Outremont is different than the Montreal I once vistited

One week before I started undergrad, I took off with two friends to the Laurentians and Montreal to drink and toast a point of inflection. In Montreal, Rue St. Catherine was the only rue, and it was debauchery.

Thirteen years later, I brought two travelling companions of a different sort -- my wife and daughter -- to promenade the rue's of Outremont; sort of a muted fusion of Le Marais and Dufferin Street.

I love young Quebecois -- they're confident and sophisticated. I love old Quebecois -- they're kind and complex. For a brief moment, looking at a fleur de lis, I thought about being a nationalist. Being proud of a singular race/state. The blue was compelling -- so bright compared with the maple leaf that is like one's front door. But I cannot be a true Israeli, even if the old Levine blood counts for something. I am 32 and have never lived as a Jewish person. And I cannot be Quebecois of any degree for the same reason. But maybe that's beside the point.

What's better about pluralism? It's not an easy answer. There's complexity in the system and in the answer. But pluralism is right. I think I know that with certainty.

We met an amazing Senegalese man on a bus on route 80 Friday night. He was with his family. We liked talking to him -- it was small talk, but there was something underlying. He was leaving Montreal for one year, then returning -- I think for good. Is he Quebecois? His french was perfect, I think. I liked him more than any hoser; more than a bourgeoisie wine-sipper in North Toronto. Within the "scoring" of pluralistic complexity, perhaps he is more Quebecois than me, and less than others.

Ontario is orange. That's our fleur de lis. And everyone else is a grade of orange, or not orange, but living in it like marshmallows in hot chocolate.

We'll return to Quebec. Get a bit better at french and do the small towns where you can't revert to English. Then we will see ...

post script: Jan Wong was censured by the Parliament of Canada. It was wrong.