Join 3,553 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Nine players leaving from the fourth hole at 11 o’clock
April 19, 2012 9:17 PM   Subscribe

Collusion, vandalism and violence—all for something as banal as snowplowing. If you think it seems too extreme, you don’t understand how public contracting in Montreal works, said the former employee of the major company. The same tactics are used throughout the city, even in the tiniest industries; it’s a culture, a way of life. “I have seen a guy get threatened when he bid on a grass-mowing contract in Ville St. Laurent. They don’t care. It’s just about maintaining control over those areas,” he explained. “The people that talk about corruption in the construction industry don’t realize it’s not just construction. It’s everywhere in public works.” [Getting Plowed]
posted by vidur (15 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
What's that you say? Montreal is run by the mob and is corrupt as hell? Quelle surprise!
posted by asnider at 9:39 PM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


That was an interesting read. Cheers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:46 PM on April 19, 2012


Interesting read indeed. The last year I lived there there were firebombings in drycleaners of all places. Same deal I suppose.
posted by sauril at 10:02 PM on April 19, 2012


FTA: Collusion, vandalism and violence—all for something as banal as snowplowing. If you think it seems too extreme, you don’t understand how public contracting in Montreal works, said the former employee of the major company.

This is public contracting everywhere, anywhere, when the authorities give up or are in on the take. I find the whole "oh Montreal is so zany" vibe of the article very irritating. Having corrupt and/or incompetent public servants is nothing to be proud about.
posted by kithrater at 10:47 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


This makes me so angry. They are essentially stealing from the public.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 10:55 PM on April 19, 2012


Although their boss had won the bid fairly, moving in on another company’s territory is considered stealing in Montreal’s snow-removal industry—a sector in which businesses rarely bid on contracts they haven’t already marked as their property. It was only $10,000 in damage, but to the newcomers, the message was clear: don’t step out of line again.

Competition is tough everywhere, but if you're not ready to compete you shouldn't get into the business.

If they send one of your snowplows to the shop, you gotta put one of theirs in the junkyard. That's the Montreal way.
posted by three blind mice at 1:16 AM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why don't they just call Mr. Plow? That's his name. That name again is Mr. Plow.
posted by jmccw at 3:56 AM on April 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Legally, I think you have to call Monsieur Plow.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:21 AM on April 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


"Monsieur Plow est un soûlard, et aussi un salopard..."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:34 AM on April 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why don't they just call Mr. Plow?

Because he stepped out of line and the Plow King sabotaged his equipment...
posted by 445supermag at 6:13 AM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Good luck cleaning house, Montreal...
posted by Theta States at 6:32 AM on April 20, 2012


I moved to Montreal in the summer of '89 from Vancouver and was quite stunned at how insanely cartoonish the levels of corruption were. From a friend being charged a non-existent 'water' tax for her studio by the landlord to 40 cops shutting down a legendary punk club(Les Foufounes Electriques) one night for an hour or two because they weren't getting a cut of the profits, it was everywhere.

It's a shame, because there were so many wonderful things about the city, and I got a sense that this was one of the main factors in it's decade plus decline at the time.

Most glaring example when I lived there; the Olympic Stadium. A 40 ton chunk just falling off one nice summer's day.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 7:52 AM on April 20, 2012


I lived in New Orleans when I was in my late teens/early 20s where corruption in most fields was just a part of life. Then when I read about Montreal and its corruption (I live in Quebec now), I am like, "You win, Montreal. You win."

Quick example: apparently the Hell's Angels were a big scary force around Sherbrooke for years until they did a massive raid the year I moved up. Downtown Sherbrooke has turned into a nice place on one end of the main drag. The other end? Sleazy student bars and lots and lots of boarded up storefronts. The student bars closed but that end of town still looks like shit. I have asked why no restaurants/boutiques/etc. have moved into that end and the response is, "Some of the Hells still control that property. No one wants to pay the bribes they'd need to open something up."
posted by Kitteh at 8:09 AM on April 20, 2012


I bet if you could trace this stuff back to it's origin, you'd find a nationalist resistance front, an insurgency against British anglophone occupation.

The Sicilian Mafia was born partly out of resistance to the annexation of Sicily by the mainland in 1860, the KKK and the endemic corruption of the American South from resistance to Reconstruction, and the IRA in Northern Ireland seems well on its way to becoming a mere criminal gang.
posted by jamjam at 10:03 AM on April 20, 2012


Montreal is increasingly feeling like a city where Batman might be helpful.
posted by Phalene at 6:38 PM on April 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


« Older According to research recently published in Alcoho...  |  "The Threat to Proust" by Roge... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments