Archive for October, 2017

Time to remove my $$ from the Bank of Montreal

October 30, 2017

“The bank is not your friend,” said an old and trusted real estate agent.

Looks like he was right.

After complaining to the Bank of Montreal recently, for treating its English-speaking customers in Montreal as second-class clients, I received a reply today from the Bank’s Ombudsman’s office, after waiting six weeks.

If you choose to take your money out of the Bank of Montreal in solidarity, in the name of equality, let me know. Thank you.

Here it what the Bank of Montreal said:

Good morning Mr. Locke,

Thank you for your correspondence to our office regarding the size of the welcome signage in BMO branches which you believe evidences that English-speaking customers are not as respected as French-speaking customers. 

Office of the Ombudsman is the final escalation step in BMO Financial Group’s internal Complaint Resolution Process. Our office has a broad mandate to investigate a wide range of financial services complaints from customers of BMO’s Canadian operating groups, however, there are certain issues that fall outside of the mandate of our office which we cannot review, including matters that do not relate a product or service.  We appreciate your desire to escalate this matter to our office.  However, it appears from our review of your correspondence that your concerns relate to signage in BMO’s branches and we have determined that your concerns fall outside of the mandate of our office to review.  More information about our mandate and BMO Financial Group’s complaint resolution process can be found in the enclosed “We’re here to help” brochure

Although our office is not able to review your concerns, your feedback is important to us and in an effort to assist you, we shared your concerns with BMO’s senior management.  BMO confirmed that language law in Quebec mandates that signage appear larger and more prominent in French.  We understand that the larger French signage has made you, an English speaker, feel that you are not as respected as a French-speaking customer.  A core value of BMO is to treat all customers equally and with respect.   BMO regrets if the signage made you feel less respected, as that was not the intention. 

As outlined in the attached  “We’re here to help” brochure, you may also contact the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (“OBSI”) and request a review of your concerns. You should note, however, that your complaint may also fall outside of OBSI’s mandate.  Further information on OBSI is available on OBSI’s website at www.obsi.ca, or by contacting OBSI directly at:

Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments

401 Bay Street, Suite 1505

P.O. Box 5

Toronto, Ontario M5H 2Y4

Phone: 1-888-451-4519

Fax: 1-888-422-2865

Email: ombudsman@obsi.ca

Thank you again for contacting our office. 

Emmanuel Excellent Gresser 
Coordinator / Coordinateur
Office of the Ombudsman / Bureau de l’ombudsman

This email and its attachments are confidential. Any unauthorized use or disclosure is prohibited. If you receive this email in error, please notify me by reply email and permanently delete the original without making any copies or disclosing its contents. BMO Financial Group is a brand name representing Bank of Montreal and its subsidiaries and affiliates.

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Small Victories in Westmount

October 30, 2017

Last Thursday, a little bit of justice was had.

It all began when I received a traffic ticket on January 9, 2017, issued by Westmount traffic officer Mogurenko. I had parked the car on Stayner Street the previous afternoon, Sunday, January 8.

To my shock and horror, when I went to use the car on Monday the 9th at 8 AM, the car had vanished.

I was informed that the car had been towed to Dorchester St., and in addition to the $45 fine, $13 costs, there was a $50 towing charge added for good measure

Upon, challenging the ticket, the court adds a potential $27 fee if the challenge is lost. Shabby in the extreme, and possibly unconstitutional.

The particulars are that the local prosecutor decided to withdraw the ticket issued by Westmount, 80 minutes before the hearing time.

I had arrived early to do battle, but in speaking with the prosecutor, he agreed to withdraw the charge.

Despite taking the day off work to appear in court, despite spending $40 for a certified copy of Westmount’s Street Traffic By-law, considerable research and photo-copying, I’m somewhat ambivalent about the result. Sadly, neither Westmount’s Public Security chief, nor city council, was able to rectify the matter previously.

The problem is Westmount’s traffic By-law 726, section 59. It is clearly vague and in my opinion over-broad. It allows the Director of Public Safety to remove any “unattended” car from any street following a snowfall. “No person shall cause or permit any parked vehicle to remain unattended on any street during a snow fall…”

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I was unable to test this provision before a judge. And to add another cost, Montreal’s metro carried me home for another $3.25.

Gov Moves In Mysterious Ways

October 13, 2017

After posting yesterday’s Government of Quebec faux pas where Kathleen Weil (new Minister of Relations with English-speaking Quebeckers) had her title posted on the government’s website in French, things have moved forward at lightning speed. A change was made upgrading her title into English.

I thank Facebook and Twitter and the Gods of WordPress for moving things forward.

GovQuebec Kathleen Weil Screenshot from 2017-10-12 19:55:48GovQuebec Kathleen Weil 2 Screenshot from 2017-10-13 16:43:50

Too Good to Be True

October 12, 2017

Quebec’s Premier Philippe Couillard made a great announcement yesterday, the appointment of Kathleen Weil to become Minister Responsible for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers. But alas, it was too good to be true.

The first thing the government did was post her position on the government’s website in French.

There’s much work to be done on this file, and it has started badly. Mon Dieu!

Goliath retreats, briefly

October 9, 2017

TransCanada takes one on the noggin

transcanada Screenshot from 2017-10-09 16:45:17

Image from TransCanada website.

As environmentalists across Canada rejoice at TransCanada Corporation’s announcement to “no longer be proceeding with its proposed Energy East Pipeline and Eastern Mainline projects” the celebrations may be short-lived.

While TransCanada’s latest effort to enlarge its carrying capacity of Alberta tarsands oil has come to a halt – costing the company an estimated $1 billion – the company has hardly been impacted.

By the end of trading on Oct 5 when TransCanada’s press release was issued, their stock prices rose on both the Toronto and New York exchanges. The reversal on these pipeline projects was seen as a positive corporate decision.

“We will continue to focus on our $24 billion near-term capital program,” stated TransCanada.

A $24 billion expenditure is more than the 2017 budget for the entire province of Manitoba.

So why did Goliath halt its cross-Canada pipeline projects?

According to the pipeline giant, it was due to “changed circumstances.”

A rock to the forehead could be considered a changed circumstance.