Quebecers might be getting paranoid about their international reputation due to all the publicity of the province’s byzantine language laws and occasional lapses into rank bigotry — but is La Belle Province on the level of North Korea?
Feathers were ruffled this week when people noticed the fine print of a National Geographic photo contest that barred Quebec contestants from participating. But it wasn’t just Quebec’s exclusion; it was who else the province was grouped with.
According to the rules, the contest is only open to individuals “who do NOT reside in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, the Province of Quebec, Sudan or Syria.”
Having such authoritarian states for company didn’t seem fair to the government of Quebec, but it wasn’t the Parti Quebecois’ aggressive campaign against religious minorities that landed the province on the blacklist. Rather, it was Quebec’s unusually strict rules governing contests that scared the magazine away.
As the Canadian Press explains, Quebec is the only province to have such rules in place.
Some contest-makers have avoided Quebec over the years because of strict rules governing how those competitions are run in the province. The rules have been in place since 1978 and are designed to protect consumers and ensure prizes are paid out.
Some of those rules include deposits for certain contests depending on where they’re being held; registering advertisements before contests begin; and allowing the government to mediate any lawsuits that may stem from contests.
Given those rules and the potential costs associated, some sponsors aren’t willing to deal with Quebec, despite the fact it remains the country’s second-most-populous province.
Honestly, who can blame National Geographic? They just want to run a little photo competish to celebrate their 125th anniversary, and the province that tried to ban the word “pasta” for not being French enough does seem like a bit of a stickler when it comes to certain rules. But being lumped in with Kim Jong-un and the Ayatollahs of Iran is still harsh.
In fact, one spokesperson for the commission that oversees such contests said there would be no problem for National Geographic because there was no cash prize involved.
“It’s a little bit sad,” Joyce Tremblay told CP, and a single tear slid down her cheek.