Updates from June, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 11:46 on 2011/06/03 Permalink | Reply  

    The SPVM has been without a contract since the end of 2010 and are publicizing a push to settle with the city by June 8. Unspecified pressure tactics may be used after that if negotiations drag on, although the spokesman also threatened that patrol cars might turn into pumpkins (sounds better in French: nos autopatrouilles vont se changer en citrouilles.)

    • Freezerburn 17:25 on 2011/06/03 Permalink

      SPVM? …OMG!!! WTF? …LOLZ!!! Just write MONTREAL POLICE. Don’t fall for the bureaucratic trap.

    • Kate 18:05 on 2011/06/03 Permalink

      Freezerburn, you’re welcome to express opinions around here, but please don’t let it shade into giving me orders.

  • Kate 11:42 on 2011/06/03 Permalink | Reply  

    Another event for the weekend: the massive dollar book sale S.W. Welch is holding in the space next door to Bio-Terre at Esplanade and Saint-Viateur, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday. Here’s a craigslist link if you don’t have any truck with Facebook.

    • walkerp 14:16 on 2011/06/03 Permalink

      must… avoid… must… resist… failing… weakening…

    • Rich 14:32 on 2011/06/03 Permalink

      Don’t forget the BANQ’s mega book sale at the big library.

      You’re screwed, walkerp :-P

    • Ian 09:18 on 2011/06/04 Permalink

      I’m more excited by the post-move book flood this sale is making room for. July-August is the best time of year for buying used books! That said, I did find some really great stuff at Welch’s dollar sale last year.

    • Michael Black 09:41 on 2011/06/05 Permalink

      Welch’s was more spread out yesterday, the space they usually use is tiny and made
      worse by the tent. Of course, with the clouds today, the tent may be back.

      I’ve never understood the selection at those sales, because lots of books appear
      that the store wouldn’t normally carry. So it’s likely they buy someone’s collection for
      specifi, then have these to sell off for a dollar each. The books are not rejects, they
      are in good shape and you never know what might appear.

      I asked when the next one might be. Last year, they closed St. Viateur once a month
      on a Saturday, but I see no sign of that happening again this year. Welch himself
      said “maybe August” then added “but we’ve barely started this one”. I said “But
      tomorrow, won’t you sort of be locked in because of the bike thing?” he seemed
      friendlier then, as if he’d figured out who I was.

      They have a new ad up at craig’s list today, even mentioning the bike tour, and
      saying for once that they’ll stay open till about 7pm.


    • Kate 15:43 on 2011/06/05 Permalink

      I stopped by today and noticed that the book sale space was smaller than last year, I think because Bio-Terre has built a more formal picnic space next door and isn’t allowing him to use it. Still lots of books though, and should be open a couple hours more after I’ve posted this comment.

      Michael, I haven’t seen anything about a closure of Saint-Viateur either. In 2007 a street fair was sponsored by Ubisoft (in the Peck building on the Main) but they haven’t repeated the gesture, and the only fair on the street seems to be the Italian marching band thing that happens periodically. The guys at Café Olimpico would probably know more about that.

    • Michael Black 08:48 on 2011/06/09 Permalink

      Maybe the lack of tent when I was there made it seem roomier. The area they have used in the past was enclosed on all sides.

      Last year it was http://www.carfreemileend.com that organized the closing of St. Viateur one Saturday a month in July, August and September. It was a sidewalk sale, but they added “cultural things”. One of those days, there were free Thai massages right in front of Welch’s
      That website hasn’t changed since last summer, so it would seem the group has gone dormant.


    • Kate 11:54 on 2011/06/09 Permalink

      Oh, you’re right. I think that was a McGill thing – at any rate it was McGill architecture or urbanism students who were doing studies on how to improve Saint-Viateur and I think they may have been behind the car-free days as well. Chances are they’ve simply graduated and moved on.

    • Nikki Bundy 10:09 on 2011/06/17 Permalink

      Hi, Just reading your comments about Car Free Mile End. The name has bee changed to RuePublique You can Find them at http://www.ruepublique.org There is one tomorrow June 18th, July 30th and Sept. 17th with some other dates in the works. I will be there with Old Skool Crafts Artisan Fair with 40+ Artists in St.Michael’s Church. There will be Yoga on the street, bike repair, public art, Bands and much more!

      Hope this helps! ;)

      Nikki Bundy

  • Kate 07:32 on 2011/06/03 Permalink | Reply  

    City council is considering a formal motion of censure against Alex Norris because he disagreed with chairman Elsie Lefebvre about wearing a tie to council meetings. On the whole I still think Norris is holding out on a losing battle here, but clearly it’s wasting time and getting silly. Somebody should wave a hand and tell people to put their minds on more important things.

    Meanwhile, City Hall is getting tightened security and it won’t be so easy to visit any more. Ironic, considering its problems have all been coming from inside the house.

    • Jack 08:28 on 2011/06/03 Permalink

      This is why our political class is held in such contempt. I don’t care what he wears, just what he does! Elsie, come on. I thought more of you.

    • Freezerburn 08:43 on 2011/06/03 Permalink

      I love the timeworn customs and old traditions of these institutions, I think Norris is on a sinister path to undermine something people cherish. Anyway ties are a beautiful thing on a man, it means he cares and has respect for himself. So keep him out, he wont be missed.

    • Kate 09:13 on 2011/06/03 Permalink

      I think both sides are being silly. I’m willing to accept from Alex Norris that for him a tie symbolizes something distasteful which he’s actively making an effort to resist, but I’m also willing to see that wearing one is a tradition that implies a certain seriousness and respect. But it is not all that important. Elsie should wave it off and get on with council business.

    • walkerp 09:17 on 2011/06/03 Permalink

      This is also a power play to weaken Projet Montreal. That’s why Elsie is pursuing it. She thinks she’ll at the very least win the PR battle.

    • Kate 09:23 on 2011/06/03 Permalink

      Yes, I think you’re likely right here too.

    • Jack 14:18 on 2011/06/03 Permalink

      Frezerburn “I love the timeworn customs and old traditions of these institutions” ,come on its a tie.The other sad traditions we could do without are lets see…graft and maybe corruption.

    • Alex Norris 21:46 on 2011/06/04 Permalink

      Something to keep in mind regarding the proposed motion of censure against me on this tie issue: in recent years we have had councillors go on holiday with construction entrepreneurs who bid on contracts their administrations award (Frank Zampino, Luis Miranda), accept envelopes full of cash from a construction magnate in violation of electoral law (Benoît Labonté) and charge personal expenses to taxpayers (Monique Worth, Bertrand Ward). None of these cases of misconduct has resulted in any of these councillors being targeted with a motion of censure. Yet for a minor private argument over the wearing of a tie, a senior official in the Tremblay administration is now proposing to adopt such a motion of censure against me — the first of its kind in at least 30 years. Does anyone see anything wrong with this? Don’t we have bigger issues to deal with at City Hall than worry about what I wear to city hall? Yes, this is a minor issue but symbols do count for something: our city hall is supposed to be a democratic institution, not a private club. I’ve put almost zero energy into this, but I do think the Tremblay administration is seriously underestimating the intelligence of Montrealers here.

    • Alex Norris 21:49 on 2011/06/04 Permalink

      PS: Kate, I see nothing distasteful about ties. I do see something distasteful about forcing people to wear them, or any other article of clothing, in order to exercise their rights.

    • Kate 22:05 on 2011/06/04 Permalink

      Alex, I think we’re basically in agreement. City council has much more important issues to deal with.

    • Stefan 08:59 on 2011/06/05 Permalink

      these are exactly the arguments i’d like to hear reflected in the news (i guess reporters are not so interested, based on its entertainment value vs. the tie). at least they appear here on this blog – more power to it.

    • Michael Black 09:48 on 2011/06/05 Permalink

      I’ve worn a tie once as an adult, a wedding and I had to borrow a tie, and someone
      had to tie it for me.

      This reminds me of being in high school and one Boy Scout (he actually was one)
      just had to tell me I was a slob. Meanwhile, I was getting top marks, without any effort.

      People too often judge on peripheral issues, and I suspect one reason is because
      they aren’t judging on the real content. They either won’t or can’t grasp what’s
      being said, so they need a tie to tell them that the speaker is legit. I’ve seen the
      same thing with small groups, that insist people come to the meetings if they
      want to be taken seriously. The same people often aren’t judging what’s being said,
      they seem to need other information from the person to make their decisions, which
      is bad decision making. If you have a lousy turnout, you’d better start listening,
      because that may be part of the problem.


    • Alex Norris 11:54 on 2011/06/05 Permalink

      @walkerp, it’s not Elsie Lefebre who’s making an issue out of this; she has publicly stated that she considers the matter closed. It is Anie Samson, maire of Villeray-Park Ex-St-Michel, who raised it in council in an effort to drive a wedge between Elsie Lefebvre and our Projet Montreal caucus. Keep in mind that Elsie has taken much more progressive positions, ones much close to our positions in Projet Montreal, than Samson, even though Samson is the mayor of her borough and is, like Elsie, a member of Vision Montreal. For example, Elsie publicly distanced herself from Samson’s shameful xenophobic comments on the proposed Inuit hospital in her borough; Elsie also publicly fought (successfully, in the end) against Samson’s misguided scheme to expand a police station in Jarry Park. Samson is undoubtedly worried that Elsie Lefebvre may soon tire of being associated with Samson’s old-school, conservative (and sometimes xenophobic) approach to municipal politics and look at other options (including, perhaps, Projet). Anie Samson is from the right wing of Vision Montreal; she was a Pierre Bourque loyalist and has been a fixture in municipal politics for many years. Elsie Lefebvre represents something quite different. That’s why Anie Samson is worried, why she is trying to drive a wedge between us. So don’t blame this on Elsie Lefebvre. Anie Samson and Marvin Rotrand are the ones blowing this out of all proportion. But again, I think their efforts are bound to backfire, and that they are seriously underestimating the intelligence of Montrealers.

    • Kate 15:51 on 2011/06/05 Permalink

      Thanks for the background stuff, Alex. It brings the whole thing into better focus.

    • Jack 18:02 on 2011/06/05 Permalink

      Thanks Kate and Alex, boy this shows how dead the traditional media is.

    • freezerburn 20:58 on 2011/06/05 Permalink

      Kate, the problem with the “it’s no big deal don’t worry about it” argument is that the other side can throw it right back – “it’s no big deal don’t worry about it, just put on your freaken tie.” Norris claims that he’s not putting a lot of time into this issue but he clearly is, as he has been on TV and commented on just about every discussion thread on the subject about it ad nauseum. He is cheating his constituents with is petty ridiculous, selfish campaign. Just put on a tie and start doing your job boy!

    • Alex Norris 09:46 on 2011/06/07 Permalink

      @freezerburn, I consider it my duty as a councillor to be accountable to the public, which means answering criticisms and questions wherever they arise, which is why I have given a couple of 5-minute media interviews about this issue and why I have made a point of posting answers on blogs like this one. (Do a google blog search and you will see I make a point of answering questions and criticisms regarding just about any issue. Isn’t that part of what elected officials are supposed to be doing? Or would you prefer we hide behind a phalanx of ”communications officers” and spin doctors?) Contrary to your impressions, none of this has taken much time or energy. Rest assured, my constituents are not being ”cheated.” Contrary to my predecessor (who worked part time as a councillor and moonlighted running a festival and doing a variety of other things), I work full time for the citizens of Mile End. When constituents call or email me, they generally hear back the same day, and aside from the three party leaders, I am probably the most active participant in debate of all the councillors at City Hall. On a couple of occasions I have challenged City Hall’s archaic unwritten dress code, which has elicited great fulmination and indignation from other councillors. To claim based on that that I am not doing my job is a bit of a stretch.

  • Kate 07:11 on 2011/06/03 Permalink | Reply  

    The Tour la nuit takes place tonight with 15,000 riders expected and some streets closed (PDF map) and then Sunday sees the full-on Tour with other streets closed (second PDF map). (Bravo, by the way, to Rue Frontenac, for actually including useful links.) La Presse also provides useful maps. Looks like cyclists will have excellent clear cool weather, too. CBC focuses on difficulties for drivers including the cyclists’ events but also bridge closures.

    Other media have done reports on local cycling trends as reported in Vélo-Québec‘s report L’État du vélo 2010: more people are adopting the bike as a practical mode of transport and more of us are cycling generally, but the trend is for kids to cycle less.

    Quebec has launched a new website section called Convivialité vélo that helps you find cycle-friendly routes; a Tumblr blog called Montréal Cycle Chic was launched yesterday, part of Mikael Colville-Andersen’s Cycle Chic network (the Montreal one is tightly locked down – none of those images can be reblogged, which is rather contrary to the Tumblr philosophy, but whatever). Metro has an interview with Colville-Andersen about what Montreal can do to make itself more cycle-friendly.

    • Stefan 09:13 on 2011/06/03 Permalink

      Lot on cycling! :-)

      But ‘Convivialité vélo’, which opens on Quebec City and when moving over montreal shows aside from the route verte only the ‘forbidden for cyclists’ highways plus a tiny stretch of ‘non conviviale’ near mercier bridge. designed for leisure bike tourists and completely useless for the majority of trips made by utilitarian cyclists. but what else to expect from the ministry of transport …

      why are kids cycling less? (the older population’s cyclists’ ratio has gone up enormously, according to VQ’s report) is it a combination of push (concern of road security) and pull (video game/computer making them stay inside) effects? but aren’t also most school children transported by school bus as their main utilitarian trip?

    • Kate 09:20 on 2011/06/03 Permalink

      I came to the same conclusion you did about the kids: parents are more nervous to risk their kids cycling, and at the same time kids are blandished indoors by too much sedentary entertainment.

    • ant6n 11:04 on 2011/06/03 Permalink

      That’s an interesting idea – making a cycling tour in a bunch of areas only cars can usually go. Through the villa maria expressway tunnel, perhaps?

    • ant6n 12:40 on 2011/06/03 Permalink

      Actually, I don’t understand this event. I’ve seen similar events elsewhere, registered as a demonstration, thus getting the roads blocked off. People just join.

      Here you have to register, and pay 26$. Why? Is this a race? Are there prizes? It seems kind of nice to cycle around the city together in a group like that, but not with these costs. What does that money go towards? It seems hard to justify shutting down the city for a closed event like that. I am surely missing something here, but their website doesn’t really tell.

    • Stefan 12:48 on 2011/06/03 Permalink

      tariffs range between $20-$35. there is a heap of sponsoring as well. both do not incite me to participate.

      i guess that this kind of money is needed for the ‘securization’ of the event. there will be how many, 1000 police with their cars, to block off access? in other places, a simple sign and blockage is sufficient, together with traffic redirection signs at major arteries (maybe because drivers do not take their right to pass for granted?)

    • Rich 12:56 on 2011/06/03 Permalink

      The bulk of the money goes towards overtime for a bunch of cops that do nothing other than chat each other up while admiring the spandex parade, and for renting the barriers. I’ll be riding alright, but fucked if I’m paying for that.

    • Kate 18:28 on 2011/06/03 Permalink

      Wow, this descended pretty quickly into hating. I think Velo-Quebec’s charging a little too much these days but it’s an interesting event to do (I’ve done both the regular and night versions, though not planning to this year). It’s so nice to cycle a decent distance and never once have to dodge a motor vehicle, and it’s so quiet!

      Most of the people looking after the route are volunteers so I suspect it could be done for a lot less per head. On the other hand, it costs between $80 and $100 to run the marathon here, and what’s that paying for?

    • ant6n 00:22 on 2011/06/04 Permalink

      I have a feeling that this would be better financed via donations (with a pledge drive towards a goal). They could clearly explain the costs involved and the per-person costs, to encourage donations.
      This could decrease administrative costs, and would help with the credibility issue of having a closed event using this large amount of public space. I checked it out, it seemed over-organized, could’ve been made much simpler. And that fair ground on Park Jeanne-Mance, with the open air concert and ferries wheel was really not necessary, just like all those other gimmicks.
      That said, it seemed like it was pretty easy to just join; secruity wasn’t that tight. So if you didn’t wanna pay, you could get away with it.

    • Chris 10:22 on 2011/06/04 Permalink

      There’s always Critical Mass. It’s free to participate, not over-organized, and open to all.

    • ant6n 17:22 on 2011/06/04 Permalink

      On their website i find no mention that it’s free to participate. I only find rates.

    • walkerp 22:17 on 2011/06/04 Permalink

      I didn’t participate, but just seeing all the different people out last night on bikes was pretty cool and it really looked like everybody was having fun. It’s a great event where everybody participates in a fun activity together. They are prepping the Parc Jeanne-Mance for the after-party and that also looks like it will be a lot of fun. I really don’t understand all the negativity. It’s clearly a successful event. I just need to remember that it’s going to happen so I can finally sign up and do it at least once!

    • Rich 23:11 on 2011/06/04 Permalink

      Not meaning to be a dick here, ant6n, but it’s my bike and they’re my roads. I’ve paid to participate in at least 10 tours now. If I choose to ride in a few for free, that’s my perogi.

    • Kate 08:34 on 2011/06/05 Permalink

      As far as I know, they don’t stop you if you ride without signing up, but if your bike breaks down their squads of helpers are not obliged to do anything to help you. At least if you’ve ponied up you’re not going to find yourself on your own with a flat in some neighbourhood far from home (and n.b. the metro usually doesn’t permit cyclists in on Tour day).

    • Stefan 09:06 on 2011/06/05 Permalink

      ant6n: here is the critical mass. it is entirely non-organized (no route, no organizer), only departure place, time and date (5:30pm, square philips, last friday of each month) are fixed – a complete contrary to the tour. the goal is to propagate awareness of cyclists on the streets for their security.

    • Devi 08:03 on 2013/06/02 Permalink

      These TOURS are a pain in the ass every year. What the hell don’t they keep them off the center of the city. They should only be on the roads that hug the shoreline. Leave us non-bikers free to their Sundays.

    • Kate 11:13 on 2013/06/02 Permalink

      Devi, I see your non-biker’s brain has caused you to post a comment to a two-year-old item on the Tour. Maybe you need to get out and oxygenate your brain a bit with some vigorous cycling.

  • Kate 06:50 on 2011/06/03 Permalink | Reply  

    Review of the MSO’s final performance at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier; they resume playing in September in the new hall behind Place des Arts, provided their labour issues are settled by then.

  • Kate 06:46 on 2011/06/03 Permalink | Reply  

    McGill gave William Shatner an honorary doctorate on Thursday during a graduation ceremony. There’s some video of his speech and the widely quoted soundbite is his advice “Don’t be afraid of making an ass of yourself.”

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