MONTREAL, Sept. 16 /CNW/ - "Imagine for a minute if Quebec's 25,000 MBAs
got on with it... the face of Quebec would never be the same and we would
quickly join the elite club of the world's top-performing societies," L.
Jacques Ménard, President of BMO Financial Group, Quebec, said today in a
speech to the Association des MBA du Québec.
Mr. Ménard reminded his audience that the next generation risks
inheriting a weaker society if the baby boomer generation does not soon
address issues in areas as crucial as:
- restoring the health of government finance, including paying down the
increasingly burdensome debt;
- improving Quebec's education system, which, for all intents and
purposes, lets one third of high school and CEGEP students fall
through the cracks;
- increasing Quebec companies' participation in the training of young
- improving Quebec companies' productivity rate;
- revitalizing the job market;
- and, especially, bringing the job market into line with young
In doing so, Mr. Ménard alluded to several priorities suggested in his
book, Si on s'y mettait..., which was published last spring. "In writing this
book, I wanted to help put our house in order before young people take it over
from us. I wanted to encourage my generation to act while there's still time,
especially since I deeply believe it's feasible. Other societies in worse
positions than ours have done so. Why not us?" Mr. Ménard asked his audience
of management specialists.
Through two large surveys, the author of Si on s'y mettait... asked young
people about their values, their view of today's workplace and their
expectations regarding jobs and income, among other topics. The surveys
revealed that family, friends and leisure time are at the top of young
people's list of priorities, while money and work are at the bottom.
"I didn't want to speak on behalf of young people. I wanted them to speak
for themselves," explained Mr. Ménard, who sees no contradiction between the
values expressed by young people and their often high expectations regarding
income and jobs. "They are ready to give their all if provided with the
opportunity to use their creativity, network with colleagues and travel. It's
a clear rejection of drudge work with no personal involvement, the way work is
currently organized," Mr. Ménard added.
Mr. Ménard encouraged the MBAs and representatives from the business
world to speak out. "Our presence in the public discussion is very small,
sometimes even non-existent," he said. "Public opinion too often gets drowned
in a flood of statements from a self-styled left whose defining characteristic
is to defend the status quo, a left that stands in the way of any change."
In short, it was with a vibrant call for MBAs and business people to take
action to restore to Quebec the full vitality of its huge potential that Mr.
Ménard opened the Association des MBA du Québec's new season of lunch-time
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