Updates from February, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 23:36 on 2013/02/09 Permalink | Reply  

    That was a painful display, lads. Ow.

  • Kate 23:00 on 2013/02/09 Permalink | Reply  

    The Plateau is becoming more and more gentrified according to a report published this week, and tenants are more and more squeezed by the popularity of the area.

    Please let’s not let this turn into the same old fight over tenants vs. landlords, we’ve done that.

    • Susana Machado 01:40 on 2013/02/10 Permalink

      Neighborhoods are cyclic. The Plateau was the high-end bourgeois French-Canadian place throughout the 19th century and early 20th. Where do people think those high ceilings, crown moldings come from? It started going downhill after the First World War when the frenchies moved to Outremont. It’s slowly going back up, mind you we still have one of the highest rate of families living under the poverty line in the province.
      Thing is neighborhoods go up and go down, cities are organic. Doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that can be done to slow the cycle, but there is no stopping it.

    • Ant6n 09:20 on 2013/02/10 Permalink

      Probably the best thing would be to make other areas in the city more appealing. At a high level, what makes the Plateau great, how do we get there elsewhere on the island?

    • Kate 10:06 on 2013/02/10 Permalink

      Long blocks of flats in attractive older buildings, duplexes and triplexes, combined with transverse streets with shops, cafés and other useful things, and interspersed with major long streets like Park Avenue, Saint-Laurent and Saint-Denis, so that you can live in a relatively residential setting but do your groceries or go out for a coffee or a drink or a bite to eat within a few minutes of home. The flats used to be affordable for ordinary working people but the area, so handy to downtown – that’s hard to replicate – became more and more attractive to people with better jobs and more disposable income.

      Susana, I think you’re mostly right, but the Plateau must always have varied a lot. You have some pretty grand buildings along Saint-Hubert in the Plateau, for example – flats that would have attracted professional people when they were built, doctors and lawyers and notaries. The boiseries inside some of those places are really spectacular. I remember visiting someone who shared a huge flat that was finished like a church inside – the built-in cupboards and wardrobes looked like confessionals. Amazing.

      On the other hand, the place where I lived on Drolet was in a row of very modest little boxlike dwellings from the 1880s. Posh people live in some of those flats now, where entire working families originally lived. I don’t think posh people were expected to live in them originally. And yet 2 blocks from there, on Laval, you have grander houses again.

      I think that variation is also one of the things that makes the Plateau attractive.

      It has some downsides. There are exceptions, but most Plateau flats don’t have much back yard if any. Doesn’t seem to make much difference to the folks wanting to live there. The biggest architectural difference for me, moving to Villeray, was that a lot of places here have front porches – buildings are set back just a little from the sidewalk. Where I lived on the Plateau the buildings were right up against the sidewalk, there were a few upstairs balconies but nothing at street level, and that’s typical although not universal in the Plateau. I found people here in Villeray more neighbourly and I say hi to a bunch of folks, but the lack of that in the Plateau doesn’t seem to matter to its residents, in fact they might prefer the more impersonal street style there.

    • Matthew 10:18 on 2013/02/10 Permalink

      Parts of pretty much every single urban area in the city are becoming gentrified. While it does have an effect on the cost of renting, the fact that it’s happening all over the place at least makes it less of a squeeze in any specific area. Solution? More people move to the burbs – but we definitely don’t want that.

    • Ian 10:57 on 2013/02/10 Permalink

      I’m seeing a lot of people moving north of Van Horne – as rents have basically doubled in the last 5 years Little Italy, Petite-Patrie, Rosemont and Villeray are looking more appealing. It’s only a couple more stops on the orange line, there’s still access to small grocery stores and big chains, and there’s lots of mixed business, restaurants, and all that. I think the parks down thisaway are better, but I’m sure there’s things further north I don’t know about yet that might make up for it. Put it this way – I’m paying 1500 for a 6.5 which I thought was a lot until the place right next to me rented for 2500. The Plateau is definitely getting to the point that it’s no cheaper to rent than to have a mortgage, and while I like this area, I’m not about to beggar myself just to stay here.

    • Kate 11:01 on 2013/02/10 Permalink

      Yes, I’d think if someone could manage $2500 monthly they’d be wiser to buy, unless they’re here only temporarily.

    • Ephraim 11:04 on 2013/02/10 Permalink

      Well, on AirBnB there are currently “1086 results” for illegal rooms/apartments for rent in the plateau (unless they are for rent for 30 days or more). Might be a good place to look for an apartment, if you don’t mind extortion. Just remind them that you can report them to the city (their tax rate would go to commercial, about 4X their current property tax), they haven’t paid or collected tourism tax, GST and QST. And likely haven’t paid income taxes to both Quebec and Canada.

      In Quebec, anyone renting for less than 30 days needs to be registered, inspected and collect taxes. You need a government sign displayed, a city permit, a food safety course (if you provide food), government inspection, fire alarms, proof of commercial liability insurance of $2 million dollars and a first aid kit.

      Reporting them might lower rents in the Plateau. I’m sure there are plenty more that aren’t on AirBnB either. Over 2500+ in the city!

    • Ian 11:21 on 2013/02/10 Permalink

      That’s an interesting theory but most of the really high rents I’ve been seeing in my area are simply landlords kicking out long-term tenants on a reno permit, doing 5k worth of renos, and charging over 2k a month for rent to new tenants. Where there’s demand, there’s lots of ways for building owners to get rid of low-rent tenants – I’ve seen it happen to any number of my friends. That said, this isn’t Manhatttan – there is a limit to how much people are willing to pay. My salary certainly hasn’t doubled in the last 5-6 years even if rents have.

    • Michel 09:41 on 2013/02/11 Permalink


  • Kate 22:40 on 2013/02/09 Permalink | Reply  

    Pauline Marois has made some promises at the PQ conference this weekend – stop accommodating religious minorities (I guess we can kiss single-sex swimming hours goodbye), block access to English private schools and, of course, promote sovereignty. Whether she has a clear mandate to put resources into the latter effort is doubtful, but it’s clearly her personal mandate regardless. The crucifix, of course, stays in the national assembly chamber – it’s considered “patrimonial” so fuck off everyone who thinks it implies an established religion.

    • Ephraim 11:16 on 2013/02/10 Permalink

      Are any of the promises to lower taxes, strengthen the business climate and actually balance the budget instead of hide $1.8 billion dollars of deficit? How about a promise to make government efficient and reign in the costs?

      We have one of the highest income tax rates in the world… Only France, Denmark, Sweden and Portugal have higher rates, if I remember correctly. And we have the highest rates in Canada.

      Incidentally, keeping people out of private school is really a bad idea. The private schools produce better results than the public schools for the most part. The students do better on exams, better in CEGEP and better in university. Which means they earn more and in the end, pay in more income taxes. The end result may be less income tax in the future and missing experts or the need for more immigrants to fill those jobs.

    • Jack 12:49 on 2013/02/10 Permalink

      @ Ephraim you are so right on taxation I mean who would want to live in Sweden,Denmark or France.

    • Bill Binns 13:16 on 2013/02/10 Permalink

      The high taxes would be so much easier to swallow if the people paying them could point to the benefits they receive in return. We have some of the highest taxes in the world and have bridges that collapse and kill people and a healthcare system where people die in amulances outside of packed emergency rooms.

    • Jack 13:39 on 2013/02/10 Permalink

      @ Bill do we live in the same city? Because yours seems to be torn out of a Cormac McCarthy novel.

    • Ephraim 13:43 on 2013/02/10 Permalink

      @Jack – So many actually leave because of the high taxes. IKEA isn’t really Swedish anymore. Gerard Depardeux is leaving France. When your taxes are high, people have a tendency to move to lower taxed places. Especially the rich, who pay the MOST taxes. Do you think Celine is still paying Quebec taxes or Nevada’s lower taxes?

    • Jack 14:00 on 2013/02/10 Permalink

      @Ephraim you have a belief system that I don’t share, which is great. However if you are trying to convince me that-“So many actually leave because of the high taxes” your going to have to do better than that.

    • Ephraim 14:12 on 2013/02/10 Permalink

      @Jack – Think of it this way, the highest income earners in Quebec pay the highest percentage of tax into the system. If they leave, more of the middle class has to take up the slack.

    • Bill Binns 14:30 on 2013/02/10 Permalink

      @Jack – Do I really need to post a bunch of links regarding ER wait times and people who have died while waiting to be seen or an equal number of links regarding our crumbling infrastructure? You don’t recall the De la Concorde overpass collapse? Yes, we live in the same city. Do you read the newspaper?

    • Al 17:58 on 2013/02/10 Permalink

      California has a pretty high income tax rate. And they don’t even get a semblance of universal health care…

    • Ant6n 18:00 on 2013/02/10 Permalink

      All this neoliberal drivel.
      @Bill: do you need a link to how many people die in the US because they don’t have access to health care at all?

    • Ephraim 21:40 on 2013/02/10 Permalink

      Total tax rate if you are earning over $1 million dollars in California is 35% and the state is 10.5%. So that would give you 100%-35%*10.1%. So basically 41.565% if you earn over $1 million dollars.

      Quebec’s top rate is 49.97% (it was going to be higher, but they backed down) and you only need to earn $135K to get into that bracket.

      If I remember it correctly, about 93K people (or 1.5% of the population) paid 21% of all income tax collected. (They earn 13% of the income in this province.) To say this another way, each of those 93K people are worth about $312K per person in annual income taxes. So if 1% of those were to leave we are talking $290 million dollars worth of income taxes.

      @Ant6n And how many in Kazakhstan?

    • Bill Binns 03:16 on 2013/02/11 Permalink

      @Ant6n – At least the people who die in the USA because they do not have access to healthcare have not been paying out the ass for it all of their working life. Being allowed to keep 80% of my earnings in the US made it fairly easy for me to afford $300 a month for a health care plan.

    • Michel 09:44 on 2013/02/11 Permalink

      Since it’s been offered, yeah, I’d love to see a link about people dying in ambulances outside packed ERs. Oh, and a link from Sun/Fox news ain’t gonna cut it.

    • qatzelok 15:16 on 2013/02/11 Permalink

      I never thought this forum would be overrun by taxpayers. Where did all the citizens go? Are we all willing to give up social programs and income equalization programs so that Celine and Bono will come live here? Have they checked out the low taxes in Bangladesh?

    • Ian 16:02 on 2013/02/11 Permalink

      It feels weird to agree with you, qatzi, but I do. I do think there could be a lot of efficiency improvements made with our provincial and municipal bureaucracies and we only have to look as far as the Chrabonneau commission to see the corruption endemic to every level of government chez nous, but to say we shouldn’t have universal health care like Binns suggests or that we should lower tax rates on people who earn in the top bracket so we could keep more superrich tax evaders here is absolutely reprehensible.

    • jeather 16:10 on 2013/02/11 Permalink

      It’s a weird idea to separate citizens and taxpayers, as if you can only be one or the other. Do I think that the government — at all levels — is hugely inefficient and wasteful? Yes. But the solution to this isn’t to lower the top marginal tax rate, it’s to get the government to be more efficient. Sure, we pay too much for what we get: but the question is, do we want to get more or pay less, and a lot of people choose the former over the latter.

      (Also, who in the US spends only 300/month for health care and gets anything effective out of it?)

    • qatzelok 14:48 on 2013/02/12 Permalink

      It’s funny to talk about efficiency in a society in which people sit in front of propaganda all day, and then pay about $600/month to drive to dreary malls and drearier bungalow farms. Private corporations have made us fatally inefficient if quality of life is what the final goal is.

  • Kate 22:36 on 2013/02/09 Permalink | Reply  

    I’m catching up here with various stories and themes I’ve sort of been ignoring, because news is slow.

    The upcoming education summit is already inspiring a lot of talk and criticism. The Gazette is taking a deeply negative line and rounding up Henry Aubin to list all the problems it won’t fix. Editorial cartoonists see the potential for further student unrest; although Pauline Marois has said the summit will discuss making university free, she has also asked for compromise on the issue and claimed universities are overfunded.

    • Steph 23:36 on 2013/02/09 Permalink

      Has anyone been invited yet to this summit?

      I believe the ‘over funding’ position relates to the real estate investments the Universities have been making as opportunities they should not be taking. What’s next, universities buying stock on the market & chair people patting themselves on the back and giving themselves big bonuses?

    • Kate 00:07 on 2013/02/10 Permalink

      In a way, how can you fault universities for being blown about by the same neoliberal winds that have shaped our governments over the last couple of decades? Make profit the only motive anyone takes seriously, and institutions will pursue profit, even if it’s not what they were originally intended to do.

      I snarked a little at Henry Aubin there, but he does make a point asking whether universities here should be constantly building, even though demographic forecasts don’t predict much of a population rise here in the oncoming decades.

      It would be great if Marois and Duchesne could find a way to reorganize university funding to emphasize the simple core value of teaching, teaching well, and properly reimbursing the teachers – not just tenured profs, but the many, many instructors who teach from contract to contract, hanging onto their work by the tips of their fingers from one term to the next and liable to sudden cuts like McGill’s recent axing of arts classes.

    • Ephraim 11:20 on 2013/02/10 Permalink

      Quick way to find the money… fix the education department. Almost $16 billion dollars per year in education costs. If I remember correctly we have about 6X the employees at the ministry level as Norway, a country about the same size. And they teach 3 languages (Both Norwegians and English).

    • Kevin 07:48 on 2013/02/11 Permalink

      Oh @Kate, there is so much more to university than teaching… But Aubin is right – having to physically be present in a university to earn a degree nowadays is totally passé, even for med students.

  • Kate 22:20 on 2013/02/09 Permalink | Reply  

    The STM is to review its language policy after questions were asked following a few incidents last year.

    I’m also going to link another Gazette language piece because it has a very funny anecdote in the last few paragraphs.

  • Kate 12:36 on 2013/02/09 Permalink | Reply  

    Le Devoir looks at how our traditional Chinatown is changing.

  • Kate 12:27 on 2013/02/09 Permalink | Reply  

    The trial of four men over whether they held a woman from the U.S. as a sex slave for months is continuing. This is the drama with the additional news story about the neighbour whose reports about violent-sounding noises next door were not heeded by police.

    I can’t find a text version of the thing I heard on CBC radio Friday, in which police spokesman Ian Lafrenière said that if you think you’ve witnessed something criminal but you can’t get police to take you seriously on the phone, you should look up your local station on the SPVM website and send an email to the station chief. I’m posting this as it may turn out to be a useful thing to know.

  • Kate 11:28 on 2013/02/09 Permalink | Reply  

    #manifencours is back yet again with a second demonstration Saturday morning outside the Palais de congrès where the Salon des ressources naturelles is being held. Police have declared it illegal. This McGill Daily piece and this piece in The Link have some background on the Plan Nord, which the current government has smoothly inherited from the Charest era.

  • Kate 00:22 on 2013/02/09 Permalink | Reply  

    Paul Cherry has some thoughts in the Gazette about the return of Vito Rizzuto and what may be going on under the ruffled surface of Montreal’s gangland. There was also a considered piece about the topic in the Globe and Mail a few days ago but I’ve backed off on linking to that site very often because of the paywall.

    In related news, one of the men charged in the attempted firebombing of a St-Léonard funeral complex owned by Rizzuto clan members was injured in a south shore fire not long ago and is in a coma and thus unable to appear in court. That fire was declared accidental by the Longueuil fire department.

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