Thursday, March 16, 2017

Snowstorm Traffic Fail Underlines Quebec Bureaucracy Nightmare

It's not like snowstorms are something new to Quebec and even the size of the one that hit us this week is not something we shouldn't have been able to handle.

Of course there would be the anticipated traffic delays but considering that we had a few days warning of what was to come, the disaster on Highway 13 in Montreal, where 300 odd vehicles and their occupants were immobilized overnight in freezing weather was a dangerous and unacceptable failure by civil defence authorities, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Transport, all of whom were unable to cope with the difficult but not particularly extraordinary situation.
“With opposition calls for heads to roll, Premier Philippe Couillard has launched an external inquiry into how 300 motorists ended up stranded overnight Tuesday on Highway 13 during a blizzard”......
....“Moving to get the political storm over Transport Quebec’s bungling of the storm under control, Couillard announced it has named former deputy minister of transport Florent Gagné as head of a formal external inquiry into the events”. Montreal Gazette
And so things are running true to form, the politicians hand-wringing and apologizing profususly, but of course refusing to point fingers or assign blame.
So as usual, the government is going to its tried and true formula of calling an inquiry in order to delay accountability until the public's rage has subsided with time.
The result of that inquiry?
Nobody in particular will be held responsible for the dangerous mess, nobody will be fired or sanctioned and a collective responsibility will be invoked insuring no politician or bureaucrat will suffer any consequences.
It is the Quebec way.

I am reminded of this mindset at Quebec's illustrious UQAM university where future leaders are being formed and where collective irresponsibility is taught early and often.
Many courses are graded on the ridiculous notion of 'collective class work,' where every student is given the exact same passing mark, where good students are punished and bad students rewarded.
Everybody passes and everybody is rewarded equally, regardless of talent or devotion making for ideal future politicians and government employees.

By the way, the Journal de Montreal published an organizational flow chart that detailed the 94 steps to be taken by the Ministry of Transport in relation to intervening in a disaster or serious situation.
It is perhaps the best example of why Quebec failed to deal with the situation adequately.
Layer upon layer of bureaucracy that was and is a recipe for failure, followed by collective irresponsibility.

Even if you don't understand French, you certainly get the gist of what idiotic bureaucracy is going on here.

As a society, Quebec has been gripped with the sovereignty debate for over forty years and so little room remains in the public form for debate over the nightmare of bureaucracy and collective irresponsibility.

In Quebec we have more doctors per capita than Ontario, yet 25% of citizens cannot find a family doctor.
The bloated amount of bureaucrats involved in running our health care and school systems is staggering and is directly the cause of inferior performance.
Yet the bureaucrats are firmly in charge and fiercely protective of their entrenched positions.
Recently a government inspector swooped down on a run-down school where volunteer parents were painting the school at their own entire cost and labour, charging the volunteers with illegally working without a permit or qualification and threatening two hundred dollar fines each.

The Quebec government is incredibly bloated and lazy with the guarantee of lifetime job security poisoning  the workplace with a 'can't be fired' mentality that leads to abysmal productivity.
This last week I read a story in La Presse about a Quebec civil  servant who is paid but does not work.
We'll call him Gilles, because if we give his real name, surely Gilles will find himself in a real mess with his boss, the Quebec government. Gilles is a bureaucrat in Quebec City. But Gilles does not work.
No joke. He doesn't work.
Gilles is paid. He has an office. He has a title.
But he doesn't work and is paid a salary of $130,000
”  La Presse {Fr}
Apparently his bosses don't like him or want to work with him and so he is left to do nothing and collect his guaranteed salary. This is Quebec.

Every aspect of Quebec public life is affected with the poison of bloated bureaucracy that is more reminiscent of an old-time communist regime, than a modern western society.
And so Quebecers, even outside government work less days and hundreds less hours per year than Canadians in other provinces.
Laziness, bureaucracy and inefficiency is hallmark of Quebec society, leading us to become the province with the least amount of disposable income in Canada.
What do our leaders say about that?

"It's our choice how we live and organize society."

...Yes it is.

****************** U P D A T E ******************  

 As predicted, apologies flowed profusely by the Liberal ministers without anyone accepting responsibility.
Let me remind them of the code of Ministerial Responsibility as detailed on the National Assembly website (which I've translated from the French)
"Ministers are individually responsible for the management of their departments. They must present the policies and defend the actions taken by their ministry. Before the Assembly, a minister must answer not only his own actions, but also those of his officials. He may even be forced to resign due to an important case of mismanagement....
Quebecers shouldn't  hold their breath waiting for a ministerial resignation despite the code. 
It isn't the Quebec way.

1 comment:

  1. We need to press a giant reset button on Quebec's runaway bureaucracy.