Updates from May, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 22:53 on 2012/05/31 Permalink | Reply  

    The 38th night demo was held peacefully by people well aware that talks between the student reps and the government have fizzled.

    • Hamza 02:10 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      kevin n bill won’t be swayed by thought reason or recent history. For all their cyclical rhetoric and relative lack of spelling mistakes, they are big proponents of loi 78 , of jean charest’s conduct in this crisis, of the damaging policy of austerity, of backing an inept government over a movement that has done nothing but demonstrated competence, organisation and political imagination time and again.

      I respect you guys for sticking out so long on a page where the majority disagrees with you but this is not an issue that conservative talking points can deal with.

      The whole ideology is bent towards scoring points with the quaffle while the rest of us are busy trying to catch the snitch.

    • Hamza 02:10 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      D’oh. This shouldve been posted below.

    • Kate 09:20 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      Hamza, I adore that Quidditch metaphor.

    • Hamza 12:51 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      Shows how much of a sports fan I am.

    • Kevin 13:56 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      It’s adorable you think I’m conservative. If you go back to last summer you’ll see plenty of my comments criticizing the arena funding plan because we can’t afford it, and it’s a direct subsidy to rich investors.

      It’s not like I’m a fan of Charest and his Liberals. They’re inept, they throw their supporters under the bus, and for every two steps they take forward on any issue they take one back. They just happen to be slightly better at all this than their political opponents who act with real malice toward people who live in this province.

      It’s just that on this issue the student leaders have been completely, totally irresponsible.

      They didn’t just ignore opportunities to talk, they marched into offices and smashed things.
      They refused to denounce violence — in fact several times influential figures within the movement, including student reps, have said that destruction of property should not be considered violent. That is a repugnant attitude.

      The violations of the right to assembly in this emergency, time-limited legislation that so many people denounce are actually much less stringent than the *normal* laws in other places I have lived. Want to protest in NYC? 5 days’ notice. France? You need to tell police weeks in advance.
      I have to say I am very glad with the (unintended) side effect of Bill 78 — it put an end to the violent cat and mouse game between casseurs and cops.

      If Charest had proposed hiking tuition to $10,000 a year I’d have been as pissed off as anyone. But he proposed making the total cost of tuition just under $4,000 a year which is an affordable amount to invest in your own future.

      Damaging policy of austerity? If being asked to pay an extra $6,000 over the course of 3 years once the full hike is in effect is too steep, what do you say to paying an average of $6,000 extra in taxes every year compared to other provinces?

      I admire people who want to change society, but I think, regrettably, that the past four months have *not* convinced most people to talk. The tactics used — by all sides — have caused most people to cement their point of views and view everyone who opposes them as the enemy.

      Which you seem to think about me, all because I think $4k a year is not too much to pay for an education.

      PS Quidditch has the dumbest scoring rules ever ;)

    • Hamza 14:27 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      Kind of funny i would have to go back to last summer to find evidence of you not being a conservative. I don’t doubt you tho.

      The thing about bill 78 that no-one is talking about is how the spvm has been defying the provincial government in enforcing it. I’ll just leave that point hanging here.

      Violence against property is not violence but property damage. It’s far more repugnant morally to feint offense at property damage – nearly all of which is well-insured – when violence against human beings is being perpetrated on a daily basis. It feels like it’s been forever that I’ve been trying to impress this point.

      Anyway, as i said, it’s a red herring to talk about other places or property damage or what couldashoulda happened last year. Yr Charest will go away soon enough.

      Oh n btw, tuition was 500$ until 1990. When did you graduate from school?

    • Bill Binns 20:42 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      @Hamza – I talk about the student boycott here because this is the only place I can find people who speak english who do not agree with me on this subject.

      Hell, even Taylor Noakes (whose political leanings seem to be just to the left of Che Guevara) had this to say about blocking students from attending school:

      “No more blocking access to class. This is reprehensible. If you want broad support, you won’t get it by bullying people into taking sides. That’s not what democracy looks like. That’s a dictatorship of thugs and we’re better than that. Protesting should take place outside university and CEGEP buildings with respect to those who disagree. They have as much a right not to participate as you do to protest.”

      Kevin and I may represent the lunatic fringe here in the tiny communtiy of commenters on this blog but our opinions are far more popular in the general population.

    • Kevin 00:44 on 2012/06/02 Permalink

      I reference last summer because it’s an obvious fiscal issue. Name something else that has cropped up as an issue over the last year with a supposed left-right split.

      As for school I did my BA from 93 to 96.
      No scholarships or bursaries, no cash from parents, moved out halfway through first year (because the commute was killing me. Classes from 8 am until 10 pm will do that)
      Needless to say I worked about 20-24 hrs a week while school was in session.

      Violence is easily avoided: If someone in your crowd throws Anything in a cop’s general direction, grab the fool and sit on him.
      Cops are stupid jerks legally empowered to smack the shit out of people, but they aren’t going to attack peaceful protesters. They will arrest them and drag them off, but that isn’t any more violent than forcefully blocking people from getting to where they want to go.

    • Kevin 09:41 on 2012/06/02 Permalink

      Just came back from breakfast and overheard some real conservatives in the seats beside me.

      Eight people around a table nodding in agreement when someone said the the student dispute be resolved “the old fashioned union way, with baseball bats. And if that doesn’t work, bring in the army to kill ’em.”

      This is an attitude I have been hearing a lot of over the past three months, from all walks of life.

      So when you call *me* a conservative, I have to chuckle.

  • Kate 22:29 on 2012/05/31 Permalink | Reply  

    La Presse has located some video of Luka Rocco Magnotta auditioning for a reality show and CTV has a small clip of it; Metro has an analysis of Magnotta’s narcissistic personality; the Journal has a version of another paper’s interview with a family member; TVA says Magnotta has already faced some charges of fraud and sexual aggression in Toronto; observations on what it’s like for a journalist to report on a story like this one.

    Magnotta is said to have fled to Paris after the murder and the French police are now trying to track him down.

  • Kate 16:42 on 2012/05/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Talks between student reps and the government are at an impasse and calls have been made for a big general demo Saturday at 2 pm (this last from Twitter).

    (Incidentally, when I’m away from the blog I sometimes retweet news when it’s not practical for me to make a post. So those of you following my twitter feed may see things before I post about them – sorry if it’s repetitive.)

    Meanwhile, Michelle Courchesne is also fielding tricky questions about her administration of a sports money fund.

    • ant6n 16:59 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      I don’t like how the government always tries to spin students as unwilling to compromise – basically they offer a reduction of 100$ on the total increases, and if the students don’t take it, students are being unreasonable. On the other hand, the government basically is not ready to invest any more money in education; all the offers basically amount to shifting around money that is budgeted towards students anyway. How can they claim they are acting in good faith, if the only thing they offer is shifting the debt burden from one student to another, or from one student, to the same.

    • ant6n 17:13 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      And the CBC again has people talking about Charest, and whether he has no spine, and whether he has made too many concessions (wtf?)

    • Kevin 17:33 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      The Liberals are dickering over the price of a taxi fare, while students are discussing the grand nature of the car in society.

      Sorry students, the time to have that debate was in 2010.
      They are free to exercise their freedom of choice to get an education somewhere else, and to support another party in an election campaign.

    • ant6n 18:26 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Quebecers and their parents pay their taxes here, why should they pay for international tuition elsewhere on top of that?

    • Ephraim 19:16 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      The easiest way to prove that talks are open and honest…. let the press in.

      Maybe it’s time to discuss government getting out of the education tuition setting business. In fact, considering how badly run the whole system is, from the school boards and up, maybe we should just hand over the money per student and let them set their own tuition rates.

    • Ian 19:32 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      That’s true, Kevin, that the students are free to leave, but if you have such a big problem with the way Quebec works, you can leave, too. Students are exercising their democratic and legal rights. The time for political debate is always right now. Also, your metaphor is weak; it implies the government is so caught up in specifics it can’t see the big picture: well done.

    • ant6n 19:47 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Because the press has been soo honest covering this issue.

    • Ephraim 20:15 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Because the students have been so honest as well….

    • Kevin 20:36 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      No darling, we discuss overall policy when tensions are at a low point. When coming up with a contract to end a strike, negotiations are always about specifics.
      (and the fact is that most Quebecers, to this day, approve of a tuition hike).

      In other words, the students are in an ivory tower and lacking experience about the real world.

      To whit, their disappointment that the government took their suggestion about eliminating all personal responsibility for an individual’s offspring by wiping out RESPS and threw it in the circular bin.

      Eliminate RESPs? I can think of no other way to guarantee that Quebecers will continue to dismiss the value of higher education.

      If a government comes along and actually implements this absolutely ridiculous idea, I will start looking for another home. Or I will lead the population in a coup d’état. Time will tell.

    • Ian 21:00 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      @Kevin I assure you, my dear, that if underlying policy is the problem, it must be addressed or everyone is wasting their time with bandaid feel-good fixes. What’s this about RESPs, though? I didn’t catch that in the news and can’t find anything on the goog relating RESPs to the strike negotiations. If the students really did suggest scrapping RESPs, that’s very silly suggestion.

    • Bill Binns 21:05 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      So the government offered to reduce the tuition increase by a third and the students said “give us everything we want or we will disrupt the Gran Prix” and it’s the government acting in bad faith?

      Bernie held his race in a country where protesters fire AK-47’s in the air. I doubt he will be intimidated by the panda. The only thing the students will succeed in doing is preventing the rabble who already paid for their tickets (like me) from getting to the race by shutting down the Metro again.

    • ant6n 21:19 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Between the government, the press, and the students; the students have been the most honest by far. In what way do you believe they have been dishonest?

      100$ out of 1800$ is a third?

    • Ian 05:10 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      Well, looks like Kevin’s right – I did find a link that mentioned RESPs. Cutting RESPs to fund education does make some sense on a budgetary allocation level (apparently if the fed cut the RESP program the money saved could send 21% of all studetns to school for free) but people that have been using RESPs to save for their childrens’ educations would flip the fuck out – you can’t pull your money out of an RESP and put it into another plan partway through. I understand the argument, but it would hurt the middle class, which, according to the student bursary program, starts at 40k per family. I can’t believe I’m with Charest on this particular argument.

    • Ephraim 09:18 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      I’ve seen so many blatantly biased videos, pictures and facebook posts that it’s hard to decide what is and isn’t real anymore. Videos that are cut so you can’t see what happened before (Pallywood style). Not to mention assault (the two women forcibly pulled from their classroom, for example), intimidation, violation of injunctions and other people’s rights and property damage. Oh and blaming it all on the “black block”.

      I think the last government offer was from $254 a year to $219 a year. As well as new bursaries. Have the students mentioned ANYWHERE that they have budged, at all?

    • Kate 09:23 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      What Kevin says above is essentially true: The Liberals are dickering over the price of a taxi fare, while students are discussing the grand nature of the car in society.

      Jaggi Singh tweeted on Friday morning: The “crisis” in Qc is a rebellion against the neo-liberal capitalist model & austerity, with tuition as the catalyst.

      These are two ways of saying the same thing. Charest and Courchesne and their supporters want to settle the tuition thing in terms of a few bucks one way or the other; the students are drilling at a much deeper level, but if Charest even acknowledges this he will have a real mess on his hands.

    • qatzelok 10:04 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      To sum up, the (neo) Liberals can’t see the forest for the brown envelopes.

    • ant6n 11:43 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      Fair enough, there exist slanted facebook and videos. Whether those are lies is another matter.
      However, those are not official. It’s as if we take op-eds in the national post and globe and mail and attribute them to the government. You implied that the student leaders and student associations are dishonest.

  • Kate 14:00 on 2012/05/31 Permalink | Reply  

    SPVM police have turned to Interpol to list Luka Rocco Magnotta as a wanted man in the Snowdon torso murder. Ian Lafrenière notes Magnotta’s chameleon looks, demonstrated in narcissistic poses on various websites, changing his hair colour and sometimes cross-dressing, may make him hard to spot. The Toronto Sun found a woman who thinks she gave him a lift to Ontario from outside the city last week.

    Meantime, the victim is being variously described as white or as Asian depending what you read. I suppose this is partly because they haven’t found the head.

    • Ian 15:28 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      I guess they haven’t done an autopsy yet as ethnicity is one of the first things determined along with age and gender – you don’t need the head, though it does make the job a lot easier. Body hair has different morphology between ethnic groups.

    • elleanon 15:39 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      “I suppose this is partly because they haven’t found the head.” Yikes, grisly. You’d think they’d know since they have identified the victim. He was apparently reported missing in the days before the body parts were found. Maybe they’re planting fake info in the news to distinguish from tipsters who genuinely knew them and those attention-seeking sickos who don’t?

    • steph 16:13 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      ^^ can this racists posts be deleted and can we have him banned. That type of commentary is disgusting and I don’t care if he’s just parroting a dumb movie. If this is the type of commentary that I’m going to find on this website, I’m going to have to get my news elsewhere.

    • Spock 16:15 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Hey steph, as I indicated it was a silly joke.

      Relax, I already said I am sorry and I will repeat it again:

      SORRY, DIDN’T MEAN TO OFFEND!!!!!!!!! :(

    • Steph 16:24 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      The guy was brutally murdered. People are in shock. You must be psychotic to have considered making any joke of any kind, let alone one propagating racist stereotypes.

    • Kate 16:27 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Spock: the banhammer has fallen. You were out of line.

      I’ve deleted the puerile racist remark made here by user Spock and he has a timeout of 2 weeks.

      Steph: my apologies, I was away from the blog for a couple of hours and the racist remark slipped by. Does not mean I approved of it.

    • Kate 16:30 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Ian: I don’t know re autopsy. They were quick to do some kind of test that linked up the torso with the body parts mailed to Ottawa. I assumed that would be DNA but I don’t watch enough police procedurals to know if there’s some faster way. I suppose there are quick DNA markers to tell you what general genetic group a person comes from.

    • Ian 18:51 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      It’s not that quick, a DNA test still takes a more than a week even for the police. There are distinct features of bones and hair on a pathological level that help indicate ethnicity even in advanced decomposition. Depends on the body – as far as body hair goes, some dudes shave all over. You never know.

    • qatzelok 10:05 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      Another Tori Stafford story to bring our culture down to the level of bar gossip among illiterates. Nice going, mass-media lobotomizers.

    • ant6n 13:23 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      I agree with qatzelok… ish. Personally would prefer the media not talking about this so much.

    • Kate 13:32 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      Yikes, i just posted a new item.

      It’s a horrible story, but it’s also news.

    • qatzelok 14:50 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      @ Kate: “It’s a horrible story, but it’s also news.”

      I disagree. At least half a dozen people got killed by cars in Canada since yesterday. So this isn’t really news, it’s just IN the news – not the same thing. All those broken bones and squished internal organs in the car accidents are just as lurid and horrible as this. Car companies (and the mafias who own them) prefer this kind of weird story that no one can learn anything useful from.

    • Kevin 11:48 on 2012/06/04 Permalink

      The very fact that so many people are killed in car crashes is precisely why they are not in the news. (Nobody learns from crashes either, it’s always some other guy’s fault).
      Current affairs and documentaries, yes, but not short-form news.

  • Kate 13:54 on 2012/05/31 Permalink | Reply  

    All city boroughs except the Plateau ran record surpluses in 2011, Michael Applebaum taking the opportunity to sideswipe Luc Ferrandez. The central city plans to increase payments to the borough budgets for 2013.

    The Plateau has issued a press release maintaining it isn’t in deficit.

    • Michel 15:16 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      “We are at war with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eurasia.”

    • Ephraim 19:20 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Sure, of course, they didn’t clean the streets properly. The “green space” in front of the church is still just a street painted green. Businesses in the Plateau which pay higher rates are closing up shop. Prince Arthur looks like a bomb exploded on it. No one can figure out how to drive through the Plateau, not even the fire department. Oh and they can’t manage to put up a NO BIKE sign on Prince Arthur because they think people understand the “green walk your bike sign.” Oh and every possible parking spot is slated to have a parking meter on it, so they can collect 30c on the dollar while making the private Stationment Montreal rich.

    • ant6n 19:27 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Yes. The Plateau is falling down, urban flight, turning into a ghetto, a slum really. Meanwhile, the suburbs are paradise.

    • Robert J 09:59 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      Business is great on Mount-Royal and slowly improving on St-Laurent (especially above Pine). Duluth is healthier than ever and St-Denis is stable. Don’t forget that Laurier, St-Viateur, and Bernard are also increasingly healthy commercial arteries in the Plateau. Actually, Prince Arthur is the only street that’s really in decline.

      Most of these strips don’t rely on suburbanites or other drivers for business. The local clientele is increasingly wealthy, and the population is stabilizing.

      On a side note I think they should allow cyclists on pedestrian streets, as long as pedestrians have the right of way on principle. This is how it works in most places I’ve seen in Europe (where the signs say “street closed to traffic– except bikes and scooters”). On Prince-Arthur, it could be “Vélos et livraison locale seulement–priorité aux piétons”.

    • qatzelok 10:08 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      I agree that bikes should be able to cycle on Prince Arthur all the way across the pedestrian mall portion, and then onto Cherrier to meet up with the Berri Axis. All that would be required to make this childproof is to alter the paving a bit to add more bike-slowing texture – like you find along the Old Port.

    • Jack 10:41 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      @ Ephraim your apocalyptic vision of the Plateau is patently ridiculous. Take a look at how much a duplex costs, it is one of the most desirable neighbourhoods in North America.

    • Ephraim 11:24 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      @Jack – It’s badly run. Very badly run. Old people couldn’t walk on the sidewalks because at the end they just decided to not clear the snow. Painting part of the street green doesn’t make it a green space. Have you been caught in a Ferrnandez trap, yet? That’s what we call them on the plateau. And as for business, read all the articles about the businesses complaining about the cost… on Mont-Royal some of the merchants are offering to pay for meters as well.

      Prince Arthur is actually “Pietons seulement”. Deliveries are allowed during certain hours only. The reality? We dodge taxis in the morning. The Police park a car on there from time to time even though they have two reserved spots on Prince Arthur O. just facing. And bicycles often drive full speed around people instead of being walked. It’s not safe for pedestrians. Want a bike lane, ask the city for one, but Prince Arthur is supposed to be 100% pedestrian.

      @Jack – It isn’t about the price. It’s about maintaining quality of life and not ending up being like the village. Want it to remain one of the most desirable neighbourhoods. And that means making smart choices, not stupid ones. For example, fighting the law on billboards that you know you will lose but will cost the borough hundreds of thousands of dollars that could be better spent like actually making a green space instead of painting the street green and asking people to imagine it’s a park.

    • qatzelok 14:54 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      @ Ephraim: “It isn’t about the price. It’s about maintaining quality of life and not ending up being like the village.”

      The reason Prince Arthur is a boarded up slum now is because The Village is a much nicer place to hang around. And living there is very dynamic. The Plateau has more yahoos and mafia thugs and is a lot noisier and more polluted.

    • Jack 18:47 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      @ Ephraim like the capitalist I am not, the market has spoken.What the market says people dig living in the Plateau no matter what car and traffic lovers say.It is a great place to live and the transition from car transport to walking will be difficult, best of luck.

    • Ephraim 19:34 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      @qatzelok – The reason Prince Arthur is boarded up is because many of the restaurants were suburban restaurants in an urban setting and hadn’t kept up with the times and the people in the neighbourhood. The parking problems , the fact that they now have to pay all their taxes while people look for more innovative food. And of course there were a few that no one understood how they stayed in business if they weren’t fronts for the mob. There are a few that are getting the idea and innovating, but it’s a long hard road. Some places haven’t changed their menu except for prices in a decade.

      But part of the character of the Plateau is the little shops that we have here that fill many niches. As they make parking to go to the merchant more difficult, the small merchants have a harder time making ends meet and paying the high city taxes. And what comes in their place are large chains and cell phone vendors who have high markups and can afford the taxes and rents. We want to keep small businesses in the area, it’s what makes this part of the city so wonderful. The little Slovakia deli, the Kouign Amann, etc. We need these places, but so too do these merchants need short term parking for people to run into their shops to pick up a few things. In fact, parking terms might exactly be the problem. Some cities, dedicates the first two and last two spots for 15 min maximum meters, so people can run in and do their business and the spots are available. The Plateau has put in more and more meters but only makes 30c for each dollar in the meter. Is it worth it to collect the money if you are choking your merchants? It’s a question that needs to be answered. For example, what if you want to pick up bagel at Fairmount, get some spelt croissant at Le Fromentier and pick up some Naot shows as well, but you live in Rosemount. These are businesses that need the traffic, they don’t just serve the locals, they serve the city.

      @Jack – Plenty of us walk and dodge the bikes and cars. It’s one of the nicest parts of the Plateau, that you can walk places. But car traffic is a reality and sticking your head in the ground doesn’t solve it. It’s like the lowering of speed limits, when you moved the city from 50 to 40 that means that people who spent 15 minutes to get through this part of the city now take 19 minutes. It doesn’t seem like much, but for a 2 hour rush hour that translates to a 2 and a half hour rush hour. It’s not about how long it takes people to get home (especially since I don’t commute to work at all), it’s also about the streets around you being busy for longer. The cars that come down the street that you have to dodge to cross the street. The bike you drive taking longer to get home as well, etc. It’s a consideration that was never addressed at all.

      Many cities put movable blocks in front of streets like Prince Arthur. Only those authorized have a card that lowers the block and others can’t pass. Some cities add parking under city parks as a way of clearing up streets from cars (not simply to create more parking, but to create more space, more bike paths, etc.)

    • Chris 19:35 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      Robert, there are no “pedestrian streets”, there is only one in the Plateau: Prince Arthur. :(

      Ephraim, having a parking meter on every parking spot would be best, a shame that the Plateau is _not_ planning that. Arguments supporting this can be made entirely on free market terms. Familiar with the supply/demand curve for deciding price? Parking is so scarce because the price is set too low. For details: http://www.cato-unbound.org/2011/04/04/donald-shoup/free-parking-or-free-markets/

    • ant6n 03:01 on 2012/06/02 Permalink

      Parking meters actually improve availability of short term parking. The time to find a spot is more expensive than the cost of short term parking, and negligible in comparison to the total cost of the car (or its external costs to society).

      Btw, combined cycling/pedestrian paths exist in Europe. For example the German signs:
      cycling path
      combined pedestrian/bike path, pedestrians have priority
      separated pedestrian and bike paths

  • Kate 12:10 on 2012/05/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Globe and Mail has a brief but cogent look at the history of the charivari in political life.

    • Jack 12:43 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Nathalie Zemon Davis is one of my favorite historians and The Globe and Mail one of my least favorite newspapers, how do I reconcile this ? Props to Kate for reading these papers,National Post, Quebecor anything, it must be painful sometimes.

  • Kate 07:59 on 2012/05/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Police are hunting for suspected torso killer Luca Magnotta; CP went to look at the building where Magnotta was living to talk directly with the folks who have to clean up (shouldn’t that scene, with blood and I don’t know what all, be treated as a biological hazmat situation?!).

    CBC says this story is making the international news – on top of the ongoing demonstrations (peaceful though they’ve been) and the Anonymous teasing of the Grand Prix, a torso murder completes the trifecta against tourism this summer.

    Interpol wanted man file.

    • Tux 10:21 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Anyone else remember when some guy was posting as/about Luka Magnotta on the rants & raves in craigslist? It was constant Luka-spam there for over a year. Crazy. And the torso was discovered right near where I live. Scary. o.O For some reason the area seems to attract mentally disturbed people, there’s a new freak show at Snowdon metro every few weeks.

    • Hamza 10:33 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      YES! Thats where I remember seeing his name! Thx for the reminder. Another crinkle in this tale

    • Robert H 11:13 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      “The Snowden Torso Trashbag Killer”: I’m waiting for the quickie grade-z straight-to-video exploitation version starring over the hill has-beens and young slabs of beef.

    • TC 14:11 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      The story made the home page of the New York Times website yesterday. I don’t think they have covered the student demos.

    • Hamza 14:24 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

    • elleanon 15:42 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Maybe I watch too much Law&Order, but I’m surprised they didn’t take the sheets, fridge and mattress as evidence and that random people are allowed in the room?

    • Kate 16:39 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Tux and Hamza: a craigslist angle has come out about Magnotta now too.

  • Kate 07:27 on 2012/05/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Damage caused by Tuesday’s downpour means the closure of three eastbound lanes of the Ville-Marie tunnel Thursday.

  • Kate 06:58 on 2012/05/31 Permalink | Reply  

    In Quebec City the student reps say they have hit a wall and may even withdraw from the process, although talks are scheduled to enter their fourth day Thursday.

    Wednesday night’s demos here were peaceful although a second demo was declared illegal.

  • Kate 06:48 on 2012/05/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Negotiations between student reps and the government in Quebec City have hit a wall and the students are considering leaving.

    • Spock 06:58 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Of course.

    • Ian 07:06 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      True, Spock. Nobody is surprised to hear that the government is still bargaining in bad faith.

    • ant6n 07:21 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      As long as gubn’t says that they are only interested in “compromises” where the overall contribution students make doesn’t change, then what’s the point? Cancelling tuition tax credits to get a couple dollars of tuition does not really address the fundamental issues (although it does, to a small extend, further shift the burden towards international students).

    • Kate 07:44 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      ant6n, isn’t there an international students’ group that should have some say in this?

    • Kevin 07:48 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      The fundamental issue is increasing funding for universities.

      The question is: Who pays? The only options are a user-specific increase (ie. those who go to school) — or yet another general tax increase.

      Or the government could just pull funding from some other supposedly essential service and hand it to schools. Bouchard did that in the ’90s and our highway overpasses collapsed, bridges crumbled, and we have a severe doctor shortage.

    • Kate 07:54 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      The Quebec government is handing over vast amounts of money to private industry for things like the Plan Nord and Anticosti. That kind of thing makes quibbling over a few million for the universities seem like the proverbial deck chair metaphor.

      Universities have also plunged ahead making big untenable decisions and not been pulled up sharply enough – Concordia’s golden handshakes to failed administrators, UQÀM’s debacle with the Ilot Voyageur, the UdeM’s purchase and sale of buildings, junkets in high places, and lots more we probably never hear about. The students have some reasonable claim that if the universities were reviewed from top to bottom and teaching made a priority, they would not have to be squeezed for more cash, even if Quebec doesn’t increase its direct funding.

    • ant6n 07:59 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      oh pu-leaze. The education funding is close to negligible compared to road spending (3 billion turcot pays 10 years of increases). And Bouchard didn’t “hand over” any money to the students in the 90ies, the province was just able to merely triple the tuition before the students went onto the barricades.

      (and while we’re talking about international tuition, afaik in ’96 or so they started having different rates for out-of-province and international students, so that quebec students could keep their freeze – and after less than 20 years, they are almost a factor of 10 apart. So yeah, 10% increases every year really quickly add up, and putting proper limits makes sense so that tuition doesn’t get out of hand like everywhere else in north america.)

    • Kevin 08:18 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Hey, given my options, I’d rather no money be spent on a stupid arena that won’t make money, and we put more money into the Plan Nord which will get lots of people working at high-paying jobs.

      And make no mistake — these will be very high paying jobs, because there are not enough skilled people in Quebec who know how to design mines. The few people in Quebec who do know how to do this are constantly getting offers from competitors, with bonuses that make the tuition increases look like spare change.

      I’d also rather universities were better managed, with better oversight. By the same token, I think the notion of students setting the curriculum at certain schools is somewhat ludicrous.

      After all, if the reason for getting an education is to benefit society, then society gets to direct what you study.

    • steph 08:42 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Arguments can be made that Plan Nord is an economic disaster. We’d be better off using those corporate subsidies to pay quebec workers to stay home. The resources we have will only increase in value over time. Why not hold onto our resources and sell them when we can make more profit then only taxing quebec workers. After paying the shareholders (most of which are non-canadians), royalty payments to the province are less then 5%. WTF. With the mess these companies leave behind it’s no wonder some protesters have been breaking windows.

    • Jack 09:13 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Kate you forgot a 1.5 million dollar interest free loan so Concordia’s Chancellor could move up the Real Estate ladder. By the way his annual income is higher than the Prime Minister of Canada.

    • Hamza 09:27 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Plan Nord , even if it makes a 100,000 jobs , will destroy the country and the world. We already have one oil sands thanks.

      A stubborn, aging population is consuming so much of everything that it is wrecking the system for the ones who are supposed to eventually pay taxes for that system.

      Billions are misspent in this province on basically everything, sometimes deliberately through old boys networks and sometimes through typical bureaucratic egregiousness.

      Banks voraciously suck up tremendous amounts of capital that could be used to start businesses and empower the young but instead burn it away on coke-fueled orgies of bad investments.

      I as a citizen certainly don’t need 65 municpal councillors, 125 provincial MNAs and 413 members of parliament in ottawa to feel that i am being democratically represented.

      Multiply those numbers by an exponential amount of staffers, aides, spokesmen, etc.

      Sorry to have to be mr. radical on this.

    • Adam 10:50 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Hamza seems to have elevated Jean Charest to the status of Bond supervillain. In a way, I suppose that’s quite a compliment.

    • qatzelok 11:52 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      @ Kevin: “After all, if the reason for getting an education is to benefit society, then society gets to direct what you study.”

      If the reason you see a doctor is to make you healthy, should you get to direct which surgical procedures he performs?

      No, you don’t. Same with university. If the outside world gets to decide “what people study,” we will never learn anything new. This would kill university, just like attaching courses to income-generation would. University is the search for knowledge and truth, and NOT for money. Commerce and Theft are for searching for money.

    • ant6n 13:00 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Since the state pays for roads, it should be able to decide when and where you can drive.

    • Kevin 13:41 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Use it or lose it. If you want educated, highly paid people to earn those tax dollars to pay for programs, you have to give them an incentive to stay in Quebec — otherwise they take their education and they go somewhere else with their ambition. And in a generation or two, when the province is bankrupt, some corporation will come along with a worse deal for local taxpayers, import skilled workers from the other side of the world*, and leave Quebec with nothing except a hole in the ground.

      We agree that Montreal has way too many elected officials.
      And no question money is misspent. The issue is that money always has been and always will be misspent.

      If you want a free education, you should be prepared to accept some limitations. You can either accept those limitations on your course program or the quality of education.

      If you want a degree in Philosophy — cool. Go for it. I won’t stop you. Unless you ask me to pay for it. Simply put, we’re too poor to have thousands of people studying subjects that have no benefit to anyone but themselves.

      *If it makes fiscal sense to bring people from the Philippines to work at a McDonald’s in Sept-Iles…

    • Kate 14:18 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Kevin says: if the reason for getting an education is to benefit society, then society gets to direct what you study.

      I see. So if I want to study philosophy, I get no assistance, but if I want to study mining engineering, they’re all over me with grants?

      This would just turn our universities into training camps for industry. Industry calls the shots – we need so many engineers, so many medics, so many lawyers over the next few years – so the government churns them out, and only the idle rich can afford to learn history, philosophy, art or music.

      Very Spartan, and it will certainly crack a whip over anyone from a modest family that’s got ideas above their station.

      But as qatzelok points out, not educating people in an open-ended way ends you up with a close-ended society, everyone’s a technician, nobody thinks a new thought or makes any effort that doesn’t put profit into an oligarch’s pocket.

      I know several people who got philosophy degrees that went on to study law, or finished there and went into various kinds of useful jobs. University should teach you to think, not just where to look things up. It’s not something you can impart by making people memorize things and parrot them out, but something you have to show them as a process, to observe critically, to question their own assumptions. We can’t afford not to have that.

      Consider how Stephen Harper fears knowledge and inquiry and makes efforts to stifle them, and why. Do you want to do this work for him?

    • Tux 14:26 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      @Kevin Right, because philosophy has had no useful impact on society. *eyeroll* What, only doctors, lawyers and engineers are useful because these are the careers currently highly valued by society? “Society” gets to decide what students study, therefore you’re saying students aren’t part of “society” and they get no say in the direction it moves?

      Our society is incredibly wasteful. If we re-prioritized, focused on issues of quality of life and human welfare before we focused on economic issues we could achieve a stable economy with perhaps fewer million and billion dollar deals, fewer people getting outlandishly rich, but with better services and social safety nets for everyone…

      Frankly, I’m starting to think Huey P. Long was right – no one person should have a fortune larger than a few million. Beyond that, wealth ought to be redistributed and used to make a better quality of life for everyone. Call me a radical, I think it’s time to re-think capitalism – it is not serving us well and there’s no reason to think it ever will.

    • qatzelok 14:57 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      @ Kevin: “If you want a free education, you should be prepared to accept some limitations. You can either accept those limitations on your course program or the quality of education. ”

      All other animals get a free education – from their parents/siblings/instincts – that is all they need to survive and thrive. Humans are NO LONGER ALLOWED to live naturally, so the state which forces them to live UNNATURALLY has to give them a free education. Otherwise, the State is keeping its citizens hostage in a fake reality and forcing them to “earn” the education they would get for free in nature.

      If society is just a scam, then we should just do away with it altogether.

    • Kevin 01:15 on 2012/06/02 Permalink

      Have none of you been to university? A major is 45 credits, which leaves you 45 credits to study whatever you want.
      I did a 60 credit specialization which left me 30 credits for anthropology, philosophy, linguistics, economics, literature and other topics. And in all of those topics which interested me personally, I was in class with countless people who showed no interest in the topic, but were only there because it was a requirement.

      I agree wholeheartedly that university and CEGEP should make you think, but I also acknowledge that many people are total boneheads and others are only in school to get a job.

      It is not offensive to say that some people just aren’t capable of thinking big thoughts, just like others aren’t not capable of running very fast or performing exquisitely complex operations.

      And in a way, what Kate says is right: some topics are only studied by the idle rich because only they have the leisure to study them. The dilemma is how to enrichen our heavily indebted society so that everyone with the desire and aptitude can be uplifted. We also as a society need to convince people that learning is worthwhile for its own sake.

      Cheap tuition has so far failed to do this.

      I see people living a natural life every day. But mot of us stopped living naturally about 10,000 years ago.

  • Kate 01:04 on 2012/05/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Just seen a posting that some folks signed up as potential election workers have been getting calls telling them to expect to work around a provincial election on September 17.

  • Kate 00:53 on 2012/05/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Personal information about people who bought Formula One tickets online has been posted, presumably by Anonymous after their recent warning. I’ve found the page but think probably wisest not to post a link. If you want to see it badly enough you’ll be able to find it.

    • Spock 06:28 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Why would anyone do that to innocent people…

    • Kate 07:47 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      I have a feeling that your comment is just rhetorical, but there are several answers. Anonymous is not thrilled with Formula One and has already attacked the Bahrain race. It’s now using the Montreal race as leverage against Bill 78. In general, F1 and its attendant culture are also seen as symbols of the excesses of the ruling class, and can also be seen as environmentally damaging. In addition, the man who runs the sport is on record as admiring Hitler.

      And with that bit of Godwin, I’ll stop.

    • Robert J 08:54 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      I’ve always thought that the neat thing about the Montreal GP specifically is that a high proportion of the attendance and those who follow on TV are middle class quebecois/montrealers. The track’s proximity to the city means that Montrealers don’t need to stay in hotels to go there (and a lot of folks from the régions/QC stay with family).

      Talk to any German about their Grand Prix and you will see that our’s is very accessible. Germans have to go way out into the country and book luxury hotels to get anywhere near their GP. That plus there are about 50 times more wealthy Germans and other europeans who want tickets, which drives the cost way higher than in Montreal (Quebec is the only region in North America where F1 is popular, so supply and demand is our favor).

      Race day tickets at general admission prices are about the same price as many other entertainment events in the city. You can object to motorsports in general as a symbol of car culture, oil dependance, etc, although I would tend to say that the experimental nature of F1 puts it in a different category than, say NASCAR.

    • Kate 09:12 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      a high proportion of the attendance […] are middle class quebecois/montrealers

      Then where do all those purported millions of dollars of entertainment revenue come from – hotels, restaurants, bars?

      Admittedly, it’s likely that many of of the people who follow F1 here don’t give a damn about the actual race. I remember some journo a few years ago quizzing random affluent-looking people on Crescent Street about the drivers and the race and finding most of them had no clue and didn’t plan to attend. They were here for the party.

    • Jack 10:18 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      @Robert J, F1 reminds me of what it must of been like at the Forum in Rome during the final days of empire.

    • qatzelok 11:55 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Yes, F-1 brings in the loose bucks. Cock fights and child prostitution are two other activities that would bring in moneyed tourists. Doesn’t some money have a nasty smell? Like carbon monoxide dollars?

    • Kevin 13:44 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      There is a certain amount of fluidity regarding how people spend their entertainment dollars. If Quebecers are spending them to attend Grand Prix events, that means they aren’t spending that same cash on, say, a summer getaway to Maine.

    • Spock 16:11 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Cannot compare Bahrain’s draconian measures against its civilians which resulted in the death of many of them to Bill 78 that can be struck down in a democracy like ours.

      Its an insult to Bahrainis worldwide.

    • qatzelok 15:01 on 2012/06/01 Permalink

      @ Spock

      The drastic corporatist policies of our current “governments” could lead to extinction, which is much worse than the murder of dissidents. And the F-1 itself is an insult to Bahrainis, making them look like immature and un-evolved yahoos who still go “Weeee!” when they see cars tearing around in circles.

  • Kate 00:48 on 2012/05/31 Permalink | Reply  

    The re-education of a Tory MP and the decline of parliament; examination of a single item in Bill C-38, the giant omnibus bill mentioned: “The Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act is repealed.”

    • JaneyB 05:06 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      An appalling bill and even worse, a perversion of the process. The Bill requires a third reading by the House. Here’s a link to the second reading voting record of each MP: http://howdtheyvote.ca/vote.php?id=1215
      There are plenty of ‘absents’ as you can see, many on the Conservative side. I’m thinking these people could use a nudge from citizens to push them to Wilks’ side. A polite (and non-partisan!) email stressing the power and responsibility of backbenchers to keep the cabinet accountable. These whipped votes are really undermining the legitimacy of parliament….If you’ve never written an MP, I think the time is now!

    • Jonathan 09:20 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      One thing to keep in mind – with the departure of Lee Richardson, the conservatives have a slightly smaller majority. I wonder what the chances are of getting 10 MPs to vote against Harper on something (C-38?)

      Probably pretty slim, but one can dream!

  • Kate 19:48 on 2012/05/30 Permalink | Reply  

    On a beautiful sunny day we’re still talking about Tuesday’s rain, with the mayor holding a press conference to assure the public that the city responded quickly and that it has done a lot to improve the sewer system which, nonetheless, is not up to handling the quantity of water thrown at it in such a short time “but neither is any other city’s.” Metro has an item noting the major rainstorms that have hit the city since summer 2008, hinting at a growing trend the city will have to cope with.

    The contemporary art museum suffered damage to artwork stored underground, and school and university buildings were also damaged.

    • ant6n 20:22 on 2012/05/30 Permalink

      need less asphalt/concrete.

      btw asphalt, a lot of it was washed in blocks down along pine/penfield/cote-des-neiges.

    • Charles 22:04 on 2012/05/30 Permalink

      If your building has a flat roof, usually the water goes down the main drain and ends up in the sewers too…

    • Bill Binns 22:04 on 2012/05/30 Permalink

      I think it’s funny how carrer politicians can survive multiple scandals and corruption allegations but seem genuinely terrified of being blamed for weather events.

    • Kate 01:02 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      It’s not just weather – it’s the preparedness of the city and its workers for extreme events.

    • MB 03:18 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      It’s funny…actually not so funny, especially since I live in a basement…but just watched the “Big Uneasy,” which deals with fraud and error in the Army Corps of Engineers in the States, in terms of the failures in New Orleans during Katrina. Now, I think I’ll just float, but who knows. What will I eat, on the open ocean? How will I know which language to use? Does the boat have VLTs? How come there are so many raccoons?

    • JaneyB 04:50 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      ROTFL MB!! You’ll definitely need to get a life jacket like the one I keep in the car. In the back of my mind I wonder if a rope ladder might be better – what if I get stuck between the broken bridge and the water? Alas, they both cost about 35% more here than elsewhere….

    • Spock 06:25 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Funny how the suburbs are always more prepared when it comes to these situations than the island is.

      Montreal should look at Laval when it comes to good city management and not look at Detroit; which it could become like – remember Montreal in the 80s…

    • Spock 06:27 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Oops, typo! :)

    • Ian 07:05 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      It’s not so much that the ‘burbs are more prepared, but that they have newer infrastructure.

    • Kate 08:18 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Yep, one of the reasons downtown gets hit so hard is that it’s using 100-year-old sewers in many areas.

    • Ian 11:14 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Some are even older, dating from the 1880s – http://www.undermontreal.com/point-st-charles-egouts/

    • Robert H 11:22 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Montreal isn’t the only place facing infrastructure problems of this sort. Almost every major city in North America and smaller ones as well are dealing with the neglect of century old sewers, viaducts, bridges, tunnels, etc. The sinkhole on Sherbrooke Street and overflowing catch basins have their equivalents in New York, Boston, Chicago and other metropolises too numerous to mention.

    • Robert H 11:43 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      The Museum of Contemporary Art seems to exist in the shadow of another institution further to the west. Madame Gagnon believes most of the damage to the art and the building can be repaired, but I wonder if she envies Nathalie Bondil.

  • Kate 15:28 on 2012/05/30 Permalink | Reply  

    The police have named the suspect in the Snowdon trashbag torso killing; the Journal says the suspect is a porn actor.

    The hand and foot found in Ottawa have also been linked with the torso discovery in Montreal.

    (This was on RDI when I stopped earlier for a bowl of noodles at a Vietnamese resto in the ‘hood. “Pas appetissant!” we agreed with a flinch.)

    Update: Weirder and weirder, the suspect is said to have dated Karla Homolka although the CBC investigation only contains a quote from him saying he’d never even met her. And the suspect tweeted (mostly a lot of banal quotations).

    • walkerp 19:08 on 2012/05/30 Permalink

      This story is definitely future Coolopolis material.

    • Kate 19:18 on 2012/05/30 Permalink

      I was thinking that.

      It’s not that long since we saw a case with some similarities. In January 2010 some body parts were found in a suitcase on rue Charlotte, and it turned out to be the murder of a man by his estranged gay lover, if I recall correctly. I had some links to it at the time, but they’ve all lapsed.

      The victim in that case happened to be Israeli – here’s a link from Haaretz.

    • walkerp 19:57 on 2012/05/30 Permalink

      It’s a real problem trying to get rid of a body in the city when you don’t have access to a good wood chipper.

    • Spock 06:26 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      Don’t need a wood chipper. It won’t work with a human body. Just work up some elbow grease and use and axe.

      If you are lazy, use a chainsaw… :P

    • ant6n 09:03 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      yes but then that wouldnt be a reference to a certain movie no more

    • Spock 16:12 on 2012/05/31 Permalink

      ant6n – LOL

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