Updates from February, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 17:29 on 2013/02/13 Permalink | Reply  

    A new taxi bureau to come this June will make the taxi fleet more uniform – there are various ideas about making taxis safer, cutting down on illegal taxis and so on.

    I don’t take a lot of taxis but the biggest improvement for me came a couple of years ago when smoking ended in taxicabs. It used to be so nasty to hail a cab late at night and step into somebody else’s personal exhaust cabin.

    • William 20:41 on 2013/02/13 Permalink

      I think you’ve just had a lucky run, because I’ve jumped into cabs that reek of old smoke on a few occasions, and not always the legal kind.

    • steph 22:03 on 2013/02/13 Permalink

      I still regularly get taxi drivers asking me if I mind if they smoke. I just wish they wouldn’t ask and not smoke.

    • Tux 09:13 on 2013/02/14 Permalink

      If you feel guilty about saying no to secondhand smoke just say you’re allergic. You won’t get any talkback. One of our taxi ‘rights’ is that we’re supposed to be able to have a silent ride if we want, but I haven’t yet mustered up the courage to say to one of the chatty ones “Hey, could you shut up? I don’t care about your domestic situation” I really just like to zone out during cab rides but I am often thwarted.

    • Chris 09:36 on 2013/02/14 Permalink

      Weird, I love chatting with cabbies, but it seems near impossible these days, as they are always yaking on their cell phones.

    • Kate 10:14 on 2013/02/14 Permalink

      I don’t hesitate to ask them to turn down the radio. I realize it’s their workplace, but I’m paying well to rent it for a few minutes.

    • Kam 10:20 on 2013/02/14 Permalink

      You’re paying to get from point A to point B.
      I;m sure there are plenty of stories on both sides. For every terrible cab driver, there is a terrible customer.Like with everything else, there needs to be a proper balance with rules and respect.

    • jeather 19:18 on 2013/02/14 Permalink

      Radio doesn’t bother me, but the cell phone does. I’ve never had a taxi driver ask if they could smoke, though.

    • Bill Binns 08:46 on 2013/02/15 Permalink

      An Interac / credit card terminal in the backseat like those available in virtually every other large city in N America would be fantastic.

    • Tux 08:59 on 2013/02/15 Permalink

      @Bill Binns Yes! Standard payment options in all taxis. So many times I’ve mentioned to the dispatcher that I’m paying by credit card then when it comes time to pay, either the cabbie doesn’t take cards, or they act like it’s a huge inconvenience. I make it a habit to mention I’m using plastic on the phone and before I get into the car now.

    • Ephraim 11:31 on 2013/02/15 Permalink

      I’d like to see the standard fare to the airport sign available in English, since it is intended for tourists to read. How stupid is it to only have it posted in French!

  • Kate 17:25 on 2013/02/13 Permalink | Reply  

    A protest Wednesday asked for progressive transit fares, saying the STM ought to offer cheaper tickets for people earning a low income. Marvin Rotrand says no, but the idea is supported by Vision Montreal.

    • Jack 17:54 on 2013/02/13 Permalink

      Vision Montreal is going to support a lot of ideas in the coming year. Look hard at their councillors , their history and their $600,000 thousand in debt to provide the rationale.

    • Kate 17:55 on 2013/02/13 Permalink

      Yes, I’m trying not to be suspicious, but I was thinking that verbal support is cheap campaigning in an election year. Then if you get into power it’s just as easy to say you can’t afford it after all.

    • Ephraim 19:06 on 2013/02/13 Permalink

      Right, no one is going to cheat and claim poverty to pay less unless they have to, right? So when was the last time you saw the Bronfmans on a bus?

    • Kate 20:00 on 2013/02/13 Permalink

      We allow seniors and students to travel more cheaply. Presumably you could extend that idea to welfare recipients. You could make an even more solid case to subsidize people who are looking for work, but I have no idea how you’d set that up.

    • qatzelok 20:52 on 2013/02/13 Permalink

      @ Ephraim: “the Bronfmans ”

      I can’t help thinking of Jacques Duchesneau’s tirade against mafia “using their dirty money to buy legitimate businesses and taking over our economy/society” when I read this family’s name.


    • Ephraim 08:09 on 2013/02/14 Permalink

      @Kate Can we make a better effort at looking for welfare cheats? We all know them and yet the government doesn’t catch them. We all know tax cheats and yet the government doesn’t catch them. Last count, over 2500+ illegal commercial apartment rentals and Pascal Berube, the minister has done almost NOTHING. That’s 6 different taxes not being paid. And Revenu Quebec knows and does nothing either. It’s a cheaters heaven around here.

    • David Tighe 09:16 on 2013/02/14 Permalink

      I think people on unemployment and on welfare should have some kind of reduction if only to help them to get to job interviews. I believe there is something like this in France. Why not an allocation of say 20 trips per month on an Opus card?

    • Kate 10:15 on 2013/02/14 Permalink

      Ephraim, let’s deal with corporate welfare first. The actual money used up by welfare cheats is trivial by comparison.

    • Marco 10:40 on 2013/02/14 Permalink

      OK, I’ll bite.
      What is there to say about corporate welfare cheats? Names? Dollar amounts? Anyone?

    • Ian 10:54 on 2013/02/14 Permalink

      Not corporate welfare cheats, corporate welfare. In this sense it’s not necessary to name names as all major corporations are beneficiaries. Canada has the world’s 8th lowest business tax rate, as compared to the US which is 69th. http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2012/12/03/corporate-tax.html This of course doesn’t address tax havens of flat out tax avoidance (the CRA estimates 81 billion a year is lost in corporate tax evasion) but if you want a list of companies nailed for tax evasion, they are published: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/nwsrm/cnvctns/menu-eng.html

    • qatzelok 11:02 on 2013/02/14 Permalink

      @ Marco: “What is there to say about corporate welfare cheats?”

      It’s much safer to criticize welfare cheats because they’re poor and can’t afford to hire lawyers or mafia goons. Corporate cheats – like the Elite – are too powerful to criticize. Like Ephraim says, let’s stick to smearing the poor (and bus drivers).

    • Kate 11:02 on 2013/02/14 Permalink

      Would you listen to the Fraser Institute, Marco?

    • Alison Cummins 12:29 on 2013/02/14 Permalink

      I thought that welfare recipients got a CAM as part of their prestations. Not any more? Not here?

      If you actually know someone who is defrauding the system, go ahead and report them. People with limited education and travail précaire who supplement welfare on the black market – I actually consider that a good use of my tax money. Welfare is not enough to live on for most people, and if welfare can enable marginal people to live stable lives and pay their rent while working as they can then it’s all to the good.

      I have only met one person I actually felt was stealing from me by her use of welfare. She not only had technical skills, she had a good, steady full-time job. I let her know through a mutual friend that if she was still on welfare in three months that I’d report her. When the three months were up, she was still getting welfare and I reported her. Everyone else… they are mostly just doing what they can. Most people want to be self-reliant.

    • Ephraim 17:45 on 2013/02/14 Permalink

      @Kate – Thinking about it… I wonder how many people on welfare would be willing to sign up for their rent directly paid to their landlord, the rest of the money on a special ATM card and if they purchase public transport on that ticket welfare and the STM divide the discount. If the trip is actually to go to work that is authorized by welfare, the discount could be larger or even free. You give up a bit of privacy and in return you get a serious discount on your travel when it is for the right reasons and encourages you!

      As for the rest, we should consider allowing more of a tax rebate for public transport so that it is done by a means test. At the same time, maybe it’s time we look at a means test for the $7 a day daycare. It’s nice to have a flat fee, but it’s not a realistic subsidy, there should be some sort of sliding scale via taxes, where the poor don’t have to be embarrassed by their inability to afford the service.

    • Ant6n 09:58 on 2013/02/15 Permalink

      One thing that comes to mind when I see this discussion is the new ‘maestro’ deal the STM offers. So basically if you signed up for a yearly opus card, and have done so, you get free travel in Quebec City. Who benefits the most – people not on reduced fares, who have a stable job in Montreal, and have had so for some time. Aaand, who travel a lot to Quebec City.
      Seems like this is a subsidy for reasonably well of people, business and government types who go to Quebec City a lot.

    • Kate 10:39 on 2013/02/15 Permalink

      Ephraim, it’s not unthinkable that a tenant on welfare might have good reasons not to want the landlord to know. Just because you’re down on your luck and taking welfare doesn’t mean you’ve abandoned all notions of privacy.

    • Ephraim 11:36 on 2013/02/15 Permalink

      @Kate – I agree, but on the other hand, the reason that many landlords won’t rent to people on welfare is so many have experienced the tenant that runs out on them when they rely on that rent cheque to help pay the mortgage. In some cases, knowing that they will be paid directly from BS might actually help them get the apartment.

      Or we could come up with a way that a paper cheque is issued to the recipient: Encoded at the bottom from the government account, with the name of the bs recipient on the cheques and the payee being the landlord. No stigma, it looks just like a regular cheque, landlord gets paid, welfare recipient gets his rent paid, government ensures that the money is spent as agreed.

  • Kate 17:19 on 2013/02/13 Permalink | Reply  

    The police ethics committee has found that two officers who roughed up a man waiting outside a restaurant in a friend’s car, punched him, cuffed him and fined him for loitering, broke the police ethics code but they also found it wasn’t racial profiling even though the man is black and the resto was a Caribbean one.

    • Ephraim 19:09 on 2013/02/13 Permalink

      And the punishment? Was it unpaid vacation time or paid vacation time? These punishments are a joke. How about making police do community service for a change. Might make them appreciate citizens more.

  • Kate 12:04 on 2013/02/13 Permalink | Reply  

    There are protests at MUHC hospitals this noontime as workers react to massive budget cuts. One of the consequences of the cuts is that the clinic at the old Queen Elizabeth hospital has been cut loose from the MUHC network, likely to make the clinic less effective and more expensive to users.

  • Kate 11:29 on 2013/02/13 Permalink | Reply  

    The vote that set off the printemps érable took place a year ago. A look back at a vote in an off-island CEGEP that began Quebec’s longest student strike ever.

  • Kate 09:36 on 2013/02/13 Permalink | Reply  

    City council’s got to approve a new water meter contract Wednesday. Water meters are bound to make our elected officials flinch a little, since it was inquiries into a previous, cancelled water meter contract that started the avalanche that eventually swept Gérald Tremblay out of office.

    • David Tighe 09:18 on 2013/02/14 Permalink

      Avoid mixed metaphors. Why not torrent rather than avalanche?

    • Kate 10:16 on 2013/02/14 Permalink

      Because I wanted the image of a relatively small motion that builds to a crescendo. Snow does that, water doesn’t.

    • Ian 11:30 on 2013/02/14 Permalink

      Also, it’s not a mixed metaphor – Kate’s mentions of water were literal, not figurative.

    • David Tighe 13:42 on 2013/02/14 Permalink

      Technically you are right, its not really a mixed metaphor, but I wanted to play with the combination of water meter and torrent. I think its a stronger image

  • Kate 09:32 on 2013/02/13 Permalink | Reply  

    Linda Gyulai pursues the topic of paving with a piece on how asphalt not good enough for highway use finds a home on Montreal city streets.

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