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  1. Reclusive billionaire Robert Miller built a business empire far from the public eye. Now, a bitter divorce has thrown his legacy into question. By Joe Castaldo From Canadian Business magazine, September 27, 2010 http://www.canadianbusiness.com/managing/strategy/article.jsp?content=20100927_10022_10022&page=1 To say Robert Miller is a reluctant interview is a grand understatement. He has avoided attention his entire career, and there are no doubt countless activities he would much rather be doing right now than standing in his opulent office with a reporter. He has previously given a single media interview since co-founding Future Electronics Inc., a multinational distributor of electronic components based in Pointe-Claire, Que., that generates nearly $4 billion in revenue each year. Miller is the sole owner. He has never authorized a picture of himself to be published, and his name is rarely, if ever, attached to his extensive charity work. Miller does not do public appearances. He will never be seen at a ribbon-cutting ceremony or posing with an oversized novelty cheque. His desire for privacy has been his most identifiable trait — aside from his wealth. This magazine estimated his net worth last year at $1.19 billion. Forbes magazine valued him at US$2.5 billion. In the absence of any visible public image, the one surrounding Miller is that of an eccentric billionaire recluse. But now he has welcomed a reporter into his office, extending a large hand and wearing a warm smile. He is a tall, lanky man with a slightly stooped posture, sporting a pair of chunky black orthopedic shoes and rimless glasses. At 65, his hair is tinged with grey. He says he would like to write a book about Future Electronics some day. "It's an amazing story," he says in a gravelly baritone. "It could fill 600, 700 pages." The meeting comes at a time when the comfortable, profitable obscurity in which both Miller and his company have operated is threatened. He is in the midst of a long-running and acrimonious divorce proceeding with his ex-wife, Margaret Antonier, which has thrown this most private of men and his business empire into an unflattering spotlight. The pair was married for nearly 38 years before Miller filed for divorce in 2005. Assets likely totalling hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions, are at stake, but the exact details of the proceedings are sealed in a Montreal court. The legal battles do not end there. In June, Miller filed lawsuits in Florida and Montreal against Antonier and the real estate development company they co-own, Miromar Development Inc. He is alleging Antonier and another executive are shutting him out of the company, and have even siphoned money from the firm. Antonier's lawyers, meanwhile, have accused Miller of "horrendous personal behaviour," the specifics of which are outlined in a filing Miller's lawyers have requested the court keep sealed. A Florida newspaper picked up on the case, followed by the Journal de Montreal, which splashed a picture of Miller across its front page, the first photo of him ever published. What it all means for the business empire he built remains to be seen. For Miller himself, it means reluctantly inching from the shadows to take hold of his public image. But that image is anything but simple. Current and former employees — even competitors — describe him as a genius and a visionary. Everything about him, from the way that he operates his company and interacts with employees to the many varied causes he supports (cryogenics research, for one) contribute to the image of a tycoon unlike any other. The more he reveals, the question "Who is Robert Miller?" becomes all the more difficult to answer. The basic biographic details are simple enough: Miller was born in 1945 and raised in Montreal, and later studied at what was then called the Rider Business College in New Jersey. He worked as a radio disc jockey in New Jersey in the 1960s, where his music program, The Bob Miller Show, aired three hours a day during the week and six hours on Sundays. He moved back to Montreal and joined a small wholesaler called Specialty Electronics. Owner Ben Manis, an acquaintance, hired him. Miller threw himself into the job and became close with Manis's son, Eli, who also worked at Specialty. But the younger Manis eventually had a disagreement with his father and left the company. Miller suggested he and Eli go into business for themselves. In 1968, they started Future Electronics out of a small rented office in Montreal. They essentially acted as middlemen, buying obscure electronic parts from component manufacturers and selling them to makers of finished products, ranging from consumer goods to industrial equipment. Manis says he came up with the name. "I just sort of said, let's forget the past. Look to the future," he says. The company grew steadily, and Miller proved to be a workaholic. To Manis, who didn't share his partner's devotion, it wasn't evident Miller had any outside interests. "Something came into his head, and he said, 'What do I need him for?'" Manis recalls. In 1976, Miller bought his partner's half of the company for $500,000. Future operated differently nearly from the start. Distributors in this industry are essentially stores for electronic components, but typically try to limit their inventory, reducing costs and risks. Component prices are volatile, and no one wants to sell product at a loss. Instead, Miller bought large quantities of components when they were cheap. He then charged a significant markup selling to equipment manufacturers when demand hit. Put crudely, Miller made his name as a speculator in electronic parts, and he's an exceptionally gifted one. One former vice-president who asked to remain anonymous recalls only one slip-up in his 15 years at the company, and there were consequences. "Some people were demoted," he says. Miller is often credited with having an intuitive sense of the market, but his moves are based on excellent intelligence. He got to know many of the executives at component makers in part to find out where manufacturing would be constrained. "Just through networking, he got a feel for what commodities would be hot," says the former VP. Holding inventory has another major advantage. "We became known for being the one place you could go to and always find product," says Gregg Smith, another former vice-president, adding that was how Future won new customers. The model works because Future is privately held. Building out the infrastructure to hold loads of inventory is expensive and tough to justify to shareholders. So too are speculative bets. But as the sole proprietor, Miller is accountable only to himself. Today, the product marketing department, mostly housed at headquarters, is the heart of the company. The department buys from suppliers and sets resale prices for Future branches across the world. Competitors assign product marketers to work with specific suppliers, but Miller turns the model on its head. His employees focus exclusively on a component group, becoming experts able to see trends in the market for specific parts. The job is demanding. "The phone is ringing non-stop," recalls a former employee. "It would be usual to have three or four lines on hold while taking another call and trying to close a deal." The pace takes its toll on some. One former employee recalls developing migraines, another, stomach pains. (Future has a medical clinic on-site). Lindsay Blackett worked at Future for six years in sales and marketing, and is now Alberta's culture minister. "Politics, people think it's hardball. But it's nothing compared to Future," he says. In the 1990s, when Blackett worked at Future, Miller would call up individual workers on the floor to inquire about particular deals. "That could be very intimidating, or very rewarding," he says. "He knew what everyone was doing in that building." Competition thrives at Future, which not everyone can handle. "Robert Miller sat on a cloud like Zeus and said, 'Go at it, boys,'" recalls the former VP. "He saw that through confrontation, people would excel." Those who do perform rise quickly through the ranks, and salespeople can make hefty commissions. More than 10 years ago, Future bought massive amounts of tantalum capacitors, used in mobile devices, before the wireless boom hit. When it did, supply was scarce — except at Future. The company sold millions of them a month with a markup as high as 2,000%. Gross profits were so large that for a couple of years, Miller held monthly meetings with sales staff in the auditorium. He handed out their commission cheques individually, from smallest to biggest, announcing the sum for all to hear. The largest topped six figures. Those at the bottom were driven, not only by the desire for bigger commissions but out of embarrassment, to make more and bigger sales. Employees who have little interaction with Miller tend to regard him with a mixture of apprehension and awe. Spotting their boss loping through the hallways is akin to a celebrity sighting. Usually the only opportunities for many to lay eyes on their leader are the addresses he gives roughly once a quarter. He'll often speak for well over an hour, sometimes two. "I always say the intellectual property for Future Electronics is Robert's brain," says Lindsley Ruth, a corporate vice-president. Even employees many years removed from the company still respectfully refer to him as Mr. Miller. Those who work more closely with Miller say he offers plenty of encouragement and room to be entrepreneurial. A few years ago, Jamie Singerman, currently a corporate vice-president at the company, was rolling out a new division called Future Lighting Solutions, which is focused on the LED market. Future didn't have expertise in that area, and building it up required lots of investment. "I went in with a presentation," Singerman recalls. Miller didn't look at it and instead asked if it was the right thing to do. "I said yes, and he said, 'Done.'" Miller is sometimes unpredictable, however. A few years ago, some of the product specialists in Montreal were told not to come in for a month to allow their managers to fill in and become more knowledgeable about the parts the company was dealing with. A former product specialist says many of his colleagues felt they would no longer be needed, and started looking for other jobs. The managers, meanwhile, were overworked and started polishing up their resumés, too. "If the exercise was a natural culling exercise," says the former employee, "it worked." The first time people outside the industry heard of Future Electronics or Robert Miller came on May 7, 1999, when some 30 RCMP officers, in the presence of an FBI agent, raided corporate headquarters. They toted away dozens of boxes of material for reasons officials would not disclose. The company's lawyers successfully fought in court to keep investigators from looking at the seized material, arguing the search was unjust. After six months of media lawyers wrangling in court, the search warrant detailing the reason for the raid was unsealed by the Supreme Court of Canada. The U.S. Department of Justice alleged Future was defrauding a handful of U.S.-based suppliers out of approximately US$100 million a year. The company was accused of maintaining two sets of accounting records — one real, one false — and only Miller and select executives, dubbed the A-Team, had access. The false records were allegedly used to take advantage of debits and rebate programs from suppliers so that Future could pad its margins. Miller never spoke to the press, but Future issued statements denying any wrongdoing and calling the allegations "absurd." There were also whispers the whole investigation was sparked by disgruntled ex-employees, and based on a misunderstanding of how the distribution business worked. More than a year later, Future's lawyers succeeded in quashing the search warrant that justified the raid, and the seized material was returned without having been examined. Nearly three years after the initial search, the U.S. Department of Justice dropped its investigation entirely. Neither that investigation nor anything else has kept Miller from expanding his company to become the fourth-largest electronics distributor in the world. Future Lighting Solutions is booming, scaling up from virtually nothing in 2004 to nearly $350 million in revenue today. The division, which doesn't simply distribute parts but works with customers to meet specific lighting needs, could some day rival the size of the components business. The company is also re-launching a division called Future Active Industrial that focuses on the countless smaller customers generally ignored by larger distributors. The beneficiaries of Future's success spill far beyond the company's headquarters. Miller committed years ago to giving away more than half his earnings to charity. Much of it goes to employees and their families. Miller receives many letters from employees seeking help, often for medical issues. Gina Galardo joined Future 17 years ago as an administrative assistant, but over the years, fielding these requests eventually took over her job. Lori-Ann MacDonald was brought on six years ago to assist. In an interview in a Future boardroom, they explain that when a letter comes in, they conduct research to find the best doctors or specialists, book appointments, provide moral support or anything else that needs doing. Miller has a deep interest in medical research with extensive connections in the community, and can usually immediately recommend a doctor or clinic. He has paid for expensive medical procedures for countless employees, and finds time for hospital visits and phone calls. "Should we get the binders?" MacDonald asks. She makes a phone call, and two other assistants enter, each with two five-inch-thick binders in their arms. The binders are brimming with letters and thank-you cards from employees, organized alphabetically by name. Galardo and MacDonald are soon lost recounting the stories on each page. There is even a section on Ben Manis, the man who hired Miller at Specialty Electronics back in 1967. Manis is in his mid-90s today. Miller employed him at Future for a time and set him up with an apartment across from headquarters. He now supports Manis's accommodations in a seniors' residence, and has allotted money for his funeral. The two have lunch plans for Manis's 100th birthday, however. "I think this sums up Mr. Miller," Galardo says, turning the page. The allegations being made in a Florida civil court against Miller by his ex-wife stand in stark contrast to the benevolent man who never says no to a worthy cause. Miller married Margaret Antonier in 1967. They had two sons, and Antonier remained an active businesswoman. She originally worked in radio advertising, and in 1988, Miromar Development Inc. was formed and received financing from Future Electronics. Miller and Antonier each own 50% of the real estate firm, and Antonier serves as chief executive officer. "I have learned the business from the ground up," Antonier wrote in response to e-mailed questions. "I am pretty hard on myself when it comes to succeeding." Miromar built Canada's first outlet mall, in Montreal, and in the mid-1990s, began developing properties in Lee County, Fla., including an 1,800-acre residential resort with a private beach and golf course. Employed at Miromar was Robert Roop, who had worked at Future for 20 years prior. He served as the company's chief financial officer at the time he resigned and moved to Florida to work at Miromar with Antonier. The lawsuit against the firm states Antonier and Roop became "romantically involved," but does not specify when. In 2005, for reasons that remain under seal in a Montreal court, Miller filed for divorce. Antonier's lawyers in Florida say she filed a demand in the divorce proceeding for Miller's stake in Miromar, a company "she created and operated for decades," be transferred to her and that loans owed to Future Electronics by Miromar be forgiven. Miller sought a valuation of Miromar's assets, and in 2008, he filed a lawsuit in Florida to get access to its corporate records that he was allegedly being denied. The case plodded on until February, when Miller voluntarily dismissed it. But in June, Miller filed new lawsuits in Florida and Montreal, including a declaration from Frank Holder, a senior manager at a forensic consulting firm hired to probe Miromar. Holder concluded Antonier and Roop are violating Miller's rights as a shareholder and director in Miromar by excluding him from the company, and refuse to provide full access to corporate documents. He also claims to have discovered Antonier and Roop engaging in "various acts of misconduct, including theft and diversion of corporate funds." Miller is seeking for a receiver to be put in place. Lawyers for Antonier in Florida refute all of the charges and dismiss Holder's account as baseless, arguing criteria for installing a receiver have not been met. They also contend the suit is designed to delay the divorce proceedings, alleging "wrongful acts" on Miller's part and arguing he has a "desperate desire to avoid the consequences of the Canadian divorce proceedings." That case is sealed, and it is unknown what either party is seeking in those proceedings. None of the allegations in the Miromar litigation have been proven in court, and neither side will comment on the cases. But the disputes and the resulting publicity cut very close to the bone for Miller. Not even during the three-year-long ordeal with U.S. authorities did he speak with reporters. But after researching Future Electronics for weeks, this magazine received a call from the company's general counsel with an almost unprecedented invitation: Miller was willing to sit down and talk. Miller is reticent to say too much about himself or the company. He wants to save the best material for the book. But he has agreed to an interview, provided it is not recorded. Similarly, he would not pose for a photograph. He certainly is not afraid of the camera, however. Hanging on the wall opposite his desk are two huge portraits, one of Miller solo in a suit, another of him shaking hands with Quebec Premier Jean Charest. His aversion to published photographs, he explains, stems from his desire for security for himself and his sons. Miller speaks slowly, but has an intense manner. He leans forward when talking, his bushy eyebrows shooting up when he wants to emphasize point, and rarely breaks eye contact. He has a habit of saying whatever pops into his head. While making a point tangentially related to health, he offers that "I have colonoscopies with startling regularity." He also has a knack for numbers. He can remember exactly when Eli Manis phoned him to say he had quit Specialty Electronics: Nov. 20, 1968, at 4:45 p.m. The phone number at Future Electronics' first office? 418-7701. The number of stairs leading up to that office? Thirty-two. He politely deflects most personal questions. He is more comfortable expounding on Future's unique operating model — based on inventory and market research, rather than pipelining product. "It's so basic that it amazes me that our competitors don't recognize the benefit of having inventory," he says. "Inventory drives sales." He attributes much of the company's success to its privately held status. As a sole proprietorship, it can move much more quickly than its competitors. The fact that Miller doesn't have to answer to shareholders or a board of directors also allows Future to offer the longest customer payment terms in the industry, up to 180 days. "Our competitors can't compete with us. They would be clobbered if they did that," he says. The possibility of taking Future public has never seriously crossed his mind. Miller says he had no business mentors. "It all came to me. It's a gift. I just knew what to do," he says. A strange, metaphysical thread runs through some of his other explanations for his success. Take his work ethic. There was a time he worked 765 days in a row, without a day off, and rarely left the office before 11 p.m. He accounts for this drive by telling a story of walking the streets of Montreal once as a teenager and seeing a red Thunderbird convertible. He knew he had to have one some day. "I recall talking to myself. I said, 'Boy, you're really special.' I think that was a real turning point." He pauses. "But I had just been swimming, and I later read swimming releases endorphins. It's a natural high." He reached another turning point in the early-1970s, when his motivation shifted from material wealth to something larger. When one of his acquaintances passed away, Miller was one of only three people to attend his funeral. "I didn't want that to be me," he says. Charity took on a greater importance from that moment. In fact, growing Future's profits in order to have more money to give away is his primary motivation. "I believe you give till it hurts," he says. Talking about specific causes would take hours, he adds, but he does tell a story of a former employee diagnosed with cancer. Miller sent her to a specialist and ultimately paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for her treatment. "Your encouragement ... for treatment gave me the last three years of my life," she wrote to Miller in a letter delivered after her death in 1995. Nearly all of his charity work has been done anonymously. "I'm not seeking attention," he says. The one area to which Miller's name has been attached is cryogenics research. The Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Arizona has even described Future Electronics as its greatest benefactor. "These people are doing so much," he says. "They're pure, pure people." There have long been rumours Miller will have himself cryo-preserved when he dies. "I'll leave it to my sons to decide," he says. He is in good health today, though. In fact, he recommends the line of "life extension" vitamins marketed by the foundation. "They're the finest vitamins known to man," he boasts. "You should take them." After talking for a couple of hours, Miller signals an end to the interview. It's 10:30 p.m., and he's been awake since five in the morning. He walks to the door, again proffering his hand and a smile. There are still many unanswered questions: the backstory to all of the legal proceedings, what he has in store for Future, and whether his new-found openness will last. But he's closed the door. We'll have to wait for the book.
  2. Wireless win will mean new growth for Quebecor: Peladeau VIRGINIA GALT Globe and Mail Update August 5, 2008 at 9:21 AM EDT Montreal-based media company Quebecor Inc. is “poised to embark on a new round of growth” as a result of its successful bid for a new wireless spectrum licences covering all of Quebec and part of the Toronto area, the company said Tuesday. “This is a key strategic development for Quebecor media, since consumer demand for advanced wireless services is expected to increase substantially in the coming years,” said chief executive officer Pierre Karl Paul Peladeau, in releasing the company's second quarter financial results. The company, which has gone through a major restructuring, reported consolidated net profit of $57.3-million, or 88 cents a share, compared with $43.2-million, or 77 cents a share, in the corresponding period a year earlier. The year-ago result was dragged down by a $6.7-million loss at the company's former printing subsidiary, Quebecor World Inc., which sought court protection from creditors earlier this year. “Once again, Quebecor's very positive results were spearheaded by robust numbers in the cable segment, which continued to log strong customer growth for all its services,” Mr. Peladeau said. Quebecor Inc. “At the conclusion of the spectrum auction for advanced wireless services, Quebecor Media held standing high bids on 17 operating licences, covering all of Quebec and part of the Toronto area.” Quebecor bid $554.6-million for the operating licences in the auction that closed late last month – an investment that pave the way for future growth by allowing the company to offer its customers “a still more complete and competitive array of cable and telecommunications services,” Mr. Peladeau said. The company reported that consolidated revenue from continuing operations increased to $942.3-million, up 15.6 per cent from the corresponding period a year ago. Revenue in the cable segment was up 20.3 per cent to $75.6-million, “reflecting continued customer growth for all services,” the company said. Newspaper revenue was up 27.2 per cent to $65.7-million, due primarily to the acquisition of Osprey Media Income Fund in August, 2007, and broadcasting revenue was up 4.2 per cent to $4.5-million.
  3. Google : Le Québécois Patrick Pichette à la tête des finances * Yannick Clérouin, Journal Les Affaires * 16:14 Le Québécois Patrick Pichette accède au poste de vice-président principal et chef de la direction financière de Google, à Mountain View, en Californie. M. Pichette était jusqu’à présent président des opérations de Bell Canada. Il y travaillait depuis 2001. Auparavant, M. Pichette a notamment travaillé pour McKinsey & Company, Call-Net Enterprises. Il est diplômé en administration des affaires de l’Université du Québec à Montréal et en sciences économiques et politiques de l’Université d’Oxford, en Grande-Bretagne. Il est toujours président du conseil de l’association canadienne Ingénieurs Sans Frontières. M. Pichette entrera en poste le 1e http://www.lesaffaires.com/article/0/technologies/2008-06-25/479565/le-queteacutebeteacutecois-patrick-pichette-etagrave-la-tetecircte-des-finances-de-google.fr.html
  4. Le président de Honda Motor Company dit qu'il y a peu de gens qui pensent sérieusement racheter l'équipe de F1. Selon la presse britannique, Honda doit décider aujourd'hui de l'avenir de l'équipe de F1. Pour en lire plus...
  5. TSX Group looks to U.S. for next CEO Talks with ex-CBOT chief; risks backlash by overlooking former head of Montreal Exchange BOYD ERMAN From Wednesday's Globe and Mail May 28, 2008 at 4:10 AM EDT TSX Group Inc. [X-T] is close to hiring a U.S. executive to run the company now that the merger with Montreal Exchange Inc. is complete, passing over former MX head Luc Bertrand in a decision that's sure to be controversial in Quebec. Sources said TSX is in talks with Bernard Dan, former president and chief executive officer of the derivatives-focused Chicago Board of Trade, though a contract has yet to be signed. Mr. Dan lost his post at CBOT after the company's 2007 acquisition by Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings Inc. (CME). Mr. Bertrand, who built the Montreal Exchange into a force in derivatives, had been long viewed as the likely successor to Richard Nesbitt at the helm of TSX Group. Under the merger agreement, Mr. Bertrand was slated to be deputy CEO with Mr. Nesbitt in the top job, but those plans were thrown into flux when Mr. Nesbitt unexpectedly announced his resignation in January to become CEO at CIBC World Markets. A dark-horse candidate was Rik Parkhill, the head of the markets division at the TSX and one of the company's interim co-CEOs after Mr. Nesbitt's departure. Bernard Dan Both Mr. Parkhill and Mr. Bertrand were among the final candidates, but sources said the TSX board deadlocked over whether the CEO should come from TSX or MX and that contributed to the decision to go with an outside candidate. Passing over Mr. Bertrand may rekindle a controversy that arose last year even before the merger, when Quebec's Finance Minister said an early round of talks about a TSX-MX combination broke down because some on the TSX board weren't happy with the idea that a Montrealer might run the company. "Even though there were no guarantees that Luc would get the job, it's going to be perceived as a slap in the face," said Dundee Securities analyst John Aiken. That may lead to a backlash from Quebec investors, he said. Still, going with Mr. Dan may have some advantages, Mr. Aiken said. Whoever takes over TSX will have to know derivatives, because buying the MX gives the combined company dominating positions in that business as well as stock trading. Also, the TSX is facing a surge of new competition from alternative trading systems (ATS) for shares, a trend long established in the United States. "Canada with all the ATS's is going to more a U.S.-style exchange environment, and nobody domestically has seen that yet," Mr. Aiken said. "The question is how quickly will this individual adapt to the peculiarities of the Canadian market." TSX spokesman Steve Kee would not comment on the names of any candidates, and declined to confirm the talks with Mr. Dan. "The board process is not complete," Mr. Kee said. "We don't have a deal with any candidate." Mr. Kee said TSX plans to have the new CEO in place in time for the June 11 annual meeting. Previously, the company had a May 30 target. As head of CBOT from 2002 to 2007, Mr. Dan oversaw one of the biggest U.S. markets for agricultural and financial derivatives - contracts tied to price movements on everything from bonds to beef. He also won plaudits for CBOT's expertise with electronic trading, which helped to fuel the company's growth. Electronic trading is a focus at the TSX as the company rolls out its new system, known as Quantum, and tries to integrate the MX's Sola system. TSX GROUP (X) Close: $43.01, down 92¢ http://www.reportonbusiness.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080528.wrtsxceo28/BNStory/SpecialEvents2/home
  6. http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Deal+would+bring+Citytv+Montreal/6560252/story.html Rogers Media buys Montreal TV station Metro 14 By Steve Faguy, The Gazette May 4, 2012 9:36 AM MONTREAL - Citytv could be coming to Montreal soon. Rogers Media announced on Thursday that it had reached a deal to purchase Montreal multicultural television station Metro 14 (CJNT) from Toronto-based Channel Zero Inc. Rogers plans to turn CJNT into a Citytv station, expanding the national network’s presence. Citytv has stations in Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. The company also announced that it will sign long-term affiliation deals with three stations owned by the Jim Pattison Group: CHAT-TV in Medicine Hat, Alta., CJFC-TV in Kamloops, B.C., and CKPG-TV in Prince George, B.C. All three have been Citytv affiliates since 2009, and are, like CJNT, former members of the Canwest CH/E! network. Rogers also announced in January it would purchase educational regional cable channel Saskatchewan Communications Network from Bluepoint Investment Corp. and rebrand it as Citytv Saskatchewan. “Citytv, up until recently, has only been available in 7.2 million homes, and when we buy and produce programming, the cost of that is similar to what other networks pay when they buy national footprint rights,” Rogers Media president of Broadcast Scott Moore told The Gazette. “It’s essential for us to expand our footprint.” Though the new deals give Citytv good coverage west of Montreal, there are no stations east of the city. Moore said there are no specific plans for expansion into Atlantic Canada, but said it represented a gap in the network and “we’ll continue to work on that in the next six to 12 months.” The deal must be approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission before Rogers Media can take over. In the meantime, Rogers and Channel Zero have signed an affiliation agreement that will see Citytv programming on CJNT as of June 4. Citytv programs include American shows like New Girl, Modern Family and How I Met Your Mother, as well as original productions like Canada’s Got Talent and the upcoming The Bachelor Canada. Channel Zero president Cal Millar told The Gazette the station also will air some programming from Rogers’s OMNI network of ethnic stations. Channel Zero also owns CHCH television in Hamilton, Ont. It purchased CHCH and CJNT from Canwest for $12 in 2009 after the struggling company (which also owned The Gazette) decided to shut down its secondary network of conventional television stations. Moore said he would not comment about the purchase price, but joked that it was “more than double” the $12 Channel Zero paid for it. CJNT’s licence requires it to broadcast 14 hours of local ethnic programming each week and at least 75 per cent ethnic programming from 8 to 10 p.m. But after the sale from Canwest to Channel Zero, the station stopped producing its ethnic programming. It has since been airing reruns – some of them three years old – of its local ethnic shows. The rest of its schedule is made up of music videos, foreign films and some low-rated U.S. programming whose Canadian rights haven’t been scooped up by CTV, Global or Citytv. Moore did not comment on any changes Rogers might propose for CJNT’s licence, or whether it would even continue to be a multi-ethnic station. “We’ll be spending the next couple of months in Montreal, speaking with stakeholders in the community,” he said. As far as local programming, Moore said it was still too early to tell, but it was unlikely the station would produce a daily newscast. “I don’t know that Montreal needs another English-language supper-hour newscast,” he said. Citytv stations outside of Toronto meet local programming requirements with morning shows. Moore said it was “a good bet” that a similar strategy would be used in Montreal. Millar said the sale was bittersweet for Channel Zero, which he said had been making progress building its audience with a new morning show that’s heavy on music videos. He said Rogers has been trying to buy the station since “shortly after we acquired it” and made multiple offers. But this time, “Rogers was more determined than ever to expand their national reach,” Millar said. “It was far more valuable to them at that point than to us.” Channel Zero had been in talks with a local producer to bring back some local ethnic programming this fall. Millar said he doesn’t know if those plans will continue as the company waits for a decision on the acquisition. Rogers said it would expect a decision by the CRTC in the fall. [email protected] Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/Rogers+Media+buys+Montreal+station+Metro/6560252/story.html#ixzz1tuid8rb0
  7. I started to work at this small company here in Montreal called "Dolbeau" we make ties, bow ties and pocket squares. Later on will be expanding to other products also. Plus all the ties are made here in Montreal, only thing not from here is the fabrics and those will mostly come from Europe or Japan. Here is the previous ties.. The website not up yet, it should be up by November 15th. All I can say is, it will be an interesting experience for people looking to buy accessories. Plus the price point for the ties / bow ties might be around $100. There will be a pop-up store at Rooney in Old Montreal, coming up in a few months. Also if you sign up to the company newsletter, you get $10 off. Old Packaging (will be quite different most likely)... Interesting thing about the packaging, you will get a card to show you how to tie a tie (just in case you forget). Plus you will get a small letter saying thank you for purchasing a product from Dolbeau (it will be signed probably by all 4 of us). Website
  8. MONOCLE has Montreal in 19th place as most liveable place in the World to live. You need a subscription to read it online. I read it at a magazine shop. We are in good company! http://www.monocle.com/sections/affairs/Magazine-Articles/19-Montreal/
  9. THE WHIPPET: QUEBECKERS' CLASSIC COOKIE Montreal's industrial foundations - built on chocolatey marshmallow goodness PETER RAKOBOWCHUK The Canadian Press October 31, 2007 MONTREAL -- Apopular cookie that's still being gobbled up by Quebeckers today is being given some of the credit for helping to launch the industrial growth of Montreal. The decadent Whippet cookie, a chocolate-coated, marshmallow-topped treat, is more than a century old. Housed in its familiar gold- and chocolate-coloured box, the Whippet made its debut in 1901 and the rest, as they say, is cookie history. The Whippet and Viau Biscuits Corp., the company that made it, are featured in an exhibition at the Écomusée du fier monde, a small museum in the city's east end. Print Edition - Section Front Museum director René Binette says the Whippet was launched when the founder of the company tested it at a hockey game. "People at the game liked it so much that it confirmed to Charles-Théodore Viau that he was on to a good thing," Mr. Binette said in an interview. The cookie, first introduced as the Empire, was considered a luxury item and its sales helped Mr. Viau to expand the company's operations. But Mr. Binette said the cost of vanilla and chocolate also put the Empire out of reach of the average Quebecker. So in 1927, Mr. Viau decided to change the recipe and the name and created the more affordable Whippet. Mr. Viau started the enterprise in a small bakery in Montreal's east end in 1867 and created the Village cookie - a plain, but hugely popular shortbread that Quebeckers loved to dunk in their tea. He continued to expand the business until his cookie and candy factory became one of the area's major employers. Part of Montreal even became known as Viauville, and a church in the neighbourhood was named St-Clément de Viauville. One cookie lover tells the story of his parents buying several boxes and being warned by them not to touch the treats because they were destined for "Whippet-starved" relatives in Ontario. Viau became history in March, 2004, when the company was sold to Kitchener, Ont.-based Dare Foods Inc., another family-owned business, and the factory was closed. But Whippets are still being produced under the Dare banner at the company's plant in St-Lambert, south of Montreal. A Dare spokeswoman says the company markets the Viva Puff, a similar cookie, in Ontario. The Quebec Whippet has "real" chocolate while its counterpart is made with a "compound" chocolate. Contrary to what many Quebec cookie lovers may think, the popular Oreo sandwich cookie has not been around as long as the Whippet. A spokeswoman for Kraft Foods Inc. says it was only introduced in Canada in 1949, although the Oreo was launched in the United States in 1912. The Viau factory has now been converted into a condominium complex that has been appropriately named La Biscuiterie, the cookie factory. Aficionados can visit the Viau: Cookie History exhibition at the Écomusée du fier monde until March 23, 2008.
  10. Ironore Company of Canada et Diavik figurent sur la liste des actifs dont Rio Tinto pourrait se départir, estiment certains analystes. Pour en lire plus...
  11. The New York Times June 28, 2008 By BEN SISARIO MONTREAL — On Wednesday night, in the last of his three concerts presented as preludes to the Montreal International Jazz Festival, Leonard Cohen, the 73-year-old hometown poet-hero on tour for the first time in 15 years, said that on his last time through town he was “60 years old, just a kid with a crazy dream.” Between waves of applause and hollers in French and English, he added, “I am so grateful to be here and to be from here.” Mr. Cohen’s math notwithstanding, hometown pride and musical reverence are at the center of the festival, which opened its 29th season on Thursday and runs through July 6. Billing itself as the largest jazz festival in the world, it attracts one million visitors a year to more than 500 concerts in a three-block music zone downtown and brings about $100 million in revenue to the city, according to Canadian government estimates. With CD sales in a chronic slump, the music industry has been turning increasingly to live events for income, and in recent years big smorgasbord festivals have sprouted up all over North America, aiming to present all kinds of music for all kinds of people. But with a setting ideal for tourists as well as for local residents, and a solid history of eclectic programming — among the attractions this year are Woody Allen, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Public Enemy and the local debut of Steely Dan — Montreal has held on to a rare prestige. “There is no parallel in North America and perhaps no parallel around the world,” said Scott Southard, a jazz and world-music booking agent who has 15 artists at the festival. “In Europe or Bonnaroo, for instance, they have to erect an entire village in a remote location. Here you have an urban environment without having to reconstruct the venue infrastructure every year.” Begun in 1980 by two concert promoters, Alain Simard and André Ménard, as a way to fill up what was then a dry summer concert calendar, the festival takes over four concert halls of the Place des Arts performing arts complex as well as numerous theaters and clubs around the perimeter. Several blocks of downtown streets are closed for outdoor stages, retail and food booths and children’s activities. Despite the size, Mr. Simard, the president of the festival’s parent company, L’Équipe Spectra, said that “the goal is not to be the biggest jazz festival in the world, it’s to be the best.” But as the festival approaches its 30th season, it is preparing to grow even bigger, with help from a four-year, $120 million government plan to develop the area around Place des Arts. The first phase, to be completed by next summer, includes a 75,000-square-foot park and performance ground, the Place du Quartier des Spectacles. The festival has also been given a 30-year lease and a $10 million grant from the Province of Quebec to renovate a nearby vacant building; when completed it will add one club for use year-round. As a tourist draw second only to Grand Prix du Canada, the Formula One race held in Montreal in early June, the jazz festival has become an important symbol of Montreal’s cosmopolitan lifestyle, said Charles Lapointe, the chief executive of Tourism Montreal, a nonprofit agency financed through a hotel tax. “The jazz festival exemplifies perfectly what we are presenting on the foreign market,” Mr. Lapointe said. “You can celebrate on the streets without any problems with security and express all the pleasure you want.” Civic pride and creative abundance was clear on Thursday, the official opening. (Mr. Cohen’s touring schedule prevented him from being part of the festival proper; he appears at the enormous Glastonbury pop festival in Britain on Sunday.) During the afternoon crowds gradually filled up the Place des Arts campus, slurping on ice cream cones beside the fountain and listening to the sound check for a tribute to Mr. Cohen featuring Chris Botti, Madeleine Peyroux, Buffy Sainte-Marie and others. Darting between indoor evening concerts by the veteran jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, the young British songwriter Katie Melua and the African performers Vieux Farka Touré and Salif Keita, a visitor could quickly take in half a dozen outdoor concerts, parades and magicians. Two-thirds of the concerts are free. The Cohen tribute drew an estimated audience of 100,000, filling the plaza and nearby streets. But the concerts by Mr. Cohen himself were the clear early highlight. Dressed like a spy in a crisp black suit and fedora, Mr. Cohen, who has said that after years in a Zen Buddhist retreat in California, his lifelong depression has finally begun to lift, sang a sleek and emotional set of nearly three hours. In “Bird on the Wire,” “Hallelujah” and “Tower of Song” he sang of being weighted down by cynicism and starving for affection, but between songs he doffed his hat and smiled broadly for sustained ovations. The festival, a nonprofit enterprise run by the for-profit company L’Équipe Spectra, has an operating budget of $25 million. And though about 18 percent of that comes from national, provincial and city sources, the biggest form of government support is the closing of several blocks of busy city streets. The bulk of the budget comes from corporate sponsorships (40 percent) and sales of tickets and memorabilia (39 percent). The prominence of sponsorships gives the festival a sense of hyperbranding. Looking over Place des Arts, it is almost impossible not to see a giant symbol of General Motors, the lead sponsor: besides GM logos on banners and fliers throughout the grounds, the company also has five displays of new cars for contests, and at least one of the many marching bands wended its way around, wearing black GM T-shirts. Festival organizers say that they have made efforts to ensure that the sponsorship is tasteful and not intrusive. Signs are only seen outdoors, where concerts are free, they say. There is no advertising for the paid concerts indoors, and the organizers say they will not rename the event to suit any sponsor. To create an egalitarian atmosphere, the festival also shuns velvet ropes. “You will never see a V.I.P. area on the site,” Mr. Ménard said. “There’s never a place where people walk and are told, ‘No, that’s not for you.’ The unemployed can stand next to the president of the sponsor company.” For the Cohen tribute on Thursday night, however, there was a small area of bleachers near the stage reserved for the news media and others. But a reporter who lacked the necessary badges was still able to enter with a few kind words. And unlike many large festivals, this one had a network of fenced-off pathways that made quick travel through even a crowd of 100,000 tightly packed fans on Thursday evening easy for anyone needing or wanting to get through. “The vibe is very peaceful,” Mr. Ménard said of the festival. “The fabric of this city is all about the quality of life. The fact is, we have long, deadly winters, so come summertime, everybody is in for a party — but a civilized party.”
  12. Not a good day for retail! http://ottawacitizen.com/business/local-business/sony-announces-it-will-close-all-sony-stores-in-canada Sony Corp. will close all 14 of its Sony Stores across Canada as the company continues to struggle to reshape its business. The company made the announcement on Thursday in a memo to the employees of its stores — including its Ottawa location in the Bayshore Shopping Centre — telling them that the stores will cease operations within the next two months. The company confirmed the news in a statement released to The Citizen. “Over the next 6 to 8 weeks we are closing our Sony Stores in Canada and will redirect all of this business through our national network of Sony retailers, our online store … as well as through our Sony-trained Telesales team,” read the statement. “Our network of Sony authorized retailers offer a full range of Sony products and will be supported by our in-store Merchandisers and Product Trainers on an ongoing basis in order to ensure that our past customers have continued access to knowledgeable Sales consultants who can support their ongoing Sony electronics needs.“ The company’s news came on the same day that Target announced it would be shuttering all of its retail stores in Canada. Sony did not say how many jobs are affected by the decision. The closure comes as Sony is struggling to reshape its business amidst years of losses. For the current fiscal year which ends in March, the company is estimating a $1.9 billion (U.S.) loss. Within the last year the company sold its Vaio personal computing business and spun out its TV manufacturing operations. It is now reported to be considering exiting the TV business entirely. The company is also considering options for its lacklustre cellular phone division.
  13. (Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette) Good to see we have some talent left in this city
  14. Statoil Fuel & Retail sells its Schweigaardsgate 16 property in Oslo 13 February 2013 – Statoil Fuel & Retail, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (Couche-Tard), sells its property at Schweigaardsgate 16, Oslo, Norway, together with the company’s planned European headquarters, to Entra Eiendom AS. Responsibility for building the headquarters is transferred to Entra Eiendom as part of the agreement. Statoil Fuel & Retail signs a long-term lease of the premises. “We are pleased with the agreement,” says Sonja Horn, project owner, Statoil Fuel & Retail. “Entra Eiendom is a solid, professional real estate developer who will add value both to the project and the local community. We look forward to moving into a modern, environmentally-friendly and flexible building, tailored to our needs.” Statoil Fuel & Retail’s strategy is to create value through real estate asset management. It is not strategically important for the company to own its planned European headquarters and the sale releases capital to be reinvested in the company’s core business. Statoil Fuel & Retail was acquired by Canadian company Couche-Tard before the summer of 2012. The company’s European headquarters will continue to be in Oslo and the new office building at Schweigaardsgate 16 will be shared with the company’s Norwegian business unit. The project to build the planned eight-storey building has the ambition to achieve “excellent” status according to the BREEAM classification system. To maintain the best possible sunlight conditions for Teaterplassen, the neighbouring square, some of the originally-designed volume has been redistributed, making the building appear to step down towards the square. The quality of the square will be improved when the building is finished. It will become about 25 percent larger than it is today and a new passage through the building will connect Teaterplassen with the adjacent Stasjonsalmenningen. Statoil Fuel & Retail has received the required building and demolition permits from the Norwegian Planning and Building Services (Plan- og bygningsetaten). Demolition of the existing building on the property begins this week. The company plans to move into its new headquarters in the first half of 2015. Statoil Fuel & Retail sells its Schweigaardsgate 16 property in Oslo
  15. Brazil’s economy The devil in the deep-sea oil Unless the government restrains itself, an oil boom risks feeding Brazil’s vices Nov 5th 2011 | from the print edition DEEP in the South Atlantic, a vast industrial operation is under way that Brazil’s leaders say will turn their country into an oil power by the end of this decade. If the ambitious plans of Petrobras, the national oil company, come to fruition, by 2020 Brazil will be producing 5m barrels per day, much of it from new offshore fields. That might make Brazil a top-five source of oil (see article). Managed wisely, this boom has the potential to do great good. Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, wants to use the oil money to pay for better education, health and infrastructure. She also wants to use the new fields to create a world-beating oil-services industry. But the bonanza also risks feeding some Brazilian vices: a spendthrift and corrupt political system; an over-mighty state and over-protected domestic market; and neglect of the virtues of saving, investment and training. So it is worrying that there is far more debate in Brazil about how to spend the oil money than about how to develop the fields. If Brazil’s economy is to benefit from oil, rather than be dominated by it, a big chunk of the proceeds should be saved offshore and used to offset future recessions. But the more immediate risks lie in how the oil is extracted. The government has established a complicated legal framework for the fields. It has vested their ownership in Pré-Sal Petróleo, a new state body whose job is merely to collect and spend the oil money. It has granted an operating monopoly to Petrobras (although the company can strike production-sharing agreements with private partners). The rationale was that, since everyone now knows where the oil is, the lion’s share of the profits should go to the nation. But this glides over the complexity in developing fields that lie up to 300km (190 miles) offshore, beneath 2km of water and up to 5km of salt and rock. To develop the new fields, and build onshore facilities including refineries, Petrobras plans to invest $45 billion a year for the next five years, the largest investment programme of any oil firm in the world. That is too much, too soon, both for Petrobras and for Brazil—especially because the government has decreed that a large proportion of the necessary equipment and supplies be produced at home. How to be Norway, not Venezuela By demanding so much local content, the government may in fact be favouring some of the leading foreign oil-service companies. Many would have set up in Brazil anyway; now, with less price competition from abroad, they will find it easier to charge over the odds. Seeking to ramp up production so fast, and relying so heavily on local supplies, also risks starving non-oil businesses of capital and skilled labour (which is in desperately short supply). Oil money is already helping to drive up Brazil’s currency, the real, hurting manufacturers struggling with high taxes and poor infrastructure. When it comes to oil, striking the right balance between the state and the private sector, and between national content and foreign expertise, is notoriously tricky. But it can be done. To kick-start an oil-services industry, Norway calibrated its national-content rules realistically in scope and duration, required foreign suppliers to work closely with local firms and forced Statoil, its national oil company, to bid against rivals to develop fields. Above all, it invested in training the workforce. But Brazilians need only to look at Mexico’s Pemex to see the politicised bloat that can follow an oil boom—or at Venezuela to see how oil can corrupt a country. Petrobras is not Pemex. Thanks to a meritocratic culture, and the discipline of having some of its stock traded, Petrobras is a leader in deep-sea oil. But operating as a monopolist is a poor way to maintain that edge. Happily, too, Brazil is not Venezuela. Its leaders can prove it by changing the rules to be more Norwegian.
  16. First Canadian Place officer tower to receive a facelift 680News staff Toronto | Thursday, September 24th, 2009 7:56 am Toronto - First Canadian Place, Canada's tallest office tower, will be receiving a $100-million makeover. There are currently 45,000 slabs of white marble on the 72-storey home for the Bank of Montreal. But, Brookfield Properties, the building's owner, is going to replace the marble with 7,800 panels of white glass. The National Post reported the property, which opened in 1975, has already seen a refurbishment of some of the marble slabs, but the look has deteriorated. Tom Farley, president and CEO of Brookfield's Canadian commercial operations, told the paper that when the company bought the property in 2005, they knew it was a fixer-upper. If the original builder had used thicker marble, it would have lasted 100 years. Brookfield said it will also renovate the lobby of the tower. The National Post called the renovation another positive signal for the downtown business core, with the recent opening of the Bay-Adelaide Centre and two other office towers opening before the end of the year. ----- Hyrdo-Quebec are you listening??? Please renovate your POS.
  17. CGI laying off 100 in Montreal François Shalom , Montreal Gazette Published: 52 minutes ago Montreal technology company CGI Group Inc. laid off about 100 people at its Montreal and Toronto offices today, The Gazette has learned. The information-technology services firm told the affected employees in a letter that their department, technology and infrastructure management, "needs to undergo a transformation and re-alignment to adapt to market conditions. As a result, we are reducing the size of our workforce." Company spokesperson Lorne Gorber confirmed that about 65 people lost their jobs in Montreal and another 35 in Toronto. As an outsourcer, we're in constant restructuring mode," said Gorber. "We need to deliver constant improvements in performance of technologies and processes." Gorber said that CGI is making "every best effort to find new opportunities for them" elsewhere within the company. About one-third of those laid off are managers. One employee affected, 34-year-old IT consultant Marc Lallier, said he was called down to a conference room, handed the company letter and given an option to move. He has one week to respond, but couldn't say whether he would keep his $63,000-a-year salary in the new post offered to him. Gorber stressed that CGI is not retrenching. "We've just added 50 jobs in Quebec City recently and some positions in Sherbrooke as well, where we want to ramp up to 150 posts." He said the cost-cutting move is "not a knee-jerk reaction" to losing a contract but a more rational and thought-out division of labour. The last time the company announced important layoffs was in March 2006, when CGI slashed 1,000 jobs due to cutbacks at an important client, BCE. But the company has since rehired about twice as many as that, Gorber said, for a current workforce of about 27,000 people worldwide. About 16,000 are in Canada, of which 9,000 are in Quebec, 6,000 of them in Montreal. http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/business/story.html?id=735856ab-0983-4177-bd62-2c7fc6bb00c9
  18. Draxis to create up to 100 jobs after chosen by J&J for contract manufacturing 6 days ago MONTREAL (CP) — Pharma company Draxis Health Inc. (TSX:DAX) is building a new Montreal plant and hiring up to 100 people after the company's contract manufacturing division expanded its existing relationship with Johnson & Johnson, one of the world's biggest consumer products companies. The contract expansion will lead to between 80 to 100 new positions at Draxis Pharma operations in the Montreal area and require the building of a new secondary plant, in addition to the current Draxis manufacturing plant in suburban Kirkland, the company said Wednesday. On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Draxis stock jumped 34 cents to trade at $5.39, a gain of 6.7 per cent as investors reacted positively to the news. Draxis said the new deal with Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies Inc. could mean another US$120 million in revenues over five years to the Canadian company. In addition, the transfer of equipment and production technologies, now in progress, is expected to generate additional revenues this year and next of between US$6 million and US$8 million. The supply deal, which runs to the end of 2013 and can be extended, involves the manufacturing of non-sterile specialty semi-solid products currently sold in the United States. Commercial production is expected to begin in 2009. "The signing of this contract is a reflection of the solid business model at Draxis," said Martin Barkin, president and CEO of the Toronto-area company. "We are honoured to have been selected from more than 80 international contract manufacturers under a rigorous and comprehensive global selection process conducted over an extended multi-year period. "This contract includes prescription and non-prescription products and will significantly improve capacity utilization in the semi-solids section of our non-sterile operations." As a result of the manufacturing deal, Draxis plans to build a new secondary plant to handle labeling, product assembly for different markets, cartoning and shipping. The new operation is slated to open next summer and will complement the company's production plant in Kirkland, in west-end Montreal. The jobs expansion is good news for the local Montreal economy, which has also seen other drug developers expand operations in recent months. In June, global drug giant GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) announced it has spent $50 million to upgrade its laboratory north of Montreal into the North American research and administrative headquarters for its vaccine division. GlaxoSmithKline, based in Britain, is a world leader in the vaccine business. The company has 3,300 employees in Canada, including 1,400 in Quebec. Draxis, based in Mississauga, Ont. makes sterile products such as injectable liquids, ointments and creams, non-sterile products as well as radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic imaging and treatment. The company employs about 500 people at its Montreal plant. Last year, Draxis generated a profit of US$11.5 million on revenues of just under US$90 million.
  19. as much as Aubin is a loud mouth - he;s not far from the truth. A wake up call to forum members.. we all love Montreal but we need to seriously wake up. 2011/2012 was a bad 2 years - we need to improve MONTREAL — SNC-Lavalin Inc. — founded by francophone Montrealers, headquartered in Montreal and active in engineering and construction projects in more than 100 countries — has long been the proud symbol of Québec Inc. Now, however, it risks becoming a symbol of something else — the decline of Montreal’s place on the world stage. The company announced last week that it is creating its largest corporate unit (one focused on hydrocarbons, chemicals, metallurgy, mining, the environment and water) and locating it not in Quebec but in London; heading it will be a Brit, Neil Bruce. As well, the company also said it was creating a global operations unit that would be based in the British capital. To be sure, SNC-Lavalin denies speculation by a La Presse business columnist that the company might be slowly moving its head office from Montreal. The two moves to London must be seen as reflecting “our healthy expansion globally,” says a spokesperson. “The corporate headquarters and all its functions still remain in Montreal.” Nonetheless, this unmistakable shift of authority abroad takes place within a broader context of fewer local people atop the SNC-Lavalin pyramid. In 2007, six of the top 11 executives were francophone Quebecers; last year, three. Note, too, that only two of 13 members of its board of directors are francophone Quebecers. When the company last fall replaced discredited Pierre Duhaime of Montreal as president, CEO, and board member, it picked an American, Robert Card. What’s happening to the company based on René-Lévesque Blvd. is the latest sign of the erosion of Montreal’s status as a major business centre. Of Canada’s 500 largest companies, 96 had their head offices in this city in 1990; in 2010, says Montréal International, only 81 remained, a 16-per-cent decline. It’s true that Toronto, too, has seen a decrease (with some of its companies heading to booming Calgary), but it’s only of six per cent. As well, because Hogtown has more than twice as many head offices as Montreal, the trend there has far less impact. Anyone with a stake in Montreal’s prosperity should care about what’s happening here. Head offices and major corporate offices, such as the SNC-Lavalin’s units, bring more money collectively into the city than do big events — the Grand Prix and the aquatics championship — whose threatened departures cause political storms. Such offices employ high-spending, high-taxpaying local residents and attract visiting business people year-round — people who represent income for cabbies, hoteliers, restaurateurs, computer experts, lawyers and accountants. Indeed, this week’s controversy over the absence of direct air links from Trudeau International Airport to China and South America is pertinent to this trend. It’s not only federal air policy over the decades that’s responsible for this isolation. It’s also that Montrealers have less money, and one reason for that is, as Trudeau boss James Cherry notes, “there are far fewer head offices in Montreal.” Keep losing them and we’ll be a real backwater. But how do we avoid losing these offices? We don’t need more studies. Tons of studies — good ones — already exist. The No. 1 factor for a company when choosing a head office location is corporate taxes, according to a Calgary Economic Development study. Quebec’s are the highest in Canada and the U.S. Thirty-four per cent of the executives at 103 local companies say that Montreal’s business climate had “deteriorated “ in the previous five years, Montreal’s Chambre de commerce found a year ago. The main reason: infrastructure (not only roads but also the health system). A study called “Knowledge City” that Montreal city hall commissioned in 2004 is still relevant. Its survey of 100 mobile, well-educated people (some of whom had already left Montreal) found that their top three biggest complaints with the city were, in descending order, high personal taxes, decaying infrastructure and political uncertainty from sovereignty. All studies agree that the quality of Montreal’s universities helps attract companies. Weakened universities would lower this power. The Parti Québécois government’s minister for Montreal, Jean-François Lisée, declared before Christmas that he was “Montréalo-optimiste.” He did not, however, spell out concrete steps for addressing the above-listed problems. Too bad that his government on Jan. 1 imposed higher personal taxes for people with high incomes — which hits business people. Too bad it has reduced spending on infrastructure by 14 per cent. Too bad that it has not only reduced funds to universities by $124 million over the next three months but that it says it might cut their funding in other years as well — in effect weakening them. And, finally, too bad that Premier Pauline Marois said this week her party would soon launch a campaign to promote sovereignty and that her government would step up its strategy of wresting powers from Ottawa. In the next few says, she’ll further promote Quebec independence with a meeting in Edinburgh with Scotland’s sovereignist leader. Staunch the hemorrhage of corporate offices from Montreal under this government? The very idea is Montréalo-irréaliste. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Henry+Aubin+avoid+losing+head+offices/7862525/story.html#ixzz2IrXbVaOH
  20. Am I the only one that would pay more for electronics to improve these poor people's working conditions? BTW, This is proof that it is NOT an apple issue. (Like some of you believe) http://kotaku.com/5874706/report-mass-suicide-threats-at-xbox-360-plant Report: Mass Suicide Threats at Xbox 360 Plant On Jan. 2, over 300 employees at a Foxconn plan in Wuhan, China threatened to throw themselves off a building in a mass suicide. Foxconn makes Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony products. These workers manufacture Xbox 360s. According to Chinese anti-government website China Jasmine Revolution (via Watch China Times), the workers were protesting denied compensation they were promised. On Jan. 2, the workers asked for a raise. Foxconn told them they could either keep their jobs with no pay increase or quit and get compensation. Most decided to quit with compensation. However, the agreement was supposedly terminated, and the workers never received their payments. Website Record China reported that the uproar the incident actually caused Xbox 360 production to be temporarily suspended. The mayor of Wuhan intervened to talk down the group down, and on Jan. 3 at 9pm, the group of 300 decided not to jump, ending what could have been a deadly game of chicken. Suicides at Foxconn made major news in 2010 when over a dozen employees committed suicide, leading to Foxconn installing suicide prevention nets at some of its facilities. In 2010, Kotaku asked Microsoft about Foxconn and the reported abuses. Microsoft's Phil Spencer said at the time, "Foxconn has been an important partner of ours and remains an important partner. I trust them as a responsible company to continue to evolve their process and work relationships. That is something we remain committed to—the safe and ethical treatment of people who build our products. That's a core value of our company." Kotaku is following up with Microsoft over this latest incident.