18 May 2012


You have to love mockery in the face of the disregard of civil liberties.

The Government of Québec, seemingly unable to peacefully settle a dispute it tried to ignore for weeks, has passed legislation to suspend the educational session at CEGEPS [colleges] and Universities touched by the student strike. I don't really care that the government doesn't like to call this action a strike…I like to call a curved metal implement for the excavation of soil a "spade."

Their law goes much further than this, placing severe restrictions on the right to protest. It has been criticized by the Québec Bar (a well-known group of radicals) and a lot of other people in our society. But never mind, because its passage was assured by the two parties who just voted earlier this week against removing a mayor accused of corruption from office during the course of his trial, despite a unanimous resolution of the municipal council to that effect.

What to do in the face of a trampling of rights? Mockery can be fun….

Here is a letter from the Gatineau Chamber of Commerce to the Gatineau Police Service (excuse my quick and dirty translation):

"Please take note, under article 16 of Law 78, that the Chamber of Commerce of Gatineau will hold a "gathering of more than 10 people" [the French word attroupement also translates as crowd or mob] on Tuesday, 29 May 2012 between 5 pm and 7 pm.

"The participants will leave from the parking lot at the Gatineau airport a little before 5 pm and will walk approximately 300 meters west along Arthur-Fecteau Street to the Wings of Time Hangar at 1699 on this street.

"In this place, the participants will discuss and exchange and then listen to some brief speeches. Afterwards, they will celebrate the nomination of the team of the month, the Ottawa Region Dairy.

"Between 6:15 pm and 7:15 pm, the walkers will again take Arthur-Fecteau Street east to the parking lot at the Gatineau airport, where they will disperse.

"We estimate the number of expected participants at 200.

"Please be kind enough to inform us of the number of plainclothes agents you expect to infiltrate the event to help us plan the number of hors d'oeuvres to order."

SNAP! The crazed radicals of the Chamber of Commerce have now also turned against you, and made you look like buffoons in the process.

Time to reconsider your approach?


Greer said...

Just terrific! I enjoy all your posts but this is a really special and beautifully written. Thank you for making me laugh so hard!

Ken Monteith said...

As it turns out, this letter, or adaptations of it, have become quite the rage. I posted one on Facebook from a family planning their son's 6th birthday party with an "attroupement" of a certain number of people, with the same request to identify the number of infiltrators for the snack planning. Also, police stations have been flooded with calls from people reporting their future plans to move about the city in groups.

Greer said...

Just terrific. It's great to know that, even in terrible times and at awful events, Quebeckers know how to write good satire, in two languages.