The first public consultation on the long delayed multi-billion dollar Hippodrome residential project was delivered in French only to a west end crowd, many of whom were not fluently bilingual. Questions, however, were permitted in English, but those replying had trouble answering in English. It resulted in a general failure to communicate made more frustrating by the back up defense to “check the online format for a translation.”

I suggested the simple solution for all future consultations would be to simultaneously translate French to English and English to French on video screens visible to all. The reply was simply “we don’t and won’t do this." I countered with “how then can the thousands of Montrealers with more expertise for a better vision fine tune the vision of Mayor Plante?" I received no coherent response, so I proceeded to offer three primary initiatives, holding back on 13 more!

Michael Shafter


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