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Thursday, May 26, 2011

When did the decline of Montreal really start?

posted by BOFarrell at 7h15

 

I spent some of my early childhood in the beaches area of Toronto. My father was in the marine insurance business. He, like many of his colleagues, would have to go up to Montreal once a month to meet with "head office."

 

That was when Montreal was the largest inland ocean port in the world. That was when Montreal was in charge of the country.

 

He used to bring me back Tintin books in French, thinking that it was a way to inculcate me with culture. Luckily, there were pictures. But I did learn the phrase: "Tonnerre de Brest." I am still waiting for an opportunity to use it in conversation.

 

Captain Haddock was my favourite character. He was crusty and drank too much. Even then I had an inkling of my own future.

 

Those of us who can see clearly know full well the impact of Quebec nationalism and the subsequent language laws on the decline of Montreal. Those of us not protected from reality by the spin of the Quebec political class.

 

But is it not probable that Montreal's economic decline began even before that, with the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959?

 

That was when trans-oceanic shipping no longer had to stop here. And trade could bypass Montreal and go directly into the great lakes.

 

That was when the ascendancy of Toronto began in earnest.

 

I wonder if the architects of the seaway foresaw the coming political crises in Quebec. If they understood that Montreal would end up being on the wrong side of the Quebec border and, therefore, they had to make a preemptive strike.

 

The seaway had a large effect on the ecology of the great lakes. Ocean-going vessels brought various species into the water that had never been there before, Zebra mussels to name one. These consequences are well documented in books.

 

But there is not much to be found on the political motives of the major players in this engineering feat, which was built between 1954 and 1959 as a federal government project by Louis St. Laurent's Liberal government.

 

Most of the literature I could find only talks about the politics between Canada and the U.S., the rocky road to how it eventually became a bilateral project.

 

Because it happened before the rise of Quebec nationalism, there is no discussion about that as a motive for its creation.

 

But in retrospect it has had so many detrimental effects to the economy of Montreal that one would figure that some of its more astute architects must have foreseen them. Before it ships had to be unloaded in Montreal and the goods put on trains. Wheat and other commodities were trained from the interior to Montreal and put on ships here. That diminished after the seaway.

 

And the national railroads that once had their head offices here have moved out.

 

So was there a "Bay Street conspircy" of some kind?

 

Montreal did experience its zenith in the late '60s, when it hosted Expo 67. But perhaps this is what sociologists call a "sunset effect" - just before a society is about to collapse, it goes through a colourful cultural explosion.

 

Right after that Montreal began to lose its position as the economic metropolis of Canada.

 

And ever since, it seems that it has been losing out to Toronto.

 

Rick Blue is a resident of Beaconsfield and is half of the musical comedy duo of Bowser and Blue.

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Also in the mid 1930's trading of minings companies was transfered to the Toronto Stock Exchange and this is when TO surpassed the Montreal Exchnage volume wise. This was done through the merger of TSE and the Standard Stock and Mining Exchange.

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Selon beaucoup, ça a commencé dans les années 20-30 avec la nationalisation de certaines compagnies électriques... la classe anglaise a réalisé que le party se termine et qu'il faut aller voir ailleurs.

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Pourquoi encore démolir ces anglo québécois,ma génération est celle qui est la plus bilingue et ces anglo apportent beaucoup à Montréal.Bien sur il ya des expetions mais ca ne représente plus la réalité de ya 50 ans.

Le problème a montraél c'est le déclin de plusieurs secteurs en l'occurence celui des pharmaceutiques,ya 5 ans c'était un fleuron de montreal..si on réagit pas cela va faire mal à Montréal.

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Pourquoi encore démolir ces anglo québécois,ma génération est celle qui est la plus bilingue et ces anglo apportent beaucoup à Montréal.Bien sur il ya des expetions mais ca ne représente plus la réalité de ya 50 ans.

Le problème a montraél c'est le déclin de plusieurs secteurs en l'occurence celui des pharmaceutiques,ya 5 ans c'était un fleuron de montreal..si on réagit pas cela va faire mal à Montréal.

 

Lis donc qu'est ce qui est ecris.

Au contraire, j'adore les anglo qui travaillent ici et qui contribuent et je parle aussi bien francais qu'anglais.

 

Le declin de Montreal par rapport aux autres villes canadiennes (surtout Toronto) est reel depuis les annees 50, l'auteur a raison.

En perdant la finance, Montreal a perdu son importance economique.

Par contre les choses se sont stabilisees depuis un peu plus d'une decennie (ils ne vont pas demenager la Caisse de Depot, Desjardins ou la Nationale a Toronto quand meme, de plus PSP investment engage beaucoup de gens et deviendra probablement plus gros que la La Caisse d'ici 10 ans).

 

Aussi le declin des pharmas est international avec la fin de leur brevet.

En fait tu dis probablement ca parce que t'as lu un article dans La Presse cette semaine...

On parle de perte d'emploi de a peu pres 1,000 emplois perdus sur > 18,000, c'est pas joli mais c'est pas la catastrophe, La Presse a le sens du melodrame...

 

Juste pour ton info:

Ces entreprises ont grandit dans les annees 90 et sont en train de modifier leur business model.

Ces entrerpsies vont devenir des channels de distribution et vont investir et se porter acquereur de plusieurs jeunes compagnies de R&D (biotech, med tech, etc.) avec des produits interessants.

As tu vu le lancement du fond de development de GlaxoSmithKline en Novembre? ($50M pour le Canada)

C'est quelques choses qui risque de se reproduire avec d'autres joueurs.

Ils investissent dans le capital de ces entreprises mais le plus souvent, ils vont aussi prendre des ententes de distributions et peut etre eventuellement les acheter complement (les 2 dernieres etapes sont tres communes dans l'industrie).

Montreal est un centre canadien de recherche medicale (probablement le plus important) et a recu sa part d'emploi et investissement et tout ceci va continuer.

Edited by qwerty
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