Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Slam This City!

There's a little event planned tomorrow night in LA that might appeal to some of the more progressive-minded crime fic fans out there .

Or anyone who gives a damn about anything more than the bottom line.

Gary Phillips, creator of the Ivan Monk series and editor of the recently blogged-upon Politics Noir, among about a zillion other projects, both will be bringing his considerable activist and literary mojo, MC-ing WRITE TO THE CITY, which is billing itself as "LA's First Writer's Slam on Genrification."

Among those attending are fellow local crime writers Gar Haywood (who writes the Aaron Gunner books), Rick Dakan, Larry Fondation, Denise Hamilton (the Eve Diamond crime novels), and our old pal Robert Ward (Shedding Skin and Red Baker), as well as the Big Man himself. Popping in from the Windy City to lend a hand is Sara Paretsky (the V.I. Warshawski books, of course, and the recent literary memoir Writing in an Age of Silence).

Here's the scoop from the official web site.

Can you imagine Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe hanging out at a gastro-pub? Or Dashiell Hammett writing the Maltese Falcon from a luxury loft?

Today, noir and mystery writers are documenting a common phenomenon.

Their characters’ lives are all facing a big problem: they’re grappling with the changing face of their cities.

The vibrant city celebrated in noir books and stories is fast disappearing. Its residents and local businesses are facing the same fate as those in the non-fiction world.

Gentrification is forcing them out of their communities.

Write to the City is a one-of-a-kind slam that will pair some of the country’s foremost noir and mystery writers with inner-city activists to trade stories in a genre-melding way. We hope you’ll join us on May 29th for a literary and political exploration of the city, and a chance to talk to someone you don’t know over a whiskey sour and a background of good music.

Okay, I'm not sure Chandler "celebrated" Los Angeles in his writing -- even then he was horrified by what was happening to it in the name of "progress." But what's happening now is worse. You look at what's happening in our cities (and our suburbs, for that matter) now and it's clear this cancer can't go on. The residents of Palmdale who snidely refer to Los Angeles as "down below" and think what happens down there doesn't affect their lives in a thousand different ways -- are in for a shock. The birds are coming home to roost -- and they ain't chickens anymore. They're birds of prey. And they're not going to wait for you to drop dead before they start feasting.

My guess is that --given this crowd and the bent of the evening -- there won't be a lot of Hummers in the parking lot.

Quality of life? Making our cities livable? A spit in the face of the strip miners of our cities? Crime fiction?

I'll be there.

Hope you are too.

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Blogger Guillaume said...

The gentrification debate is an interesting one. I have a few comments about it. I think that a private eye, as a character, has to adapt to contemporary environment, just like real life crime scene has adapted to it. Organised crime gentrified itself (big mobsters try to appear like legitimate businessmen, dirty jobs are done by people very low on the payroll, etc) and a lot of the activities regarding crime now need a certain level of competences and knowledges that were unnecessary decades ago. Being a violent guy isn't enough, one needs to know about finances, computers, or hire people who know about these things. In the meantime, with the vast amount of money mobsters have, they have decided to enjoy what's best in life: fine wines, a night at the opera, etc. In Quebec, many criminalised bikers had a thing for classical music (one of them was even a professional musician). Crime has become more subtle, criminals have become richer. Same thing goes with police forces: they need to retrace dirty money and a lot of the work of police officers is paperwork. All this is less spectacular. And they don't stay all the time in the mean streets of their city.

7:09 AM, June 03, 2008  
Blogger Kevin Burton Smith said...

Oh, certainly P.I.s have to keep up with the times.

For example, the resistance to computers as displayed in detective fiction up until relatively recently was embarrassing -- regardless of how actual writers may have felt about them, real-life detectives, both public AND private, would have had no choice but to plug in and turn on.

But the concerns about gentrification aired at Write to the City were not so much about the bright, shiny promises of gentrification -- who wouldn't like a nice shopping area or a thriving business district? -- as the human cost in forcing it to happen, and who is really going to profit: those who have lived and worked in a community all their lives, or some outside corporation who has bought out and systematically gutted an entire neighbourhood?

The willful destruction of once-vibrant communities in the name of progress (which usually translates into corporate profits) is an on-going process, and it's happening everywhere. In the sticks (like, say, Palmdale, California or Ste-Hubert, Quebec) it's called suburban sprawl, wherein farmland and wilderness is plowed under and paved over to make room for cookie cutter housing developments and malls; in the cities it's the people themselves who are plowed under and paved over.

But it's the same result -- profits for the few and an illusory improvement in quality of life for a certain class at the decidedly real expense of the many.

I mean, how many venti fraps do we need to drink before we feel better about the guy digging for his supper in the dumpster in back of Starbucks?

Granted, I'm skeptical enough to realize not all slums need to be preserved at any cost, and I was disconcerted to notice how many Yuppie-types were at Write to the City (quite a few of the twenty-somethings looked like they'd kill for a downtown loft). The implied racism, lazy profiling and too-good-to-be-true stereotypes of some of the rants was just as disturbing as the implied racism, lazy profiling and too-evil-to-be-true stereotypes they were decrying, and there was a certain amount of fuzzy romanticizing about long-gone neighbourhoods by people who never lived there. And may not have even been alive when those neighbourhoods existed.

But once all the rhetoric and sweeping finger-pointing and occasionally self-aggrandizing speeches were scraped away, there were the crime writers themselves, reading excerpts and short works of fiction who continually through the night brought it all back home: Ward, Paretsky, Phillips, Hamilton et al. And in particular, Larry Foundation, a short story writer whom I'd never even heard of before (but will certainly be keeping an eye on from now on), who kicked off the evening with the best story of them all -- a dark and savage little piece about a bum (oh, sorry, a homeless person) trying to keep ahead of the developers.

He doesn't make it.

But Foundation and the other writers came across better than the speechifiers and "truth-tellers" for a simple reason: not because they were pros (though that helped), but because they remembered to focus on what really mattered -- the simple human cost.

And in aiming smaller they lit up everything.

And that, my friends, was worth it.

9:37 AM, June 05, 2008  
Blogger Guillaume said...

Oh sorry, I am afraid I read the entry too fast and I got off topic. I thought it was about the changing world of modern PIs, and the fact that it got (seemingly) too soft. Former working class areas are now very bourgeois, for instance. This is what I understand about gentrification: improving "materially" the conditions in one area, but then risking of modifying the very character of said area. It doesn't always mean a bad thing: the quartier Saint-Roch in Quebec City is now nicer and safer than say, 20 years ago, but it has its downsides: the Plateau in Montreal might be nicer and full of nice shops and restaurants, it is also ridiculously expensive and lost its bohemian charm (but then again, said bohemian appeal probably triggered the transformation). What you are describing can be seen all around Montreal, but especially in suburbia, where consumerism and tacky development has grown and took gargantuan proportions (hurting Montreal at the same time). And yes, it's a fertile ground for crime fiction. Petty city officials and local businessmen (boss des bécosses as we call them) behave like mobsters nowadays and have nothing but contempt for democracy.

9:39 AM, June 06, 2008  
Blogger Kevin Burton Smith said...

Exactly, Guillaume. It's an end run around democracy in the name of power and greed. Quality of life rarely comes into it.

You can see it even in the ever-expanding old suburbs, or even in the PQ's merger scheme of a few years ago that attempted -- and mostly succeeded -- in diluting the power and character of former small towns and suburbs, making them ripe for political and developer's plucking.

Don't like the way some small town acts about some development plan? Demolish their city council and merge the town with a bigger one that will more likely do your bidding.

11:21 AM, June 08, 2008  
Blogger Guillaume said...

I regret to say that you are being unfair about the PQ. The merge failed in Montreal because it got decentralised and let little small-town mayors have all discretionary powers. It was a success everywhere else in Quebec, including Quebec City and Saguenay (not that I like the mayor of Saguenay or the new name of Chicoutimi, mind you). The merge was never, ever, about giving more powers to developers and small town businessmen, but to get rid of the unfair treatment towards the metropole. Montreal has been vampirised by the banlieue (francophone and anglophone one altogether). Were the little towns in Quebec City, Montreal, Laval, Longueuil,and so on more democratic before the merge? Of course not. Would the previous system have prevent the savage development of Mount Orford or Tremblant? Of course not. I don't like the exactions made in the name of progress either, but there is no need to cry wolf. Sometimes, change is necessary.

10:08 AM, June 09, 2008  
Blogger Kevin Burton Smith said...

Gee. An Anglo being "unfair" to the PQ!


And they've treated us so well.

11:42 AM, June 09, 2008  
Blogger Guillaume said...

Please, Kevin, calm down, the English speaking community in Québec has hardly been repressed. It sure is in a better state nowadays than the francophone connunities in English Canada. My point is that you can't start accusing the PQ of all the ills in Québec. The fusion was not targeted at the English speaking minority, it was something that has been applied in all of Québec and was criticised by many French speaking communities as well, sometimes rightly, sometimes not. Before the merge, small communities were not safe from shadowy deals and many petty "maires de banlieue", in Montreal or elsewhere, mmanaged to make pretty good deals on their taxpayers's behalf. And it was not a PQ government that decided to sell rural Quebec to pork producers, that built the Montreal Casino, that tried to get the casino to Pointe-Saint-Charles (although Lucien Bouchard was for, he was no more PM and the Liberals were then in power), that got the vulgar Quartier DIX30 built, etc.

1:19 PM, June 09, 2008  
Blogger Kevin Burton Smith said...

On Jun 9, 2008, at 1:19 PM, Guillaume wrote:

Guillaume has left a new comment on the post "Slam This City!":
That depends, I guess , on whether you consider language tests, school restrictions, the tongue troopers, the banning of the English language in public, the willful dismantling of our communities and services and educational systems and the like as repression or not.

On whether being told constantly by our "leaders" that we're not really Quebecois, or when they openly suggest that perhaps English newspapers and radio stations should be closed down as repression or not.

Evidently the separatist solution to repairing old historic grievances was to inflict new ones.

That's progress?

And if you really think the English speaking community doesn't feel repressed, you really should talk to some of them. Their children are some of the most bilingual kids on the planet -- but most of them, including mine, fully expect to live somewhere other than Quebec when they grow up. Because all they hear about is how they're "les autres."

You claim the Anglo community is in a better state nowadays than the francophone connunities in English Canada.

No disagreement there, but do nationalists want justice or payback? And some Francophone communities outside of Quebec (in Eastern Ontario and New Brunswick) aren't quite the hellholes the separatists would like their disciples to believe they are. They've actually flourished.

And if the Anglophone Quebecois are so well treated why has the community shrunk continually since the seventies? Believe me, it was not because Toronto or Calgary suddenly seemed so hip.

As for the mergers, all I know is that before the mergers, when our basement flooded, a call to Greenfield Park City Hall was answered promptly, in English and French.

After the merger, a similar situation resulted in a French-only answering machine to Longueuil City Hall, and an eventual call back the next day, where we were told we'd be put on a list.

The "decentralization" of the school boards worked just as well. It gutted a small, effective, IBO-acclaimed bilingual dissident school board in Greenfield Park with very impressive grade averages for a large, ineffective one that spreads from the American border all the way north to Sorel. Attending a school board meeting used to be a five-minute drive. Now it's a two-hour drive -- at night, one way -- for some parents.

The on-going erasure of non-Francophone nomenclature is evidence enough of how much respect there is in Quebec for Anglos, history or even the wishes of Quebec's own citizens.

You ask if those little towns were more democratic before the merge and answer "of course not."

But it's not that simple. Some of those towns no longer exist as political entities. They're mostly just names now on old maps, on the return addresses of letters from home, and in the ground level defiance of its citizens, such as fire departments refusing to repaint their engines with new city names.

Do you really think a Federalist-leaning bilingual town like Greenfield Park will be treated fairly now that it's been merged with the much larger and predominately Francophone PQ stronghold of Longueuil? Or that that angle never occurred to the PQ? How many democracy-loving separatists are going to march when Longueuil decides to cut the budget (again) for English books at the old Greenfield Park library?

Yes, yes, I know all the old historical injustices that gave rise to the separatist movement, and I'm not unsympathetic (not that anyone in my family ever had enough power to lord it over anyone or tell them to speak "white"), but as long as we allow opportunistic slimeballs of any and all political stripes to pit us against each other by constantly reopening old (and sometimes imagined) wounds, nothing will ever heal.

Protect the French language and culture? By all means. But not at the expense of other communities. Or by vilifying non-Francophones. Or non-whites. Or non-Christians. Or whoever the favourite whipping boys are this week.

Quebec has always been a cesspool of politics. And that's my point. The PQ was founded by an much-respected (even by me) idealist with a noble cause (protecting his people) but the party soon became just as corrupt as all the other parties, full of opportunists and cultural carpetbaggers, and they had the added agenda of redressing ancient grievances by inflicting new ones. That played well with those who have been told all their lives that they're victims.

Look, Guillaume, you may think Quebec would be better served outside of Canada. I don't. But surely we can agree that two wrongs will never make a right. The solution is dialogue, not eternal tit for tat and endless condemnation of "les autres."

3:29 PM, June 09, 2008  
Blogger Guillaume said...

I will fiercely defend the Bill 101: it was a strong remedy that was necessary to preserve the French nature of Quebec (and yes that includes having immigrants go to French schools and having predominant French in the public sphere), especially Montreal, which by the way is very much bilingual nowadays. You cannot say that English language is in a bad state (it's the predominant language of business, for instance). It certainly is in a better state than French in the so-called bilingual city of Ottawa (where the francophone communities you mention are frankly difficult to find). Yes there has been an exodus, but I fail to see why revigoring French in Montreal was so unsustainable for the ones who left.

And you seem to mix the intention of some independantists with the policies of the PQ government as well as imagining both movement and party dominated by Anglo-hating xenophobes. There are radicals in any political movement, and I met first hand a couple of them in the PQ. I also met many pragmatic people, many bilingual people and a few anglos even. The picture you have of them is partial, but also terribly inacurate: the English might be looked like with suspicion by many (although they have always been nice to me and my British wife), but there are plenty of non-White and immigrants among them, and I will have to ask you if you were serious about the villifying of the non Christians. Because both the PQ and the sovereigntist movement have been profoundly secularist. I don't have to tell you which government deconfessionalised the school system in Québec. Believe it or not, René Lévesque was not the only good people in the Parti Québécois.

About the merge, yes, it was a failure in Montreal, but it is because the city was decentralised to please the anti-merge movement, which was quite often anti-Montreal (something Charest shamelessly exploited). I know the argument that "services were better then", but the problem with many of the banlieues is that while they had the advantages of living in a big city (and being effectively Montrealers) they did not want to pay or work on the problems that was going with it. The merge was a success in Quebec City and Chicoutimi (apart from the horrible name it got) and this is not incidental. Yes, there was a risk of loosing its sense of community, but the Plateau Mont-Royal has been part of Montreal forever and never lost it. Neither did the the town of Arvida (where most of the Anglo community of Saguenay lives) when it merged with Jonquière decades ago, and that was done by Bourassa, not an "evil" separatist government.

I know you don't have to share the same view as them (or me), but what I perceive here is blaming a party and a whole movement (in a bad state, I will give you that) for all of Québec's ills. You seem to refuse to recognize that both contributed to its development and modernisation (in the good sense of the words). Reading you, one must wonder what was Lévesque doing with that bunch of Anglo hating, immigrants bashing fachos. And that's why Kevin, I think you are being unfair on that issue.

1:20 AM, June 10, 2008  
Blogger Kevin Burton Smith said...

I don't think I'm so much unfair as simply unconvinced.

The fact is, you never hear an Anglo Quebecois refer to themselves as "the best treated minority in the world."

A couple of points -- Montreal was ALWAYS bilingual. There have always been unilingual pockets, and there still are.

You're either much younger than I am if you think Montreal was ever a one-language town, or you've been drinking the nationalist Kool-Aid all your life. And while certain aspects of 101, the PQ's language law, were certainly necessary, the way it was put into practice turned out to be extremely embarrassing for the separatists -- and frequently (and I suspect, intentionally) insulting to Anglophones.


Unpaid informants snitching on Anglo "law" breakers who were committing linguistic "crimes"? Laws compelling immigrants (even English-speaking ones) to attend French schools where, only a few years earlier, the same sort of immigrants were discouraged from attending? Compulsory French tests for certain professions, but only for those of Anglo descent? (When, in fact, few Francophones could pass the written tests either?) Government bureaucrats, the so-called "tongue troopers," running around with tape measures to see if the letters on the few English signs still allowed in public were too big? The wholesale replacement of any and all English street and place names with more politically correct French names, regardless of any historical or cultural basis the original names may have had? The vandalism of English businesses shrugged off as "understandable" by duly-elected leaders?

Half the time we didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Most of the rest of the world just laughed.

How nice that Anglos sure are made to feel "welcome" in the place some of their families have lived for centuries.

And I know what you're about to say... the "rest of Canada" defense. But if it's wrong for some redneck yahoo in Alberta or Manitoba to discriminate against the French just to score political points (and it is), isn't it also wrong to pass discriminatory laws in Quebec just to score political points? Are you interested in actual justice and equality and protecting a culture and breaking away from the past or just tit for tat?

I never said that the English language is in a bad state -- only that Quebec's Anglophone community was. I'm glad you at least admit there was an Anglophone exodus over the last thirty years or so, and frankly I think a lot of those people probably should have left. But not all of them wanted to. And those who chose to remain and adapt -- the "good' Anglos, if you will (and I think I was one) -- are still being vilified.

And yes, I do imagine both the movement and the party are at least partially tainted by Anglo-hating xenophobes. But they don't just hate Anglos. Go out to the sticks (like the Gaspe or the Gatineau) and you'll find they hate plenty of "les autres" as well.

The sad fact is that there has always been a trace of xenophobia, racism and even anti-Semitism (Yves Michaud, anyone?) in Quebec's nationalist movement -- pointing it out (to Americans! In The New Yorker!!) is what got Richler in trouble. I mean, how dare he quote headlines from Le Devoir or LaPresse to make his case!!!

Parizeau himself, the former duly-elected leader of the PQ, made a big and hurtful point of denouncing the "ethnic vote" when the PQ lost the last referendum. And didn't he badger the Hispanic (or was she Filipino?) waitress who was serving him that night? Evidently she wasn't "pure laine" enough. And he wasn't some nobody indulging in a little racism. He was once the duly-elected leader of the PQ!

No, these tawdry incidents might not (and probably don't) reflect the feelings of most of the members of the separatist movement -- but they sure do prove embarrassing. And denunciations seem to often come very slowly from the powers that be. Get away from the big cities and the xenophobia is even more in evidence. How many black or Asian PQ members are running for election... outside of Montreal?

Like yourself, I've met many pragmatic, open and tolerant people on both sides of the issue. And my picture of Quebec is certainly no more partial than yours -- if anything, it's more encompassing, since I at least admit the far less pleasant sort of things also exist. (And I'll admit there are some xenophobic and racist Anglos still left in Quebec and the rest of Canada as well -- but they're not the ones in positions of power now, writing laws about how old children have to be before they're allowed to be taught English in school, or whether an apostrophe on a public sign is illegal or not).

The deconfessionalisation and consolidation of the school boards was as much about consolidating power as anything. Often at the expense of competence and effectiveness. The French schools in our tiny dissident school board weren't very happy to fall under the auspices of the huge, inept (and purportedly corrupt) French school board in Longueuil, just as the English ones were unhappy to be folded into a sprawling new and untried board that stretched for hundreds of miles.

Of course I don't believe (and never said that) the PQ are responsible for all of Quebec's ills; no more so than everything wrong in the place is the fault of the English. Or Ottawa. Similarly Anglos' many contributions to Quebec and its "modernisation" shouldn't be denied -- though they frequently are in the "new" Quebec. There's plenty of guilt and laurels for everyone.

And yes, in fact, I do imagine Levesque must have often wondered about the company he was keeping. He was certainly a far more decent man than some of his successors and colleagues -- to his everlasting credit he, at least, was troubled by some of the possible or potential excesses of 101. And subsequent events showed he was right to be troubled (a government committee to substitute the word "hamburger" for "hambourgois" in public? Does that really fire you up with pride?).

Bouchard was also pretty much okay, although it took him a while to really understand the reality of Montreal (poor Montreal, the city deemed too "French" for many Canadians, too "English" for many Quebecois, too "European" for many Americans and too "American" for for many Europeans).

(Bill 101 was, in many ways, the equivalent of Trudeau's War Measures Act -- a controversial and polarizing bill demanded by others reluctantly signed by a charismatic and popular leader who then had to tough out the consequences and pay the political price).

This "some of my best friends are Anglos" argument doesn't carry much weight. If you think the Anglos that have chosen to remain in Quebec, those who have made sure their children were bilingual and have tried to carve out a life for themselves, aren't still often being made to feel unwelcome, go talk to a few who aren't PQ members.

Your "British wife" didn't grow up in Quebec -- she parachuted in. Her acceptance by your friends is moot. They can't help but take the fact she wasn't born and raised in Quebec (and therefore not to "blame") -- or that she's your wife -- into account. So go speak to a few working and middle-class Anglophones who actually grew up in Quebec, and aren't convinced by the separatist dream. Left for dead by the rest of Canada, reviled or still held up as scapegoats and constantly made to feel unwelcome by the province they call their home. No wonder we're skeptical.

No wonder I'M skeptical.

Not just of the French or the PQ but of all of them, English and French alike. The eternal squabbling between the two camps is a major reason why Montreal is no longer Canada's biggest city.

I realize we've wandered far from the topic of gentrification, but I need you to understand I don't hate the French or even the PQ; nor do I blame them for all of Quebec's many ills. But neither do I think all of Quebec's ills lie at the hands of the English or Canada.

1:38 PM, June 13, 2008  
Blogger Guillaume said...

I very well know that Montreal has always been bilingual. I would also say that now it is more so than 50 years ago, when English was the dominating language. And that's my point: English has hardly been repressed and it is alive and well. I will always defend the Bill 101, especially the compulsory attendance of French schools for immigrants (and yes, that includes native English speakers). It's simply commonsense, as Québec is a French nation (it has now being recognized as such, not that it means much, but still) and French is the official language. The absurdity of the "prépondérance" of French in signs was actually introduced by Robert Bourassa. The previous form of the Bill 101 had french signs made all in French. Excessive? Maybe, but it was clear and again, as Quebec is a French province, it is understandable (maybe even necessary). As for the strenght of French in Montreal, it is better but still unstable. I have been served in English in restaurants. Not in the West of Montreal, but in the very French Plateau Mont-Royal. Am I xenophobic to find it abnormal, in the 2000? And please, don't compare the Bill 101 to the October Crisis! As far as I know, no English speaker has ever been imprisoned without trials because of the Bill 101. (And for the hambourgeois thing, I mean, really, you think it's a statement of policy? That it was a by-product of that law? Some "french" words are sometimes tried to be introduce in language as "proper" use to avoid using English terms, it happens in France too, sometimes they get accepted and get used, sometimes they don't This one failed, that's it. Do I really have to feel ashamed for it? What does it have to do with the Bill 101? Courriel, clavardage have been accepted, pourriel might be one day, should I feel ashamed of that too?)

As for the regions, it is true there aren't many English speakers there, but still, there are more than you think. We did have the Universités du Québec to attract foreign students, you know, and some industries to attract workers and let's not even mention how familiar is an Irish name among the French speaking population.

Now about the PQ. Michaud is one person, who got away with a lot because he was a personal friend of René Lévesque. Among PQ members, and I speak from experience, he is hated at least as much as he is loved. Joseph Facal never hid his contempt for the man, neither did many of the members, famous or not. The first man who actually wanted Parizeau to become leader of the PQ was René Lévesque, when he saw that the Johnson leadership was leading nowhere. Parizeau himself, in spite of his bitter and unelequang comment in 1995, has never been a racist and a xenophobic (his first wife was a Jewish immigrant from Poland), let alone anglophobe (he studied in England and in many ways he adopted their mannerism). You seem to forget that there are also influent PQ members who are from the immigration: Joseph Facal whom I have mentioned, François Barcelo, Makka Kotto, etc. No, they are not from outside Montreal, but you rarely saw a member of an ethnic minority win an election in any party outside Montreal. Landry tried to get his old friend David Levine (another Jewish immigrant) in region, he would have been a great minister of Healthcare, sadly he failed. Now you can blame the voters for electing a "pure laine" from the ADQ then, but you can't blame the PQ for trying. And about Bernard Landry, he was the one who allegedly insulted the Fillipino woman, probably in Spanish (as he is fluent in it), but said he was sorry. Again, you can blame bitterness for that. Iam not condoning what they said, but you have to put it in context. I am married to an English woman, I am deeply in love with England itself and yet there are moments when I dislike England.

I don't think all the ills come from English Canada, but I don't think you can blame the PQ for the decline of Montreal. The merge was an attempt to make the city stronger, it was motivated by a genuine love and concern for Montreal, and it failed mainly because of the weakness of the Liberal government who misshandled the thing after they got elected, partly because they wanted to be nice to their electorate. it worked in Quebec City, it worked in Chicoutimi, it worked everywhere the defusion movement didn't take off.

On a side note, I agree with you that Montreal is unloved by too many Quebeckers. Bouchard loved the city, he tried to make it stronger with the merge. And it could have benefitted the Anglophone community: they would have got a real metropole to develop instead of suburbia. They might have been a time when a Montreal mayor could have been anglophone (fine by me, because I do believe that the Brits developed Montreal and all of Quebec).

6:31 AM, June 14, 2008  

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