Few people, including me, really know what is fermenting in front of our very eyes. Either we choose to ignore it, or we pretend that even if it's there, it doesn't involve us. But in every culture, in every city on Earth, there is an underworld, a place in which people do dubious things in order to survive, or perhaps just to get a step up the ladder, which has a barrier already in place for people like them.
In other words, it's a place where good intentions go bad. Montreal is a case in point. Few people actually realise, or remember, or choose to remember, that this was a major underworld paradise, for many, many years. I would warrant that it still is. People think of New York or Chicago as the places where "The Organization" exists, but I'm willing to bet that it's vastly the opposite.
Montreal is a "true crime" zone in every sense of the word. I really can't gauge the level of corruption at City Hall, but trust me, it's endemic, pervasive, and is definitely in it for the long run.
It's just that it's covered up so well for ordinary folk like you and me. The only difference between Montreal and Johannesburg is that the people doing the covering up are richer and have more resources.
Montreal is a cesspool of corruption and vice, which is its favorite hobby. It's been that way since Ramzi Youssef hung out here hoping to bomb the twin towers; it positively teems with potential terrorists. That's only the beginning.
Montreal's docks are completely controlled by the mafia; until recently, the man who ran the entire operation, Dominic Taddeo, is the son of a famed crime boss. How this guy could get by running the entire Montreal dock operation for many years is completely beyond me.
There are stories -- many of them -- of large paper bags being delivered to politicians of all stripes with no ham sandwiches inside.
We live in our insular little world -- at least I do -- never questioning the "big" things our cities do, just muttering under our breath, knowing the truth yet being powerless to change anything.
And this will go on, as long as The Godfather remains the Number One Movie Ever Made and the Godfather 2 the second.
Look around you, when you get some time. Chances are eight out of ten people you see are existing in the underworld.
It's the underworld, but at least it's our underworld.