Updates from September, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 21:13 on 2012/09/25 Permalink | Reply  

    The Charbonneau commission really began to cook today with the news that major construction bosses were seen at the Consenza Social Club doing business with Rizzuto family associates.

  • Kate 20:43 on 2012/09/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Good news for Montreal here: the new government is prepared to do some rethinking of the Turcot rebuild to bring it closer to what Montreal wants, and it’s definite enough that some scheduled demolition is being delayed until decisions are made about things like moving the railway or not.

    • Steph 22:05 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      Are they going to write a $7.8-million cheque to cancel this contract too?

    • david m 22:11 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      wow! excellent news!

    • Kevin 07:07 on 2012/09/26 Permalink

      Oh great. The project’s going to be put on hold until the next election.

    • Taylor C. Noakes 08:03 on 2012/09/26 Permalink

      They need to keep some of the superstructure, close it off to cars, and turn it into a local Highline-style park.

    • Matt 08:43 on 2012/09/26 Permalink

      As much as I like the idea Taylor, I’m not sure they’d go for it.

    • Robert J 11:27 on 2012/09/26 Permalink

      @Taylor yeah I don’t think Turcot’s built as well as the rail line they used to make Highline in New York. As much as I find it visually impressive, it should probably be straight up demolished.

    • Kate 12:25 on 2012/09/26 Permalink

      I have hopes for this. The idea of moving the train tracks onto a more marshy surface, part of the project when the Liberals left off, was incredibly foolish – both expensive and dangerous. Various engineers and others have suggested saner solutions to replacing the Turcot and maybe now those ideas can be reviewed.

    • ant6n 14:06 on 2012/09/26 Permalink

      I’m liking this government more than I thought.

    • Kevin 11:20 on 2012/09/27 Permalink

      I know I’m in the minority on this blog saying this, but we need the Turcot. It needs to be much bigger and even at 330,000 vehicles is far under the needed capacity.

      Until the Ring Road around the island is built (which will be never) and as long as we have a working Port there needs to be some way to get cargo around. And for better or for worse, that’s last-minute shipping via trucks.

      (And don’t bother saying West Island commuters should find another way. If there was another way, they’d be doing it. But the AMT is pathetic.)

    • Jack 14:24 on 2012/09/27 Permalink

      @Kevin, you sure are and I would argue you are even deeper in the minority of those who will be subjected to more car harrasement.

    • Kate 18:01 on 2012/09/27 Permalink

      Kevin, I don’t think it’s realistic to talk about removing the Turcot, because a whole large piece of this city has grown up around the expectation they’ll live in the West Island and commute into town, or something like that. But I don’t want to see the bandwidth increased because the more cars that can use it, the more will use it.

      The pattern of lives, work and commutes may be quite different 100 years from now – when, if we’re lucky, people will look back at our times and think we were completely nuts to sit in traffic for hours and hours every week – but right now a lot of people need to get to and fro along that axis.

      If somehow the Turcot vanished tonight, all we would have tomorrow would be a nightmare commute on the Met for most people. And then another highway 20-Turcot-Decarie would be built.

    • Kevin 10:04 on 2012/09/28 Permalink

      The problem is that nightmare commute already exists.
      When cars are bumper-to-bumper for a full 8 hours a day in the Turcot — and even longer around Decarie Circle — it’s obvious that the existing infrastructure is inadequate.

    • Kate 10:33 on 2012/09/28 Permalink

      Radically, I would submit that people have to learn either to live closer to where they work, or work has to be done more and more from home. I realize a lot of jobs have to be done on site, everything from cooking to nursing to construction work, but man oh man, there are so many make-worky white-collar jobs that could literally be phoned in if people weren’t such bloody pack animals, having to congregate somewhere every day and act out their little office dominance-submission games. We really have to get past that as a trend (most humans in history haven’t done that, it’s not a given of our existence and it’s a very unhealthy way to live, besides).

  • Kate 12:50 on 2012/09/25 Permalink | Reply  

    The city has to make repairs of conduits coming from the McTavish reservoir, so some streets will be closed around the area for as much as nine months. The Gazette has a map and notes that the reservoir has existed in some form since 1856; shorter summary in Metro.

    • Stefan 15:04 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      any day is car-free day, somewhere in montreal :-) no need for the official thing …

    • ant6n 22:46 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      Except it’s more likely car-detour day.

  • Kate 12:34 on 2012/09/25 Permalink | Reply  

    François Cardinal points out that the status of Montreal isn’t clear in the eyes of the PQ government. A region, a metropolis, a metropolitan area, are these all the same thing? J‑F Lisée is our new insect overlord, whatever it is.

    Regular reader Jack pointed out this link to Lysiane Gagnon’s column on Lisée and his recent history with identity politics. This doesn’t just make him a doubtful envoy to Quebec’s anglos, but to polyglot Montreal too. Patrick Lagacé echoes similar thoughts.

    Journalism sidenote: Gagnon references a weekend Le Devoir column by Jean Dorion, longtime nationalist guru, in which he distances himself from the impending charte de laïcité and its implications. Does she link to the column? No. In the Gazette blog section Don Macpherson summarizes the Dorion column, but does he link to it? No.

    This is petty journalistic territoriality. You are on the web (especially if you’re writing a soi-disant blog). BE of the web. Link to the item you are referencing even if it’s on the site of a competitor. Otherwise you leave the reader hanging. (I had seen the Dorion column and looked at it, but it took me five solid minutes of searching today to find it again – and by now, believe me, I know how to find newspaper items. But newspapers typically make it trickier to find anything more than a day or two old.)

    • Kevin 13:01 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      ‘Sfunny, because Macpherson linked to that Devoir article on the Twitter, so you know he’s not reading the print copy.

    • Kate 13:23 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      Yeah. I don’t know whether the media have a policy against freely crosslinking to sites they may consider competition or whether it’s just something journalists refrain from doing reflexively. Either way they may want to rethink the effect on the reader’s experience. (Although this is still not as bad as the increasingly common media trend to hit you in the face with a javascript popup nagging you to sign up for a mailing list or the like, before you can even start to read an article you’ve followed a link to. Luckily most of our local media have not yet jumped on this bandwagon. Talk about acting as a deterrent to readers.)

    • Martin 13:34 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      Lysiane Gagnon writes first for the paper edition, then Cyberpresse just copy her article as is on its web site. Maybe she should review each of her column for possible added links before letting it be posted, but she don’t and nobody else does for her. It’s not petty on her part, it’s just lazy.

    • Poutine Pundit 14:58 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      The original article is great. It is better than Macpherson’s snooty summary. I subscribe to Le Devoir and, despite what Macpherson says, it has published a fair number of articles critical of Marois’ ill-advised “charte de la laicité.”

    • Jack 16:09 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      @ Poutine Pundit your dead right that Saturday Le Devoir blew me away, Jean Dorion’s piece was truly extra ordinary and reflected a lot of what was being written here during the election campaign ( maybe he’s a closet reader). Right next to it was a piece by Pierre Nepveu a well known Quebecois poet and the biographer of Gaston Miron. His piece was a real eye opener , written from the perspective of Franco literary lion living in ………NDG.

    • Charles Lanteigne 16:32 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      Exactly right.

      Most websites are held back by their poor search functionality. Their search “engines” are worthless, handing you completely irrelevent documents from a decade ago and make it almost impossible to find something from last week.

      I typically just fall back on Google to do a “site:” search instead, and have better results.

    • Kevin 07:11 on 2012/09/26 Permalink

      I’ve worked for some media companies that did have policies against cross-linking.
      I suspect that with the Macpherson piece, it comes down to whoever takes the article and puts it up on the website. If the writer provides them with the link they’ll insert it — but if they don’t, they don’t.
      (And you can compare to Henry Aubin, who frequently puts in links, even in his print pieces)

    • Kevin 06:53 on 2012/09/27 Permalink

    • Kate 10:33 on 2012/09/27 Permalink

      Ha ha. I should teach at J school.

  • Kate 10:54 on 2012/09/25 Permalink | Reply  

    The Journal says Guy Turcotte goes for solitary, unsupervised bike rides in Pointe-aux-Trembles, always returning to the Pinel Institute where he’s currently living – so far.

    On the one hand, the man was not judged a danger to the public, and it would not be easy for him to run away. On the other, there might still be a risk of suicide. But the underlying motive for this story is probably more to appeal to people who think Turcotte ought to be in jail, treated as a convict and not as a psych patient. Because it’s quite reasonable to allow a recovering psych patient some outdoor exercise, right?

    • Tux 12:47 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      Whether in prison or set free, I’d wager that Mr. Turcotte will spend the rest of his life in a hell of his own making. That’s punishment enough for me. Like Vince Li he will never be able to escape what he’s done.

    • david m 15:58 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      well, he’s a trained medical physician, he could easily just move down to the usa or to europe (or really anywhere that he could see his degree recognized), sit their exams and begin again as a doctor. sure, he’ll have some regrets, but i’m guessing that time and activity can dull that particular blade, maybe he’ll marry again. you know, he could even change his name and lie about where he’s from (say that he’s portuguese or french). no, this guy belongs behind bars.

    • Kate 21:27 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      So you think all his medical training ought to be thrown away, just put him in a cell, get him to make license plates or whatever they do in there?

      I’m not sure what I think. If he’s capable of working again as a cardiologist, why not? Is everything he does from now on tainted? I can see why people might feel that way, but it does seem a waste of talent, effort and financial investment in his skills.

    • Kevin 07:12 on 2012/09/26 Permalink

      Guy Turcotte is Quebec’s OJ. Too many people question the verdict.

    • Dave M 10:53 on 2012/09/26 Permalink

      Perhaps they should his skills as the prison’s doctor.

    • Kate 12:26 on 2012/09/26 Permalink

      I was thinking it might make for an interesting movie setup, highly trained doc arrives in jail, can’t help himself making diagnoses, giving first aid, not sure where I’m going with this but you can see various ways it might work out. Corny version has him saving the prison warden’s life in some way.

    • Kevin 12:06 on 2012/09/27 Permalink

      Season 6 of House the cranky doctor was a patient in the psych ward. Season 8 began with him as a convict ;)

  • Kate 10:48 on 2012/09/25 Permalink | Reply  

    The Link was hinting around it would have a bombshell article today, and it does: a well researched story about how Concordia recruits profitable students in China but how what they get in Montreal is far from what’s promised.

    • Kevin 11:51 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      The following clause caught my eye because it rang so true to my personal experience: “Cooking is not allowed unless the home has seen your ability in the kitchen.”

      For 6 years I lived in a Family Housing highrise at UBC which was mostly occupied by immigrant students and whatever family they brought over — including children and grandparents — in 3 or 4 1/2 room apartments.

      The fire alarms went off at least twice a week. From the first day we moved in until the last. The running (down the stairs) joke for my wife and neighbours was to guess which floor was responsible each time.

  • Kate 01:09 on 2012/09/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Richard Bergeron says if he were elected mayor he’d abolish boroughs and cut the city into 65 districts with one councillor each. I sort of see his point that having 19 mayors in the city is kind of silly. La Presse reports the story a little differently, not saying Bergeron would abolish boroughs, but that he’d reduce their number.

    • Dave M 07:10 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      That seems like an odd position for them to have. If there weren’t any boroughs (or fewer), they wouldn’t have been able to do any of the things they’ve done in the Plateau, which is pretty much the only place they’ve been able to implement their policies.

    • Stefan 07:38 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      It makes sense, because if they have a council majority (not only mayor, since I guess the mayor cannot change the structure), they would have more direct control over the boroughs, ALSO over those which would not have voted their party on their borough council.

      My opinion is that it makes a lot of sense to centralize the aspects of urban planning (as there are: traffic, developments, public transports and others). Vienna for example is extremely centralized and that works well there. Are there examples of decentralized cities with good urban planning?

    • Charles 08:09 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      I don’t get it either. There are a lot of good things happening thanks to the borough system all over the city. We’ve tried centralized systems before and it was slow and never fitted the local needs. It’s a one size fits all solution. Every couple of years, we centralize everything (at great cost) then realize it was a mistake then decentralize everything (at great cost).
      Just centralize the management of services and decentralize decisions, like a client-server computer model where the central city offer its services to the boroughs. That way you have an economy of scale and decision are still made as close as possible to the neighbourhoods.

    • ant6n 08:23 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      Berlin. This was in the 90ies, after the wall came down. From what I can gather the city government was pretty out of touch, dreaming of grandeur, always wanting to build something new rather than keep the old, even if there’s nobody to finance it (‘let’s get rid of the old first), and generally not interested in the details of what was good for a building, a block, a district. I’m related to the person who ran the urban planning department in Mitte (the central borough) and they had a vision that fitted the area much better on a small level, and they ended up preserving a lot of buildings, keeping the area very mixed use (i.e. residents stayed) and preventing a bunch of anonymous office skyscrapers.

      The city as a whole did do transportation planning, with lots of funding from the feds, and that worked out fairly well (most notably they consolidated all rail transit through one giant train station, with a couple of outlying stations) – of course the Greens would’ve preferred like 50km of TRAMs rather than 5km of new subway.

      There are certain services that are centralized at least from the users perspective, like the library system (one card can be used everywhere) and pools/beaches. But I bet behind the curtain they do work together with the boroughs and the city to keep it all running.

    • Tux 10:05 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      All I want is to be able to pay the resident rate to use Hampstead’s public facilities (pool, tennis courts etc.) I live like a 5 minute walk away, in Snowdon, but I have to pay so much more.

    • david m 16:00 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      and all i want is for the pq to demerge the reactionary and far distant areas that keep montreal down.

  • Kate 01:07 on 2012/09/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Walking to school is riskier in Montreal than anywhere else in Quebec – not too surprising, considering there are more people here driving more cars.

    • Jack 06:18 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      What a dumb headline by La Presse. Just think of the thousands of parents reading the headline and not the article ( bumps and bruises, no fatalities) and then instead of letting their kids walk to school exacerbating the problem by driving.

    • Ian 10:44 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      That’s one way of looking at it – another is that by bringing up the issue of the dangers of traffic congestion, more parents might get behind traffic easing initiatives. Everyone thinks they’re a great driver but very few don’t think the rest of the city drives like crackheads – it’s easier to push change if people think there’s a crisis.

    • Jack 20:03 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      @ Ian I don’t think La Presse is looking to get people to look at traffic calming. I think they are pleasing their advertisers.”Get your kid in a Hummer I guarantee they will get to school safely”

  • Kate 01:04 on 2012/09/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Despite our chronic political grumbling, a study shows that Canadians are happy, that teenage Quebecers are exceptionally happy, and that four of the country’s five happiest cities are in Quebec – yes, including Montreal, but none of its suburbs.

  • Kate 01:01 on 2012/09/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Projet Montréal says that the awarding of city water-filtration contracts show signs of collusion among a couple of major firms.

  • Kate 00:52 on 2012/09/25 Permalink | Reply  

    A woman was killed by a truck in the Baron de Hirsch cemetery on Monday. This is the Jewish cemetery near de la Savane, and the odd thing is that it’s very flat and open (at least compared to other cemeteries in town, which have hills and trees and other visual obstacles) – it’s hard to picture how such a mishap could occur.

  • Kate 00:36 on 2012/09/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Pointe-à-Callière museum is running a contest asking for votes to pick the top 5 Montreal songs, ending October 7.

    I’m not his biggest fan, but how you can bring together 25 songs about Montreal and leave out Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” I do not know.

    • Kevin 07:28 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      I went through the list of 25, and the only songs I had heard of were Illegal, Montreal -40, and Le blues de la Metropole…

    • Taylor C. Noakes 09:12 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      It’s too bad it’s not the top songs to be written and recorded by Montréal bands, that would throw the door wide open.

      Hmmm, blog post coming up…

      I would have put Walter Rossi’s Down by the Waterfront, Harmonium’s Le premier ciel, Beau Dommage’s Tous les palmiers, Aldo Nova’s Fantasy and Frank Marino’s Dragonfly.

      But that’s just me. Those songs aren’t all about Montreal (at least not directly).

    • Steve Quilliam 10:17 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      Even before seeing the list of 25 choices I wanted ”Je reviendrai à Montréal” and ”J’ai souvenir encore” to be there. And they were. For me these are the two, hands down. It’s just that I can’t decide which one.

      As fas as ”Suzanne”, by Leonard Cohen, it is indeed an amazingly beautiful song but it isn’t about Montreal. Yes the story takes place in Montreal but it’s not about it. Just like Gino Vanelli’s ”I just want to stop”. It takes place in Montreal in a very nice way but it isn’t about Montreal. Big difference IMO !

      But too bad John Labelle’s ”theme for Montreal” wasn’t in the list. I really like it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXZRgChhTCE

    • Clément 10:22 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      Well, you made me pull out a Leonard Cohen CD this morning.
      And also look the wikipedia article about the song. You learn new stuff everyday.

    • Kate 10:30 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      Steve Q: I submit that “the sun pours down like honey on Our Lady of the Harbour” makes the song about Montreal.

      Kevin: how could you have missed that Ariane Moffatt song? It has a catchy riff and an excellent video.

    • Steve Quilliam 12:09 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      @ Kate: I understand all the references about Montreal and they are beautiful. But do you think it is obvious to just anyone ? If I send this song to my friends in New York or elsewhere in the world, will they know that it is about Montreal ?

    • Kate 12:40 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      Steve, anyone who cares enough about Cohen to know where he comes from will know. Unless you feel the song must definitely namecheck the city, I think it should’ve been on the list, but I’m not about to make a federal case out of it.

    • steph 14:19 on 2012/09/25 Permalink

      Just look at their list and consider how many song titles are “Montreal” to get a bearing on how obvious they wanted the choices to be. :shrug:

    • Kevin 07:15 on 2012/09/26 Permalink

      @Kate Cuz I never listen to the radio?
      @Steve Q I have a copy of that song! Used to hang out with John in the ’90s, seen him perform at least a dozen times.

    • Steve Quilliam 09:23 on 2012/09/26 Permalink

      @Kevin Oh great ! Was he performing that song in the 90’s or it’s more recent ? I wish the song would be more popular especially around the Jazz fest. If it we’re me I would have a woman doing a french version and I would constantly play both versions all the time during the jazz fest. I would want every local and tourist to leave with that song in their head. It’s easy, it’s catchy and it’s jazzy…

    • Kate 01:06 on 2012/09/27 Permalink

      Kevin, I never listen to radio either, but that song was mentioned in a lot of places a couple of years ago.

    • Kevin 12:07 on 2012/09/27 Permalink

      John wrote in in the 90s and I have it on a CD somewhere.
      It’s not my favourite tune by him. It’s a song I *want* to like, but I think he was trying too hard.

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