Does Montreal need a snitch hotline?

We assess the mayor’s anti-radicalization program and propose even more new hotlines to stamp out the social scourges plaguing our city.

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Neighbourhood Watch
So the city of Montreal is creating a new centre for the “prevention of radicalization leading to violence,” but it’s not aimed at Muslims, says mayor Denis Coderre. It could be used to help kids in street gangs or to prevent incidents like the school shootings at Dawson and Polytechnique.

That must be why the mayor included the buzzword “radicalization,” because we all know it was religious fervour that inspired Marc Lepine and Kimveer Gill on their homicidal rampages. Come to think of it, aren’t street gangs a form of radicalization, too? I’m sure a snitch line is all we need to prevent not just violence, but drug dealing, robberies, gang initiations and lunch-money muggings in elementary school playgrounds.

Look, the idea isn’t all bad. Having a multidisciplinary resource centre available to offer information to concerned parents about what to do when Jane goes Jihadi or Joe goes Jedi Knight can be useful, especially when we’re dealing with people suffering through a psychological crisis. But that’s a resource that is already offered through our current social services network and it’s certainly NOT one that we should be further stigmatizing by sticking on the hysterical label of “radicalization.”

The centre is just the latest effort by politicians to make it appear that they’re doing something new to fight off the phantom menace of Muslim terrorism, which even by the loosest definition has killed a total of two Canadians in the past decade. In that same period, 35,000 Canadians have died from suicide. In the past three decades, more than 1,000 native women have been murdered and another 186 have gone missing. There have been more homeless men killed by Montreal police, more Montrealers killed by snow-removal equipment than Canadians killed by violence from “radicalized” individuals in the past decade.

Still, the idea of creating crisis/hotline centres whenever there’s some social scourge that we need to pretend we’re doing something about is admittedly appealing. Here are a few more suggestions:

JoJo Savard
JoJo Savard

  • One-Shop Photo-op Log in to find the next opportunity to appear on a newscast, call a radio hotline show, pose for pictures with tourists, comment on the latest Habs game, vow to lose weight or announce the creation of a new hotline. 1-800-CODERRE
  • Mad Science Unhappy with projections for climate change, Canadian fisheries, pollution, etc? One call to Mad Science and, poof, old studies disappear and money for new ones dries up. 1-800-SHARPER
  • Pas Dans Ma Cour Tired of being invaded by Muslims, atheists, Greenpeace activists, intellectuals and aliens? Just call PDMC and the mayor of Saguenay will mobilize civil servants to battle the incoming hordes of interlopers. 1-800-TREMBLAY
  • Everybody Hates Me Ever have one of those days where everyone in the medical field seems to despise you because you’re turning their work lives upside down without any concern for how it affects them or their patients? Ever try to bully someone only to have them push back and force your boss to publicly rebuke you? Now you can complain to the only person who sympathizes with you. 1-800-GAETANB
  • Holocaust Comparison Hotline Never sure when it’s appropriate to compare the systematic murder of millions of Jews, gays and Gypsies to people whose statements you find annoying? Are your friends admonishing you when you call the mail carrier a Nazi because he won’t deliver as long as you don’t clear ice off the stairway? Do you justify the repression of free speech because “The Holocaust did not begin in the gas chambers, it began with words?” Are you constantly confusing Godwin’s Law with Murphy’s Law and L.A. Law? Call 1-800-SBLANEY, where operators are standing by to ask if you’re meshugganah. ■

Peter Wheeland is a Montreal journalist. His sardonic observations about the city and province appear on Cult MTL every week. You can contact him by Email or follow him on Twitter.