Monday, October 25, 2010

What if 33 Miners Were Trapped In a Quebec Mine?

Thanks to Geneviève, who sent me an email giving me a heads up to a hilarious article that presents a spoof of what it would be like if miners would be trapped in a Quebec mine and subject to Quebec bureaucracy.

Here is a translation of an absolutely fantastic parody that was published on a blog called TRUISM. 
If you read French, please read the original.
August 5, 2010
Collapse of a mine shaft in the Amos Mine in Abitibi. 33 miners are missing.

August 22, 2010 

A probe reaches a safe room and returns to the surface the following message: "We are all alive." So far, so good.
August 27, 2010 - 
A working committee is created comprising of the heads of the mine, the Department of Natural Resources, Public Safety, trade unions and a federal representative to discuss the best rescue techniques. Talks bog down over costs. The unions accuse the mine of negligence, the company threatens to move to Latin America.
September 5, 2010
The parties reach an agreement on cost sharing. All that remains is to find a technical solution.
September 14, 2010
Three rescue plans are developed that are designed to drill a 60 cm hole in order to reach the miners, 700 meters underground, and return them to the surface using a basket. The government announces that the miners may have to wait until Christmas to see their families.
September 19, 2010 - The Algonquin tribe of Lake Brunante go to the Provincial Court to obtain an injunction to stop the drilling.  
The trucks have to cross traditional lands devoted to hunting, fishing and trapping to survive.
October 4, 2010
The government and the Algonquins of Lake Brunante negotiate an agreement under which the right of way is permitted in return for a compensation of $ 7 million.
October 6, 2010
Work begins drilling the relief well.
October 9, 2010
Friends of the Black Spruce tree and Greentree International obtain an injunction from the Provincial Court to stop the drilling. This activity could pose a risk to groundwater and cause inconvenience to the migration of geese.
October 19, 2010
The government and environmental groups agree to entrust the study of the case to the Office of Public Hearings on the Environment (BAPE).
November 7, 2010
 BAPE commences its work
November 18, 2010
The Citizens Committee for Val-des-Mines is concerned about the impact of drilling on the health of citizens, including children. They get support from their MP and the National Institute of Public Health.
December 13, 2010
The BAPE deposits its report. Given the urgency of the situation, and considering that the of migration period of geese has already passed, it authorizes the continuation of drilling. But to minimize the impact on the population, drilling can only take place between 8 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday.
December 23, 2010
Drilling stops for the holidays.
January 7, 2011
Resumption of drilling. The government says it has awarded the company, Mécanex, the task of building the car that will bring up the miners.
January 13, 2011
A Chinese consortium, a European company and a Quebec competitor go to Provincial Court to obtain an injunction to stop the drilling. The construction of the car was entrusted to a company without competitive bidding, which is contrary to the provisions of the agreements of the World of Commerce.
March 25, 2011
The Court rules, that given the urgency of the situation, the government is relieved of the obligation to submit the construction of the car to a bidding process. The proceedings are resumed.
April 5, 2011
An investigative reporter discovers that the CEO of Mécanex is a generous donor to the campaign coffers of the government. Heated debate in the National Assembly, the opposition is calling for a commission of inquiry into corruption and removing the Mécanex contract.
May 12, 2011
Work begins on the Commission to investigate allegations of corruption.
July 13, 2011
The Commission reports and acknowledges that the government had the right to entrust the construction of the car to a contractor of its choice, given the urgency.
July 15, 2011
Resumption of Drilling
July 17, 2011
Start of construction holiday
August 1, 2011
Resumption of Drilling
August 5, 2011
First anniversary of the collapse of the mine. The miners consider themselves lucky to be alive and not working in an underdeveloped country like Chile.
August 16, 2011
The tunnel finally reaches the miners, but the manufacture of the car is late. Mécanex is awaiting the important parts which are manufactured by its subcontractor in Indonesia.
September 10, 2011
The car arrived on the scene. Horrors! Subcontractors have a painted a huge Canadian flag on the outer envelope. The separatists are outraged and complain that it is a federalist plot.  
September 14, 2011
A working committee is created, comprising the heads of the mine, the Department of Natural Resources, Public Safety, trade unions and a federal representative to discuss the thorny issue of the flag.
September 22, 2011
A compromise is negotiated between the parties. The gondola will carry the flag of Canada, Quebec, Val-des-Mines, as well as logos Mécanex, the Central Juvenile Québec (CMQ) and the federation of workers and workers underground Quebec (FTSQ).
September 29, 2011
Shoving, physical abuse and looting at the site: the QMC and FTSQ disagree on the order  of the recovery of minors to the surface.

October 1 2011

The Minister of Labour appoints an arbitrator to resolve the conflict between the unions.
October 27, 2011
The CMQ and the FTSQ  agree on a common list of priority that takes into account seniority.
November 6, 2011
A secret government document is leaked to the press. The costs of the rescue operation is seven times higher than the initial estimate. Groups of angry citizens and the opposition demonstrate outside the site.
November 13, 2011
The government announces that it will release special assistance to defray the costs of the rescue operation and which it claims will not result in tax increase. The Premier asked his Canadian counterpart that the money be drawn from the surplus fund of EI.
December 4, 2011
The basket is repainted, rescue operations begin.
December 12, 2011 - 
Miners are back to the surface.
December 21, 2011 - The Premier hails the success of the operation and the fact that the  minors will celebrate Christmas with their families, just as he had predicted. However, he blames the federal government's inaction, for causing any delay.


  1. Pouvez-vous me nommer un évènement-catastrophe au Québec ou des vies humaines étaient menacées et ou les autorités n'ont pas réagi avec efficacité?Ou encore, n'ont pas répondu aux demandes d'aide provenant de provinces ou d'états voisins en situation d'urgence?

  2. Anonymous 9:38AM
    Go buy a sense of humour, that was quite humourous in how the goverment is ineptly working in normal times, of course in case of emergency it does not act this way. I like the line "The miners consider themselves lucky to be alive and not working in an underdeveloped country like Chile" i almost spewed coffee all over my screen.

  3. Not surprised: petits kébékuà have no sense of humor. Of course, when it has to do with berating or scoffing at Anglophones, they have their own sense of humor...


  4. Humor isn’t funny unless it reflects some semblance of truth. While the hilarious article is an obvious exaggeration, the spirit of it plays on our cynicism and the shameful reputation that the Quebec bureaucracy has earned over the years for being bloated, corrupt, inept, and officious. While we laugh, a part of me thinks we do so at our own peril.