Updates from February, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 21:25 on 2012/02/15 Permalink | Reply  

    After much hoo-ha, the name of Gordon Ramsay is being peeled off the Laurier BBQ sign after an apparently unsatisfactory commercial relationship.

    • dewolf 21:57 on 2012/02/15 Permalink

      Shocking! Who could have seen that coming??

    • Shawn 16:03 on 2012/02/16 Permalink

      Still, it seems to be an odd move by Lavy. The Ramsay brand gives him recognition. Or maybe it’s outlived its usefulness. I suppose there’s some annual fee that Laurier would have to pay for the association with him?

    • Kate 21:14 on 2012/02/17 Permalink

      Article says Lavy expected Ramsay to put up some money for the business but he didn’t, so he was paid as a consultant.

  • Kate 21:24 on 2012/02/15 Permalink | Reply  

    Journalistic sources remain in the news as a Tony Accurso joint tries to unmask a source used by Alain Gravel for Radio-Canada’s Enquête.

  • Kate 20:57 on 2012/02/15 Permalink | Reply  

    Excellent brief essay on those diplomatic pandas (related link: Liu Xiaobo).

  • Kate 20:11 on 2012/02/15 Permalink | Reply  

    The rebuilding of the Pie-IX/Henri-Bourassa intersection – necessary because the present overpass arrangement is crumbling – will suddenly cost $20 million more than originally planned. Work is to start this April (see that Journal piece for a photo of the decrepit concrete inside the underpass).

  • Kate 20:08 on 2012/02/15 Permalink | Reply  

    One for the “can’t keep everybody happy” file: Some people are annoyed about hearing so many sirens because firefighters have been acting as first responders since 2009. But part of the point is that these guys know how to move fast and people get out of their way in traffic, so whatcha gonna do?

    • paul 10:36 on 2012/02/16 Permalink

      I certainly see a lot of problems with the management of emergency services in Montreal, but I have always been pleasantly surprised at their consideration when using sirens.

      In Montreal, emergency vehicles don’t typically use their sirens unless they are approaching a red light or stuck in traffic – keeping noise pollution to a minimum. In most other cities I have lived, emergency vehicles keep their sirens on continuously – an irritating practice (especially at night).

    • Kate 10:56 on 2012/02/16 Permalink

      Yes. Also, I’ve now happened to see two interventions by the first responder guys and am impressed by their efficiency. They’re on the spot well before Urgences-Santé shows up.

    • j2 12:20 on 2012/02/16 Permalink

      Wait, firetrucks get there first because people get out of the way? How about you ticket each and every car that doesn’t get out of the way of emergency vehicles. Use a dash camera so it doesn’t affect response times. I have no sympathy for drivers that inhibit safety for the sake of their convenience.

    • Kate 12:52 on 2012/02/16 Permalink

      Actually, I don’t know for sure why they get there first – it also may have to do with how they’re distributed throughout the city – but they sure know how to cut through traffic. When you’ve got a big red truck on your ass and it’s doing that HONK HONK thing, you get the hell out of the way.

  • Kate 17:45 on 2012/02/15 Permalink | Reply  

    After flirting with fiasco over the BCIA affair, the city has turned back to its own blue-collar workers to provide security for its police buildings.

  • Kate 17:36 on 2012/02/15 Permalink | Reply  

    I tend to agree with this local historian who says Richmond Street in the Point should not have had its name changed.

    Here’s a chronic mistake English news writers have been making: “The borough says it justifies the name change for security reasons.” That’s careless translation from French, where “sécurité” in this sense is better translated as “safety” in English: they didn’t want possible confusion from the duplication of addresses on different parts of Richmond, which could be dangerous for fire or ambulance calls.

    In English, though, “security” has developed a more specialized meaning, and writing “for security reasons” implies you’re afraid spies or terrorists might take advantage of a situation.

    • Singlestar 22:11 on 2012/02/15 Permalink

      Gazette running letter saying that the name is not gone after all – only one part changed.


      Re: “A historic street name, gone” (Opinion, Feb. 14).

      The city would like to add valuable information that could certainly help clarify the situation regarding Richmond St.

      The name change of a section of Richmond south of the Lachine Canal was made at the request of Canada Post because of a problem with street addresses. Identical civic numbers on both sides of the canal caused mail-delivery confusion. This situation also caused difficulties for emergency services.

      To remedy the problem, the south section of Richmond St. in Point St. Charles was renamed Rue de la Sucrerie in reference to the former Redpath sugar refinery, which employed many local residents from 1854 to 1979. The north section of Richmond, the oldest, retains its name.

      Montreal is in favour of preserving the city’s historic toponymy. It does not make name changes except under exceptional circumstances – for example, when finding a location quickly and safely is a problem.

      Philippe Rousseau

      Division des affaires publiques

      City of Montreal

      Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/Letter+Richmond+name/6158771/story.html#ixzz1mVitGPH1

    • Kate 11:29 on 2012/02/16 Permalink

      My only defense here is that my mom grew up close to the section that was changed, so although I’ve never lived in the Point her stories featuring Centre, Shearer and Richmond street were part of my childhood. Sucrerie indeed.

  • Kate 15:27 on 2012/02/15 Permalink | Reply  

    Montreal is celebrating the 400th birthday of Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve this Wednesday. His birthplace, Neuville-sur-Vannes, is a small village not far from Troyes, but it recognizes its relationship to us with street names like rue des Laurentides, rue du Mont-Royal and rue Ville-Marie.

  • Kate 09:42 on 2012/02/15 Permalink | Reply  

    As the season of hockey suspense builds, the team recalls Ryan White from the Bulldogs; analysis of the team’s coaching problems; an interview with Rene Bourque, who became a Hab pretty suddenly mid-season.

  • Kate 09:40 on 2012/02/15 Permalink | Reply  

    The 30th annual Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois opens Wednesday evening.

    Later: also pieces in Mirror, Voir, Hour.

  • Kate 09:25 on 2012/02/15 Permalink | Reply  

    Interview with the head of the Montreal chamber of commerce is revealing – he’s an optimist, but it’s build bridges, build the Turcot, turn Notre-Dame East into an autoroute, and to hell with borough initiatives to calm traffic if that gets in the way of Progress, 1950s-style.

  • Kate 09:21 on 2012/02/15 Permalink | Reply  

    University students are building up to a major strike over tuition increases. Rima Elkouri anticipates the arguments in favour of tuition increases and makes a case against them.

    Seriously though, has any country (or province or state) ever suffered from making higher education more accessible? Does Jean Charest need the increased tuition money, or does he see a need for a less critical, more docile Quebec workforce in coming years, a return to the placid years of sawing wood and drawing water?

    • Joey 09:50 on 2012/02/15 Permalink

      Kate, the vast majority of academic research on the subject is conclusive about the very small impact tuition has on access to higher education. Meanwhile, the veyr large tuition subsidies provided by the people of Quebec overwhelmingly flow to the children of wealthy, highly educated citizens. The model proposed by the government (higher, though not excessive, tuition for the upper and middle income families, large grants for lower-middle and lower-income families) is probably the fairest, most effective policy course. And to the extent that tutiion subsidies amount to little more than a windfall gain for the wealthy, yes countries do suffer from pursuing such a policy approach.

    • James 10:00 on 2012/02/15 Permalink

      I don’t understand. If tuition is paid completely/mostly through taxes (ie: how it is now, or if there were no fees whatsoever), it is the most fair, since the tax system makes rich people pay more. How is that a subsidy for the rich? We all pay for schools through taxes, and the rich pay more taxes.

    • Mathieu 10:44 on 2012/02/15 Permalink

      Exactly what I was going to say. The rich might use the service more, but they pay more. Vastly more as we keep repeating everywhere that so much people in Quebec don’t pay taxes as they are too poor. Fees in addition to the taxes paid are only there to discourage people from abusing the service. And frankly, it’s not a problem we have.

    • Joey 11:27 on 2012/02/15 Permalink

      The challenge has do to with higher education economics. Basically, higher ed has a cost problem – not just here, globally. The cost of providing post-secondary education rises faster than inflation and faster (generally) than university and college revenue. The options are fairly simple: force institutions to do more with less (leaving them to cut where they can – e.g., financial aid, library acquisitions, etc., and *not* faculty salaries, which make up about 3/4 of all expenditures); raise government operating grants; raise tuition.

      Because tuition has been frozen, not even adjusted for inflation, since 1994, the M.O. has been to raise gov’t grants. But the gov’t is basically broke – we need major infrastructure projects taken care of and health care is eating away every last public dollar (and will do so as the population continues to age). Meanwhile, students pay a diminishing share of the cost of institutions – about 12% – and vastly less than they did in the 1960s, after accounting for inflation.

      Raising fees, along with raising student aid (the QC gov’t has decided, pace Rima Elkouri’s article, to cover the entire tuition increase for low-income student aid recipients with an increase to their non-repayable bursary and to expand access to their program for middle-income students), is effective because it allows new money to help cover the substantial increases in expenditures, and it’s equitable because it means the beneficiaries of higher education pay for some of the increasing costs – not in twenty years through taxes, but right now, when the money is needed.

      It also happens to be the policy course that *avoids* providing windfall gains for the rich – which is supposed to be a progressive value. Moreover, as the research on access concludes, the tuition increases are extremely unlikely to affect enrolment and participation patterns, especially once the student aid measures kick in.

    • James 11:46 on 2012/02/15 Permalink

      @Joey you haven’t answered my question. You expanded your viewpoint, but haven’t answered why this is any better than taxes. If you want to argue that fees are better than taxes, then argue it (and I will respectfully disagree, at least in this case). However you need to address why a complicated system of different fees and bursaries, combined with higher tuition, is better than taxes/higher taxes.

      And if education is condemned to rise faster than inflation, does this mean we will be charging fees at a rate increasing faster than inflation as well? A lot of your argument doesn’t reflect on the debate over taxes VS fees, as far as I can tell. Which, I would add, is only one component of why no/low tuition is good for society.

    • JaneyB 12:21 on 2012/02/15 Permalink

      Higher ed costs are rising because universities and colleges are constantly hiring administrators at high salaries – but not junior professors at reasonable salaries. You can see this in their job pages. Countless ads for non-jobs that pay 80K or more. Look at any institution in N.Am. Yet many Phds, including me, would happily teach in their field full-time for 40K. They simply will not hire more permanent profs, even at modest salaries.
      There’s an additional Quebec-version of this problem: a shipper-receiver (high school grad) at Champlain Cegep makes about 18$/hr while a prof with an MA makes about 20$/hr and has less job security. Really. That’s not gobs of bucks for either – but it says a lot about the priorities of the institution.
      And more…UQAM and Concordia, in particular, have a lot of nerve to raise tuition given their massive messes with the Ilot Voyageur project and presidential pay-outs. All the senior admins involved in those fiascos should be fired. Clearly they don’t understand the value of the money they receive from the students and taxpayers. And still they ask for more!

    • Joey 12:37 on 2012/02/15 Permalink

      Fundamentally, the benefits of higher education accrue to society as a whole and to the individuals who complete a course of study. This is why, all over the world, the model of funding higher education is one of cost-sharing. Society, via taxes, contributes a share, as it’s in its interests to encourage an educated population. The student, via tuition, contributes its share, chiefly since it’s in his or her interests to get an education and earn more than otherwise in the labour market. The cost-share model in Quebec is about 88% government/12% student. In Ontario, it’s more like 50-50. What’s a fair share? How much of the benefit that comes with post-secondary education is received by the individual graduate? How much by society? Answer those questions and you’ll have your answer about the appropriate cost-sharing formula. It’s not that fees are better than taxes. It’s that the split should be fair, given the context, which consists of government’s ability to pay (you think we can raise taxes?) and the student’s ability to pay. It is highly likely that almost all students can pay more without suffering a major setback (i.e., they have to drop out), especially considering financial aid. Do we want to devote more or less of public resources toward supporting the education of, by and large, the wealthy? That’s the practical issue, plain and simple.

    • Kevin 12:38 on 2012/02/15 Permalink

      Given Quebec has one of the lowest participation rates in higher education in the country, I think any argument that low tuition = more access is hogwash.

      The fact is people who value higher education get a higher education — no matter the cost.

      Quebecers, for whatever reason, don’t seem to value education. So we might as well stop subsidizing the rich people (who do make sure their kids get a minimum of a BA) and implement reasonable tuition fees.

    • James 12:48 on 2012/02/15 Permalink

      I don’t think you can reduce this argument to who-benefits, and just give percentages based on that. Accessibility is one issue. Universality is another issue. Even efficiency is another issue (it’s not free to manage all these fees/bursary programs). Education being a right is another issue. Once rich people start paying more for everything, they have less of an interest in maintaining these public goods, since they might as well go to the private sector for the good. And the fact that it’s a bit degrading for a poor person to have to prove how poor he is every time s/he asks for a service from the government.

      Also, if we go down your route, why not have sliding scale fees for health care? For drivers licences? Aren’t we “subsidizing the rich” by keeping these free/low cost? There’s serious problems (see first paragraph) with operating all of these things in such a way.

      And to the impossibility of taxes being increased, please see extremely low corporate taxes and droits minières.

    • ant6n 13:14 on 2012/02/15 Permalink

      “it’s not free to manage all these fees/bursary programs”
      – even with no tuition, you have to give out bursaries to students to provide universal accessibility. At the current rate, the cost of living for a student is much higher than tuition.

      “It’s that the split should be fair, given the context, which consists of government’s ability to pay (you think we can raise taxes?) and the student’s ability to pay.”
      – what about the generational fairness? Until a couple of years ago, universities were very affordable, and a lot of people could benefit from that. What’s the rationale or fairness in making it harder and harder for students to afford their education, when people just a couple years earlier basically got their education for free?

      another note: if education is paid through taxes, and taxes are higher for rich people, and people are rich because of better education, they may end up paying for their studies indirectly, as James points out. But also, if your education does not result in high income, you don’t have to pay as much of it – effectively people will pay back for their studies during their lives, relative to how much money they were able to extract out of their education. People would pay different amounts of tuition via their taxes, based on how much money they make.

    • Kevin 13:25 on 2012/02/15 Permalink

      “Until a couple of years ago, universities were very affordable”

      C’mon, tuition is barely higher now than when I went to school in the ’90s. And my first job after getting my degree paid a whopping $8.15 an hour — minus my union dues — so in effect, tuition now is CHEAPER than it was 20 years ago.

      It’s my hope that by hiking tuition rates, and emphasizing the long-term monetary benefit of getting a degree, that more Quebecers will be encouraged to stay in school.

    • Robert J 16:03 on 2012/02/15 Permalink

      Loans and bursuries create accessibility, not low tuition rates. Good students go for free, regardless of income, and mediocre students take out loans. Pretty much every major study suggests that even a Philosophy degree gives you much more income over the course of your life than a high school or CEGEP diploma, so though its unfortunate that some people have to take loans while some have parents who can afford tuition, its a better compromise.

      The bottom line is that in Quebec, the culture of post-secondary education is associated with upper-middle and wealthy classes, much more than in Ontario, even though tuition is lower and people are generally poorer. Attendance is lower, especially in the working/middle classes. Lowering tuition more won’t solve this issue, which is essentially historical and cultural.

      Providing real options for poor people (i.e. work hard and we’ll give you a grant, or, we’ll give you good debt at low interest rates that you can pay off at a very reasonable rate) will make higher education seem like more of an option.

      In 6 years of college every single striking student I’ve ever met was upper-middle class. There were a small handful of middle-class students (always a tiny minority) who weren’t eligible for grants or loans because the cutoff is too low. They worked to pay rent and tuition and often didn’t succeed in their studies. To raise the cutoff we need to raise the base rate, and raising the cutoff for bursaries is the key to getting middle class students in school.

    • Joey 18:24 on 2012/02/15 Permalink

      What Robert J describes is precisely what the QC gov’t is doing, yet journalists like Elkouri dismiss it with the rhetorical wave of a hand.

    • Joey 12:47 on 2012/02/16 Permalink

      Here’s why universities are screwed, moneywise: http://business.financialpost.com/2012/02/14/the-pension-crunch-coming-at-canadian-universities/

      The pension liabilities per full-time-equivalent student are near (or might even exceed) operating revenue per-FTE.

    • Josh 17:33 on 2012/02/16 Permalink

      “Seriously though, has any country (or province or state) ever suffered from making higher education more accessible?”

      That’s an interesting way to frame the issue. Another way to frame it might be, “The way entitlement programs are working out for Europe these days, perhaps we should reconsider how ours are run.”

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