Updates from January, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 23:52 on 2013/01/17 Permalink | Reply  

    The STM says that a home Opus card recharger will become generally available by the end of this year, for which you will need a hardware dongle costing $10.

    I thought for a minute it should be simpler to do it this way: you create an account online, link it to your Opus card number and a credit card number, and then you log into the account to buy a new pass or tickets or whatever. But that presupposes a system where every card reader is connected to a central database, instead of reading data deposited on a chip. I wonder if any city is doing that yet.

    • Philip 01:26 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      I was selected to be part of the group testing them out a few months ago, but wasn’t in the country at the time and didn’t get to try it. I guess the tests were successful enough, though.

    • Stefan 03:46 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      in vienna, this is implemented somehow in that sense. you can buy public transport tickets from your phone by sending a text. it is invoiced by the network operator.
      i guess carrying around an extra networked device does not make much sense, essentially with the proliferation of smartphones. also, in austria you can buy train tickets with your smartphone and show the qr code. smartphones are also getting near field communication (nfc), similar as to opus cards.

    • Matt 06:03 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      The Opus card is a bit of a mess. It’d be fun to have the option to pay for fares with a contactless credit card. You know, just in case you forgot your pass or don’t have one. And let’s say you use it several times a day or week, the STM would bill you at the end of the month, charging you the cheapest compatible fare.

    • david m 06:49 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      san francisco does this with the opus equivalent, a dongle seems nuts. stm seems to have invested in the wrong system

    • Frédéric 07:42 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      In the pilot tests, you could not use a Mac with the charger. Let’s hope they changed their requirements.

    • Adam Hooper 07:50 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      I wrote about this for OpenFile. As I understand it, the only way to implement a dongle-free system would be to inform every card reader in the city of your purchase. However, they aren’t all connected to the Internet regularly enough, and even if they were, their memory is too small to handle it.

      If I recall correctly, London has solved both problems. But the OPUS card is province-wide, meaning it would be more difficult (read expensive) in Quebec.

    • Mal 08:34 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      Auckland, New Zealand has an online system, although they’re overhauling it.

    • Marc 09:48 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      @ Frédéric: I should hope so. Any competent software engineer should know the golden rule: code once, run anywhere.

    • Tux 09:49 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      I can’t wait to get my hands on one of those dongles.

    • Dave M 09:53 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      Matt, that’s effectively how London’s Oyster card works. You put money on it, and when you use it it takes off the price of a ticket. If you’ve used it enough that it goes over the price of a day pass, it caps it at the price of a day pass. I’m not sure if it caps the number of day passes at the price of a monthly pass or not, but I’ve always found that system makes a lot of sense.

    • Ant6n 10:10 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      I tried it when i was still a student, but it could only charge regular monthly passes and single tickets. I wonder whether it still works now…

    • Nick D 10:52 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      Incredible that they actually want people to buy a piece of hardware! Don’t they know that other cities exist? London’s Oyster is the reference (https://oyster.tfl.gov.uk/oyster/entry.do)

    • Kate 11:24 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      I’m wondering whether the availability of the dongle will lead to reverse-engineering and counterfeit Opus chips. (In fact, to be honest, I’m a little let down that no local hacker has done this already, although it’s not like I want the STM to be defrauded. It just seems a little lacking in débrouillardise.)

    • Kevin 11:29 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      @Nick D
      Communicating with transit organizations in those cities would require (key word there) someone who works for the STM having sufficient knowledge of English, and the STM says that’s not allowed save for certain employees who deal with tourists in certain geographically constrained areas.

    • Frédéric 11:46 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      @ Marc This should be true and easy with high level languages (e.g Java), yet interfacing with devices is usually more complicated. Still, Java was also part of requirements for the pilot, but maybe only for user interfaces.

      Given the pilot took place in October and did require Windows, I highly doubt Mac will be supported now.

    • John B 12:04 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      From what I understand your fare info is stored on the chip on your card, not in some central database, this is why you need the dongle. However, I’ve heard that it *would* be possible to buy your pass online, then swipe your card at a machine in the metro which would “activate” your fare, (I’m guessing by putting the fare info into your chip), but I think this is what Adam referrs to when he says that we’d have to connect every card reader in the city to the internet, (however, I’ve heard that London has something like this working).

      A middle ground would be to have some other machines in stations where you can’t buy passes, but you can swipe to activate passes. Of course this means another complication and another whole set of hardware.

      As an aside, when I was riding the AMT regularly a couple of years ago, there were machines to buy your pass at and machines to validate your pass at, (for 10-ride tickets or whatever), but you still had to validate your monthly pass at the validation machine at least once per month… so maybe some of those validation machines could make their way into STM stations?

      Either way, Opus hasn’t lived up to its promise. Why can’t I buy a 30-day pass mid-month? That was possible in NYC 15 years ago, at least!

    • Andrew 12:16 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      I subscribe to the Opus a l’annee program and I haven’t had to touch an Opus machine in more than a year. My credit card gets billed once a month, my pass just keeps working.

      I have no idea why this system works for subscribers but can’t be used for tickets.

    • Bert 18:55 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      Dave, the drawback of the Tube system is that you must also swipe OUT also, to know what zone(s) is to be charged. I can only image the traffic jams at McGill, Peel, Guy, Momo, etc. at rush hour.

    • Kate 19:26 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      If they can manage in London, with three to four times our population…

    • SN86 14:45 on 2013/01/19 Permalink

      Is there a real need for home re-chargers? The STM has few fare types (tickets, weekly, monthly) and regular users only buy monthly passes. Presumably if you use public transit often, you pass by the fare vending machines several times a day so I don’t see what’s so hard about stopping by once a month. And if lines are an issue, you can add your monthly pass on the evening of the 1st of the month since the old pass works on the 1st. And if you use tickets, buy 30 at a time, they don’t expire.

      As for hacks, I don’t think anyone’s going to be announcing it. Everytime I’ve discovered something advantagous $$, I’ve kept it quiet.

    • Ant6n 17:17 on 2013/01/19 Permalink

      What if you don’t pass through any metro station when commuting. It’s not like you can purchase a monthly pass a month ahead of time.

    • SN86 18:25 on 2013/01/19 Permalink

      Many depanneurs and drug stores have OPUS recharging machines and they’re located all over the island. http://stm.info/English/tarification/a-pointsdevente.htm

      I always wonder why there are lines at some downtown stations with pharmacies right next to the station to buy fares. Also they take cash, something the vending machines have trouble with. Spitting out all your cash (in coins) just shy of the total.

    • Scottie 14:29 on 2014/02/24 Permalink

      See the Presto card in Ontario, including Ottawa, for a different approach.


      By logging into your account on the website, you can load money on your card. You can also set it up so that this happens automatically.

    • Abbas 12:24 on 2015/03/02 Permalink

      This news was announced on 2013 and they said: (“The STM says that a home Opus card recharger will become generally available by the end of this year”)
      But now, we are in 2015 and there is no home charger which is popular to buy and work.
      So what happen to this project ?!! I really wonder if any one follow it about why we still don’t have such this mechanism to charge our opus very easy ?!!

  • Kate 22:26 on 2013/01/17 Permalink | Reply  

    A new centre for encouraging small business startups was launched at the UdeM this week, which pairs neatly with the announcement of the official opening of Notman House as a cradle for tech startups (which I thought it had already been doing for a couple of years).

    • thomas 22:40 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      Notman House has been previously operating as a temporary project for a number of years. The opening refers to the outright purchase of the buildings (previously it had only been rented) as a permanent institution for hi-tech startups.

    • Kate 22:50 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      Thanks for the clarification!

  • Kate 22:17 on 2013/01/17 Permalink | Reply  

    The redevelopment of the old Outremont railyard sounds promising, with the city hoping to impose a more varied urban pattern than the endless condo developments that have cropped up as infill for years. In fact, 50% of the space should be given over to businesses that create jobs, and efforts will be made to open up the area to the surrounding streets.

    I’m a little puzzled by this description of the area: “ce quadrilatère de 1 km2, essentiellement bordé par le boulevard Saint-Laurent et la rue Hutchison, au nord du boulevard Rosemont.” There is no such thing. Rosemont doesn’t exist west of Saint-Laurent, and the area I think he’s thinking of, which is north of Van Horne in that area, is already occupied by a massive Home Depot and its parking lot. I think he must mean an area further west, which is more triangular in shape. The Gazette’s for once a little clearer about the location being talked about, although describing it as “the one-kilometre-square territory surrounding the intersection of Parc and Jean Talon Aves.” is not too precise either. Metro posts a map but you can’t zoom into it.

    Also it boggles my mind a little that it’s going to cost a billion dollars. But infrastructure doesn’t come cheap.

    The Gazette item has a notice at the end about public consultation coming up.

  • Kate 19:35 on 2013/01/17 Permalink | Reply  

    J-F Lisée launched the video and song Notre Home today as a gesture to the anglo community. It’s to be followed by a tour, has a website, yadda yadda. Meanwhile, Sainte-Agathe has been ordered to stop communicating with citizens in English.

    • Robert J 19:43 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      (puked a bit in my mouth)

    • Noah 19:55 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      How dumb does this guy think people are? Seriously.

    • qatzelok 20:32 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      I have never figured out how “issue” songs work. All those “Aid for Africa” songs had people gawking at has-been performers crooning out really mediocre pop music. But did it feed people? Will this song help to stop Anglos from shooting Quebec leaders? I hope it works.

    • Frédéric 20:45 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      It appears Québec’s contribution is only for the tour, the song and video themselves are an initiative from QCGN (Quebec Community Groups Network, a not-for-profit organization bringing together 41 English-language community organizations across Quebec) and received federal funding, as suggested by the end of the video.

      Here are more details about the tour (from http://www.notrehome.ca/):

      Here are the main objectives of Notre Home awareness Tour:
      -Foster a positive, inclusive and unifying message between the Francophone majority and the English-speaking community
      -Build more bridges between the Francophone majority and the English-speaking community
      -Promote English-speaking Quebec’s culture in Quebec society and demonstrate the ongoing commitment of English-speaking citizens towards the uniqueness of Quebec’s French culture
      -Contribute to youth retention in the regions and to their full participation in Quebec’s social fabric

    • No\Deli 20:57 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      I’m not sure that seeking the PQ’s stamp of approval/funding was such a good idea. Check the youtube comments.

      Recall this gem churned out by the Bloc several years ago? Similar in inspirational tone. All full of that same special, love-thy-neighbour spirit that practically defines Quebec politics. [Anglos even get a little pat on the head at 1:32! Makes me want to go out and hug somebody – as long as they’re exactly like me!]

    • Jack 21:09 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      I know the QCGN has money to spend but “Notre Home” is the same sort of forced,non-agit prop that makes listening to groups like Loco Locass so painful.It is not art, it is ideology pimped into politics.

    • Marc 21:53 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      @ qatzelok: I realize you have a deep-seated hatred for anglos, but now you’re paintbrushing it even further alluding that anglos in general shoot Quebec leaders.

    • Bill Binns 22:36 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      @Marc – We all know that Richard Baine was thoroughly brainwashed, manchurian Candidate style, in the basement of a Westmount castle for years as part of a far reaching Anglo conspiracy to assasinate Her Immaculate Highness, Queen Pauline.

    • qatzelok 07:01 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      @ Marc : “I realize you have a deep-seated hatred for anglos”
      I used to, but the song really helped.

    • John B 11:55 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      qatzelok just won this comment thread. Kate can close it now ;)

    • glenn 12:12 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      Just to lighten the mood, did anyone else notice the irony that for English ears, the informal french pronounciation in the chorus seems to be telling us “Not Home”. Surely someone else must have noticed this. They maybe could have thought about a better cross-cultural title such as “Our Foyer” – works in French and is kind of funny in English.

    • Louis 14:37 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      @glenn: Sounds a lot like “Hors foyer”, since “our” is difficult to pronounce for a francophone, so the irony works both ways.

    • Ian 19:16 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      Straight up g-LOL to qatzelok. That’s the best thing I’ve read on the internet all day. “West Island hip-hop artist” Keeping it real on the “mean streets” of… who the hell cares what cultural wasteland.

    • Ian 19:20 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      Seriously, I’m embarassed to see this being presented as “anglo culture”. How incredibly (and transparently) pathetic. I guess any of the real anglo hip-hop artists in, say, NDG wouldn’t do because why? Too black? Too authentic? There’s actually a lot of really, really good hip hop in Montreal – listen to CISM (for instance) and you’ll get an earful. This project is good intentioned I’m sure but that song is sad, embarrassing, and will convert nobody. Notre Home is fantastic, said nobody.

    • Jack 12:49 on 2013/01/19 Permalink

      Ian is dead right, I mean growing up on the mean streets of Beaconsfield can help your art, but who the hell are these folks?

  • Kate 19:33 on 2013/01/17 Permalink | Reply  

    A 7-kg lobster intended for the pot has been donated to the Biodome instead.

    • C_Erb 22:00 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      A lobster that big would taste terrible anyway.

    • carswell 01:04 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      «A lobster that big would taste terrible anyway.»

      Wrong. There’s no appreciable difference in taste, except that really small lobsters and lobsters that have just molted often taste bland. The only problem with big lobsters is having the equipment (e.g. a large enough pot and a stove with the requisite BTUs) to cook them properly.

      I was first clued into this fact years ago on one of the rare occasions that I walked into Milos. In the lobster tank was a beast so big that I thought it was a fake, an oversized replica they’d put into the tank so it wouldn’t look empty. Then it moved. When I expressed my doubts about its edibility to the maitre d’, he quickly set me straight. That particular lobster was big enough for a table of ten or twelve.

      But don’t take my word for it; a Web search will provide confirmation from more authoritative sources.

    • Kevin 09:21 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      Eating an animal that’s as old as I am just seems wrong.

    • GC 09:48 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      I’m curious how the age might affect the taste. I’m assuming not in a positive way, but I’m just guessing.

    • John B 11:51 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      I’m not sure about taste, but according to these folks an old lobster is a tough lobster.

    • Kate 13:15 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      The Journal has a report in which they’re calling the lobster Goliath, although if I recall correctly the Biodome has a policy against naming its denizens. (CBC says it was the IGA workers who first spotted the beast that called it Goliath.)

  • Kate 11:19 on 2013/01/17 Permalink | Reply  

    The Société du Vieux-Port will soon no longer exist and its much criticized chief, Claude Benoit, will be out of a job as of February 28. The Société was created by the Canada Lands Company to manage the Old Port, and while Benoit may have exceeded her expenses budget at times I don’t think anyone says she did a bad job over the last 15 years. (The QMI article pats itself on the back pretty hard for bringing her down, so I suppose she isn’t a Péladeau supporter.)

  • Kate 10:32 on 2013/01/17 Permalink | Reply  

    The National Post gives kudos to The Link’s Riley Sparks for last September’s exposé of a shabbily run homestay company which Concordia was using for its Chinese students. Recent news is that the university has cut its ties with the company.

    • Faiz Imam 19:22 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      I was a photographer back when he was photo editor there, He was very good then. I’m happy to see how far he’s come.

      I would expect him to be hired by a major journalistic entity soon. I’ll look for it as an indicator of where Canadian journalism is at.

    • Kate 12:12 on 2013/01/19 Permalink

      Except that “major journalistic entities” are cutting back hard. I would hope that someone with real journalistic chops could still find a job, but it’s not a profession with a promising future.

  • Kate 10:18 on 2013/01/17 Permalink | Reply  

    Interesting brief interview with Claude Cormier, the urban landscaper behind the Village’s pink baubles, the Palais des congrès’s lipstick-pink trees and the beach at the Old Port, where we no doubt see too many pink bodies in the summer. Journalist does not ask him about his favourite colour.

  • Kate 10:15 on 2013/01/17 Permalink | Reply  

    I’m sure most fans already know this, but just because it’s all over the local media I’m noting that the Alouettes have lost head coach Mark Trestman to the NFL’s Chicago Bears.

  • Kate 10:13 on 2013/01/17 Permalink | Reply  

    The czar of the Lachine hospital wants the government to make a quick decision about its fate as many of its staff put in for transfers to other MUHC services before it moves into a different health network. But it sounds like the final decision won’t be known till May.

    The Gazette has a piece explaining why language became such an issue at the Lachine hospital all of a sudden – linked by Kevin just below, but I thought worth editing into the post as well.

    • Kevin 10:24 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      Mario Beaulieu sets PQ policy.
      A guy who most francophones I know describe as a crankpot with no following, a guy who can barely scrape together a dozen people for a protest, a guy who is at the helm of 3 or 4 or 6 different ‘organizations’ that all do the same thing so he can pretend he’s got numbers, is setting government policy.
      That’s really all you need to know.

    • Jack 12:45 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      I found this and found it to be an eloquent portrayal of Beaulieu’s operating logic. As Kevin pointed out almost every single proto-nationalist group emanates from the same PO box and address, its hilarious.

    • William 14:35 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      What can we say about the fact that the OQLF is across the street from the SSJB… is there anything worth saying?

    • No\Deli 15:38 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      Prioritizing ‘language’ over human health and safety. I’m sorta dumbstruck.

    • Doobish 17:15 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      Institutionalized hate, paid for by your tax dollars.

  • Kate 10:08 on 2013/01/17 Permalink | Reply  

    As Frank Zampino comes up before the court to talk about things that happened while he was chairman of Gérald Tremblay’s executive committee, Linda Gyulai talks to Jean Fortier, who held that role during Pierre Bourque’s second term (1998-2001). Fortier talks about the many ways in which the chairman can be assailed by the dark forces swirling around city hall hoping to feast on its lifeblood.

  • Kate 01:10 on 2013/01/17 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s not Montreal-specific but I’m fascinated by this article from Le Soleil that explains how Hydro-Quebec’s massive electricity surpluses are costing us big money. We’re looking at rising electricity prices to cope with this madness – and we need answers to other questions too, like why the utility has been so keen to dam even more rivers over the last few years.

    The CAQ is demanding that the utility be more answerable for its operations and for once I think I agree with them.

    • steph 02:25 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      Inflate costs to justify increasing government regulated fees. Sounds awfully familiar to how the universities have built satellite campuses to justify increasing student fees.

    • Stefan 03:57 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      in electricity it is often overlooked that offer and demand are both varying a lot and those two do not meet because of different causes and also cannot be met easily because energy storage is also very wasteful (e.g. pumping back up water with the generated energy also need construction of a large basin).
      consumer demand in quebec peaks in winter and there is actually a lack of energy, so hydro-quebec has to import energy at stellar prices (20c/kwh i think). hydro, wind and solar are at the mercy of the weather, obviously.
      so the cost mentioned in the article to hydro-quebec is a virtual one, and since it is owned by the government, just shuffling from one pocket into the other. offsetting the previously energy-buying cost by the smaller production cost for wind energy or other alternative technologies there makes utter sense. especially now that the nuclear plant is shutting down.
      i suspect the CAQ, as any right-wing party, just wanting to profit from the above confusion, in order to move money into private pockets.

      the price of electricity is government-regulated, which is not a bad thing per se, but at its very low cost contributes to making quebec the most wasteful society on the planet in terms of electricity. it benefits the rich much more than the poor, since they usually have more house to heat/cool + heated outdoor pools and so on.
      raising the price of electricity and putting the money into better insulation and developing such technology could, at least in theory, level off the cost effect for the poor, while generating many, many local ‘green’ jobs. it has worked in germany and austria.

    • William 09:36 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      Thank you Stefan!

    • qatzelok 10:21 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      About the low cost of hydro in QC, Stefan wrote: “it benefits the rich much more than the poor”

      It’s hard to really claim that a discount price on an essential amenity benefits the rich more than the poor. Virtually everything I’ve read about oil, water, electricity or food prices says just the opposite of what you’re claiming.

    • Kevin 10:29 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      Perhaps it happened while you were banned, but many people argue that free education is a subsidy to the rich.
      See, the rich, being educated and understanding the value of an education, come hell or high water will ensure their kids get an education.
      The poor and the average, thinking things are worth what you pay for them, don’t bother getting an education if it’s free.

      Now, make education cost something and offer scholarships to the poor, and then you’ve got a win-win situation. (which was rejected by 1/3 of students and 90% of people on this blog, but whatever. You’re still all wrong :P)

    • Kate 10:38 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      Kevin, I’m having a little trouble figuring out how this comment links to the Hydro-Quebec problem in the original post. Are you implying we’ll only value electricity when it’s several times more expensive than it is now?

    • Kevin 10:40 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      Somehow my response to Qatz appears before his post.

    • Ant6n 11:04 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      Unlike with electricty, most essential services cannot be utilized by rich people hundred times more than poor people. I.e. if poor people actual bother to get an education (which apparently would be very surprising for those bums), they’d cost the same as rich people getting an education. If you subsidize milk (for example), then rich people couldn’t consume hundred times the milk poor people could. Even for transportation subsidies it’s hard for rich people to use up much more than the average.

    • Kate 11:14 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      Kevin, try reloading the page – sometimes I see comments out of order too, till I do that. qatzelok posted at 10:21 and you at 10:29, so it should fall back into order.

    • Kevin 12:27 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      Ah but there are ways and there are ways. Subsidize anything and someone will find a way to take advantage of broken market principles.
      (fr’instance, high-fructose corn syrup and the whole ethanol industry only exist because of subsidies for growing corn.)

      We’ve had low rates for electricity for generations, long enough that almost all buildings in Quebec are heated by electricity, so unlike other places our electrical demand is highest in the winter – exactly when our supply is least effective.
      The flipside is the province has far too much capacity in summer, when we must sell it or lose it, so we take any price we can.

      So how about this: gradually eliminate the electrical price-fixing, and in 10 years we see people using a wider variety of heating sources in the winter. That eases the demand on Hydro’s network in winter, meaning it doesn’t need to keep expanding, and we can get a higher price for excess juice in summer.

    • Ant6n 16:25 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      Your point is unrelated to qatzeloks question. But yeah take any market, and somebody will find a way to take advantage of it. The existence of subsidies changes the outcomes of the optimization of the market, if you call that “breaking” it, then that’s your opinion. I believe that the role of government should be to ensure that the skewing of the market it engages in results in outcomes that are overall beneficial to society.

      So from some a certain point of view, heating with electricity makes sense. Because in Quebec we use hydro power, the emissions for heating are relatively low. And in summer the rest of North America needs a lot of electricity to drive A/C units, so there seems to be a good match.

      I’d argue it makes more sense to improve building insulation, rather than switch to more polluting methods of heating.

    • Chris 16:30 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      @Stefan How about shutting down a few turbines when there’s no demand? I wonder if this way the storage and the surplus issue would go away.

      Also, Gentilly is shut down, is this taken into account in the “analysis”? (using quotes because I feel that there’s something left out of it for the sake of reporting alarmist news)

    • Stefan 04:52 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      @chris: i think this (letting the turbines idle) is done where there is no pump-up installation and networks would be overloaded. in any case what i tried to explain is that this ‘cost of the surplus’ is just on paper. the generated electricity is still sold (at a very low price), but if it is not generated at all, there would be no income at all to balance the regulated price hydro-quebec has to deliver for its _planned_ capacity. i think the linked article is a good example of misinformation (and probably some interest behind it).

      @kevin: the point i was trying to make above is to redirect market forces (by regulation) to create jobs locally by making people pay more who use more electricity, e.g. more than heating an average apartment. distorting the market so that people would switch to non-renewable energy is imho not desirable.

    • Kevin 09:26 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      @Stefan & @Ant6n
      Insulation improvements would naturally happen if energy costs were higher.
      But I as I mentioned in the noise topic on this blog, with electricity so damn cheap it’s not worth the cash for most people to bother with insulation.

    • Alison Cummins 20:19 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      Much of this looks like good planning to me. We have a surplus now but we’re going to have lots of cheap electricity when energy prices go up. It’s hard to build dams following price fluctuations in real time. They have to be planned and built in advance. When we don’t need the surplus is exactly the right time to build a dam. If we’re short of electricity when we’re building then we’re too late.

      Other places generate their electricity by burning fossil fuels. No wonder it’s expensive and inefficient: much better to simply burn the fossil fuel onsite. They think electric heating is crazy and they’re right. We’re in a different situation.

      Subsidizing electricity sold to the Québec population is a smart move in the long run. Yes, our infrastructure adapts to artificially cheap electricity instead of slightly less cheap fossil fuel. Then when fossil fuels become waaay more expensive we’re already set up with electricity. The price of electricity could be allowed to float and it will still be cheaper.

      Some of it looks like the inevitable private sector subsidies. Companies bargain with provinces for good deals so that they will set up or invest in one province as opposed to another. That in this case it is done by having Hydro-Québec agree to buy energy from forestry industries is incidental. If it weren’t that it would be a tax holiday or something else.

  • Kate 01:04 on 2013/01/17 Permalink | Reply  

    Stacey Snider, who was at the wheel last August when her BMW collided with an STM bus, killing her passenger – her mother – as well as the bus driver, will be charged with one count of impaired driving. The maximum sentence she may have to serve is 18 months. Maybe we’ll hear more about the circumstances that will explain the relatively minor judicial response, although I suppose it could be argued that killing her own mother is punishment enough.

    • Churchy McGee 08:37 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      Her child was stillborn.

      Was being treated for severe depression after a divorce.

      Killing your mother after all that is punishment enough. It doesn’t make what she did right, not at all, but at least it reminds me of just how fragile we mere humans really are.

      Don’t neglect your mental health.

    • Ant6n 09:39 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      Does it say anywhere what she did when the accident happened? Or in which way she caused the accident?

    • Kate 10:26 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      Ant6n, I have not seen any details about the collision that would clarify how serious a driving mistake she made.

    • Chris 10:29 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      It wasn’t an “accident”, it was a collision. “accident: an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally”. It is hardly unintentional to choose to drive drunk, and it is hardly unexpected that doing so can result in a car crash. Using the word “accident” in such cases is, in my view, part of our automobile-centric culture and apologetic. Alas, it’s a good match for our ‘no fault’ insurance and justice system where motorists get rarely more than a wrist slap.

      This woman, if found guilty, should loose her license for many years. But won’t. :(

    • Kate 11:11 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      Chris, you’ll notice I never used the word “accident” in my post or followup. I’ve been schooled! But I believe English is not Ant6n’s first language, so let’s cut him some slack.

      Do we know that Ms. Snider was drunk? The only things I’ve seen say she was “impaired” and if Churchy McGee is correct and she was being treated for severe depression, her impairment could have been from legally prescribed drugs.

    • Chris 11:34 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      I wasn’t trying to single out Ant6n specifically, but rather elucidate everyone. Apologies for any confusion.

      Well, I know only what I’ve read in the media of course. I suppose it could be another kind of impairment, but I’m not sure that changes much. Many drugs cause impairment and doctors and pharmacists warn in these cases. CSR 519.8.1 states “No driver shall drive if the driver’s driving ability is impaired to the point where it is unsafe”. Booze, pot, sleeping pills, doesn’t matter.

    • Ant6n 16:30 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      Well, we’ll see how this’ll play out. That there was a collision is not proof that the driver was impaired to the point where it was unsafe. Accidents do happen. I just think one should fight that urge to ask for punishment; even saying “her mother died, that’s punishment enough” implies that punishment is … desirable in this case. Based on what I’ve heard so far, that’s not obvious at all for this case.

    • Michel 19:49 on 2013/01/17 Permalink

      @Churchy, are you for real?? Killing her mother was punishment enough? What about the bus driver? What about his family? What about the 16 injured passengers, two with head injuries?
      But, you’re right, she should have mercy because she’s now an orphan, correct?

    • Kate 00:53 on 2013/01/18 Permalink

      I’m not sure I believe punishment ever does anything besides satisfy a desire for revenge, but I guess we need something in place to act as a deterrent. Our justice system has a problem with barring people from driving, though: consider this case in which a man with five prior convictions on drunk-driving charges took the official seizure of his truck (over two further drunk-driving charges) all the way to the Supreme Court, which voted unanimously in favour of upholding the seizure. A court in Quebec had previously ruled it was unfairly harsh to take the man’s wheels away.

      I haven’t figured out yet why the Supremes agreed to hear this case or how a man whose only asset was a truck valued at $1000 managed to get a case all the way to Ottawa.

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