Postscript: Rona's sale is a vote of confidence in Quebec
By Barry Wilson, Executive Producer, OPINION, CTV Montreal
Published Friday, February 5, 2016 1:35PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 11, 2016 3:42PM EST
To hear some describe it, it is Hardware Heresy.The Quincaillerie caper.
It's as if the Americans had stormed Rona and Reno with regiments of troops wearing red Lowe's vests armed with nail, glue and caulking guns ready to strip Quebec of its home reno virginity.
Instead it was simply about cash.
To call it a friendly takeover is underestimating it. This was love at first bite.
You have to understand that Rona was a company in trouble and was closing stores, but to hear to the apostles of economic nationalism speak, Quebec is losing its firstborn to the those damn Yankees.
PKP was of course the first to hoist the fleurdelisé in the name of Quebec pride.
“We are losing our capacity to take decisions and control our economy. Head offices are so important in the life of a nation,” he said.
Peladeau accuses Liberals of folding on this instead of standing up for les intérêts supérieures du Quebec, as Robert Bourassa was fond of saying.
The world is upside down.
PKP the businessman who makes millions from capitalism is against a free market economy?
Does he not realize that cash Lowe’s is offering Rona shareholders will be turned around and invested in new projects?
CAQ leader Francois Legault went further, saying Quebec was taking a step backwards to the days when Anglophones and Americans controlled the economy here. Ouch.
Frig, they are always telling us Anglos that we are part of that whole chez nous thing, but not this week, I guess.
The last thing we need is a government stepping in and buying a hardware chain.
Can you imagine a minister of Rona sitting at the cabinet table giving the other ministers the weekly specials?
There may be some upheaval but that’s the world we live in and you cannot build walls and live in a projectionist bubble.
If Quebec suppliers can offer quality products at competitive prices they will still supply Rona and maybe the doors will open to the huge American market.
The good news, and it is very good news, is that an American giant thought it wise to invest in Canada.
It obviously has faith that the economy here will live long and prosper and given what we are going through on that front it does offer a vote of confidence.
Technological changes come quickly
And more on a changing world and changing realities
In the TV business, for example, everything has been turned upside down.
It used to be that people watched us via antennas. Then came cable, satellite, the internet, smart phones, tablets and streaming.
Everything has changed, and quickly. It is no secret that traditional broadcasters are struggling for survival.
This brings me to Uber.
To hear some taxi drivers, Uber is a great evil which must be eradicated.
“It’s simple. Taxi is legal and Uber is illegal,” said taxi spokesperson Benoit Jugand.
As conventional television must reinvent itself in the face of Netflix and fragmented audiences, and Quebec manufacturers must learn to live with an American hardware giant, the taxi industry needs a reboot too.
- Uber is here to stay. It is a worldwide phenomenon with billions in cash reserves. It isn't going anywhere.
- Right now the playing field is not fair. Taxi drivers work long hours and pay for things that Uber drivers are not required to do. This must change.
- Montreal’s taxi industry is a mess and really is stuck in the dark ages. Sorry, but in my experience, many cabs are not well-maintained. And some drivers need courses in civility and map reading.
So what to do? A parliamentary commission will try to figure it all out to make it more equitable for everyone.
There is a market for taxis. Not everyone likes using apps and some like booking taxis and agreeing on a fixed fare without price surging.
In this new reality, there is plenty of room to share the road.