Updates from August, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 11:16 on 2012/08/31 Permalink | Reply  

    François Cardinal has now interviewed the three main candidates for Quel Avenir about their intentions concerning Montreal.

    Jean Charest says the Plan Nord will be good for Montreal. (Is there anything it can’t do?)

    Pauline Marois promises to name a minister specifically for Montreal so watch out, Mayor Tremblay.

    François Legault, as already noted in this blog, wants Montreal to work harder for Quebec.

    There are more details, of course, and it’s worth reading all three pieces to get a sense of how the candidates feel about the city.

    Jean-François Dumas from Influence Communications, who closely watches media mentions, says Montreal has received much less attention than Quebec City during this campaign. Dumas notes in a very short item:
    Gérald Tremblay invite les partis à présenter ce qu’ils prévoient pour Montréal.
    Régis Labeaume dépose sa liste de demandes pour Québec.

    • Jack 18:31 on 2012/08/31 Permalink

      Wow nothing speaks more to Montreal impotence politically then those last two lines. If I was Tremblay I’d go to Quebec City walk up to the Assembly’s public gallery, scream and get arrested….that’s probably why I am not Mayor.

    • Kate 22:48 on 2012/08/31 Permalink

      Yup. Admittedly, Quebec City probably got some of that media attention because they’ve had an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, and we wouldn’t want that. But even so, yeah. We really do need somebody more dynamic at city hall.

  • Kate 10:37 on 2012/08/31 Permalink | Reply  

    There are pieces today again about baseball and Montreal: a look back at the team and its ignominious end and about travelling to see farm teams play in Rochester and Syracuse. Neither article actually talks about bringing baseball back to town.

  • Kate 10:22 on 2012/08/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Archives de Montréal has put up a modest photo set from August 25, 1969 on and around Ste-Catherine Street. Some of the views haven’t changed much (although the cut of the dresses and hair has), but there are shots of the fantastic neon signs the street used to have, as well as a shot of one of the sunken cafés that used to exist on the parterre of Place Ville-Marie, spaces long since covered over.

    • A. 00:42 on 2012/09/02 Permalink

      Never thought anything could possibly move me to quote Gaston Miron, but, decades later and thousands of miles away, into my head pops “la grande Ste. Catherine Street galope et claque / dans les mille et une nuits des néons”

    • Kate 11:03 on 2012/09/02 Permalink


  • Kate 09:31 on 2012/08/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Montreal is the fine capital of Canada. It collected $186 million in fines in 2011, an average of $111 from each of us.

    Better watch out now that we know the city has a $700-million annual infrastructure shortfall it needs to meet. We’ll be ticketed for thinking about jaywalking.

    • Michel 09:55 on 2012/08/31 Permalink

      Explains that $270 ticket I got earlier this summer for leaving the dog park without immediately leashing my dog.

    • Kevin 11:08 on 2012/08/31 Permalink

      $270/dog? Man, the city could scoop up $10,000 a day just by hanging outside my backyard gate.

    • david m 01:08 on 2012/09/01 Permalink

      insanity. two things: 1) if you have the time to show up to court, always contest your tickets, the cops almost never show up and then ticket is tossed; 2) vote out tremblay (i suggest project montreal) – whereas his incompetent management of the city is only sometimes dangerous, like if you fall into a pothole or have the windows of your business smashed because you refused the entreaties of the local mafia types, his laissez faire laissez aller attitude to the police department is actually menacing.

      that said, i definitely agree with any ticket for people with cars (parking, speeding, turning, the standard vehicular manslaughter-inducing behaviors) or dogs. completely disagree with tickets for drinking booze in the streets or any sort of private noise violation though, obviously.

  • Kate 09:25 on 2012/08/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Montreal plans to spend $4 billion on infrastructure from 2013 to 2015. Radio-Canada has a pie chart to show how the money will be used, the biggest slices going to fixing water mains and roads. But the city’s still short $700 million yearly to accomplish all this.

    Richard Bergeron thinks more money should be going to public transit and Louise Harel is worried about equality among the boroughs.

    • Chris 11:18 on 2012/09/01 Permalink

      Fixing roads is one things, but I just wish we’d stop building new ones.

  • Kate 20:41 on 2012/08/30 Permalink | Reply  

    The vigorous gusts of wind that have been intermittently pummeling the metrop have torn part of the roof off the Maurice Richard Arena. It seems nobody was hurt. Another photo.

    • Blork 14:02 on 2012/08/31 Permalink

      According to a couple of reports (CBC and elsewhere) the parts of the roof that were blown off were already set to be replaced. As far as I know, the work had already started, and those parts were already partially removed. In other words — and most reports are skipping this — the wind merely did what the renovation team were about to do.

      That’s not to say it wasn’t dangerous, but it is worth noting.

    • Kate 15:26 on 2012/08/31 Permalink

      Thanks for the update, blork. CBC’s also saying that Viau metro station is closed at the moment because the entrance is so close to the arena.

  • Kate 09:27 on 2012/08/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Voir’s Jerôme Lussier looks at the effect an expanded Bill 101 could have on small but vital businesses in Montreal.

    Another essay worth reading about Quebec, progressives and identity politics.

    • Jack 11:40 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      Ali Rahman is calling people out.You can not be a progressive and vote PQ.If you can rationalize voting for an ethnic political party by all means do, just admit it.

    • Kevin 12:45 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      Marois started chopping up her big, lift-wing tent when she introduced her charter of secularity. I will not be surprised to see QS bust 10% on voting day and get 5 seats.
      Of course, every single election prediction I have ever made is wrong, so…

    • jeather 12:48 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      Just because Marois calls her stuff secular doesn’t mean it is even on the same continent as secular.

      (Also, am I the only person who has worked in offices with certificates of francization where all the software is English, all the clients are in the US, and 75% or more of the internal communication is in English?)

    • ant6n 13:05 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      There was this comment below the first article posted:

      Yvan Rousseau 29 août 2012 · 19h05

      M. Lussier,
      Étant moi-même employé dans une entreprise semblable à « NewTech » mais avec + de 50 employés, donc soumis à la loi 101 actuelle, je dois rectifier le tir sur certains points qui me semble fausser le discours ambiant sur les plans du Parti québécois dans la campagne actuelle. Notre entreprise est active dans le domaine du développement logiciel au niveau des très grandes entreprises canadiennes (plus de 500 employés).
      D’abord, comme NewTech, la plupart de nos clients sont situés hors Québec et la langue de travail est donc souvent l’anglais. En fait, depuis que nous avons reçu notre certificat de l’Office québécois de la langue française, les seuls changements que nous avons dû apporter sont les suivants:

      Fournir une version de Windows (et autres logiciels) et des claviers français aux employés de l’administration qui n’ont pas à traiter directement avec les clients anglophones.
      Recevoir l’Agent de l’OQLF de façon régulière (à chaque année, je crois), afin qu’il vérifie la situation.

      Donc, la langue utilisée par plus de 90% des employé(e)s dans leurs logiciels/conversations/échanges/documentations peuvent continuer à être presqu’exclusivement en anglais et il n’y a rien que l’OQLF peut faire pour empêcher cet état des choses. Les quelques employés qui ne parlent pas français de façon courante le comprennent maintenant parfaitement et l’OQLF n’a jamais demandé quoi que ce soit afin de les « franciser »: cela se fait naturellement par la force du nombre.

    • Kate 19:34 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      What worries me more than anything is that the tribal drumbeat being led by Marois, Lisée and chums can lead to this sort of nonsense – xenophobes, instead of feeling sheepish about their small-mindedness, begin to feel legitimized.

    • Marc 22:54 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      3/5 people polled casually in the streets of the irrelevant city of Saguenay agreed with the nonsense their mayor said a few weeks ago. That plus the PQ’s racist proposals propelling them to #1 in the polls makes you lose faith in humanity.

    • Kevin 07:12 on 2012/08/31 Permalink

      That’s an old photo. It’s still a stupid statement, but at least it’s not recent.

      The PQ have not propelled to #1. They have not gained a single vote during the entire campaign: support is locked at 32%. It’s an anti-Liberal vote, nothing more.

    • steph 07:17 on 2012/08/31 Permalink

      Can we have the courage to call these people what they are: bigots. All the parties are catering to the language debate and it’s creating an environment of fear for businesses. Pardon me for scoffing when they claim to pretend to care about the economy with the same breath.

    • Kate 10:23 on 2012/08/31 Permalink

      Kevin: thanks, yes. The picture was posted to reddit but even there, people began to notice that it wasn’t recent.

  • Kate 08:41 on 2012/08/30 Permalink | Reply  

    A man accused of making and planting fake bombs, then calling in bomb scares, has been arrested, but sounds more likely to be sent to a shrink than to jail.

  • Kate 08:34 on 2012/08/30 Permalink | Reply  

    The Gazette is looking back at the Blue Bird fire in advance of the memorial planned Friday.

  • Kate 20:44 on 2012/08/29 Permalink | Reply  

    A crowd of fans accompanied Lance Armstrong up Mount Royal Wednesday. He’s in town for the World Cancer Congress at the Palais des congrès this week.

  • Kate 20:25 on 2012/08/29 Permalink | Reply  

    The city’s public consultation office has given the nod to the construction of a soccer centre on Papineau, on the edge of the Complexe environnemental Saint-Michel. There may well be some public need for this multi-million-dollar complex but it seems like more of this city’s philosophy that if it’s green you should build something “useful” on it: if they can get the first stage built, they’ll go on to add a full-size soccer pitch – with synthetic turf.

  • Kate 20:23 on 2012/08/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Are we getting more wasps than usual this summer? There’s some evidence that we are, but I haven’t particularly noticed them.

    • Blork 22:57 on 2012/08/29 Permalink

      Purely anecdotal, but I think so. Left a terrace on evening last week because of the wasps, and that’s most def a first. (Plus I’ve seen more than usual elsewhere…)

    • Stefan 04:27 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      Personally they don’t bother me much, I just pay attention to when drinking (e.g. cover it) or biting into something sweet, when there is a wasp around. Eventually they go away. I think the worst thing is to panic and/or try to kill it, because when you wave your arms wildly they’ll defend themselves and try to sting.
      Interesting fact: wildlife often finds a much more diverse and non-hostile environment in cities than in today’s typical monocultural agricultures. As an example, city bees can harvest nectar from many different flowers and trees for almost the whole mild season, while in the countryside a single field will only bloom a few weeks at most.

    • Ian 05:48 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      I definitely saw wasps earlier than usual with the early warm weather, but more wasps than usual, not so much. I have definitely seen more spiders, even fairly large kinds that I don’t usually see inside.

    • dwgs 07:15 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      Haven’t noticed more wasps but there’s been a butterfly population explosion. Which is a great thing.

    • Ian 07:37 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      That started back in the early spring with a bumper crop of red admirals – again, because of the early, warm weather. I get a feeling insect life is enjoying this year’s warm season.

    • Bert 08:04 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      I would have to say yes. After 12 years in my place (Ste. Rose), for the first time, there are 3 or 4 nests starting up. Other than some very early morning buzzing around an open window, they have not been a nuisance.

    • Michel 08:27 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      Gotta agree with dwgs. No wasps this year–and I normally have to set out soda pop traps–but a whole hecka of a lot of butterflies. And bees.

    • Kate 08:57 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      I think we may be getting another wave of admirals, saw a couple again recently. Only saw a few wasps when I stopped by the 18th-century market for a bite and a bottle of spruce beer (which wasps apparently love).

      Ian, now I’m feeling paranoid about spiders. They’re bound to be big and sassy after a summer like this. (At some point late last summer, or very early fall, I came out of my place and got a spider in the face because it had spun a few lines of web across my front door overnight. Nightmarish.)

    • DB 09:03 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      Pauline Marois and François Legault seem to think so!

    • Kate 09:17 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      Ha ha!!

  • Kate 20:20 on 2012/08/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Two men were shot by masked intruders in an bar in Saint-Léonard early Wednesday morning. Both men were wounded but survived; the motive for the shooting has not been made clear.

  • Kate 20:09 on 2012/08/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Jean Charest is denying any of his ministers partied with Tony Accurso on his yacht despite allegations from Jacques Duchesneau that some of them did.

    Charest faced a demo Wednesday in Sherbrooke.

    Meanwhile the PQ’s Jean-François Lisée was encouraging francophones to stay in town and drown out anglos and allos with good honest French. But I don’t know whether anyone could hear him out in Boucherville or Boisbriand.

    • Jack 20:47 on 2012/08/29 Permalink

      When are we going to stop letting politicians use linguistic terms to talk about race.It gives people like Lisee a pass on what is in essence racial discourse.When he says,” francophones are in peril of losing critical mass in Montreal. We need to do something about that.”He isn’t talking about language, he is talking about race, try this,”the white french origin majority are in peril of losing critical mass in Montreal. We need to do something about that.” That is exactly what he is saying, how can we change this, any ideas?

    • ant6n 20:54 on 2012/08/29 Permalink

      Call him a nazi?

    • Jack 21:06 on 2012/08/29 Permalink

      @ant6n not productive.

    • Anto 21:21 on 2012/08/29 Permalink

      @Jack: Or maybe he’s talking about language?

    • Jack 21:36 on 2012/08/29 Permalink

      @Anto what is a person who completes 12 years of French language instruction in Quebec.I’d say thats a francophone and so would every single socio-linguist in this galaxy, not in Quebec. When does an allophone become a francophone? How long does it take ? Is Amir Khadir a francophone, no he is an allophone ( if he and his wife admit to speaking their native Farsi at home, plus he’s kind off brown) Lisee is not talking about language, he doesn’t care, he is pandering to racial fears that are totally unfounded.
      By the way this is one of the reasons to vote QS,
      “Would the QS form a coalition with the PQ? No, Khadir said, because “we believe the PQ is too close to the corporate elite, and ethnic nationalism.” QS rejects the PQ’s “secular charter” that would ban the hijab and other non-christian symbols in the public service, Khadir said, and its controversial “citizenship tests.”
      He gets it and has the guts to say it, because unlike our other political leaders he can feel it.

    • Anto 22:25 on 2012/08/29 Permalink

      @ Jack: I don’t doubt there’s a certain measure of xenophobia among certain members of the PQ (as there is in all political parties, everywhere in the world) but you’re blowing this way out of proportion. I’d rather vote QS on Tuesday, but I’ll probably be voting PQ as they have the best chance of beating the Liberals in Laurier-Dorion (by the way the PQ candidate in Laurier Dorionis kind of brown as well). I don’t do it for racist reasons, neither does everybody I know who’s voting PQ.

      It’s not racist to say francophones are leaving Montréal for the suburbs, it’s simple statistical fact. It’s not xenophobic to wish we can still live in French in Montréal in 50 years time. Is it possible for you to consider this is not an attack on immigrants, allophones or anglophones, it’s simply a way to make sure the French language, and the culture that comes with it, stay alive in a province that doesn’t have a country’s tools to make sure it does. We don’t have an ocean of 300 millions French speakers at our backs. French speaking Québecois can’t afford to act like a majority, as they’re not one.

      I welcome everybody, from all origins, that wants to come live in Québec. I don’t care what language they speak at home, it’s their business. All I want is to be able to work, shop and live in French in Montréal. That’s how I see it and that’s how everybody I know who’s voting PQ sees it.

      I’d encourage you to diversify your news sources, as I suspect you’re at least partly informed by prejudiced discourse that I see in a lot of Canadian English media (and I must say in certain comments I read here, despite my appreciation of Kate’s blog) that is at least as bad as the one you condemn.

    • ant6n 22:49 on 2012/08/29 Permalink

      I always had the impression that the French Quebec Nationalists are mostly concerned with hating English and Anglophones, rather than being against foreigners per se. It seems that foreigners and people from ethnic minorities are considered ok as long as they are Francisized. I sometimes got attitude from Francophones when first moving here, because I didn’t speak French – when they found out I was from Europe, and not English, they were much more forgiving, but always reminded me to learn French.

      ((Remember how qatzelok and jeannaimard always went on about the English, and sometimes jews, but not really about any other ethnicities etc.))

      The impression I get from Francophones talking about the strong feelings against the English is that story about English Rich people oppressing Poor Working Class Francophones. As an outsider, it sometimes feels like Anglophones are willing to accept the abuse today because of this history. Well also, because of this paranoia that French is dying, and needs strong protections.

      The thing is, I would kind of reverse your point: You say that politicians talking about language is just a way to hide the underlying racism. To me the linguistic discussion feels very close to some form of racism itself – if racism is discriminating and hating people based on ethnicity, country of origin or skin color; here some discriminate and hate people based on the language that they grew up with, and whether they are able to learn French now, or what the parents’ language was. People find surprisingly rude behavior because somebody spoke the ‘wrong’ language acceptable, and there are even laws that involve barring people form schools based on language.
      But this perception is my own, and probably not shared by either Francophones or Anglophones in Quebec.

    • ant6n 22:56 on 2012/08/29 Permalink

      “…it’s simply a way to make sure the French language, and the culture that comes with it, stay alive in a province that doesn’t have a country’s tools to make sure it does.”

      This is this subtle mind-connection between sovereignty and French, but how does it work? What tools would a country have that a province doesn’t? Quebec already has language laws, it has it’s official language, it controls immigration, etc.

    • Steph 00:02 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      Does anyone have any statistics on the change in population attending elementary school in English vs French since the implementation of Bill 101? The only stats I’ve seen recently that are causing the hem and hawing are the ‘initial bilingual greeting in stores in montreal has gone up 13%’, hello/bonjour, shocking!

    • Kate 00:42 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      For what it’s worth, and I’m not going to sit through 7 minutes of it, Thomas Gerbet tweets, linking to a video: “JF Lisée veut prioriser l’immigration d’un Français sur celle d’un Chinois francophone.” Surprised? Not really.

    • Stefan 02:54 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      As an allophone I see the Quebec language debate more from the outside. I find the Quebecois language and culture to be very rich, and also alive, which is demonstrated by its young.
      I believe that any kind of racism, be it subtle, or not, has its roots in fear. This fear may be based on something more or less objective (and often it correlates with our fear of the unknown, as racism seems to occurs most in homogenous cultures).
      To go to a doctor and not be able to communicate in your language is a very real reason to be afraid. To feel uncomfortable because you hear a person in your neighborhood speaking a different language, well, it just shows that you have a very tight comfort zone.
      At the extreme poles, there are two ways to deal with these fears: force your environment to act in a way homogenous with your native language (and probably, also cultural cues), or adapt to the fact that the world has changed and will still be changing. For example, I do not think that there are many fields left where relevant scientific articles will be accepted if not written in english.
      The older, the more difficult it is for most people to adapt. It may be interesting to look at the age structure of PQ voters. Parties with older voters overrepresented tend to lose significance over time.

    • Jack 07:24 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      @anto thanks for your response.First and foremost my media environment is almost exclusively french.I am the only one in my home who is an anglophone, our TV ,Radio, and newspapers are exclusively french language .So when I speak to my personal concerns they are driven by consuming french language media.
      You make my argument in your second paragraph,”it’s not racist to say francophones are leaving Montréal for the suburbs”. You are absolutely right thats why nationalist politicians say it,it gives them a pass to talk about race.What they are really saying is the white french origin majority are leaving Montreal for the suburbs and somehow that is the fault of allophones and anglophones who are somehow supplanting this “critical mass”.Lisee when he talks about francophones is not talking about Haitians,Arabs,Vietnamese, Senegalese etc. He is talking about the white french origin majority.He calls them francophones because we let him.
      In 50 years time anto I will be dead, but their is another certainty, the Quebec nationalist movement will be talking about the very near end of the French origin majority.If I had a nickel for every time I have heard a Quebec nationalist say that in 10,20,30 years Quebec will be merely another Louisiana, I would be a very rich man. In 1867 the french origin majority comprised 75% of the population, 140 years later 80%.These the sky is falling demographic predictions are invariably politically motivated guesses. anto if you ever get a chance see former PQ ministers Lise Payette’s ,”Disparaitre” see it. In 1992 she claimed that immigration would mean the end of the French Fact by………….2000.The last scene is particularly heart breaking with Gilles Vigneault,a tear in his eye, saying by 2000 it is over.

    • Kevin 08:38 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      C’est tres simple. Chaque fois qu’un politicien, ou le SSJB, ou Mouvement Montreal Francais/Imperatif Francais parle de ‘le recule du francais’ ou un abaissement de le francais a Montreal, il faut souvenir qu’ils auraient du utiliser “LES francais”. C’est tout. Simple, direct, et vrai.

      And really, that is what they are saying, because for most francophone Quebecers there is no difference between language and culture. I believe I’ve said it on this blog before about some of the crap that JF Lisee spewed while at l’actualite, but it’s only been in the past few years that knowing French has not been enough — the proponents of Bill 101 et al finally twigged after several decades that it was possible to learn French without becoming a Quebecois de souche.

      I would argue that this idea that learning another language changes your culture is also the reason that most of the current upper ranks of the PQ (and several Liberals) don’t speak English: They’re trapped in a stupid philosophy that language=culture, and that there is only one culture/language.

    • Anto 10:21 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      Here’s the full quote you were talking about Kate. I don’t see how it’s different to most countries’ immigration policies.

    • Kate 10:34 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      Anto, I’m in a hurry so can’t find you supporting links, but the distinction being made here is between people willing to speak French at work and in public life, and those who speak French at home. Lisée would make moves to ensure that it’s no longer enough to favour people who know French and are willing and able to work in French and carry on their lives outside the home in French. They also have to have French as a mother tongue, which would rule out many, many French-speaking people whose first language is Arabic, Vietnamese, Creole – or English.

      That’s a step beyond.

      Does any country with immigrants require not only that they speak the language but that they have been reared in that language since childhood?

    • Anto 10:37 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      That’s not what he says. He says somebody who speaks French at home would receive a few more points than somebody who speaks it as a second language. Obviously that’s not the only factor being considered, and in no way does it mean that people who speak French as a second language would be ruled out.

    • Anto 10:42 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      Norman spector discusses the subject with Lisée on his Twitter account.

    • Kevin 10:54 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      Yup, and in that exchange Lisee wants to see no more than 15% of Montrealers speak something that French as a mother tongue.
      It’s racism, pure and simple.

    • Anto 11:02 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      Kevin, he’s not talking about driving English speakers out, he’s talking about bringing French speakers in.

    • Kevin 11:31 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      No, he’s talking about bringing French-mother tongue people in, and says quite plainly that there are too many allos and anglos in Montreal.
      Look, the only realistic solution is to tell francophones they’re not allowed to move off the island, and must return to the days of massive families.

    • ant6n 11:43 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      As an aside – the number of points you get for French on an application for a Quebec Selection Certificate (the Quebec part of becoming a permanent resident) depends on your level of ability. A Chinese person would probably get fewer points than a person from France, anyway. (Incidentally, they also give points for English, but much fewer)

    • Domenico Cotugno 22:09 on 2012/08/30 Permalink

      @Anto Sorta off-topic, but you said “I’d rather vote QS on Tuesday, but I’ll probably be voting PQ as they have the best chance of beating the Liberals in Laurier-Dorion”. According to the latest polls, QS has a real chance of taking Laurier-Dorion; it’s a three-way race. Your vote for QS could make a difference. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-QeiuF4j8K_0/UD_EJPumznI/AAAAAAAAKK0/GhyWoLFq768/s1600/Ridings.PNG

  • Kate 19:59 on 2012/08/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Montreal-based Jon Rafman is the guy behind The Nine Eyes of Google; the New York Daily News looks at his latest show.

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