>Please pass this along to anyone who might be interested. For
>those who know little of Quebec, it is the major dairy region
I'm going to add an unofficial commentary here for those of you who
would consider either of these positions at McGill. Anyone interested
in these positions should know some things about Quebec that the folks
hiring you would probably not volunteer.
I lived and worked for 13 years (1978-91) in Quebec and speak French
well enough to be mistaken for a native speaker all the time in Europe
and much of the time in Quebec. Nevertheless, I was the object of
repeated discrimination on the basis of my mostly-Anglo ethnicity and
name. More often than not the discrimination was quasi-official and/or
urban, rather than at the hands of ordinary *rural* Quebecois. Nothing
during several repeat visits leads me to believe anything has changed.
Discrimination against Jews is virulent, sometimes vicious, and
occasionally official, as in the government's removal of kosher foods
from the store shelves in the middle of Passover because the labels
weren't in French.
If your children have not attended school in English, in Canada, you
will in all likelihood be denied the right to send them to school in
English in Quebec. When my 12-year-old nephew came from the States to
live with us for two years, it took six months of wrangling to get
special Ministerial permission for him to attend a local English
Taxation rates are outrageous, and Quebec is the only place I've ever
seen mothers swell with pride and say, "My son is a bureaucrat."
As for bureaucracy and heavy-handed officiousness, I'd say Quebec may
have found its equal along the Bolivia -- Peru border, but eastern
Europe doesn't even come close. There is a 'Regie' (regulatory board)
controlling just about everything, and you can get in trouble for
things like not hiring an over-priced union carpenter through official
channels. Quebec is very much like France in being a bastion of
trade-unionism, usually with enthusiastic government support. The
province's 40,000 - odd farmers are required by law to pay dues to the
Union de Producteurs Agricoles, a vehemently nationalistic, left-wing
If you can handle the social environment, however, there are some
really good things about Quebec. It is one of the most advanced
jurisdictions in North America as regards sustainable and organic
agriculture. McGill has been involved to some degree since 1974. Quebec
farmers are some of the best in the world, and the official farmland
protection (a *good* side of that intrusive bureaucracy) means that
even 15-20 miles from Montreal farmland is cultivated and affordable.
Speculators are largely out of the equation.
Montreal is nice, and Quebec City is even nicer. In either city on a
snowy Tuesday in February you'll find people on the sidewalk at 11 PM,
and the food can be fabulous.
If you're willing to tolerate the oppressive bureaucracy, barely-latent
discrimination, confiscatory taxation, and absolutely goofy politics,
your time in Quebec could be interesting and professionally
stimulating. It's one of the hotbeds of sustainable ag, and has been
for a quarter-century. Just make sure you go into it all with your eyes
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