosexuality, recently arrived socially conservative Muslim and Chinese-Canadian Christian parents pulled their children from public school in protest. The premier, Kathleen Wynne, responded with a statement that basically amounted to: “Tough.” The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, passed in 1982 – the same document that established multiculturalism as national policy – is very clear that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is un-Canadian. There is a strain of granite in Toronto’s much-vaunted tolerance. More serious are the issues around race and policing, which have consumed the city for the past two years. The carding scandal, in which the police were revealed to be racially profiling the black community, exposed profound problems with our police force, which is in dire need of reform. The crowd watches the speakers at the Black Lives Matter rally at Toronto Police Headquarters at 40 College in Toronto. The crowd watches the speakers at the Black Lives Matter rally at Toronto police HQ. Photograph: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images This is a story that has been playing out in American cities as well. But Black Lives Matter here has been distinctly Torontonian. Activists protested outside the police headquarters for 14 days, received a meeting with the mayor and the premier, and then disbanded peacefully. There was no hint of a riot, nor even of bad behaviour. Toronto’s activists sought redress for poor government in an entirely orderly fashion, and their demands, which were utterly reasonable, belonged to the best traditions of polite Canadian politics. The activists were pursuing, just like Canada’s motto, “peace, order and good government.” *** On any given morning on the Sheppard subway line in the north of the city, you can sit down in perfect peace and order, although you will find little evidence of good government. As the latest addition to Toronto’s fraying infrastructure, the Sheppard subway is largely untroubled by urban bustle. The stations possess the discreet majesty of abandoned cathedrals, designed for vastly more people than currently use them, like ruins that have never been inhabited. Meanwhile, in the overcrowded downtown lines, passengers are stacked up the stairs. The streetcars along a single main street, Spadina, carry more people on a daily basis than the whole of the Sheppard line, whose expenses run to roughly $10 a passenger, according to one estimate. A critic has suggested that sending cabs for everybody would be cheaper. Canadexit: how to escape the clutches of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage This ludicrous state of affairs – money wasted in one corner of the city while it’s desperately needed elsewhere – is the typical result of Toronto City Hall’s idea of consensus. The council is a pack of hicks and rubes, a visionless amalgam of small-c conservatives and vaguely union-hall lefties, all of them living resolutely in the past. Both sides want to stop what’s happening in the city. The lefties want to slow gentrification, and the conservatives think we’ve all been taxed enough. Of course, when most people think of hicks and rubes in Toronto City Hall, they think of Rob Ford, who died of cancer earlier this year. But Giorgio Mammoliti, councillor for Ward Seven, has proposed a floating casino, a red-light district on the Toronto Islands, and an 11pm curfew for children under 14. He has blamed a few of his erratic comments on a brain fistula he had removed in 2013, but nobody has since been able to tell the difference in his behaviour. Add another contradiction to Toronto’s growing list: it must be the best-run city in the world run by idiots. The current mayor, John Tory, is not an idiot, although he is hardly a figure of the “new Toronto”. He represents, more than any other conceivable human being, the antique white anglo-saxon protestant (Wasp) elite of Toronto, his father being one of the most important lawyers in the city’s history. The old Wasps had their virtues, it has to be said – it wasn’t all inedible cucumber sandwiches and not crying at funerals. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford responds the media at City Hall in Toronto, October 31, 2013. Rob Ford served as mayor of Toronto from 2010 to 2014. Photograph: Mark Blinch/Reuters After the Rob Ford years, the attractions of a “steady hand” have been stronger than ever. Last week, Tory finally took the step of acknowledging that Toronto needs new revenue-generating streams, which took immense political courage even though it is obvious to everyone. Then, almost immediately, he proposed a “net-zero” budget with no new revenue streams – the steady thing to do, the gutless thing to do, the traditionally Toronto thing to do. The cost of having narrow-minded representatives in power is to limit the city. The catastrophic state of transit has had a host of unintended consequences; the explosion of downtown construction is due largely to the fact that commuting from the suburbs has become more or less unendurable. The poor infrastructure is symptomatic of larger problems. Because somewhere deep in its heart Toronto has not planned for growth – because Toronto hasn’t expected to be a real grown-up city – it keeps making the same mistakes. Toronto’s place in the world is not fixed. That is what is so exciting about the city Billions of dollars are being used to build more subways in suburban Scarborough where ridership will carry, at one stop, an astonishingly low 7,300 people at peak hours. Just last week, it was announced that another C$1.3bn will be spent on the project. It is very easy to blame the political class for this small-minded nonsense, but in their lack of ambition they represent a truth of the city. It is the most diverse city in the world and one of the richest, but it is unclear what its money and its diversity amount to. There is no Toronto sound. There is no Toronto flavour. There is no Toronto scene. There is no Toronto style. Rather there are sounds and flavours and scenes and styles borrowed from elsewhere. At the corner of Spadina and Bloor Street, there is a small series of panels commemorating the activists who prevented the Spadina Expressway – a megahighway into the urban core – from being built in the 1970s. Those activists weren’t wrong. That proposed highway would have destroyed some decent neighbourhoods. But only Toronto would commemorate not building something. It’s proud of what it hasn’t done. *** Go to the waterparks in this city on any hot summer day and you see the true potential of Toronto. The meaning of multiculturalism in Toronto is not theoretical; it is not found in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms or in the decisions of the refugee board. The meaning of multiculturalism is found in the waterparks, among the slides and fountains, and lazy rivers and wave pools: a collection of various people of various shades speaking various languages, lounging in the shade, drinking overpriced rum drinks, eating greasy food, staring at each other’s naked and tattooed flesh, and shouting at their kids to stop splashing. History in Toronto does not bend toward justice. It bends towards the hot tub. There is something radical about these people leading their quiet lives out together, without much fuss. Are they one people? Does it matter if they aren’t? It is a city whose meaning is not found in shared history but in the shared desire to escape history. It is a light city, a city floating up and away from the old stories, the ancient struggles. Craic addicts and Hogtown heroes: Canada's urban tribes explained Again Chicago makes a good comparison. In Chicago, they once changed the course of the river – one of history’s greatest feats of will and engineering. In Toronto, for a hundred years, the authorities let the construction companies just dump their landfill into Lake Ontario, until it turned into a pile of rubble so large that it attracted deer and coyotes and warblers in migration. So, reluctantly, they turned it into a rather gorgeous little park, the Leslie Street Spit. Chicago has dreams, dreams that mostly fail but sometimes triumph. Toronto keeps any dreams it might have to itself, stumbling into much more reliable happiness. Toronto’s place in the world is not fixed. That is what is so exciting about it. The question that Toronto faces, the question that its various crises and contradictions pose, is whether the city will rise into a glorious future of a mingled and complicated humanity, an avatar of a singular cosmopolitanism, or whether it will shrink back and be swallowed by the provincial miasma that inveigles it. This is a real question – the city could legitimately go either way. How much longer can Toronto endure its terminal lightness? How much longer can a city so interesting insist on being so boring? Guardian Cities is devoting a week to exploring all things Canada. Get involved on Twitter and Facebook and share your thoughts with #GuardianCanada Sent from my SM-T330NU using Tapatalk
  6. http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/josh-freed-the-winds-of-change-are-blowing-and-they-just-might-transform-montreal The winds of change are blowing and they just might transform Montreal -WE NEED MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS DAMMIT!
  7. (Courtesy of Engadget) It is a good initiative, but will Quebec mandate by a certain year everyone needs to have an electric vehicle?
  8. http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/apr/23/sane-way-run-megalopolis-urban-governance?utm_source=SFFB Protesters march through the streets of Ferguson in August. Aaron M Renn Thursday 23 April 2015 15.39 BST Last modified on Thursday 23 April 2015 16.57 BST The death of Michael Brown, shot by a police officer last year in Ferguson, Missouri, triggered civil unrest and protests that have yet to subside, with two police officers recently shot in the city. The media has blamed lots of things for the chaos that has engulfed Ferguson, from racism to inequality, but one factor might raise an eyebrow: municipal fragmentation in the St Louis area. There are 90 separate cities and towns in St Louis County alone, which has created a landscape of small, cash-strapped cities pulling on tiny tax bases to finance their governments. The US Justice Department has specifically accused Ferguson of using its police department as a revenue-raising arm, with a racial bias and as such it could be argued that municipal fragmentation played a role in creating the conditions that produced police-community tensions in Ferguson. A few year earlier, in 2010 and 800 miles to the north-east, Toronto elected the suburban politician Rob Ford from Etobicoke as mayor. Ford swept into office pledging to “stop the gravy train” and cut spending, cancelling bike infrastructure and streetcars. His sensibilities appalled urban Torontonians. The urban studies theorist Richard Florida called him “the worst and most anti-urban mayor in the history of any major city”. His mayoralty ultimately collapsed in a wave of scandals, including when he got caught on video smoking crack. People in ​​living in cities and those in their suburbs often have different values, priorities and cultures One of the factors blamed for the Rob Ford phenomenon? Amalgamation, or the consolidation of the city of Toronto with several formerly independent municipalities, including Etobicoke. It is amalgamation that allowed suburbanites to take control of governance over the inner city by electing one of their own as mayor. Welcome to the wonderful world of governing urban regions, where between fragmentation and amalgamation no one actually knows what the right-sized box for local government is or how to change it – but everyone can see the problems of most of the existing governance models. An election on 7 April was seen as a critical step toward ending racially discriminatory practices that thrust the St. Louis suburb into the national spotlight last year. An election on 7 April was seen as a critical step toward ending racially discriminatory practices that thrust the St Louis suburb into the national spotlight last year. Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters Municipal fragmentation has been criticised for decades. In Cities Without Suburbs, his influential 1993 book, former Albuquerque mayor David Rusk argued that Rust Belt cities in the US failed to succeed in part because they were unable to expand, and found themselves hemmed in by a jigsaw puzzle of independent suburbs. Advertisement But with cities having become central to national governance in the 21st century, institutions like the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank are weighing in, too. Both recently sounded the alarm about the risks of urban fragmentation on a global level, for the developed and the developing world. “Often, administrative boundaries between municipalities are based on centuries-old borders that do not correspond to contemporary patterns of human settlement and economic activity,” the OECD observed in a recent report. The thinktank argued that governance structures failed to reflect modern realities of metropolitan life into account. Behind the report’s dry prose lies a real problem. Fragmentation affects a whole range of things, including the economy. The OECD estimates that for regions of equal population, doubling the number of governments reduces productivity by 6%. It recommends reducing this effect with a regional coordinating body, which can also reduce sprawl, increase public transport satisfaction (by 14 percentage points, apparently) and improve air quality. The World Bank, meanwhile, is worried about the way rapid growth in developing cities has created fragmentation there, too. Metropolises often sprawl well beyond government boundaries: Jakarta, for example, has spread into three separate provinces. The World Bank calls fragmentation “a significant challenge in the East Asia region”. Urban fragmentation in Jakarta Urban fragmentation in Jakarta. The urban area covers 1,600 sq km and 12 jurisdictions. Photograph: World Bank/University of Wisconsin-Madison “It’s quite a surprise how much fragmentation there is,” says Judy Baker, one of the authors of the World Bank’s recent report titled East Asia’s Changing Urban Landscape. “It’s a challenge for almost every city.” Among the surprising findings of the report is that 135 of the nearly 350 urban regions they surveyed in East Asia had no dominant local jurisdiction. The glaring example here is of course the largest urban area in the world, the Pearl River Delta region in China, a megapolitan region that includes many major cities, including Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and others. In Manila in the Philippines, no less than 85 municipalities are involved in the megacity’s governance. Advertisement Planners love efficiency, but even on a piece of paper it can be hard to know what size box to draw. As the OECD put it: “Even if policymakers try to reorganise local governments according to functional relations within urban agglomerations, it is often difficult to identify boundaries between functionally integrated areas.” In plain English: nobody really knows where to draw the lines. And as the Toronto example shows, amalgamation – bringing fragmented government regions together – comes with downsides of its own. Of course, you can put people in the same governmental box, but that won’t necessarily create common ground – instead, it can create a zero-sum, winner-takes-all dynamic. People in living in cities and those in their suburbs often have different values, priorities and even a different culture. They can be, as was famously said of English and French Canada, “two solitudes”. Urbanites who support regional governance frequently assume that means more power, money and resources for the central city. But as Rob Ford so richly illustrated, that’s not always the case. Among those who stand to lose from regional government are minorities. In Ferguson, black residents were already under-represented in government relative to their population. But as a voting block they would find their strength heavily diluted in a merged government: Ferguson is more than two-thirds African-American, while St Louis County plus the city of St Louis together are about 70% white. Unsurprisingly, central cities tend to prefer regional revenue-sharing without giving up political control. Detroit, despite serious financial problems, has viciously fought sharing control over city assets, even where they serve a broader region. Detroit’s convention centre is a good example of the tensions that can arise: it took years to agree renovations to the building, as despite arguing the suburbs should help pay for the building they partly enjoy, the city did not want to cede any control over it. Part of the city’s bankruptcy “grand bargain” involved raising regional water rates to funnel money back into the city while retaining city ownership over a regional water utility. But simply creating revenue streams, via regional cash sharing or consolidation, doesn’t guarantee better governance, as Detroit proves. Putting people in the same governmental box doesn’t necessarily create common ground, as the example of Toronto shows. Putting people in the same governmental box doesn’t necessarily create common ground, as the example of Toronto shows. Photograph: Alamy Indianapolis is also an instructive case. The city established a consolidated regional government in 1970 called Unigov (which Rusk hailed as a model). Unigov expanded the city’s tax base by amalgamating most of its new, fast-growing suburbs into the city. But the urban region continued to sprawl, eventually going beyond even the newly consolidated boundaries. Today’s growth in Indianapolis is all happening outside Unigov’s borders, and the city now finds itself supporting ageing suburban areas – just like Ferguson in St Louis – that it can’t afford. Consolidated government arguably gave Indianapolis four decades of financial breathing room, but that simply let it put off reform. Similarly, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was originally a well-functioning regional governance body, but is now a quagmire of dysfunction. The soaring costs of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava’s $4.2bn PATH subway station at the World Trade Centre – and a proposal to spend $10bn to replace a bus station – are examples of an agency that has lost its grip on fiscal reality. No perfect solution exists, some cities have got it more right than others If no perfect solution exists, some cities have got it more right than others. The Greater London Authority (GLA) – because of its limited scope mostly focused on transport, public safety and economic development – has focused on doing a few things well. Its focus on transportation is targeted at an area where regional coordination really is crucial. Clearly, transport has to be designed and implemented on a regional basis, at least for major infrastructure. New York’s Port Authority arguably went off the rails in the late 1960s when it expanded beyond transportation and got into the real estate business by building the World Trade Centre. So the best way to start charting a middle ground between fragmentation and amalgamation might be for cities to look for ways to better regionalise transport governance. It won’t be easy, not least because of the common fighting over territory, both geographical and bureaucratic. London’s success with the GLA, compared with how amalgamation set Toronto’s transport planning back a decade or more, shows that creating a regional entity is only half the battle. The real drive is to create regional agreement and consensus . As cities mushroom and fragmentation increases, that consensus is becoming more crucial – and harder to achieve – than ever. sent via Tapatalk
  9. Lecture intéressante!! CARY PLANTATION, Me. — Up here, near the end of Interstate 95, a single main road ridged with stately conifers runs past the odd house that at night casts an orange glow over the snow. There is no school. No police department. Not even a stoplight. But there are property taxes. And some residents say the taxes’ growth has pushed this community of about 200 to the brink. To save Cary Plantation, they say, they want to dismantle it. “What do you do, what does the town do, when they can’t pay their bills? Do we go bankrupt? Do we lose our homes?” asked Diane Cassidy, a former nursing assistant. “There was no answer, other than deorganization.” Ms. Cassidy is leading an effort to dissolve the local government and join the Unorganized Territory, a vast swath of forest and townships in north, central and eastern Maine run by a partnership between the state and the counties. Last month, residents here voted, 64 to 0, to continue the process. At a time of rising municipal costs, local governments around the country are looking for ways to rein in tax bills, pursuing privatization, the consolidation of services, mergers and even bankruptcy. But in northern Maine, as operating costs have increased, the economy has stagnated and the population has aged and dwindled, a handful of struggling towns have pursued the unusual process of eliminating local government entirely. In the West, citizens are protesting to constrain government power. And over all, Americans tend to resist ceding their local authority. But these communities are handing their governing power over to the state and the county. “Knowing how dependent towns are in Maine on the property tax, they may have just reached a point where they’ve decided, ‘We’d be better off just not existing as a town,’ ” said Elizabeth K. Kellar, the chief executive of the Center for State and Local Government Excellence in Washington. Under state law, dismantling a local government takes 12 complex steps, often over at least two years, including legislative approval and a series of local votes. When a town deorganizes, state agencies and the county administer its services, like snow removal, policing and firefighting. Children are assigned to appropriate schools, often in a nearby district. Town-owned buildings and land are sold or held in trust by the state or the county. And every local government job is eliminated. Thus, there are no local officials’ salaries to pay and no infrastructure to maintain locally. And the cost of servicing each township is spread across the Unorganized Territory either in each county or statewide. “It’s basically like a company: There’s so much less overhead,” said Paul G. Bernier, the public works director for Aroostook County, who is responsible for overseeing services to the unorganized territories at the very top of Maine. “Sometimes it’s half of what they were paying.” In Aroostook County, Bancroft, population 60, completed the process last summer and now exists in name only. Besides Cary Plantation, Oxbow, about an hour northwest, is well on its way, although both have legislative approval and a final vote yet to go. State officials said that an effort to deorganize Atkinson, which began in 2013, may soon take a step forward, and that more municipalities had told the state that they were interested. Advertisement Continue reading the main story “Just the price tag to keep their local governments up and running is more or less untenable,” said Mark Brewer, a professor of political science at the University of Maine. “It’s the final step in this long, drawn-out process, which really starts with population decline.” Marcia McInnis, the fiscal administrator for the Unorganized Territory, estimated there have been 41 deorganizations in Maine’s history, about half of them during the Great Depression. But “it has become recently more common than it has been in the last, really, two decades,” she said. The last town to deorganize before Bancroft was Centerville, population two dozen, in 2004. There have also been deorganization attempts that failed at the local level, often because residents did not want to lose local control, or in some cases did not secure legislative approval. Photo A map of Cary Plantation. Residents there recently voted unanimously to continue the deorganization process. Credit Tristan Spinski for The New York Times “I attribute the recent increase in interest in deorganizing as a direct result of the economic Great Recession and in the loss of jobs in the logging industry,” Ms. McInnis said. Steve Sherman, a lifelong resident of Oxbow, where roughly 50 people are spread across six miles, began working to disband the government after years of watching the local labor market for papermaking and farming shrink along with the population. In November, 21 residents voted unanimously to move forward with deorganization; a third vote will take place in the future. “We’re not growing here. We’re headed the other way, it would seem,” said Mr. Sherman, a logger and Christmas tree farmer. “That’s just life, in northern Maine especially.” In Oxbow and in Cary Plantation, local government is already all but gone. Local meetings in Cary are held in Ms. Cassidy’s heated garage. With no public building, records are generally stored in officials’ homes. And most services are already contracted out. “I figure the state can do a better job,” Ms. Cassidy said. Other states have unorganized or unincorporated areas, but in Maine about half of the land is Unorganized Territory. The area predates the state itself — it was laid out when Maine was still part of Massachusetts and new settlers were expected to flock there. But the harsh climes of Maine’s wild lands, as they used to be known, never filled out with enough people to self-govern. “Maine has this oddity of having all of this space in an area of the country that cherishes town meetings and town governments,” said Kenneth Palmer, a professor emeritus at the University of Maine. “These tiny towns don’t have enough people to generate the municipal staff to really run the town. It’s this abandonment of a town structure.” But some in Cary say deorganizing is a way to give the community a new lease on life, not to abandon it. “I think it’s going to bring more people in,” said Kai Libby, 55, a retired Border Patrol agent who became the town’s first assessor last year to help shepherd the deorganization effort through the multistep process (and thus eliminate his own position). Mr. Libby and his wife, Tina, who led the withdrawal of Cary from its school district, live in the only house on their road, with a vast tract of land, enough space for four dogs and stacks of documents related to deorganization near their kitchen table. “There’s privacy, and it’s so quiet,” said Ms. Libby, 51. “We want to stay here. And to do that, it needs to be affordable for us to stay here.” http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/17/us/in-maine-local-control-is-a-luxury-fewer-towns-can-afford.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0
  10. Une excellente nouvelle! Hopefully, everything will go as planned. Now we're just missing a direct flight to Hong Kong... By Winnie Lu, WCARN.com | Dec. 22, 2015 China's flag carrier Air China (CA) has filed an application with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to launch a nonstop international service between Shanghai Pudong and Montreal starting September, 2016, according to an announcement released Tuesday on the official website of CAAC. Pending government approval, the Beijing-based carrier will fly its Boeing 777-300 aircraft on the Shanghai Pudong-Montreal route starting next September, with seven flights weekly. The Air Transportation Department of CAAC is soliciting public comments on the application until Dec. 30, 2015. Source: http://www.chinaaviationdaily.com/news/49/49789.html
  11. 1-50 Regulation in Effect for all Aircrafts as of August 1, 2015 Transport Canada has announced that the 1:50 ratio will be the new regulation in effect for both wide and narrow-bodied aircraft effective August 1, 2015. Airlines will be able to “flip flop” between the former 1:40 ratio and the new 1:50 ratio according to their operational requirements. Exit doors may also be left uncovered on wide-bodied aircraft, a major change from previous proposed regulations. Your Union views this development as a completely unacceptable and unnecessary risk to the safety of both crewmembers and the public. In changing the regulation without the usual consultation process, Transport Canada and the Harper government continue to act on behalf of the airline industry and in a manner that is without sufficient parliamentary and public scrutiny. Decades of privatization, deregulation and hyper-competition have led to a relentless drive to cut labour costs. Transport Canada makes no secret of this, and has calculated that the regulation will allow operators to achieve cost savings of $288,469,940 during the next ten years by reducing the number of Flight Attendants and associated costs including salaries, hotel stays and per diems. To read the new regulation, please see: http://gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2015/2015-06-17/html/sor-dors127-eng.php. For the federal government and its transportation officials to so baldly place profit over safety is a national disgrace. It appears this government has learned nothing from the rail tragedy in Lac Megantic, which has also been linked to deregulation and the loosening of safety rules Your Union is reviewing all available options to continue our legal fight against the 1:50. We will update you on our intended response as soon as possible. We also look forward to the upcoming federal election, which we are confident will oust Harper and elect a government that supports worker rights and public safety. But to achieve that goal, our members must do their part. The Airline Division Political Action Committee will be working hard between now and the election to turn out Flight Attendants to vote. We will bring the full weight of our safety expertise forward to the new government and the public. Our research on this issue has been extensive, and is grounded in the real life understanding of the safety risks associated with reduced cabin crew. In fact, we believe our members’ real life experience is the best possible evidence that 1:50 jeopardizes safety, disrupts service, and reduces the job satisfaction and morale of Flight Attendants. During the past several months we have been compiling our members’ stories about the effect of 1:50. In the coming weeks, we will publish a series of bulletins that capture the voices of members describing how 1:50 has affected them on and off the job. Each bulletin will describe a different aspect of how 1:50 has affected them, including at work where members report increased fatigue, anxiety about decreased safety and service; and at home, where members report reduced income, greater stress and depression, and harm to personal relationships and overall wellbeing. These stories are gleaned from the responses of well over 100 Flight Attendants who responded to questionnaires made available by the Component and CUPE Local 4092. We encourage members to continue to share their stories in the months to come. Please follow the next bulletins. Your Union remains committed to fighting the 1:50 ratio on the legal, regulatory, and political levels. http://accomponent.ca/
  12. As beginning January first 2016. B.C. government will charge industries 2.25$ for each millions of liters of water there are using. That's ridiculous. http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/03/06/outrage-boils-over-as-b-c-government-plans-to-sell-groundwater-for-2-25-per-million-litres/
  13. Quebec climbs to 6th spot in Fraser Institute's mining survey Peter Hadekel PETER HADEKEL, SPECIAL TO MONTREAL GAZETTE More from Peter Hadekel, Special to Montreal Gazette Published on: February 24, 2015Last Updated: February 24, 2015 6:31 AM EST A newly constructed bridge spans the Eastmain river in northern Quebec on Thursday October 03, 2013. The bridge leads to Stornaway Diamond's Renard mine and Camp Lagopede. They are located about 800 kms north of Montreal, on the shore of lake Kaakus Kaanipaahaapisk. Pierre Obendrauf / The Gazette SHARE ADJUST COMMENT PRINT After tumbling in the rankings in recent years, Quebec has re-established itself as one of the world’s most attractive mining jurisdictions, according to the Fraser Institute’s annual survey of the mining industry made public Tuesday. The province jumped to sixth spot in the 2014 rankings for investment attractiveness after finishing 18th the year before. The survey rated 122 jurisdictions around the world “based on their geological attractiveness and the extent to which government policies encourage exploration and investment.” Quebec sat on top of the international rankings from 2007 to 2010 but then dropped as industry perceptions of the province turned negative. Increased red tape, royalty hikes and uncertainty surrounding new environmental regulations all took their toll. But a change of government in Quebec seems to have helped turn those perceptions around. “The confidence mining executives now have in Quebec is due in part to the province’s proactive approach to mining policy and its Plan Nord strategy to encourage investment and mineral exploration in northern Quebec,” said Kenneth Green, the Fraser Institute’s senior director of energy and natural resources. The Liberal government under Philippe Couillard breathed new life into the Plan Nord after taking over from the previous Parti Québécois administration, which had been noticeably cool to the plan first proposed by former Liberal premier Jean Charest. While uncertainty surrounding mineral prices has held back new investment in Quebec, the Liberals have pledged to push the Plan Nord strategy by improving transportation infrastructure and making direct investments where needed. Reflecting the improved mood, an index measuring policy perception places Quebec 12th in the world, up from 21st in 2013. However, Quebec got a black eye in the mining community over its handling of the Strateco Resources Inc. uranium mine, which has been repeatedly delayed. A moratorium was imposed on all uranium exploration permits, which the industry saw as an arbitrary and unnecessary action that devastated junior explorers. As well, the Fraser Institute’s Green noted that in Ontario and British Columbia uncertainty surrounding First Nations consultations and disputed land claims should serve as “a stark lesson for Quebec. Above all, mining investment is attracted when a jurisdiction can provide a clear and transparent regulatory environment.” Finland finished first overall in this year’s survey of 485 mining executives from around the world. Exploration budgets reported by companies participating in the survey totalled US$2.7 billion, down from US$3.2 billion in 2013. Despite its strong performance, Quebec was edged out by two other Canadian provinces: Saskatchewan finished second and Manitoba fourth. A strong Canadian showing included eighth spot for Newfoundland and Labrador and ninth for Yukon. The mining industry has been hampered by a lack of financing for exploration as well as continued uncertainty over future demand and prices. The report found an overall deterioration in the investment climate around the world. There is “a stark difference between geographical regions; notably the divide between Canada, the United States and Australia and the rest of the world.” phadekel@videotron.ca sent via Tapatalk
  14. http://montrealgazette.com/business/local-business/quebec-is-slowing-spending-but-its-a-far-cry-from-european-style-austerity "Unfortunately, the private sector hasn’t kept the rendezvous. Stéfane Marion, chief economist at the National Bank, notes that net private-sector employment has fallen by 30,000 in the province so far this year while Ontario has added 80,000 such jobs. Marion points to lingering fallout over the bitter charter of values debate under the preceding Parti Québécois government. Quebec lost a net 10,000 people last spring to interprovincial migration — the worst outflows since 1995-96. That didn’t help the job market." On the plus side, the economy does seem to be improving and stimulus is coming from other sources. Exports to the U.S. and Ontario are growing at a healthy clip, the cheaper Canadian dollar is a boost to manufacturers and lower oil prices are an added bonus to both businesses and consumers. Marion figures that Quebecers have received a $300-million break at the gas pump so far this year as prices have declined. That will ease the pain from an expected two-cents-per-litre jump in gas prices in the New Year to cover the cost to distributors of Quebec’s new cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions. And if you can believe Finance Minister Carlos Leitão, the pain is about to end for taxpayers who are tired of paying more and receiving less. Most of the measures needed to go from the current-year deficit of $2.3 billion to a balanced budget have already been identified, he said. Another $1.1 billion will still have to be found in the budget next spring. It’s about time, says Norma Kozhaya, chief economist at the Conseil du patronat du Québec which represents the province’s largest employers. Quebec has reached the limit on what it can absorb in the way of further tax increases and spending cuts, she argued. Kozhaya is worried about slow growth in the economy, pegged at 1.6 per cent this year and 1.9 per cent in 2015. “What’s important is to get more revenue from economic growth and not from new taxes and fees.” She would like to hear more of a pro-investment discourse from the Couillard government, especially when it comes to natural resources. In the meantime, there’s always 2017-18 to look forward to. That’s when Leitão talks boldly of a surplus and maybe even a tax cut — in what will be an election year.
  15. jesseps

    The new "It" place for the wealthy

    (Courtesy of the Financial Post) Its nice to see a Hungarian-Canadian thinking of something big Its a nice location, I have seen it first hand when I was in Montenegro a few years back. The person that spoke to me about this project. They want it to be like the next Monte Carlo. One thing... Montenegro is a really nice country
  16. The 7 Ugliest Government Buildings In Washington, D.C. DO NOT PROCEED if you are allergic to concrete. posted on July 16, 2014, at 3:25 p.m. Montreal-Washington, sister cities?
  17. The truth will set you free... !!! It’s been a little more than a month since the Liberal government of Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard released its belt-tightening budget, and since then everyone from movie producers and doctors to teachers and mayors has griped about the cuts it promises. They shouldn’t be surprised. Couillard campaigned on a pledge to fix Quebec’s “economic fiasco.” But a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute offers a stark reminder of how difficult that task will be. The report, authored by Philip Cross, the former chief economist at Statistics Canada, shows the extent to which the economies of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes now rely on public sector versus private sector investment for growth. Condensed version: a whole honking lot. Investment spending refers to money spent on structures, machinery and equipment, and since 2000, the report notes, public sector investment as a share of GDP has nearly doubled in Quebec to almost six per cent. At the same time, business investment—you know, by actual companies—has stagnated at seven per cent. That’s put Quebec near the bottom of the pack, alongside Ontario, and a notch above New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. “Business investment is the lifeblood of economic growth,” Cross wrote in an opinion piece. “It determines what the economy will look like years from now, and how competitive its workers will be.” Of course, to have business investment, you’ve got to have businesses. And that’s where Quebec faces serious problems that run far deeper than any single austerity budget can hope to tackle. In December, Statistics Canada released a largely overlooked research paper that examined the rates at which new businesses have been joining and leaving the marketplace in each province. The creation of new firms and the destruction of old ones, through consolidation or closure, is key to a vibrant economy, bringing in new ideas and innovations and forcing existing businesses to pick up their game. You can probably guess where Quebec ranked, but I’ll tell you anyway. From 2000 to 2009, no province had lower so-called “firm entry” than Quebec. In fact, in the manufacturing, retail, transportation and finance sectors, more companies went away than were created. No other province had that level of “destruction” without the customarily accompanying “creative.” Related: Maybe Harper has slain the separatists The charter may be gone, but Quebec’s identity crisis remains Why Justin Trudeau risks alienating Quebec It gets worse. Another report from a few months ago, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, measured the levels of entrepreneurialism across Canada. It did so by looking at the percentage of working-age adults who are either engaged in setting up a business or who own a wage-paying business that’s existed for less than 42 months. On that front, too, Quebec came dead last, with an entrepreneurship rate of 9.6 per cent, compared to 11.9 per cent in Ontario and close to 19 per cent in Alberta. Quebec Source: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Sylvain Carle, an entrepreneur in Montreal who’s started several companies, recently shared an anecdote with the Montreal Gazette that sums up Quebec’s sluggish start-up culture. While attending a conference at Stanford University, a speaker had asked how many people in the audience of 100 were starting their own companies, and 105 hands went up, since some were multi-preneurs. When Carle asked the same question to a similar-sized audience in Montreal a few weeks later, five hands went up. It doesn’t take an advanced degree in rocketry to know why all this is the case. For decades Quebec businesses have been plagued with repeated bouts of separation anxiety and the constant irritant of the province’s language police. The province punishes businesses with some of the highest taxes in North America, yet it has rung up a $2.4-billion deficit and a debt load equal to half its GDP, the highest in the country. When not arbitrarily overriding the rights of shareholders to protect underperforming Quebec companies, the government has flip-flopped on its attitude toward resource development. In short, it’s an economic environment layered with uncertainty, instability and state interference. For the longest time, the solution from the Quebec government to its stagnant business environment was more Quebec government, in the form of state-sponsored funds doling out cheques to those it deems to be worthy entrepreneurs. Just this past March, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec pension fund, that bastion of economic nationalism, joined with Desjardins Group to create a fund to pump $230 million into small and medium-sized enterprises, having already distributed $190 million to 186 other companies through an earlier fund. And yet the level of business creation is stuck in neutral. This is what Couillard faces. He’s said all the right things about tackling Quebec’s fiscal crisis: “The time for cosmetic changes is gone,” he said in his throne speech in May. “We must act firmly and decisively. And we will.” His far bigger challenge remains to make Quebec a place where entrepreneurs would want to set up shop. The best way he can do that is to get his government out of the way.
  18. Less Charter, more economy. MONTREAL — There was an initial sense among many observers that the Liberal election victory would be good for the economy, at least in the short run. It’s true that some measure of political stability will return to the province as the PQ’s divisive Charter of Quebec Values is thrown in the wastebasket and as the immediate risk of a referendum on sovereignty is removed. But the sobering truth is that Quebec could face years of mediocre economic growth unless it undertakes some major structural reforms. That warning came this week from Glen Hodgson, senior economist at the Conference Board of Canada, who said Quebec is heading for a prolonged period of economic underperformance unless decisive steps are taken by government and the private sector. “Quebecers could face the disagreeable prospect of deteriorating public services combined with a rise in income taxes” unless the province’s competitive position improves, he wrote in an opinion piece in La Presse. Interviewed Tuesday, Hodgson noted that over the past couple of years, during a period of economic recovery, Quebec has been unable to do better than a growth rate of around one per cent. That raises the question: What’s in store once the North American economic cycle shifts back to recession? The current underperformance has weakened the government’s fiscal position and made it less able to withstand the next economic downturn. Combined with a slowdown in private investment and little growth in the job market, this is playing havoc with government revenues. There are reports that the $2.5 billion deficit projected for 2013-14 may run as high as $3.3 billion once the Liberals get a full picture of public finances. Meanwhile, Quebec’s public debt is the highest in Canada, equalling about 50 per cent of its economic production. The Conference Board estimates growth of two per cent this year as the recovery in the United States picks up steam and extends into next year. “But the recovery will not last,” said Hodgson, “because the foundation for growth in Quebec is not solid.” The province’s long-term growth potential is around 1.5 per cent, he says, which will put it behind the eight ball. “You can’t grow at 1.5 per cent and be able to pay for health care when it’s growing at five per cent.” One doesn’t have to look far to find the reasons for Quebec’s troubles. “It’s really driven by demographics, private investment and productivity,” Hodgson said. Demographic forces are hitting Quebec harder than Ontario, which is also struggling with a weak economy. As active participation in the Quebec labour force declines, paying for expensive government programs like health care and education will get more difficult. The Conference Board projects growth in the labour force of just 0.5 per cent after 2015 as baby-boomer retirements kick in. Compensating for that reduction will require integrating more immigrants into the economy, providing more job training and boosting productivity. Former Liberal finance minister Raymond Bachand says he’s optimistic that some of those hurdles can be overcome. Bachand has agreed to head a new economic think tank called the Institut du Québec, which will be a joint venture between the Conference Board and the HEC business school in Montreal. The goal, he says, is to stimulate public debate with evidence-based research on the economy and public finances. Too many think tanks these days have a political bias, he believes. “We’re going to come up with a fiscal outlook in the next few weeks as our first piece of research,” Bachand said. “We know that we have a demographic challenge. We need the labour market to be healthy. “We have to get private investment back and we have to get our health costs under control. That’s the real goal of the Institut: to contribute to the debate from a fact-based point of view.” Between the Conference Board and HEC, the joint venture will have 400 researchers at its disposal to try to contribute to the debate. That should help the new finance minister and other government players get a better sense of the policy options available.
  19. http://www.domusweb.it/en/news/2014/03/06/jonas_dahlberg_to_design_july_22_memorial_sites.html Director of KORO/Public Art Norway Svein Bjørkås announced few days ago the jury’s evaluation of submissions and final decision in the closed competition July 22 Memorial sites, to create three memorials, one of which cuts a 3.5m slit in the landscape, to remember the victims of Anders Behring Breivik. The jury’s decision was unanimous, voting Swedish artist Jonas Dahlberg as winner of the competition.

 Dahlberg’s concept takes the site at Sørbråten as its point of departure. Here he proposes a wound or a cut within the landscape itself to recreate the physical experience of something being taken away, and to reflect the abrupt and permanent loss of those who died on Utøya. The cut will be a three-and-a-half-metre wide excavation running from the top of the headland at the Sørbråten site to below the waterline and extending to each side. This gap in the landscape will make it impossible to reach the end of the headland. The material excavated from the cut at Sørbråten will be used to build the foundation for the temporary memorial at the Government Quarter in Oslo, and will also subsequently serve as the foundation for the permanent memorial there. Jonas Dahlberg, July 22 Memorial site. Alette Schei Rørvik From the Jury’s evaluation: 
"Jonas Dahlberg’s proposal takes the emptiness and traces of the tragic events of 22 July as its starting point. His suggestion for the Sørbråten site is to make a physical incision into the landscape, which can be seen as a symbolic wound. Part of the headland will be removed and visitors will not be able to touch the names of those killed, as these will be engraved into the wall on the other side of the slice out of nature. The void that is created evokes the sense of sudden loss combined with the long-term missing and remembrance of those who perished.
 Dahlberg has proposed to move the landmass taken out of the rocky landscape at Sørbråten to the permanent and temporary memorial site in the Government Quarter in Oslo. By using this landmass to create a temporary memorial pathway between Grubbegata and the Deichmanske Library, a connection is forged between the memorial sites at Sørbråten and the Government Quarter. The names of those killed will be recorded on a wall that runs alongside the pathway.
 The proposed permanent memorial site in Oslo takes the form of an amphitheatre around Høyblokka. Dahlberg also proposes to use trees taken from Sørbråten in this urban environment to maintain the relationship between the memorial sites in the capital and to the victims of the atrocities at Utøya. 
The Jury considers Dahlberg’s proposal for Sørbråten as artistically highly original and interesting. It is capable of conveying and confronting the trauma and loss that the 22 July events resulted in a daring way. The proposal is radical and brave, and evokes the tragic events in a physical and direct manner." Jonas Dahlberg, July 22 Memorial site. Photo Alette Schei Rørvik
  20. Quebec funds effort to build $130M river turbine farm on St. Lawrence River BECANCOUR -- The Quebec government is helping to bankroll a $130-million project by RER Hydro, Hydro-Quebec and Boeing to generate clean energy on the St. Lawrence River in what officials say would be the world's largest river-generated turbine farm. The three-phase project could eventually culminate in nine megawatts of renewable power being generated in Montreal from 46 riverbed turbines, with installation beginning in 2016. The province could contribute up to a maximum of $85 million in equity and loans. That's on top of the $3 million it has already provided RER Hydro Inc. for its initial $230-million prototype testing phase that lasted three years. Quebec, which is a leader in production of hydroelectricity, hopes that the technology will take off and support the manufacture of about 500 turbines annually and some 600 direct and indirect jobs at RER Hydro's plant in Becancour, near Trois-Rivieres. Premier Pauline Marois said at the plant's official opening on Monday that the government is actively helping new industries that hold promise for the Quebec economy, such as its strategy to support the electrification of transportation. "Our participation in this partnership agreement will promote the development of the industrial sector of turbines, which has great economic potential for Quebec, particularly because of the significant export opportunities," Marois said, while also stressing the job creation potential of the project. The technology has global market potential and could supply electricity to isolated communities in Northern Quebec not currently connected to the provincial power grid. The second phase of the project, estimated to cost $51.5 million, would install and test six turbines generating three-quarters of a megawatt of power near the Pont de la Concorde bridge near the Montreal Casino on Ste Helen's Island. About 25 jobs would be created in Becancour and Montreal. It would mark the first commercial sale of RER Hydro's technology. If results are successful, about $81 million would be spent to install a demonstration fleet of 40 turbines beginning in 2016. That would create 90 direct jobs and 80 indirect jobs from various suppliers. Unlike dams, the "hydrokinetic" turbines generate clean power without disrupting the river flow or the natural habitat of fish or other marine life, said RER Hydro CEO Imad Hamad. "This new industry will help to further transform Quebec's natural resources for the benefit of Quebecers," Hamad said. RER and Boeing (NYSE:BA), the U.S. aerospace and defence giant, signed an agreement last year giving Boeing exclusive rights to market and sell the turbines around the world. Boeing is providing program management, engineering, manufacturing and supplier-management expertise, in addition to servicing the turbines. "This agreement between industry and government will deliver renewable power while protecting the environment," said Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. "It also builds on Boeing's long-term, strategic partnership with Canada, supporting customers from aerospace and defence to clean energy, generating high-quality jobs and making a difference in the community." Boeing says it works with 40 suppliers in Quebec, contributing to the $1 billion in economic activity the company generates annually across Canada. Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/business/quebec-funds-effort-to-build-130m-river-turbine-farm-on-st-lawrence-river-1.1539132#ixzz2kRX062Vp
  21. Excellent texte de François Cardinal (de La Presse) sur pourquoi Montréal devrait avoir un statut spécial : Manifesto for a city-state Montreal has paid the price for being treated like just another region. Quebec’s economic hub deserves better. François Cardinal Policy Options, November 2013 Far from being a land of forests, plains and prairies, Canada is an urban country. Nearly 70 percent of the population lives in urban centres and more than 90 percent of demographic growth is concentrated in those metropolitan areas. These proportions put Canada at the top of the world’s most urbanized nations. And yet all of Canada’s cities, from Montreal to Toronto, Calgary and even Ottawa, are neglected by federal and provincial political parties. They are short-changed by electoral maps. All are forced by the provinces to labour under a tax system that dates from the horse-and-buggy age. All are relegated to the status of lowly “creatures” subject to the whims and dictates of higher levels of government. It’s as if the country has not yet come to terms with the changes it has undergone since its founding. “Cities do not exist under the Constitution, since it was drawn up in 1867 when we were a rural, agricultural country,” Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi pointed out when I interviewed him at City Hall. “But today the country is highly urbanized, a fact that, unfortunately, is not reflected in the relations higher levels of government maintain with the cities.” The 2011 federal election offered a good example of this oversight. Every party targeted the “regions,” those wide-open spaces of rural and small-town Canada. The Conservatives’ slogan in French was “Notre région au pouvoir” [Our region in power]. The Liberals cited “rural Canada” as a priority but barely mentioned urban Canada. The Bloc used the slogan “Parlons régions” [Let’s talk about regions] but had no urban equivalent for the metropolis. More critically, the parties felt compelled to appeal to voters in the regions by positioning themselves in opposition to the cities. The most glaring instance came during the French leaders’ debate, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper castigated Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff over his promise to build a new Champlain Bridge. “I would not take Mr. Ignatieff’s approach and divert money from the regions to finance infrastructure for Montreal,” Harper said. The Liberals were not much better. They pledged to develop a plan for public transportation but never specified what it would look like. They promised support for social housing but said they would take the money out of funds for urban infrastructure. The reason for this is not rocket science. With the big-city vote so thoroughly predictable, the parties focus on rural areas or the suburbs where they believe their policies might swing votes. They rarely target the city centres. At the provincial level, the situation is pretty much the same. In fact, the Quebec government was able to relieve Montreal of its “metropolis” title and its dedicated ministry nearly 10 years ago without raising eyebrows. Thus Montreal became just one “region” among all the rest: Administrative Region 06. In the 2012 election in Quebec, Montreal did move up a notch. There was more discussion about the city. But since then, unfortunately, good intentions have been replaced by a charter of Quebec values, which has been broadly criticized in Montreal. Imposing it confirms the implicit trusteeship under which the government rules the metropolis. But even more than urban centres elsewhere in the country, Quebec’s parties have limited reason to take an interest in the city. Montreal is either politically safe (for the provincial Liberals) or a lost cause (for the Parti Québécois). In short, Quebec is no different from other Canadian provinces in treating its major city like a big village that must be attended to, certainly, but not more than any other municipality. The cost of showing the city favour is to risk losing precious votes in rural areas. But major cities are no longer the same municipalities they were in the past. Today, Montreal and Toronto are expected to compete with Paris and New York. They are expected to attract and hold onto businesses, court foreign creative talent, draw more private investment and deliver more and more services to residents, from social housing to public transportation. Providing support services for recent immigrants, developing the knowledge-based economy, building social housing, dealing with antigovernment demonstrations and adapting to climate change are all responsibilities that now fall to cities. They are nothing like the urban “creatures” of the 19th century. Lucien Bouchard could not have been more clear when he said in his 1996 inauguration speech after being elected premier: “There can be no economic recovery in Quebec without a recovery in Quebec’s metropolis.” For once, it appeared the government of Quebec was going to recognize Montreal’s special character and grant it preferential treatment. “The complexity of the city’s problems calls for special treatment and even, I would say, for the creation of a specific metropolitan authority,” Bouchard continued. It seemed as if he was about to usher in an exciting new era. There was now a minister responsible for “the metropolis.” A development commission was set up for the Montreal metropolitan area and it was to be invested with significant powers. A true decentralization of power was in the offing. An economic development agency, Montréal International, was created at this time, as was the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT). But just when it appeared Montreal was going to receive special attention and treatment, the government’s old habits returned with a vengeance. Like a parent who has given too much to one child, the Quebec government decided to restore the balance by giving to the regions with its left hand what it had given Montreal with its right. A local and regional development support policy was introduced in 1997. Then the Ministry of Regions was created and local development centres set up. A few months later, they added government measures for the province’s three metropolitan areas and then, finally, measures for all urban areas. “The reforms demonstrate, once again, the government’s efforts to address Montreal’s specificity without neglecting the needs of the rest of Quebec,” political scientist Mariona Tomàs explained in her fine book Penser métropolitain? But the result was a government policy similar to the previous ones, an across-the-board approach based on a view of Quebec as a collection of communities, rather than a province organized around its main economic hub. “The government’s desire to maintain a territorial balance can be seen in the powers of metropolitan structures,” Tomàs observed. “The law provided the same types of powers for all the urban communities created in 1969, and then for all the metropolitan communities in 2000.” Giving the rural Outaouais region the same powers as Greater Montreal reduces the latter to just one region among many. To this way of political thinking, the metropolis must not be allowed to overshadow any other town, must not be given too much. It cannot receive more attention than others, and cannot be elevated above any other. Canada’s “hub cities,” those few major urban centres like Montreal, are the drivers of economic activity in the country. That was the conclusion of a recent Conference Board study, which pointed to the collateral benefits of a thriving metropolis. It found that strong growth in metropolitan areas spurs growth in neighbouring communities and then in the whole province. But how can Montreal play its role as an economic driver if it is not treated as such? We need only look outside the country to be convinced that we need to roll out the red carpet for the metropolis: to the United States, where big cities have the attention of the country’s leaders; to Asia, where the treatment of major centres sometimes borders on obsessiveness; or even to France, a country that, like Quebec, is marked by a deep divide between “the metropolis” and “the provinces.” France provided a telling illustration of this awareness in early 2013, a few months after François Hollande’s Socialist government took office. Although France was in dire straits, burdened by crushing public debt and being forced to reconsider the fate of its precious social programs, Hollande did not think twice about launching a project of heroic proportions to relieve congestion in Paris. The price tag: the equivalent of $35 billion for a brand new “super metro,” plus $10 billion to extend and upgrade the existing system. Was this completely crazy? On the contrary. Hollande was being logical and visionary. France understands the importance of investing in its metropolis. This is a country that is ready to look after its towns and villages, while not being afraid to give Paris preferential treatment. “A strong Paris is in the interest of the provinces,” commented L’Express magazine in March 2013. Quite so. The article notes, for example, that much of the income generated in Paris is actually spent in the rest of the country. All financial roads — tourism, commuting for work, national redistribution, whatever — all lead to Paris, with benefits to the provinces. L’Express cites the case of Eurodisney to illustrate. Disney had hesitated before settling on building its amusement park in Paris — not between contending French cities, but between Paris and Barcelona. Herein lie the value and importance for the entire country of having a strong metropolis. “Weakening Paris would slow France’s locomotive,” argued L’Express. “And in a train, the cars seldom move faster than the locomotive.” Clearly, what Montreal needs is special treatment, more autonomy and more diverse sources of revenue. In short, it needs a premier who will stand on the balcony of City Hall and proclaim: “Vive Montréal! Vive Montréal libre!” Worryingly, the current state of affairs in Montreal — the revelations and insinuations of political corruption and collusion — is prompting many observers to call for the Quebec government to take the opposite tack and tighten the city’s reins. According to this view, more provincial government involvement is needed to check the city’s propensity for vice. But in fact the only way to make the city more responsible and more accountable is to give it greater power, wider latitude and more money. Montreal’s problem is that it has all the attributes of a metropolis but is treated as an ordinary municipality, subservient to the big boss, the provincial government. Its masters are the minister of municipal affairs, the minister’s colleagues at other departments involved in the city’s affairs and, of course, the premier. Montreal is under implicit trusteeship. This encourages, even promotes a lack of accountability on the part of the municipal administration, which is only half in charge. “It’s not complicated: Montreal is currently a no man’s land of accountability,” says Denis Saint-Martin, political science professor at the Université de Montréal. “There is a political and organizational immaturity problem, which explains the political irresponsibility we have seen in recent years. Montreal needs more power, not less. Montreal needs to be more accountable, more answerable.” Essentially, the metropolis needs to be treated like one, with the powers and revenues that go along with city status. Montreal is a beggar riding in a limousine. Invariably, after a municipal election, the incoming mayor announces a wish list and then gets the chauffeur to drive him up provincial Highway 20 to Quebec City to knock on the provincial government’s door with outstretched hands, hoping for a little largesse. Montreal’s mayor has to beg because the past offloading of responsibilities for delivering services to citizens onto the municipality has not been accompanied by new money. “In Quebec, the province is responsible for much of the regulatory apparatus under which cities operate, which the cities feel restricts their autonomy,” said political scientist Laurence Bherer in 2004, speaking at the 50th anniversary of the Université Laval political science department. “And far from decreasing in recent years, provincial intervention has spread to a variety of areas such as the environment and public security, further relegating the cities to the role of operative rather than architect.” It is unacceptable for the provincial government to be the “operator” of a metropolis. That is why municipalities are rightfully seeking greater autonomy and greater freedom of action from their provincial masters. This is what is starting to happen in other provinces: in Alberta, with its Municipal Government Act, with British Columbia’s Community Charter and especially in Ontario, with the City of Toronto Act, which reads in part: “The [Ontario Legislative] Assembly recognizes that the City of Toronto, as Ontario’s capital city, is an economic engine of Ontario and of Canada.” The Ontario government appears to understand the special role Toronto plays in the wider economy. The City of Toronto Act goes on to say, “The Assembly recognizes that the City plays an important role in creating and supporting economic prosperity and a high quality of life for the people of Ontario [and] that the City is a government that is capable of exercising its powers in a responsible and accountable fashion.” Quebec’s largest city deserves similar treatment: strict accountability in exchange for recognition of its status as an autonomous government and the ability to tap more diverse sources of revenue. Indeed the main reason Montreal is regularly forced to pass the hat in Quebec City is its heavy dependence on property taxes for its income. As a creature of the province, it still operates under the good-old British tax model that sees it derive the bulk of its revenues — 67 percent — from property taxes. This was not a problem a hundred years ago, when Montreal provided only property services to its residents. But its responsibilities have expanded. The standards imposed by Quebec City have proliferated, and the portion of the budget allocated for services to individuals has grown considerably. Yet its tax base remains just as dependent on a single sector: real estate. This situation has a huge drawback. The City does not share the economic benefits that it generates. It might well pour money into the Formula One Grand Prix and summer festivals, invest in attracting conventions and tourists, renovate public spaces to make the urban environment more attractive and friendly. But it will get not a penny back. On the contrary: these investments only increase the city’s expenses in maintenance, security and infrastructure, while the federal and provincial governments reap the sales taxes. Take the city’s jazz festival. Montreal has to pay for security, site maintenance, public transportation to bring visitors to the site, and must deal with the event’s impact on traffic. In return, it gets happy festival-goers and tourists who spend money, stay at hotels, eat at restaurants — and fill provincial and federal coffers with sales tax revenues. They enrich the governments in Quebec City and in Ottawa, but not Montreal, which picks up the tab for the costs. The result is that the hole into which large cities are quietly sinking gets deeper. Big-city economies are dematerializing. The knowledge-based economy, in which Montreal shines, is based on innovation, research and brains, not factories. But for now, grey matter is not subject to property tax. Add to the mix an aging population with more modest housing needs, the increase in teleworking, self-employment and e-commerce, and you have a Montreal that is not only under implicit administrative trusteeship but also in an increasingly precarious financial position. And then people wonder why our metropolis is not playing the role it should be playing. another region. Quebec’s economic hub deserves better.
  22. YANKEEDOM. Founded on the shores of Massachusetts Bay by radical Calvinists as a new Zion, Yankeedom has, since the outset, put great emphasis on perfecting earthly civilization through social engineering, denial of self for the common good, and assimilation of outsiders. It has prized education, intellectual achievement, communal empowerment, and broad citizen participation in politics and government, the latter seen as the public’s shield against the machinations of grasping aristocrats and other would-be tyrants. Since the early Puritans, it has been more comfortable with government regulation and public-sector social projects than many of the other nations, who regard the Yankee utopian streak with trepidation. NEW NETHERLAND. Established by the Dutch at a time when the Netherlands was the most sophisticated society in the Western world, New Netherland has always been a global commercial culture—materialistic, with a profound tolerance for ethnic and religious diversity and an unflinching commitment to the freedom of inquiry and conscience. Like seventeenth-century Amsterdam, it emerged as a center of publishing, trade, and finance, a magnet for immigrants, and a refuge for those persecuted by other regional cultures, from Sephardim in the seventeenth century to gays, feminists, and bohemians in the early twentieth. Unconcerned with great moral questions, it nonetheless has found itself in alliance with Yankeedom to defend public institutions and reject evangelical prescriptions for individual behavior. THE MIDLANDS. America’s great swing region was founded by English Quakers, who believed in humans’ inherent goodness and welcomed people of many nations and creeds to their utopian colonies like Pennsylvania on the shores of Delaware Bay. Pluralistic and organized around the middle class, the Midlands spawned the culture of Middle America and the Heartland, where ethnic and ideological purity have never been a priority, government has been seen as an unwelcome intrusion, and political opinion has been moderate. An ethnic mosaic from the start—it had a German, rather than British, majority at the time of the Revolution—it shares the Yankee belief that society should be organized to benefit ordinary people, though it rejects top-down government intervention. TIDEWATER. Built by the younger sons of southern English gentry in the Chesapeake country and neighboring sections of Delaware and North Carolina, Tidewater was meant to reproduce the semifeudal society of the countryside they’d left behind. Standing in for the peasantry were indentured servants and, later, slaves. Tidewater places a high value on respect for authority and tradition, and very little on equality or public participation in politics. It was the most powerful of the American nations in the eighteenth century, but today it is in decline, partly because it was cut off from westward expansion by its boisterous Appalachian neighbors and, more recently, because it has been eaten away by the expanding federal halos around D.C. and Norfolk. GREATER APPALACHIA. Founded in the early eighteenth century by wave upon wave of settlers from the war-ravaged borderlands of Northern Ireland, northern England, and the Scottish lowlands, Appalachia has been lampooned by writers and screenwriters as the home of hillbillies and rednecks. It transplanted a culture formed in a state of near constant danger and upheaval, characterized by a warrior ethic and a commitment to personal sovereignty and individual liberty. Intensely suspicious of lowland aristocrats and Yankee social engineers alike, Greater Appalachia has shifted alliances depending on who appeared to be the greatest threat to their freedom. It was with the Union in the Civil War. Since Reconstruction, and especially since the upheavals of the 1960s, it has joined with Deep South to counter federal overrides of local preference. DEEP SOUTH. Established by English slave lords from Barbados, Deep South was meant as a West Indies–style slave society. This nation offered a version of classical Republicanism modeled on the slave states of the ancient world, where democracy was the privilege of the few and enslavement the natural lot of the many. Its caste systems smashed by outside intervention, it continues to fight against expanded federal powers, taxes on capital and the wealthy, and environmental, labor, and consumer regulations. EL NORTE. The oldest of the American nations, El Norte consists of the borderlands of the Spanish American empire, which were so far from the seats of power in Mexico City and Madrid that they evolved their own characteristics. Most Americans are aware of El Norte as a place apart, where Hispanic language, culture, and societal norms dominate. But few realize that among Mexicans, norteños have a reputation for being exceptionally independent, self-sufficient, adaptable, and focused on work. Long a hotbed of democratic reform and revolutionary settlement, the region encompasses parts of Mexico that have tried to secede in order to form independent buffer states between their mother country and the United States. THE LEFT COAST. A Chile-shaped nation wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade and Coast mountains, the Left Coast was originally colonized by two groups: New Englanders (merchants, missionaries, and woodsmen who arrived by sea and dominated the towns) and Appalachian midwesterners (farmers, prospectors, and fur traders who generally arrived by wagon and controlled the countryside). Yankee missionaries tried to make it a “New England on the Pacific,” but were only partially successful. Left Coast culture is a hybrid of Yankee utopianism and Appalachian self-expression and exploration—traits recognizable in its cultural production, from the Summer of Love to the iPad. The staunchest ally of Yankeedom, it clashes with Far Western sections in the interior of its home states. THE FAR WEST. The other “second-generation” nation, the Far West occupies the one part of the continent shaped more by environmental factors than ethnographic ones. High, dry, and remote, the Far West stopped migrating easterners in their tracks, and most of it could be made habitable only with the deployment of vast industrial resources: railroads, heavy mining equipment, ore smelters, dams, and irrigation systems. As a result, settlement was largely directed by corporations headquartered in distant New York, Boston, Chicago, or San Francisco, or by the federal government, which controlled much of the land. The Far West’s people are often resentful of their dependent status, feeling that they have been exploited as an internal colony for the benefit of the seaboard nations. Their senators led the fight against trusts in the mid-twentieth century. Of late, Far Westerners have focused their anger on the federal government, rather than their corporate masters. NEW FRANCE. Occupying the New Orleans area and southeastern Canada, New France blends the folkways of ancien régime northern French peasantry with the traditions and values of the aboriginal people they encountered in northwestern North America. After a long history of imperial oppression, its people have emerged as down-to-earth, egalitarian, and consensus driven, among the most liberal on the continent, with unusually tolerant attitudes toward gays and people of all races and a ready acceptance of government involvement in the economy. The New French influence is manifest in Canada, where multiculturalism and negotiated consensus are treasured. FIRST NATION. First Nation is populated by native American groups that generally never gave up their land by treaty and have largely retained cultural practices and knowledge that allow them to survive in this hostile region on their own terms. The nation is now reclaiming its sovereignty, having won considerable autonomy in Alaska and Nunavut and a self-governing nation state in Greenland that stands on the threshold of full independence. Its territory is huge—far larger than the continental United States—but its population is less than 300,000, most of whom live in Canada. http://www.tufts.edu/alumni/magazine/fall2013/features/up-in-arms.html
  23. Free-trade zone for Shanghai Mr Li's big idea Jul 16th 2013, 5:34 by V.V.V. | SHANGHAI IF PRESS reports are to be believed, Shanghai's dreams of surpassing Hong Kong to become the region's leading financial centre may have a powerful supporter in Beijing. According to Xinhua, the official government newswire, the ruling State Council has approved plans championed by Li Keqiang, the newish premier, for an ambitious free-trade zone in the mainland's second city. The idea has set the country's press and local wags alight with speculation about how far such an idea could go. Take the conservative view, and the project is a useful albeit limited boost to trade and regional integration. On this view, the new free-trade zone would integrate modern transportation and communications infrastructure with a tax-free framework for domestic and foreign firms. This would help boost China's efforts to become a pan-Asian supply chain hub. Allowing the free movement and warehousing of metals, for example, could also allow Shanghai to develop world-leading commodities exchanges. But if you listen to the plan's more enthusiastic boosters, this idea represents nothing less than a crucible for all of the liberal economic reforms that the new administration hopes will eventually take off across the country. Those dreaming of faster financial liberalisation say that the new zone will allow foreign banks, currently inhibited by red tape from achieving scale or much profitability, to expand rapidly and easily. Domestic banks, currently restricted in their overseas activities, are supposedly going to be allowed to experiment in the new zone with products and services currently banned at home. Technology enthusiasts are claiming that the long-standing ban on video game consoles will be lifted—if consoles are themselves manufactured in the Shanghai free-trade zone. What to make of all this? It is not yet clear what the government really intends to do. However, one problem that officials will confront is that of leakage: since innovations are sure to produce price differences inside and outside the zone, how exactly will they keep enterprising locals from finding ways to arbitrage the difference? The more ambitious the scheme, the more likely it is to fail; the more conservative it is, the less relevant it becomes. That is why the only serious and sustainable way forward for China is to liberalise the entire economy, not just a tiny sliver of it. http://www.economist.com/blogs/analects/2013/07/free-trade-zone-shanghai?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/bl/libigidea