Montreal’s Talent Strategy

I recently read an acquaintance’s write-up on his proposed plans to revitalize Montreal through a new talent strategy for the city; seen here at : http://swell.lpmo.com/how-a-city-seduces-the-best-minds/

My thoughts: Language and a culture of inclusion ought to be paramount in a “Montreal talent strategy.

It is quite evident to see that our world is flat. English is the universal language of our planet — at least in the western world. We already boast world class universities in this city that attracts incredible international talent whilst spending exorbitant money (McGill alone had $750+mill in expenses for 2014). By their first or second year in Montreal, students already see the writing on the wall, and are planning their escape route because they don’t have a hope in hell of being able to start a business and not be forced to work in a language that is foreign to them, or being able to communicate with the appropriate government agencies to start one in English should it grow beyond 30 people — let alone land a job at a company willing to hire non-French mother-tongue speakers.

Our city’s motto is “Concordia Salus” or “salvation through harmony,” and we should tackle our problems with that same philosophy. Save of doing that, the motto transcribed on the gates of hell in Dante’s Inferno “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate” or “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here” could give it a run for its money in a hostile takeover bid if we continue at the rate we are going.

Montreal is a great seducer. However, like any casa nova, it often fails to be able to look at itself and see that the same strategy doesn’t apply when you want to build long-term relationships with people. Take Stockholm, Berlin, Tallinn, Tel Aviv, and Buenos Aires as examples. They each have their own unique allures for being amazing cosmopolitans with promise to become booming tech-centric locales. The commonality that binds them is that they are comfortable in having a full blown openness to welcoming English and other non-native speakers alike. While not having English as an official country language in their cases; conversely it’s one of our two in this country.

I say it with affect, but you can arguably get by easier in just about every single EU country with English than you can in Quebec once you leave the bridges of Montreal. The city is the primary and major economic driver of the entire province; and makes the effective equalization payments to the rest of the province in a similar way that Alberta has been up until now for the rest of Canada.

I also say it with affect that Montreal is like the good-looking teenager in high school that refuses to believe it’s not as attractive now that it’s left the little pond, and on the world stage of adulthood. Montreal can’t rely on its laurels, should leave its language insecurities behind now that it is post-pubescent, and safe of acting like Greece and getting ourselves tied-up with private and world banks lenders to kept ourselves afloat economically, we can’t expect to save ourselves from drowning only using the same tools that we have been using for the last 30–40 years.

Our immediate strategy ought to be to fixing the tap that catapulted the majority of our head offices to flown down Highway 401.

The British can no longer gratuitously use the old quip of being “the empire on which the sun never sets” like it once was, but the influence and prevalence of its language hasn’t fallen in that time.

Something has to give. University professor salaries isn’t going to cut it, lest Montreal be left in the darkness in thinking the world stretches only as far as the borders de nôtre belle province.

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