Canadian musings June 13, 2006 at 6:12 pm
It has taken me a little while to come up with anything approaching a coherent set of thoughts on Montreal, and this is definitely a first cut. Part of the interest in Quebec (sprinkle accents over that) of course lies in the mixture of American and French influences. The ferocious consumption and competition of the US is moderated by a more European pace of life and a seemingly broader set of societal concerns. There is a cosmopolitan tolerance, but the place still looks much like a US city. And, noticeably, there are a lot of mendicants on the street (hence the picture), which feels vaguely shocking, given the whole caring shared destiny vibe. But that just emphasises that there isn’t a linear scale of social security, just a large set of choices, mostly independent of each other. You can set the game up with lots of different rule sets and the Quebecois have taken one set somewhere between the US and France. I’d love to see one of those cute n-D visualisations (where n=9 or something) which maps the various social policy choices and shows where Quebec comes out vs. France and an average US state, say.