From the Grand Bibliotheque
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
I had expected to see the stunning come from behind victory by Canadian women against the United States for an Olympic hockey gold medal as the lead story in the Montreal Gazette today. This is, after all, a hockey-crazed city and country.
Thus, I was more than a bit surprised when I saw not one, but two, stories played more prominently on the front page of the Gazette. The French language La Presse ran a big front page photo of the team with the headline Miracle sur Glace (that`s Miracle on Ice, Tish), and the English language papers out of Toronot led with hockey (Heart of Gold), but not the Gazette.
Apparently, Quebec is only days away from a call for an April election. The Parti Quebecois is hanging on as a minority government, but announcement of a deficit budget of $1.75 billion yesterday (hey, that`s chump change by American standards) has aparently driven the two opposition parties into revolt and Premier Pauline Marois is expected to call one of Canada`s famous snap elections as early as Wednesday. That would set in motion a six week campaign and an April election.
The big issue seems to be an increase from $7 to $8 and ultimately $9 a day for the parent`s share of day care costs (which only funds about 14 percent of the total required; the rest, like so much else here north of the border, is paid for by taxes...or borrowing).
Marois came into power after scandals plagued the Liberals, but my guess is that Quebecers will forgive the Liberals and return them to power soon. It`s only a guess, but separatism doesn`t seem to be in the air here now. After all, money from the feds (called transfers) are ahead of forecast, so why bolt to form a new country?
The Gazette, mind you, is an English paper (and a very good one), but you won`t see the word Kiev anywhere in the coverage of the Ukrainian uprising. For some reason, they prefer Kyiv as the spelling for the city which is at the center of so much turnoil. Now that I have XM radio, I heard plenty of Kiev coverage on the five-hour drive up here (POTUS is excellent; and I highly recommned getting XM).
As for the hockey game, when I was giving the Liberty folks a State House tour, the U.S. was up 1-0, but as I got in the car for the drive to Vermont, Mad Dog Sports (another XM feature) was reporting the bad news (for us, at least).
Big deal. One should never become overly involved in sports.
My tasks here in Montreal are to check out the casino and to visit a few head shops (no, not to buy anything) to find out what the status of marijuana legalization is here in the great North land.
If you`re ever here and want to purchase drugs (illegally), it`s apparently no big deal. In fact, the Berri-UQAM metro station (with the adjoining Park Emile Gamelin) is a prime hangout for pushers. Many is the time, I`ve been approached as I simply walked by with pushers quietly voicing their menu.
In case you`re wondering, the answer is No. I am, after all, a law abiding citizen.
Oh yes, in the 60 miles from Concord to Lebanon up I89, I went 67 miles an hour. I was passed by 40 law breakers and only had to go by three law abiders to maintain my speed.
In my last surveys combined, it`s 97 speeders to only three law abiders.`
That`s an easy percent; the 65 mph limit makes 97 percent of our upstanding citizens law breakers.