Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Montreal News: Squirrel Again

I have been harping and harping on the idea that perhaps we are not so focused on the important stuff in Montreal.  Here is a tale of two pictures and then a third story:

This is from the big protest yesterday to mark the 100th day of the student protests of tuition (which has morphed into many issues with the current government, especially its response to the protests).

Montreal Gazette
This is a sinkhole that formed right outside McGill an hour or so after the protesters marched by.  My tweet last night was essentially that I have long compared the roads of Montreal/Quebec to World War I battlefields, but I will have to stop because it is an insult to the battlefields.

Ah, but why, other than the path of the protest, are these two pics related?  Because of a story buried in the paper: Quebec Justice Charbonneau is starting her commission to look into corruption in Montreal's construction industry.  Yes, the students have complained about corruption a bit, but that is not really the focus of their effort, and their efforts have taken the spotlight (as seen by the headlines and frontpages [the commission's opening is not even linked to the Gazette's front page on its website this morning]) off of the corruption problem.

That Montreal's infrastructure is literally collapsing should be the top story as it is a threat to people's lives, as opposed to the symbolic threat of an increase in tuition to access to education (symbolic because the crafting of the increase means that less than wealthy folks are not going to see any increase).

I get that the students are frustrated, I get that the rest of the province is frustrated with Jean Charest's mishandling of the crisis.  But the reality is that these protests are not going to empower real political change that might lead to less corruption, less waste and better construction.  It is no accident that the big unions are supporting the students--they are part of the corruption racket.  A new government led by the Parti Quebecois would not be focused on fighting corruption but on justifying secession.  Their focus is explicitly not on good governance (except when an occasional third party pushes them in that direction) but on more distraction sauce.  Would independence solve or ameliorate corruption and bad governance?  Hell no!  Would a separatist campaign that falls short make the roads better and the universities less expensive?  No.  So, consider me frustrated, too, as all of the attention is on issues that are not the fundamental ones.

Again, I get it that the demands of the students and their allies have accumulated so that corruption is now a bit more visible as a claim, but if only that were the central focus, then I might be supportive.  Instead, as the newspapers demonstrate, SQUIRREL!

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