Canada: POLITICS: Bustle in Beauce

Until 1910, when Quebec's Government paved provincial route No. , the patient habitants of thrifty, prosperous Beauce County-trudged to Quebec City's markets along a dismally muddy road that followed the banks of the temperamental Chaudiere River. Because they arrived in Quebec muddy to the seats of their pants, they were called then (and still are, behind their backs) jarrets noirs, meaning black calves.

Last week, the jarrets noirs, pants-deep in another kind of mud, had the time of their lives. In Beauce County's lumber camps, pulp mills and asbestos-mining towns, and in the tidy farm hamlets that line the fertile...