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  • Kate 10:52 on 2014/11/26 Permalink | Reply  

    I’m seeing tweets and comments about extended cell coverage in the metro. One reader tweeted to me that he got 5 bars this week at Berri-UQAM, Champ de Mars, and Place d’Armes. Haven’t checked it out yet.

    • Blork 11:25 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      It’s working well for me, and I find it super handy for texting. If I’m running late, or need to arrange a ride at the other end, etc., I’m no longer in the dark so to speak. I’ve only noticed it on the Green line so far (haven’t been on the Orange line for a while…)

    • David S. 11:42 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      Those lines have had coverage for a long time, as well as Peel and McGill. I noticed that St-Laurent was recently added to the list.

  • Kate 10:18 on 2014/11/26 Permalink | Reply  

    A design site has some sketches for the redesign of the Biodome and the Insectarium.

  • Kate 09:56 on 2014/11/26 Permalink | Reply  

    Interesting photo essay from a visit to Silo No. 5.

    • Ian 10:49 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      The view of the city at night from up there is pretty epic. Great shots!

  • Kate 09:47 on 2014/11/26 Permalink | Reply  

    As presaged, there are strikes and pickets in Montreal and other towns Wednesday. Radio-Canada even has a map although that’s probably from earlier this morning and may not be getting updated. Some metro stations are accessible without paying and the same is true of some buses.

    In the midst of all this, the Coderre administration will be presenting its second annual budget at city hall.

  • Kate 00:20 on 2014/11/26 Permalink | Reply  

    I was looking at the last couple of homicide reports and wondered about a few 2014 numbers that I never saw any news reports on. Some of the links below may play video, but I believe all are still working.

    #1: January 11: man, 27, shot in Lachine
    #2: January 22-ish: Tricia Boisvert, 36, killed here then body driven to Gatineau.
    #3: February 9: man, 48, stabbed behind St-Laurent metro station
    #4: February 25: woman, 62, stabbed in Rosemont apartment
    #5: March 19, Elizabeth Barrer, 32, shot, Lachine – “drug queenpin”
    #6: May 16: woman, 83, Villeray
    #7: May 16: Stéphane Prévost, 37, beaten, found near Lachine Canal
    #8: June 1: man, 28, shot in St-Michel
    #9: June 7: Steven Célestin, 23, killed at the Cabaret Mile End in gang hit
    #10: June 7: Sylvie Larocque, murder-suicide in Ville-Émard
    #11: June 8: Woman, 60, shot in Ville St-Pierre
    #12: June 8: Woman, 17, in east-end motel; boyfriend, 18, arrested
    #13: June 23: Jeyarasan Manikaraja, 40, stabbed in Côte-des-Neiges
    #15: June 28: man, 27, shot in Côte-des-Neiges
    #18: August 2: Ducarme Joseph, shot dead in St-Michel
    #19: September 7: Dominique Laverdure, 19, shot in St-Léonard (La Presse says in revenge for Célestin killing June 7)
    #20: September 19: man found in car, corner Moreau and Hochelaga
    #21: November 2: man found dead in Sud-Ouest borough
    #22: November 7: Louis Adams, 49, onetime club manager, Lachine
    #23: November 21: man, 47, drug dealer, Verdun

    • Robert J 00:45 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      Summer seems to be the best time to get moidered.

    • Kate 00:46 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      Especially Grand Prix weekend. Four homicides!

  • Kate 21:46 on 2014/11/25 Permalink | Reply  

    The city adopted Denis Coderre’s borough reform plan Tuesday afternoon, as the pendulum of city government begins to move back toward centralization.

    Metro has an excellent guide to the plan “pour les nuls”.

    • Charles 22:26 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      Coderre just want to be in all the ribbon cutting photos in the city…

    • Matt G 23:50 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      Ribbon eating. Oh. Sorry.

    • carswell 00:11 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      Plus ça change…

    • Noah 09:34 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      Wow Matt G, very cheap.

    • jeather 10:07 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      Basically the reform is “the city decides everything but the boroughs need to actually organise whatever it is the city decides on, also the city gets the money first and then hands it out based on something that I hope is not secret.”

    • cheese 11:00 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      I’m not liking the direction this “reform” is taking. The opposite of how I would see things actually getting better.

  • Kate 20:06 on 2014/11/25 Permalink | Reply  

    In the Magnotta trial the defense rested its case Tuesday without calling Luka Magnotta himself to the stand. The Crown then called on rebuttal witnesses, two psychiatrists, one of whom said he saw no signs of schizophrenia or psychosis during an hour-long assessment, and the other, who although Magnotta had refused to see him wrote up a report anyway based on others’ observations. This second expert will continue his testimony on Wednesday. The Journal says there will be four rebuttal witnesses in all.

    • Doobious 21:54 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      > wrote up a report anyway based on others’ observations

      Since when is hearsay admissible evidence in court?

    • Kate 22:04 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      I’m assuming it’s legitimate for a professional to read reports from other professionals and summarize them. The item says he only presented a nine-page report. That’s not hearsay in the usual sense.

  • Kate 19:45 on 2014/11/25 Permalink | Reply  

    City workers are promising a grand dérangement Wednesday, in most cases actions that stop short of a general strike. I don’t know whether this is connected, but coming home just now I noticed the bus driver was wearing camo pants and singing, and the fare box had out-of-order tape on it, but those could happen anytime anyway.

    Actions are expected in at least 25 other municipalities and reports differ on whether actions will start at midnight or 6 a.m.

    • Joe 21:55 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      Our once great city has turned into a circus.

    • Kate 22:04 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      I don’t think so. Sometimes you have to make a stand.

    • Doobious 22:05 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      Let’s make tomorrow “spit on any civil servant that dares to inconvenience you” day. They need to understand that popular support for their cause is less than zero. And dropping fast.

    • Kate 22:06 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      I do not support this idea whatsoever.

    • walkerp 22:12 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      The profound lack of respect and awareness in that suggestion, Doobious, kind of surprises me. I don’t agree with all of the civil servants’ positions, but there are many good reasons to fight against all these budget cuts and general austerity movement (the major one being that this is not about balancing any budgets, but moving money from the public to the private space). To suggest that they should be actually spit upon, which is one of the most disrespectful gestures you can make to another human, is way beyond the pale.

    • Kevin 22:33 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      Moving money from the public to the private space is the very definition of what Quebec has been doing for decades by taking our tax money and making interest payments.

    • Joe 22:36 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      It’s not an idea.

    • Doobious 23:03 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      > this is not about balancing any budgets, but moving money from the public to the private space

      Can you expound on that a bit, walkerp? I fail to see how reigning in the overly generous treatment of our public servants is about anything other than getting our notoriously shaky financial house in order, but I am open to other points of view.

    • Kate 23:07 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      You might want to read this excellent opinion piece from today’s Le Devoir for starters.

    • John B 23:59 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      So my wife, who has no pension from her work and is paid by the hour, has had her work cancelled tomorrow because the building she works in is staffed by members of the Blue Collar union. She is apparently a member of the white-collar union, but all they do for her is take union dues.

      How is this strike helping her, and our family?

    • Kate 00:21 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      There are other issues, but the big one is that the blue-collar union is sticking up for the principle that unilateral cancelling of contracts is not OK.

    • John B 08:21 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      Well, stopping people who are worse off than themselves from going to work isn’t the way to do it.

    • Ian 08:27 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      It should come as no surprise; protests that aren’t inconvenient are ignored.

    • Tim S. 08:27 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      Thanks for the link to the Devoir piece Kate. Among other things, it explains why every elementary school open house I’ve visited this Fall is stuffed full of smartboards. I guess the chalk people really failed to keep up the right political connections!

    • mdblog 08:39 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      The whole, “it’s about defending the sanctity of contracts” argument is getting pretty stale. Does anyone honestly believe that the public sector unions are acting on purely altruistic motives? Of course not! It’s plain to see that the union’s actions are driven entirely by self-interest. If the government came along with a pay raise that wasn’t called for in the contract, I highly doubt that the good men and women of our public sector unions would reject it based on it not being part of the contract.

    • Chris 08:39 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      John B, if there weren’t unions pushing for workers, your wife, and everyone, would be worse off. We have but to look our history, and other countries in the present, to see that companies would be quite happy to be able to pay $1/hour and employ children. Anything to maximize profit.

    • Chris 08:44 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      mdblog, wow, flawed analogy much? If the government “came along with a pay raise”, that would be them proposing it and the union very likely agreeing, but note that in that situation *both parties are agreeing*. That’s not at all analogous to the real situation of party 1 forcing something on party 2.

    • Joe 09:12 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      “to see that companies would be quite happy to be able to pay $1/hour and employ children”

      The difference is that government isn’t a “company” making ridiculous profits. Its billions come from me and you and the majority of us who don’t work for the civil service.

    • Noah 09:35 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      Could someone explain why municipal unions are blocking the federal port of Montreal to protest a provincial law? Am I missing something?

    • cheese 10:57 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      For anyone wanting to get the details on how forming unions helped working people I highly recommend Howard Zinn’s A People’s History Of The United States. SUre it’s US focused but all the motivations and timing apply to Canada as well.

      Unfortunately like most large institutions that have access to money and have power over people, most large unions today are a corrupt mess that mainly enhance the lives of those running the union. My wife belongs to a mandatory union for her work, and it is exactly as beneficial to her life as the one that John B describes above.

      I think most unions need to be reformed so that they can continue to do good work that they set out to do when they were originally formed. Thinking that unions are unchanging institutions is where we get a lot of conflict between individuals who are “for” or “against” them when in reality two groups agree on almost all the principles.

    • John B 11:15 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      I think cheese has nailed it. I’m not 100% against unions, most of them have outlived their usefulness,* or are not providing the help & protection they should in a way that lets their members flourish.

      I used to work as a ballet dancer, and performing arts is one industry where workers are still hugely exploited and unions are doing some good, but even there the balance between help & hinder is closer to the middle than it should be – and the union dues for stage actors & dancers in English Canada are very high, (when I was doing it it was something like $120 per year + 3% of your pay), there’s a different union here in Quebec and I don’t know what their dues are like. Most of what that union did for me was tell me not to accept work. In my situation I had to join the union to take a short-term job, which helped me gain experience and some skill, but not enough to land a permanent full-time job, but since everyone is the same in the union they didn’t want me to take other short-term work that may have allowed me to improve my situation, and since I had already had a few small jobs it was difficult to get back into a school.

      I was also a member of CAW for a while – I think. All I know is that I while working as a banquet server in a hotel I had to pay union dues. Yes, I got some sort of cost-of-living adjustment every year because of the union, and the right to take unpaid “breaks” and an unpaid meal in a tiny & smoky, break room, but as someone paying my way through school at the time I would have preferred to keep the union dues and work straight through, so I didn’t have to work 9 hours to get 8 hours of pay. In that situation the union only helped the lifers, and that was a small portion of the workforce.

      With the growing inequality in the world some unions are becoming more relevant again, and unions that are truly needed should exist, but my impression is that most workers in the public service, especially once they have a few years of seniority, are treated incredibly well and no longer need a union.

    • John B 11:16 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      There was supposed to be a * before the last paragraph of my comment above, to refer back to the * about unions outliving their usefulness, but the comment system ate it.

  • Kate 12:08 on 2014/11/25 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s probably mostly symbolic, but it’s nice to know that the Suzuki Foundation got the city to acknowledge the right to live in a healthy environment during the city council session Monday.

    • Ephraim 15:39 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      Does that mean we are going to see the air quality index listed again? Weather network has been saying that Montreal is N/A for years!

    • Kate 19:55 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      Don’t hold your breath. Or maybe, do.

    • Doobious 22:47 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      Whatever happened to the air quality indicator that used to be in McGill metro? It’s not like the reading on any particular day mattered all that much, but it was great as a high-vis tool for increasing public awareness of the issue.

    • Kate 23:04 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      According to Matt McLauchlin’s site, it was removed to make room for video screens. He writes “recently” but doesn’t date his content so it’s hard to pin down exactly when it happened.

    • Doobious 23:48 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      Yeah, he doesn’t seem to update the site much anymore. There’s no mention of the mezzanine space on the north side that once was a mini-library now being a bank branch.

      And what is the deal with the neverending renovation of the artwork? How is it that it takes 2+ years for the STM to clean some glass panels and replace a few dozen fluorescent light fixtures? Maybe we should throw those talentless public servant hacks some big fat raises? To, you know, increase their efficiency?

  • Kate 12:06 on 2014/11/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Cyclists are getting a little break in Outremont in being allowed to lock bikes to fences and other city furniture, although (sensibly) not trees, for 48 hours and not get ticketed.

    • yossarian 17:17 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      Nice change of attitude for anti-bike Outremont. Of course, Outremont still has those useless 1950s style front wheel only bike racks that you cannot lock a bike to.

  • Kate 12:02 on 2014/11/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Denis Coderre has put Diane de Courcy in charge of the Je Vois Montréal project. I hadn’t been particularly aware of this till noticing a wave of objections from some who feel that de Courcy’s hard line against Montreal during the last PQ mandate makes her unsuitable for this role: French must be imposed in Montreal “without mercy” to quote the lady herself.

    • Jack 13:38 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      Man she also left the CSDM in shambles, 50 million in debt. I had a chance to button hole her once at a conference and asked her why ESL teachers in her schools had to pass a French test in order to teach english. Before she ran away ( I asked nice !) I mentioned that one of my kids had been taught ESL in Sec.III by someone who couldn’t spell cat and spoke worse then everyone in her majority immigrant class. She did not exude ,”Je vois Montreal” in that moment.
      She was however a very good BQ political attache, thats how she got her start in ‘education”. Creating MEMO, a party that was nothing more than a PQ-BQ affiliate. All candidates were either related to or were failed PQ-BQ candidates or activists. The current leader and Chairmen of the CSDM is Louise Harel’s kid. At one point I counted 4 commissioners who were children of PQ-BQ deputies. My personal favourite Pierre Paquettes 18 year old daughter in Rosemont.
      If she see’s Montreal the way I think she will this might be hilarious.

    • Joe 15:08 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      Jack, what do you expect when the school’s “code de vie” penalizes students for speaking a language other than french even during recess and lunch. What a joke.

    • yossarian 17:19 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      Well, at least we know who the enemy is, and she keeps failing upwards, what a wonderful world she lives in.

    • Brendan Walsh 08:56 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      Hi Kate, Thanks for reporting on this very odd, even ironic choice by our Mayor. If anyone is interested I have launched a petition now at near 550 signatures to ask that Mayor Coderre retract his appointment of De Courcy.

      Here’s the link

  • Kate 11:53 on 2014/11/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Residents of Sud-Ouest borough are pleased that their residential streets now have a speed limit of 30 kmh.

    However, and I’m not finding a media link to this so am reduced to quoting Alex Norris on Facebook:

    Le maire Coderre nous annonce à l’ordre du jour du conseil municipal aujourd’hui son intention de transformer un grand nombre de rues locales en rues artérielles, contrôlées par l’administration centrale de la ville.

    En regardant la carte des changements prévus, j’ai été stupéfait de voir toutes les petites rues locales dans notre quartier qu’il entend redéfinir comme artérielles. Les rues Milton, Aylmer, Hutchison, Clark, Roy, Rivard, Berri, Chambord, Garnier, Gilford, Marie-Anne, Bordeaux, Chabot, Resther, de Mentana, Casgrain, de Gaspé, Fullum et Parthenais sont parmi les rues que M. Coderre entend convertir, en tout ou en partie, en rues artérielles.

    La principale fonction des rues artérielles étant de constituer des corridors de transport pour la circulation de transit, ce plan est fort inquiétant.

    So the mayor may be trying to get around residential speed limits by “repatriating” a lot of noncommercial streets as arteries. It’s not a done deal yet but is meant to be voted on in council next month. I’ll look out for further reports on this.

    • Kevin 11:59 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      Southwest speed limits will become 30 km/h but they aren’t there yet.

      The borough voted this week to change the limits and it will now need to get the approval of Transport Quebec.

      Outremont had the same vote in September and it comes into effect next week.

    • Ephraim 15:41 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      Have they removed the stop signs? If I remember correctly, there is a law on the books about not needing stop signs when the limit is 30 km/h. They had the problem in Hudson a few years ago, the parents wanted the speed limit reduced and when it was reduced the city had to take down the stop signs.

    • Ian 16:23 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      Kate, you left out the rest of Norris’s comment:

      “Nous avons déjà sur le Plateau plus de piétons heurtés par des voitures par kilomètre carré que partout ailleurs au Québec, et la situation est presqu’aussi alarmante dans nos quartiers voisins.
      Historiquement, les arrondissements se sont montrés beaucoup plus proactifs en matière d’apaisement de la circulation et de sécurisation des rues résidentielles que n’a été l’administration centrale de la Ville.
      Je suis donc fort inquiet de ce plan du maire Coderre, qui met en péril la quiétude et la sécurité de plusieurs rues locales de notre quartier.”

      Marie Plourde has been tweeting a lot about it, too.

      Does anyone here know exactly what the rules are? There were a couple of requests on Norris’s timeline for a link to the document but he hasn’t provided one yet, if anyone here can find a link I’d be very interested in reading it. I suspect that many of those streets are considered mixed zoning, so they don’t qualify as strictly residential.

    • Ian 18:21 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      The always helpful Sasha M. Dyck (canidate for Projet Montreal in Parc Ex in the last election) sent me this handy chart and an explanation:

      “A & B are artères, C used to be collectrices but will be turned into artères, D are formerly local streets that are becoming artères (for the crime of having a bike path, for example!) and E are the only streets that will remain local.

      So A+B+C+D are completely run by City Hall, while only E are under the control of your borough.

      Good luck getting a stop sign, a dos d’âne, a longer pedestrian crossing light…
      the loss of responsibility at the borough level comes also means they don’t have to bear the costs, which is what our local councillors keep telling us like it is a good thing.”

      I asked, “Will they tear out the speed bumps on Hutchison for example?”

      Sasha replied:
      “They could do whatever they want. You’d have to jump through all the new hoops just to ask the question about it at City Hall, and get an answer a year later.”

    • Kate 21:41 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      Thank you, Ian. I know Sasha and he’s a reliable source of info. Not great news, but let’s see how this plays out.

    • cheese 10:11 on 2014/11/26 Permalink

      This plan of making the central city responsible for most of the streets, combined with redefining many streets are arterial sounds like a complete disaster for anyone who lives in an affected borough (all of us in Montreal?). Gilford and Marrie-Anne as major streets? Come on. Does that mean the one-way directions will be changed and traffic calming removed (such as the previously mentioned sleeping policemen on Huchison)?

      Coderre has some good talk but so far I’m not liking his execution.

  • Kate 11:47 on 2014/11/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Brief text report and audio file on how Bixi is now a city service like other aspects of public transit (and thus, please note, not expected to turn a profit). TVA talks to a Bixi spokeswoman who still speaks in terms of looking for new partners for Bixi, although whether that means advertisers or something else is left unclear.

  • Kate 10:55 on 2014/11/25 Permalink | Reply  

    The city has cancelled the contract with Acertys to consult over Ste-Catherine Street, after concerns about how it was awarded. Just wondering if such a contract contains cancellation clauses meaning the company will be paid anyway, because that’s not clarified here or anywhere.

    Richard Bergeron, now chairman of the inspector-general’s commission, says he’s ill at ease having journalists and the public know about reports given to the commission.

    (Not clear why we have an inspector general, a commission, and a different person who isn’t the inspector-general heading the commission. Will see if I can find this out.)

  • Kate 10:52 on 2014/11/25 Permalink | Reply  

    The Old Brewery Mission would like to move into the Hôtel-Dieu Hospital building after that institution moves to the new CHUM facility.

    • Ephraim 15:42 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      Can’t wait for the NIMBY people to chime in.

    • Ian 16:29 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      Considering that the NIMBYs in that area are the ultra-rich lining Dr. Penfield, I don’t think you’ll have to wait long.

    • J 16:55 on 2014/11/25 Permalink

      That part of des Pins is less ultra-rich than student-y for the most part. Dr. Penfield (and the ultra-rich) don’t make an appearance until the other side of University.

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