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Language debates are holding up corporate plans, developer says


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http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Language+debates+holding+corporate+plans+developer+says/8451858/story.html

 

MONTREAL — Major corporations are putting expansion, relocations and long-term commitments on hold, because of the “unstable business environment” caused by the Parti Québécois hotly debated Bill 14, Jonathan Wener said Wednesday.

 

“The market has definitely gotten softer and a lot of people are putting major decisions on hold. It’s basically a wait-and-see attitude,” the head of Canderel Group of Companies, a national real estate development and management company, said.

 

Wener is the chairman and CEO of Montreal-based Canderel, which manages 9 million square feet of commercial space and has an additional 2 million square feet of residential development under construction nationally.

 

“I think it is extremely unfortunate that we live in a society that has reduced itself to thinking it needs language police to preserve its culture — point final,” Wener told The Gazette, in a reference to the Office québécois de la langue française. “I’ve travelled a good chunk of the world and when I talk about the fact that we have language police in Quebec they laugh at me.”

 

His comments come as the PQ is expected to put the bill to a second reading vote Thursday morning, despite widespread opposition from different groups and a Liberal filibuster.

 

“It’s reawakened old memories which are just unfortunate because I really felt the most important thing to do was to get on with governing and improving the state of our economy, which needs a lot of work,” he said.

 

A seventh-generation Montrealer, whose family first arrived in the 1860s, Wener is being honoured Thursday night for his support of the non-profit Segal Centre, North America’s second-largest bilingual multidisciplinary performing arts centre. The Segal Centre has a cultural — and not political — vocation. Despite Canderel’s offices in Canadian cities like Toronto, where it is building Aura, the country’s tallest residential skyscraper, the 38-year-old company still has its headquarters on Peel St. in downtown Montreal.

 

While Wener’s personal views supporting English rights are well known, Canderel has worked on business ventures with partners of all political affiliations, including the Fonds immobilier de solidarité, which is controlled by the sovereignist-leaning Quebec Federation of Labour. Canderel and the Fonds are still looking for tenants to launch a two-tower office complex with 1.2 million square feet at the corner of Ste. Catherine and Bleury St. in Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles.

 

Wener said political uncertainty generated by proposals like Bill 14, may have softened, but not “depressed” a Greater Montreal real estate market. Until recently, the industry was breaking records for prices and new condo construction, at a time when former industrial areas like Griffintown and former downtown parking lots transformed with new developments. Indeed, the Bell Centre-adjacent Tour des Canadiens housing project that Canderel is developing with Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd. and other partners actually added two floors in January, after the original 48 storeys sold out at a pace that surprised Wener himself.

 

“What I was surprised about is that we could do it as quickly as we did in Montreal. We had allowed for a year, we had allowed for millions of dollars in advertising that we never spent,” Wener said. “We were finished in virtually six to eight weeks.”

 

[email protected]

 

Twitter: RealDealMtl

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¨ca commence vraiment à être tanant ce débat sans fin. Le parti liberal été au pouvoir pendant 10 ans pis j'ai pas vue grand chose bouger à Mtl pis la ça va ben, les annonces se multiplient en construction au cv pis et en acquisition d'entreprise étrangères et se serait la faute au PQ si je sais pas trop quoi ??? Va falloir que le PQ relaxe sa vie pis les anglos vs franco get over it a moment donné.

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Try to find an English toy in toys r us. Try to even order an English toy from toys r us to ship to you. Impossible. Why? Because of the liberal party.

Pasta gate? Yup liberal party too. Put this topic in the toilet where it belongs. I'm sick of it.

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I am not discrediting this but culture and protection of language comes first in this province. I believe it always will. It comes before economic prosperity. What that means is the will of the majority want to put efforts in place to move the economy forward without sacrificing their French heritage or culture. Is it possible? Probably, but we will always lag behind.

I don't think anyone's opinion will change. Look at every "veteran" of mtlurb, have they changed in 6 years? I have. I'm am now sick of seeing political posts on here.

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Personne ne discrédite les propos de Wener (nous les joe blow comme tu le dis). Tout le monde dis que le débat est ennuyant. Tout ce qu'on dit c'est qu'on est tanné d'entendre un PQ ou un Candarel jetter de l'eau sur le feu a vitam eternam dans les médias. Ce genre d'article de journal est juste pour vendre du papier pis foute la marde. Ce n'est pas qui a raison le problème, le problème c'est le débat en lui-mème. La relation Anglais/français va bien dans la rue, c'est le débat dans les journaux et politique qui va pas. Foutez nous la paix.

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Its true though. I'm not going to make this political other than to say that these fights english vs french, left vs right, and rich vs poor are KILLING our economy in Quebec.

 

I'm saddened that many on this board discredit this. Wener from Canderel has way more credibility and pull than joe blow poster on this board

 

The real estate market is softening all across Canada. Wener is merely pushing his own agenda of language war that no one really cares about except him and a few frustrated old school anglos. Get over this, on est au Québec et ici c'est en français. I work in English Canada all year long and the discrimination towards french Canadians is amazing. To hear people like you complain constantly about language issues in Quebec is pitoyable at best.

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Where was Canderel in Montreal between 2003 and 2012 beside the Bell development on Nun's Island?? The Liberals were there and I NEVER heard about one single project from that company. Mr Wener should be ashamed of himself for dirty talking while his company didn't do one single developement in downtown Montreal during the past Liberal decade. Shame shame shame.

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Avec le Gouv conservateur de droite sous Harper et Mulroney on a un déficit historique, avec un gouv PQ de gauche on a eu 2 fois le deficit zéro. Blah blah blah avec la langue sous un gouv pequiste, l'économie est dans l'incertitude blah blah blah.

 

quelqu'un pourrait mettre ce tread dans politique pour qu'on puisse parler d'immobilier, d'architecture et d'urbanisme en paix svp

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