From Montreal-based magazine Maisonneuve comes this telling investigative report on the violence, bid-ridding and sabotage in the most unlikely of industries: snow removal.
One winter morning a few years ago, a driver steered his snowblower down the streets of a Montreal neighbourhood. It was the day after one of the season's first snowfalls, and the roads were lined with fresh, white drifts. As usual, the driver's co-worker walked ahead of the huge vehicle, warning pedestrians to move out of the way, then waving the all-clear. Suddenly, the man on foot signalled frantically for the driver to stop. He'd spotted something half-hidden in a nearby snowbank: a massive steel rod that would have destroyed the machine.
The driver slowed, and his co-worker sighed with relief. But it was already too late. The adjacent snowbanks were filled with concealed cinder blocks, which had smashed against the blower's internal blades and sent chunks of cement flying all over the sidewalk. The cinder blocks wrecked the blades, costing the vehicle's owner a minimum of $10,000 in repairs, according to someone associated with the company. The snow removers' shock quickly turned to rage. This was no accident; they were under attack by industrial saboteurs.