Updates from April, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 19:47 on 2011/04/30 Permalink | Reply  

    As Montrealers, we should hope for a big NDP win on Monday, because the party’s up for a lot of Montreal’s wishes: a new Champlain bridge, money for transit, public housing, infrastructure guarantees.

    I was walking around today and thought I heard an ebullient wedding party honking its way along Jean-Talon, but then I realized no wedding party would have that many orange balloons. In fact it was a Laytoncade. I only grabbed my camera in time to snap one of the cars, but there were more than a dozen, and people were waving at them and walking over to chat at the lights.

    • Adam 21:12 on 2011/04/30 Permalink

      Which reminds me of H.L. Mencken’s line, “Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods.”

      Gimme, gimme, gimme.

    • Erydan 03:01 on 2011/05/01 Permalink

      Thank you Adam, I could mot have said better myself without calling “bullshit”

    • Shawn 08:21 on 2011/05/01 Permalink

      Oh, you’re so right. Goverments are just… awful. Looking forward to hearing your alternatives.

    • Kate 08:45 on 2011/05/01 Permalink

      It’s our money. We’re not asking for prezzies. There’s no more basic way to describe democracy than this: we elect a party to choose, if not a full platform (which is a sort of ideal-world exercise, and everybody knows it) at least a general sense of the priorities on which our taxes will be spent, and – in a wider sense – in which direction those choices are pushing the country. This isn’t grabbiness, it’s responsible citizenship.

    • Adam 19:55 on 2011/05/01 Permalink

      “It’s our money.”

      Oh, good. Then there’s no need to take it from us through taxation just to give it right back to us (minus an administration fee).

    • Adam 19:56 on 2011/05/01 Permalink

      Shawn, one thing I will never understand is why it is that when politicians pay us to vote for them with their own money, it’s called bribery, but when they pay us to vote for them with our own money, it’s called democracy.

  • Kate 08:51 on 2011/04/30 Permalink | Reply  

    The Toronto Sun has a rather gloating piece drawn from Wikileaks diplomatic cable material, quoting Americans saying harsh words about Montreal as a pit of iniquity, sex trade activity, telemarketing fraud and crime generally. Curious that our crime stats are still so light, isn’t it?

    • qatzelok 14:13 on 2011/04/30 Permalink

      This “story” is based on the gossip of Americans working at the consulate that gets sprayed with red dye every time the USA bombs another resource colony. The source of “information” is as important as the ‘statistics’ they bark out.

    • Carlos 15:45 on 2011/04/30 Permalink

      “Montreal is a favourite for such scams, the diplomat wrote, because of cheap call centre labour and hydro-power and “lax regulations.”…
      Cheap hydro-power is a factor in fraud schemes?

    • qatzelok 18:28 on 2011/04/30 Permalink

      Cheap hydro power must be like WMDs.

    • Grego 18:40 on 2011/04/30 Permalink

      You can tell it’s going to be a good article when in the second paragraph you see “Montreal has literally become a ‘Bangkok of the West.'” It seems this “journalist” does not know what the word “literally” actually means. That’s some stellar writing there Andrew McIntosh!

  • Kate 08:48 on 2011/04/30 Permalink | Reply  

    The STM is finally caving in to reality and will trim the confusing and under-used 515 bus route in June, maintaining it as a U-shaped route along rue de la Commune between Peel metro and Berri-UQÀM. The bus was supposed to test the waters for a tram along that circular route, and has demonstrated that if we do start installing tramways, this is not the route to start with.

    • David Tighe 09:02 on 2011/05/01 Permalink

      It is remarkable how they seem to have thrown away millions of dollars to demonstrate the obvious. That route respected none of the criteria for a viable tramway with its high fixed costs. A tram provides high quality rapid service but requires high traffic volumes throughout the year. Otherwise it will simply join the existing herd of white elephants ( or do elephants herd?)

    • Kate 09:15 on 2011/05/01 Permalink

      Elephants herd.

      I suspect the STM knew perfectly well the 515 wouldn’t do much business, but had to try it because Mayor Tremblay was so keen on having a tram on that route. Somebody said “All right already, let’s do a study and show him” and it’s been running nearly empty ever since.

      You’re right, the tram needs to be on a busy route. Some obvious ideas for the first tram experiment would be to replace the Pie-IX bus, the Saint-Michel bus (which I read somewhere last year is the busiest in the city, but they’ve already added an express version of the route) or the 105, which is chronically overloaded. However, I suspect there’s a desire to try to make the tram a showpiece, even if having it running along de la Commune would be a hell of a lot less useful (especially in winter) to commuters in the city.

    • David Tighe 09:41 on 2011/05/01 Permalink

      A tramway requires a reasonably constant demand throughout the day. I would fear that the routes you mention are rather peaky. It would be better to serve the centre on a dense, long route. To me, Côte-de -neiges (1) or Park Avenue (2) seem to be the best choices. I would love to see a tramway along Sherbrooke (East-West), but its attraction would be diminished by the metro and by the lack of space.

    • Stefan 12:21 on 2011/05/01 Permalink

      i also think park avenue would be a good choice, due to demand. also, with restructuring it, automobile traffic could be reduced – at the moment it cuts the calm quarters of the mile end and outremont in halves and makes the mountainside less attractive.

      having arteries cutting every few streets through densely populated quarters (i.e. north-south: parc, st. urbain, st. laurent, st. denis, st. hubert) is encouraging usage of the automobile and especially people passing through who have no business there. so why not reduce their number?

    • Kate 14:08 on 2011/05/01 Permalink

      Park Avenue would work, I admit. A tram from Old Montreal straight up to Parc metro would be great. The only reason I think of Pie-IX or St-Michel first is that they’re further from the orange line than Park is.

  • Kate 08:36 on 2011/04/30 Permalink | Reply  

    It ain’t over till it’s over: some expect Bloc ridings to turn NDP orange on Monday, but traditional Liberal ridings may switch as well. Will ridings with NDP candidates nobody knows dump MPs they’ve had for years for unknowns? Maybe there really is an urge to turn the page, maybe people feel it’s better the devil they don’t know, for a change.

    Marco Fortier in Rue Frontenac compares the shift to a tsunami and other geological terms like earthshaking and plates tectoniques keep cropping up.

    • walkerp 11:12 on 2011/04/30 Permalink

      I suspect there is a great deal of media distortion going on right now, though there is possibly enough actual change going on underneath that that it will be hard to know which is which until after the election is over. At least it hasn’t been totally boring from an audience perspective!

    • Kate 11:35 on 2011/04/30 Permalink

      I am hoping for change, but not a change that involves a Conservative majority.

  • Kate 08:20 on 2011/04/30 Permalink | Reply  

    There was some talk last year about changing bylaws so people could raise chickens in urban back yards, but nothing’s happened on this file lately. Openfile is also reporting on the rooftop greenhouse farm and looking at urban agriculture generally.

  • Kate 19:09 on 2011/04/29 Permalink | Reply  

    People in Montreal gathered to watch the royal wedding Friday morning, although the ceremony started at 6 a.m. our time.

    Me? I followed the tweets of Queen_UK.

    The mayor of London gave a specially commissioned tandem Bixi as a wedding present, designed by Michel Dallaire and made in Quebec at the same factory as all Bixi bikes.

  • Kate 18:55 on 2011/04/29 Permalink | Reply  

    The Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal has a plan – a big plan, to make the urban area more densely populated and provide better transit. But they’re giving themselves till 2031 to do it. (And I wish they didn’t have those huge semi-legible headers in Arial over the rotating images.)

  • Kate 18:28 on 2011/04/29 Permalink | Reply  

    A new event called Lire Montréal is offering literary guided tours and readings Saturday and Sunday. (The other guided tour event, Jane’s Walk, is a week later, and the other literary event, Blue Metropolis, continues through this weekend.) The Biennale opens SundayArt Newspaper notes –, Vues d’Afrique opens tonight, the city’s annual library sale starts tomorrow and runs for a week (I’ve found amazing things at this sale, but prepare to wait in line for a hell of a long time and risk not finding anything that interests you), and if you want to feel virtuous you can help tidy up Mount Royal.

  • Kate 21:22 on 2011/04/28 Permalink | Reply  

    I am not a pollster but this is what I foresee in Monday’s election, because I don’t yet buy the orange wave – although I think there will be multiple NDP MPs in Montreal when the dust settles. I also think we’ll get one Conservative, although not the one that got so much press, not that I want a blue riding on the island.

    I could wish the NDP had a few more star candidates here – I fear their chances will fall in cases where the candidate is too much of an unknown quantity.

    Ahuntsic – Noushig Eloyan, Liberal
    Bourassa – Denis Coderre, Liberal
    Hochelaga – Daniel Paillé, BQ
    Honoré-Mercier – Paulina Ayala, NDP
    Jeanne-Le Ber – Tyrone Benskin, NDP
    La Pointe-de-l’Île – Ginette Beaudry, BQ
    Lac-Saint-Louis – Francis Scarpaleggia, Liberal
    LaSalle—Émard – Hélène Leblanc, NDP
    Laurier—Sainte-Marie – Gilles Duceppe, BQ
    Mount Royal – Saulie Zajdel, Conservative
    NDG—Lachine – Marlene Jennings, Liberal
    Outremont – Thomas Mulcair, NDP
    Papineau – Justin Trudeau, Liberal
    Pierrefonds—Dollard – Bernard Patry, Liberal
    Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie – Alexandre Boulerice, NDP
    Saint-Laurent—Cartierville – Stéphane Dion, Liberal
    Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel – Massimo Pacetti, Liberal
    Westmount—Ville-Marie – Marc Garneau, Liberal

    • Alex 22:41 on 2011/04/28 Permalink

    • walkerp 07:42 on 2011/04/29 Permalink

      You make this election almost as fun as sports! I actually have something to follow. Are you going to count up your score on Monday?

    • Shawn 10:04 on 2011/04/29 Permalink

      Yeah, I’m with Alex. The Gazette has been making so much about the fact that Zajdel has a big piece of the Jewish vote because he has a pro-Israel stance. But so what? So does Cotler. And this is a culturally diverse riding overall, too. The zionist pro-Harper vote isn’t going to decide it, I think.

    • Kate 11:52 on 2011/04/29 Permalink

      Shawn, Alex, I hope you’re right. I don’t want a blue hole in the middle of the island. But Cotler can only promise so much when his party is not uncritically pro-Israel. We shall see.

  • Kate 21:05 on 2011/04/28 Permalink | Reply  

    Massimo Pacetti has been pretty much the man in Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel since 2002, and his opposition has been fragmented, with the Tories coming in second at a mere 14.9% last time. The Bloc is running Alain Bernier, with a social work background; the NDP, Roberta Peressini, and the Conservatives Riccardo De Ioris. (Clearly three of the four parties have realized it helps to have a candidate with an Italian name in this riding.) Local press covers a panel that included candidates from Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel and Papineau.

    Westmount—Ville-Marie was won by Marc Garneau in 2008 with 46.47% of the vote, trailed by the NDP’s Anne Lagacé Dowson at 23%. This time the NDP has Joanne Corbeil, the Bloc Véronique Roy, and the Conservatives are trying to appeal to Westmount’s more reactionary side with Neil Drabkin. The Westmount Examiner thinks it’s a Garneau-Drabkin contest, but the NDP wave may disprove this.

    • Kevin 13:33 on 2011/04/29 Permalink

      Bwahahahaha! No way does Drabkin get elected.
      The conservatives were a distant third last time around — that won’t change with the fourth-time drop-in candidate running.

  • Kate 20:20 on 2011/04/28 Permalink | Reply  

    The Bloc’s Bernard Bigras has handily won Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie since 1997 and has had plenty of work as the party’s environment critic, but this is a riding that could swing NDP in the current breeze. The Liberals are running Kettly Beauregard, who has been a city councillor although not in this area, and the NDP have put up Alexandre Boulerice. Boulerice has a blog but it’s not very personal. Local press on a debate between Bigras and Boulerice. A friend who lives in the riding tweets that Bigras is “looking pale.”

    Stéphane Dion pulled 61.7% in 2008 in Saint-Laurent—Cartierville but I wonder if his unsuccessful stint as party leader will tell against him this time. The NDP have put up Maria Florez, again with no biography, and the Bloc is running William Fayad, a teacher, not exactly the big guns. Not a lot in the press about the contest.

  • Kate 19:39 on 2011/04/28 Permalink | Reply  

    Back to plowing through the ridings on the island of Montreal now…

    Papineau still promises to be a struggle between Justin Trudeau and the Bloc’s Vivian Barbot. Because the contest was so close last time and because of the inevitable interest around a Trudeau, there’s been a fair bit of talk about this one as the candidates court the culturally mixed riding. I live in Papineau and haven’t heard anything from or about the NDP’s Marcos Tejada, who has no biography on the party site.

    Later: I am informed by Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe (see below) that Mr. Tejada does have a bio up and so does she.

    Also later: more on Papineau from Openfile and the Gazette.

    In Pierrefonds—Dollard Liberal Bernard Patry has been MP since 1993. The NDP’s running Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe; the Bloc’s Nicolas Jolicoeur lists recent work as a bagger and cashier. I don’t mean to mock the young, or imply that only hardened political hacks should run, but there seem to be ridings where some parties are not really trying. Rue Frontenac has a piece about candidates who know they have no chance of winning.

    • Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe 10:15 on 2011/04/30 Permalink

      My site does have a brief biography in the About section.

      We took the opportunity to post information on the rally that took place last Saturday at l’Olympia. I was happy to see a number of constituents from Pierrefonds–Dollard at the event. It was thoroughly exciting to be present with so much support. Thanks to all who came out.

      I have been out talking with students and with seniors, knocking on doors and visiting public places. Many of my volunteers have joined me for these activities, for the MS Walk, or even for rallying support near high-traffic locations. (We received a great deal of honking as a form of support the last time around!)

      Thank you for maintaining this blog.
      Lysane, NDP candidate for Pierrefonds–Dollard.

      Btw, I note that Marcos’ site also has a biography, also in the About section.

    • Kate 10:57 on 2011/04/30 Permalink

      Thank you, Ms. Blanchette-Lamothe. I’ve edited my entry, and I’m glad you stopped by.

  • Kate 19:08 on 2011/04/28 Permalink | Reply  

    OpenFile, which calls itself a new kind of journalism, has opened its Montreal site and has a feature on federal ridings as well as other stuff, in both languages.

  • Kate 18:33 on 2011/04/28 Permalink | Reply  

    This afternoon’s high winds knocked out power to thousand of users in various parts of town, particularly the West Island.

  • Kate 07:34 on 2011/04/28 Permalink | Reply  

    The Conservatives are the only federal party who are ignoring the state of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence, but that fits with their view of the planet as something to be pillaged for profit, rather than preserved and protected for the future.

    • Charles 13:30 on 2011/04/28 Permalink

      The conservatives have ignored questionnaires sent by different groups on the environment, public transit and the arts. They don’t seem very interested in democracy. The people voting for them seem only interested in lower taxes and not having to vote every two years….

    • qatzelok 14:37 on 2011/04/28 Permalink

      The Conservatives work as hard at ignoring various bad things about corporate capitalism. This is their function. They make corporate capitalism seem rational by externalizing the costs in their spin.

    • Tux 15:00 on 2011/04/28 Permalink

      Yeah, basically the conservatives are happy to sell out future generations for a more prosperous (for corporations anyway) immediate future. They’re myopic, narrow-minded, hetero-normative, misogynist, … basically a cultural cancer if you ask me. A sickness of the mind that’s virulent enough to infect enough people to run a campaign. Thankfully the innoculation for Conservative-itis is exposure to a wide variety of cultures and viewpoints along with reasoned discussion about same; things that can be imported via the internet even when not available locally. I’ve got hope that our kids and their kids will do better, not worse! :)

    • naftee 15:22 on 2011/04/28 Permalink

      Wow! Talk about socialist drivel. How does evil “corporate capitalism” have anything to do with the Ontario government’s nuclear waste producing reactors? It’s quite possible that the waste from these “government capitalism” machines spills out into the Great Lakes and creates a serious environmental hazard. I’d like to see Walmart or Videotron or some other private corporation with the possibility of making an environmental catastrophe even approaching this scale.

    • walkerp 15:52 on 2011/04/28 Permalink

      If Harper and his cronies had their way, the Ontario Energy Commission would be privatized and so would the nuclear industry and while I agree that nuclear power managed (or semi-managed as the case may be) by the government is bad, it would be much, much worse if left entirely in private hands.

    • naftee 16:55 on 2011/04/28 Permalink

      How on earth would the Harper minions go about privatizing a provincial crown corporation? I’m no constitutional expert, but I’m pretty sure that it’s entirely up to the provinces to decide and manage this sort of thing. Just think about the backlash if any Conservative even thought about privatizing Hydro Québec.
      I’m getting a little off-topic here, but seeing as the Great Lakes lie entirely within Ontario and most of the St Lawrence is entirely within Quebec, it’d be nice to see both provinces come up with a joint plan on protecting these treasures. But I suppose that’s an issue for another election.

    • Peter 20:04 on 2011/04/28 Permalink

      Yes I believe a reasoned discussion is in order, but surely using the analogy of disease (cultural cancer, virulent, inoculation) to describe the political persuasion of 40% of Canada’s population falls beyond the realm of reasonable. In fact, it’s pretty disgusting when compared to historical antecedents, which I won’t mention here so as not to go off-topic. The Conservatives are the ONLY party ignoring the state of the Great Lakes and the St Lawrence. I’d say it applies equally to all parties. What did the Liberals do in the 12 years they were in power.

      Talking about selling-out future generations, it’s the NDP that wants to DOUBLE current CPP benefits. With our aging population, it’s a totally irresponsible thing to do. By the time under 40 year olds retire, the whole system will be bankrupt and we’ll all be working into our 80s.

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