Updates from January, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 22:32 on 2013/01/03 Permalink | Reply  

    Chris Hadfield tweets this fantastic image of a snowy Montreal from the space station.

     
  • Kate 18:51 on 2013/01/03 Permalink | Reply  

    The Toronto Star has a piece on whether we’re ignoring the most vulnerable in our society now.

    Of course we are. I’ve been pondering this a lot, what with Idle No More and so on, and I think it’s incredibly simple.

    The Harper Tories only identify with winners. They’re not interested in anyone who is a loser, or who takes the part of a loser. Losers include the poor, the disadvantaged, the unemployed. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is – if you’re down on your luck you can fuck off and die. Only if you have money and are interested in making more do you have any meaning to the current Canadian government.

    Even the NDP is laughable, with its obsession with social justice. That just means spending money on losers. Harper knows that isn’t the way to turn Canada into a machine for making more money for the rich.

    Harper will never talk with Theresa Spence. Spence may die, or her allies may convince her to end her hunger strike. It’s all the same to Harper and his friends. She means absolutely nothing to them. She presents no danger.

    It is a human tendency to mock the weak, to laugh at the clumsy, to kick the person who’s down. Individual survival sometimes really does mean tagging along with the successful rather than hanging behind to help the weak. But as a society, we have to decide whether we’re going to be hardline social Darwinists or not, and embrace the implications if we are. If we are, we have to calmly accept, one by one, that if we lose earning capacity by aging or getting sick or injured – showing weakness – we accept that it’s our duty to fuck off and die. We can’t expect our society to show us pity if we can’t turn a profit.

    Another explanation for the Harper philosophy is here from earlier in 2012.

     
    • Faiz Imam 20:04 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      I wish you had a +1 or like button of some sort. There’s not much I can add to that except say how amazingly eloquently that was put!

    • Marc 21:17 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      Brilliant. Just starting reading this blog recently and am very impressed!

    • RaoulDuke 21:56 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      Yes, eloquent hyperbole and false dilemmas. Sheesh! Someone’s a Debbie Downer. Cheer up, @Kate. Happy New Year!

    • Kevin 08:44 on 2013/01/04 Permalink

      And this is a surprise? Harper got into politics with one goal and only one goal: eliminate the federal Liberal party as a viable choice for voters.
      I agree that Harper is not going to meet with Spence. For one she’s ‘not really on a hunger strike’ since she’s eating soup, and number two discussing any decision made after the fact with anyone outside the fold would violate the conservative ethos of loyalty.

    • Kate 10:26 on 2013/01/04 Permalink

      Not a surprise, just a response to a current situation. Harper’s is a mean, mean god.

    • qatzelok 11:17 on 2013/01/04 Permalink

      @ Kate: “Harper’s is a mean, mean god.”

      Yes, greed is a mean god.

      Let’s not try to make Harper seem more spiritual than he really is.

    • Kate 11:31 on 2013/01/04 Permalink

      Well, read the Tyee piece I link in the last sentence there. “[Harper's] church believes that the free market is divinely inspired and that non-believers are ‘lost’.”

    • Kate 12:01 on 2013/01/04 Permalink

      Harper has agreed to meet with native chiefs January 11.

  • Kate 13:32 on 2013/01/03 Permalink | Reply  

    The Mile End Mission on Bernard is beginning to struggle with the perception of the neighbourhood as fairly wealthy, a relatively recent trend.

     
  • Kate 12:25 on 2013/01/03 Permalink | Reply  

    The captain of the ship Mississauga Express received the gold-headed cane for being first into port this year; usually this honour is awarded on New Year’s Day but this year bad weather held it back.

     
  • Kate 12:21 on 2013/01/03 Permalink | Reply  

    La Presse is looking at how residential streets turn into autoroutes, destroying the peace and quality of life in neighbourhoods; public health doctor Patrick Morency says flatly there are too many cars. Another sidebar points out the high rate of damage done when drivers take neighbourhood streets at autoroute speeds.

    As a non-driver I’m wondering: is there in effect an unlimited number of license plates given out by the SAAQ? What if the SAAQ could only give out a certain number of plates per area, after which if you wanted to drive you’d have to be on a waiting list till someone else surrendered a plate for whatever reason?

     
    • David Tighe 13:53 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      Kate: are you serious. Lovely idealistic idea but they would not dare to. Actually I admit I would not like to be the person who has to wait.

    • Philip 14:03 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      Seems like an unreasonably unfair type of system, or at least not the best way to curb driving. Unless you could limit it to downtown residents (which would still be unfair), you can’t expect the rest of Quebec to be limited to a plate quota. Other than the few dense cities and towns Quebec has, the rest of the province needs cars to get to food/work/etc. because walking and public transport aren’t existing solutions (by impossibility or lack of usefulness).

      Plus, there’s nothing wrong with letting people have cars to get off the island and travel. People shouldn’t be subject to that kind of limitation. Interurban bus networks can’t sufficiently cover more than a 20km radius before towns and destinations become radically inconvenient, expensive or simply ignored.

      The number of cars licensed has little to do with the ‘apparent’ necessity for in-city highways and in-city driving. It’s the incentivization and availability of public transport as an alternative (as well as bypasses like the new beltway that just opened.) Driving in Montreal for commuting, getting to a store or going out to an event/attraction/bar is what’s wrong: citizens of the cities and its suburbs who’d rather drive than use what’s available.

      Nothing wrong with someone having a car in their driveway to use to hop onto the 10 bring the kids to grandma’s every other weekend.

    • Philip 14:09 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      For your consideration, though:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoy_No_Circula

    • Kate 14:13 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      Philip: The number of plates would correspond to the area. If you lived in a rural area there would likely be no limit. If you lived in central Montreal you’d have to wait. Some people might try an end-run around this by registering their car at a grandmother’s in Rimouski then using it here, but if caught out, they would lose the right to a plate for a couple of years.

      Yeah, I’d be draconian. I’d make Luc Ferrandez look like Rob Ford.

    • Ant6n 14:18 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      How about congestion pricing when driving into an area bound by the train tracks in the east, and Decarie in the West.

    • jeather 14:38 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      What happens when you move with a car? But again, I think we need better/more public transit, not just heading downtown in the mornings and away in the evenings. The metro is great — if you happen to be going somewhere near a station. The trains are useless. (I’d like drivers to pay more of the public transit costs, via whatever taxes — and/or bridge tolls, which could totally have congestion pricing — make sense.)

      I don’t know that a Congestion Charge Zone, like London’s, would work here. Hoy No Circula often means that people get two cars so they can drive on the off days, and the second car is an older, more polluting one. I don’t believe it’s been as effective as one would wish.

    • jeather 14:46 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      We also need a lot more enforcement of laws against speeding on residential streets, going through red lights or stop signs, turning when you don’t have priority — if we had some tolls and taxes and a reasonable likelihood of being caught breaking the law driving as the stick, and cheaper public transit as the carrot, I think that would help.

    • Ant6n 15:14 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      @jeather
      Stockholms model may be more replicable here

    • Bill Binns 16:24 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      I think there are lots of people who would be thrilled to give up their cars if public transport was not so unpleasant and unreliable. I take the Metro maybe 2 or 3 times a month but in 2012 that was enough to get stranded at least three times due to individual lines being down or the whole system going down.

    • Philip 01:09 on 2013/01/04 Permalink

      @Bill: It’s unusual how inconsistent the metro trains are. I don’t doubt it was down that often, but for the better part of two years I rode the metro once or twice daily, and I can only remember one instance where it was shut down for so long that I opted to get out of the train and leave. Once in two years.

      I don’t think public transport is unpleasant or unreliable: most of the time I find it to be the opposite. The two biggest problems, to me, are a) rogue bus drivers who make up their own schedules day after day and b) the insufficiency of AMT departures in almost every direction.

      People are going to drive around the city less if public transport gains appeal. The metro is at capacity and runs near perfectly, in my opinion. The problem is everywhere the metro doesn’t touch.

      (Solution: penalize drivers who purposely disobey their schedules, and convince the train track monopolies to allow 10+ more departures on the Vaudrueil-Hudson line.

    • Kevin 08:55 on 2013/01/04 Permalink

      Given there are people in my neighbourhood with Ontario and New Hampshire license plates, I think @Kate’s idea just wouldn’t work.

      [And seriously, there is no fucking way I would have seen any of my family over the past two weeks without people owning cars. Reveillon Xmas brunch Xmas dinner New Year's Eve Next week's birthday... With families scattered throughout a 40 km diameter area that is not accessible via public transit. It's just not happening without a car. Today's the first day I was actually able to walk the kilometre to the metro station and stay on the sidewalk... ]

      But if it did and was enforceable, you’d likely end up with something like NYC’s taxi medallions. That city decides how many cabs it wants on its streets and sells medallions accordingly. (It usually goes years – sometimes up to a decade – between deciding to issue more medallions).
      Taxi owners sell their medallions when they want out of the business.

      The current price for a medallion is $700,000 to a million dollars.

      Yeah. Any politician who proposed this would be laughed out of office. Any politician who attempted to implement this would be buried.

    • Michel 10:13 on 2013/01/04 Permalink

      “I’d make Luc Ferrandez look like Rob Ford.”

      Well, they’re both fat fucks who can’t be bothered to attend council meetings, so…. :)

      Seriously, though, what if we emulated London’s model, where Boris the Red implemented some sort of toll system? It would put money in the city’s coffers, which could be used to improve the public transit.

    • Kate 10:33 on 2013/01/04 Permalink

      Michel, I wouldn’t mind seeing something like a congestion charge come about here, but wonder if we have the sheer numbers to make it work like London’s system. London’s simply a much more massive conurbation (8,174,000 people in 2011) than greater Montreal (3,824,221), in a much, much tinier country.

      Also, the UK has far more security cams than we do – that country is crazy for security cams – so we’d have to invest a lot before making such a system work.

      Also, I don’t think Ferrandez is fat.

      Kevin: Yes yes yes, but that would change. Do you think in 100 years’ time your descendants and their families will still be behaving that way? They won’t be able to. People will face crazy charges to drive, high gas prices, limits on where they can go and where they can park. They will have to!

    • Ant6n 11:12 on 2013/01/04 Permalink

      Again, Stockholm, not London.

    • Kevin 13:34 on 2013/01/04 Permalink

      @Kate
      We would need to see drastic growth to Montreal and Quebec’s population, growth unprecedented in human history, to create any significant change.
      The simple fact is the territory known as Montreal is pretty damn huge. 431 square km for the city proper, ten times that for the urban/suburban land mass.
      We live moderately close at 1.6 million in the city, but even that is nowhere near dense enough to create the kind of change you propose. Let’s compare to NYC, which squeezes 8.2 million people into 786 km2. Manhattan has 1.5 million residents in just 59 square km (an area equivalent to Old Montreal) AND STILL OFFERS FREE ON-STREET PARKING YEAR-ROUND. Not even a permit system.

      Montreal has oodles of room for as many people as we can cram in, and we are surrounded by farmland and villages. In 100 years Montreal’s population could double, triple, quadruple, and it wouldn’t change a thing. If the price of gas goes up (as I well expect it will) it does not mean the car will disappear (the concept of personal vehicles is too useful and has been around for time immemorial). It just means another energy source will come to the fore.
      People will still be parking their cars on the street (probably with a Hydro QuickCharge outlet in every spot) and those with excellent access to GREAT public transit will use it. But you need the high capacity/high frequency / high density service to convince people to give up cars, and that needs to happen first.

    • Kevin 01:22 on 2013/01/05 Permalink

      Dunno what I was thinking with that old Montreal reference. Strike that. The old city is about 1 km 2.

  • Kate 12:20 on 2013/01/03 Permalink | Reply  

    Latest report is that 70% of last week’s snow has been picked up.

    I still have no sidewalk and my main concern right now is whether this means Canada Post is staying away till it’s cleared.

     
    • dwgs 13:55 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      That’s gotta be some straight up bullshit. Unless every neighbourhood but NDG / CDN has already been cleared. We’ve been getting mail btw, but then we have an excellent carrier.

    • david m 14:18 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      it’s a valid concern, we missed 2 weeks of mail in 2010-2011, and they never re-delivered it, i had to pick it up down at the central.

    • Kate 14:22 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      david m, how did you find out your mail was at the central?

    • SN86 18:54 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      All my storm day mail & packages came on the following Sunday. Although package delivery sometimes happens on Sunday this was the first time getting mail too.

    • walkerp 22:16 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      One side of our street got done last night and they are doing the other tonight. Rue Clark.

    • Jo Walton 07:42 on 2013/01/04 Permalink

      I’m in NDG and there’s still no sign of my sidewalk. Canada Post have been here every day, they are amazing, and I’ve also had UPS and FedEx deliveries since the storm. I can even live without the sidewalk. One of my neighbours dug what’s essentially a tunnel across the sidewalk to the centre of the street where it’s clear enough to walk. It just gets very irritating when cars park directly in front of that, because that means I’m pretty much trapped in the apartment and even thoroughly able bodied people might have problems.

      Anyway, they may have cleared 70% of the snow, but no way 70% of the streets.

    • jeather 10:28 on 2013/01/04 Permalink

      I cannot fathom why, but they have now cleared both sides of my street, and the sidewalks are marvels of visible pavement. Three sidewalk cleaners alone did a little dance last night, weaving between the trees and the fences, just missing them all. I’m not complaining, of course, but I still don’t understand why the second side was done while some parts of NDG still were waiting for the first side (or had been, the day before when I was in the neighbourhood — no clearing either side, no signs).

    • Kate 10:35 on 2013/01/04 Permalink

      Lucky people! Friday morning my Villeray street hasn’t been cleared yet, and I haven’t had any mail since the storm. And it’s snowing again!

    • Jo Walton 12:28 on 2013/01/05 Permalink

      Saturday morning: I have a sidewalk again! The other side of the street is still just a huge pile of snow.

  • Kate 12:02 on 2013/01/03 Permalink | Reply  

    Emergency wards are being hit hard by this year’s flu season. Note that the media are still saying you have to be in certain risk groups to get the free vaccine at a CLSC, whereas anyone who asks will get it for free.

     
    • Susana Machado 12:21 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      Unfortunately, I know many people who would have stayed home and tough their flu out if they didn’t need a doctor’s note for their employer and so they head to the emergency…. Meh.

    • Kate 12:24 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      That is a legitimate point. Public health ought to look into this, because it means contagious sick people have to get up and go out, trailing viruses, to get such a note. Given we’re almost all on the internet now there must be a better way to manage this.

    • Marc 12:52 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      Getting your shot, proper coughing/sneezing etiquette (into your sleeve, not your hand), and proper handwashing are the best defence. It shocks me how many people visit the washroom and don’t wash their hands when done their business.

      And yeah, I thought too by now this whole working from home thing would be more commonplace, but it isn’t.

    • Kate 12:55 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      A lot of folks are not trusted by their employers. Not all work can be done remotely, but plenty of people have to commute solely so they can be under a supervisor’s eye all day. Until we start treating each other as adults (which may never happen) I don’t see how this will be resolved.

      But if this note business is general and flu is an issue, why not have flying flu teams? You call 811, within the course of the day someone shows up, takes your temperature and looks you over, and if you’re really sick they email your boss and say “Yes, Marc really is sick, he has to be home for another three days” and everybody calms down.

    • Mark 13:12 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      I credit working from home as the reason I’ve barely been sick in over two years. Yay for isolation!

    • Matt 20:21 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      Is anyone else up in arms over having to pay $30 for said doctor’s note?! Good idea, Kate. Write the minister of health.

    • walkerp 22:17 on 2013/01/03 Permalink

      Got my shots this year. We shall see how I fare.

  • Kate 12:01 on 2013/01/03 Permalink | Reply  

    I guess a holiday truce is over: a Saint-Léonard gym was firebombed early Thursday morning.

     
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