Updates from September, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 22:46 on 2012/09/18 Permalink | Reply  

    A young man cycling on a Lachine bike path Monday was killed by a turning truck, a kind of accident we’ve seen many times before.

  • Kate 22:41 on 2012/09/18 Permalink | Reply  

    Roman Kroitor, who co-invented IMAX but is also known in Montreal as the man behind Expo 67’s Labyrinth movie, has died at 85. This page has a description and a small image of what Labyrinth looked like.

  • Kate 22:25 on 2012/09/18 Permalink | Reply  

    There are beehives atop the Queen Elizabeth Hotel.

    • Stefan 07:54 on 2012/09/19 Permalink

      This is really getting popular in cities (vienna has more than 500 beehives just in the first district). A multitude of varied plants feed the bees almost year-round, compared with 1-2 weeks flowering in mono-agriculture.

      I had recommended to a friend who lives in a highrise in downtown montreal (a real honey-fiend) to install a beehive on his balcony. But he’s afraid that the neighbors will complain about it. Not sure if that is really a problem, although there is more proximity than roof or courtyards, or if it is illegal.

      But a harvest in the order of 50-100kg (worth about $500-1000) for a hive seems nice (he could even share some glasses with the neighbors to keep them satisfied). I think nowhere you can get such an amount of food energy output from such little space.

  • Kate 22:06 on 2012/09/18 Permalink | Reply  

    Concordia has dropped all charges against students involved in protests last term. Report in the Link.

    • steph 23:54 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      “Accused of violating the university’s code of rights and responsibilities” is so vague. That covers everything from returning library books on time to violent assault.

  • Kate 18:59 on 2012/09/18 Permalink | Reply  

    Incredible account of what Parliament is like now. A must-read.

    • Jack 19:36 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      Brilliant, damning and a in a real sense frightening.

    • Ian 21:02 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      It’s like an Alfred Jarry play. Ubu Roi?

  • Kate 15:32 on 2012/09/18 Permalink | Reply  

    I love this weather.

    • steph 16:52 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      chilly and humid? I was happier Monday.

    • otis 17:17 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      me too! nice break from the heat and perfect time for movies and food.

  • Kate 15:26 on 2012/09/18 Permalink | Reply  

    The documentary From Montreal will be shown at Pop Montreal on Thursday; La Presse’s Marc Cassivi is upbeat about its positive view of Montreal’s music scene. Evidently La Presse feels it’s worth covering with two articles.

    • Jack 19:39 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      Cassivi was once criticized by Le Devoir’s music critic for having too many english songs on his Ipod, he should be careful.

  • Kate 15:20 on 2012/09/18 Permalink | Reply  

    Raphaël Fischler, who heads McGill’s urbanism school, has several ideas to improve life in Montreal including backing off on plans to embark on wider language laws because it’s not merely a Quebec village on a larger scale. His ideas are nicely and tersely put.

    • Tantastic Ted 15:24 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      Fischler is a smart guy, I know a bit about him and he’s on the ball.

    • No\Deli 15:55 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      That’s a mayoral platform if I’ve ever seen one. Fischler 2013.

    • Matt 18:43 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      Yes. Yes.

    • pierre s. 22:07 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      fischler’s swiss and definitely not running for mayor. a really interesting and intelligent guy, he’s very up front about his critiques of the city, and he doesn’t mind sharing them. he helped guide the montreal master plan and he’s definitely more careful – not to say conservative – than bergeron, who fischler actually filed some sort of complaint about to ensure that he was a registered urbanism (he told us about it in class to underline the importance of the integrity of the professional designation!).

    • Tantastic Ted 08:38 on 2012/09/19 Permalink

      Ohmygod! A Swiss running Montreal! Imagine how well everything would suddenly work!

  • Kate 13:50 on 2012/09/18 Permalink | Reply  

    A study by a Swiss bank claims that it’s more expensive to live in Montreal than in Toronto, although it doesn’t consider rental levels so that’s pretty dumb right off. Also the statistic that you have to work 19 minutes in Montreal to pay for a Big Mac as against 11 minutes in Toronto says more about lower wages in Montreal than higher prices, and anyway we have better things to eat.

    • Tux 14:08 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      Also in Montreal, the whistle blows at 5. In Toronto you’re not a team player if you don’t work overtime. That’s an oversimplification but at least in my field (DBA/IT) it’s true.

    • Josh 14:16 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      I didn’t realize that lower wages were a less important factor than higher prices in calculating the cost of living somewhere, Kate. (Seems to me that it doesn’t really matter whether something takes longer to save for – whether it’s high prices or low wages, it’s all the same to the poor sucker trying to earn the scratch, isn’t it?)

    • Ian 14:26 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      I moved from Toronto to Montreal 10 years ago. Rents are cheaper here, but wages are lower and taxes are higher. It actually works out pretty much the same. Rents are going up, though. I moved 4 times in the last 10 years and each time my rent went up about 200 bucks for the same sized space. Wages haven’t risen as quickly.

    • Robert 14:02 on 2012/09/19 Permalink

      It’s better to be poor/middle class in Montreal for a number of reasons: lower rent and higher availability of rental properties (there are more apt buildings in central Montreal than in central Toronto-and that’s not even per capita), better rent controls, and cheaper transit.

      As for taxes, if you’re poor you can usually get lots back in February, so you’re not really paying ’em. Also, I don’t think that the middle class wages are tangibly different (you start making more money at a management level in Toronto from what I understand).

  • Kate 13:46 on 2012/09/18 Permalink | Reply  

    The Gazette’s Monique Muise is at the Charbonneau commission from which she is currently tweeting.

    • walkerp 21:43 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      This is really fascinating stuff. Impressively deep, at least at the theoretical level. I hope it stays this rigorous once we start to actually get to the specifics. From the way Tenti’s testimony went today, it sounds like we may not see many heads rolling but rather an entire re-working of the system is in order.

      Nice summary by Monique Muise here.

  • Kate 09:37 on 2012/09/18 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s not really news that Denis Coderre is pondering a run for mayor of Montreal. He’s apparently popular among the citizenry, if not with the existing councillors. But it’s not yet clear whether he’ll abandon federal politics to take the chance, or which party he’d join up with.

    Critics have a legitimate point that Coderre has no experience on the municipal level, but he’d definitely bring a different energy to city hall – we’d have our own Napoleon to butt heads with Quebec City’s Mayor Labeaume.

    This item also hints that Mayor Tremblay won’t try for a fourth term, but also floats the odd possibility that he may even leave politics before the end of this term – the kind of hint that makes me wonder what a journalist has heard but can’t openly write about.

    • ant6n 09:53 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      I keep hearing the name Applebaum more and more; people say it’s the Tremblay-Applebaum administration – are they grooming him to run as the next mayor, maybe even have him in the position for a couple of months before running so he’s more likely to win being an incumbent? Or who else could Union Montreal make their candidate, if they don’t choose some outsider?

    • Steve Quilliam 09:56 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      It would be great if Mayor Tremblay quit before the end of his terms. It would be a very interesting and hopeful period for us montrealer plus it would give some time to Applebaum, assuming he’s take over the interim, to show what he can do.

      As for Coderre, we’ll see what he has in mind for Montreal. I’m not convince yet but he we definitively be a fighter. But I think Montreal needs more than that. At this point I am ready to vote for anyone who promise to change the pension system so that more money goes in public transport and less in the pension fund of city workers.

    • Kate 09:57 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      Montreal’s administrations are always called the Mayor-Sidekick administration, naming the chairman of the executive committee second, at least since 1921, going by this list of mayoral terms. You’ll also notice no sidekick has ever gone on to become mayor.

      Applebaum’s an anglo, and a well-known sourpuss to boot. I don’t think he has the personality for the job.

    • ant6n 10:05 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      Does Tremblay have the personality? Why should we even care – it’s been mentioned that Bergeron is a grump, but I believe he’s the best candidate for the job for the issues – why would it be preferable to have a charismatic outsider who has no idea about municipal issues, rather than a grump with a vision?
      Of course being an anglo might not work out so well…

      (btw, note that the list you linked, Tremblay was his own sidekick between 2009 and 2011 ;-)

    • Kate 10:13 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      True, Tremblay is Mr. Beige, and neither Bourque nor Doré were exactly Mr. Personality. Doré’s mustache had more personality than he did. Drapeau had a weird kind of compulsive energetic personality, although you’ll never find a picture of him smiling.

      I guess in a way I can’t help feeling Coderre might embody something really simple about Montreal – its fun. As a fellow supporter of Richard Bergeron I kind of hope Coderre doesn’t take the plunge, because if that Radio-Canada piece is correct, Coderre could sweep the lot if he avoided making any big mistakes.

      Maybe Projet should offer Coderre the position of mayoral candidate with Bergeron as his éminence grise! The report suggests Union Montreal wouldn’t be inviting Coderre aboard.

      Line of investigation: is Coderre buds with Gilbert Rozon?

      ant6n, on pondering it, I think I suspect personality to be an indicator of energy, and I’d like to see a Montreal mayor with the energy to stand up to Quebec when needed, for starters. I’m willing to consider it may be a red herring, though.

    • Marc 10:30 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      I don’t mind Michael Applebaum, but you have to remember he was criticized along with Marvin Rotrand by one of the French zealots for not having perfect pronounciation of French. That should immediately disqualify him… /end sarcasm.

    • Michel 11:28 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      What scares me about Coderre is that he’s all about the limelight, pursuing ridiculous agendas, and constantly tilting at windmills.
      Personally, I don’t need another Shane Doan fiasco on the municipal level.

    • Taylor C. Noakes 13:34 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      I heard from a trusted source that Taylor C. Noakes will in fact be running for mayor, despite his long-standing refusal to do so. Independent sources close to Mr. Noakes confirmed, among others, that he “has no prior experience in Montreal municipal politics”, “doesn’t owe any favours to the construction industry” and “has a name most consider to be English, thus making him mentally unfit to govern.”

      Working party names include: Best Party II (The Bestest), Drapeau’s Ghost Party, the Fat of the Land Party and the Option anarcho-syndicaliste souverainiste du Grand Montréal.

      True story…

    • Tantastic Ted 15:23 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      I’ve certainly never heard anything about Applebaum running for mayor. I like the idea tho, but the demerger hurt the chances of electing an anglo mayor. Tremblay is waiting for Coderre to announce before making a decision about what to do next. He has a lot of staffers who are tapping their fingers patiently, waiting for him to make a call, so to be fair he has to set them free with a bit of a headstart, let them go find other jobs or switch to another party of whatever they’ll do.

    • pierre s. 22:11 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      i’d love it if applebaum ran for mayor, as it would smash the anglo/suburban franco coalition that seems poised to elect tremblay forever. the only chance progressives have is for a broad anti-incumbent (and/or anti-coderre, hopefully) wave to unite every francophone riding and enough of the mixed ones against the bad guys.

    • Kate 23:40 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      I think in a way I meant that Applebaum doesn’t have the profile for the job, rather than the personality, but we’ve discussed it so I can’t go back and change that.

      I’m pretty sure it’s outside the bounds of possibility for an anglo to become mayor of Montreal now, for starters.

    • Taylor C. Noakes 08:29 on 2012/09/19 Permalink


      I agree with you, it’s likely outside the realm of possibility.

      Everywhere else its a question of money. Here language and race (or at least apparent race) manage to confound the system and render it inaccessible in addition to barriers already established by money.

      And we thought we were so progressive.

    • Kate 09:04 on 2012/09/19 Permalink

      Here’s a wacky prediction. Coderre joins up with Rozon and other entertainment bigwigs and launches the Bread and Circuses Party. The entire city is deemed to be, first and foremost, an entertainment district and tourism centre. Upside: more jobs; middle side: these are poorly paid entertainment jobs for the most part, and if you’re not young and pretty you’ll be cleaning bathrooms (“what, and leave show business?”); downside: anything not contributing to the city’s glitz will be bulldozed or at least covered up, à la Drapeau.

    • Philippe 11:05 on 2012/09/19 Permalink

      @Taylor: How many mayors can you name who don’t speak the language of the majority, or speak it badly? This isn’t a Quebec/Montreal-specific thing. What *is* a local specificity is that somebody would remark on it, IMO.

    • Kate 12:04 on 2012/09/19 Permalink

      Philippe, I think it only came up because Tremblay’s current sidekick is an anglo, and we were batting around whether there was any chance the man would be considered as a viable candidate. It was just one factor in the discussion.

      Theory: this city does well when the mayor is a francophone but chooses as his sidekick an anglophone from one of the city’s ethnic minorities. Jean Doré did his best work when Michael Fainstat was his sidekick. Frank Zampino actually did good work in his first stint alongside Mayor Tremblay (2001-2005) and got the city budget under control – it was only later, I think, that he lost his grip. And now people seem to think Applebaum is doing a good job in the role.

    • Taylor C. Noakes 12:46 on 2012/09/19 Permalink

      @Phillipe – granted, but just because someone has an Anglo name doesn’t mean they’re incapable of speaking perfect French and being an excellent mayor.

      That said, I think there are many people who would at the very least be wary of electing someone with an English-sounding name.

      You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve been told, by locals no less, that having an English name is strikes one through three w/r/t becoming mayor.

      Never made any sense to me – we used to alternate.

    • Philippe 13:38 on 2012/09/19 Permalink

      I think a charismatic anglo who’s fluent in French could have a fair shot. The problem is when you end up with two bland evasive old men running for office, for sure if one doesn’t speak good French, it’s one strike against for the francos. Pauline Marois’ mediocre English was often remarked upon in the anglo media during the last elections, for example (not that she’d have made the anglo short list otherwise).

      Question: it’s my understanding that mayor Tremblay is not much admired in Montreal, wouldn’t Applebaum just be more of the same?

  • Kate 08:48 on 2012/09/18 Permalink | Reply  

    The Grande bibliothèque has made a corporate partnership with a finance company and will soon start featuring its logos in the lobby and elsewhere.

    Must remember to renew my municipal library subscription, now that I think of it.

    • Kate 13:40 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      The old main city library on Sherbrooke was interesting. I went there for one of the book sales they held before closing, and they were still giving a lot of shelf space to books that were totally dead – way outdated computer manuals, technical texts and outdated science books, lots of books on Catholic views of things that nobody wants any more. If they’d sent somebody sensible in with a dumpster we could still be using that building as a library.

      Anyway, yeah. Do you happen to know whether, if I get a card at a borough library, it works in all of them? It’s not made clear on the city’s website.

    • Robert 13:28 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      At one point, we had central public library that belonged to the “city”. It ran out of space/resources, and instead of expanding/soliciting various levels of government for money, we combined resources with the province.

      What’s left of the old city library system is the borough libraries. The decentralized branches each give their own membership cards, and though they do share a collection, they have the distinct disadvantage of not being directly related to a strong central branch. You need 2 cards to get books at both the Grande bibliotheque and your local Montreal library. You also cannot order Grande bibliothèque books at a local branch either (tell me if I’m mistaken here).

      The Grande Bibliothèque plays a similar role to a civic central branch library, but its mission is closer to that of the National Library and Archives of Canada, which keeps record of Canadian publications, literature, etc. Such institutions have great value, but one that is somewhat less open to local citizens than the “civic library” model that exists in most large North American cities.

      City libraries, university libraries, and state library/archives all have their place, but I think they are best separated.

    • Robert 13:43 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      Not sure but I think so. I had a Plateau one before, and the card was clearly marked with borough’s name. Their website has a system-wide search engine, so I presume you could go to say CdN with my card and take out books, then return them to the Plateau branch, for instance.

    • Robert 13:54 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      By the way, Toronto’s main branch alone has 3-4 times the collection of the Grande Bibliotheque.

    • Ian 14:10 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      You can not use your “local” library card at all Montreal libraries. Except the Grande Bibliotheque, stupidly.

    • Robert 14:19 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      Yeah see that’s a mess.

    • Ian 14:46 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      There’s also an interlibrary loan service, so if there’s a book you want in a different location they can send it to your local library. Not available at all libraries, unfortunately. http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/portal/page?_pageid=4397,6398001&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&id=4

    • Kate 14:59 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      What about wi-fi? I’m really more concerned about the convenience of stopping by any library and using the wi-fi than borrowing books. If I have a library card, can I loaf in any city library on my laptop?

      Also, am I constrained to using the library in my borough? I live in Villeray (east of the Main) but for some reason the city has ordained that a street and a half of Villeray fall within Park Ex, so legally I live in Park Ex. Do I have to hike over and sign up to use only the Park Ex library? The Mile End (RICHLER) library is so much nicer.

    • Kate 19:21 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      Oh, and Robert, this Coolopolis story might explain why we’re still playing catch-up on libraries. Briefly, when other cities were getting Carnegie-funded libraries around the turn of the last century, the offer was turned down by Montreal’s Catholic archbishop, who vehemently did not want his flock reading books.

    • Poutine Pundit 19:53 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      The logos were already in the lobby when I went a week ago.

    • Kate 00:45 on 2012/09/19 Permalink

      I sort of hate it. I know I should be glad the library’s found another source of funding, but I wonder if that kind of thing doesn’t cheapen the whole venture. If you have a corporate sponsor, and someone publishes a book criticizing them, then what? A library ought to be free of obligations, and taking money creates obligations – how could it not?

    • Robert J 14:21 on 2012/09/19 Permalink

      Yeah. I had heard about that as well.

    • Kate 16:41 on 2012/09/19 Permalink

      The borders make a difference during municipal elections. Villeray-Park Ex-St-Michel has a borough mayor and then one councillor each for Park Ex, Villeray, Saint-Michel and François-Perrault, the last named being the southern part of the old town of Saint-Michel with the octagonal street and the metro. My vote goes to Park Ex whereas the people across the street vote in Villeray.

      I should hasten to add that I have no problem with Park Ex and wouldn’t be ashamed of living there – if I did! But the natural eastern boundary of Park Ex is the tracks. It’s just bizarre that the city displaces the boundary to the middle of a street in Villeray.

      I’ll pop over to the Park Ex library sometime soon and see about a card. I used to have one in the Plateau but didn’t update it when I moved up here a few years ago.

    • C_Erb 16:25 on 2012/09/19 Permalink

      @Kate: Parc-Ex and Villeray are two neighbourhoods in the same borough so that wouldn’t be a problem (all the borough libraries in the city are connected so it wouldn’t matter if it was a different borough anyway. My card is from the Sud-Ouest because I got it at a library in Ville-Émard, which they still gave to me despite my Parc-Ex address).

      Also, the city doesn’t really have any hard borders for neighbourhoods within boroughs. I suspect you’re getting the borough borders from the map that came with the recycling bags sent out in our borough a couple weeks ago. Those borders only exist within the solid waste collection realm of existence to split up a very large borough into 4 sections. Those borders don’t really mean anything otherwise.

  • Kate 08:38 on 2012/09/18 Permalink | Reply  

    Speaking of corruption, a Unité permanente anticorruption squad is at the is MUHC offices on Guy Street Tuesday, questioning people and doing searches.

  • Kate 08:35 on 2012/09/18 Permalink | Reply  

    Louise Harel says she wants Quebec to investigate the awarding of contracts in Montreal, but Gérald Tremblay says the idea is disconnected from reality. In any case, the Charbonneau commission will be looking at municipal contracting issues as part of its mandate.

  • Kate 08:32 on 2012/09/18 Permalink | Reply  

    A notorious Park Ex slumlord is refusing to pay fines assessed by the city for keeping his buildings in unlivably wretched condition, and the borough mayor is threatening to seize them. From what I recall reading, they should’ve been seized long ago and renovated on his dime, or maybe nuked from orbit.

    • kg 09:02 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      Story has been mishandled by the media. Digiambattista has mental issues, he’s incompetent and should be under provincial curatorship. But reporters can’t resist portraying him as a symbol of bully landlords. They could find better examples than this stumblebum who doesn’t even bother showing up to his court dates for non-payers. That means that people can live in his buildings for free. Ultimately those meddling to help the tenants are doing them a disservice as they could just do a few basic repairs on their own and live for free without any interventions.

    • RD 20:08 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      Ok then, so let’s shift the perspective on the issue a little bit here: how in the hell is a mentally inept person allowed to be a landlord in the first place?

    • Kate 21:07 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      I presume because he was not mentally incompetent when he bought (or inherited) the properties. Mr. Di Giambattista is not young – he could be descending into senile dementia or be afflicted by some other form of mental illness.

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