Updates from October, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 23:21 on 2011/10/20 Permalink | Reply  

    In many previous years the Canadiens have had a promising start to the season, then a falling-off of energy too soon before the playoffs. I’m trying to believe that the lousy start they’re having this year means they’ll eventually pick up steam mid-season and charge into the finals, but I’m not putting any bets on it.

     
  • Kate 23:16 on 2011/10/20 Permalink | Reply  

    The city’s Tunisians went to an advance poll Thursday for a whole new government after the fall of the Ben Ali regime. The main election in the country is on Sunday.

    It’s an interesting point that Canada didn’t welcome the polling in Montreal and Ottawa because Tunisia has appointed two seats to represent its citizens living outside the country: apparently Canada has a policy against being included in extraterritorial elections. I wonder if or when this has come up before.

     
    • Shawn 08:58 on 2011/10/21 Permalink

      I seem to recall that this was an issue in a recent Italian election… but that the feds sort of looked the other way, due to the strength of the Italian Canadian vote. That ring a bell for anyone?

    • Kate 19:19 on 2011/10/21 Permalink

      Wikipedia says:

      The Italian Parliament is one of the few legislatures in the world to reserve seats for citizens residing abroad. There are twelve such seats in the Chamber of Deputies and six in the Senate.
      The Overseas Constituency consists of four electoral zones, each of which elect at least one Deputy and one Senator:
      • Europe (including Russia and Turkey)
      • South America
      • North and Central America
      • Africa, Asia, Oceania and Antarctica
      The remaining seats are distributed between the same overseas electoral zones in proportion to the number of Italian citizens resident in each.

      I hadn’t heard that Canada protested this, but you may be right that the clout of Italian-Canadians would tend to squelch that a bit.

  • Kate 23:12 on 2011/10/20 Permalink | Reply  

    Homeless people are being chivvied away from the downtown core but it isn’t helping them or reducing their numbers. Interesting point about how a project like the Quartier des spectacles and anti-dog rules in parks have been adopted precisely to make itinerant people unwelcome. Too bad we can’t hang a canvas curtain over them with a cosy picture painted on it.

     
    • Tux 09:49 on 2011/10/21 Permalink

      This is off-topic, but hey, it’s Friday. This entry reminds me of this.

  • Kate 23:08 on 2011/10/20 Permalink | Reply  

    Unusually, I happened to be in a friend’s car on the highway Thursday afternoon when the hailstorm hit – it was a good one.

    Earlier Thursday a section of route 133 southeast of town subsided into the Richelieu River after a landslide. Nobody got hurt.

     
  • Kate 22:56 on 2011/10/20 Permalink | Reply  

    This brief Radio-Canada piece clarifies that it’s up to Quebec’s Régie du bâtiment to strengthen laws about building inspection: the city can only pass laws about buildings housing less than eight households.

     
  • Kate 21:15 on 2011/10/20 Permalink | Reply  

    A posse of life-size dinosaurs making realistic dino noises will be at the science centre till next spring. By way of an actual science angle, they’re also looking at how dinosaurs became birds.

     
    • Clem 11:32 on 2011/10/21 Permalink

      I wonder if they’re the old dinosaurs from the defunct restaurant Chez Madrid !

    • Kate 16:04 on 2011/10/21 Permalink

      Hee hee! I remember exploring those deep in the middle of winter once. Very surreal.

  • Kate 18:56 on 2011/10/20 Permalink | Reply  

    I wonder where Brian Topp got my email address, and why he’s just sent me a long email in French only.

     
    • Jack 20:10 on 2011/10/20 Permalink

      Me too! Oh I know why I joined the party. Thomas I am waiting!

    • John 21:31 on 2011/10/20 Permalink

      I got one too! Mind you, I’m a member of the party (I think – haven’t got my card yet). But yeah, next time? Shorter and bilingual.

    • jeather 07:04 on 2011/10/21 Permalink

      Me too. I complained to the NDP and also to my (NDP) MP about this. I did not offer that they share my email address to campaigns.

    • jeather 08:45 on 2011/10/25 Permalink

      A somewhat late reply, but I got the card in the mail yesterday, with a form letter saying something about technical problems. I never got any reply from the NDP or my MP or Brian Topp about why Brian Topp’s campaign was given access to my email address.

  • Kate 17:48 on 2011/10/20 Permalink | Reply  

    The Occupy Montreal folks are asking for your Canadian Tire money to help buy things they need for their encampment.

    Thursday evening there’s a report of problems at the square, although to be honest I don’t quite trust the Journal not to overemphasize this kind of story. Metro has a much more positive take on the growth of the encampment and their determination to stay there at least until snow comes; Radio-Canada says the encampment is running out of space.

     
    • Steph 18:24 on 2011/10/20 Permalink

      “«Ça devient difficile de gérer les gens qui n’ont pas rapport dans l’occupation», concède un manifestant.” — ¿ the homeless must be part of that 1% ¿

  • Kate 14:16 on 2011/10/20 Permalink | Reply  

    Striking McGill support workers, banned from picketing on campus, moved their protest to the MUHC hospital construction site, a smart move because unionized construction workers won’t cross picket lines.

     
    • Marko 15:06 on 2011/10/20 Permalink

      “a smart move” – Not really. I just lost sympathy for MUNACA because they are now holding a hospital hostage. They don’t seem to care that everyone in the city who needs medical services will suffer. Do they really think this will force the McGill administration to come up with more money for salaries? This is going to be a long strike if the people in charge of negotiations think this is the way.

    • Mike 15:22 on 2011/10/20 Permalink

      Marko,

      Its not a hospital, its a construction site.

    • jeather 15:32 on 2011/10/20 Permalink

      They’re holding a construction zone hostage (one which has been delayed years by other people), not a working hospital.

      I am sort of curious how they will do things like “deal with applications from students” next year — although as a research institute, undergraduate education isn’t a priority for the school (which isn’t to say you get a bad undergrad education there), if they cannot deal with applications, the administration’s “Everything is going just fine at McGill, support staff or no!” will end up being completely unbelievable, because news organisations love stories about how local students cannot get into local schools. (It’s not true as it is, but the problems aren’t that evident to people who aren’t on campus.)

    • Tux 15:35 on 2011/10/20 Permalink

      @Marko: It’s a hospital under construction. No-one seeking medical attention is going to be denied, least of all ‘everyone in the city’. And McGill could definitely move some funds around to give their workers a fair shake. They’re not hurting for money, as far as I know.

    • Bill_the_Bear 19:44 on 2011/10/20 Permalink

      @Marko…it’s NOT a hospital, it’s a construction site. The present hospitals which the MUHC is supposed to supplant, such as the Royal Vic, ARE hospitals NOW.

    • Domenico Cotugno 09:16 on 2011/10/21 Permalink

      In Marko’s defence, the “old” hospitals, such as the Royal Vic, are not going to get very much new funding with a new hospital supposedly “right around the corner”. The logic being “why renovate this old hospital when we will have a shiny new one soon enough”. The longer the construction of the new hospital takes, the more the service at the legacy hospitals will degrade…

    • paul 09:35 on 2011/10/21 Permalink

      I agree with Marco that this move certainly extinguished any sympathy I may have for the strikers.
      Regardless of both positions, they are elevating their personal dispute with an institution to disturb the general public. Slowing construction on this project costs the public time and money for a badly needed institution. This project is already extremely expensive, I don’t want that bill to grow due to an unrelated labour issue.

    • jeather 11:11 on 2011/10/21 Permalink

      Given that the strikers are not allowed to protest on McGill grounds, or make noise if they are protesting near McGill at all, what would you have them do? This strike is hurting everyone — except, presumably, the administration — but faculty are in general on the side of MUNACA, even though it puts a lot of research and funding at risk.

  • Kate 07:51 on 2011/10/20 Permalink | Reply  

    Not strictly a Montreal story, but it’s a major one here today: Quebec’s Davie Shipyard was stood up yesterday by the federal government in the award of major contracts for new vessels for the Royal Canadian Navy. Outfits in Halifax and Vancouver are getting the work.

     
    • Doobious 18:00 on 2011/10/20 Permalink

      Not very surprising when you consider that Davie’s been writhing around on its deathbed for the last 30 years or so.

  • Kate 07:49 on 2011/10/20 Permalink | Reply  

    A newly conceived wine-tasting fair will take place at the Palais de congrès at the end of the month. The SAQ used to hold a Salon des vins there, which I went to once or twice, but this is supposed to be rather more swish.

     
    • soundbyte 09:52 on 2011/10/20 Permalink

      The Salon des Vins is still held @ the Palais de congres, and will be again this year, October 27-29.

    • David M 12:37 on 2011/10/20 Permalink

      bless the saq. like having a state monopoly on booze and wine is an incredible irritation for the most part, but the organization does have a panache, a sense of mission and edifying tendencies that are difficult not to appreciate.

    • William 14:17 on 2011/10/20 Permalink

      I hate the SAQ and being nannied by it. I hate that if I work little late I miss out on taking home something decent to drink, and yet they fling their doors open at 9 am to sell mini-bottles of liquor to alcoholics who have somehow managed to scrap together enough quarters out of the gutter to buy them. It’s hypocrisy of the highest order and an insult to every Quebecer.

    • Kate 14:23 on 2011/10/20 Permalink

      You’ve just got to move closer to one of the late-night branches, @william! When I lived in the Plateau we had one that was open till 10.

      I don’t remember where I read this, but back in the 1990s the Klein government in Alberta abolished its equivalent of the SAQ, LCBO and other provincial liquor boards, in line with its belief in the virtues of the free market and all that. Apparently since then Alberta prices have risen relative to those in Quebec and Ontario. I suspect this is something to do with bulk buying keeping prices down but in any case it’s another little demonstration of the futility of economic theory.

    • Marc 14:54 on 2011/10/20 Permalink

      I’m no fan of the SAQ. The LCBO mops the floor with them in terms of product variety. They make much better use of the floor space. The SAQ has chosen to go all chic, at the expense of product selection. I don’t want a red carpet experience. I want lots of selection at decent prices.

      I went into a liquor store in Alberta last time I was there in ’09. The prices were slightly lower, but not bargain basement. Also, they had tons of stuff to choose from.

      Now if you want discount prices, go to New Hampshire. I bought two California wines there recently for $4/bottle. The SAQ also has them, for over $18 each.

      The SAQ has a lot to learn. Their business model is incredibly ineffiecient. But hey, when you have no competitors…

    • Michael 01:55 on 2011/10/21 Permalink

      A bit off the original topic now, but I wanted to say this: The entire time I lived in Montréal I complained about the SAQ (and also, apparently incorrectly, pronouncing it like “sack” in both English and French conversations). The prices seemed high, the hours sucked if you weren’t close to the 22h locations, and if you wanted anything the SAQ didn’t carry you had to go through a byzantine ordering process or were simply out of luck.

      Now that I’m back in the States, enjoying cheaper prices and a certain sense of freedom, I have to admit there are things I miss about the ol’ SAQ racket. For one, the cleanliness. Private competition hasn’t seemed to result in many fancy stores here, most of them looking like poorly lit lotto-ticket and potato-chip dispensaries that sell wine on the side. And second, even though the SAQ prices were generally higher, I had the comfort of knowing that every SAQ would have the same price. Here I never know if I’m getting a good deal or being ripped off.

      I still don’t understand why they don’t let deps sell SAQ wine, though.

    • Robert J 07:00 on 2011/10/21 Permalink

      I see advantages and disadvantages to the SAQ model:

      Advantages:

      1. Sorry LCBO, but the SAQ has the largest variety of wine importations in the world (got this stat from a sommelier conference, I’ll try and find a link to confirm). Go to a larger location like the one near the Atwater Market or on Beaubien street to get the good products, not express locations. (Btw, the LCBO does focus a little more on cheap new world wines, so students may be happier, but overall the quality of products at the SAQ is much better)

      2. The SAQ guarantees that small and remote communities get the same selection as Montreal. The private sector would not (supply and demand). The is especially important for the restaurant industry.

      Disadvantages:

      1. The liquor monopoly does drive prices up a bit but mostly the high prices in Canada are a result of taxes. I generally think vice taxes (cigarettes, alcohol, gambling) are a pretty foul form of taxation. The government benefits from “protecting” the population from addiction (hypocrisy). This is also an indirect way of taxing the poor, who are statistically more likely to have addiction problems and generally drink and smoke more (poor folks don’t have the time or energy to quit smoking). Teach us in school to drink, smoke, and gamble moderately and then let us live our lives how we chose.

      2. The liquor monopoly also concentrates all the quality products in one business (including wine). No deps, grocers or specialty stores have tried to sell high quality wines (deps and supermarkets mostly sell wine from one or two large private importers– selection and quality is very limited). Thankfully, the depanneurs seem to have kept the beer market pretty free (beer is expensive and selection not great at the SAQ– some deps have great microbrews and imports).

      Solution:

      1.Keep the SAQ open as a public company but get rid of its liquor monopoly. The SAQ should have a mandate to provide good selection to all Quebec communities regardless of size but private companies should have the right to try and undersell it and force it to compete. That way, the alcohol market would go pretty much unchanged in small towns but a high quality product market would be much more diverse in larger communities.

      2. Relax sales taxes on these products and generally deregulate the market (sell liquor all night for instance, there’s no good reason not to).

  • Kate 07:46 on 2011/10/20 Permalink | Reply  

    The Museum of Fine Arts has an accessibility problem – not in the sense of disabled access in this case, but in making the art more accessible to the masses.

     
    • jeather 08:54 on 2011/10/20 Permalink

      It could be that they are only open one evening a week, shortish hours on weekends, and that — this fall’s brief period of free admission excluded — their entrance fees are about twice as much as other local museums?

    • Matthew 11:25 on 2011/10/20 Permalink

      They have, however, made it quite affordable for the under 25 crowd (I believe it is only applicable to students but not 100% sure). A year-long VIP pass is $20.00. Includes free admission to everything for 365 days and deals at related institutions.

  • Kate 07:43 on 2011/10/20 Permalink | Reply  

    The Charbonneau commission will not have the power to subpoena witnesses, a lack that’s being criticized as making the inquiry too powerless, Pauline Marois calling it a vraie arnaque, une patente (possibly reawakening the discussion about what exactly a patente à gosse is).

     
  • Kate 07:33 on 2011/10/20 Permalink | Reply  

    Radio-Canada asks who the indignés are occupying Victoria Square, with video; Anne Lagacé Dowson has some thoughts in Hour. Media mentions are slowing down as the protesters dig in.

     
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