Home » 2015 » January (Page 2)

Monthly Archives: January 2015

Port-Alberni – Les pires villes? — Ne soyez pas si prompt à « appuyer sur la détente » — Partie 3 (#159)

I’m writing this post in French, for a those following from Québec.  This post will look at the lowest ranked city in the MoneySense rankings (a continuation from the last post) – Port-Alberni.  Most Anglophone Canadians would be familiar with Vancouver Island, and perhaps even Port-Alberni, but I’m not so sure many Québec Francophones would be as familiar with this region of the country – or even know that the SW coastal region of B.C. is Canada’s snow-free & palm-tree all-season playground region (the blog is about tearing down the Two Solitudes, and it’s a two-way street after-all — so I have to get the odd French-post in from time-to-time 😉 )

Dans les deux billets précédents, on a jeté un coup d’œil sur le classement (« très médiatisé » d’ailleurs) des 201 villes canadiennes, classées par le magazine MoneySense.  Chaque année ce magazine fait le bilan des « meilleures » villes et les « pires » villes où vivre au pays.   Pourtant, comme j’ai dit dans les deux billets précédents, les facteurs que MoneySense prend en considération sont tirés d’un spectre très mince, et ne ils ne prennent pas en considération d’autres facteurs, parfois subjectifs, mais souvent très importants.   Les seuls outils dont ils se dotent pour faire leur évaluation ne sont que les indicateurs sur le revenu personnel, prix de maison, combien de temps il faut pour payer l’hypothèque, la valeur nette familiale, les taux de chômage, la croissance de la population, et les impôts fonciers.   Portant, ce classement annuel attire beaucoup d’attention médiatique, malgré la faiblesse de ses données.

Pas fort à mon avis!  Car la qualité de vie qui se découle de notre décision où mener notre vie penche sur bien plus que ces quelques facteurs plutôt limités.   MoneySense se justifie en disant qu’il faut être capable de se trouver un emploi et de se payer la vie pour en profiter du reste.  Mon argument, c’est qu’il est l’ensemble de beaucoup plus de facteurs qui détermine si la vie est bonne ou pas (côté financier, mais aussi les autres aspects que nos villes peuvent nous offrir).

À mon avis, si vous cantonnez vos recherches à des lieux paradisiaques (qui, franchement, n’existent pas – peu importe où on vie au monde), et si vous déguerpissez dans la stratosphère ou sur une autre galaxie, vous êtes cuit!  Vous ne trouverez jamais le « paradis » que vous cherchez.  Il faut trouver le bon dans ce qu’on a déjà.  La vraie vie, et la satisfaction que s’en suit, se font à partir de la réalité.   Nos sentiments de satisfaction s’en découlent seulement lorsqu’on se met en première loge pour bien apprécier ce que nos villes peuvent nous offrir.

Oui, le fait d’être dans le moyen et d’avoir un ménage de quatre personnes qui gagne $120,000 par an dans une ville en pleine croissance peut faire qu’on se trouve en tête du classement des villes.   Mais s’il faut quand-même payer une hypothèque de $550,000 et travailler 60 à 70 heures pour gagner sa croûte, reste-il vraiment les moyens de s’en profiter des autres plaisirs qu’une telle ville pourrait nous offrir?   Les facteurs que nous présentent MoneySense ne me semblent pas en soi constituer la route vers la joie.

Dans leur classement des 201 « villes » du pays, MoneySense désigne Dolbeau-Mistassini à l’avant dernier rang (c’est la deuxième ville du Saguenay Lac St-Jean), et MoneySense réserve l’honneur du tout dernier rang à Port-Alberni, sur l’Île de Vancouver en Colombie-Britannique.   MoneySense prétend que ces deux villes (maintenant jumelées à jamais sous les plus improbables des circonstances) sont les « pires » places où vivre au Canada.

J’ai consacré le dernier billet pour déboulonner les notions que les facteurs pris en conscience par MoneySense sont les facteurs déterminants quant à la qualité de vie.  En effet, je vous ai offert un tour guidé « virtuel » de Dolbeau-Mistassini pour bien démontrer qu’elle ne mérite pas un tel classement, et qu’elle possède les atouts dont on s’attend de nos villes, d’un océan à l’autre (sinon pas plus).

Ce dernier billet sur Dolbeau-Mistassini était à destination des lecteurs anglophones d’un bout du Canada à l’autre, afin de leur présenter Dobeau-Mistassini, et de leur donner l’occasion de mieux connaître la ville et sa region.  J’espère qu’ils ont pu avoir une bonne impression de la ville, et qu’ils réalisent que ces classements ne sont qu’un jeu de chiffres, et non pas un mesure de la qualité de vie.    Ce billet, pourtant, est à destination des francophones du pays – particulièrement ceux du Québec.

Je vais mettre la ville « jumelle » (symbolique) de Dolbeau-Mistassini, celle de Port-Alberni (la ville le plus en bas du classement canadien, le 201rang), sous les projecteurs, tout comme j’ai fait d’ailleurs avec Dolbeau-Mistassini.  Cela aura pour effet de vous offrir un point de vue sur un coin du pays auquel vous n’aurez peut-être jamais pensé auparavant (si vous en étiez même au courant de cette région).

Port-Albanie, rue principale

pa9.07

Deux prises de vue aériennes de Port-Albernie (cliquer pour agrandir)

pa001.02 pa001.01

Dans le même ordre d’idées, je considère le classement MoneySense un peu trop sévère à l’égard de Port-Alberni.  Comme c’est le cas pour Saguenay Lac St-Jean, l’Île de Vancouver est un coin que je connais, et je dirais que les différences entre les 50ième, 100ième, et 200ième rangs des villes ne sont pas si grandes (malgré tout, le Canada compte des milliers de villes et villages de toutes tailles).   Je crois bien que vous seriez étonné de voir les similitudes entre Dolbeau-Mistassini et Port-Alberni — des similitudes qu’ils partagent avec des villes classées plus haut, tels les Boucherville (QC), Stratford (ON), Camrose (AB), ou Saint-Georges (QC) du pays.   Malgré tout, les villes et les provinces respectives redoublent leurs efforts (et ose-je dire, leur collaboration en forme de péréquation) au service de leurs citoyens pour s’assurer qu’on partage tous un niveau de vie relativement similaire, peu importe la taille de notre ville, peu importe où se situe notre ville, et peu importe le coin de notre pays.  À mon avis, c’est ça la beauté de l’affaire.

À la fin, la cerise sur le gâteau c’est toujours les efforts des habitants eux-mêmes, qui assurent que nos villes demeurent des communautés de choix – grâce à la générosité de leurs habitants, leurs accommodements envers les nouveaux membres de leurs communautés, et leur esprit de « bon voisinage ».   Mes sur ces derniers points, j’en ai très peu à craindre, car ce sont nos valeurs communs qui font toujours briller nos villes à travers le pays (qu’elles soient des villes anglophones ou francophones).

En gardant tout cela à l’esprit, entrons donc dans le vif du sujet… prochain arrêt :  Port-Alberni!

—– —– —– —– —– —– —– —– —– —– —– —– —– —– —–

Avec 17,000 habitants, la ville de Port-Alberni compte un peu plus d’habitants que Dolbeau-Mistassini, mais elles sont plus au moins des villes de la même taille.

Port-Alberni se trouve dans la province de la Colombie-Britannique, sur la côte Pacifique du Canada.

ca.1.1

Drapeaux de la Colombie-Britannique (gauche) et de la Colombie-Britannique francophone (droit).  Les deux sont des drapeaux officiels de la province.

drpcb

cb-ptc

À mon avis, un des facteurs qui fait que la ville est très spéciale, c’est le fait qu’elle est située sur l’Île de Vancouver (une région à part, tout comme Saguenay Lac St-Jean est une région à part).   C’est une grande île au large du continent nord-américain et qui, à part son nom, n’a rien par rapport avec la « ville » de Vancouver (les deux ne sont même pas prôches l’une à l’autre… il faut prendre un traversier de quelques heures de la ville de Vancouver pour se rendre sur « l’Île » de Vancouver).   L’Île est « très » grande (même plus grande que beaucoup de pays).  En effet, elle est six fois plus grande que la province entière de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard, avec plus de cinq fois la population de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard.

Un des traversiers qui relient le continent et l’Île de Vancouver

bc3

vi.2

C’est une des régions du Canada où il ne neige pas l’hiver (du moins que si l’on se retrouve en haute altitude dans les montagnes).

Et c’est également une des rares places au Canada (hors la partie continentale du sud-est de la Colombie-Britannique) où les palmiers poussent l’année longue (c’est toujours une chose qui surprend beaucoup de Québécois – ceux qui n’ont jamais visité l’ouest du pays – et lorsqu’ils constatent que le Canada compte des régions sans neige et avec des palmiers).  Ce phénomène est dû à la manière que les courants d’eau chaud de l’océan Pacifique frappent la côte ouest du Canada – tout juste dans le bon endroit.  Et c’est pour cette même raison que les palmiers ne poussent pas (ou ne poussent pas si bien) juste un peu plus au sud, de l’autre côté de la frontière avec les Etats-Unis (du moins que si on voyage vraiment dans le sud vers la Californie).

Pourtant, parfois il pourrait y neiger.  Il est rare, et il ne neige jamais beaucoup (généralement elle fond tout de suite, les rares instances qu’il arrive…)

pa10

Mais a des altitudes plus hautes, dans les montagnes durant l’hiver, il ne faut pas monter très loin pour trouver de la neige (et des conditions de ski hors pair!)

pa7

Voici quelques photos des palmiers en Colombie-Britannique.  Il va sans dire que l’immobilier est assez cher dans les deux grandes villes Victoria (sur l’Île), et dans le métropole de Vancouver (sur le continent)… car on est dans la « Côte d’Azure » du Canada malgré tout — mais au moins les prix sont très abordables à Port-Alberni

pt.1 pt.2Ooof !! Je pense que le propriétaire de cette maison (en haut) est allé un peu “trop loin” avec ses arbres (mais, qui sait… peut-être il est d’origine d’une région du pays avec des “vrais” hivers !!  Alors, est-ce qu’on peut vraiment lui rapprocher d’aimer ses palmiers? 🙂 )

pt.3

pt.4 pt.5

Voici des vidéo des palmiers dans la région de l’Ile de Vancouver, ainsi qu’à Vancouver même:

I’Île de Vancouver est assez spéciale en soi.   La ville de Victoria, capitale de la Colombie-Britannique, se situe dans l’extrême sud de l’Île de Vancouver, tandis que Port-Alberni de situte dans le centre-sud de l’île.

C’est un fait peu connu dans l’est du Canada que l’Île de Vancouver était son propre colonie (qui était gouverné comme un pays quasi-indépendant) avant la confédération canadienne en 1867 – ce qui a mené à sa fusion avec le continent et la province de la Colombie-Britannique.  Et un fait encore plus inattendu, c’est que les colons français (de la France) ont fondé une communauté à Victoria durant cette époque-là – avec une communauté francophone qui y demeurent toujours à ce jour.

Dans l’est du Canada, la ville de Québec représente « l’ancienne ville à l’Européenne » de l’est du pays, tandis que dans l’ouest du Canada, la ville de Victoria représente « ancienne ville à l’Européenne » de l’ouest du pays. La vieille architecture de Victoria, la grandeur et l’élégance de l’hôtel Empresse (un peu comme le Château Frontenac), l’imposant édifice qui est l’Assemblée législative de la Colombie-Britannique, la terrasse qui longe le vieux port, et les ruelles cachées à l’ancienne partagent beaucoup de traits en commun avec Québec.  Et comme Québec est la grande ville la plus proche à Dolbeau-Mistassini, Victoria est la grande ville la plus proche à Port-Alberni (qui est 2.5 heures de route vers le nord).

(Quelques photos de Victoria ci-dessous)

vi.4.3 vi2

Cliquer pour agrandir

vi3 Victoria - Inner Harbour vi4.2

Le drapeau de la Colombie-Britannique Francophone (en bas) flotte devant l’Assemblée législative à côté du drapeau provincial (étant moi-même né en Colombie-Britannique, j’en suis pas mal fier de voir le drapeau francophone de la C-B hissé devant l’Assemblée… pourtant, ma ville natale, Terrace, est assez loin de Victoria.  Terrace se trouve dans une autre partie de la Colombie-Britannique, 20 heures de route de Victoria, et 22.5 heures de route de Port-Alberni.  Ce n’est pas seulement le Canada qui est énorme, mais les provinces elles-mêmes sont parfois gigantesques — dirais-je des continents en soi!   S’il vous intéresse, par hasard j’ai déjà écrit un billet en français sur ma ville natale de Terrace — vous pouvez y accéder en cliquant ici.).

B.C. Francophone Day

L’Assemblée législative de la Colombie-Britannique à Victoria (ci-haut et ci-dessous).vi.4.5 vi.4.6

L’Hôtel Empresse et la terrasse du vieux portvi4

Les atouts spécifiques à Port-Alberni:

La région de Port-Alberni, toute comme la région où se situe Dolbeau-Mistassini, est un vaste terrain de jeux plein air qui offre des possibilités à l’infinie;  du ski, des sports aquatiques, des plages, la pêche, les sports d’hiver, les activités d’été – la liste est sans fin!

C’est une région où se trouve une bonne portion des forêts pluviales du Canada (en effet, ces forêts sont très prôche à Port-Alberni), qui elles-mêmes offrent une multitude de possibilités d’activités pleine air.  (Voici un lien sur les forêts pluviales de la côte ouest du Canada s’il vous intéresse:  -ICI-  et  -ICI-  et  -ICI-).

pa2 bc1.1 bc1 pa9.02 pa9.09

Les environs de Port-Alberni comptent également des vignobles et des vergers

DSCN8947

Les autres activités plein air sont sans limites, toute l’année longue…

pa9.10

Voici le terrain de golf de Port-Alberni

pa9.12

De l’escalade à volonté (la chaîne de magasins MEC doit adorer des gens de ce coin !!!! – et moi, j’adore les magasins MEC!)

bc2 pa9.04

Le canotage autochtone traditionel est devenu un passe-temps communautaire à Port-Albani (fait en équipe et ouvert à tous).  Il y a des équipes de femmes, hommes, enfants, et groupes mixtes.pa9.08pa9.05

Quelques photos du Fjord Albani…

pa9.03

pa1 pa9.11 pa8 pa1

Comme Dolbeau-Mistassini, l’industrie de la pâte et papier est l’employeur principal de la ville.  Mais ces deux villes, comme j’ai mentionné dans mon dernier billet, sont bien plus que son industrie principale.  Elles sont l’ensemble de tout ce qu’ils peuvent offrir à leurs citoyens, et de tout ce que leurs citoyens s’offrent entre eux.   Une communauté est véritablement la somme de ses habitants – pas la somme des chiffres qui leur sont désignés par un magazine dans un classement annuel.

pa9.06

Port-Alberni se trouve à l’extrême intérieur d’un fjord navigable, longue de 40 kms (le Fjord Alberni).   Les rues de la ville se terminent souvent au bord de l’eau.   Malgré le fait que Port-Alberni est relié à la grande autoroute expresse principale (Nord-Sud) de l’Île de Vancouver par une route d’une heure très boisée (avec des arbres si larges qu’il faudrait deux ou trois personnes pour mettre des bras autour des troncs — photo ci-dessous), un des moyens de transport à longue distance demeure des hydravions (reliant Port-Alberni à Victoria) — des avions à passagers qui décollent et atterrissent sur l’eau, dans le fjord (pas besoin d’un aéroport alors).

at.rt1

pa9

Pour toute famille qui doit décider où s’installer et vivre, l’accès aux écoles, ainsi que la qualité de ces mêmes écoles deviennent des enjeux primordiaux.   Dans le dernier billet sur Dolbeau-Mistassini, j’ai fourni des liens pour vous laisser voir ses écoles.  Port-Alberni offre également un bon nombre d’écoles, dont une vient tout juste d’être construite (photos ci-dessous).  Il y a également une école française (” l’École des cèdres”), où les élèves peuvent poursuivre leurs études entièrement en français, de la maternelle, jusqu’à leur graduation (avant de poursuivre leurs études post-sécondaires).

pa5 pa4 pa3

Il va sans dire que Port-Alberni, comme Dolbeau-Mistassini se dote de tous les services et convenances nécessaires pour bien vivre (dentistes, médecins, hôpitaux, magasins et supermarchés à grande surface, des industries et services assez diversifiés – tout ce qu’il faut au fond).

(photo de l’intérieur de l’hôpital de Port-Alberni ci-dessous).

hsp.int.1

Et un des meilleurs avantages qu’apportent les villes de Port-Alberni et Dolbeau-Mistassini demeure toujours le faible coût de la vie!    On peut facilement se payer une maison, sans avoir les inconvénients de devoir faire la longue navette entre la maison et le travail chaque jour.   C’est un atout qui garantit qu’il y aurait toujours assez de temps avec la famille, et de s’en profiter des trésors naturels qui entourent la ville et la région – le tout à très bas coût, et avec le moindre effort!  N’est-ce pas la vie idéale et convoitée pour élever une famille? Surtout si on peut profiter de la vie, de ses amis, ainsi que d’activités culturelles et de ses passe-temps!

Alors, quand je vois un magazine tel MoneySense nous dire que nos trésors comme Dolbeau-Mistassini ou Port-Alberni ne valent que le fond du baril – là, je ne peux m’empêcher de prendre position et d’y mettre le hola!  Oui, j’aime moi-aussi nos grandes villes et leurs traits, mais ce sont nos petites communautés, précisément les villes comme Dolbeau-Mistassini et Port-Alberni, qui font la première ligne de défense pour empêcher que le pays, dans son entier, ne devienne un pays composé que de six grandes villes et peut-être 15 autres villes de tailles moyennes.

Ce sont les Dolbeau-Mistassinis et les Port-Albernis qui protègent notre héritage culturel, qui élèvent nos enfants, et qui tissent les liens essentiels entre la grande nature, les forêts, l’agriculture, l’eau, l’industrie, et le peuple du pays.   On ne peut jamais attribuer un « classement » à ce rôle essentiel, du moins du genre qu’elles se voient accordé par MoneySense.  Alors la prochaine fois que vous entendez tout ce tapage et tintouin médiatique autour du classement annuel des villes du Canada, assurez-vous non seulement de bien vouloir le prendre avec un grain de sel, mais plutôt sortez-vous un grand bloc de sel, bien carré et lourd – car la réalité le dicte!  😉

En terminant, je vous offre quelques liens de Google Streetview — un tour virtuel de Port-Alberni (comme j’ai fait d’ailleurs avec Dolbeau- Mistassini).

La rue principale

Des palmiers devant une maison à Port-Alberni:

L’Hôtel de ville

Le Quai publique principal

Le marina de ville

Le train historique à vapeur qui offre des tours de la région 

Une des hôtels historiques

Vieux styles d’architecture des maisons 1

Vue de la ville d’en haut

L’hôpital

L’Entrée principale à la ville

Rivière en ville

L’École des cèdres (une école française / d’immersion française)

Quartiers boisés:

Tour d’habitation (un autre genre d’habitation qui offre plusieurs choix de style de vie)

Complexe sportif, piscine, arène:

Styles de maisons des années 1980s:

La route de “connection” de 40 minutes (la seule route) qui relient Port-Alberni à la grande autoroute expresse de l’Île de Vancouver:

Une autre tranche de cette même route à l’entrée de la ville: (c’est un petit morceau de paradis, non?)

Et encore cette même route à quelques minutes à l’extérieur de la ville:

Le terrain de golfe de la ville:

Comme je l’ai dit dans le billet précédent sur Dolbeau-Mistassini, si Port-Alberni est la pire des pires villes au Canada… là, je crois qu’on est en train de faire quelque chose de bien correcte!   Continuons !!

SERIES: THE WORST CITIES??  SERIOUSLY??  DON’T BE SO QUICK TO JUDGE!! (5 POSTS):

Dolbeau-Mistassini – The worst cities? — Don’t be so quick to judge! — Part 2 (#158)

In the last post, The worst cities? — Don’t be so quick to judge! — Part 1: Introduction (#157), I said we’ll take a closer look at Québec’s lowest ranked city in which to live:  Dolbeau-Mistassini.

As I said in the last post, the MoneySense ranking was based on a narrow range of statistics, and did not take into account numerous subjective factors or other points beyond their narrow range of statistics.

I’ll give you some information about the town, the region, and lots of links to allow you to judge for yourself.  From my perspective, Dolbeau-Mistassini doesn’t seem like such a bad place.  Yes, it’s a little far from Québec’s largest cities, and it is not very large (just over 14,000 people), but it seems to offer full amenities which larger communities offer, and its location makes it ideal for lovers of outdoor activities.

The region – Saguenay Lac St-Jean:

qc.ttl

The Saguenay Lac St-Jean region is one of the most well-known regions of Québec.  If you were to ask any Québécois to list four regions of Québec which first come to mind, chances are that Saguenay Lac St-Jean would be one of them.

If you were to ask them to list four things about Saguenay Lac St-Jean which first come to mind, likely the answer would include (1) the distinct local accent, (2) blueberries, (3) the Saguenay Fjord, (4) Lac St-Jean (Lake).

c

The word for a “blueberry” in Canadian French is a “bleuet”.  Because Lac St-Jean is associated so deeply with blueberries in the local food and culture, people from the region are called “des bleuets”.    A word of caution if you’re learning French;  In Canada, a blueberry is a “bleuet”, but in France it is referred to as a “myrtille”.  And in reverse, a “bleuet” in France is not a “blueberry”, but rather is a “cornflower” (I’ve been misunderstood before in France for using the Canadian terminology).  🙂

a

From Montréal, Dolbeau-Mistassini, it is a six hour drive Northwest through the forest (via the town of La Tuque).   From Québec City, it would be a four hour drive.

Despite being quite far North, it is situated in a micro-climate region.  The entire Sagenuay Lac St-Jean region is situated in a deep valley (wide enough wide that you cannot see the walls of the valley if you’re in Dolbeau-Mistassini).  Therefore, despite being quite far North, the low altitude in the valley floor traps warmer air, and makes for fertile farmland and deciduous trees (unlike the Canadian Shield climate outside the valley).   Temperatures and climate (in both summer and winter) would be more similar to places further south such as Québec City (and sometimes even Montréal).

b

The square insert from the first map above is shown in the map below:

qc.ct.rtng

The line on the map above is an elevation cross-section which is shown below to illustrate the valley micro-climate.

Lsj.clmt

The largest city in the Saguenay Lac St-Jean region is the city of Saguenay, 160,000 (one of Québec’s best known cities).  It has one of Canada’s largest airbases (with many of Canada’s CF18 fighter jets), and a diversified economy (university, aluminum production, numerous services, research & training, forestry, biomedical).

DOLBEAU-MISTASSINI:

Dolbeau-Mistassini is the region’s second largest community, and is a two hour drive to the West from the city of Saguenay.

Dolbeau-Mistassini’s economy is very much as a service hub for the surrounding areas (agriculture, forestry, service centre for other smaller communities).  It also has a large paper mill (AbitiBowater).   Although the community is located slightly inland from Lac St-Jean (a lake which is so large that you cannot see across it), the community is generally associated with the lake (which offers many outdoor possibilities).

At the risk of sounding like a promotional-brochure (which isn’t my intention)… if you’re a lover of four-season outdoor sports and activities, you’d likely be in heaven in Dolbeau-Mistassini.   Water sports, forest activities, hunting, fishing, skiing, ski-dooing are found in abundance.

d

The fact that the town has all the major services which large centres also offer, but with much more accessibility owing to its size, could be considered a major advantage.

As you saw from the MoneySense listing, housing prices are much cheaper than other Canadian communities, and as you’ll see below, there are many housing options.

Here is a promo-video for the town:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSQ5RBIotn0

I’ve lived in many communities across Canada in five provinces (ranging in size from 250 people to agglomerations of over 10 million people, and everything in between).   That experience alone has given me the perspective to know that making friends is key to feeling at home wherever you live.  I’ve said many times before that even if I were to live in a high arctic town without trees, if I were to meet the best friends in the world there with whom I were always going out and doing things, then the community would probably be the best place in the world!

It’s for these reasons that I consider community activities and hobby/interest activities to be key to feeling you can happily make a place home.   If you live in the largest of cities, but everyone sticks to themselves and do not mix, chances are you may not enjoy it too much (believe me, I’ve been in that situation before too).  But if you live in a small community, and everyone is always mixing, engaged in community volunteer activities, and the same groups of people constantly run into each other during community events, you will likely come to feel that the community is not only is super friendly, that it is easy to make friends, but that the community becomes a default family (I’ve lived in those types of places too, big and small).

I’ve never lived in Dolbeau-Mistassini before, but the activities and community events it offers seem to be just the types of activities which are conducive to the latter positive situation I just described.

I couldn’t find much online with respect to Dolbeau Mistassini’s economic plans (tax credits, corporate property taxes or rental / purchase rates, etc.).  But I noticed there are a couple of industrial parks.  Usually centres such as this, when a little further away from larger centres, are ideal for businesses which do not rely on major population bases, or which can be conducted online (or by phone).   In this sense, such centres are perfect for lovers of outdoor activities.

Community events:

The community has Saguenay Lac St-Jean’s region’s finest performing arts theatres.   Some of Québec’s  biggest names in Québec pop-culture come to town to offer performances: http://www.comitedesspectacles.com/

The town features numerous annual events and cultural poles which offer ample opportunities for volunteer activities and opportunities to become involved in the community :

There are a ton of photos of Dolbeau-Mistassini online, but I couldn’t find many which were not copyright protected (something I wish to respect as much as possible in this blog).  Therefore, the best way to allow you to see the town yourself is likely through Google Streetview links.

Choose the parts of town you’re interested in seeing, click on the links (below), and happy touring!!

Main street, Dolbeau-Mistassini

Waterfalls & Rapids downtown :

Full service, large hospital:

Schools:

Large supermarkets like any city:

Sports complex (ice arena, fitness facilities, indoor swimming pool):

Cultural centre:

Public outdoors swimming complex:

Various types of housing options, including several condo complexes (often the first choice for newly arrived immigrants or singles):

Municipal library:

Fair grounds for various annual events:

Major box stores, like any larger centre:

Older distinct regional housing styles (with two-story square balconies):

Medium aged housing districts:

Newer housing districts (many of which are waterside):

Town’s major employer (AbitibiBowater paper mill):

Local ski hill on edge of town:

Jogging paths all around town and on the water’s edge:

Scenic drive around town (cliffs & river):

Fly fishing just 3 minute drive from downtown:

City drive along the lake:

Drive along the river:

City hall: 

Salle de spectacles (performing arts centre):

Forests on the edge of the city for outdoor activities (hiking, camping, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, quading) :

PANORAMIO PHOTOS

All-in-all, I’d say that Dolbeau-Mistassini doesn’t look like such a bad place after all.  I’ve seen many other places across Canada which don’t have nearly as much to offer.  Ranking it at the bottom of the pile is quite harsh if you ask me.    But at the end of the day, I think you have to look at the rankings from the perspective that there is not much of a difference between communities ranked in 50th spot, 100th spot, or 200th spot.   The differences are small, and such rankings should not be held against any one town or city.   There are thousands of communities across Canada after all, and Dolbeau-Mistassini is definitely not one of the worst ones!

It goes to show you should always take such rankings with a grain of salt (if not a huge block of salt!).


SERIES: THE WORST CITIES??  SERIOUSLY??  DON’T BE SO QUICK TO JUDGE!! (5 POSTS):

The worst cities? — Don’t be so quick to judge! — Part 1: Introduction (#157)

I skipped a few days of posts while I was out of the country (I just arrived back to Canada).  I’ll hash out a few posts to make up for it (on a topic I have wanted to write for quite some time).

What would be Québec’s supposed « worst » city to live in?   And what are my thoughts regarding this ranking?   Would you like to know a bit more so you can make up your own mind?   I will say upfront that if the “worst” truly is the worst (and I’m not convinced it is), then we’re doing pretty good!!

Every year, the Canadian magazine “MoneySense” puts out a list of the 201 best / worst Canadian cities to live in (you city is arguably the best if you’re in the top spot, or the worst if you’re in the bottom spot).

The rankings come out every March, therefore the 2015/2016 rankings have not come out yet. However, the 2014/2015 held some surprises for me – considering I personally know many of the cities on the list (I would have ranked some places higher, but in other cases I would have ranked some places lower).

Before we go further and look at the specific cities, I’d like to mention a few points:

  • The legal definition of the “city” varies from province-to-province (sometimes you have to meet a minimum population to be considered a city). Therefore, the “cities” in this ranking list vary from 12,000 inhabitants, to millions.
  • The ranking is for the best places to “live” (which is quite different than the best cities to “visit”). The rankings do not take into consideration tourist attractions.
  • Likewise, scenery is not taken into consideration. Example: The fact that Canmore, Alberta is physically set in one of Canada’s most breathtaking sceneries counts for absolutely nothing for this ranking.  Canmore’s scenery, outdoors lifestyle, and proximity to a large city (Calgary) are arguably its most attractive features. But its rapid growth has resulted in other issues (higher prices, infrastructure pressures, etc), and thus it doesn’t rank any higher than 54th place – whereas I would have personally ranked it in the top 10 in Canada (Canmore, incidentally, is one of Alberta’s most Francophone cities with 3000 Francophones out of 12,000. Here is a video, in French, about Canmore and it’s Francophone community https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOI9hPLSnNA).

Factors which MoneySense did take into account when they compiled their ranking included:

  • Access to medical care (example: a shortage of doctors, medical facilities, etc.),
  • Crime rates,
  • Good public transportation (example: would you have difficulty getting around without a vehicle, or if you were challenged with a disability?)
  • Nice weather (example: do you have to endure an average of -10C for 8 out of 12 months?   Hence why we will never see “Alert” at the North Pole figure in the rankings), or does it rain 5 out of 7 days, every single week of the year? Thus, poor rankings for Prince Rupert, B.C.).
  • Affordability: MoneySense makes the point of stating they placed the emphasis on affordability, since, for many families, this is a very important point for quality of life and where to choose to live.  Personally, I could easily argue with MoneySense regarding how much weight “affordability” should be accorded. If this is one of the most important considerations for how families chose to live, then why the heck do we see hundreds of thousands of immigrants as well as Canadians from elsewhere flocking to cities like Vancouver and Toronto – arguably Canada’s most unaffordable cities, not only in Canada, but in the entire world!! And yet they flock to these cities despite lower employment prospects, terrible transportation and life-convenience factors, and a plethora of other issues.  Hence, my point is that much of a person’s choices come down to individual’s “perceptions”. Sometimes those perceptions are not correct – which is why we see immigrants and other Canadians come to Vancouver and Toronto, stay for a few years, and then pack their bags and move elsewhere once they realize their preconceived notions did not reflect reality.  Or they chose to stay because other factors, not related to affordability, are more important to them other than the cost of living).
  • Other factors MoneySense considered are themselves components of the “affordability” factor:  Are housing prices well-proportioned to a community’s income levels and employment rates?  Are local prices less or more affordable compared to other cities?  And can a person’s ease of finding good employment overcome affordability challenges
  • Tying into the above, how long would it take to pay off a home based on current salaries?
  • What are property taxes like?

I agree that the above are important considerations. But there are many other factors which were not taken into account in the ratings, which people consider when deciding where to

  • raise a family,
  • start and run a business,
  • enjoy sports or hobbies,
  • become involved in volunteer and community activities (which certainly help to acclimatize and make friends),
  • have ample access to all the services to live comfortably,
  • and most importantly, to simply enjoy life.

I want to introduce you to a couple of “underdogs” in this list, and to relate these underdogs to “other intangible” factors I just mentioned. I’ll make some comparisons, use some of my own experiences as references, and present a little bit of the other side of the story.

If you’ve never been to Québec before (or if your Québec experiences have mostly revolved around its major cities), these next posts will help you to learn a little bit more about the province, communities beyond its larger cities, and matters which are often overlooked by most people when they tend to think of Québec.  Hopefully you’ll come to view Québec from a different angle.  (In a somewhat related fashion, I received emails from Francophones after I published the post on my own hometown, Vegreville, Alberta.  The general feedback was that people in Québec often forget – or don’t even realize – that Alberta is much more than just Edmonton or Calgary… so hopefully you’ll come to the same realization about Québec after these next few posts).

Before we take a closer look at specific communities, I will give you the rankings.

The complete 2014/2015 Canadian rankings (including Québec’s cities) can be found at MoneySense’s website here: http://www.moneysense.ca/canadas-best-places-to-live-2014-full-ranking

MoneySense’s Québec specific rankings are as follows (from best to worst):

  1. Boucherville — (#6 rank in Canadian total)
  2. Québec City —- (#10 rank in Canadian total)
  3. Lévis — (#12 rank in Canadian total)
  4. Gatineau — (#15 rank in Canadian total)
  5. Rimouski — (#18 rank in Canadian total)
  6. Repentigny — (#20 rank in Canadian total)
  7. Blainville — (#21 rank in Canadian total)
  8. Brossard — (#38 rank in Canadian total)
  9. St-Georges — (#46 rank in Canadian total)
  10. Saint-Hyacinthe — (#52 rank in Canadian total
  11. Terrebonne — (#53 rank in Canadian total)
  12. Victoriaville — (#57 rank in Canadian total)
  13. Sherbrooke — (#60 rank in Canadian total)
  14. Châteauguay — (#62 rank in Canadian total)
  15. Saint-Eustache — (#68 rank in Canadian total)
  16. Laval — (#69 rank in Canadian total)
  17. Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (#82 rank in Canadian total)
  18. Joliette — (#83 rank in Canadian total)
  19. Rivière-du-Loup — (#86 rank in Canadian total)
  20. Sorel-Tracy — (#95 rank in Canadian total)
  21. Trois-Rivières — (#101 rank in Canadian total)
  22. Baie-Comeau — (#104 rank in Canadian total)
  23. Granby — (#115 rank in Canadian total)
  24. Dollar-Des-Ormeaux — (#117 rank in Canadian total)
  25. Rouyn-Noranda — (#118 rank in Canadian total)
  26. Longueuil — (#127 rank in Canadian total)
  27. Saint-Jérôme — (#140 rank in Canadian total)
  28. Mascouche — (#142 rank in Canadian total)
  29. Saguenay — (#151 rank in Canadian total)
  30. Mirabel — (#152 rank in Canadian total)
  31. Alma — (#154 rank in Canadian total)
  32. Thetford Mines — (#155 rank in Canadian total)
  33. Drummondville — (#156 rank in Canadian total)
  34. Sept-Îles — (#157 rank in Canadian total)
  35. Cowansville — (#161 rank in Canadian total)
  36. Amos — (#163 rank in Canadian total)
  37. Val-d’Or — (#167 rank in Canadian total)
  38. Montréal — (#169 rank in Canadian total)
  39. Salaberry-de-Valleyfield — (#176 rank in Canadian total)
  40. Shawinigan — (#192 rank in Canadian total)
  41. Matane — (#197 rank in Canadian total)
  42. Lachute — (#199 rank in Canadian total)
  43. Dolbeau-Mastissini — (#200 rank in Canadian total)

As you can see, the above ranked cities, when placed on a map of Québec, are quite spread quite far and wide across the entire province.

qc.ct.rtng

What I find particularly interesting about these rankings is that the Québec cities occupy slightly less than ¼ of Canada’s overall top 201 rankings.  Québec’s population is also slightly less than ¼ of Canada’s overall population. Thus, on the whole, this shows that Québec’s cities generally fall within the Canadian “average” with respect to what constitutes the spread of Canada’s best & worst cities (we would have a problem if Québec’s cities only constituted 1/8th or 1/6th of Canada’s 201 best cities).

This is also an important point to emphasize from the point of view of tearing down pre-conceived notions relating to the Two Solitudes:  Québec’s cities are very much representative of what Canadian cities are as a whole, coast-to-coast;  No worse, no better — and very representative in terms of affordability, crime, medical care and weather.  Across the country, major factors which determine our lifestyles are quite similar.  When it comes down to the basics of how we live (which directly relates to who we are as a people), the differences are not so different after all. 🙂

Now that we have laid out the rankings, the next post will introduce you to the lowest-ranked city: Dolbeau-Mistassini. You’ll likely learn about a region of Québec you may have never otherwise known – and you’ll likely find much in common with other areas of the country you may also come from.


SERIES: THE WORST CITIES??  SERIOUSLY??  DON’T BE SO QUICK TO JUDGE!! (5 POSTS):

The Names of Residents of Cities, Towns and Villages in Québec and in French (#156)

The last few posts had quite a heavy undertone.  So let’s lighten things up a little and have some fun with this one.

If you to were to ask someone where they are from, and they responded in English that they’re an …

  • Edmontonian,
  • Torontonian,
  • Vancouverite, or
  • Montrealer,

… chances are you would know exactly where they were from.  (perhaps this post is not for you if you couldn’t quite get that far 😉 ).

But what if you were to ask someone in French?  Would you still know where they were from if the response used the French names?

  • Montréalais(e)   (Note: the letter in the bracket is the feminine designation)
  • Edmontonien(ne)
  • Torontonien(ne)
  • Vancouvérois(e)

Very similar.  Simple enough, right?

OK, let’s crank this one up a couple of notches, and play a little game.

What about the following community resident designations.  See how many of the following you would get right (I’ll give the answers a little further below).   Would you know where the person was from, if they told you in French they were…

  1. Tomcotois(e)?
  2. Paulinois(e)?
  3. Sylvifranc(che)?
  4. Aiglon(ne)?
  5. Cayen(ne)?

Have I got you stumped?  I will tell you this;  you will not find any cities, towns or villages named Tomcoto, Pauline, Sylviefran, or Aigle – because they don’t exist.  But the above resident designations do exist.  Stumped?  OK, I’ll give you the answers.

  1. A Tomcotois is someone from the town of Saint-François-Xavier-de-Brompton.
  2. A Paulinois is NOT a supporter of Pauline Marois. Rather, it is a person from Saint-Paul-de-l’Île-aux-Noix (not to be confused with “Saint Paul de l’Illinois” – that’s someone from a whole different country and millennium !! 😉
  3. A Sylvifranc is not the name of an actual person (although I’m sure there are lots of Sylvie Francs out there). Rather, it is someone from Bois-Francs. (by the way, what’s your score so far??)
  4. An Aiglon is not a baby eagle (aigle), but rather someone from Cap-à-l’Aigle.
  5. A Cayen is not a Cajun spoken with… well… a Cajun accent (although I suppose it could be). Rather, a Cayen is someone from Havre-St-Pierre.

I’m sure you got 5 for 5, right?  (man, you should buy a lottery ticket if you did !!).   I’ll say this; if you did manage to answer these 100% correct, then this blog is waaaaay to simple for you!!  You might as well remove it from your bookmarks and turn off your computer right now.   😉

But if you’re like most people (ie: normal, like the rest of us) you were probably stumped from the get-go.   All I can say is welcome to Québec’s overly complicated system (or lack thereof) of designations for city residents.  It makes for some screwed up names to have to remember!

Due to Québec’s geography and history of being a former catholic state, communities were often named after geological settings or religious saints.

Examples:

  1. “Lac-à-la-Tortue” means “Turtle Lake”,
  2. “Trois-Rivières”, means “Three Rivers”, one of Québec’s larger cities
  3. “La-Nativité-de-la-Prairie-de-la-Madeleine” means “Madeleine of the Prairie’s Nativity” (yes… that is actually the name of a town.  Imagine having to write that every time you have to fill out your address on a form!)

Do you want to take a shot at guessing what the inhabitants from the above few places are called?  (I warn you, there is often no rhyme or rhythm to it).

Answers:

  • People from “Lac-à-la-Tortue” are called “Tortunois” (Turtlers)
  • People from “Trois-Rivières” are called “Trifluviens” (Tri-riverians)

A note for learners of French:  English has only one word to describe a major flowing body of water, a “River”.   But in French there are actually two words:  One is a “rivière” (river) which flows into anything but an ocean (ie: it flows into a lake or another river, such as the North Saskatchwan River, the Ottawa River, or the Red River).   The other one is a “Fleuve”, which is a river which flows into an ocean.  The St. Lawrence is therefore a Fleuve, not a Rivière – Le Fleuve St-Laurent.   The Fraser River is le Fleuve Fraser, and the MacKenzie River is the le Fleuve MacKenzie.

People from Trois-Rivières are called Trifluviens because the city is at the confluence a couple of rivers (rivières) which all flow into the St. Lawrence (fleuve).   Creative, isn’t it??   If you’re from the town just to the west of Trois-Rivières (Trois-Rivières-Ouest), you’re called a Ouestrifluvien (so sometimes there is some sense in all this madness).

  • People from “La-Nativité-de-la-Prairie-de-la-Madeleine” are simply (and thankfully) just called Prairiens (which is         strange to me, because that’s what we call people from the real Prairies, out in Western Canada – but whatever… at least it’s better than saying you’re a Madelenois de la Nativitien des Prairies!).

Here are some other odd-balls (amongst MANY others!):

  • Bellifontain, from Fontainbleu
  • Uaskaikaniunnu, from Fort-Chimo
  • Tshishe-shipiunnu, from La Grande Rivière
  • Hichinbrooker, from Hinchinbrooke
  • LaCrosien, from Lac-à-la-Croix (if you know French, this one is kind of comical – since it sounds like someone who, well… likes to play with themselves a bit too much – hahaha!   I’ll steer clear of explaining this one!)
  • Mitcikanâpikokanicinâbek, from La Barrière
  • Septcantonnien, from Les Sept-Cantons-Unis-du-Saguenay
  • Jévissois, from McWatters
  • Pierremontais, from Mont-Saint-Pierre
  • Néo-Carlinois, from New Carlisle
  • Nordiste, from Notre-Dame-du-Lac-Saint-Jean-Partie-Nord
  • Sudiste, from Notre-Dame-du-Lac-Saint-Jean-Partie-Sud
  • Damelacois, from Notre-Dame-du-Lac
  • Calumet-Pointois, from Point-Calumet
  • Bigiquois, from Saint-Alphonse
  • Maskoutains, from Saint-Hyacinthe
  • Johannais, from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu
  • Masoutain, from Yamaska

The reason why many of the names of inhabitants seem to bear no resemblance to their communities is three-fold:   (1) Sometimes the names of the towns have changed with time or the towns have amalgamated with other communities, but the inhabitants have kept the former names.  (2) In other instances, the communities are predominantly aboriginal, and it is more respectful and culturally normal for the inhabitants to be named in the aboriginal language.  (3) And the last reason is because someone, somewhere out there in la-la naming land just wants to #@&% with your head liven life up a little.

If you’d like a full list of the chaos toponyms, you can link to the government of Québec’s municipal toponym list here:

http://www.toponymie.gouv.qc.ca/ct/toponymie-municipale/gentiles/lesgentilesliste.aspx?liste=tout

And if you’re wondering;

  • Someone from Ottawa is not an Ottawaïen (Ottawa is not quite as warm as Hawaii). Rather they’re called Ottaviens (presumably so people won’t laugh at the former).
  • Someone from Québec City is Québécois, just like someone from the province. So to avoid confusion, nobody ever calls someone from Québec City Québécois.   People just refer to them as “des gens de Québec” (people from Québec City).
  • My home town is Végreville, but thankfully, we’re not known as Vagéniens, but rather just Végrevilliens (I would most definately lie and say I was from another place, like Nunavut, or Mongolia, if we were known as the former!!).

Anyway, at the end of the day, with the exception of very obvious cities, such as Montréalais from Montréal, or Gatinois from Gatineau, very few people refer to themselves or others by these name designations.  People generally just say they’re from “X” city.   And with good cause !!

🙂

ADDENDUM 2014-01-27:  One thing I forgot to mention (funny how things suddenly pop into your mind)… when we assign a city name to a person, we call it a gentilé in French (ie:  the gentilé for people from Montréal is Montréalais(e) ).

“L’autre midi, À la table d’à côte”; Nadeau-Dubois / Payette discussion summary, post 3 of 3 (#155)

This is the last in our three part Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois and Lise Payette activist mini blog series.

The last two posts touched on some complex and controversial subjects.  However, these topics have played a role in forming Québec’s culture and phyche.  It’s difficult to attempt to answer “What is Québec’s culture?” without delving into these types of issues.  Because they are complex, and because the nuances can only be picked up through knowing French, it contributes to why certain aspects of Québec are poorly understood by Anglophone Canada (just as Anglophone Canada’s culture is often poorly understand by aspects of Québec’s society).

Let’s now bring together Nadeau-Dubois and Payette, and look at the one-on-one conversation they shared over a meal on the radio program « L’Autre midi à la table d’à côté ».  Again, like the two other posts I did using « L’Autre midi à la table d’à côté » as a series summary, I am providing you with a link to the recorded program, and I will only give you a written summary of their conversation.

If you are learning French, I really want to encourage you to continue do your best to continuing to improve your language skills.  For Anglophone Canadians, it truly will open a whole world for you – one which is your own country after all.  It’s perhaps one of the finer gifts you can give yourself, and it will give you a sense of belonging, wherever you are in Canada (and it will tear down that sense that there is “you over here”, and “them over there”).

Even if your French is not at a very high level, give the audio recording your very best try.  Here is the link:   http://ici.radio-canada.ca/emissions/lautre_midi_a_la_table_da_cote/2014-2015/.

Click on “audio fil” half way down the page.  An audio feed window will then open.  If there are parts you cannot understand, you can rewind and listen again until you do get it.  Use my summary notes below as a crutch to help you work through it.   I’m super proud when I see Anglophone Canadians trying their best to improve their French – something which I regularly see.   The fact you’re just reading this and are simply interested in tearing down your country’s Two Solitudes, by way of arming yourself with a sense of understanding and awareness is more than reason enough for you to be proud too.

The summary below will be a little bit different than the wrap-up summaries in prior related posts.   Nadeau-Dubois says certain things regarding sovereignty which I do not agree with and which I feel quite strongly about.  There will be parts of the summary below where I am going to annotate with my own thoughts on why I do not agree with him.  A soft sovereignist friend suggested I perhaps could be a bit more “forceful” in my own convictions on sovereignty vs. unity (he’s a pretty open guy, and I’m a pretty open guy too – and making one stances known isn’t a bad thing when speaking with other open-minded people about the topic).  I’ve always been a bit hesitant to being too “direct”, simply because I don’t want it to tint the main purpose of the blog, which is simply to bridge the Two Solitudes (regardless of one’s own politics).  But I guess I’ve written a number of other posts in a way that its kind of obvious where I stand on the unity front.   So, OK… For this post, why not just say my stand on the whole issue?  Here we go…

Summary of the recording:

  • Payette: She says her mother raised her in the Montréal borough of St-Henrie.  Unlike most other mothers in the 1930s, she only had 2 children instead of 6 to 8.   Payette feels this was a good thing because it helped the family fight off the poverty others in their neighbourhood were struggling with (in that era, poverty was a daily fight for so many families).
  • Nadeau-Dubois: his parents were both militants, his father was a syndicaliste (union leader), Left wing, and both parents were independentistes (sovereignists).
  • Nadeau-Dubois: He first attended May Day celebrations (for world labour solidarity) when he was just 5 or 6 years old.  It was the first time he saw a group of 100 people wearing cagoules (balaclavas) while beating drums.  His father explained to him that the people were anarchists.  This made a big impression on him, and he finds it interesting that 15 years later he was marching with the same type of people.
  • Payette : She said her grand-mother brought her into politics.  Her family wasn’t religious when she was young, which was strange for the era.  This gave her a political freedom people which other families didn’t have.
  • Payette : Her first job in radio allowed her to meet numerous personalities.  One such person who she met happened to regularly perform in front of large crowds on stage.  He once told Payette “When I’m on stage in front of crowds, if I wanted to, I could make the crowds run out into the streets, and it could easily get violent.”  Payette said this statement left her with a rather deep impression.  It was a scary thought for her because it made her aware of the danger which comes with the power of being an influential figure.  Payette lightly nudged Nadeau-Dubois to be careful and to remain aware of this.   Nadeau-Dubois responded by saying that he understands her counsel.  He says he understands it because he did incite people to protest in the streets through the delivery of fiery speeches.  However, he realized later that if he had given the same speeches in a different time and place, the situation could have become quite violent.
  • Payette said she wants a “recall” law which will allow the electorate to fire a government while they are in their executing their elected mandate. She wants such a measure to be able to be used if the population becomes unhappy with the government.  She says this ties into her vision of sovereignty.  Her argument is that when people vote today, they too often are voting for a preferred personality rather than on substance.  Only after they vote do they find out that they do not like the substance of the politician.  She believes this is a way to fix the problem of cynicism towards politics.
  • Nadeau-Dubois says one thing that hit him in 2012, during his protests, was that ordinary people were telling him to go home and stop making so much noise and to stop creating disturbances. He was surprised that the people telling him this were not meeting him on an idealogical basis when telling him to go home.

My personal comment related to the above:  Take from that what you will… my interpretation of what this signifies is different from his.  I believe that if people were not willing to engage him in an ideological debate, it means they did not agree with his ideology, and it should perhaps have been Nadeau-Dubois who should have been more respectful rather that the other way around.

  • Nadeau-Dubois says he believes Québécois are not willing to become more militant like him, and are not willing to take up his causes because he feels they have it in their heads that the province’s population is not big enough to take up causes which may cause divisions within society

My personal comment related to the above:  I find NadeauDubois’ comment condescending, and bordering on insulting.  It’s almost as if the notion or reality could not occur to him that there are people – a majority in fact, based on two referendums and poll-after-poll – who actually care for, and have a vested interest in the health, advancement and strength of Canada (not just a majority in Québec, but elsewhere in Canada too).   I mentioned in earlier blog posts that Anglophones can be amazingly cool, and Francophones can be amazingly cool.  There are many of us, in Québec and across Canada, who enjoy living together and building something together, as compatriots.   The reasons both referendums failed in the past is because there “is” a majority which is concerned with splitting up the country, and who would not feel whole – culturally, as a nation, or as individuals – without one another.  This is quite unique on the world stage, and it is very special.

Canada is not dysfunctional or abnormal, as many sovereignists do argue (their words, not mine). Rather, for Federalists, it is sovereignty which can be argued as dysfunctional and abnormal, in the sense that Sovereignists proclaim sovereignty is the right option, whereas the majority does not agree.  (On that note, I’m not a big fan of the word “Federalist”… simply because in many people’s mind, it has a legal association related to the signature of the 1982 constitution defining the legal framework of the “Federation”.   That’s a whole other kettle of fish, and that’s not what I’m talking about when I say “Federalist”  When I use the word “Federalist”, I simply mean someone who is pro-Canadian Unity… and the “legal” stuff can be hashed out in a different context).

Most people across the country (including Québec) do not want to give Canada up or allow others to take it away from them. Most people want to seek and work for the continued evolution of Canada through collaboration.  Canada is not what it was 100, 40, or even 15 years ago.

For Federalists, why sovereignty seems like a dysfunctional and abnormal option is because it feels like someone is telling you the brother or sister you have always lived with (even when there was tension in an earlier era) is someone you should try to not like, and you should turn your back on them and learn to dislike them because there are differences in personalities.  Most people, when faced by that type of discourse, would simply tell that person to kiss off!  Family is family.

When I’m told that Québec’s relationship with Canada should be severed so Québec can normalize its economics and policy decisions, that argument also doesn’t hold weight with me. What is normal?  If a majority of the population accepts it, or wishes for its continued evolution, improvement, and reform within Canada, then it already “is” normal.   Getting into specific economic or policy arguments, frankly speaking, is just a waste of time for both Federalists and Sovereignists.  Why?  Because anyone can twist numbers or policies in their favour (A Federalist can make it sound like 4+4 = 9, and so can a Sovereignist).    So what boils down to is what do you harbour as feelings, emotions, and sentiments.  You either feel attached to Canada, or you do not.  If you do not, fine – that’s OK, and Federalists should respect that.  But if there are people who are attached to Canada, then as a Sovereignist – you too should respect that, live with it, and also move on… just as you would want, and ask for Federalists to respect Sovereignist’s sentiments, especially if Sovereignists were the majority – am I not right?  It should not be a one-way street when I hear that Federalists should respect Sovereignist sentiments right now, then thus move on if they lose a referendum, but that Sovereignists should not accept Federalist sentiments right now, nor simply move on if they lose a referendum (and continue to lose a majority of the public’s support and sentiment).  How does that make sense??  Think about it.   The old adage is “if you can’t beat them, join them” (at least that’s what Sovereignists often tell Federalists they should do if a majority wants and votes for Sovereignty).  But if the reality is the other way around (as it is right now), why does that not hold true in the opposite sense?    Actually… I don’t advocate that Sovereignist should drop their convictions and “join” Federalists.   I think both sides should respect each other’s sentiments.  But I do advocate “acceptance”, which means accepting and “moving on” if public opinion is not on your side (regardless if you’re Federalist or Sovereignist – and at this moment, and quite possibly for a long long time – if not indefinately- public sentiment is towards a united Canada, both in Québec and in every other province).

But hey, Gabriel NadeauDubois is entitled to his opinion. His exposure and experiences in the Canadian context are very different than mine and many others (which is why most people in Québec seemingly did not, nor do not agree with a good deal of his actions).   But I figure that’s ok – everyone can lead their life how they want.  It’s a free country.  I suppose for Federalists like myself, the idea of respecting and having strong sentiments and emotions “for” Québec, its people and other people across Canada goes hand-in-hand with what we represent as a country.  These values are not out of sync with some of Québec’s most profound values.  It’s about caring for people, sharing our wealth, our accomplishments, creating something we can be proud of, encouraging others to pursue a better life, and to give society the tools and opportunities so people can also help themselves make life a little better.  We share those values, in Québec, and across the country – and people are given the opportunity to live anywhere they want in this country in pursuit of those goals.   End of my commentary.

  • Nadeau-Dubois says he is always having to consult his entourage to help him make decisions. Payette says that’s a healthy thing, and doing the same thing has always been important for her too.
  • Nadeau-Dubois says he didn’t know what to do when he was awarded the Governor General’s award. Payette said if it was her, her initial reaction would have been to reject it.  Payette said she was very surprised to see what happened when Dubois accepted it.  She was surprised he donated the money to another cause of his liking, one linked to Québec independence.  Both he and Payette agreed that receiving the Governor General’s award money wasn’t such a bad thing after all, and served their cause well (commentary supplement:  through garnishing media attention in the form of a media event, as well as providing money to a cause of their approval.  As I stated two posts ago, after receiving the money, Nadeau-Dubois was given a platform on “Tout le monde en parle”, where Nadeau-Dubois began a telethon of sorts to increase the dollar value of the fund).
  • Both said that they felt it was too bad that people frown upon those who disagree with others (Commentary: I can only guess they’re talking about mud-slinging politics. To Nadeau-Dubois’ credit, I’ve listened to him criticize ideas and other people’s actions from A to Z, sometimes quite forcefully – but, with the exception of some of the most heated moments of the 2012 protests, he generally does not launch personal.. so on this point, I agree with him). 
  • Nadeau-Dubois says he feels the Quiet Revolution should continue because he feels societal inequalities were dealt with during the Quiet Revolution. Payette responds that it should start with a connection between the old guard (her generation) and younger generations.  After forging such connections, she believes the torch should then be left to the younger generations to re-take up the causes of the Quiet Revolution and morph into into a new movement.
  • (Commentary: this next paragraph is an interesting point of disagreement between Nadeau-Dubois and Payette):  Nadeau-Dubois asks Payette what she thinks of Pierre Karle Péladeau and the likelihood of him becoming the leader of the Parti QuébécoisPayette responded she believes PKP can incite Québec’s business spheres to take up the sovereignist cause (which, for the most part, they never have before).   She said, because PKP knows Québec’s business community very well,  it would be interesting to see if he can convince the business world not to choose sovereignty because of the Parti Québécois, but rather to simply vote yes in one referendum, and then vote for whatever party they want (left, right, centre) after a referendum succeeds.  She feels PKP would also be a good negotiator against the might of Ottawa should a referendum succeed.  She doesn’t know if having PKP as the head of the Parti Québecois will bring about these results, but she said it would be interesting to find out.  Nadeau-Dubois rebutts what Payette  (Comment For Anglophone readers who do not speak French or who do not follow the sovereignty debate in Québec, you may find the following insightful because it will allow you to see that there can be quite different views within the sovereignty movement itself).  Nadeau-Dubois said he’s very worried by the idea of PKP becoming the Parti Québécois leader because of his refusal to resolve his apparent conflict of interest.  PKP should not be allowed to be both the owner of the Québecor media empire and a politician at the same time.   He said he believes politics are not like business – that politics call for a different kind of compromise and self-restraint.  He said PKP’s background as someone who goes on the offensive until he achieves what he gets will cause more problems than what it will solve.  He believes PKP was too anti-worker, too anti-unions, and too far to the right in his business relations.
  • Payette retorts that if there will be another referendum, regardless of which way it will go, it will be the last one (Nadeau-Dubois agreed), and thus, regardless of how PKP may have managed his businesses, if he can get results in a referendum, everyone should stand behind him. Payette says she believes PKP would rapidly introduction a referendum, and everyone in the Parti Québécois should set aside their differences to make it a reality.
  • Nadeau-Dubois said, as a person, he’s calm on the outside by nature, but that’s a good thing because it naturally tempers strong emotions he harbours on the inside.
  • Nadeau-Dubois said one of the motivating factors for his social & political engagement was having seen a new-immigrant child living in poverty. He said his life-engagements have since been as an anti-poverty activist.

This 3-post mini blog series, for me personally, was one of the more interesting ones I wrote.  As you saw, I through both hands into the dough in a political sense, and in this post I opened up about some of my own convictions on the unity vs. sovereignty front – more than I have in other posts.  Like I said earlier, one friend in Québec (someone who is a “Soft” Sovereignist) gave me a hard kick in the butt for hesitating to be a bit more direct on my own thoughts on sovereignty encouraged me not long ago to not be afraid to be more upfront, in my blog from time-to-time, with respect to my own convictions.  He’s of the same mindset as me that if you’re open about your thoughts, and those listening are also open people – dialogue can still be a great thing for mutual understanding and respect (even if views don’t change — but, hey, sometimes they do too).  So with my commentaries above, there you now have how I view the sovereignty debate.

But I’m not going to keeping focusing on this particular political matter… Rather, the posts will continue to be based on what I think will be of interest to bridging the Two Solitudes (with the odd political-related post inserted here-and-there 😉 ).

I hope you found these last three posts insightful.  🙂

————————————————————

ADDENDUM:  2015-02-02  

I mentioned above that it will be interesting to see where Nadeau-Dubois pops up next.  Well, he just appeared… and you’re not going to guess where.    Read the post GND Does it Again.

————————————————————

MINI “EAVESDROPPING” SERIES