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  • Kate 00:17 on 2014/04/19 Permalink | Reply  

    The thaw has been stirring up the water in the St. Lawrence but we’re reassured that adjustments are made at the treatment plants to continue providing safe and potable water.

     
  • Kate 00:16 on 2014/04/19 Permalink | Reply  

    Le Devoir has a dossier on high-rise living as more and more condo buildings rise downtown; will the design of these buildings give the city anything as emblematic as Place Ville-Marie? With a list of the projects in development and a concern for the views being gained and lost by and from these buildings.

     
  • Kate 18:37 on 2014/04/18 Permalink | Reply  

    The Commission de la fonction publique de Montréal (goodness, we have a lot of watchdog groups now) has presented a report condemning favouritism in hiring at city hall. People sometimes choose to hire people they already know and like in preference to people they don’t know. It’s difficult to know how you’d entirely remove this bias, when it’s generally accepted that success is often a matter of who you know, not what you know.

     
    • jeather 18:46 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      Yes, but that success comes because you know successful people, who hire you over other people because they already know you, not because knowing the right people makes you more competent.

    • jeather 18:53 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      In other words, I agree that it will be hard to remove the bias, but the bias is what causes success to be a matter of who you know, not vice versa.

    • Kate 18:57 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      Agreed. But it’s simply a fact that people are often predisposed to get along with the people they know and like, and getting along with your co-workers is a huge part of any job.

      The other side of the coin would be the exclusion of the “other” – how many anglophones, allophones, people of colour, etc., work in city government jobs? Does it come close to reflecting the numerical presence of these groups in the city?

    • Ephraim 19:02 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      All resumes have to be submitted via a singular system. The applicant information on the form is stripped and replaced with an applicant number. When the applicant list is down to a small number they can be called for an interview.

    • david m 20:48 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      this is a really tough call. i’ve both benefited and suffered because of such practices and i’m sympathetic to both sides of the argument, but i really don’t see it as a corruption thing – unless it’s seeing incompetents put into positions far beyond their capabilities because of some favorist or nepotist hiring. like “oh, i know ephraim from all his thoughtful posts on mtl weblog, he’d be a good fit for this role” – how could that be construed as corrupt, strictly speaking?

    • Alison Cummins 20:59 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      These posts are funded with public money. Everyone should have an equal opportunity to get them.

    • jeather 21:32 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      I am far from the most easygoing person in the world, but I’ve gotten along with the vast majority of coworkers. It’s also much easier to get along with coworkers who are competent at their jobs.

      There’s no way to prevent it in private companies, or publicly traded ones even, but I agree that it’s absolutely horrible for civil service jobs. (I doubt that it’s particularly worse here than anywhere else — it’s a huge problem, especially with cops and firefighters, in most large cities.)

    • Ian 22:28 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      Montreal is a small city. In certain circles, everybody knows everybody. I can count on one hand how many jobs I got without connections – and none of them were worth a damn.

  • Kate 18:29 on 2014/04/18 Permalink | Reply  

    There was an anti-austerity demonstration Thursday evening which remained peaceful even though the police were not given an itinerary.

     
  • Kate 18:24 on 2014/04/18 Permalink | Reply  

    A plant called renouée japonaise or Japanese knotweed – Fallopia japonica – is invading the shores of our river and crowding out native species. It’s also notoriously difficult to root out.

     
    • Chris 01:17 on 2014/04/19 Permalink

      I’ve got that in my garden, thought it was bamboo! Hmmm, maybe I’ll kill it this year, don’t want it seeding I guess. I can attest that it’s a very sturdy plant, grows quickly, and grows back quickly after pruning. Will probably be harder to kill than lilac I imagine.

  • Kate 12:34 on 2014/04/18 Permalink | Reply  

    The cost of snow clearance is sapping some borough budgets, but not all. Someone should look into the deals made to clear snow in a few of our boroughs.

     
    • jeather 12:56 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      Some of the boroughs that were under budget were the boroughs that happened to get 14.9 cm when the rest of the city got 15.1 a few times.

    • Kate 13:16 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      True. But there may be more behind the decision to set loose the dogs of snow clearance than a centimetre of snow. There’s big money in them thar snowplows.

    • jeather 18:54 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      Oh, I am sure you are right. Probably the ability to say “nah, not yet” after a snowfall is related to not having the wrong deals (brown envelope style, perhaps) made.

  • Kate 11:53 on 2014/04/18 Permalink | Reply  

    Atlantic Cities notes a paper written by a McGill researcher on the overwhelming statistics about bike theft and their consequences.

     
    • Ephraim 19:13 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      Unreported crime has it’s consequences. The police can easily set up traps (bait bikes) and catch bicycle thieves. Do this regularly (not sporadically) and thieves will think twice when they hear that the cops have traps all over the place. (And a simple GPS tracker hidden will let them trace the bikes and thieves. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/to-catch-a-bike-thief

  • Kate 09:07 on 2014/04/18 Permalink | Reply  

    A religious procession to mark Good Friday is going from Old Montreal to the Cathedral Friday morning – I suppose they’ve informed police of their itinerary.

    Used to be the Good Friday walk went all the way from Ahuntsic to Old Montreal, but that’s too much of a hike in these decadent times.

    Update: A bit more on these penitential walks including a graphic photo of a simili-Jesus.

     
    • Alison Cummins 10:22 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      Would everyone who participated walk the entire distance, or would some people join as it went through their neighbourhoods?

    • Alison Cummins 10:24 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      Also, what’s the average age of priests and church attendees these days? And how do available alternative pastimes compare between now and then?

    • Kate 10:59 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      I think there was some Catholic deal where you had to visit a minimum number of churches on Good Friday to get a special blessing, and the longer walk was a means of doing this.

      I used to live down the street from the Plateau’s massive St-Jean-Baptiste church, which was on the route, so a big crowd would suddenly show up, singing and so on, and then move on. (One of my neighbours kindly explained to me that this was because the Son of God had died on a cross, until I surprised her by telling her my family was Catholic, but it wasn’t the first time I’d encountered someone who didn’t know you could be an anglo and yet also have been born into a Catholic family.)

      Very likely it’s the age of the participants now that makes the long hike from Gouin to the Old Port impossible.

    • Daisy 11:45 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      Not to mention that even if you were Protestant, Protestants also believe that the Son of God died on a cross — surprise, Protestants are Christians too! My mother-in-law freaked out when she looked up the name of my Protestant denomination in the Petit Larousse and found the word ”secte” used to describe it, despite it being a perfectly orthodox, mainstream church (and despite only being a Christmas and Easter Catholic herself). Meanwhile even as, say, a 13 year old I could easily describe the similarities and differences between the various branches of Christianity, the Great Schism, the Reformation, Luther, the Anabaptists, etc. I hope the high school Ethics and Religious Culture course is doing a better job of teaching people what various groups actually believe.

    • Kate 12:38 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      Protestants?! Godless atheists all!

      The neighbour in my anecdote was an older woman, and the incident happened about 20 years ago, although I also worked with a Québécois guy younger than myself around that time who was truly surprised to find that an anglo could have come from a Catholic background. “Les irlandais? Non?” I remember asking him. No, he had no idea. Francophones were Catholic and good, Anglos were Protestant and bad, or at least alien. But he came from a village, I think.

    • Alison Cummins 14:32 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      Yeah, a friend of mine starting his master’s in the 90s was astonished to learn that exact thing. Quebec is not contained in a single simplistic narrative that just happens to support PQ-style nationalism! Whodathunkit!

  • Kate 08:19 on 2014/04/18 Permalink | Reply  

    The three federal bridges are to undergo major repairs this year, millions of bucks going into fixing up the Mercier, the Champlain and the Jacques-Cartier. The super-poutre will be removed from the Champlain and replaced with a more permanent brace.

    Some media are presenting this in terms of traffic problems because of bridge closures, but if the bridges don’t get fixed you won’t have them at all, so I’m afraid drivers will have to cope. Encouraging motorists to feel put-upon is not helpful.

    Andy Riga summarizes bridge and other road repair plans for the upcoming season.

     
  • Kate 21:05 on 2014/04/17 Permalink | Reply  

    You can light a virtual votive candle for the Canadiens for a buck – but the loonie goes into the pocket of the Roman Catholic Church.

     
  • Kate 19:24 on 2014/04/17 Permalink | Reply  

    A bogus provincial riding somehow allowed the Quebec Liberal Party to collect thousands of dollars during the Charest era, and not report it to the DGEQ. Lovely news to come out on the day the new Liberal premier swears in his MNAs.

    We still don’t know which re-elected MNA is being investigated by the UPAC, and Philippe Couillard says he doesn’t know either and/or that he doesn’t believe it.

     
    • Alex L 08:18 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      We know what happens to people who “don’t know”.

    • Kate 08:21 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      We do, but in this case I think the intervening change of leadership allows Couillard a smidge more credibility in saying this than Tremblay had after being mayor for ten years. But if anything is proven against any one of his people, Couillard had better act on it, and not handwave it away.

    • Alex L 08:36 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      True. Still, if it the PLQ really kept people like Normandeau or Courchesne around during the campaign, even knowing the allegations, some serious questions must be raised. Personally, I doubt they had time in 18 months to completely reboot anew their machine, I’m pretty sure we’re up for some surprises in the upcoming months.

  • Kate 13:01 on 2014/04/17 Permalink | Reply  

    People may be poaching the deer that roam around L’Anse à l’Orme park in the far western part of the island.

    I can sort of see it, though. So much free food just wandering around for the taking.

     
    • Blork 21:30 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      From what I hear, the poachers are selling the meat below “market price.” So its not like the starving west islanders are being fed. Just gun-toting opportunists at work.

      (BTW, deer galore over my way, but AFAIK nobody’s shooting them.)

    • Kate 07:57 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      Well, you don’t want bullets flying close to where people live. Anse à l’Orme is still pretty far from residential streets but even so, the island of Montreal ought to be a no-shooting zone, I think. People drive and cycle along Anse à l’Orme – I even walked it, a few years ago, after misapprehending how far it is on foot from Cap St-Jacques to the 40.

  • Kate 12:34 on 2014/04/17 Permalink | Reply  

    Metro has fished up a list of strange Quebec given names from 2013. Some poor little girl was named Marois and some poor little boy called Petit Ange is going to have to get awfully tough awfully fast on the playground.

     
    • Louis 12:44 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      I also like Queen-Pauline. Jean-Marc for a gal is interesting. I suspect Bejamin is a typo. Sochi is just silly (I don’t know of anybody named Innsbruck or Sarajevo). As for Estie, well…
      But many of these names are typical religiously inspired African names. I believe there is a similar tradition in the West Indies.

    • Alex L 13:01 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      Worst ones are Bebe I, Bebe II, Bebe III. How can you name your kid like that?

    • Kate 13:08 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      I thought the Quebec government was allowed to challenge bad names for kids. I remember a story about a refusal to let kids be named Goldorak or Spatule – the idea is not to allow kids to be called something that would tend to subject them to ridicule.

      Bebe I, II and III would seem to be in that category to me.

      Update: here’s a brief item on this. (Googling for Goldorak and Spatule is one of those easy ones.)

    • Louis 13:19 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      Yes, but some of these cases were challenged in court, and the powers of the Directeur de l’État civil were scaled down, on the basis that the name changes are highly arbitrary. I think now he can suggest changes to the parents, but if they insist there is not much to be done. I believe it was Kristian Gravenor who made an entry on that on his blog (but maybe I read that somewhere else).

    • GC 13:45 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      I’m guessing Bebe I-III were triplets? Otherwise, it’s a remarkable coincidence that one crazy family had their Bebe II the same year another had their Bebe III.

    • Alison Cummins 13:49 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      Is it possible that Bébé I à III just hadn’t been named at the time the birth certificates were issued? How does that work? Lots of people take a while — in some cases up to two years — before settling on an official name.

    • GC 13:54 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      It’s possible. I would think the Régie would filter those out, but maybe their IT people don’t bother.

      Now I’m curious. Presumably there’s a certain cutoff at which you can’t just arbitrarily change a child’s name without going through the legal process of a name change. Does anyone know when that is?

    • Bill Binns 14:09 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      Biggest theme here is aspirations to royalty with five Princesses, a Queen, a King, a Prince and a Royal. We also have an Infinity, Bentley and Chevy but strangely no Lexus or Mercedes.

      Would be interesting to see these mapped to the parents neighborhoods.

    • Marc 15:04 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      There was a highly publicized case in the late 90s about a baby girl named Ivory; the government didn’t like that one. Around that time the B.C. government denied the name God to a baby boy.

    • Ephraim 15:45 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      Please, they should have stepped in with Queen-Pauline and Marois as names. Really? That child is going to have trouble finding a job.

    • No\Deli 17:30 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      That child is going to have trouble finding a job.

      And yet young Queen-Pauline might still have less trouble than someone with the name Mohammad or the name Li Na.

    • Alison Cummins 18:05 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      Not everyone is that hung up with the name on their birth certificate. Lots of immigrants go by names that they chose for themselves after they got here. It’s common in many african [descended] cultures to have several names depending on context.

      When I was in Holland I asked people sitting around a table at a family gathering how many went by their “passport names” and only half did. In Holland until recently catholics all got latin saints’ names and protestants got inherited names using an elaborate system where the firstborn son was named after his maternal grandfather, and so on, so a little girl born in 1964 might be named something delightful like Saxburga Etheldreda which had been handed down from the thirteenth century. But people don’t actually call eachother Stephanus or Etheldreda. They call eachother by their *usual* names, modern dutch names that may or may not be clearly related to their *passport* names. (Things are changing — a dutch baby born today is likely to get a passport name that will also be a good usual name straight out of the box.)

      So depending on culture, what’s on the birth certificate may not be expected to be that big a deal. Someone named “Petit Ange” might go by, I dunno, a diminutive like Tia in daily life.

      Your usual name can legally be whatever you want — even your surname — as long as it’s not for illegal purposes. The problem comes in with north american bureaucracy where they only ever ask for your legal name. (When was the last time you filled out an official form with separate entries for your legal name and usual name?) When a child is registered for school, chances are that only the legal name will be asked for and it will be up to the child to say “Call me Tia, not Petit Ange.” (That may be changing in schools as they adapt to different cultures?) That doesn’t help at the drugstore though, where you are listed under your Carte Soleil name and when your Paxil is ready they call out “Queen Pauline.”

      Note that in Quebec until not that long ago every girl’s first name on her birth certificate was Marie, just as every boy’s was Joseph. There was no expectation that all boys would be called Joseph though, and girls who actually went by Marie-France would have to say, “Call me Marie-France, not France.”

    • Kate 18:30 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      Yup. As someone who discovered, after using the same bank branch for more than five years, that they would no longer accept cheques made out to “Kate” in the ATM, so that I had to go around all my clients and make them understand they had to write cheques to “Catherine” now, I can appreciate some of these problems. If only there was a “usual name” option on the bank form!

      (Nobody calls me Catherine except officially. Just hearing the name makes me tense up a little.)

    • Maureen 18:37 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      The dutch thing is crazy. I was married and the official name was: Jacobus Adrianus Fredericus. Usual name: Jack. Name he is actually called by: Sjaak. Go figure.

    • Jo Walton 07:21 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      Kate — if you tell the bank you are “trading as” Kate, and that you want to open a commercial account in the name of Kate if they won’t let you put the checks in, and if you get them to make a note on your file that it is your “alias” then they may let you deposit checks made out in your usual name. I had to make a giant fuss with Desjardins and point out that I was depositing checks from all over the world, but it wasn’t until I said “trading as” that they gave in.

      I really really wish I’d legally changed my name — to my actual name! — before I moved to Quebec.

    • Kate 07:58 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      Thanks Jo, I will keep that in mind.

    • david m 20:54 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      man, goldorak is like the gold standard awful name, a true masterpiece.

  • Kate 12:00 on 2014/04/17 Permalink | Reply  

    The city’s new inspector general is to ponder accusations made about the convent at 1420 Mont-Royal that it was the subject of collusion among the city, the Université de Montréal and the developer Catania. With a timeline of how the building pingponged back and forth over ten years while the economy crashed and general corruption was uncovered.

     
  • Kate 10:13 on 2014/04/17 Permalink | Reply  

    Kristian G. has found some newly released old Pathé newsreels featuring Montreal. The metro launch is so cool, and reminds us how slickly modern the thing looked, back when of course you invited the cardinal to bless your new metro system.

     
    • Doobious 20:57 on 2014/04/17 Permalink

      I love how people used to dress up before going out back in the 60s.

    • Doobious 10:15 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      He missed this one on the spiffy new underground city.

    • Kate 10:54 on 2014/04/18 Permalink

      That’s an excellent one, Doobious. I especially like the hats on the women shown eating in a food court in 1969.

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