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  1. http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Celine+Cooper+Montreal+city+state/9536579/story.html Montreal as its own city-state? BY CELINE COOPER, THE GAZETTE FEBRUARY 24, 2014STORY Quebec Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau, left, is applauded by Quebec Premier Pauline Marois, right, and members of the government after he presented his budget speech, Thursday, February 20, 2014 at the legislature in Quebec City. Photograph by: Jacques Boissinot , THE CANADIAN PRESS Greetings from Administrative Region 06. What’s that? Oh. You may know it by another name — Montreal, the second largest city in Canada. The economic hub of Quebec. The city that generates approximately 65 per cent of provincial tax revenues. One might assume that buoying a metropolis — investing in the human potential, entrepreneurship and global networking opportunities the city has to offer — would be a central plank in any provincial or federal budget. Then again, one might be wrong. Last Thursday, Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau tabled the 2014-15 provincial budget. In his budget speech in the National Assembly, Marceau stated that his government acknowledges Montreal’s unique status as the metropolitan economic engine of Quebec. His budget commits to the renewal of the province’s annual $25-million investment in the city. In anticipation of the 375th anniversary of Montreal in 2017, a total of $125 million is earmarked for four projects: Parc Jean Drapeau, Espace pour la vie, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History. But dig a little deeper and things start to ring hollow. For example, there is no detail regarding what Montreal will get back from these investments, or whether these projects may, in fact, increase the city’s operating expenses in terms of security, maintenance or infrastructure. On more pressing challenges facing Montreal, the budget doesn’t go far enough. There is $6 million set aside for fighting homelessness — an urgent concern for many residents of the city. But there is no new money allocated for social housing, public transit or immigrant integration, and no money earmarked for the retention of families on the island of Montreal. To be fair, it seems almost silly to take this budget seriously. No one expects it to be voted on in the National Assembly. Before Marceau had even completed his announcement, the Coalition Avenir Québec and the Liberals had roundly rejected it. Beyond the proposed increase in daycare user fees from $7 a day to $9 by 2015, it is non-controversial and lacking in detail. There are no general tax increases to irk voters. Detailed spending information is conveniently omitted. In short, this is less a budget than a financial framework for an election campaign. With the latest CROP poll putting the PQ into majority-government territory and MNAs headed for a two-week leave on Thursday, many expect an election to be called as early as this week. Either way, Marceau’s announcement gives voters an idea of how Montreal will be positioned symbolically (or not) in the coming electoral campaign. Why does this matter? With half of the province’s population concentrated here (close to 4 million people), our metropolitan area has some serious demographic heft. As Journal de Montréal columnist Benoît Aubin recently pointed out, if Montreal decided to go its own way and become the 11th province of Canada, it would be more populous than all the Atlantic provinces combined. Yet provincial governments across Canada — including Quebec’s — continue to take a relatively flat approach to budgeting. Despite our urbanizing world, cities are still seen as “creatures” of the provinces, just another administrative region on an electoral map — in Montreal’s case, Administrative Region 06. But in the imminent general election campaign, expect to see some pushback. Real acknowledgement of Montreal as Quebec’s metropolis means revising the fiscal arrangement between Quebec and Montreal and negotiating a meaningful devolution of powers from the province to the city. “It’s time a major economic engine of the province and the country is accorded more rights,” as Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre was quoted as saying in a Gazette article last week. Interestingly, François Cardinal, a columnist at La Presse, has emerged as one of the strongest, most coherent champions of giving Montreal more power. In an article titled Manifesto for a City State published recently in the journal Policy Options, he writes: “ … 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!” On issues of both economy and identity, cleavages between Montreal and the rest of Quebec have been growing deeper. Although often dismissed as a pie-in-the-sky idea, I’m starting to see an increased momentum behind the idea of Montreal as its own city-state. As we head into an election, provincial parties would wise not to dismiss it out of hand. Twitter:@CooperCeline
  2. It's Obama's party Illinois senator finally secures the Democratic nomination, and becomes the first black man to lead his party JOHN IBBITSON June 4, 2008 at 3:03 AM EDT WASHINGTON — This is history. Barack Obama is the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee for president, the first African-American to lead the party of Jefferson and Roosevelt. The Illinois senator secured the nomination last night after a spate of superdelegates – senior party politicians and officials – announced they would be supporting him at the Democratic National Convention in August. That, plus the pledged delegates he obtained after Tuesday's final two primaries in Montana and South Dakota, put Mr. Obama past the 2,118 delegates needed to win the convention. He secured the nomination even though he lost to New York Senator Hillary Clinton in South Dakota. The proportional method of allocating delegations ensured that Mr. Obama would cross the threshold despite losing the state. In compensation, Mr. Obama won Montana, though both states are among the smallest in the union in terms of delegate count. “Tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another, a journey that will bring a new and better day to America,” Mr. Obama declared last night in a speech in St. Paul, Minn. “Tonight, I can stand here and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.” Obama makes history Illinois senator Barack Obama has laid claim to the Democratic presidential nomination, making him the first black man to lead his party Hillary Clinton Clinton's next move Hillary Clinton will acknowledge that Barack Obama has the delegates to secure the Democratic nomination, campaign officials said Related Articles Acknowledging the rifts of race and gender and class that had opened in the party during the 17-month race, Mr. Obama urged Democrats to “unite in common effort to chart a new course for America.” And he lavished praise on his rival, lauding Ms. Clinton's “unyielding desire to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, no matter how difficult the fight may be. “And you can rest assured,” he added, “that when we finally win the battle for universal health care in this country, she will be central to that victory.” For her part, Ms. Clinton offered a speech to supporters in New York that was largely elegiac in nature. “I will carry your stories and your dreams with me every day for the rest of my life,” she promised her supporters. But Ms. Clinton was not prepared to make any public declarations or concessions. “This has been a long campaign and I will be making no decision tonight,” she told supporters at her rally in New York. “In the coming days, I'll be consulting with supporters and party leaders to determine how to move forward with the best interests of our party and our country guiding my way,” she said. Ms. Clinton did, however, indicate in a conference call to members of her party's New York congressional delegation, that she would be open to serving as Mr. Obama's vice-president, if asked, though a campaign spokesman said this was no more than a repetition of her pledge to do whatever she could to ensure victory for the Democrats in November.The next few days could foment intense speculation on where and when Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton will meet, what she will be asking for, and what he is prepared to offer, as she arranges her formal departure from the campaign. Although the Democratic Party has been energized by this contest, with record turnouts in state after state, the fight has also divided the party along racial and gender lines. Many female Democrats bitterly complain that sexist attitudes, particularly in the media, contributed to Ms. Clinton's loss, while Mr. Obama's supporters say they had to overcome racist attitudes among some voters. Exit polls in South Dakota revealed that 55 per cent of Democrats want Mr. Obama to pick Ms. Clinton as his running mate, though 41 per cent do not. But when only Obama supporters were sampled, 56 per cent wanted her kept off the ticket, a sign of how raw emotions have been rubbed. For 17 months, Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton have fought each other for the nomination, in one of the epic political contests of modern times. For much of that contest, Ms. Clinton seemed the inevitable winner. But she and others had not reckoned on Mr. Obama's extraordinary ability to galvanize younger voters, to raise more than $200-million, mostly through small donations, to rally both less affluent African-Americans and upscale liberals to his cause, marrying a message of hope and reform to the most powerful oratory seen in America since the days of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. They fought to a draw until February, when Mr. Obama racked up an impressive and unanswered string of victories, mostly in smaller states. Ms. Clinton came back with wins in the Midwest and Appalachia, forging her own coalition of lower-income white voters plus women. But it was the party elders, the superdelegates, who had the final say in this race. And although Ms. Clinton had a grip on them at the start, by the end it was obvious they had collectively decided to give the nomination to Mr. Obama. About 200 of the superdelegates stayed uncommitted until the problem of seating the Michigan and Florida delegations — the two states had violated party rules by holding their primaries in January — was resolved over the weekend. Then Tuesday, in what appears to have been a move orchestrated by the Obama campaign, the superdelegate endorsements began pouring in, until by the time the polls closed in Montana and South Dakota the tally there was almost irrelevant. The most prominent among them was former president Jimmy Carter, who told The Associated Press Tuesday afternoon that “the fact is the Obama people already know they have my vote when the polls close tonight.” So the national presidential election race is fully under way, five months before the actual vote, with John McCain standing for the Republicans and Barack Obama for the Democrats. Mr. McCain acknowledged as much himself, in a speech last night in New Orleans. “Pundits and party elders have declared that Senator Obama will be my opponent,” he told supporters “He will be a formidable one. But I welcome the challenge.” The war in Iraq will figure prominently in this contest, since Mr. McCain wants to stay the course and Mr. Obama wants to bring the troops home. There will be contrasting policies as well on tax cuts and health care and trade, though both candidates are committed to fighting global warming. But as with all elections, the real choices will be intangible: youth versus experience, social justice versus individual freedom, leadership you can trust versus a new voice for America. The presidential race promises to be no less epic than that for the Democratic nomination. This election will be one for the books. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080604.wprimarymain04/BNStory/usElection2008/home
  3. Quebec Tories swapped ad expenses, Elections Canada alleges TIM NAUMETZ The Canadian Press July 22, 2008 at 9:26 AM EDT OTTAWA — The Conservative Party shifted thousands of dollars in advertising expenses from two of its top Quebec candidates to other Quebec candidates who had more spending room in their 2006 federal election campaigns, the lawyer for Elections Canada has suggested. A former financial officer for the party confirmed last month in a court examination that expenses incurred by Public Works Minister Christian Paradis and former foreign affairs minister Maxime Bernier were assigned to other candidates. But former chief financial officer Ann O'Grady said the expenses were “prorated” to the other candidates because the firm that placed the television and radio ads billed Mr. Paradis and Mr. Bernier for higher amounts than their campaign agents originally committed. Elections Canada lawyer Barbara McIsaac probed Ms. O'Grady over records involving an eventual claim for $20,000 in radio and TV advertising by Mr. Paradis and $5,000 in advertising claimed by Mr. Bernier. The financial statements and invoices – filed in a Federal Court case concerning $1.3-million in questionable Conservative ad expenses – also showed that Mr. Bernier and Mr. Paradis paid a fraction of the ad production costs compared with other Tory candidates. Mr. Bernier and Mr. Paradis are among 67 Conservative candidates whose advertising expenditures are under investigation by the federal elections commissioner. Agents for some of the candidates took Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand to Federal Court after he refused last year to reimburse the expenditures on grounds that they did not qualify as local candidate expenses. The Commons ethics committee is also conducting an inquiry into the bookkeeping, which Elections Canada alleges allowed the Conservative party to exceed its national campaign spending limit by more than $1-million. The Canada Elections Act prohibits candidates from absorbing or sharing the election expenses of other candidates. NDP MP Pat Martin, a member of the ethics committee, said if the party did shift expenses from Mr. Bernier and Mr. Paradis to other candidates it would add an entirely new dimension to the controversy. “I can't get (fellow NDP MP) Judy Wasylycia-Leis to put $5,000 of my expenses into her expenses,” Mr. Martin said. “That's absolutely not allowed.” In a sworn cross-examination last month, the transcript of which was subsequently entered in the Federal Court file, Ms. McIsaac pressed Ms. O'Grady about advertising and ad production costs that were transferred from Mr. Bernier and Mr. Paradis to other candidates. Ms. McIsaac challenged Ms. O'Grady's explanations that the expenditures were reassigned because the candidates had been mistakenly invoiced for more than the amounts their official agents originally committed for the campaign. “I'm going to suggest to you that Mr. Bernier was less than $2,590 from his spending limit and that he couldn't afford to put the additional amount into his return,” Ms. McIsaac said to Ms. O'Grady. “That would be total supposition,” Ms. O'Grady responded. “Who knows what else would have been going on at the time? I can't comment on how Mr. Bernier ran his campaign.” In the case of Mr. Paradis, Ms. O'Grady conceded that the candidate had originally committed his campaign to a media buy totalling $30,000, was eventually invoiced $29,766 and subsequently received a “credit note” of $10,000 that was reallocated to another candidate, Marc Nadeau. “Now, again, the reason for this was that Mr. Paradis had reached his limit with respect to spending as well, is that correct?” Ms. McIsaac asked. “He had to allocate some of his money to Mr. Nadeau, did he not, because he was close to his limit?” “I would not know that,” replied Ms. O'Grady, who replaced former Tory chief financial agent Susan Kehoe several months after the election. Ms. McIsaac also questioned Ms. O'Grady over the fact that Mr. Bernier paid no production costs for his share of the advertising. Mr. Paradis paid only $233.93 for his share, even though Ms. McIsaac said other candidates paid $4,500 each for production costs.
  4. Don't have a million dollars for a Vancouver home? A new Twitter campaign shows youre not alone The #DontHave1Million hashtag is spreading on Twitter, as people complain about being priced out of the housing market. Photograph by: Screenshot , Twitter Don’t have $1 million for a house in Vancouver? Turns out you’re not alone. A hashtag campaign created by 29-year-old Vancouverite Eveline Xia is encouraging priced-out urbanites to speak up about their home ownership woes by sharing their age and profession on Twitter. The campaign, called #DontHave1Million, is attracting posts from engineers, planners and scientists, as well as real estate agents from other B.C. communities where housing is cheaper. “Will never be able to afford living in the city I grew up in,” tweeted a business graduate. “Every city everywhere in this country needs the people that keep it going,” added an industrial rigger and specialty mover. “If only I could plant a money tree instead of bok choi, kale or mustard,” said another poster. But others countered with posts calling the tweeters entitled. “Don’t be foolish ... rent and invest instead,” said one. “Buy within your means. Move to the burbs. Suck it up, buttercup,” said another. Responding to critics of her campaign in a statement on Twitter, Xia said her generation is “not looking for a handout,” but rather “asking for a fighting chance to stay here in the city we love.” Salaries have not kept pace with housing prices, she noted, and young, talented workers are beginning to leave in favour of communities where they can afford to buy a home for their families. “To have a diverse, interesting and thriving community, Vancouver needs people like us to stay, work and raise our families here,” she said. According to a VanCity report released in March, the average detached Vancouver home could cost $2.1 million by 2030. “Although 75 per cent of Millennials think that home ownership is a primary long-term goal ... many will have to revise their goals to accommodate rising unaffordability in Metro Vancouver,” said the report. Warning that if trends are not reversed, homes in the suburbs will also become increasingly unaffordable for people earning the median income, the report said a reversal would be possible through public policy and changes in financial practices. Those using the #DontHave1Million hashtag expressed hope that the social media campaign would be the start of a “revolt” leading to change. [email protected] sent via Tapatalk
  5. How Pepsi won the Quebec Cola Wars By René Bruemmer, The GazetteJuly 11, 2009 MONTREAL - Pepsi had a major problem. More specifically, Pepsi had a major Quebec problem. After decades of protracted Cola Wars, the perennial challenger was finally making some headway on Coke in 1984, which outsold Pepsi four-to-one in Canada in the early ’70s. Waves of successful marketing campaigns, including the long-running “Take the Pepsi Challenge” taste test, helped bring Pepsi up to parity with Coke in English food stores in Canada by 1980. Except in Quebec, which was jarring because the province had long been associated with a fondness for Pepsi – so much so the corporation’s first bottling plant outside of the U.S. opened in Montreal in 1934. Yet the corporation’s latest rebranding campaign, “The Choice of a New Generation,” backed by global superstars Michael Jackson, David Bowie and Madonna, was falling flat in Quebec. In 1984, according to a report compiled by the Canadian Congress of Advertising, Pepsi had stalled at 87 per cent of Coca-Cola’s share in a province that imbibed 25 to 30 per cent of all the soft drinks in Canada. Marketers decided to embark on a risky, expensive and unorthodox scheme: abandon Michael Jackson and develop an advertising strategy that would reflect the distinct society’s cultural differences, sensibilities and sense of humour. Riskier still because while Pepsi had been adopted as a self-effacing term by some Quebecers, it was also a derogatory slur used by non-francophones to describe them. If the marketing plan was seen as offensive, Pepsi could become a pariah. Being No. 2 had its advantages, however, noted University of Ottawa marketing professor Luc Dupont. “As the constant David, Pepsi was condemned to take risks, which made it more inventive, forced it to rely more on its intelligence,” he said. Pepsi would stake its multimillion-dollar offensive on a local comedian and his coterie of bizarre characters. In exchange, Quebec would become, and remain, one of the few places in the world where Pepsi has conquered the king of pop. *** Pepsi is celebrating its 75th anniversary in Quebec this year, in conjunction with the opening of the Montreal plant in 1934. It’s rolling out a new logo and ad campaign, one of more than a dozen branding changes over a history that dates back to 1898. It’s also putting $40 million into its Montreal bottling facilities, one of several plants in the province employing a total of 1,200 people. That investment, along with large amounts of money spent sponsoring sports and culture (among them the Colisée Pepsi arena in Quebec City, and the Pepsi Forum in Montreal) is another key to its success, says Éric Blais of Toronto-based Headspace Marketing, which advises companies on how to reach the Quebec market. “They have become part of the cultural landscape, both through marketing and direct involvement in the province,” Blais said. Despite the fact it was created only 12 years after Coke, Pepsi remained a constant second, staking its market share largely on the fact it was distributed in larger, reused beer bottles and offered more fizz for the buck (actually a nickel for a 12-ounce bottle in the Depression era). But being the underdog allowed it to take chances. In the 1940s it became one of the first corporations to use a realistic black family in its ads (as opposed to Aunt Jemima), and hired a black manager for all-black sales teams that would target the huge niche market of African Americans, despite virulent opposition from within and outside of the company, including the Ku Klux Klan. But in the 1980s the New Generation offensive – meant to lure young drinkers who would make Pepsi their habit – was tanking here. Standard marketing practice would have been to tweak the campaign by translating it into French and using some of Quebec’s many popular rock stars. Instead, the J. Walter Thompson company relied on qualitative research and decided go with a different selling point – comedy. “Young Quebecers in the 1980s ... were crowning their own celebrities and creating their own made-in-Quebec lifestyle,” wrote the J. Walter Thompson company in a submission to the Cassies, the Canadian Advertising Awards. “Research revealed an inner confidence among Quebec target groups. ... “Since Quebec was culturally unique, it had developed its own entertainment system complete with its own stars,” especially in the comedy milieu. “It was a style of comedy that used typical Quebecois stereotypes to redefine the emerging new ‘street-smart’ culture of young, urban Quebecers.” Claude Meunier, famous for his absurdist humour on Ding et Dong television skits, was chosen. The theme of Meunier’s ads remained an intractable joie de vivre and an undying love of Pepsi. His brief, 30-second spots debuting in 1985 and featuring a variety of characters and a humour only Quebecers could appreciate became an instant hit. Pepsi came almost neck and neck with Coke the same year. By 1986, David had surpassed Goliath and continued to thrive, despite the fact Coke fought back, outspending Pepsi two-to-one on six media campaigns between 1985 and 1993. “Quebecers had the sentiment that a multinational corporation finally took the trouble to try and understand them, using the same language, with the same accents,” Dupont said. A nation moored in a sea of English could empathize with company fighting for purchase in an ocean of Coke. “Subconsciously, Quebecers identify with products that are No. 2,” Dupont said. “In addition to the absurd humour and joy of life, they like to say, ‘We’re different here. We changed things.’ ” The Meunier campaign would last 18 years, aided by the fact Meunier became the star of La Petite Vie, an early ’90s Quebec sitcom watched by 4 million out of a possible 6 million viewers every Monday night. The Meunier Pepsi campaign won the 1993 CASSIE Best of Show advertising award. *** Today, Coke dominates the global market with 51 per cent of the total sales compared with Pepsi’s 22 per cent, according to John Sicher, editor of Beverage Digest. But in Quebec, the Pepsi stable of soft drinks owns 61 per cent of the market to Coke’s 20, said Manon Lavallée, market development manager for PepsiCo Canada. It’s a dominance unseen anywhere else in North America, although Pepsi does nudge out Coke by a slight margin in the Atlantic provinces and a few states. (Coke officials told The Globe and Mail recently the gap is not that large in Quebec when restaurant, hotel and sporting events sales are factored in, but did not give specific numbers.) Twenty-five years after Meunier started with Pepsi, he’s still there, although in a lesser role, shifting to Diet Pepsi. Pepsi opted for a new campaign to speak to a new, multicultural generation of Quebecers in 2003, featuring five young men extolling the unique elements of Quebec (poutine, potholes, moving day and here we say “icitte," not “ici”) under the banner “Ici, c’est Pepsi.” In the rest of the world, it’s Coke. Which is remarkably similar to Molson Canadian’s I Am Canadian ad campaign that focused on Canada’s uniqueness vis-a-vis the U.S. “Pepsi’s ad campaign allowed us to feed that image of ourselves as different," Dupont said. “Even though in fact, we are not so different.” The Pepsi Meunier campaign is taught in textbooks now, Dupont said, a lesson in how to adapt to your market, and change with the time. In its submission for a Cassie award, members of the BBDO Canada marketing firm responsible for the Ici campaign wrote: “The driving force behind Pepsi’s Quebec success was Claude (Meunier’s) unique ability to show that Pepsi is a natural companion to Quebecers.” For the Ici c’est Pepsi campaign, consumers in test market groups “told us Pepsi is part of the fabric of Quebec life and they should be damn proud of it.” The Ici spots, said Chris Hamilton of Pepsi in Strategy Magazine, tested in the top two per cent of all ads ever tested in Quebec. The campaign won a 2005 Cassie. “The ads gave a sense of belonging, the pride in being distinctive,” Blais said. “They tapped into that sentiment of being proud of being the only place in the world where Pepsi is No. 1. “It said ‘We stand on our own, we are distinct.’ ” [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  6. Quebec has announced a $34-million renovation for Montreal's LaSalle Hospital emergency room, just a week after resident doctors made an online plea about their decaying facilities. Provincial Health Minister Yves Bolduc confirmed the investment Wednesday, which will be used to modernize and expand the hospital's ER to four times its current size. One of the videos showed a mouldy vent. (YouTube)Doctors at the hospital are declaring victory for their online campaign, that went viral last week. They shot videos of their emergency ward, showing mouldy ceilings and crowded hallways. "We didn't want to go to videos, no one wants to go there," said Dr. Tony Assouline. "We want to have normal relations with the administration and the government. This was a last resort, and it was done." Doctors would have never gone online with their complaints had they known a major renovation announcement was coming, he added. "Fortunately now, we'll have a new ER, and we're very happy." Bolduc said renovation plans have been in the works for years, and have nothing to do with a YouTube and website campaign that went viral last week. The new ER will be ready in 2014
  7. The Obama Deception (Courtesy of Wikipedia) Fall of The Republic (Courtesy of infowars.com)