Habs sold. The Old English Families Still Own Montreal.

with 15 comments

Molson buys Canadiens

My nightly newscast was positive last night: Québec is unanimously rejoicing at the sale of the Canadiens de Montréal hockey team to the Molson family. Everyone from the Finance Minister to the leader of the sovereingtists Pauline Marois and the required passersby questioned on the street were overjoyed that the hockey team was bought by Québec money and for the, quote,  right reasons.

Alright, I’ll take this one if no one else will.

What would be wrong with expressing some regret that the bid by Quebecor’s Pierre-Karl Péladeau and Céline Dion’s manager René Angelil was unsuccesful? Why is it not acceptable to aknowledge that the return of the Canadiens to francophone owners for the first time since Léo Dandurand, Louis Létourneau and Joseph Cattarinich bought the team for 11 500$ would have been an important symbolic moment, the beginning of the end of the economic inferiority of the French-speaking population of Québec?

Am I the only one to feel the politically correct insistance on describing the Molson brothers as just another from-around-the-corner Québécois family, without any qualification, sounds false?   This is not the Johnsons from the Point, we’re talking about.  We are talking about one of the great families of the Old Order that made it’s fortune when the French were good enough to fight Britain’s wars but not to sit on Molson’s board.

Now Geoffrey, Justin and Andrew deserve the benefit of the doubt and Montrealers will decide with time if they truly share their culture or not, but to call the Molson family a Québec family like any other is denial.

Of course the integration of the Habs into Quebecor Media would have brought the size, scope and power of what we now simply call «The Empire » to truly frightening proportions. With it’s near monopoly of cable and dominating position of Internet access, the biggest newspaper in the country (that would be Québec), the most watched television network, and a slew of magazines and specialty cable channels, Quebecor already has dominating position in the circulation and distribution of Québec culture.

Add Star Academie, a partnership with Céline Dion and the Canadiens and Quebecor would have an access to Québec minds of Chinese proportions.

But it made a lot of economic sense. Hockey is content. Quebecor is in the business of distributing content. They have the ways and means to make some untolds amount of money with a hockey team. Think of all the revelations on Georges Laraque’s family life and Saku Koivu’s decoration tips you could have read about while waiting in line at the supermarket in one of Quebecor’s 12 000 magazines!

Sure it’s scary, but how is it wrong?

The Molson’s are buying the Canadiens for the right reasons, we are told. How exactly is using a professional sports franchise as entertainment content wrong? What exactly are the Habs if they are not a show, a spectacle, a diversion?

Maybe the problem is that the Péladeau family who have many friends in the Parti québécois, and the Board of Quebecor, chaired by former Conservative PM Brian Mulroney, would not have been as willing to make big trades and fire coaches any time the Liberal Party have some unpleasant news they need to drown…

Written by angryfrenchguy

June 22, 2009 at 7:12 pm

15 Responses

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  1. Well, this time I think you blew it. It’s far simpler, really. The meme about the Molson being the “right” owners because they are not Quebecor was carried on by every single media outlet not belonging to Quebecor. That was done so because nowadays, a large part of the interpretation of event done by the mainstream media is based not on facts but on the vagaries of competition. A competitor was to become owner of a content generating an absurd amount of traffic for no cost whatsoever? It’s bad.

    I mean, it took them what, 2 months before *some* journalists actually began to understand that Quebecor was to make an assload of cash with the habs, not because of the magazine or newspapers, but because of Vidéotron and the upcoming videotron sports network.

    It’s not about the Molsons, it’s about how competition now drives so-called journalistic content more than facts.


    June 23, 2009 at 5:56 am

  2. I honestly don’t care who owns the Canadiens as long as it’s someone from Montreal. Period. English or French, it should make no difference at all.
    As long as it isn’t someone from outside Québec, I honestly don’t think it should matter.

    And I agree Nikopol about the whole Québécor monopoly of the province thing being bad.

    Muchacho Enfermo

    June 23, 2009 at 10:32 am

  3. Those maudit anglos encore.

    Too bad for Quebecor…of couse you don’t think they and the Molsons have drinks after five.

    Happy St.Jean ou Fete National comme tu besoin.


    June 23, 2009 at 10:45 pm

  4. Merci ABP


    June 24, 2009 at 3:24 am

  5. @ AFG :

    I think it’s probably a result of “bad publicity”. Can anyone still keep score of how many times bad Julie Snyder/PK Péladeau jokes were made over the past couple of years? The word “convergence” (in French) as become synonymous of Québécor in Québec in that same period of time. And who spoke these words over and over again? Mostly people from the left side of the political spectrum, … with some “affinités” for the PQ.

    Of course, medias outside the Québécor banner had to find a way to discredit a possible deal with Québécor. I guess it could be called a conflict of interests. In the end, however, business is business and Québécor didn’t have the best offer on the table.

    On a side note, I can understand that some people are disappointed that the Habs were not bought by a francophone. But how can we blame anybody except those francophone businessman that don’t seem to want to take a shot at the Habs? I mean, there has been a couple of occasions in the recent past. When Gillet bought the team in 2000 or 2001 (not sure), where was Québécor? Where was René Angélil? Where was Guy Laliberté?


    June 24, 2009 at 11:03 pm

  6. “Maybe the problem is that the Péladeau family who have many friends in the Parti québécois, and the Board of Quebecor, chaired by former Conservative PM Brian Mulroney, would not have been as willing to make big trades and fire coaches any time the Liberal Party have some unpleasant news they need to drown…” AFG

    Maybe the Molson’s, who were already 19 % owners and presumably business partners with Gillett, maybe they had an edge, maybe they outbid Péladeau, maybe whatever. Hard to see how the liberal party could inflence Gilett to go against his own interests. But again AFG is never short on conspiracy theories whenever it suits his purpose to maintain the theory of anglo dominance of the downtrodden Québécois.

    Q: please name 10 “old English families” who still own Montreal ? The list gets pretty short after you check off the Molsons.


    June 25, 2009 at 10:29 am

  7. Still harping on the past and banging the drum of resentment. In your world, Anglos are damned if do and damned if they don’t. The Molson brothers simply out bid the competitors. In most places that would be regarded as spirited conviction and determination, a real show of commitment to the team, city, and province. Believe it not AFG, Anglos love the Habs too. Anglos Habs fans are fiercely proud of the Richards, Beliveau, Lafleur, Roy, and all the other Francophone players. The Habs are one of the things that bring us together, something we can all agree on. Why do you have to continually shit on the Anglos, drag skeletons out of the closet, and imbue an event like this with sinister undertones of the past. What the fuck, the Molsons did a good thing in most people’s mind. How’s it work in your mind? If Anglos invest in the city/province it’s all about gaining control and subjugating the Franophones. Very lame dude; get over it. Your seething is tiresome.


    June 25, 2009 at 2:03 pm

  8. The fact is that through the Caisee de depot francophone Quebecers probably own disproportionately more of anglo Quebec, anglo Canada, and anglo America than vice-versa.


    June 25, 2009 at 2:17 pm

  9. Well maybe -40 Billion less this year. On the rest, who backed the Molson boys with a big loan.


    June 25, 2009 at 8:56 pm

  10. C’est des maudit anglos encore, mon ami.

    I agree with you, where was spaceman Laliberte, Celine Dion (only a 100 million a year in income) and d’autres francais.

    AFG, where are the Quebecois who wanted to invest…Well, I guess those who backed up the Molson bid.

    Your head still ok, or still recovering from le fete denire soir.

    Hope you had a good time.


    June 25, 2009 at 8:59 pm

  11. Well Actually your title should have been “Unions still own Montreal” – it was the FTQ that funded the Molson bid. I think there is one guy who works there with an English name – AHAH! Another anglo conspiracy. They have even infiltated the FTQ.

    Not alot of substance to your theory

    S. Church

    June 26, 2009 at 5:52 pm

  12. @S. Church


    June 27, 2009 at 9:21 pm

  13. oups… Anyway. The Fonds de solidarité FTQ was backing both Quebec-based bids.


    June 27, 2009 at 9:22 pm

  14. Est-ce-que le propriétaire des Canadiens de Montréal serait Francophone dans un Québec indépendant? Non. Est-ce-que les familles Francophones seraient plus riches dans un Québec indépendant? Non. Est-ce-que l’indépendance du Québec changerait le fait que les Francophones constitue 2% de la population d’Amerique du Nord? Non.

    Nous vaincrons!

    William Holden

    July 2, 2009 at 1:09 am

  15. See which employees are happier… those of Quebecor or Molson? Quebecor did everything in their powers to bust unions first in Quebec then in the States. i know of what I am talking about. THEY could not be trusted when it comes to money. Where were they in late 90’s, when it took an Amercan to buy the Habs for a SONG…. to chicken then eh? Oh but tnow with all this content and Synergy, and Facebook and Twitter and Cable, NOW they wanted the Habs. Molson was ALWAYS there when habs needed them Quebecor? just looking to make a quick buck.


    October 13, 2013 at 8:12 pm

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