Protestors in Montreal are now disrupting the Formula One car race in the city. This has upset a number of people including ex-driver Jacques Villeneuve: “Villeneuve said he was raised to believe in hard work, and not imagine money will fall from the sky.” Villeneuve’s daddy was Gilles Villeneuve who was a champion F1 driver.
It’s not hard to dismiss Villeneuve — he’s paid, ultimately, by the 1% — but that raises the question: who benefits when the city is shut down for a monster automobile race? Businesses say that they will get $100 Million in extra revenue. Well, good! Except that it costs $15 Million to stage the race and that money comes from city, provincial, and federal taxes. That’s right, you in Nova Scotia, you in Saskatchewan, you in British Columbia (who ended Formula One racing in Vancouver), you are paying for this event.
The provincial government has attempted to get student leaders to end the protest but they say they have nothing to do with it. In fact, the Montreal protests have become something more than just student protests ever since the Casseroles began.
Casseroles are protests by ordinary people who walk outside and bang on a pan with a wooden spoon. This has really caught on; it’s sort of the Montreal version of “We’re not going to take it anymore!” Other places have been holding casserole nights in support of Montreal — even Calgary, in the Belly of the Beast, had one. Casseroles began in Chile in 1971 where they were called “cacerolazos”. Now they are a fun way to show your dissatisfaction with… well, anything.
Innocuous as it may seem, this kind of protest is really getting to the powers-that-be. Demonstrators were arrested Friday for the first time in twelve days. Was it the casseroles or the complaints of F1 car owners? Who has more power in Quebec — the foreign billionaires who own these expensive toys or the local folks that possess a few pots and pans?
Today, Sunday the 10th, is supposed to be a big demonstration in Montreal. The whole world is watching.
Here’s a Montreal story aggregator.