The Hustings

The Hustings: Sovereignty’s new road-Bloc

The Bloc Québécois has elected a new leader named Mario Beaulieu, a development which shouldn’t go undiscussed in the Canadian media. Now before I start, I must disclose my bias: Mr Beaulieu isn’t a fan of me, nor I of him. As president of the fundamentalist Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Beaulieu released a report on “Francophobia” in the media, targeting among others myself and Jackson Doughart as Quebec-bashers based on articles that appeared in the Prince Arthur Herald. In reality, the report was a typo-filled manifesto against any Canadian journalist who dared to criticize Quebec in any manner. Yet the childishness of the SSJB’s shenanigans is what we can expect from the Bloc in the future, as Beaulieu takes the party in a more radical direction.

And it won’t just be federalists who will be alienated by the new leader. The Bloc’s base of Quebec separatists won’t be lured back by Beaulieu’s new direction, especially after shifting their loyalties in 2011. In his first speech as leader, he made remarks that were associated with the rhetoric of the FLQ, the group responsible for bombings in Quebec in the 1960s and the murder and kidnapping of government officials in 1970. If furthering the separatist cause is truly in Beaulieu’s interest, linking himself to the darkest periods in Quebec history is probably not the way to do it.

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The Hustings

The Hustings: Gratuity with no gratitude

Columnists in the National Post have been offering their two cents on tipping. Within the last month, both Robyn Urback and Jonathan Kay have argued in favour of it, while Andrew Coyne rightly argued that the practice needs to end.

As Coyne argues, tipping “has nothing to do with the quality of the service.” It has become an automatic formality, where adding an extra fifteen per cent to the bill seems as natural as signing your own name at the bottom of the receipt. In a recent trip to the pub, my friends and I were shocked by the carelessness of our server – wrong orders, spilt drinks, tardy service – yet we all still added a pourboire (albeit smaller) when the night came to a close. The practice is so engrained that it never crossed our minds to abstain completely. If our tip truly depended on the quality of service, this would never have been an issue.

I learned about this the hard way on one of my first forays into Montreal’s nightlife. After waiting at the bar for ten minutes for watered-down, overpriced drinks from a rude waiter, my friend and I decided she didn’t deserve our “voluntary” boost. We took our drinks and left, with the bartender’s furious voice leaving a trail of ‘you cheap shits’ – or something to that effect – on the way to our seats.

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