Why Party-Pooping the Saint-Jean Makes Sense

Why Party-Pooping the Saint-Jean Makes Sense
by Farnell Morisset

Despite all the tourists, hotels don’t make much money.

Everywhere across the province, the party animals howled as Mr. Labeaume unveiled his plan to reign in the binge drinking and tolerated havoc that has become our national holiday. And while our loud-mouthed and crass brothers and sisters for whom the Plains are a veritable Mecca of Debauchery may rightfully find that this is “crissment gay man“, it’s high time the rest of us realize that the city needs to change that image. 

Simply put, impressions are everything. And in a city like Québec, which is heavily invested in tourism and needs to attract more young families for its economic future, impressions are directly linked to our prosperity. 

First, let’s talk tourism. Specifically, tourism income. Because let’s face it, the thousands of Québecois that come into the capital for the boozefest that is St-Jean contribute very little to the local economy aside from buying beer and poutine. They don’t go to hotels, they don’t buy tickets to shows, and they don’t spend much money here – but they do contribute to the mess we have to clean up the morning after. 

No no, the tourism income I’m talking about is the one from people who decide to come to Québec City for a few days, book a hotel room, go to a nice restaurant or two, go to a concert, and then go home. You know, the ones with real money to spend. They’re the ones who make our businesses prosper and they’re the ones who tip the student waitress. A major factor in these people coming here is that they like the image of Québec City. They like that it’s pleasant, safe, modern, urban, hip, and that we’re not lighting overturned police cars on fire.

“Honey, let’s go to Tahiti this year instead…”

Every time images of what appear to be irresponsible drunken delinquents walking aimlessly in our streets makes it to people planning their summer vacations with the kids, we collectively lose thousands of dollars. Multiply that by mass media, and that’s a lot less working hotel clerks, airport security guards, theater ushers, and waiters making a living.

But really, all this is peanuts compared to the long-term economic prosperity of our city that hinges on attracting young families to live here. While living in what seems like the inebriated orgy capital of Québec might seem fun for a certain segment of late teens and early twenty-somethings, those of us in that situation are notoriously nomadic and unreliable for long-term planning. The long-term economic workhorse, for any city, is young families. The ones looking for a place to settle down, get a stable job, buy a house, and pay property taxes. What are they looking for? Generally, a place that’s pleasant, safe, modern, urban, hip, and that’s not lighting overturned police cars on fire.

Would you want to raise your family here?

I’m not saying there’s no place in our society for a rowdy party-loving crowd. Despite the heavy drinking and general stupidity of the whole thing, the good spirits and peaceful attitude of those present is a remarkable testament to our inherent goodness. I’m fairly certain the city is not acting on a moral judgement in shutting down the implicit tolerance of public drunkenness and disorderly conduct during the Fête Nationale, but rather, merely acting on economic necessity.

Those of us who still plan to get hammered, we can take our drinking to the bars… it’s not like we were on the Plains for the show.
Article and photos courtesy of FourFourSeven

About the author:

Born and raised in Québec City, Farnell Morisset attended English school throughout his primary, secondary, and CEGEP studies, before ultimately choosing to stay in Québec City and study civil engineering at Laval University, where he served as president of the civil engineering student association. It was there that he discovered his affinity for writing and commentary, preparing a weekly column in the student newspaper dealing with the issues he, as president of the association, felt were important and relevant.

Having completed his engineering studies, Farnell felt there was a lack of reasonable, moderate discussion on the issues of modern social identity for many Québecois who, like him, felt deeply connected to the Québecois nation and culture yet did not identify with the traditional francophone non-practicing Catholic nationalist image. He was also alarmed by what seemed to be an invasive and aggressive polarization of complex social issues for which there are no black-and-white answers. This eventual identity crisis, he feels, will only be solved through good faith in, and honest communication with, all sides pulling on our ever dwindling “pure laine” blanket.

It is with his in mind that he founded FourFourSeven.org, which he hopes will become one of many voices of reason in what may become our generation’s most important critical debate on national identity.

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About Author

Farnell Morisset

Farnell Morisset has an engineering degree from Université Laval and common law and civil law degrees from McGill University, where he also studied economics.