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  1. 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.
  2. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/entertainment/Lambert+shouts+enough/3317503/story.html#ixzz0uhaLT8LV
  3. I just saw this story online, of all places it was on Global Toronto and Fox News Radio. No one is covering the story in Montreal. Police investigate death threats, racist Tweets of McGill student (Courtesy of Global Toronto) I do hope the student gets expelled and is never allowed to study at any university again. Plus what does he expect going to a conservative club meeting? It would be like me going to Nazi rally and dealing with all the anti-semitism, but I wouldn't be an idiot tweeting what he tweeted online.
  4. (Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette) I am just surprised no one tried this before. I know someone tried stealing one with their pick up truck a while back.
  5. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/al-jazeera-coming-to-canadian-tv/article1200118/ I am in favour of them bringing this channel to Canada provided that the CRTC keeps a very close eye on it. However, if Videotron adds this channel, they will be receiving an angry phone call or letter. I am still waiting for Fox News to come to Illico, and it is in no way fair to offer Al Jazeera but not Fox News.
  6. La Presse threatens union with closure By Mike King, The Gazette September 4, 2009 La Presse newspaper employees talk during preparations for a meeting for employees at the Palais des congrès in June 2009. La Presse newspaper employees talk during preparations for a meeting for employees at the Palais des congrès in June 2009. Photograph by: Phil Carpenter, Gazette file photo MONTREAL – La Presse, North America’s largest French-language broadsheet, will stop publication Dec. 1 if its 700 employees don’t give up $13 million in concessions between now and that date. Caroline Jamet, the 125-year-old newspaper’s vice-president of communications, confirmed publisher Guy Crevier sent the staff an email yesterday informing the workers they have three months to reach an agreement to avoid suspension of both the paper and its website, cyberpresse.ca. In acknowledging La Presse’s current business model “has no chance of surviving,” Crevier noted how management has cut its share of the $26 million needed to be reduced this year to continue operations and that contract negotiations must be sped up to get the other half from the 600 unionized workers. “We have to reduce our cost structure and the only missing link is the contribution of the employees,” Jamet told The Gazette. She said the main issue is the 32-hour, four-day work week that the company wants changed to 35 hours over five days because of the expense of extra staff for that fifth day. That move would likely result in the loss of about 100 jobs, but Jamet added retirements and voluntary departures could reduce the number of layoffs. Crevier, also president of Gesca Ltée – the Power Corp. of Canada subsidiary that owns and publishes La Presse and other French-language papers in the province and Ontario – listed what was done to cut $13 million: • Ceased publication of its Sunday paper June 28 • Reduced the size of the paper to reduce paper costs • Put a voluntary departure program in place • Concluded agreements with financial institutions for new financing, including to cover the “seriously underfunded” pension plan. He first announced to employees in June that, facing an anticipated $215 million deficit by 2013, the paper was seeking to cut costs by $26 million annually over the next five years. It was at that meeting the decision on the Sunday paper was made known. Union leader Hélène De Guise said the longer work week is one of the items being negotiated as well as the possibility of trimming employees’ vacation time. But she added the bargaining team wants to further analyze Crevier’s pronouncement before making any further comments. The last collective agreement expired Dec. 31. Crevier ended his missive stating: “The future of La Presse, your future, is in your hands. It’s up to you to decide.” Jamet, also spokesperson for Gesca, said the measures being taken at La Presse presently have no effect on the chain’s other dailies: Le Soleil in Quebec City, La Tribune in Sherbrooke, Le Nouvelliste in Trois-Rivières, La Voix de l’Est in Granby, Le Quotidien in Saguenay and Le Droit in Ottawa. It is up to the publishers at each of those papers to identify how to cut their costs, she added. In July, the Boston Globe’s union approved a package of $10 million in wage and benefits cuts after owner The New York Times had threatened earliler this year to close New England’s biggest paper unless major concessions were made. The same thing happened at the San Francisco Chronicle in March in order to avoid being closed by the Hearst Corp. [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  7. MONTREAL – The central-city administration didn’t open the door any further Monday night to preserving the 57-hectare Meadowbrook green space. But Alan DeSousa, vice-chairman of the city executive committee, didn’t slam it shut, either – not with about 375 anti-development protesters who converged on city hall trying to save the West End site hanging onto his words. “We’re ready to see what we can do to support a local community consensus” on Meadowbrook’s future, he told Patrick Asch of the Les Amis de Meadowbrook citizens’ coalition, which wants the entire site preserved as a public park. A Miami Beach condo developer, Michael Bedzow of Pacific Group Canada, wants to build 1,500 housing units on the site, which has been a private golf course for about a century. Meadowbrook hosts a broad range of wildlife, including foxes, rabbits and birds. It straddles the Lachine borough and Côte St. Luc, and is located near rail yards. Asch and other questioners tried repeatedly to get Mayor Gérald Tremblay to commit to preservation. But the mayor left it to DeSousa to do all the talking on his behalf. The site is already partly zoned for development. Last night’s occasionally loud crowd demonstrates broad support for the site’s preservation, Asch said. The site is “irreplaceable and one of the few natural green spaces left in Montreal,” he added. “Residents across the island will not accept the destruction of Meadowbrook.” Tremblay’s continuing silence on the issue is “deafening – and very suspicious,” Asch said. The site’s preservation is part of a May 2009 report that is to be voted on Thursday by Montreal Island’s agglomeration council. DeSousa said that report doesn’t deal with golf courses. On April 15, Karel Mayrand, Quebec executive director of the David Suzuki Foundation, wrote to Tremblay asking him to act “to preserve all of Meadowbrook as a nature park.” The Pacific Group housing plan – which features Plateau Mont Royal density levels – would represent “destruction for short-term private gain,” Mayrand added. Projet Montréal has already endorsed Meadowbrook’s preservation in full as a public park, said party leader Richard Bergeron. [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/technology/City+commit+Meadowbrook/2926786/story.html#ixzz0leaaJ97g
  8. (Courtesy of Huffington Post) Honestly some of the comments about the topic is beyond stupid. Some people don't want to move to Canada seeing we are seen as a "socialist" country
  9. Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/13/world/europe/eye-on-georgia-lazika/index.html
  10. For the all the grief posters here have given this company and even myself, here are some quick facts; In 1996 there were 2 daily international Air Canada operated flights from Mirabel: AC865/866 YOW-YMX-LHR B767-300 AC870/871 YMX-CDG A340-300 In 2016, as of now there will be 10 daily to Europe + 4 daily joint-venture services: 5 weekly Montreal-Lyon A330 (added in 2016) Daily Montreal-Geneva A330 (added in 2009) Daily Montreal-Rome Rouge B763 (added in 2009) Daily Montreal-Brussels A330 (added in 2010) Double daily Montreal-Paris Daily Montreal-London B777 Daily Montreal-Frankfurt A330 Daily Montreal-Frankfurt A340 Lufthansa Daily Montreal-Zurich A330 Swiss Daily Montreal-Munich A330 Lufthansa 3 weekly Air China Montreal-Beijing B777 4 weekly Montreal-Athens Rouge B763 (added in 2010) 3 weekly Montreal-Barcelona Rouge 763 (added in 2010) 3 weekly Montreal-Nice Rouge 763 (added in 2014) 2 weekly Montreal-Venice Rouge 763 (added in 2015) Amazing progress!
  11. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/03/greathomesanddestinations/03gh-househunting-1.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1299593719-+xlaQH3kS13uLe9aveRW4A
  12. Prepare for home prices to drop Most Canadian housing markets overpriced, UBC study finds With Metro Vancouver past the peak of its current real-estate market cycle, more discussion is emerging about what the cycle's downside will look like. The latest discussion points lean towards a price correction in the double digits, with one study showing current Vancouver house prices overvalued by 11 per cent on a particular measure and an economist observing that prices are falling at a rate of 10 per cent or more this year. University of B.C. real-estate economist Tsur Somerville was lead author of a study that evaluated the cost to rent a detached, mid-market home in nine Canadian cities versus the cost to own, in order to find a balanced price. The study's conclusion was that in the second-quarter of this year, Metro Vancouver's house price, of $754,500, was 11 per cent higher than the balance point. However, that is less out of balance than Regina, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Montreal, which are 25 per cent out of equilibrium, considering prices and rents in those markets. Halifax house prices are 20 per cent out of balance. Titled Are Canadian Housing Markets Overpriced? the study observes that housing affordability is a severe problem in some Canadian cities, limiting the ability of markets to continue to rise. Calgary prices showed as being seven per cent higher than balance. Only Toronto showed prices in balance with rents, and Edmonton, which has already seen price declines, would need to see prices climb again by eight per cent to be in balance. "I was surprised the Vancouver number is as low as it was," Somerville, director of the centre for urban economics and real estate at the Sauder School of Business at UBC, said in an interview. He added that the rent-versus-own measure is a narrow observation that treats homes like a financial asset and does not take other measures of affordability or valuation into account. And what eventually happens in the Vancouver market, Somerville said, will depend on a host of variables ranging from changes in mortgage rates to changes in the long-term average appreciation of housing prices and economic conditions. "What you can identify is where the pressures are," Somerville added. "How the market plays out is very different." Prices do not have to fall for the market to correct, Somerville said. Prices can simply stagnate over a period of time, like Vancouver experienced through the mid-1990s until 2001. However, Somerville added that Vancouver has built new homes at a much higher rate than household formation in the city during the up-cycle, and the inventory of unsold homes in the market has ballooned rapidly, which make Vancouver more susceptible to price declines. "Those are two big warning signs," he said. Somerville said another unknown in the declining market is what the buyers of pre-sale condominiums that are now under construction will do once the units are complete. If a significant number of investor-buyers of those condominiums decide to sell them right away, that would put more downward pressure on prices. However, at this point there is little evidence of "calamity in the housing market," said Helmut Pastrick, chief economist for Central 1 Credit Union, formerly known as Credit Union Central B.C. Pastrick said the reversal in the housing market was caused because of affordability. Too many first-time buyers were squeezed out of the market for prices to rise higher. However, "it would take nastier economic conditions," such as a recession or sudden spike in mortgage rates to cause a more serious decline in Vancouver's markets, he said. Pastrick said Vancouver's housing price index has declined four per cent since its peak in February, and in his latest weekly economic briefing, he noted that prices are on pace to drop 10 to 15 per cent this year. "I think [the decline] will be closer to 10 per cent by the end of the year," Pastrick added in an interview. "And the [decline] will be at least 10 per cent from top to bottom [of the cycle]." The inventory of unsold homes, which had grown dramatically over the summer, dropped a bit in August and Pastrick expected that trend to continue over the next several months. At some point in 2009, he believes, the real estate market will find a new balance "and we could see housing prices tread water." "I'm not suggesting [prices will be] flat," he said. "There's going to be some movement, but it could be a period of time where prices don't make large moves up or down - perhaps plus or minus five per cent a year." Pastrick said significant numbers of first-time buyers will have to be able to afford to buy homes before the market swings back up. Recent declines in prices help that affordability factor, he said, but low interest rates and solid income growth will also be needed to put the market into its next upswing. "After going through this adjustment period, which I think will run its course next year," Pastrick said, "we could be in a period of a flat market" that could last through 2010 to 2012. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/n...7-1a4e7666c4b2
  13. Suddenly, we're not looking so green By MONIQUE BEAUDIN December 10, 2008 Statscan study humbles Quebecers. Many of us recycle, but few are composting Quebecers like to think they're more environmentally conscious than other Canadians, but we have some work to do when it comes to simple changes like switching to low-energy light bulbs, Statistics Canada says. A new study looked at six environmentally active behaviours: recycling, composting, using a low-flow showerhead, using reduced-volume toilet, using compact fluorescent light bulbs and lowering the temperature on programmable thermostats when members of the household are asleep. Just over half of Quebecers said they have done two or three of those six, but only 35 per cent of us have done most or all of them. Quebecers lagged far behind on composting - only 14 per cent of us do it, compared with 31 per cent in British Columbia and 92 per cent in Prince Edward Island, where composting is mandatory. About one-third of us use reduced-volume toilets, and not even half of Quebecers use the more energy-efficient light bulbs - compared with 65 per cent of people in B.C. and Ontario. On the plus side, 95 per cent of Quebecers with access to a recycling program actually recycled (still the second-lowest result for all of Canada) and 59 per cent use low-flow showerheads, which puts us in second place in that category. For a province dubbed the "conscience of Canada" on climate change by former U.S. vice-president Al Gore, and praised by David Suzuki for reducing greenhouse gas emissions for three years running, yesterday's results aren't exactly good news. "At first glance, it is a little bit depressing," said Marie-Ève Roy, a spokesperson for the environmental group Équiterre. "It reminds us that it is a challenge to transform people's interest into concrete action on a daily basis." The information Statistics Canada used is from 2006, and Roy said she expects the next study like this to have much better results. Since 2006, Quebec has announced tough targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, instituted a carbon tax, set the goal of five-per-cent ethanol levels in gasoline by 2012, and announced plans to implement tougher standards for vehicle emissions between 2010 and 2016. In 2006, Hydro-Québec also began offering rebates to people switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs. This year, Hydro-Québec added a rebate program for programmable thermostats. But governments and environmental groups still have a lot of work to do, Roy said, including improving access to public transit, establishing the necessary infrastructure for large-scale kitchen-waste composting, and putting a price on water consumption. "As soon as you put a price on those resources, that helps people understand the impact of each of their behaviours," she said. When people see that turning down the thermostat at night before going to sleep reduces their electricity bill, that helps them understand the effect they can have on the environment, she added. For a link to Hydro-Québec's rebate forms, visit our Green Life blog at http://www.montrealgazette.com/greenlife
  14. Toronto : Moving on out - to 905 Crazy' property taxes have forced the hand of hundreds of T.O. businesses in recent years By BRYN WEESE, SUN MEDIA Three years ago, Les Liversidge packed up his successful law office and moved out of Toronto. He didn't go far. Liversidge took his practice, his law books and his taxes across Steeles Ave. into Markham. It wasn't a move he wanted to make, rather a "simple business decision" to escape Toronto's "crazy" taxes. He's far from alone. Hundreds, if not thousands of Toronto's businesses over the past several years have packed up their shops, factories and offices and moved to the 905. In the iconic Danforth area, for example, 30% of retailers there now won't be around next year, according to a neighbourhood business survey. Toronto's high commercial property taxes are making rents uncompetitive and unaffordable, city business groups say. 'MOM AND POP BAKERY' "If you're paying $10,000 in taxes for your little mom and pop bakery, you'd have to bake a lot of buns just to pay your tax bill," said Judith Andrew, vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in Ontario, which has more than 4,000 members in Toronto. "I could see for many people, unless you absolutely had to be in the city, you'd want to run your business somewhere else." Liversidge sold his Willowdale office (a house he "loved" that had been converted into a commercial space) at Yonge St. and Steeles Ave. when it no longer "made sense" to keep it because of burdensome taxes. "I don't remember what my taxes were when I bought (the building) in 1992, which to me means they were not significant," Liversidge said. He recalls paying somewhere in the neighbourhood of $6,000 and $8,000 in taxes annually. But a dozen years later, thanks to property tax changes, provincial downloading, double digit spending and tax increases by city council, Liversidge's tax bill, like those of every business in Toronto, went through the roof. His taxes hit $27,000 a year by 2005. "More significant, I think, was a lack of predictability," Liversidge said. "I had no confidence that commercial real estate taxes would be controlled in any reasonable way," he said. He now rents about the same amount of space in a new, modest-sized three-storey office building. His rent is less than what his taxes were in 2004 in Toronto, even though the two buildings are only about five minutes apart. JOB GROWTH STAGNANT "I would much prefer to be in Toronto, but it makes no sense," Liversidge said. "If this building was located 300 yards south (on the other side of Steeles in Toronto), I don't think I could afford it." In 2005, the property taxes on a 250,000-square-foot office in the 905 were roughly $800,000 less than in Toronto. These numbers come from a study the City of Toronto conducted and are the most recent available. Business groups, however, maintain the numbers are still reasonably accurate and applicable today. As a consequence, employment growth in the 905 skyrocketed while job growth in the city has been stagnant and even suffered erosion. Between 2000 and 2006, the 905 region added more than 300,000 jobs while Toronto lost 23,700 jobs. Looking further back, over the past two decades, the 905 has added 800,000 jobs while employment in Toronto is still about 20,000 below its peak in 1989. Back in 2002, a city report optimistically projected 1.84 million new jobs would be created by 2031, a number officials now suggest is less a "goal" and more a "target." The falloff is in part attributable to migration of business, particularly small and medium-sized companies, in everything from manufacturing, and accommodation to administrative support and transportation. Toronto's commercial and industrial taxes are higher than its neighbours for several reasons. In part, relatively lower residential property taxes have put more of a burden on businesses operating in the city. "It's all well and good to cushion residents ... however, at a certain point, people don't have to be here and they do leave," Andrew said. Also in part, Toronto's business education tax rates are higher than those paid in the 905. That's supposed to change, but not until 2014. The bottom line, for business, is a tax disparity they can't afford to ignore. Cindy Anisman, a spokesman for Kingsdown Sleep Systems, credits moving from the intersection of Hwys. 401 and 400 to Vaughan two years ago with their company's growing success. Their facility in Vaughan is 120,000 square feet and employs more than 100 people. "We needed to expand our business, and the only place that you could actually find an area big enough was north in Vaughan," she said. "Taxes are lower, and utilities in a brand new building are a lot cheaper, too." 'NO-BRAINER TO MOVE' "It was a no-brainer to move," she added. "We're just sorry we didn't make this move earlier." Toronto officials are fully aware of the taxation problem, and council has passed several new measures to try to stop the bleeding. Three months ago, the city started a new program that allows manufacturers to improve their buildings or create a new building and get a "tax holiday" from higher taxes for a decade on the upgrade. "It's the first of its kind anywhere, I believe," Christine Raissis, director of the city's strategic growth and sector services, told the Sunday Sun. For the past few years, the city has also waived development charges on new commercial and industrial buildings, which it collects to pay for infrastructure such as roads and sewers. "We forgo those, partly on the basis that our business and commercial property taxes are higher, so we're trying to do what we can in the short term to balance that (tax) differential," said Randy McLean, the city's economic policy manager. "We're forgiving the front end development charges because we want the jobs." It makes a difference. For a 100,000-square-foot industrial or small office development, those charges would amount to $827,000. Toronto has also implemented a three-year-old plan to lower its commercial to residential property tax ratio to 2.5 to 1 within 10 years from its current 4-1 ratio -- to narrow the gap between what homeowners pay relative to business owners. It's still dramatically higher than ratios in 905 communities but Andrew from the CFIB said at least Toronto is "heading in the right direction." Other critics are less understanding. "The city's proposal to bring the tax ratio in line ... is worthless because, at a minimum you're looking at 10 years before they achieve that level," said Lionel Miskin, v-p of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas. "And each year your taxes still go up, but the residential tax rate is going up faster than the commercial rate." "Maybe people will be happy about it in 10 years, if there is anyone working in the city anymore," he added. "I would say it is a crisis situation." But Toronto council isn't the only level of government responsible for this city's jobs and businesses relocating to the 905. Provincial education taxes are also a sore point. In 2007, the Ontario government unveiled plans to equalize business education taxes across the province. 'VITALITY IN THE CITY' Historically, Toronto's Business Education Taxes were significantly higher than those paid in the GTA and will remain higher until the province completes its equalization plan in 2014. Steven Sorensen, who chairs the Toronto Office Coalition, argues city and provincial measures need to be put in place sooner if the city is serious about retaining businesses and creating jobs. "I think the benefits of introducing these measures in a more prompt fashion would pay off many times over in terms of the economic growth and vitality in the city," he said. The city counters the cost of lowering the commercial tax ratio sooner would cost $600 million to $700 million. However, the argument of when to lower taxes may be moot. For the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, the only real solution to the city's high business taxation woes is to develop a new taxation system. The BIA association believes Ontario's property tax assessment system, which regularly updates the tax value of properties, is flawed and unfair. The CFIB also thinks the city needs to focus on its core duties -- roads, public health, welfare and parks -- and curtail its spending habits to make Toronto more tax competitive. In fact, a recent survey of its Toronto members -- all of them small and medium-sized businesses -- found 86% think the city needs to eliminate wasteful spending. Among other things, the CFIB wants the city to contract out more services for competitive bidding, and do away with its fair wage policy, which requires private non-union companies doing work for the city to pay their employees city rates. But the city, for its part, rejects the notion Toronto's taxes are posing a crisis for the business community. In fact, the city argues, there are currently three new skyscrapers being built in the downtown core for a total estimated investment of about $1 billion. BANKS, STOCK EXCHANGE The city is still the financial capital of Canada, home to the headquarters of five of the country's six national banks, 90% of Canada's foreign banks and the nation's largest stock exchange. There is also growth in several important industries, namely computer systems, finance, health and education, which Raissis argues creates a synergy with the outlying areas of Toronto, whose specialty is mainly manufacturing. "The performance of 905 is important to Toronto, and the performance of Toronto is important to 905," she said. "It's one economic region, but it's not homogeneous." "We are not here to compete against the 905, we're all here as a region to present Toronto as an international market place," she said.
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