Updates from January, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 19:05 on 2013/01/22 Permalink | Reply  

    Hydro-Quebec is asking us to reduce our power use tonight and for the rest of the week. They’re expecting a record pull of megawatts as temperatures dip to –27° in Montreal Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

  • Kate 18:27 on 2013/01/22 Permalink | Reply  

    Quebec is earmarking $50 million for green spaces, waterfront access and so on in Montreal.

    On the whole I’d normally approve of this – but when health care is being cut back?

    • walkerp 07:32 on 2013/01/23 Permalink

      If people get out more to these new green spaces, they’ll be more healthy.

    • Kate 07:38 on 2013/01/23 Permalink

      Yes, in the long run, but if you’re already sick a park won’t cure you.

    • Clément 07:48 on 2013/01/23 Permalink

      The problem is that there’s never going to be enough money for health care, no matter how much money is poured into the system. If we were to wait for the healthcare system to have enough money before we invest in “trivial” things like green spaces, there would be no green spaces.
      So much money is spent on the healthcare system, but year after year, a growing percentage of that money doesn’t go to providing healthcare, but to layers and layers of administration, efficiency consultants, bad real estate deals and everything else like Arthur Porter.
      So the fact that the healthcare system is expensive and broken should not be an excuse to prevent investing in the future.

    • Stefan 08:26 on 2013/01/23 Permalink

      the fact is that healthcare is not underfunded, compared to other countries, but its performance (canada last in a representative number of industrial countries, quebec last province in canada) is catastrophic, according to a poll among doctors: http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/01/21/systme-de-sant–le-qu_n_2521106.html

    • William 08:36 on 2013/01/23 Permalink

      Kate, that is in fact incorrect. It depends on what the sickness is.

    • Carrie 11:24 on 2013/01/23 Permalink

      50% of Quebec’s budget goes towards healthcare. They’re never going to fix it when it’s a free for all, (despite all the BS media you read) and yes, it is underfunded. That’s the trouble with socialized medicine (and I’m a fan of it), but ultimately, it isn’t sustainable. I know it’s a holy grail, but having worked in the system for a couple of decades and counting, I’m all for private healthcare for those who can afford it. It would take a lot off pressure off the system but it’ll kill whichever government launches it in eventual economic desperation which is also a matter of time. Someone’s going to have to pay more for it. Your not taxed enough?

    • Blork 11:26 on 2013/01/23 Permalink

      It’s definitely interesting that this $50 million investment comes right after the MUHC’s announcement of a $50 million cut (you mentioned that a few posts ago). While it’s hard to look at those tit-for-tat numbers and not shake your head I have to admit I’m not against spending money to make the city more livable.

  • Kate 18:03 on 2013/01/22 Permalink | Reply  

    Slightly odd account here of a violent attack on a jewelry store in Park Ex begins with a misleading lede: “Police are at the scene of a violent attack in Montreal North” and throws in the irrelevancy “The neighbourhood is also home to three schools.”

    Also: “Instead of handing over the precious goods, Global Montreal is told the four employees inside fought back.” Precious goods?

    • MB 19:13 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      The “three schools” note means it was probably written by someone who comes from one of those places where neighborhoods are planned to have one thing at a time, as opposed to the traditional city neighborhood that has everything all jumbled together all interesting-like and such.

    • Jonathan 19:43 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      My understanding is that precious is a technical term to describe a stone which is considered a gem. Some for precious metals, like gold and silver. So wouldn’t it be alright to consider precious goods to be precious stones and metal?

    • Raphaële 20:28 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      I know of at least two schools in a two block radius from the store, I feel it was relevant to mention. Its also on this same block that in November a teenager was stabbed.

    • C_Erb 22:03 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      I saw police cruisers and one of those big vans on St-Roch on my way to French class (at the nearby school) but didn’t know what was happening. It was near a jewelry store so maybe those were the “precious goods”

    • Kate 07:42 on 2013/01/23 Permalink

      There have been two arrests in connection with the incident.

      Jonathan: yes, I know it was a jewellery shop, it was just an odd phrasing.

      Raphaële: yes, it’s a mostly residential area and there are schools. The store robbers weren’t out for chalk or textbooks, though.

    • Chris 08:45 on 2013/01/23 Permalink

      OMG protect the children!

  • Kate 17:20 on 2013/01/22 Permalink | Reply  

    Vision Montreal is making a point of the under-use of the lookout chalet on Mount Royal, saying a few vending machines is not sufficient to make it interesting. I like their view that events in the building should be open to the public.

    • John B 17:25 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      Events aren’t open to the public? My understanding was that you can’t rent it out for a private event, (like a wedding), so what kind of non-public events *are* held there?

    • Kate 17:39 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      One of the articles says 30 “événements protocolaires” were held there, presumably the city using the building for diplomatic or similar functions from time to time. I don’t see any problem with the city using the building for things like that some of the time, but if groups are encouraged to take over the building and create events – there’s mention on Quel Avenir of pop-up projectsPensons à des ateliers culinaires, de la bouffe de rue, des projections de film, des séances de yoga – they should be for the public.

      As one of the articles reminds us, there’s no parking nearby the building. You can leave a car in the parking lot, but you have to walk some distance to get to the lookout, not the kind of thing most bridal parties will want to do. Les Amis de la Montagne doesn’t want that walking/cycling path to be used for motorized vehicles except in emergency and I think that’s wise.

    • steph 21:44 on 2013/01/22 Permalink


    • William 23:29 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      ZZZZzzzz another non-issue wasting valuable council time. Slightly less annoying than Grumann Taco’s war to overturn 50 year old public hygiene policy…

    • Ian 00:24 on 2013/01/23 Permalink

      ..a public hygiene policy that makes Montreal one of the few major cities in North America where you can’t buy street food, mostly because Drapeau thought it was gross… That aside, I agree that the food services at the chalet are pathetic; it’s basically the worst kind of cafeteria food… especially considering the much better fare available at Beaver Lake. This is a major tourist attraction with major international draw; not having decent food available is incredibly short-sighted. This could be a real venue but instead it’s a blight.

    • William 08:42 on 2013/01/23 Permalink

      It IS gross. Hot dogs in NYC = Gross. Chestnuts roasted on 44-gallon drums in Paris = Gross. 99 cent pointe de pizza = gross. Not to mention all the litter that they generate. And then there is the social cost. I’m not really interested in a nivellement vers le bas with regards to what other North American cities do. It’s kinda hypocritical that you complain about cafeteria food but argue in favour gutter nutrition…

    • Bert 09:39 on 2013/01/23 Permalink

      William, if you find it gross, don’t buy from them. I would rather eat from a place where the food is probably fresher, due to rotation, and where it’s easier to poke your head in, and where there is a greater accountability (since you are talking to everyone in the kitchen.

      If you want, and to go out on a tangent, require all of them to post the results of inspection reports, like what is done in most cites. Be it a Green-Yellow-Red, A-B-C, percent score, whatever.

    • Ian 11:13 on 2013/01/23 Permalink

      @William, Ok then, let’s just cut right to the chase and say “one of the few major cities in the world” instead. While it’s fairly apparent that you and I disagree what adds value to the urban experience in this regard, I am curious as to what “social cost” you think street food entails.

    • William Raillant-Clark 11:29 on 2013/01/23 Permalink

      The problems with regards to enforcement of labour and taxation regulation within the “street food” sector have been raised by other commentators in the past. I consider the health costs, smells, environmental costs, visual pollution and general filth caused by junk food trucks and carts to be reason enough for Montreal and countless other world cities to very tightly regulate this part of the junk food industry.

    • Doobish 12:35 on 2013/01/23 Permalink

      There’s an annual concert series that takes place in the chalet. Chamber music, I think. Always wanted to attend one, but they’re too pricey for me.

      I wish they’d do another resto like the one at Beaver Lake. That thing’s nice.

  • Kate 17:10 on 2013/01/22 Permalink | Reply  

    The MUHC is cutting $50 million to make ends meet, and continuing to promise that patients will not feel the bite.

  • Kate 15:08 on 2013/01/22 Permalink | Reply  

    A 12-year-old boy accused of shooting his brother in the head Monday in Dorval is in youth court Tuesday although the charges he faces haven’t yet been made public.

    Update: He’s charged with manslaughter and possessing a prohibited firearm and is being held. Wow. What about the parents, where were they?

    • Chris 08:48 on 2013/01/23 Permalink

      12 is old enough to know not to shoot someone. Glad they charged him.

    • Kate 09:10 on 2013/01/23 Permalink

      12 is the minimum age to be charged at all, but I still wonder where the parents were, and who (if anyone) owned the gun.

  • Kate 10:33 on 2013/01/22 Permalink | Reply  

    A breeze of sanity in Tuesday’s Le Devoir on the subject of non-mixed swimming hours in Cote-des-Neiges: La vérité, c’est que ce faux scandale n’est qu’un autre prétexte pour dénoncer, sous le couvert de la vertu, des cultures incompatibles avec l’uniformité hermétique que certains voudraient imposer au Québec.

    • Bill Binns 11:45 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      It’s a small thing but better not to set a precedent. The one thing I can get together with the PQ on is their enthusiastic secularism.

    • jeather 12:26 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      The secular crucifix? They’re not secular, they’re just anti people who aren’t generally indistinguishable from lapsed Roman Catholics.

    • Bill Binns 12:48 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      The same justification is used for the crucifix that is used for the giant illuminated cross on top of Mount Royal “it’s been there a long time” but I’d like to see both gone.

    • Ephraim 13:53 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      @Bill Binns – Can we get rid of the cross in the middle of the Quebec flag as well?

    • Blork 13:57 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      I like that there’s a big lit-up thing on the mountain. Too bad it’s a cross. But I’d hate to see it taken down out because of some imposition of political correctness, for the same reason I’d hate to see them raze St. Joe’s Oratory or the basilica in Old Montreal. They’re well known landmarks. Sure, they have some history, but they’re no longer symbolic, merely historical.

    • Ian 14:08 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      Oh, is that why the cross on the mountain turns purple when a Pope dies?

    • Kate 14:40 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      Bill Binns, it’s no precedent. It wasn’t that long ago in Quebec that swimming would have been strictly segregated by sex. Because something came in with the winds of change in the 1960s doesn’t give it the status of “always been so and should always be so.”

      I think it’s fine to have mixed swimming most of the time, but allow some hours of single-sex swimming as well. It responds to a need from the community.

    • Bill Binns 14:52 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      I think it’s interesting when two politically correct forces collide. Here we have a situation where a woman can show up at a public facility and be barred from entering because she is a woman. In any other context this would cause rending of garments but when we say it’s a religous accommodation everything changes. I guess this means that religous accommodation trumps absolute gender equality on the PC hierarchy.

      I can only hope that a transgender person gets wind of this controversy and decides to show up for one of these gender-exclusive hours. It would be so interesting to see if these ultra-religous people are as liberal as their supporters. The irony of such an event may tear a hole in the space–time continuum.

    • jeather 14:54 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      I actually have no objection to the cross on the mountain, which has actual history related to it but lacks the totally secular symbolism of putting a crucifix in the National Assembly (which was put there by Duplessis). My point is simply that the PQ isn’t secular by any reasonable definition of the term.

    • Kate 14:57 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      Bill Binns, I don’t think it even has to be seen as religious. Some people come from more conservative backgrounds and prefer to swim in a setting that excludes the other sex. This benefits people who are shy or modest or retiring for any reason as well as people of various religious backgrounds.

      I don’t feel excluded from the men’s bathroom. I would not feel excluded if I attended a Y and there were a couple of hours a week I couldn’t use the pool. I’m sure in normal practice the pool is used to teach kids sometimes and adults can’t go in, so sometimes it would be used for men only and women couldn’t go in. BFD. It’s a shared resource, take your turn.

    • John B 16:42 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      Bill Binns, there’s human rights case in Toronto where a barber refused to cut a woman’s hair because his religion forbids him to touch a woman or something like that. So, we’ll see whether her right to equal treatment is more equal than his right to freedom of religion, or the other way around.

      Here’s a link from November, apparently the case is supposed to go to mediation in February, so we’ll see what happens: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2012/11/15/toronto-haircut-mcgregor.html

      In some ways it’s kind of too bad that the case is going to mediation. If it went up through the courts, maybe the supreme court could tell us how things actually supposed to work.

    • Philip 20:36 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      ^I wouldn’t want a supreme court decision on that kind of thing.

  • Kate 10:30 on 2013/01/22 Permalink | Reply  

    Some brief notes on corporate headquarters in Montreal teetering on the brink.

    • Ephraim 13:54 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      Domtar has an exemption from Bill 101. I wonder how much the government and OLF bend when it involves jobs while saying the complete opposite in public and to their constituents?

    • Ian 14:11 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      “Every head office established in Québec by a business firm whose activity extends beyond Québec and more than 50 % of whose average gross income during the 3 years prior to the request accrues directly or indirectly from outside Québec is entitled, upon written request of the firm, to be recognized as eligible for an [exemption].” http://www.canlii.org/en/qc/laws/regu/rrq-c-c-11-r-3/latest/rrq-c-c-11-r-3.html

    • Ephraim 15:14 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      So in other words, BMO, RBC, Bell and CN would all legally be entitled to an exemption. Videotron would not, since SUN is smaller than the cable unit.

    • Anto 15:43 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      Funny how some people blame the language laws for being inflexible and radical, and when it’s proven not to be, blame it some more for being dishonest.

  • Kate 10:29 on 2013/01/22 Permalink | Reply  

    McGill, which seems to be in an escalating struggle with its own students, is trying to sidestep access-to-information requests by students looking into how the school is administered. Even Le Devoir suggests it’s being done as an irritant and not in good faith.

    • erydan 13:11 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      Should probably be reworded as ” trying to sidestep access-to-information requests by students fishing for scandals” Their websites name says it all.

    • Ephraim 13:56 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      Maybe access to information should come with a price tag, so that it isn’t abused. No reason why McGill or any other institution should have FREE access to information, just access to the information. McGill should be allowed to reply with the costs to process and provide the information and ask for it to be paid before they have to do the work. That will cut down on the useless requests. The newspapers can afford it and deduct it as part of the cost of their work.

    • John B 16:46 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      In some jurisdictions there is sort of price tag, although it’s not high. If it takes more than a certain number of hours to prepare the info you request then you have to pay a per-hour fee, (although it’s low, like $5/hr or $20/hr or something). I think that’s the way the federal Freedom of Information system works.

    • Ephraim 16:50 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      There were several articles lately on how problematic it has been for journalists who can’t get straight answers from the government or get refusals, only to see the information given to other requests.

    • Philip 20:54 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      As the CBC piece says, they’re asking for “all floor plans or maps of all buildings, tunnels and spaces maintained or operated by McGill, including emergency exits like fire escapes” and “invoices for the filling of the fridge in the office shared by the staffs of the provost and the principal from 2002 to 2012.”

      This is another sad case where McGill flexes its reactionary muscle too hard. And I feel bad for the university, usually, because most of the time their efforts aren’t bona fide draconian or fascist (as some students would make you believe) but instead just misguided and kind of stupid. They don’t seem to know how to quell (or appease) this hard-headed group of students whose discontent with their university knows no bounds. The paranoia that surrounds these guys is unbelievable.

      It’s an insult that someone’s valuable time (and salary that pays them for it) will be spent on digging up and photocopying ten years’ worth of invoices for food that filled a fridge.

  • Kate 10:20 on 2013/01/22 Permalink | Reply  

    Only in Canada would a 50-year-old building be called historic: St-Lambert wants to tear down an existing hockey arena and build another. I have to say the roof of that arena looks pretty nifty from the inside, going by the photo on the article; Google Streetview shows a building that’s pretty low-key and unexceptionable as hockey arenas go. With issues like this the question is always the same: a quo bono?

    “A quo bono?” he ask, which I think is the name of a mineral water, so I slosh him out some brandy which is better.

    • No\Deli 15:41 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      Are you reciting Morrissey?

    • Kate 16:57 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      No, that’s from a classic R.A. Lafferty story that popped up when I googled for “a quo bono” to make sure I was spelling it correctly. It’s about an idiot savant who makes a nullifier. Great stuff.

    • No\Deli 19:26 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      Ah, ‘non-secular‘ is another excellent Latinate phrase in that same short work.

  • Kate 10:14 on 2013/01/22 Permalink | Reply  

    A brief preview of Black History Month events.

  • Kate 10:13 on 2013/01/22 Permalink | Reply  

    Montreal property values are shading up into the severely unaffordable, like Toronto’s and Vancouver’s. Isn’t this what happens before a bubble pops?

    • Bill Binns 10:22 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      It sure looks that way. A quarter of a million dollars buys a condo that I wouldn’t pay $500 a month to rent.

    • Anto 10:38 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      I’ve been hearing that for years now and waiting for it to happen before I buy something. Not sure it was such a good idea.

    • Marc 10:38 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      It will burst something massive the moment the interest rates go up. You can’t borrow for almost free forever.

    • Ant6n 10:40 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      So basically one should borrow low interest cash just before the bubble bursts , then buy a property just after. ;-)

    • William 10:52 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      Before we get carried away by the headline, let’s actually read the article:

      Le prix médian des propriétés s’est élevé à 287 300$ à Montréal au troisième trimestre de 2012, tandis que le revenu médian des ménages y a été de 56 700$, souligne l’étude. À Toronto, c’était 430 200$ comparativement à 73 300$, et à Vancouver, 621 300$ par rapport à 65 200$.

    • steph 10:56 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      Anyone in a mood for a referendum to quell the prices?

    • Bill Binns 11:23 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      @Steph – That would do it. I have heard stories of bargain basement Westmount mansions during the last referendum.

    • Ian 11:32 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      That’s the main reason I refuse to buy. I remember triplexes in Saint-Henri going for 60k that now sell for 300 per floor.

    • walkerp 14:00 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      The PQ victory already put a pretty big damper on things. Plateau condos were selling in days this spring and now the signs are staying up for months.

    • Anto 15:44 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      walkerp: Wow.

    • Ephraim 16:48 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      Some properties are pretty much unsellable with the current mortgage rules anyway. Assuming that you want to put down 20% so you don’t have to insure and pay more. The calculation is (mortgage + taxes + heating) / annual gross salary as the amount of debt that you can service (assuming you have no other debt) and 20% of the value. So basically if you want to buy a house that is $287,300.00 (the median) you need to have $57,460 as a down payment and assuming the usual 25 years and maybe 3% interest, an income of $41000 assuming no heating, no debt and no property tax. Still affordable.

      Incidentally, if you don’t have the 20% and decide to go with just 5% down (ie $14,365) you would need an income of about $50,000 to qualify. Of course you also end up having to pay QST on the insurance, for just another kick in the groin above and beyond the normal taxes payable. And in the Plateau, in some of the areas, that will get you 2 bedrooms. (And there is at least one 3 bedroom listed for under that, in the Plateau.)

    • Kate 17:09 on 2013/01/22 Permalink

      La Presse also has a piece Tuesday about how stricter mortgage rules are cooling the market off.

    • jeather 10:14 on 2013/01/23 Permalink

      Having stricter mortgage rules cooling off the market is pretty much the ideal — it’s a much easier thing to work with than having a huge bubble pop.

    • Kevin 11:17 on 2013/01/23 Permalink

      “Stricter mortgage rules”=back to the way they were before Harper changed them and created a bubble.

  • Kate 10:09 on 2013/01/22 Permalink | Reply  

    The missing teenager everyone posted about Monday has turned up.

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

    A glimpse of the dodgy deals swirling around 1750 Cedar, which the Montreal General acquired on the sly and which has left it in debt and generally looking pretty silly.

    I have an idea. Hospitals should work on healing the sick, not doing real estate deals. Universities should work on teaching students and doing research, not doing real estate deals. Mayors…

  • Kate 00:58 on 2013/01/22 Permalink | Reply  

    The Charbonneau commission has a lot of work to get through to complete its mandate within the time allotted.

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