Green jobs... for Montreal

Post by Mike Klassen in


See Talk Green to Us project proposal from a Montreal company

Perhaps we should file this one under the "ironic" category. As readers of know we encourage wise use of taxpayer dollars. We're also boosterish when it comes to our local economy, and especially our knowledge worker sector. These two goals are by no means at odds with each other, which is why we wonder the City of Vancouver in its quest to promote "green" through social media chose a Montreal-based company to do this work.

Back in December we submitted a Freedom of Information request to find out the funding behind a website project called "talkgreentous" geared to promote Vision's greenest city promise. We received the response to that FOI request this week – approximately four months later to the day. Note, these requests are supposed to be filled within 30 business days, but that hasn't happened once since the former manager of the FOI office quit.

The requests are being filled by the City Clerk's office to the best of their ability, but it is my understanding from a previous phone call to the department Paul Hancock's temporary replacement is working on a very limited part time schedule. If anyone at the City wishes to update me on this, please drop us a line.

Now this isn't the first time we've FOI'd the City about talkgreentous. We ran a post last September titled "Talk Gregor to Us" where we had inquired pretty much about the same thing:

  1. How much did the website cost? (Answer: $52,250, which includes the creative campaign)
  2. How much did the campaign video cost? (Answer: $12,750)
  3. How much did Vision insiders get paid to run ads about it? (Answer: $1,950)

The City must have been talking about doing another website last December for, which is why we filed another request. This time it appears the cost of the website was considerably less at $6,100. The charge out rate for the supplier was pretty low at $50/hour. But what struck us as odd was where the work was outsourced to: Montreal, QC.

Now, the last time I checked there are more than a few website development companies or contractors here in Metro Vancouver, and plenty who work on the Drupal platform. Given that Gregor Robertson has a pretty steep curve to climb in order to get those 12,000 (formerly 20,000) "green" jobs promised in the city by 2020, you'd think that the city might want to source that work locally.

We might surmise that "Fair Trade Media" won over the City's sustainability department with their name, and their connection to, a left wing activist web hub. I'm not sure what Vancouver's social media development community needs to do to get some of the outsourced work the City seeks, but surely for six grand a local provider could have done the work.

What do you think? Should the work have been sourced locally, or does providing jobs for a Montreal company matter? Leave your comments below.

- post by Mike. Follow @MikeKlassen or @CityCaucus on Twitter.



Just a side note; Vancouver is home to many award winning agencies and an abundance of talent.

But why stimulate the local economy?

This is right up there with using economic stimulus monies to purchase granite from a Chinese company, have it brought here via ship (3 month trek)to make repairs to the Stanley Park Seawall. They had the opportunity to give that contract to a local company.

Not so green.

what ever happened to the Business Retention goals or Buy Local objectives of this administration?
There are some cracker jack agencies in this town that could have done this work with their eyes closed.


Max, if the stone was sourced locally the Seawall project could have been at least LEED Gold and Gregor could have had another photo op. Darn! We missed one...

I wonder, what is the carbon foot print covering a cargo ship traveling for 3 months in th eopen seas.....

And the company that missed out was located in PoCo. They had everything that was needed.

Interesting issue. How much should local sourcing weigh in purchase decisions? In this case the work was electronic so there are no real sustainability issues. And I am sure that (i) Vancouver companies want to compete for work let by other cities and (ii) that Montreal is likely to favour local companies (that could be just a Vancouver prejudice about Montreal, I don't really know).

I would like to hear the arguments on both sides of this.

In general I favour free trade as long as all of the externalities are captured into the prices. I want Vancouver knowledge workers to be able to compete globally and that requires that we keep our own economy as open and competitive as possible.

On the other hand, I would like to see more local sourcing and government purchasing is one way to stimulate the local economy.

The website was a fantastic success in my experience. I learned a great deal by participating and felt my voice was being heard. Something I have not experienced with the Sullivan administration which seemed very closed to people not part of its political machinery. I am not big on joining political parties and am generally voting against something rather than for.

The Thought of The Night

"Green. Grin. Two words. Pronounced the same, but spelled differently."

The Green$ are Grinning.
You ask me, I'm sick of it. Green this, green that, green job$, green indu$try, green platform, green diaper$, green policy, green future...Oh,yea?

Why can't we use a different colour to play with anymore? Why not Pink Jobs? Why not Periwinkle Blue Construction? Or Red Medicare? Or Black Undertaking?

And BTW, where are all this job$ going to come from? Is this a magic trick, like the Disappearing Municipal Budget? Or similar to the Cutting in half of the City's Chief Electrician? Or Vancouver's Park Board 'Children Farm - Rabbit in the Hat for Good' trick?

Here are some future positions that IMHO might become available:

- Green Roof Bee Hives Attendant (please contact Allan Garr for more info)

- Community Allotment Weekend Gardner

- Backyard Chicken Night Catcher

- Bike Lane Lane Painter and Decorator


The only way this city, province, country will become the greenest of them all... is if and only, when everything we'll have, will be made somewhere else in the world. The best business strategy of the green peddlers is outsourcing. Period.

Wait... and gambling. Jeez, that's green!
Now wouldn't be a pity to loose 800 new Green Job$ right here, down by the Edge of the Water? Think about it. If we start small, with an innocent Casino as our local self triggered earthquake,then, sooner or later the Tides will swipe through the city and it will bring with it a Renewal Partners'll say: 'All it's well when it Endswell'...if you know what I mean.

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

Well... Just maybe the project called for a bilingual French/English site. How well can that be done in Vancouver?

After all, we are a bilingual country. N'est pas?

Check out!

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