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  • Kate 23:07 on 2015/02/26 Permalink | Reply  

    Six young Montrealers, including two women, may have gone to wage jihad in Syria.

    A Quebec Court judge refused to hear a case this week because the plaintiff was wearing hijab. I heard the woman on CBC radio saying sadly that she “no longer felt Canadian.”

    The niqab has become a hot potato in a Bloc anti-NDP ad.

    Merouane Ghalmi appeared in court Thursday but the matter of his swearing a peace bond was postponed. We may never know what evidence the RCMP has to back up their demand that he do so.

    Two CEGEPs in Montreal have suspended contracts with Adil Charkaoui. He was renting space to teach Arabic and the Koran.

    Anyone who’s interested in the whole ISIS/Caliphate story and wants to understand the hold the idea has achieved on so many young people needs to read this piece from the Atlantic.

  • Kate 21:40 on 2015/02/26 Permalink | Reply  

    Public service announcement: if you live in an older house or duplex you may want to leave a tap dripping tonight, because it seems the endless procession of cold nights have driven frost deeper into the ground so that water entries have been freezing up. At least it looks like temperatures will ease up after the weekend.

  • Kate 16:16 on 2015/02/26 Permalink | Reply  

    Below, Doobious mentions that Art Souterrain is usually a more tranquil option on Nuit Blanche night, but I’ve just had word that this year’s exhibit honours Israel, a gesture which has irked a selection of the artists, especially given that the theme is “Security, what’s left of our spaces of freedom.” It sounds like some artists may be withdrawing their works from the exhibition.

    • Joe Bin 20:38 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      Yes, it’s wrong to honour the only country in the Middle East governed by the rule of law, where there’s equality of the sexes and where homosexuals don’t have to live in constant fear of being lynched.

    • Kate 21:30 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      I’m not going to argue the Middle East with you here. I am reporting on a conflict that has arisen in an upcoming event that has been mentioned on the blog.

  • Kate 11:06 on 2015/02/26 Permalink | Reply  

    The cold weather has done a number on AMT’s trains and, as noted here earlier, also on the STM’s buses. But 2014’s cold temperatures were great for Hydro-Quebec’s profits, enabling it to pay $2.5 billion to the province. Possibly 2015’s deep freeze will do the same.

  • Kate 10:20 on 2015/02/26 Permalink | Reply  

    The media thought Yves Bolduc would lose his portfolio, but he’s leaving politics completely to return to medical practice. There will have to be a byelection in Jean-Talon, and Quebec will need a new education minister.

    • Steph 10:38 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      Do other minister positions cycle through people so frequently?

    • Clément 11:14 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      Wow, Couillard was quick to find a replacement.

    • Noah 13:27 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      It’s fairly common for governments to lose a minister or two in the first year, so I’m not shocked to see one go so fast. Charest lost a couple in the first mandate and so did Marois. Bolduc was an abject disaster.

    • Clément 13:32 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      Also abject: His collection of a 215000$ bonus for working as a doctor (in addition to his doctor salary and his MNA salary) for a year and now, his 150000$ “prime de séparation” to help him find a new job (because doctors have such a hard time finding work in this province).

    • Kate 14:41 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      Noah, often there are shuffles after a government’s first year, but it’s not every day we see a minister with a high-visibility portfolio simply quit politics after a setback.

    • Blork 14:45 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      Maybe he wants to return to private practice so he can have a leisurely part-time doctor career and… oh wait! D’OH!

    • Noah 20:03 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      Just so we’re clear, I’m just pointing out a fact, not defending this disaster of a government.

    • Noah 20:04 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      The guy takes a $155,000 “transition” payment after being fired from a job he had for eight months & I get a $4,000 hike on my daycare bill. Thanks, PLQ.

    • Chris 21:02 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      Not enough reasons to attend anti-austerity protests guys? :)

  • Kate 10:16 on 2015/02/26 Permalink | Reply  

    Radio-Canada went looking for the oldest water main in the city and found one 153 years old at the corner of Ste-Catherine and Stanley. Ten percent of the city’s mains were installed in the 19th century. However, it’s not the oldest ones that are breaking in the cold.

    • Kevin 11:04 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      More than 900 water mains break every year. This is the price of incompetence and inadequate maintenance.

  • Kate 09:47 on 2015/02/26 Permalink | Reply  

    Metro looks at four lesser known aspects of homelessness, although I wouldn’t’ve said that the growing presence of first nations people was a secret. Montreal doesn’t have any statistics on this yet, which is why the census of the homeless is planned for March 24.

  • Kate 23:13 on 2015/02/25 Permalink | Reply  

    The CBC tells us cautiously that the RCMP thinks a man in Montreal will commit a terrorism offence, but on the French side Radio-Canada names the proto-suspect as 22-year-old Merouane Ghalmi, a mixed martial artist and kickboxer. Ghalmi will have to swear out a peace bond Thursday in front of a judge. The Journal notes, with thinly veiled frustration, that neither the Crown nor the RCMP is giving away any further details on this story.

  • Kate 23:06 on 2015/02/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Nuit blanche is this Saturday. TVA has a short list of notable events as does Cult MTL. There is an app. The metro stays open all night, but it isn’t free.

    • Doobious 23:31 on 2015/02/25 Permalink

      Art Souterrain opens the same night if you’re not into the crowds, the lineups and the drunks. It’s been one of the highlights of my recent winters.

    • Faiz Imam 03:02 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      So I’m going out to dinner with some friends from out of town, what part of the core *won’t* be a total congested nightmare? I’m dreading looking around for places…

    • MB 03:21 on 2015/02/26 Permalink


    • Kate 09:29 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      Faiz Imam, I’d probably go to Chinatown if you want to be downtown but off the Nuit Blanche map, but maybe you’re looking for something more upscale? Stay away from the environs of the Quartier des Spectacles, basically.

    • Alex L 12:52 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      @Faiz, MB: the metro is running all night…

    • carswell 13:08 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      It wasn’t that long ago that the STM dismissed demands that, as in Toronto, the metro be run all night on New Year’s Eve, the most inebriated evening of the year, by saying that the system had to be shut down every evening for maintenance. Has something changed or were they just lying through their teeth?

    • Kate 13:38 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      I don’t believe they were lying, but I don’t know what has changed. When I went on that late-nite metro spelunking trip a couple of years ago, they told us that subway systems that ran all night tended to have double tunnels, like the London Underground and the New York subway. At night you run fewer trains, so you can alternate directions through tunnel A while you clean tunnel B and vice versa. Our system mostly has just the one tunnel and it’s not safe to clean one set of tracks with live trains and a hot rail only feet away. This is why our system needs four hours of complete downtime in the cycle. You can see how if you need to run a vehicle like this you can’t do that with the trains running. (Photo by Ben Soo, taken at Snowdon station.)

      Maybe they just let the tracks get a bit grubbier for one night.

    • No\Deli 13:46 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      But New Year’s Eve is also only one night.

      But the STM would never fudge facts to suit its own narrative. “We’ve consulted out Mechanical Department, and they say we just can’t do it!”

      Then file an ‘Access to Information’ request and see if there was any consultation.
      My money is on: no, there wasn’t.

    • Kate 14:43 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      Maybe, but that’s the PR side of things. The guy who took our party underground was a manager of the actual “voirie” part of the metro and clearly took it seriously. He waxed oratorical about the hassle caused by newspapers blowing into tunnels and blocking up drains in a way I’m pretty sure couldn’t’ve been faked.

      If anything, the STM may be trying to sidestep the fights, puking and other security difficulties likely to be caused by New Year revellers. In general I don’t doubt there’s a reason we’ve arrived at an arrangement where the metro closes before the bars do.

    • GC 15:54 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      Hasn’t the metro been running all night long for Nuit Blanche for years now?

    • Bill Binns 16:17 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      It’s too bad the metro’s designers did not see the value in the dual tunnel system. Imagine if we could run non-stop express trains from Laval to Berri-UQAM

    • Kate 16:20 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      GC: At least since 2012, when I mentioned it in this blog.

      Bill Binns: The tunnel choices they made were partly constrained by budgets and by the geology of the island, I gather. But I suspect Jean Drapeau wanted the spaciousness of the double tunnel and facing platforms, too.

    • GC 16:30 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      At least since 2010, Kate, the first year I went. That’s why I’m surprised so many commenters here didn’t seem to know that. I would guess the refusal on New Year’s Eve would have more to do with the overtime they would have to pay, than anything about maintenance.

      Being able to run express trains would be so nice. If other cities (like New York) built their systems with double tunnels from the beginning, I applaud their foresight.

    • Kate 21:53 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      Actually, if I understand things correctly, those older systems had double tunnels because that was what the technology could do at the time – a tube, as the London system is still called. A sort of caisson. When our metro was built I believe Montreal prided itself on having the smarts to create a wider and more spacious tunnel.

  • Kate 23:01 on 2015/02/25 Permalink | Reply  

    The STM is seeing more management changes. PR director Odile Paradis, who’s been with them since 1988, has left the organization. A structural change in the STM’s management is interpreted here as a repositioning of the STM vis-à-vis the city and the province, but it’s pretty arcane stuff.

    Apparently the STM hasn’t had enough perky and positive PR in recent years. Steel yourself for yet more brightly coloured signs and rounded typefaces.

    • Jake 01:12 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      The branding might have been perky and positive but the way the STM dealt with the media and the public was anything but.

    • Kate 09:30 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      I’d rather be given the facts than a lot of pastel bubbles. There’s a nuts-and-bolts aspect to doing STM public relations that can’t be softened up. If the metro is down, I need to know it’s down. I don’t want positive spin about what great uptime the metro has on average.

    • Noah 20:05 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      Yes, but, bubbbbbbbles.

  • Kate 22:51 on 2015/02/25 Permalink | Reply  

    The plan for the mountain-river promenade has been unveiled. At a cost of $42 million, people will be able to walk to and from the river and the mountain. Some visual details are included on this Radio-Canada page.

    • Clément 06:49 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      I’m looking at the sketches and the descriptions for this project and I’m not entirely sure exactly what we are getting for $42M. We can already walk from the water to the mountain, along the exact same path proposed.
      Widened sidewalks and green spaces are mentioned, but at the same time, roads will still be opened to car traffic. McGill will have “marquage au sol” (i.e. the path will be identified with paint like some of the bike paths, thus providing a convenient parking space for delivery trucks).
      Maybe I’m missing some key aspect of this project?

    • C_Erb 07:22 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      I don’t understand why cars are still allowed at all on McGill College between Sherbrooke and Ste-Catherine. After McGill closed its campus to car traffic, the street lost most of its usefulness. There isn’t much traffic and what traffic does use it could easily be rerouted to other streets. If it were closed to only pedestrians and cyclists, it could be an excellent public space right in the middle of the city and at the foot of McGill.

    • Mathieu 08:42 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      Parking entrances for Eaton centre and that tower above it are on McGill college, so cars need to have access to the street.

    • Bill Binns 09:03 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      There is certainly a need for better signage guiding tourists from downtown to the lookout but I don’t get where $42 million is being spent either. Something tells me that a big portion of it is being spent on “consulting” and those vague renderings that were shown to the press.

    • C_Erb 09:33 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      I forgot about that parking garage. There could be lanes going to and from Sherbrooke and the garage entrance while the rest of the street could be closed to cars. Much like the lane that was built on, I believe, McTavish to get to the parking garage in the Ritz-Carelton.

    • Blork 09:36 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      If this thing works well, then I’m in favour of it. Judging by the few drawings we’ve seen and various bits of information, they’re talking about widening sidewalks, narrowing streets, and making the non-car zones much nicer. And doing that over a stretch of some three kilometres. Just re-paving that would cost a dozen million, so completely re-doing it is definitely going to hit $42M or more.

      If you look at the McGill-College renderings, it looks like the traffic has been reduced to just one side (the west side), with the street on the east side being incorporated into the pedestrian mall. I don’t know how they’ll deal with the parking access… tunnels? Re-routing to de Maisonneuve?

      Anyway, this looks like it’s a lot more ambitious than just polishing some lamp posts and fixing a few cracks in the sidewalk. It’s unrealistic to expect them to completely remove car traffic, but it seems like it might be de-emphasized along certain parts.

      My only hesitation is that if they say $42M it will end up costing $75M and come in three years late. That’s built right into the system, so it’s a given.

    • GC 12:02 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      The CTV video says $11 million is earmarked for road repairs. I agree with Blork that that doesn’t leave a lot for paving, sidewalks, etc. I also share the cynicism that it will run over budget.

    • yossarian 17:40 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      Remember the green corridor from Oka to Mont St-Hilaire? The one that passed through Montreal along the CP rail tracks from Pont Perry on the island/s north shore? The one that CP rail is preventing from becoming reality? The one that Vélo Quebec says would be a perfect project to complete in time for Montreal’s next big birthday in a couple of years?

      I would have liked that dream to be realized before announcing yet another “dream” project.

  • Kate 22:28 on 2015/02/25 Permalink | Reply  

    A 37-year-old man was found injured in an alley in the Mile End on Wednesday and later died of stab wounds. A woman has been arrested whom the Journal say is his sister. This would be homicide #6 of the year, I believe.

    • Ian 08:50 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      I thought I recognized that alley. it’s right behind my friend’s place.

    • Kate 09:32 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      I’ve wandered through there often with my camera.

  • Kate 10:35 on 2015/02/25 Permalink | Reply  

    The city is not going to appeal a recent judgment throwing out tickets issued under law P-6 in 2013. At the same time it’s withdrawing 1200 other P-6 tickets still waiting on rulings.

    • steph 10:56 on 2015/02/25 Permalink

      Are they going to throw out the law?

    • ricardus 23:02 on 2015/02/25 Permalink

      There could be pressure to do this, and they were made to look like fools. Also, they are not appealing part of the decision that pretty much gums up all mass arrest ticketing.

      This was the culmination of a plan hatched by one person… one person who said he’d bring down the P-6 tickets. He was right, he succeeded in his plan.

    • Kate 23:26 on 2015/02/25 Permalink

      P-6 did what it was intended to do at the time: it helped squelch a growing wave of dissent.

  • Kate 10:21 on 2015/02/25 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s not the first time I’ve seen a piece about this curious bit of our history, but Radio-Canada takes a look at the three baronies associated with Montreal including the Barony de Longueuil, the only French colonial title recognized by the monarchy of Canada – and currently held by a British doctor – and talks to the 5th Baron Shaughnessy, an actor chiefly known for playing a rich man on a show called The Nanny. None of the three men have any real link with this city.

    • carswell 11:44 on 2015/02/25 Permalink

      The Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal is the feudal laird of Colonsay, one of the Inner Hebrides. In the 1960s, The New Yorker staff writer John McPhee spent six months on the island, his ancestral homeland. His book The Crofter and the Laird chronicles that visit and includes a profile of the then still sprightly fourth Baron (born in November 1923, so 91 today). Montreal is mentioned only in passing; the family’s connection with the city — and Canada for that matter — is purely historical and, these days, touristic.

      Not that McPhee mentions it (the film didn’t return to the public eye until championed by Martin Scorsese in the 1980s) but Colonsay stars as the isle of Kiloran, the “where” in the 1945 Powell and Pressberger romance I Know Where I’m Going, which is mostly set on the nearby Isle of Mull. Roger Livesey plays the laird of Kiloran, Wendy Hillier the headstrong woman who ironically has no idea where she’s going and Petula Clark (!) a precocious 12 year old. Was delighted when I learned that the movie, one of my favourites, had a Montreal connection however tenuous.

    • H. John 14:31 on 2015/02/25 Permalink

      I met the 3rd Baron Shaughnessy a number of times. He served during WWII with the Canadian Grenadier Guards Regiment, and often attended regimental reunions.

      A friend who is black told me about shopping at Holt Renfrew in the early 1970’s. She could not get served. None of the sales women would even acknowledge her. She called a good friend in tears. The friend insisted on joining her to see how they could do together.

      Needless to say when they walked through the door arm-in-arm the service could not have been better. Her friend, of course, was the Baron’s wife, Lady Shaughnessy.

    • No\Deli 15:04 on 2015/02/25 Permalink

      The lesson, here, kids: If you must have a white friend – do make sure they’re titled.

    • H. John 00:44 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      @ No\Deli LOL

      The title is useful, but make sure she doesn’t own a niqāb.

  • Kate 10:11 on 2015/02/25 Permalink | Reply  

    The city has joined the Conseil du patronat du Québec over objections from Projet, who feel that the city oughtn’t to align itself so closely with positions held by that group. The city had belonged to the organization before but had not done so for six years because of the expense involved.

    • Suz 08:24 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      This project will certainly help us meet the criteria necessary for “Global City” status!

    • Suz 09:17 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      Oops. Comment was meant for Mall post. Not wearing reading glasses.

    • Kate 09:43 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      Suz, as noted on my commenting page, if you comment in the wrong thread, please copy your own comment to the correct thread and I will delete the wrong one. I have no mechanism for moving comments around.

    • Alex L 12:55 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      So basically we’re giving away 23K$ to this right-wing lobby just to be part of the gang. What an interesting way to spend money.

    • yossarian 17:46 on 2015/02/26 Permalink

      @Alex L

      Well, Montreal already gives plenty of money to the artists and cultural community (aka the left wing lobby), so fair’s fair.

      Don’t you think that it is good for the city to have a voice (and hear opinions from) in a diverse range of groups? Or just the groups that you personally agree with?

      And the more jobs there are, the more tax revenue there is, and the more money is available to invest back into the artistic community. Win-win if you ask me.

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