Updates from January, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 22:55 on 2012/01/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Excellent video shot in all parts of Montreal: The man who lived on his bike.

  • Kate 21:57 on 2012/01/31 Permalink | Reply  

    After a Journal de Montréal reporter caught a number of driving schools handing over learning permits without giving any lessons at all, six schools were abruptly shut down by the SAAQ.

    • Ian 09:01 on 2012/02/01 Permalink

      Wow, remind me again to never read the comments on the CBC. I keep forgetting how racist and small-minded so many of the comments are.

    • Chris E 09:24 on 2012/02/01 Permalink

      The worst thing is that those are the ones that get through the moderators.

    • qatzelok 11:32 on 2012/02/01 Permalink

      The racism you see in media is due to the fact that a lot of high schools give out graduation certificates to people who aren’t really educated.

    • Jack 12:11 on 2012/02/01 Permalink

      No it’s because people don’t step up and call out people who expound these views, like newspapers, radio stations, TV stations , columnists and advertisers. Bouchard -Taylor was a result of a media campaign to create cohesion amongst the majority by attacking, fogged windows, no pork at cabane a sucre, segregated swimming pools etc.. qatzelok the next time your in a store take a hard look at Aunt Jemima syrup and Uncle Ben’s rice and then read Richard Martineau and listen to Dutriziac, and ask your self why TVA Nouvelles fired Melissa Francois for one mistake. Then you could blame high school for the ambient racism in our society,by the way the exact same dynamic would take place in Toronto with different actors.
      The Media is us.

    • qatzelok 22:18 on 2012/02/01 Permalink

      I wasn’t blaming high school. I was blaming a lack of education. And as you mentioned, commercial media has acted like an education-remover for the last century, manufacturing racism whenever there’s a buck to be made in a war somewhere.

  • Kate 21:17 on 2012/01/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Plans are afoot for a clinic for the homeless in Old Montreal, intended to look after both physical and mental issues.

  • Kate 21:09 on 2012/01/31 Permalink | Reply  

    A Quebec government study outlines the flight to the suburbs (PDF file via Andy Riga on Twitter). Footnote: suburbs can kill you.

    Later: Great piece on Spacing about suburbs, discussing studies that show people are most comfortable in the urban densities in which they grew up: “we need to continue densifying the suburbs because that is the only way we can make density more acceptable to the next generation.” A must-read.

  • Kate 20:27 on 2012/01/31 Permalink | Reply  

    One guy wants to pressure the Metro grocery chain to add an accent-aigu to make it more French, and Quebecor may soon be Québecor. Now that CIRA is going to allow accented characters on domain names we may see more accented names than ever.

    • Steph 21:08 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      “For example, the website for Quebec City would be accessible from both http://www.ville.quebec.qc.ca and http://www.ville.quebec.qc.ca” <<< I assume they meant one to read http://www.ville.québec.qc.ca

    • Jack 21:34 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      How old is Yves Michauld?

    • Kate 22:06 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      According to Wikipedia, Yves Michaud was born in 1930 so he’s 82. Photo here.

    • Marc 22:12 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      Well, I guess he needs a new hobby or something to occupy his time. I believe it was he who referred to English as a disease.

    • James 12:01 on 2012/02/01 Permalink

      What’s wrong with the hobby he has? Are we really going to be shocked day after day for people asking for Quebec to be french?

    • Jack 13:29 on 2012/02/01 Permalink

      James it is just the narcissism of the man and his accent-aigu. When Michauld owned a wine distribution company Pierre Foglia famously said,” When that man speaks of wine, I want to drink milk.”Quebecor falling into line tells an even more interesting story.

    • Robert J 13:57 on 2012/02/01 Permalink

      Its bizarre because both companies’ logos are all caps. In French typography accents are optional on capitalized letters. They are both francophone companies that have a largely francophone audience. So it does seem logical in a way that they would have accents. Then again, unaccented brand names are often used in French to give a kind of boldness to the name and to distinguish brands from objects (METRO from the métro, for example). We do the same thing in English with accents to give a kind of chic exotic allure to products.

      That said, those interested in defending the French language should focus on more important linguistic issues (of which there are no lack- the quality of French public schools, the level of literacy in francophone Quebec, the lack of francophone service in certain federal ministries…). Dotting the “i”s and crossing the “t”s makes what could be a valid debate look like pickiness and even intolerance.

    • Bert 18:13 on 2012/02/01 Permalink

      I am not sure that metro uses all caps, or any caps for that matter. I passed by one tonight, as I do most every night, and the logo looks lower case to me. The http://metro.ca/index.fr.html However, on real close inspection of the site, the page title has Merto, though I am unsure of the proper capitalization for a proper name (trademark, or whatever) that is written in all lower case, at the start of a sentence.

  • Kate 20:20 on 2012/01/31 Permalink | Reply  

    The STM confirms what people have been muttering: interruptions in metro service have been on an upswing. Half the problems are blamed on equipment breakdowns, half on passenger incidents.

  • Kate 14:20 on 2012/01/31 Permalink | Reply  

    It seems like a day for thinking about the relationship between the media and the public. For example, the Gazette is talking about how Huffington Post Quebec has lost several key contributors shortly before its launch. (The Gazette should be honest and admit it also tried to talk local bloggers into writing under its aegis for free.)

    Other media are fishing among the public for ideas, not that I mean to imply this is necessarily a bad thing. Reimagine CBC opens a forum – with all the appropriate social tentacles at the bottom – where you can throw in any ideas you have for the public broadcaster. Kai Nagata writes about this on his blog.

    Le Devoir is pondering how we will be living in 100 years’ time, inspired by a recent BBC feature doing the same, and asks people to write in with their visions.

    • Ian 09:15 on 2012/02/01 Permalink

      I think one of the main issues with the “reimagine the CBC” issue is that we can reimagine all we want but the conservatives want the CBC gone for more obvious political reasons. The conservatives want the CBC shut down because they think reporting the news without a bias towards the conservatives makes the CBC left wing. “The right-wing narrative of victimization”, if you will. Kai Nagata’s explanation of what’s wrong with Canadian news is worth a read. http://kainagata.com/2011/07/08/why-i-quit-my-job/

  • Kate 13:34 on 2012/01/31 Permalink | Reply  

    A Voir blogger slams the Journal de Montréal journalist who wrote the initial article about the Roi du Plateau being heavily fined for smoke from its grills, pointing out (as others have done, even on this blog) that it’s not the scent of woodsmoke or roasting chicken that’s at issue, but the same question of particulates in the air that has led the city to ban woodstoves generally.

  • Kate 12:30 on 2012/01/31 Permalink | Reply  

    I’m made suspicious by this news story claiming Canada has the best air quality now that it’s had in 40 years, partly because it’s the Journal, partly because the study is from the right-wing Fraser Institute, and partly because of the Harper government’s history of muzzling scientists, especially those working with environmental issues.

    • Jack 14:26 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      Another great day of managed “news” by our friends at the Journal, thanks PKP. Kate take a break from Journal reading it is seriously unhealthy.

    • Susana Machado 14:31 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      In my translation classes we need to read the french papers to look for certain linguistic problems. Le Journal is NOT on the list of authorized journalistic sources….

    • Shawn 23:01 on 2012/02/01 Permalink

      That’s odd because Le Journal is devoted to looking for “certain linguistic problems…”

  • Kate 12:26 on 2012/01/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Taras Grescoe profiles Luc Ferrandez in the Walrus; the Journal only sees fit to lambast him for not going to city council meetings.

    • Robert J 14:32 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      They say that Ferrandez claims that “Montreal streets can be as safe and clean as anywhere in Europe”.

      I like the guy, but where’s he been travelling in Europe? Modern sidewalks are a North American invention. In Paris, bike lanes aren’t half as wide as in Montreal, sidewalks are puny except on the boulevards, drivers are less aware of pedestrians than in Montreal, the streets reek of piss and garbage, there is little to no recycling, streets are generally unsafe after midnight in most neighborhoods, central neighborhoods are unaffordable and extra muras neighborhoods are even more unsafe, poorly served by mass transit, sealed off from the centre by car infrastructure… The same is true in every French city I have visited (including those with tramways). I would also point out that at least in France people are generally much more reserved and closed off in their use of public space (people stay home and don’t use balconies our yards unless there is a 10 foot wall blocking them from view of the public).

      When Americans and Europeans visit Montreal, one of the first things they say is “it’s so quiet and safe and clean here!”

      So anyway, traffic calming is good, and so is planting trees, advocating better mass transit, etc. But please let’s stop comparing Montreal to Europe. European cities are so, so different in the way they are built. Most North Americans frankly wouldn’t want to live in a lot of European cities, not because they prefer cars and concrete, but because life is just so different than in the new world.

    • Marc 15:33 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      King Ferrandez should visit Rome and he’ll see outright insurrection by everyone in their cars, bikes, Vespas, you name it. Total chaos.

    • Kate 17:23 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      I think the problem here may be too much generalizing about Europe. I was in the Netherlands over Christmas. Traffic, whether for motorists, pedestrians or cyclists, is better organized there.

    • Philippe 21:54 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      @Robert J: If you’re still in southern France (as your webpage indicates), I suggest you make a trip to Toulouse if you haven’t been yet. My wife and I spent a few days there 2 years ago while touring southern France and we both got a feeling Toulouse was more “in tune” with our North American sensibilities than the other, more touristy places we visited.

      Loved the south of the country, BTW. We landed in Marseilles and slowly made our way by car to Toulouse over a week and a half. Never felt unsafe, although the car culture — and especially the parking! — is certainly more chaotic over there.

      Also spent 3-4 days in Paris, and loved it. Did not not feel unsafe here either, and actually found the city very orderly after the south, but admittedly we never left the city center, and we had left the car back in Toulouse (took a TGV from Toulouse to Paris). One thing that struck us is how huge the historic Paris is. In most cities, you can cross the historic center of a city in a matter of hours, hitting a fair number of landmarks along the way. In Paris, that’s just impossible.

    • TC 23:40 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      Kate has a point, “Europe” is a continent, don’t generalize. When I was in Sweden with family for a wedding, we all marveled at how clean and efficient the place was. Even twenty years ago, the subways were on a published schedule, and they kept to it. Naples is another story. About five years ago my partner and I visited. He asked for my impressions, which were: arriving there by train was spectacular, views of the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius. Outside the station, chaos. One-story high piles of garbage. Never saw that before. The funicular to the top of the hill where we were staying was broken. This meant a climb of four hundred-plus steps, twice, every day, we were there – I counted. He is from Torino, and cannot stand the south. So it is a good idea to take ideas and experiences city by city. That’s why they are cities.

    • Steamboat Willie 14:40 on 2012/02/01 Permalink

      Whenever I read the name Taras Grescoe I get very hungry.

    • Robert J 16:50 on 2012/02/01 Permalink

      Lots of good points (I did generalize when I said Europe). I imagine Holland, Germany, and Scandinavia to be super well organised in terms of transit, automobile infrastructure, and the likes (haven’t been yet).

      France has a lot of decent infrastructure, but I wouldn’t call it pedestrian-friendly, clean, or green. I’ve been to very few cities in France with parks as beautiful as Mount Royal or Lafontaine, for example.

      Paris is very historical, but the quality of life there is really low. Compared to Montreal and New York (the 2 other large cities I have spent as much time in) I would say Paris comes last. The center is well-served by transit and other services. Most of extra muros Paris looks like the South Bronx (violent crime is rising all over Paris, especially outside the core, while it is lower than ever in most areas of New York).

      I’ve also noticed that in New York, you can always find good cheap deals even in relatively expensive neighborhoods (I’ve had 2-3$ pints in midtown at many different locations). In Paris, there isn’t this kind of mixed accessibility and variety. The center is hugely expensive and the suburbs are just mostly expensive. Roommates are hard to come by as apartments are just too small (this is a historical anomaly I think; very high density does not necessarily require almost exclusive construction of studio apartments, as NY demonstrates).

      @Philippe I’m still in Aix in the south, Toulouse is definitely on my short-list!

  • Kate 11:59 on 2012/01/31 Permalink | Reply  

    A group of disabled folks plan to embark on a lawsuit against the STM to demand better transit accessibiity. The STM promised a few years ago to retrofit its metro stations with elevators, but the process has bogged down in budget limits.

    Nobody at the STM wants to come out and say that if they made elevators a priority, it would mean pretty much stopping all other improvements to the STM for years, and there are too many able-bodied passengers demanding better service for them to get away with this.

    • walkerp 12:32 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      Given that it literally took them several years to repair the escalator in the Mont-Royal station, I’m not too surprised that they are having some difficulty with installing elevators.

      Seriously, what is the issue with escalators and the STM?

    • Robert J 14:15 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      I imagine escalators (especially down escalators) are pretty low on the list of priorities. They are badly underfunded and rely on tax-payers money, as is almost always the case with public transit. I would probably rather see the Anjou metro extension and the new rolling stock immediately than have any functioning escalators for that matter. Suffice to say there will always be compromises.

    • Kate 14:25 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      There has to be a balance. As someone said here recently, just try to climb out of Lucien l’Allier station via the stairs. Also I remember my mother having trouble with even fairly short staircases like the ones leading up from many station platforms – Villa-Maria, Sherbrooke and Beaubien come to mind but there are many that are designed so you’ve got to take stairs at some point. We need to make sure the system doesn’t exclude a growing number of people as the population gets older.

    • walkerp 14:46 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      It’s not that I care so much for the escalators in particular. I’m simply astounded at the length of time it took them to repair the escalator. The thing is, it wasn’t that they just shut it down. They seemed to be actively repairing it for several years. It was always in various stages of repair with workmen there for at least a year, if not two. Either do it and get it done or just close it down. I would love to see the budget and planning for those repairs.

    • Louis 16:44 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      Elevators are very convenient for parents with strollers, and indeed the only legal and safe way to get to the Metro, unless you get the kid out, fold the stroller and get down and up the stairs. Which is not a realistic option from my experience.

    • Michael 13:29 on 2012/02/01 Permalink

      I was very surprised upon moving here that so few stations were wheelchair-accessible.
      I know installing elevators isn’t a simple process, especially given how deep many of the stations are here, but I imagine anyone in a fauteuil roulant finds it hard to believe that the STM was voted the most “Outstanding Public Transportation System in North America.” If you have mobility issues and want to ride the train you can live near only what, 4 metro stations? Maybe that’s why Frère André and his healing powers is so venerated here…
      I could see escalators as a poor substitute, perhaps – but they never go all the way to or from the platform!

    • Chris 09:20 on 2012/02/02 Permalink

      Elevators are also great for getting one’s bike to/from the platform.

  • Kate 11:51 on 2012/01/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Quel Avenir winds up his thoughts on the kerfuffle over the new city DG, pointing out that city opposition didn’t kick at paying the previous guy the big money because he came from the private sector, but the new guy is a career city employee and they seem to think he should work for less.

  • Kate 11:46 on 2012/01/31 Permalink | Reply  

    The Plateau is struggling to keep its trees alive; meantime more green is to be added to Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. “On est pas là pour embêter les voitures […], mais je mentirais en disant qu’un quartier vert est pensé pour accueillir plus de voitures,” says the borough mayor, trying hard to keep everyone happy.

    • William 12:20 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      I had a very interesting exchange with Alex Norris, Projet Montreal Coucillior for Mile End on my Facebook wall about this article: http://www.facebook.com/wraillantclark/posts/172922719476927?ref=notif&notif_t=share_comment

    • walkerp 12:37 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      I don’t understand the law about not replanting trees in sidewalks that don’t meet a minimum width requirement. Who cares? If there was a tree there before, it means there is a space to plant it so why not just put a new one in?

      I do believe the borough has been making an effort to replant, but I also think their tree technicians are way too quick to condemn a tree. I’ve seen some cut down on my block that had solid, healthy cores (I’ve also seen ones that looked really healthy but were basically hollow inside). It’s the fear of property damage and liability.

    • Kate 13:16 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      William, that exchange seems mostly to be about garbage control.

      walkerp, I totally agree with you about the sidewalk width thing – it sounds like one of those arbitrary bureaucratic limits that isn’t applied with good sense. Also about the liability issue.

    • William 14:06 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      It’s about people dumping garbage in tree boxes and the borough’s unwillingness to do anything about it.

    • Robert J 14:37 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      Man, there are bigger fish to fry that garbage in tree boxes. Go to any American city and check out its tree boxes and I’m sure you’ll be more grateful for the exceptional focus Projet puts on gardening in the Plateau.

    • William 15:11 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      It’s contradictory to say that there’s an appropriate emphasis on gardening but that garbage in tree boxes doesn’t matter. I think that it’s wonderful that some parts of the Plateau and the city have been treated to beautification, but I would like to see basic sanitation applied evenly across the island. I don’t really care for lowest common denominator comparisons – I think we should strive for excellence, not a race towards the bottom.

    • Steamboat Willie 14:42 on 2012/02/01 Permalink

      How many time a year does Alex Norris freak out about something? He’s quite entertaining if nothing else.

    • Chris 09:48 on 2012/02/02 Permalink

      This is but a symptom of a larger more general problem: too much public space is dedicated to the automobile.

      The average Plateau street has small sidewalks yet has 3 lanes for cars (2 parking, 1 moving). The car space is never obstructed, but the sidewalk has trees, garbage cans, hydro poles, parking meters, fire hydrants, bike parking, benches, lampposts, etc.

      God forbid we loose a parking space for a single tree on an entire block.

  • Kate 11:36 on 2012/01/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Interesting story about a court case to be heard against a Montreal man who took some photos during the G20 protests in Toronto in 2010.

    • Tux 13:23 on 2012/01/31 Permalink

      When cops think nothing of illegal detainment, destruction of evidence, and false accusations, we have a serious problem that won’t be solved by any kind of ‘review board’ or ‘inquiry’. We need the unassailable right to film/photograph police who are doing their duties in public, and we need it now. They need to know that we are watching, and just as important they need to know that there is nothing they can do about it. The amount of film that has surfaced in the last few years of cops doing violence to people who were just minding their own business and/or not resisting is truly shocking. The advent of cel phones and digital cameras has brought a serious problem to light – one the cops would rather not address. I say, let’s drag these roaches kicking and screaming into the light and force them to face the justice they have for so long denied to others.

    • Kate 16:21 on 2012/02/01 Permalink

      Bravo, Tux.

  • Kate 09:36 on 2012/01/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Environmental architecture site looks at the sustainable development centre on Ste-Catherine and its features. (OK, the centre’s site is here but it’s the most irritating flash toy site I’ve seen for a serious venture in a long time.)

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