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Lio Kiefer May 25, 2012
When you hear mayor Tremblay worry, invoke the specter of declining tourism in a city and province that are so dangerous, it’s hard not to smile. Either we’ve never travelled. Or we’re misinformed…
For two days, since the 100th day of student protests, the world’s newspapers are talking about Québec.
In France, they’ve fallen into world play, winks and a certain truth. After the Arab spring (printemps arabe), we’re in the maple spring (printemps érable). Easy, nice, but interesting.
Articles were also published in newspapers from South America and Africa. I haven’t looked at Asia or Scandinavia too much, except for the newspaper d’Osteründ, in Sweden, where I lived. There they talk about the marriage of the mayor’s son and the girl from the restaurant Uncle Adam, but not about Montréal.
And the British newspapers are dragged by their ears, those times that Babette is disgusted just knowing that some annoyed people are getting all worked up on the colonial soil. For some Brits, an aboriginal Australian and a Quebecker, it’s the same fight.
Everything is positive: there is a lot of sympathy for the student movement. The name Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, spokesperson for CLASSE, is better known today to European readers than Mme Courchesne and than…. Jean Charest.
When I heard Mister Tremblay brandish the specter of lack of tourist influence this summer for festivals and above all for the Grand Prix, a godsend for restaurants and gadget sellers, I had a good laugh.
The Grand Prix. Grand Prix lovers come for Grand Prix. The students at night with pots and pans? The trials, the Ferraris on Peel street, that’s the day! The means of transportation? On foot or by metro. On the other hand, if I were a student and the Grand Prix disappeared, I would go protest in front of Alexandre’s house, who, a few years ago, defended the loss of earnings of Chez Paré’s dancers. And in front of Paré’s too.
On the other hand, it would be a good call on the students’ part to stay close to Métro Longueuil and in the area around Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, with helmets. It’s not a balaclava or a mask; it’s homage to the Villeneuve father and sons and to excite Hamilton’s groupies.
The students could also participate in Jazz Fest, the Just for Laughs Festival (Rozon can find a flash), and the Francos, etc.
Advice for Montréal Tourism: hire Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, Léo Bureau-Blouin and Martine Desjardins as tour guides.
I have a friend who is the president of an organization called Kaléidoscope and who does numerous themed tours around the city, (Jewish, Italian, Asian…) why not student?
Anecdotally, I was in Berlin at the fall of the Berlin wall, in Bucharest and in Prague, destinations that are highlights of the tourist corridors. The mess? The tourists want to see it, to photograph it…
I travelled to Paris in ’68, when I was a child, and I accompanied those who used cobblestones like weapons of anti-establishment sobriety, neither the mayor nor the tourism offices kept quiet.
History again: in Buenos Aires, Lima, Bogotá, the pots and pans and the protests resonated and there are still more tourists than before.
Even Tiananmen Square is a photo opportunity…
Don’t go telling me that Émilie-Gamelin Square is a cursed place.
I’ll go even further. Make an agreement with Tefal. And have Teflon (Tefal) non-stick frying pans engraved with Printemps Érable 2012. A hit for tourists, in the same way as cans of syrup stamped Printemps d’Érable 2012.
Mister Mayor, Québec’s current bad reputation abroad, it’s not the students; it’s the cops and the government.
Come on! Get to work! Don’t forget your pots and frying pans!
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.