Montreal or Ottawa?

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Thanks Geneva. Oh yes, I remember that dismal decade of the early and mid-1990s. My father died of a massive heart attack in May 1991 - it was the recession that killed him. He watched his much-loved (and once prosperous) small company teeter on the brink of bankruptcy, our family was close to financial ruin. Bleak bleak days. This is why I'm ultra-sensitive and alert to any sign of recession - real or imagined.

Myself, I was laid off a few months ago here in Paris (the company downsized), however I'm living on very generous French chomage benefits. Naturally, I'd rather be working than lazing about collecting 1800 euros a month but, on the other hand, it would be sheer folly for me to give up such generous benefits only to plunge into a soft job-market in Canada.

As you suggested, the websites Workopolis and are very good. I see a lot more jobs in Ottawa than in Montreal. And I see LOTS of jobs in Calgary and some in Edmonton too. As much as I'd truly LOVE to settle in Montreal, it might not happen. Montreal is my number one choice - lifestyle-wise - but I need serious, permanent long-term work. I'll give it a shot but if nothing's forthcoming I'll have to move on.

You said the following "I live in France, too, and believe me, it's easier to get work, esp. part-time, in Canada than in Europe these days...."

That about sums it up in a nutshell. The unemployment situation in this country is lamentable and has been for decades. I'm outta here by early summer. I'll check out Montreal first then Ottawa then head to Calgary.

Merci pour votre conseil et votre encouragement.


if you are serious about the Montreal market, also look at French-language sites, papers and ads -- all very useful ...

Wilf Day


Originally posted by flight from kamakura:
[b]in effect, if you're a certain kind of person, there's almost nothing to do in ottawa but work, sleep and drink whiskey from the bottle. the town is as staid and banal as one could imagine.[/b]

That's going too far. My son and his partner (she's a photographer and cyclist) have lived there several years. Neither of them are banal, nor uncritical. They seem to have made lots of creative friends quite quickly.


Originally posted by Lark08:
[b]Am I being paranoid about a big economic recession looming or is it not an issue there?[/b]

Yes, it's coming in the USA. And we have TV programmes about the USA being at the end of a 60-year cycle, having run out of ways to finance their balance-of-trade deficit, with nowhere to go but down. When you move back to Canada, leave your RRSPs in Euro assets.

But translators will always be needed. Like lawyers. And computer programmers.


Originally posted by Lark08:
[b]I've never been to Alberta in my life - in terms of employment, what's Calgary like?[/b]

I thought you said you wanted to move back to Canada.

(Ducks.) [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]


By the way, I apologise to mary123 - my anti-car comment sounded nasty and personal. Should have added that I love her cats - as I love cats.

I have friends who live near Monkland on one of the streets named for famous universities - but they are francophone (he is Quйbйcois de souche, she is from Alsace). They are also catpeople.

I just fear that someone who speaks English as a first language will get stuck in the anglophone ghetto if he or she moves to such a place.

Stephen Gordon


Originally posted by Lark08:
Am I being paranoid about a big economic recession looming or is it not an issue there? Is the news in France gloomier than elsewhere? No-one seems to be commenting on this eventuality....

It's not as big an issue as it is in the US. We don't have the problems the US has; our problem is that the US has problems. But since the current expansion is based on domestic growth - and not on exports, which have been flat for the past few years - a US slowdown won't have the same effect as would have been in the past.

The current expansion has been based on rising/high prices of oil and other commodities, and the demand for those doesn't look to be falling anytime soon. We're not immune from a US slowdown, but we should be spared the worst of it.

martin dufresne

Whistlin' in the dark...
With more than 80% of our exports going to the U.S., what do you think will happen to what's left of our manufacturing and even lumber industry when the s**t really hits the fan and massive injections of funds and reductions of the lending rate cannot save the U.S. economy from a protracted recession?

Stephen Gordon

Perhaps that's best dealt with in another thread...

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

This thread will be decided once and for all this Tuesday, 7:00 EST. If my Canadiens had figured out how to hold on to a three goal lead deep into the second period, tomorrow would be the day Montreal finally returned to their rightful place at the top of the table.

Vive le tricolore!



Originally posted by martin dufresne:
[b]Whistlin' in the dark...
With more than 80% of our exports going to the U.S., what do you think will happen to what's left of our manufacturing and even lumber industry when the s**t really hits the fan and massive injections of funds and reductions of the lending rate cannot save the U.S. economy from a protracted recession?[/b]

I agree.

Watch the insurers of all this sub prime meltdown lose there triple A status, and Canada is toast.

Go to Alberta and hope you can make a living off the rich seniors who need care.

PSAC and teachers fund will lose billions,you don't want to be in Ottawa.There desparate for taxes.

It's so bad that the teachers pension fund is in talks to take over MA BELL.
But the market only gives this a 50% support.
Canada is probably the country that will take the least hit in this recession.That said,expect your home to be reduced 30% and good luck getting a loan to buy car unless you have 30% of the value as a down payment.
What people don't understand,is the lax loan guarantee IS OVER!

If banks constrict loans,your house and your investment guarantee and your car loan and your credit card outstanding debt put the fear into lenders.So they call in the loans to cover there ass.
That means you/us/everyone is screwed.

If anyone here can explain to me how we can get out of this,please let me know.

[ 05 February 2008: Message edited by: Frisko ]


before this thread gets entirely derailed:
Ottawa or Montreal? where should our friend choose to live?

martin dufresne

Buckingham! For the best of both worlds...

Wilf Day


Originally posted by martin dufresne:
[b]Buckingham! For the best of both worlds...[/b]

I know a youngish woman from BC who reversed the trend by moving east, to an interesting job in Ottawa, living in Gatineau, and spending a lot of time in Montreal where she is already president of a national organization's Montreal Chapter.

So it's not just francophones who love the closeness of Montreal to Ottawa.

Mind you, that drive is over two hours, and the fastest way, even from Gatineau, is to cross back to Ottawa and take 417 -- which means driving right past the Via Station. So if it was me I'd likely take the train if I could, 1 hour and 37 minutes by the late afternoon train, 10 minutes longer on others. Six trains a day, now.

[ 07 February 2008: Message edited by: Wilf Day ]


I only know Buckingham as the site of very dark days in the Quйbec workers' movement:


The MacLaren dynasty
Source: [2]
Throughout its history, the city of Buckingham's economy has been dominated by the MacLaren dynasty, which controlled several spheres of activities.
The MacLaren family, who have resided in the region since 1840, have dominated the lumber industry in the Outaouais for over a century. It was in 1864, that James MacLaren launched the family's activities in Buckingham by building a sawmill. The company became J. MacLaren & Co. and later the James McLaren Company Limited. James' two brothers later acquired the company after his death in 1892 and then launched a match company in Buckingham in 1894 which was incorporated a year later. The MacLarens later gained control of the hydroelectricity market in the community and also real estate development and sports facilities. The company would build a hydro dam along the Du Liиvre River, just north of Buckingham, at the start of the Great Depression. They would later built another one near Masson during the 1950's.
In 1902, the MacLaren group added the wood pulp industry to its activities by building a mill. They would later expand there activities across the region, adding mills in Masson, Mont-Laurier and Thurso located not to far from the Du Liиvre River. The Buckingham mill would close shortly before 1960.
On October 8, 1906 in Buckingham, Quebec, two trade union leaders were murdered by agents hired by the Maclaren Company. Thomas Belanger and Francois Theriault were president and secretary treasurer of the union local which was organized at Maclaren only a few months earlier. This event is an important part of the history of the struggle of workers for their rights in the Outaouais.
During the summer of 1906 workers at the Maclaren Sawmill in Buckingham began to organize themselves into a trade union. On July 15 of that year they held their first meeting and the union was founded on the July 29. More than 300 of the 400 workers at Maclaren became members. The union presented its demands on two separate occasions to the manager of the company, John Edward Lavallee, who was also the mayor of Buckingham.
The union had three main demands:
1) recognition of the union; 2) reduction of the hours of work from 11 to 10 hours per day; 3) an increase in wages of 2.5 cents an hour (at this time the workers were paid 12.5 cents per hour).
All of the demands of the workers were immediately rejected. On September 12, 1906, the leaders of the union were fired and the company locked-out the workers. The union asked to meet with the company again for further discussion and the Quebec government sent a mediator to intervene. After some discussion with union representatives, the mediator, Felix Marois, met with the company to inform them that the union had reduced its demands so that the 2.5 cent increase would only apply to those workers making less than $1.25 per day.
Albert Maclaren replied that he would not agree to any increase in wages and furthermore he was not ready to take the workers back at their present wages. The Maclarens not only refused any further discussions but used everything at their disposal to attack the workers and their representatives. Articles appeared in the Buckingham Post and the Ottawa Citizen spreading lies and rumours and attacking the reputation of the union activists, saying that they were financed by "outside interests" and that they had "secret bank accounts."
At the same time the company hired "detectives" from the Thiel Detective Service Company who were secretly sworn in as members of the local police force. Police officers were also hired by the Maclarens from Ottawa and this entire force was armed and let loose on the town to harass and terrorize the workers and their families. Workers were followed around and treated like criminals and raids were carried out at the workers' homes.
On October 8, 1906 the Maclarens organized 13 strike breakers to clear some logs from the river near the Landing. This was an organized provocation with all the police forces armed to the teeth who were also at the Landing. Led by Thomas Belanger, about 200 men marched towards the Landing to ask that the work be stopped. Belanger, first vice-president of the union, spoke to the company representatives who dismissed the union demands and as the workers began to march the command was clearly heard: "Shoot them!" As the company goons fired on the unarmed workers, Belanger and Theriault were killed on the spot and dozens of others were injured. Enraged by this unprovoked attack the workers chased away the company goons and returned to pick up the bodies of their fallen comrades and treat the wounded. At this time the workers also discovered that the murder of the union leaders was premeditated. Several of the "detectives" caught by the workers after the shooting had pictures of Thomas Belanger in their pockets and it was clear from their wounds that the union leaders had been specifically targeted.
On the same day around midnight, 117 soldiers were brought to Buckingham to protect the property of the company. On October 10, 38 mounted soldiers from the Royal Canadian Dragoons of St. Jean were also added. The military occupation of Buckingham continued until October 23, 1906.
The attack against the workers continued even after the military occupation ended. On the orders of the Maclaren family the city of Buckingham was forced to rewrite its history. All the events which had just taken place were to be forgotten. The minutes of the city council did not mention a word about the strike or the lock-out, nor was there any mention of a military occupation. The Maclarens also interfered in the judicial proceedings which followed. Coroners and juries were replaced if they did not favour the company and the Maclarens used the offices of the Premier of Quebec, Lomer Gouin, to make sure that the company and the "detectives" were exonerated of all blame while the workers and their supporters were found guilty of participating in a riot and sentenced to two months imprisonment.
The Maclarens also blacklisted all the members of the union and enforced it with such vindictiveness that none of the 262 workers involved in the union were allowed to work. As well, the black list was maintained for several generations and was officially enforced until 1944 when the union was finally certified both at Maclaren and at the Electric Reduction Company (ERCO). During this period the population of Buckingham went from 4,425 to 3,850, as many workers had to move to Cobalt, Fassett, Bathurst and other towns to be able to work.
In their struggle against the Maclaren capitalists, the workers had the support of the vast majority of the population of Buckingham. On the day of the funerals of Belanger and Theriault, businesses closed in mourning and people lined the route to pay their respects to the workers who marched to Saint Gregoire church. The church was unable to hold all the people who had marched along with the workers. After the funeral, a monument was erected at the graves of Belanger and Theriault to honour their ultimate sacrifice for the cause of the workers.
Letters were received from all corners of Quebec, Canada and the U.S. expressing solidarity with the struggle of the workers in Buckingham. Since that time the workers at Maclaren have continued their struggle against the poor working and living conditions imposed by the company and one important element of their struggle has always been to keep alive the memory of those heroes who laid down their lives and brought honour to the working class.



Comrade Lagatta, voici le lien du site d'Arlette Laguiller en France. Vous le connaissez dйjа, j'en suis sыre. [url=][/url]

I would indeed like to find an interesting job in Ottawa, perhaps live in Gatineau, and spend a lot of time in Montreal. GOOD PLAN.

I don't mind the 2-hour drive between Montreal and Ottawa, I'll take the Greyhound.

So it's settled then ! I'll assiduously look for work in Montreal, that fine city being my first choice, and if it's not forthcoming then I'll set my sights on Ottawa. Thank you good Canadian people ! Your input was very helpful and illuminating. Can't wait to get there. I love France but it's not home.

Cheers. Bon courage !


[b]I love France but it's not home[/b]

I am coming to the same conclusion ....


Not me, I don't really feel at home anywhere in the world (I'm quoting someone there, but forget who - Walter Benjamin?)

France can be a good perch, but rents are too high in Paris. Montrйal too, but the winters are dreadful...

Wilf Day


Originally posted by lagatta:
[b]I don't really feel at home anywhere in the world (I'm quoting someone there, but forget who - Walter Benjamin?)[/b]

My wife arrived in Port Hope from Northern Ireland a few decades ago, for a job where she might have stayed a year, but she soon found she felt at home here, a rare and valuable feeling, so she stayed, to my immense benefit. May other readers be so lucky.


I can't say I feel at home anywhere either. But there are places that feel [i]less[/i] like home than others.


After Amsterdam, Paris feels very much at home, simply because the people around me are speaking French (well, many are speaking Maghrebi Arabic and other languages, but that is true where I live here as well, and is part of the "hominess"). I certainly don't feel Parisian, but it is a place I feel semi-at-home - or rather in the company of a lot of others who aren't "real" Parisians either.

We have a Viennese friend who lived happily in Toronto for 30 years, but returned to Vienna upon retiring and inheriting a little flat in the city centre. And spoke of "going home", as Viennese do. So do Porteсos, as in the song "Volver"...


So what defines "home"? A common language? Shared customs or values? Food? History?

I went to live in London for a year, thinking it would be closer to "home" than Paris and boy, was I wrong. The instant I opened my mouth to speak, it was as if I had a giant label on my forehead that said AMERICAN. They all took me for one (and they don't like Americans), so I wasn't always well received. No-one would hire me, I could only get temp. jobs. I kept saying defiantly "I'm Canadian!" (as if that would make any difference). It made me think that the Brits have an island mentality.

In the end, I felt more alienated there than in France. In fact, I don't feel alienated here. In Paris, when I open my mouth to speak, they say "oh, vous avez un joli petit accent, d'oщ venez-vous ?"

For me, the difference between "home" and "not home" is peoples' reactions to things. And customs, I guess.

Stephen Gordon


Originally posted by Lark08:
In fact, I don't feel alienated here. In Paris, when I open my mouth to speak, they say "oh, vous avez un joli petit accent, d'oщ venez-vous ?"

Curiously enough, that corresponds almost exactly to my experience in Quebec City. I did go through a period in which I took offense at being asked where I came from, but then I realised that they also asked the exact same question of each other: my father-in-law made it a point of spending at least 10 minutes with anyone he met for the first time trying to establish a common acquaintance.


One last word, Lark.............Vancouver.

Wilf Day


Originally posted by Lark08:
[b]In Paris, when I open my mouth to speak, they say "oh, vous avez un joli petit accent, d'oщ venez-vous ?"[/b]

No matter what country you live in, everyone is from somewhere, n'est-ce pas?

I love identifying accents.

I used to be fairly good at it. Years ago while at U of T, on the Montreal ("Carabin") weekend, I found myself sitting on the train across from some chatty bridge players, and did a little chatting up myself of the prettiest one. After a few minutes she said "where do you think my parents are from?" and when I said "Lithuania" she dropped her jaw.

[ 11 February 2008: Message edited by: Wilf Day ]


Why does Munroe say "Vancouver"?

I've given some thought as to how we define "home". Maybe it's associations that include visuals, smells and (childhood) souvenirs. Basic things like food that our mother cooked or the sight of autumn leaves or the sound of snow crunching underfoot. If one enjoyed a supremely happy childhood and adolescence somewhere, do we associate those memories with "home" in later years?