The beating inflicted by the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) done to a TEE (Team Everybody Else) certainly leaves one gawking at a huge matzo ball dangling out there. (Apologies to an old Seinfeld episode.)
Here’s something to think about: How much more colourful would their light blue majority look if they swept Montreal as well? In a surrealistic stretch, they could have been the only ones left with party status. (I will now add a rare column “LOL.”)
In the aftermath of the new electoral map’s hue, journalists munch on how Montreal is now both literally and metaphorically an island in a sea of others.
This schism between Fort Montreal and the ROQ (Rest of Quebec) is not historically much of an anomaly. And as much as I hate to quote Canada’s old version of Lex Luther — Jacques Parizeau — after he had lost a squeaker of a referendum and lips a bit greased after one drink too many: “It’s all due to money and ethnics.” (PS. His wife was Polish and he was a rich autocrat educated in Oxford, England.)
It behooves me to read a bit more into this uber-gaffe as it is the elephant in the room, the emperor without clothes and the fish on a ledge (I made the last one up; We are all too short on new ways to express that saying.)
My point: Montreal is very unique. For one thing, where else do we call our French francophones. Our English anglophones and the others allophones? Ironic, because the most neutral standard greeting in Quebec has to be “Allo” so aren’t we technically all allo-phones? (I digress. Someone call CAA so I can get my fundament back on the point I am trying to get across.)
Montreal is more than qualified to be a province (as opposed to PEI) free of cyclically irritating Quebec politics. Like New Brunswick, it’s pretty damn bilingual. If you bulldoze Parizeau’s (obtuse) view of allophones, a typical Montrealer is increasingly becoming trilingual. You see that sort of talent in places like Europe. In fact, Montreal is the only enclave in North America that has parts that could be described as old Europe – Old Montreal complete with narrow back lanes and cobblestone streets.
Montreal is accepting of all “phones,” for want of another term. It’s not a coincidence the island was a deeper blue than the ROQ after the election. The CAQ lost here because of (here is a better description, Jacques, wherever you are,) diversity and prosperity.
Fort Montreal is a Mecca of inclusion, French, English or Other. Make no mistake, with the world citizen-making Internet and (I dare say) the original force-feeding of Bill 101, all Montreal will one day be 100 per cent bilingual.
Montreal has it all; a hopping cosmopolitan nugget and outskirts of pacific suburban oases. It has wonderful schools and universities, at all levels. It has villages within towns within cities. And taking away the occasional poking by parties that want what they want at the expense of unity consciousness, Montrealers get along on the same page, thank you very much.
The election results more than anything else show schematically that US and THEM is really Montreal and the ROQ.
(Afterthought: When you travel outside of the province, do you tell people you are from Quebec or Montreal?)