Why would I claim both that Canada has the highest social justice of English countries, and that it is thanks to Quebec? What does it have to do with this picture of what our '1%' did to the Royal Ontario Museum? Bear with me.
Salon had an article which discussed a study done comparing 'wealthy' states around the world. Of the five English countries, they come out in this order: Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Britain and... "America, Fuck yeah!" I won't bother to pile on the US. Too easy. All of the English countries come out poorly against Western and Northern Europe, and not even that well compared to some countries that got out of the 'Iron Curtain' just twenty-odd years ago.
What's so great about Canada? Er, what makes Canada mediocre, making it so much better than the other English countries? Quebec. Name a progressive issue that makes Canada look good in its neighbourhood, and it's not thanks to the Anglos: thank Quebec. Gay tolerance? A decade ahead. Turning away from religion? Maybe two decades. Subsidized daycare? Can't say, as Quebec's has had it for a while, and the rest of us are waiting. Here in Tokyo I just read they're still at it: fighting our conservative national gov't to get guns registered. What ever you think about guns, only an ass thinks they're better not registered, or can imagine going the way of the worst fly-over States on guns will have any other result than the same it has had there: more dead. It strikes a real nerve in Quebec, as this happened during the years I was at McGill.
You see, when you are a minority, as the French are even in Canada, you believe your society has some meaning: you believe in society at all. In the English countries, we don't. Well, many of us do, but none of us have power, or get to be heard, until just recently: Occupy Wall Street, and the other cities. Toronto is still run by its '1%', and badly!
A few years back the toffs on the board of the main museum got it into their heads that what would make Toronto a 'destination-city', and like NY (please.. and please fuck off and die, Toronto) would be to get a 'star architect' to do a piece of stunt-architecture, which Liebeskind was only too happy to dial-in. It reminds me of nothing less than Terry Gilliam's 'Brazil', but there's no accounting for taste.
Michael Lee-Chin Crystal' is named after a member of the '1%' who got his money in some... manner; the damn thing had to be made out of siding instead of glass (you know like a fucking crystal might be) because they couldn't engineer it, not to mention it would have cooked the exhibits; the spaces inside are full of unusable acute angles; they had a fight with the city because they did not account for it extending into the airspace over the public sidewalk; and finally, they had to double the entrance fees to this public museum, because it cost a fortune. Did the '1%', even Mr. Lee-Chin, have to swallow the costs? Of course not, that's not how corporate naming works. It doesn't pay for much more than the stationery.
Sure, tying the themes of this post together is a bit of a stretch, but so was the idea they could hose Torontonians and the visitors to the museum with this carbuncle at a premium, and still have a customer base. They just had to slash the prices, after a couple of years. And by the way, Toronto still ain't no NY (bloody hell).