In the early 1960s I lived in Montreal, having been transferred there from Toronto by the oil company for which I worked. At that time, I saw the move as very positive as I would be living in Canada’s largest most sophisticated city—the commercial centre of Canada where most of the power and influence of our nation were located. Back then, Toronto was a rather staid, unsophisticated regional centre with national influence running a poor second to its Quebec counterpart.
It was, therefore, with a pang of sadness that, as I roamed the news pages today, my eye caught the last sentence of the last paragraph of a story in the Globe and Mail. I read, “Montreal, meanwhile, came in at 32 which was a slip of six positions.”
The story was about the ranking of financial centres and bemoaned the fact that Toronto wasn’t seen to have the horsepower that it once had. Apparently, the Global Financial Sectors Index—a survey of financial workers from around the world—showed Toronto had slipped a spot to 13th in this year’s rankings.
How really sad that after slipping a spot, Toronto should still be a country mile ahead of Montreal in the index. Not even a mention of Montreal until the very last sentence of the very last paragraph.
So far have Montreal’s fortunes as a financial centre fallen, that what little financial influence it now has is owed partly to our country political imperative of having a presence in Quebec. On its own merit, Montreal is a minor player on our national stage and world stage, with even upstart Vancouver edging it out by three positions.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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