The pleasure of aging….The Anniversary of Bernard Bujold

June 26, 2009

There can be no illusion, there is no greater wealth in life than the youth! But for those who are aging, we must also discover the right side of the age, because any way, we cannot go back and rejuvenate …
Personally, I passed the milestone of 50 years old a few years ago but every summer, to the occasion of my birthday on June 28, I take stock of my life. This is my romantic side!
At the outset, my greatest achievement is to be the father of two children. Strangely, this event was also one of the most painful of my life because I divorced in 1991 and I could not see my son and my daughter grow up. David was born in 1982 and Stephanie in 1983. Do I regret having divorced, no but if I have an advice for young people it is to choose your spouse, by love only and for no other reason! For those who wonder about the two mascots, yes they are inspired by my two children. Mr. X is the image of my son David and the mascot Miss Gym is the image of my daughter Stephanie. David is a “wizard” in Computer and Internet and he was an important collaborator with Stephanie is engaged and she works in marketing.
Youth is also without doubt the defining moment in life. These are the times when the decisions that we take at the age of 20 will influence all our lives up to its end. The choice of a profession, the appropriate studies, the discovery of our passions, our mate, etc… So many decisions sometimes taken lightly, but which will have inevitable consequence and almost irremediable throughout our adult lives.
But if we made mistakes, how to correct the situation? I say that life is like a trip to drift on the river and the only option is with the current. We try to stay floated and hope that we will avoid the rocks and dead trees. In this sense, the only way to correct the errors of life is to be lucky! The chance to survive the obstacles that are on our way and turn them into positive events or at least to survive the disaster. But luck is not really a matter of choice. I have already written: “One does not choose to welcome the chance but it is the Chance who chose us.” This phenomenon is also increasingly recognized by scientists and it seems that some employers ask when interviewing potential candidates: “Do you are naturally lucky in life?”
The chance may take several aspects but it is essential to succeed in life, even if we had made the right decisions in our youth. Without luck, the most logical decisions will become dismal failures, and sometimes tragic! The chance may be as significant as not to board the flight of aircraft which will crash into the ocean (Air France) or as simple as finding a $ 5 bill on sidewalk. When one exceeds his fifties, we are often asked if we have any regrets? I answer that we should not pity on failures and that no one should believe that he is totally responsible for his success. Obviously it is a simple answer but it sums up the reality of life. This life is in itself inexplicable and generally cruel and unpredictable. How to explain, for example, acts of violence among men? While religions should be the vehicle of love and friendship between humans, they are the source of all ills, including terrorism and wars!
Is there life after death, or is it that life boils down to our only passage on earth. As Dr. House would say, there is a good chance that life is nothing more than our experiences of the present moment. If you make a mistake and that there is an after-life, then we will really have the “luck” and we will continue our journey forever … But as once said Bernard Arnault (the husband of the pianist Hélène Mercier from Montreal): “… On earth, we must take care of the living ones …”
Thank you all for the good wishes that you wrote to me regarding my anniversary and as I have often said: “I am still fighting! “
Regarding my favorites pleasures, it is not skydiving … I prefer a quiet dinner with friends, good wine, and once the visit left her home, quietly read a book, magazine or newspaper … paper!
Bernard Bujold 
Photo 1: Bernard Bujold and the mascots Miss Gym et Monsieur X
Photo 2: David and Stéphanie Bujold
Photo 3: Mademoiselle X and the mascots


The Mayor of Montreal and the next municipal elections in Quebec.

June 19, 2009

The post of mayor of Montreal has less prestige that he had at the time of Jean Drapeau, but it’s still very coveted. The current mayor, Gérald Tremblay, has held the seat for two terms and he hopes to get a third election victory and finish his career in style at the direction of what he calls his city! (Tremblay will be 67 years on next 20 September)
The current mayor has been criticized very aggressively in recent years but he always kept on course despite the attacks and has survived which is very honorable in politics …
Personally, I know Gérald Tremblay but I am not an intimate. I was closer to the former mayor Pierre Bourque and I even contributed, along with Pierre Péladeau in his first campaign and election victory of 1994. Péladeau pushed Quebecor and the Journal de Montreal behind Bourque and I served as the courrier. We had dislodged Jean Doré unexpectedly because all observers predicted that Bourque would be defeated … It was the first time a staff member (Director of the Botanical Garden) became the first magistrate of his town. I think it was a good mayor at least during his first term.
I also know another candidate who was also a personal friend of Pierre Péladeau, Jacques Duchesneau. Unfortunately he failed to be elected at the November 1998 election but I think he could have win if he had been better surrounded. His communications advisors had recommended moving away from his image as a chief of police to move closer to the ordinary citizen. I am convinced this was what caused the failure! I had offered my services at the time for his communications, but Jacques did not want to invite me on his team. Note that Pierre Péladeau had died in December 1997 and I was looking for a job at the time. I like to think that I could have help Jacques Duchesneau become Mayor …
The current 2009 campaign for mayor of Montreal may be a reflection of the economy, ie rather dull and without any major project. Benoit Labonté could have held a good debate but he was afraid of not winning and he gave way to a former Quebec Minister Louise Harel, the same who had led the issue of municipal mergers. His past may catch and damage her candidacy. Does any candidates would be able to dislodge Gérald Tremblay? Yes but no one want to pay the price or make the effort to persuade voters. Jacques Ducheneau is not interested at all in politics any more and Pierre Bourque is retired and very happy to be. Others like Normand Legault are tired of struggling to convince, while ex-politicians as Liza Frulla prefer their new starring role on TV.
The municipal elections will be held on November 1st for the entire province of Quebec and in an election campaign everything is possible. The proof is Quebec City. It was believed that nobody could replace Mayor Andrée Boucher and it is an unknown candidate as the mayor, Régis Labeaume, who became admired not only in Quebec but in all of Canada and even in France. His particular difference is the requirement for members of his party not to support him. Each of the councilors in Labeaume political party can vote according to his conscience.
We have to wait and see the election results in Quebec City as Labeaume will also be in re-election next November but it seems that if there is a “Barack Obama” of Quebec politics, this is the mayor of Quebec!
Politics is often comparable to the horse races. The horse that everybody see as a winner just lose the race behind a horse on which no one has bet. Good luck to all candidates for mayor, not only in Montreal but throughout Quebec. That the best wins, both men and women!
Bernard Bujold
Photo 1: Gerald Tremblay, Jacques Duchesneau, Louise Harelet Pierre Bourque
Photo 2: Régis Labeaume – maire de Québec
Link Hôtel de ville de Québec
Link Hôtel de ville de Montréal
Link Élections municipales 1er novembre 2009

The rock of Frank Stronach

June 9, 2009

Frank Stronach is now one of the richest men in the world but his history began humbly in Montreal as a young immigrant.
I know Frank Stronach (76 years) for having met him when I was in Ottawa in 1984 after the election of Brian Mulroney. Stronach just turned 50 at the time and already his auto parts company Magna was growing rapidly.
The dinner that we had together is still engraved in my memory. He told me: “I came to Canada in 1954 without any possession. At first I worked at any small jobs and I even picked up golf ball north of Montreal. In fact, I almost picked up because I never found the location of the golf course… I left for Toronto and opened a mechanic shop with a partner. We were two young people with a tool box. We worked without rest and we even slept in the garage to save paying a rent.
At one point, I realized that this was not a life. One Sunday afternoon, I sat on a large rock and I thought: What do I want to do with my life? Repairing old cars in exchange for few dollars or live a life with a beautiful home and a family? There on this rock, I realized that if I wanted to realize my dreams, I would be capable. For me it all started on that rock … “
This story, told with an Austrian accent, was very captivating. I hangs on to it with interest. Stronach knows how to communicate and his eyes are very bright.
The man was very successful but also have many failures in business as in politics. For one, he could never be elected MP when he dreamed of becoming Prime Minister (1988). His project of luxury magazine VISTA (1989) did not work neither the election of his daughter to the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada (2004). I would say he has experienced as many failures as successes but the conclusion is that the gains outweigh the losses. As he repeats often: “We must enjoy our successes, forget the failures and keep moving … “
I met Frank and his daughter Belinda a few times over the years after the dinner of 1984. I was also a supporter of Belinda when she was candidate for the leadership of Conservative Party, a position that she lost to Stephen Harper.
In the case of Frank, he makes me think of Richard Branson, Paul Desmarais or Guy Laliberté. These are leaders who occupy the room when they enter one as their “aura” is very strong. They are also very lucky because they all have been as close to failure as to success. Their destiny was a success but they could have lost everything. For example, just look at the fate of another major character who resembled to them in terms of charisma but who has lost everything: Robert Campeau from Ottawa.
Frank Stronach has now left Canada to return to his home country Austria. He recently made the news media with its proposal to buy the German automobile company OPEL. Medias also speak of its proposed electric car, a pioneer in the field.
We will wait and see for the next part of his life story but Frank has shown up until now that he can be convincing to Lady Luck to be his friend!
Bernard Bujold 
Picture 2: Frank Stronach in his mechanic shop (circa 1960)
Picture 3: Belinda and his father Frank Stronach (May 2008)
Picture 4: Frank Stronack in New York
Link Interview Frank Stronach
Link Pictures Belinda Stronach
Picture 1: Frank Stronach in Berlin (May 2009)