Jonathan Brun

No transparency in Montreal

Municipal politics are messy. A number of scandals have rocked Montréal in the past year, overpriced water meters, lazy construction workers and sketchy land permits. All this amounts to corruption.

So, in their bureaucratic wisdom, the Quebec government commissioned a study on how to fix the problem. Their solution: a code of ethics. Bravo.

The simplest, quickest, and cheapest way to rid an organization of corruption is to increase transparency. The more eyes looking at it, the less likely someone will try and pull a quick one.

With the power of the internet, cities and governments are moving towards transparency. Obama is a leading, as usual, on this front, with and which lists where government contracts are going. Both Toronto and Vancouver have endorsed the concept of an ‘open-city’ where data and information is freely available to the citizens.

Where is Montreal on all this? Still in the woods. In a meeting with the city last year, I actually brought up the point that contaminated sites in Montreal are very difficult to locate – the city should list them on google maps (or something of the sort). The response I got was, “Why would we do that?”. The insular nature of our french island has put us 5 years behind on many technological fronts – government transparency being a major one.

Published on July 17, 2009

Porter Airlines is the Apple inc. of Airlines

I am not easily impressed. In fact, I would say that it takes something truly remarkable to impress me. The new airline, Porter, that currently services Montréal, Toronto and Ottawa has brought back what flying used to be: civilized, courteous, beautiful flight attendants, great food (snacks really), beverages in glasses – not plastic. Essentially, it is first class for the (relative) masses.

The plane itself is a beautiful new Bombardier Q400, which is quite, fast, comfortable and even has that new plane smell. A key feature is that they land in downtown Toronto, as opposed to the ever-delayed Pearson Airport. This allows you to walk out of the airplane and onto Baystreet – on time for your 3 o’clock. The flight attendants even wear hats!

Yet, sitting on an empty plane now, I wonder how much money they are losing. There is certainly a market for this company and their management seems geared towards minimalism and continuous improvement. Long live Porter Airlines!

Published on February 22, 2007