The other day, I was going to post, “See: This is why I kept my Maclean’s subscription for so long”, and link to a Maclean’s piece by Andrew Potter.
Compared to the rest of the country, Quebec is an almost pathologically alienated and low-trust society, deficient in many of the most basic forms of social capital that other Canadians take for granted. (…)
To start with one glaring example, the police here don’t wear proper uniforms. Since 2014, municipal police across the province have worn pink, yellow, and red clownish camo pants as a protest against provincial pension reforms. They have also plastered their cruisers with stickers demanding “libre nego”—”free negotiations”—and in many cases the stickers actually cover up the police service logo. The EMS workers have now joined in; nothing says you’re in good hands like being driven to the hospital in an ambulance covered in stickers that read “On Strike.” (…)
We’re talking here about a place where some restaurants offer you two bills: one for if you’re paying cash, and another if you’re paying by a more traceable mechanism. And it’s not just restaurants and the various housing contractors or garage owners who insist on cash—it’s also the family doctor, or the ultrasound clinic. (…)
Some of this will be defended on the grounds that it is part of what makes up the province’s unique character. Sure, some restaurants will offer you two bills. Don’t be so uptight! It’s part of the place’s charm, along with the love of prog rock and the mandatory jaywalking. But the numbers show that it is close to inconceivable that this could happen anywhere else in the country. For most of these figures, Quebec isn’t just at the lower end of a relatively narrow spectrum: rather, most of the country is bunched up, with Quebec as a significant outlier. At some point, charm and uniqueness betrays itself as serious dysfunction—and the famous joie de vivre starts to look like nihilism.
Now, as I’ve written elsewhere, if you tell the truth about how shitty Quebec can be, you can be denounced in Parliament.
Come to find out, you can also get pushed out of a prestigious job, and people will say you kinda asked for it (while helpfully pointing out that a Francophone penned an even harsher article about Quebec and nothing happened.)
Chris Selley adds:
Ha, ha, no. This most certainly will not best serve the credibility of the Institute, or that of McGill, which can go ahead and take me off its alumni mailing lists. It is mortifying for both.