Fear and Loathing South of the 40 : The High Price of Living in Quebec

stanstead border crossing. photo nancy berman. Stanstead border crossing. Looking into the USA. Photo Nancy Berman.

Money Down the Drain

throwing money away

throwing money away

If you have been here before friends and neighbours you might have noticed that one thing: I absolutely loath is the Carbonneau Commission. Why, you might ask. There is a long list, but primarily because it’s a shameless waste of taxpayers money. Last week the Journal de Montreal reported that the commission had blown its budget. We already knew that. Lets take a moment to look at by how much.

The original budget was $14.5 million and was to run from 2011 to Oct. 2013. But in the spring of 2013, Justice France Charbonneau asked the Marois government to extend its mandate. The request was approved. Hey, Madame Charbonneau knows a good thing when she sees it. Now she is to submit her final report in April 2015, and the cost so far (this is so far) $33.9 million, more than double the initial budget and we ain’t even done yet. People the Quebec Government confirmed last week that it is cutting 85 medical specialists from our new Super Hospital yet it has over $30 million to spend on a commission that will yield nothing once it is done. (If you couldsee me I am shaking my head and making that ‘tsk, tsk’ noise). Who is running the show here?

Shame 101

Quebec seems to have a knack for making itself look like a racist pig internationally (I am still shaking my head and making that noise). Our latest endeavor was a video put out by one of Quebec’s main labour federations (the CSN) called ‘Reds and whites in the land of black gold’. The video is to promote Quebec’s government-run system of wine and liquor stores — the SAQ, who, by the looks of things, might know a lot about wines but not too much about public relations.

In this video a person in Alberta, where the liquor stores are privatized, is asked what they think of the service, and here is the response that the CSN thought was ok to publicize. “It’s often the people from Pakistan or India who know nothing about wine and who don’t even drink wine, selling the wine.” Wow, who was the genius who said “That looks fine to me, go ahead”??? Maybe their next video can be asking nuns what they think about contraceptives.

Paper not plastic

Snail made out of plastic bags. Danny Manning

snail made out of plastic bags. Danny manning

Got a scoop for the Montreal consumer this week. First off the city is looking (once again) into putting a ban on plastic bags in retail stores. The Mayor is down with the idea which is slated for debate next year. One plastic industry advocate says it’s up to consumers to recycle their bags properly. I will be honest with you, I am not even sure what we are supposed to do with used plastic bags. I was told that you are not supposed to put them in the recycling bin, so then where do they go? Back to the store, is there a drop off somewhere? Under our pillows for the plastic bag fairy? Where?

Made in Quebec

1642 Cola

1642 COLA

There is a crowdfunding campaign on indieGoGo right now, in which Bastien Poulain is try to get together $50,000 bucks to make “1642 Cola”. This would be a drink that would be brewed, bottled and sold, exclusively in Montreal, a signature drink, if you will. Poulain has even said it will be made using 99% Quebec ingredients, including maple syrup. The irony is that Poulain is from France, does that make a difference? No, I just thought it was funny. I am in, you should be too. Get on board HERE.

Last week at a glance:

Battle of the Wills

SNC-Lavalin finally handed over the keys to the MUHC Superhospital, late and over budget. The budget for the project was $1.3 billion, SCN-Lavalin managed to run up another $172 million and now wants us to fork over the extra. Health Minister Gaétan Barrette said the government is not going to pay a penny more than the original price. Hang in there Barrette. Show these guys what we are made of.


As early as next spring Quebecers could start paying more for daycare. Looks like we are going from a $7 a day to a sliding scale in which households making more money, would pay more money. I am cool with this, nothing burns my ass more than the Range Rover moms who drop their kids off at daycare, then go to Zumba classes and lunch.

Last word of the Week:

pas de hipsters.

pas de hipsters.

When I saw this sign I nearly fell off my chair laughing, but come on, you know it’s true. We all pretty much hate ‘Hipsters’ and ‘Hamsters’.


Got a complaint? No one likes a whiner, but you can tell Ken what you think anyway at [email protected].

About Ken Gaucher

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