I left Montreal in 1997 because of the political, social, and economic climate in Quebec at the time. However, even after all these years I still consider Montreal my home. The Quebec government wanted to protect Quebec’s language and culture, which I don’t object to. What I do object to is how they went about it; at the expense of other cultures and languages, especially English. They called themselves a “distinct society”; I viewed Quebec as an insular or isolated society. You see, they decided that they were so special that they didn’t really need to play nice with anyone else. They were wrong.
Within Canada, Quebec is certainly a distinct society and, to quote Martha Stewart, “It’s a good thing.” Times and the world have changed. Quebec can longer isolate itself from the rest of the world. I think this realization has even made its way into the consciousness of many Quebecois who previously had the opposite view. Why do I think this?
Since the middle of June I’ve been commuting to Montreal for a project. I’ve had many conversations about the state of affairs with many “experts” including my Dad, bartenders, cab drivers, tourists, colleagues, and likely a few random lunatics. There’ve been common themes in most, if not all, the conversations that I’ve had:
- Quebec’s economy sucks;
- Quebec realizes that there’s a great big world out there;
- Quebec needs to participate in the global economy;
- I probably spend too much time in drinking establishments talking to strangers.
Now here’s the Information Management bit…
We’re all well-aware of how social media played key roles in the Middle East over the last several months. We all recognize the power of social media to facilitate action during natural disasters. These types of events are fast paced and immediate (when measured against our existence). But, can social media, and online existence in general, be a factor in change that takes a longer time to come? I have a little theory that were it not for the internet and all the goodness it purveys, Quebec would have taken a lot longer to come to where it is today in terms of thinking about its place in the world.
Quebec still has a long way to go, but once they get there (and my parents relocate to maintain a 2,000 mile buffer)… I’m Goin’ Back Again (apologies for the crappy quality but it was all I had the patience to find).