Interview Series #15 (@Montreal)：インタビュー＃１５ Mr. Dubuc
Interviewee: Mr. Alain Dubuc Journalist, La Presse （Date: August 30, 2007; Place: La Presse, 750 St-Laurent; Interviewer/Writer: Takahiro Miyao）
Mr. Alain Dubuc is regarded as one of Quebec’s most prominent journalists, and it was intellectually exciting to talk with him about various issues from Japanese youth culture to Quebec’s economic problems. His wide-ranging interests and deep knowledge were quite impressive, and his frank opinions on key issues facing Quebec were extremely interesting. The following is a summary of his views on the economy and culture in Japan and Quebec.
Summary of Mr. Dubuc’s Interview
I have been to Japan twice, as I was very much interested in the Japanese economy as an economist and a business columnist. It was in the 1980s, when the Japanese management model attracted a lot of attention in North America, and we tried to understand it. Some people even tried to copy it, of course, without success, because we cannot copy it in the first place. Nowadays, trends in technology, fashion and lifestyle are coming from Tokyo, and it is interesting to see the interaction of technology and daily life in Japan, especially among young people, mingling electronics, cell phones, games, videos, etc. It seems that Japanese youth are rejecting the traditional monolithic society in Japan and expressing themselves in their own ways, somewhat like baby-boomers in North America at end of the 1960s.
Speaking about Quebec, there have been a lot of changes since the 1960s, especially since the “Quiet Revolution.” Then, Quebec was socially and economically backward, and an important catch-up process took place in the 60s and 70s. But there were also political developments in Quebec, such as the referendum and the language law in the 70s to achieve social justice. Before, francophones were treated as “second-class citizens,” so it was a kind of revolution, if not a violent one, which helped francophone Quebecois regain confidence.
But there was a cost associated with it. In the 70s, Montreal was bigger than Toronto, but we have lost 200,000 anglophones, who have left Quebec for other provinces or elsewhere. A lot of corporate headquarters and investment money have also been lost. Although the Quebec economy is growing with relatively low unemployment these days, the standard of living in the Quebec Province is still about 18% behind Ontario, and the 54th among all Canadian provinces and all the American states. In fact, Montreal is one of the poorest big cities in North America, although we have achieved social justice and a good quality of life. We have high-tech industries, universities and other tools to create wealth, but the results are less than satisfactory. It seems that we have economic problems as well as cultural problems, as there is still some sentiment that economic success is not the objective that we should achieve. This may be because economic success is often falsely identified with an American way which is not as generous and socially just as we should be.
According to my calculation, if we had the same standard of living in Quebec as in Ontario, we would be able to collect income tax about 5 billion dollars more, which would be enough to solve our budgetary problem for necessary social programs. And I am pleased to see that the three leaders of our three political parties in Quebec agree on this point, and the current debate is on how to change the way we have been doing for the last few decades, where there is a kind of consensus that our main objective is to create wealth. This is totally new in our public debate.
Finally, as a member of the board of the Society of 400th Anniversary of Quebec City, I would like to celebrate this occasion by emphasizing Quebec City as a place for encounters, reflecting the past history of the city with many immigrants as well as native Indians encountering and mixing with each other, and making the city more open to outsiders in the future. The Quebec City does not have to be too conservative in trying to keep its identity, as the Quebec Province as a whole, or at least French-speaking Quebecois, have established a clear identity in terms of language and culture. If you accept the Quebec language and culture, you will be accepted as a Quebecois regardless of your race or national origin. References: Wikipedia on Alain Dubuc http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alain_Dubuc
(Written by T. Miyao) ------------------------------------------------------------- アラン・ドゥブック氏 ジャーナリスト、ラ・プレス （2007年8月30日、ラ・プレス社にて；聞き手：宮尾尊弘）