Updates from April, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 16:41 on 2012/04/17 Permalink | Reply  

    Complaints about poor apartment conditions are adding to the city ombudsman’s to-do list and she’s pressuring the city to act more effectively on the problem. In other news about rentals, FRAPRU has been denouncing the end of federal subsidies for social housing.

    • Charles 17:26 on 2012/04/17 Permalink

      If landlords knowingly ignore a situation where people’s health are severely affected, shouldn’t criminal charges be brought against them? We’re talking about health and safety issue as important as food safety yet there seem to be plenty of food / restaurant inspectors. As far as I know, there’s no federal or provincial agency that cover housing quality issues like these… and the city shouldn’t have to do it by itself.

    • Kate 09:53 on 2012/04/18 Permalink

      They should, but clearly food safety is no longer considered important, and a lot of people are likely to believe that sensitivity to mold is one of those mostly imaginary modern conditions and not, you know, like dying of the plague. Tenants are at least partly expected to be able to move along if they don’t like a place, which leaves open the question that if you can only afford a mold-infested slum you’re likely to only be able to move to another one.

  • Kate 16:24 on 2012/04/17 Permalink | Reply  

    There’s probably some law against linking one of your own stories, but I’ve been filling in at OpenFile over the last two days and was asked, among other things, to investigate why the Parcodons, those decorated parking meter charity collection things, have vanished from city streets

    I’m also quite pleased with the art I did for the pieces on family names in Quebec. It’s based on signs found throughout the Massicotte archive.

    • Marc 17:55 on 2012/04/17 Permalink

      Artwork nicely done!

    • Kate 09:54 on 2012/04/18 Permalink

      Thank you!

    • William 12:14 on 2012/04/18 Permalink

      I link to my own stories ALL THE TIME

    • William 12:16 on 2012/04/18 Permalink

      And although I had noticed how lovely the art was for that story, I didn’t notice that you were the artist at the time! How lucky OpenFile is to have you!

    • Jonathan 19:22 on 2012/04/18 Permalink

      I think linking to your story must be ok… Alannah at Spacing does it in almost every post of hers. She also throws in many of her own accomplishments regarding the subject of her stories. A double back-rubbing perhaps?

    • Kate 19:48 on 2012/04/18 Permalink

      Too much Metafilter, where self-linking is a crime.

  • Kate 08:00 on 2012/04/17 Permalink | Reply  

    In the Journal, Émilie Dubreuil continues the series on Hasidic life, looking at arranged marriage and the rigid structure of family purity law and the tradition of not discussing one’s troubles outside the culture. Dubreuil’s colleague Richard Martineau is not happy with her tone, although there’s a big difference between seeking to understand the Hasidic way of life, and finding it “normal” as he charges.

    A commenter on this blog, below, alleges that Hasidic people are a drain on our society because neither the adult men nor the women work and thus they become “experts at receiving social assistance.” I do not think this is true but I have no facts handy to counter the allegation, although I’ll look into it.

    • David Tighe 08:25 on 2012/04/17 Permalink

      Martineau’s writing style is terrible. It is like a caricature of bad writing. His attitude is equally aberrant. There is nothing wrong with writing with sympathy about another way of living even if it seems pretty awful. She is as good a journalist as he is a poor one.

    • Jack 08:49 on 2012/04/17 Permalink

      Martineau is like a bad Zelig, when he wrote for Voir he was a hip,cosmopolitan,iconoclast.Now that he writes for PKP he is an anglophobe, corprotist,xenophobe just like his boss……who owns Sun News.Martineau sings for his supper, when I see him I think of that little monkey tied to the organ grinder. A truly pathetic writer and reactionary…….other than that he is a great guy.

    • Kate 08:49 on 2012/04/17 Permalink

      Yes, I was just thinking that. Back in his Voir days he seemed like a different guy.

    • Steve Quilliam 11:25 on 2012/04/17 Permalink

      We surely didn’t waste no time to bring up the word xenophobic, once again. And this time against two person, bravo !!! It usually takes 8 or 9 messages before such accusation pops up. But this time on the third message !

      It’s so easy to call names without even knowing people or trying to understand all the nuances of complex situations. It’s seems that every time someone doesn’t think like we do he is being labeled as an anti-something or racist or bigot etc., it’s very childish.

      Martineau isn’t xenophobic. He may have a problem with religious extremists, wether chistians, muslims or jewish, and he also has a problem with certain groups getting a free ride from the authorities. All of this doesn’t make him a xenophobic at all. You may not agree with him and in my case I don’t but there is nothing there that calls for such accusation. And as far as PKP, well, please…

    • Jack 11:50 on 2012/04/17 Permalink

      Steve, Martineau’s writing being used to understand nuanced and complex problems is the problem. He is incapable of a nuanced position,he writes to create cohesion amongst the target market for the media empire he dances for.I am calling him a xenophobe because he makes race and religion a central part of much of his “opinion” pieces. I have seen his writing devolve for the better part of two decades and I find it sad that he realizes that writing about other peoples religious beliefs,language or ethnicity in a spurious fashion sells. I don’t use those labels lightly. I sincerely believe they describe his writing choices.If you believe that Muslims,Hassidim and other ethnic minorities get a “free ride from the authorities”maybe we are not looking at the same definitions.

    • Rosco 21:18 on 2012/04/17 Permalink

      I don’t think you quoted me fairly. I said men don’t work full-time, because they need to study. There are Hasidic men running jewelry stores and depaneurs around Parc. Some women staff a children’s clothing store as well. In Brooklyn, there is the famed Satmar standby, B&H Photo, from which I have purchased several cameras. My landlords are a Satmar couple, and have been incredibly fair and honest with us for three years.. a lot more than I can say for my other proprieteurs!

      I know more about Hasidic life in the US or Israel than here, but I can tell you the Satmar community, which in itself is wealthy, has no problem using large amounts of social assistance, or leaving large portions of their community in (relative) poverty (see http://tinyurl.com/7tkhcy4 and http://tinyurl.com/7xelby4). In that way they’re no better than most other Americans.

      What I take issue with here is not them being a “drain” per se. I’ve been a drain. The students protesting downtown are a “drain”as well. But– we’re also an investment. I don’t believe the Hasidic community allows us to invest in their children or future.

  • Kate 07:14 on 2012/04/17 Permalink | Reply  

    The police anti-corruption squad has clapped the darbies on Tony Accurso as part of their ongoing investigation into Mascouche city hall affairs.

    • Sandra J. Frisby 16:34 on 2012/04/17 Permalink

      And where are the other 13 of the Fabulous 14? Chuckling and drinking gin on a Palm Springs golf course while Tony takes the rap for them all!

    • Kate 09:58 on 2012/04/18 Permalink

      Um, no. See Wednesday’s post above. The Gazette lists all the others arrested Tuesday. Accurso’s name came up first because he’s the most powerful person picked up and has also been mentioned in the media multiple times in recent years.

  • Kate 06:22 on 2012/04/17 Permalink | Reply  

    Excellent blog feature on the brutal brutalist architecture of Montreal.

    • Kevin 07:01 on 2012/04/17 Permalink

      ‘Modern’ architecture sucks.

    • Kate 07:07 on 2012/04/17 Permalink

      Not always. We have some good modern architecture – Place Ville-Marie, for example. But Place Bonaventure should be nuked from orbit, what a horrible bunker of concrete.

    • david 08:40 on 2012/04/17 Permalink

      The piece was looking specifically at examples of Brutalist architecture. PVM is an example of Modernist style. Saying you don’t like ‘Modern’ architecture is as silly as saying you don’t like ‘Modern’ music or literature or any other art.

    • qatzelok 09:35 on 2012/04/17 Permalink

      It’s a good thing Place Bonaventure didn’t kill anyone when its slabs started crumbling.
      Habitat 67 looks like it was built to last for a few summers. It has the same quality of exterior cladding as a few tree houses I built when I was seven years old. Kevin is correct. Modern architecture isn’t even architecture: it’s just vanity and plinths.

    • Mathieu 09:45 on 2012/04/17 Permalink

      Architecture is an art. Exploration is the mother of arts. Brutalism was a current followed by some to experiment with raw materials and monumentality and we can’t deny it has an effect on all minds. As all can see, this current has lived its life and architects moved to other subjects. It still played a great part in our history and, even if its effects are not viewed as positive by some, it still captures the mind.

      Even if it seems ugly to some, we can’t deny Bonaventure is impressive and unique. Much more interesting than 1250 R-Lévesque or 1000 de la Gauchetière!

    • Kevin 10:08 on 2012/04/17 Permalink

      I don’t like current pop/Top 40 music either if that matters.
      Give me any pre-1940 architecture (Art Deco or neo-gothic if possible) or some current eco-friendly stuff. Music with guitars, and some good hard sci-fi.

    • C_Erb 10:25 on 2012/04/17 Permalink

      I think it should be pointed out that the words “Brutalism” and “brutal” aren’t the same. While Brutalist architecture may seem “brutal” to some people, the name Brutalist comes from the French béton brut which is descriptive of the material used rather than its (brutal) aesthetic projection.

    • TC 10:30 on 2012/04/17 Permalink

      I worked in one of the most well-known examples of Brutalist architecture, Boston City Hall http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_City_Hall. What an awful building, poorly laid out, a grand staircase that went no where, most offices with no natural light. The offices on the lower floors did make you feel like you were in a bunker. Along the street it is several stories of a blank brick cliff, with the structure looming over the historic marketplace opposite. The other side faces an uninviting, vast plaza. Making the complex more humane has been a goal that has frustrated many initiatives, big and small, since it opened. It’s a nice spot if you’re the mayor, he has a great suite of offices, but it’s awful for everyone else.

    • Robert H 11:13 on 2012/04/17 Permalink

      Le Brutalisme je n’aime pas en général et je crois qu’il y en a trop à Montréal, mais j’avoue qu’il y a aussi du vrai dans ce que Mathieu dit. C’est un style qui peut réussir parfois comme dans le métro Verdun ou métro Bonaventure. Je trouve La Place Bonaventure plus supportable à l’intérieur que l’extérieur (un éloge faible, je sais). Ce n’est pas juste que le bâtiment est laid, mais que c’est tant énormément laid! Peut-être c’est pourquoi je préfère ce qu’on a fait à L’Hôtel Le Germain, un ancien immeuble de bureaux. Avec les améliorations nécessaire pour le rend un lieu d’hébergement attrayant, la relativement petite échelle le fait presque charmant. Je souhait que je pourrais dire le même d’un certaine édifice jumelée en plein cœur de la ville dans un quartier huppé à la rue Simpson pas loin du Musée des Beaux-Arts, le bâtiment le plus laid dans la métropole…vous savez de quoi j’en parle…ugh.

    • ant6n 12:10 on 2012/04/17 Permalink

      Architecture should be more craft than art. People have to live/work in those buildings, and they have to fit in their urban environments, and just generally, you know … work. Brutalism may be an interesting art form, but I’d say it’s terrible craft.

    • david 12:56 on 2012/04/17 Permalink

      Craft denotes hands-on making of something. Architects employ craftsmen but they are designers, not makers per se.

    • ant6n 14:20 on 2012/04/17 Permalink


    • david 16:02 on 2012/04/17 Permalink

      Sigh? Sorry if the intricacies of your argument eluded me.

    • ant6n 16:21 on 2012/04/17 Permalink

      Well, obviously architecture isn’t handicraft. I was referring to craft in the general sense, like a skilled professional who makes something.

    • Hamza 09:14 on 2012/04/18 Permalink

      everytime i see this bank in saint henri i smile like a giddy schoolgirl http://montreal.openfile.ca/files/files_montreal/imagecache/620×310/IMG_1649.jpg

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