Posted by: pafmurray | June 29, 2009

More publicity than ever and payback time for an amateurist, award winning national columnist.

Much to my surprise, this blog has had over 1,000 hits since it was put up at the suggestion of CSL Councillor/Suburban Columnist, Mike Cohen.

There was more media publicity this year concerning Le Tour than in all of the previous years. As the idea is to create a controversy around the event, for its failure to cooperate with charity, this year was a remarkable success.

For the most part, francophone media considers this matter a hot potato. That goes hand in hand with the sad situation in Quebec with regard to philanthropy and volunteerism.

I have been attacked on numerous occasions for my methods and for the idea of having the participants of Velo QC events invited to raise $$ for charity.

Those who attack the idea, do not seem to be able to comprehend what the word invite means. To them (and only them) I seemingly wish to make it mandatory that if one wishes to cycle in the events, that they MUST raise funds. That of course is false.

Award winning Globe and Mail columnist, Andre Picard, is likely aware by now that I have filed a complaint with the Ontario Press Council regarding his article that appeared about my effort on May 21.

For an award winning national columnist, to pen a column about someone, based entirely on what an enemy has to say about them, without a doubt has to be the low point of that columnist’s professional career.

Mr. Picard’s reaction to the actual facts presented to him the day following the publication of his article, was to completely ignore the fact that what he had written was full of mistakes

As far as those who do not understand/appreciate the methods being used, perhaps if they understood that Velo QC by their own admission refuses 10-15 charities/yr to use the event to raise funds, they will then appreciate that the nature of the beast is actually anti-social in nature.

Velo Quebec used to say that their mission was to promote cycling and cycling safety. Over 10 yrs. ago when I pointed out to the media that cycling helmets were not mandatory in Velo QC events, and that Velo QC did essentially nothing to promote safety, Velo QC dropped cycling safety from their mission.

Recently they began to promote, cycling as “a healthy family activity”, but in spite of the fact that jurisdictions that have mandatory cycling  helmets by law, have experienced a marked decrease number of deaths in those under the age of 15, helmets are not mandatory for even the  participants, 15 yrs and under, of Velo QC events!

It should be noted that it is very likely that the events of Velo QC are the only ones in Canada and the US, where the wearing of a helmet is not mandatory!

The actual mission of Velo QC is to make as much money as possible so that they can force their agenda upon the highly malleable politicians of Montreal, and be well paid to do so. Montreal in the short term is going to be come a cycling paradise, and it will also become a drivers’ nightmare at the same time.

Exercising (cycling) is a great activity. As a retired ultra-endurance athlete I will testify to that, BUT the reality is that the vast majority of people drive cars/trucks  and very likely out of necessity. Having attended council meetings I have witnessed first hand the negative affects of catering to cyclists, and I have seen politicians stepping back from what they have done or allowed to be done, without even thinking.

All that I can say is that I am very happy that I rarely have to drive through Montreal, and even happier that I do not have to cycle upon its crumbling pavement at all.

As a result of this year’s event, many in CDN, NDG, Westmount and areas nearby were inconvenienced. There was so much inconvenience that efforts have commenced to keep the event out of the west end.

I support the event but I feel that there should be some quid pro quo for all of the negative effects associated with it, and that means inviting the event’s participants to raise funds for the charities of the participants’ choice.

Only the lack of concern and spinelessness of municipal politicians and the public themselves keeps this from happening.

On the day that the founder of the NYC Marathon was diagnosed with brain cancer, for the first time it became important that the 30,000 participants of his marathon became invited to raise funds for the benefit of victims of cancer.

I suspect that similar must happen, for the balance of humanity as well.



  1. Hi Murray: My family and I travelled to Montreal this year, in part to participate in the Tour.

    Here’s how I see it — driving is a disease; cycling is the cure. Therefore, if the Tour is a fundraising event for VQ (a non-profit), then I’m raising money for charity. And I feel good about that.

    Thanks for your thought provoking discussion.

    don cook

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