Wow! While in general I never regret our decision to move from Montreal to the Manse in Queensborough, and my own decision to leave the Montreal Gazette for a teaching post at Loyalist College in Belleville, tonight things are a bit different.
Tonight is the first Quebec election – provincial, federal or municipal – in 17 years that I have not voted in. (As for Raymond, it’s many more years than that.) But you can be sure that we have been watching with huge interest from the sidelines here in rural Ontario, and we could not be happier with tonight’s resounding rejection by Quebecers of small-minded, divisive, exclusionary politics and policies. It is a joy to see the positive, inclusive campaign of Philippe Couillard – whom I had the honour and pleasure of welcoming to the Gazette’s editorial board not very many months ago, when he was seeking the leadership of the provincial Liberals – triumph tonight. Here at the Manse, we are feeling pretty elated.
And we are also both feeling a little bit nostalgic for all those long, late election nights we spent at the Gazette, shepherding three editions of the newspaper to press and, in recent years, watching in profound awe as the digital team kept the public apprised of developments on a multitude of platforms in real time. (All of which was invariably followed by many rounds of beverages being imbibed by the whole crew at a nearby pub, and hearty sighs of relief that it was all over from exhausted, adrenaline-wired reporters, editors and photographers.)
I remember how, on the day of the last Quebec election (when the Parti Québécois ended up coming to power), I was feeling so stressed that it seemed the sensible thing to post a beautiful, tranquil photo of Queensborough here at Meanwhile, at the Manse to take my mind off things. Tonight, it’s exactly the opposite: I am in beautiful, tranquil Queensborough and I shall post a photo of the scene at the news pod (the core of the newsroom) of the Montreal Gazette, graciously shared with me by my pal Michelle Richardson, city editor extraordinaire:
Don’t you wish you were there? I know I do.