All of Montreal is Irish
Montreal has a long and proud Irish history. Starting from the working-class neighborhood of Pointe St-Charles, and ending in the longest running St-Patrick's day parade in Canada, we Montrealers like to pretend that we're Irish.
And there's a good reason for that: who wouldn't want to be part of a people whose national day involves heavy drinking, and end up in all the pleasantries resulting from this heavy drinking, if you know what I mean.
Let's cut to the chase, if you want to be proper Irish, you need to know two things. Today (Thursday the 17th of March) is the actual St-Patrick's day. Today is the day where you're supposed to head to the pubs right after your class/work is over. There you have to proceed to drink either Guinness, Harp or Smithwick's, and then top it up with some pleasantly strong Irish whiskey (of your choice obviously, the rules of Irishness do not mandate exactly which whiskey to drink).
After having paid the due respect to saint man that chassed snakes from Ireland, you can rest for 2 full days which should be enough to cure your brutal hangover and have you swear profusely never to drink again.
Never again until Sunday (the 20th) that is, when the St-Patricks day parade will invade downtown.
Now, it is important for all Montrealers turned Irish to understand that the St-Patricks day parade is an important event for the promotion of personal freedoms and social advancement in Montreal.
I've been saying this for years now, and I'll keep repeating it. The laws on public drinking in Canada and the US are pure ridiculeness and craziness. You can drink a coke on the streets, but you can't drink a lager? Why is this? Does the government or society believe that one can not drink a bottle of beer without getting drunk? In Europe and everywhere else in the world for that matter, you can drink alcohol on the streets and in peace.
This is where the St-Patrick's day parade comes in: because of the sheer number of law breakers, the police tolerate public drinking during the parade. I am always hopefully that this is the planting of a seed that will result in us being allowd to behave like adults and enjoy a tasty alcoholic beverage while also enjoying the sight of pretty young things strolling up and down St-Catherine street.
Unfortunately, the struggle is far from over. Our very own police force, busy from arresting 239 for "road-safety violations" (in case you didn't understand, that mean "any excuse we could find for breaking up a protest and denying people their fundamental human right of union and protest") or arresting 10 students in their 20ies for "conspiracy" (because the overworked MUC Police recognizes that students protesting against fee hikes are dangerous terrorists), is usually very "baton-happy" by the time the St-Patricks' day parade rolls into town.
So even though you might be able to drink during the short 2 hours of the parade, the police will do their best to justify their overly-exploding budget and indecent pay hikes and retirement plans, and will proceed to become busy with the noble task of getting you to throw away your beer, bought with your hard-earned money from a salary much lower that that of the police man (even though you have a master's degree and he has only a CEGEP one).
Nonetheless, the parking area between Crescent street and Bishop street becomes a fun stronghold of those who resist the police attempt to get them to stop drinking. And I suggest you do the same and join the crowd on the parking lot in an act of defiance towards a system that would rather have you stay at home and watch sensationalist-brain-numbing news beaming from a TVA helicopter flying over the rowdy crowd, and then paying your taxes so that the police can receive its indecent salary for ensuring you drink only coke, and no rum, on St-Catherine (ed's note: what a rebelliously long yet beautiful sentence).
Sometimes, our society makes me puke. Especially after lots of drinking during the St-Patrick's day parade. But that won't stop me for fighting for our freedom.
It's your turn now. So speak-up.
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