Ricky Blue's Other Life
Ricky Blue
Ricky Blue
is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer. He and partner George Bowser are the famous Bowser and Blue comedy act. Here's his bio from their Bowser and Blue website.

Ricky Blue was born in Liverpool, England, but raised in Maine, New Jersey, and Toronto. He has an MA in English from Concordia University. He has been involved in bands and media music in Montreal for over twenty years. In 1981 he won an international 'Clio' award for excellence in advertising.

He once appeared on television naked.

His life had no real meaning, however, until he began to play with Bowser and Blue. Rick plays guitar, mandolin, and harmonica, and sings in a rather pleasant baritone when George will let him.

His columns are archived here

Posted 03.09.06


In Montreal: The Glom and the Civils

West Islanders hoped Jean Charest would simply undo the damage done by the Parti Québécois by striking down the forced municipal merger law. It could have easily been done with a stroke of the pen. We would have all been happy and well served, back to the way things had been run for years: competently.

Instead we were dragged through all the smoke and mirrors of the riggederendum, and forcibly rounded up into the abomination council.

The question is: why?

We know the Parti Québécois wanted to punish all the little towns that had the temerity to make declarations of loyalty to Canada during the 1995 referendum. But what was the motivation for the Liberals? They have gained only our contempt. (The PQ already had that.)

Other than plain idiocy, dear reader, I can only arrive at one explanation. Yes, Minister, there is another layer of government over which voters have no control. And indeed, over which even elected officials have no control: the ironically named civil service.

Perhaps when the Quebec Liberals came to power it was too late to return to the way it was before: if only because thousands of civils had already burrowed their way into cozy little offices with staffs and budgets. And there was no way they were going to give that up. Least of all because of the wishes of the population they (ha! ha!) serve.

You see, we pay their salaries through taxes so we think they work for us. But that is not their perspective. They think that we work for them: that they are entitled to as much of our wages as they need.

When a vacuum opened up between the PQ's Bill 170 - a coup d'etat in typical PQ fashion - and the Liberals' Bill 9 - a weaselly half-measure in typical Liberal fashion - the civils sensed their opportunity. The 'Glom' rose up from the darkness like a Tower of Babel.

We might complain about the agglomeration council being unwieldy, unnecessary, and undemocratic. But to a true civil that is its strength.

Scholars one day will study the agglomeration council of Montreal. It is the perfect creation of a civil service. It is built upon complexities that no one will ever understand. Nobody knows why it exists. It is inefficient. It is useless. It is expensive. It is undemocratic


And no one likes it.

But gaze upon it with awe and wonder. No official will ever admit that it doesn't work. Too much time and money has already been invested. Voila! Waste becomes strength.

This is the upside-down art of the civil service. But unlike art displayed in galleries the civils are so selfless in their service that no individual will ever take credit for the design of this structure. There is no signature, no one to praise.

No business in the private sector would ever survive with such a clumsy and dodgy centre of power. It would soon collapse under its own incompetence and suspicion. But bankruptcy is not a problem in the subsidized world of the civils. When waste and mismanagement lead to deficit they just look around for more people to tax, and at higher rates.