Il y a en effet une passion mâle et légitime pour l’égalité qui excite les hommes à vouloir être forts et estimés. Cette passion tend à élever les petits au rang des grands ; mais il se rencontre aussi dans le cœur humain un goût dépravé pour l’égalité, qui porte les faibles à vouloir attirer les forts à leur niveau et qui réduit les hommes à préférer l’égalité dans la servitude à l’inégalité dans la liberté.
- Alexis de Tocqueville, De la démocratie en Amérique, Nolla (éd.), Paris, Vrin, 1990, p. 44.
The Quebec intelligentsia is made up of university professors, union leaders, and goateed Che-t-shirt-wearing university students. They dominate the province as did Premier Maurice Duplessis and the Catholic Church in the 1940s and 1950s.
These folks love equality more than they love anything else. So Quebec spends more on social problems than anywhere else in North America. And it taxes its residents more too.
When an alternate view is presented, it is immediately shelved. For instance, former Premier Bouchard and some non-conformists suggested in October 2005 that maybe we need to rethink our far left model. He said that Quebecers work less than Ontarians. They wrote "Pour un Québec lucide." It was denounced by the usual suspects.
So strong is the equality-before-liberty ideology that the usual suspects are criticizing a plan to bring air conditioning to a few public transit buses. These are new buses on new routes to bring office workers long distances. In one case, the buses will bring Bell employees to their new campus on Nuns' Island.
Instead of praising the fact that Montreal will be joining the twentieth century by introducing air conditioning on city buses--a feature that will likely spread when the transit authority sees how popular it is--labour leader Stéphane Lachance is upset that it will create a "two-tier" system.
C'est pas possible.
Transport minister suspends 'two-tier' commuter bus routes
Local transit authority to run Vaudreuil line
AMY LUFT, The Gazette
Published: 13 hours ago
Two new express bus routes, one scheduled to begin tomorrow, have been suspended.
The service, set to offer luxury coaches to commuters from Vaudreuil and Longueuil, has been called off after complaints that the Metropolitan Transit Agency did not respect Quebec transport ministry procedures, transit minister Julie Boulet said Friday.
The price of fares, Boulet said, had not yet been approved by the Montreal Metropolitain Community, a public group overseeing regional issues such as transit.
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The announcement came after the MTA awarded a five-year, $2.8 million contract to a private company, Transdev Limocar, to offer bus service on the new lines.
The routes, which were set to start tomorrow in Vaudreuil and Sept. 15 in Longueuil, came under scrutiny last week by critics who said the new fleet of luxury buses created a two-tier system.
The new coach buses would include air conditioning, toilets and wireless Internet access.
The suggested fares for the Vaudreuil to Côte Vertu line are $4.75 per trip or $95.50 a month, while the Longueuil to Nuns' Island route was suggested at $5.25 per trip or $74 per month.
"We need to be vigilant and fight to maintain a public service which is accessible, efficient and most of all fair," said Stéphane Lachance of the Canadian Union of Public Employees' transport workers' division.
Lachance said last week that the new coach-style buses are unfair for taxpayers.
"On the one hand, the MTA is taking its revenues from (fees for) drivers' licences and tax on gasoline and, on the other hand, it's subsidizing a privately run, high-class service that's not available to everyone."
A no-frills service will be offered beginning tomorrow on the Vaudreuil line by the Conseil intermunicipal de transport La Presqu'Île, which provides local transit for the Vaudreuil area.
Can you spot which of these men is
Stéphane Lachance of the Canadian Union of Public Employees?