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Last night I attended the 25th Annual General Meeting of Montréal International, an energetic organization dedicated to attracting foreign business to establish a presence in the greater Montréal region. My key takeaways were:
- I spoke with about 20 Montréal International employees; all of them were bilingual or trilingual, intelligent, motivated and well-informed. Their talent and commitment is palpable. Clearly, the hiring process is successful.
- The event was marred by long-winded, self-congratulatory speeches by senior management, and former senior managers who were invited to a panel discussion. This lack of discipline caused the event to significantly run overtime.
- The proceedings were conducted entirely in French. For an organization that calls itself “Montréal International”, this is unforgivable.
- I asked every employee I spoke with if Quebec’s new Bill 96 impacted their goals. All of them expressed grave concern, and said that their mandate to attract foreign business had become extremely difficult as a result. However, not one mention was made by anyone on stage about Bill 96.
Montréal International’s mandate is severely impacted by Quebec's Bill 96. If any organization has an intrinsic mandate to demonstrate public leadership towards repealing or modifying Bill 96 so it respects basic human rights, it would be Montréal International. Instead, Montréal International’s leadership, which consists entirely of old white French-speaking alpha males, is complicit in their silence, and by their actions.