Earlier this week Montreal was smacked with a late winter snowstorm. On this occasion the meteorologists’ predictions, forecasts and warnings were bang on as the city was blanketed under some 40 centimetres – almost 16 inches – of snow. There was a whole bunch of snow.
The snow began falling in earnest about midday Tuesday and by rush hour had developed into the forecast storm. Perhaps the recent near misses and close calls that saw called-for big storms just miss the city influenced people, as many ignored suggestions to leave work early. The resulting mayhem on one highway caused numerous motorists to spend hours, some overnight, in their stranded cars. Now there are calls for the Minister of Transport to resign, as many of those who were stuck feel the situation was poorly handled. Did I mention there was a whole bunch of snow?
Others are parking the blame (pun fully intended) squarely with the motorists for not heeding the requests to stay off the roads. Why should they have skipped driving? Because there was a whole bunch of snow.
On March 4, 1971 Montreal was hit with a spectacular snowstorm that dumped 43 centimetres in one 24-hour period. I was just a kid, but I recall my father being stranded on a bus as he and fellow passengers tried to make it home from work. He, and many of the others spent most of the night on that bus. It can’t have been a very enjoyable experience, yet I don’t recall people looking to allot blame. It seemed to have been understood that, there being a whole bunch of snow, these things can happen.
Today we live in a litigious society in which there are no accidents, no chance occurrences. Everything is somebody’s fault and therefore legal action must be threatened or actually pursued. There was a time when if a kid rode his toboggan down a hill and struck a tree it was an accident. If there was any fault to be ascribed it was his fault, and his parents would deal with any care required. If that same incident occurs today the parents would be irate, threatening to sue the owner of the hill, for not having appropriate padding around the tree, or proper signs warning of trees.
There really was a whole bunch of snow.