Au­thor of Maclean’s piece is­sues apol­ogy

Montreal Gazette - - CITY -

Andrew Pot­ter, di­rec­tor of the McGill In­sti­tute for the Study of Canada and au­thor of the con­tro­ver­sial piece ti­tled “How a snow­storm ex­posed Que­bec’s real prob­lem: so­cial malaise,” is­sued the fol­low­ing state­ment Tues­day on his Face­book page:

“An ar­ti­cle that I wrote for Maclean’s mag­a­zine about the re­cent snow­storm and its im­pli­ca­tions for so­cial sol­i­dar­ity in Que­bec, and which was pub­lished on­line on Mon­day, March 20th makes a few as­ser­tions that I wish to re­tract. It also con­tains some rhetor­i­cal flour­ishes that go be­yond what is war­ranted by ei­ther the facts or my own be­liefs, for which I wish to apol­o­gize.

“To be­gin with, I gen­er­al­ized from a few mi­nor per­sonal anec­dotes about the un­der­ground econ­omy in Montreal to por­tray en­tire in­dus­tries in a bad light. I also went too far in my de­scrip­tion of Que­bec so­ci­ety as alien­ated.

“My in­ten­tion in writ­ing the piece was not to in­sult Que­bec and Que­be­cers. As naive as this sounds, it came out of a good-faith at­tempt to un­der­stand what hap­pened with the clo­sure of High­way 13 dur­ing the snow­storm, and to find that un­der­stand­ing in some sta­tis­tics on so­cial cap­i­tal in the prov­ince and com­pared to other parts of Canada.

“A po­lit­i­cal writer’s first duty is to re­flect his com­mu­nity back to it­self. Quite ob­vi­ously, I failed. When peo­ple you read and re­spect tell you they don’t rec­og­nize their so­ci­ety in your de­scrip­tion, it sig­nals a fail­ure of em­pa­thy and imag­i­na­tion, and it is time to take a step back.

“I re­gret the er­rors and ex­ag­ger­a­tions in what I wrote, and I’m very sorry for hav­ing caused sig­nif­i­cant of­fence.”


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