Updates from April, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 10:43 on 2012/04/02 Permalink | Reply  

    When Jean Drapeau instituted Canada’s first state lottery in 1968 he was honest enough to call it a voluntary tax. Then somehow this happened: the Supreme Court declared the lottery illegal, yet Quebec opened Loto-Quebec shortly afterwards and somehow that wasn’t illegal – or, if it is, it manages quite well anyway.

     
    • Raoul 13:30 on 2012/04/02 Permalink

      Having worked for couche tard several years, i’ve seen a lot of people burn *a lot* of money. Ive had family members of customers ask me not to sell to them. And when they started transferring me from one dep to the next, i noticed some of the chronic gamblers would spend all day driving from one dep to the next throughout the day.

      If there’s anything worse than hopelessness it’s false hope.

  • Kate 10:04 on 2012/04/02 Permalink | Reply  

    QA has TV animatrice Christiane Charette today talking about missed opportunities in the sense of eyesores we get used to and forget about. I’m so totally in agreement with her about the service station/fast food emporium at Park and Mont-Royal (I wrote about it, among others, five years ago on urbanphoto.net). She is right: we sort of stop noticing these flaws, we become numb to their ugliness.

     
    • Robert J 10:33 on 2012/04/02 Permalink

      How about the La Cité apartments, the Léo Parizeau building, and McGill residence. They demolished a few city blocks to build that.

    • Kate 13:06 on 2012/04/02 Permalink

      There are lots of unfortunate architectural choices but I think the point Charette was making is the inaesthetic elements that creep in without anyone really noticing.

    • Raoul 13:37 on 2012/04/02 Permalink

      In the 60′s and 70′s it was out with the old in with the new. But these days, old buildings are 30-40 years older than they were, and they become heritage sites, so at least not all is lost.

      If youre feeling really nostalgic though, check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEU9_e8Qd7U

    • Kate 14:00 on 2012/04/02 Permalink

      Oh yes – seen it, it’s very cool. Beautiful editing of both images and sound.

    • Raoul 14:09 on 2012/04/02 Permalink

      It certainly helps to visualize the transformation over the decades :-)

    • Robert H 20:30 on 2012/04/02 Permalink

      Merci Raoul, c’est la première fois que je l’ai vue et c’etait un plaisir. Un billet-doux du son et image pour Montréal

    • Raoul 07:21 on 2012/04/03 Permalink

      Pas de trouble :-) Sur le meme channel il y a aussi “a St-Henri le 5 Septembre” qui vaut la peine de voir :-)

    • qatzelok 12:41 on 2012/04/03 Permalink

      All of suburbia is an eyesore, and a missed opportunity. Even the service station on Mont-Royal/Parc has more charm and is more urban than all of Point Claire.

    • Kate 13:47 on 2012/04/03 Permalink

      qatzelok, that’s just silly. Pointe Claire village is all right, as is the area down by the church and the old windmill. Certainly nicer than a gas station.

  • Kate 09:08 on 2012/04/02 Permalink | Reply  

    Easy to live in Montreal in English says the Journal’s headline – but they hired a unilingual journalist from B.C. and brought her here expressly to cover this story. Since she had a job already, it makes her atypical. No journalist can really work here if they can’t speak to people in French.

    Meanwhile La Presse finds that new, unilingually anglo immigration commissioners sent here by the Harper government are ultra strict about refugee applications and may not understand documents in French.

     
    • Clément 09:18 on 2012/04/02 Permalink

      Great in-depth, high-quality journalism from the JDM, as usual. Take one single person, make her avoid the “look for a job” process, have her live in NDG and sip coffee in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue and then, based on her single experience, draw general conclusions about what it means to live in Montreal. Sigh.

    • Steve Quilliam 10:36 on 2012/04/02 Permalink

      So what if it’s true, that someone can easily live their life in Montreal in english. As long as it doesn’t get in my way or other people’s way, then what is the problem.

      Is our city big enough to allow that ? I would hope so. Montreal is a big city and a city that anything goes. I like my city to have different world. An anglo world, a french world, a gay world, a large student world, a hassidic world, a Westmount world, a chinese world etc… That’s what a big city is all about and there is something to be proud of in this. I don’t think it is possible to live only in french in any other north american city so why should we let go of our advantage to become like any other regular city ?

      I would like to hear that other people are able to manage very well in Montreal by speaking mainly in hindi, arab, chinese, spanish or greek, per example. This only shows the tolerance and opendness of montrealers. It shows our diversity and hopefully our strenght.

      Montreal isn’t a village but it appears that some people have a small village mind. But that’s ok, Montreal is big enough to include them as well and if they can live their entire life with that small village mind, then it’s fine with me, as long as it doesn’t get in my way.

    • jeather 11:14 on 2012/04/02 Permalink

      If you don’t need to look for a job, it’s not at all impossible to live here as a unilingual anglo. If you’re going to essentially vacation here for 7 weeks, as this journalist did, it’s very easy to do so unilingually.

    • Jack 16:18 on 2012/04/02 Permalink

      We just have to ride out this wave people ,it will soon be over and remember Montreal was never a monolithic French speaking city,”The Paradise Lost’ trope is not functional. When their was a change of empire in 1763 ,First Nation languages were very present on the island and off.By the 1830′s English was the majority language on the island, this changed 50 years later, yet English speaking Mayors were elected to the 1910′s and the city has been and is de-facto bilingual ever since.The fact that 3/4 of million Montrealers are English speakers,makes it really hard for us to hide.This wave of stories is constructed to create cohesion amongst French speakers who have been taught to fear the other by self serving elites.The ones who don’t fear live here and know that the predominance of the French language will not be impacted by this contrived politico-media tempete.

    • Robert H 19:58 on 2012/04/02 Permalink

      Steve, I like the idea of Montréal being a big city capable of containing contrasting, coexisting worlds, yet I think those worlds should all be able to communicate more with each other en français. Nevertheless I appreciate your point. Maybe this is another version of the Canadian salad bowl versus the American melting pot. Anyway, I think you display tolerance and a great generosity of spirit. This is not the first time a participant here has made me think again about my own assumptions. Lately Kate, Carrie, Clément, and Jack have all had some perceptive, thoughtful reactions to the latest wave of language squabbles. Jack, I agree that this is a wave that will crest and dissipate; think of it as one of those storms that for a half hour makes the world seem like all hell is breaking loose, then as quickly as it arrived the downpour stops and the fierce wind becomes a gentle breeze. C’est la vie de chez nous.

    • Kevin 06:57 on 2012/04/04 Permalink

      You never followed up part 2! The article buried on page 10 on Tuesday where the ‘journalist’ found it impossible to get a job anywhere in Montreal speaking only English.

  • Kate 08:46 on 2012/04/02 Permalink | Reply  

    The city’s soon going to launch an app to let people pay their parking from their iPhone. Providing they have one.

     
    • Clément 09:07 on 2012/04/02 Permalink

      I don’t get the justification for the 0.40$ fee per transaction (in addition to all other fees that may be charged by your credit card company, interac, cell phone, app store, etc)

      The article first mentions that SDM will save on costs to handle change and also on printer costs. Later, they say the 0.40$ fee will serve to pay for the development of the app.

      Shouldn’t the cost savings be sufficient to justify the development cost? Why charge a transaction fee in addition? Especially when the development cost is a one time fee while the transaction fee is a recurring one. Will they stop charging the fee when the development cost is absorbed?

      Does SDM really need to make more profits?

    • Kate 09:09 on 2012/04/02 Permalink

      You think they’d turn down the opportunity to rake off a little more revenue in return for people’s convenience?

    • Clément 09:12 on 2012/04/02 Permalink

      I know. It’s just that SDM is supposed to be a public service, not a greedy corporation.

    • David Tighe 12:35 on 2012/04/02 Permalink

      I notice that there is a growing tendency by the City not only to charge for everything but to seek pricing strategies to maximize what people have to spend. Take the Botanical Gardens. In most cities they are free. Here the cost has gone up to a whopping 20$ or so, minimum, since you are obliged to visit the greenhouses, whether or not you really wanted to. There is no way one can (if one is not a resident) simply take a stroll around the gardens. Then there are add-ons, Biodome and so forth which bring up the cost, especially for a family to levels that exclude all but the quite well-off. In fact, I would not be surprised if they are self-defeating and simply reduce visitors and revenues.

      Are not these municipal facilities for the benefit of all, not just the rich? Why not, if one must, simply look for some moderate degree of cost recovery, perhaps of operating costs to make them available to poorer families? Maybe a more progressive political party could propose accessibility of public facilties as a social objective? Or at least try to maximize visitors rather then income.

    • Mathieu 16:12 on 2012/04/02 Permalink

      It’s nice that they added electronic ways to pay, but why through an application and not a SMS/call-based service? Most people don’t have an iPhone (barely half have a smartphone and I would be surprised if all have internet access). STM took the same direction while it could have created a more simple system for all.

    • Spock 17:36 on 2012/04/02 Permalink

      Where is the Android or Windows Phone love? :(

    • Kate 01:07 on 2012/04/03 Permalink

      David Tighe: you’re so right about the Botanical Garden having become stupidly expensive. Now it’s a little tourist trap, it’s no longer meant for local people’s use at all. They’re not realizing that what this means is that in half a generation Montrealers will no longer feel attached to it and so won’t have any feelings about it if its funding is cut or some other damage to the gardens is planned.

    • David Tighe 10:31 on 2012/04/03 Permalink

      Concerning the Botanical Gardens excessive admission fees, I have sent them this letter. Perhaps others who feel strongly about the tendency to overcharge for public facilities could do the same thing:

      “I would like to say that I find your admission fees exorbitant. The Botanical Gardens should not be run with the objective of revenue maximization. Rather, they should seek to optimize the number of visitors while seeking a reasonable degee of cost recovery.
      I have visited many botanical gardens in other cities. Many are free, for example Sydney. Others apply very moderate charges.
      I suggest that charges should be revised at least to the extent of allowing people, whether Canadian or foreign, to simply visit the gardens at a nominal charge, especially families (family rates are at present grotesque)”

    • mare 11:33 on 2012/04/03 Permalink

      The SDM app is made by the same (Montreal) company that makes the parking system backend. That system is deployed in many other cities and I wouldn’t be surprised if the app was just “skinned” with the SDM logos. AFAIK They also have a web interface and a mobile phone wallet interface (where you can update your meter by calling a number and the parking fee will be added to your phone bill, very common in Europe and Asia), but neither of them is deployed in Montreal yet.

      The Bixi system is also made by the same company and they made a free iPhone app (Spotcycle) to find a nearby station and how much bikes/free spots it has.

      http://www.8d.com/?switchlang=en

    • Doobious 19:24 on 2012/04/04 Permalink

      I agree with the transaction fee being added on top in this case. What’s the average transaction for this system going to be $2? Try paying for your a pack of gum at the dep with Interac and see what kind of reaction you get. The vendor eats the fee, and for small transactions the fee negates the profit margin.

      The last time I was in a botanical garden was in Nassau, Bahamas, and admission cost all of $1.

  • Kate 08:39 on 2012/04/02 Permalink | Reply  

    Some outstanding detective work by the Gazette’s Linda Gyulai demonstrates that the paper trail from the 2005 aquatics fiasco meanders around, visits the sponsorship scandal, and points to the mayor’s brother. It’s an epic of shifting corporations and unaccountable loans and grants of public money.

     
  • Kate 08:10 on 2012/04/02 Permalink | Reply  

    The offices of the education ministry on Fullum were painted red during the night – police won’t blame the students, interestingly – and the strike continues with students getting more determined as Jean Charest continues to dig in his heels on the tuition issue.

    Sunday’s demo was a wonderful satire with many inventive placards to make a counterpoint.

     
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