Updates from February, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 23:53 on 2013/02/21 Permalink | Reply  

    I noted below that the Complexe environnemental Saint-Michel needs a snappier name if it’s to become one of the city’s biggest parks.

    I also think the borough it’s in, Villeray-Saint-Michel-Park-Extension, needs a snappier name.

    Now, the CLSC and another clinic in the borough call themselves Coeur-de-l’Île. I don’t know where this nomenclature comes from, but geographically it’s true, the borough is pretty central to the city of Montreal, if not the island. (For the whole island, the central point is pretty much the Orange Julep. Look at a map if you don’t believe me.)

    So I’m proposing that the borough be renamed Coeur-de-l’Île and the Complexe environnemental Saint-Michel the Parc Coeur-de-l’Île. Who’s with me?

    • Kevin 07:30 on 2013/02/22 Permalink

      I would be with you except for one thing: Montreal has too many boroughs. I think we should chop it down to 3: east, west, and central.

    • Nicolas 08:37 on 2013/02/22 Permalink

      I lived in that area for many years and recall the towering Miron smokestacks. How about Parc Miron?

    • Blork 13:27 on 2013/02/22 Permalink

      Seriously, who does the naming in this town? The park names are just ridiculous; as if they’re created by a bunch of 18th-Century bureaucrats who are driven by some highly Cartesian and unknowable taxonometric codes instead of using names that people like and will remember. My favourite is “Parc-agricole du Bois-de-la-Roche.” Whaaaaat?

  • Kate 22:18 on 2013/02/21 Permalink | Reply  

    Hydro-Quebec is obliged by contract to buy expensive electricity from small private producers in various part of Quebec and resell it at a loss, to the detriment of all Quebecers. Why are we putting millions of the public’s money into the pockets of these private owners, and who are they? Radio-Canada even says Hydro is required to renew their contracts at the same rate, despite the ongoing drain on the utility and on us.

    • Ian 23:05 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      My father is a small producer in Ontario, as he’s hooked up a pile of solar energy panels on his farm, and a windmill that he installed at his own expense and now feeds into the grid. He’s now energy independent – at least for the duration of his contract. The reason hydro companies across Canada do this is to encourage alternative energy production & development of alternative energy technologies. It’s a loss scenario now as the focus is on small producers, but as it encourages alternative energy the idea is to create the groundswell for larger projects that are exploring alternative energy sources and improve our independence from traditional power sources like oil, gas, and coal. In other parts of the world entire regions are adopting alternative energy production models based on initial forays into small producer investment like Sweden, the Netherlands, and Spain.

    • Kate 23:48 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      That’s interesting, Ian. But the article makes it sound like the producers in question are simply damming small rivers and producing current in what is, for Quebec, the normal way. Do you know otherwise?

    • Raymond Lutz 08:34 on 2013/02/22 Permalink


      Des barrages, oui, mais également la centrale thermique de Transcanada:


      ‘Why are we putting millions of the public’s money into the pockets of these private owners, and who are they?’ Hmm, parce que c’est le principe du capitalisme? Rétribuer les détenteurs de capital pour aucune autre raison qu’ils le possèdent et quel que soit le mécanisme utilisé (aussi illogique et coûteux puisse-t-il être).

      Secteur énergétique, pharmaceutique ou financier, c’est égal: j’ai du fric, payez-moi.

    • Ian 10:30 on 2013/02/22 Permalink

      @Kate, sure, that’s what the article implies, but they are glossing over the big picture. @Lutz principles of capitalism aside, since Hydro-Quebec is a public company your comparisons with banking and big pharma don’t apply.

      If there’s mismanagement going on it should be addressed, but let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    • Raymond Lutz 16:56 on 2013/02/22 Permalink

      @Ian, ce n’était pas une comparaison, mais l’évocation de l’étendue du problème. Je mentionnais l’industrie pharmaceutique comme autre champ de notre irrationalité collective… cf http://www.ledevoir.com/politique/quebec/364087/pharma-quebec-audacieux-pas-extremiste : we simply don’t do what’s collectively good for us and/or rational simply because of the hegemony of the capitalist thought.

  • Kate 22:09 on 2013/02/21 Permalink | Reply  

    Richard Bergeron is alleging that two communications firms were too cosy with Union Montreal and got contracts far too readily in return for helping the party stay in power.

  • Kate 21:53 on 2013/02/21 Permalink | Reply  

    To offset the disgruntlement caused in Saint-Michel by news of a new composting plant in the old Miron quarry, the city has decided to move on turning most of the Complexe environnemental Saint-Michel into a park that will – according to this item – eventually be second in size only to Mount Royal. (The writer may have forgotten about Cap St-Jacques, which is considerably bigger (302 hectares) than Mount Royal park (200 hectares), but is so far from the centre of town that it’s easily overlooked.)

    Of course the perimeter of the Complexe environnemental Saint-Michel (it needs a snappier name, no?) has been accessible for years and is used regularly by walkers, runners and cyclists, but the vast artificial valley carved out of the middle will need considerable work before admitting the public in the magic year of 2017.

    • Chris 08:24 on 2013/02/22 Permalink

      A parc built on top of decades of garbage, full of toxic metals, etc. Yay!

    • steph 09:42 on 2013/02/22 Permalink

      Wasn’t Angrignon Parc also built on a former garbage dump?

    • johnmcclane 10:17 on 2013/02/22 Permalink

      Uh Chris, actually most smaller parks in Montreal are exactly that.

    • Kate 14:56 on 2013/02/22 Permalink

      I know Parc Villeray was a quarry originally, but whether it became a dump before being filled in to make a park, I don’t know. I suppose in the city if you have a gaping hole no longer being quarried in, sooner or later people will start throwing trash in if you don’t do something else with it.

  • Kate 21:45 on 2013/02/21 Permalink | Reply  

    Five more people elected as members of Union Montreal have quit the party – the mayor and four councillors from Anjou. Union now has only 16 members on city council, down from 37 under Gérald Tremblay.

  • Kate 10:29 on 2013/02/21 Permalink | Reply  

    Reading this story about alleged fraud enabled by MUHC employees and SNC-Lavalin is only a glimpse into the pullulating cross-connections between the hospital project, the engineering firm, and the ex-CEO of the MUHC.

  • Kate 10:21 on 2013/02/21 Permalink | Reply  

    As noted in a comment below, the OQLF is backing off on the demands made in Wednesday’s pasta story, but now the city itself is in trouble over signs in English put up by a police campaign encouraging drivers to be careful near schools. English signs had been put up near English schools, which is a no-no. Thankfully, signs featuring the dangerous word “safety” have now been removed.

    • dwgs 10:37 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      A lesser man would make a joke about the OQLF’s desire to curb the Anglo population by reducing safety measures for their children. But not me.

    • Ephraim 10:55 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      Do you ever wonder if the entire raison d’etre of the OQLF is so that people with small minds have something to do rather than simply walk around muttering under their breath? You would think that their energies would be better spent going after injustice but no, one word in Hebrew on a sign that is too tall is the real threat….

    • qatzelok 11:11 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      @ Ephraim: “one word in Hebrew”

      Maybe Israel provides a better example of peaceful coexistence with the locals?

    • Bill Binns 11:23 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      @Ephraim – I wonder if it’s possible to write in proper french using the Hebrew alphabet? That would throw the OQLF inspectors for a loop.

    • mdblog 11:24 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      What’s your point quatzelok?

    • paul 11:32 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      Anglophones would be smart to overload the office with complaints regarding all other language infractions; especially those made by French businesses

      As discussed in the story below, there are a lot of English words that have entered the French lexicon.

    • Ephraim 11:33 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      @qatzelok – Referring to the OQLF and the Berson sign. (And stop being both off topic and showing that you obviously know nothing about Israel, other than what you read in Al Jazeera. It’s entirely off-topic.)

      @Bill – It’s impossible to even write English or French properly in Hebrew letters, but you can try. There are no real equivalents to the letters J, CH, TH, DZ. You use G’, TZ’, T’ and D’ to signify those letters.

    • Ian 12:02 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      Yiddish is often written in Hebrew though so there are workarounds, right? Also worth noting, Al-Jazeera is actually a respectable news organization, don’t let the Arab-sounding name scare you off. While we’re on the topic though, Israel does have some issues with peaceful coexistance unless you think the international condemnation of illegal settlements (for instance) is a fluke. For this we don’t even need news agencies, we can look to the UK house of parliament for one direct example of many available with a simple online search. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/1011

    • Michel 13:26 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      @Ian, true, but Qatzelok shows his ignorance by conflating Jews with Israelis.

    • Tux 13:38 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      I’m sure this has been brought up before but a pet peeve of mine are the evacuation safety instruction signs on the metro. In french, a nice big font in high contrast colour. In English, a small font that’s hard to read even from the adjacent seat, and way less contrast. I’d love to know the name of the genius who came up with the idea that font size can contribute to the preservation of a language and culture. I’d print a picture of his face and use it as a dart board.

    • Bill Binns 13:46 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      Fun with Google Translate – “Fresh baguettes for sale” becomes “Baguettes fraîches à vendre” and that translated into Hebrew is באגטים טריים למכירה

    • qatzelok 14:06 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      @ Michel: “Qatzelok shows his ignorance by conflating Jews with Israelis.”

      I have learned that there is simply no way of talking about Israel or the Jews if you are “on the outside.” The Palestinians have learned this the hard way.

      In the meantime, enjoy your freedom to conflate Quebec’s language laws with whatever enemy-of-the-West(ern banks) your self-serving strategy leads you to.

    • thomas 15:07 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      I wonder how the OQLF would handle a restaurant that had the sign “NOMNOMNOM Cheezburger 4 u”?

    • Ephraim 15:12 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      @Bill The Hebrew is correct, even if it does sound odd. And the first word is, in fact “baguettes” but with the Hebrew plural of im instead of an S. I do find the usage of “tari” odd because it’s usually used more often as the word fresh “raw” meat. Israel never seems to worry about signs in other languages or the creeping of English into the language, they don’t feel threatened. Bill, you also have to remember that Hebrew vowels are written under the letters and usually only written for children of people learning the language. Unless you see a foreign word often it can be very difficult to know what they are saying without context. For example, איב without context is almost impossible to know what was meant. And the yod (י) is added because without it, it would be simply read as the word for father. (And if you look up the translation, it should be the Male name Yves.) And there is one word in Hebrew that has NO translation, in this sentence יש לי את העט the first word is HAVE the second is I and the last is THE PEN. The third word is a conjunction word that doesn’t have a translation, you just need to know how to use it.

      Al Jezeera is NOT an impartial source, I’ve seen to many biased reports on their part (and not just about Israel). But then again, we also forget that the UK is occupying Northern Ireland, the US is occupying the Marianas and the Marshalls and then there are two zones being occupied by Armenia and if we really want to get into some of this nonsense, we can talk about Ceuta, Melila, Spanish Sahara, etc until the cows come home. None of which has a single thing to do with this original post or even my original comment, just completely off-topic in every way.

    • Ant6n 15:26 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      Illegal settlement in Palestine is just “nonsense”. Got ya.

    • Bill Binns 15:29 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      @Ephraim – Interesting. I have some friends who can read and write Hebrew. I will print it out and see if they understand it. It occurs to me that an even better trick on the OQLF inspectors would be to make up a sign that looked like Hebrew (or Chinese or Russian etc) characters but was really just meaningless squiggles. There’s no law against hanging abstract art in shop windows is there?

    • Ephraim 15:40 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      @Ant6n – 噴子 or 白爛

      @Bill – Used to know someone who worked at an English language book store in Montreal. The OQLF used to walk in all the time, in spite of the fact that they are exempt from the law in all ways because they are a book store. And yet, they managed to spend the time to harass them. I would imagine that any sign they can’t understand upsets them, it’s the nature of xenophobia.

    • C_Erb 22:28 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      @Tux: I’ve noticed that too and you can imagine my horror when I was in Toronto and noticed that the TTC had somehow completely forgotten to put any French emergency evacuation instructions anywhere in their Subway. Clearly a city of xenophobes!

    • qatzelok 22:54 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      And if you think the TTC is bad, Israel has both language laws, AND a policy of cozying up to superpowers so that it can herd its linguistic “minority” into open-air prisons and shoot at them every few years. Rosemere and Cote St Luc are doing a lot better than Gaza.

    • Ian 23:11 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      @C_Erb half the population of Montreal are Francophone as a mother tongue. Toronto is 60% English mother tongue speakers (according to wikipedia) but still manages store signage (exterior and interior) in any language the merchant prefers, and neighbourhood street signs, hospital signage, and bank machine instructions in English, French, Chinese, Italian, Portugese and Spanish. Let’s not compare apples to oranges.

    • Marc 23:41 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      You’re more likely to hear Korean in Toronto than French. @ qatzelok: I think you’ve been watching too much Alex Jones.

    • JS 08:01 on 2013/02/22 Permalink

      It always struck me as ironic that in order for them to actually achieve their ultimate goal of a french society here with an numerically insignificant english minority francofascists would have to perpetrate what they falsely accuse Israel of doing, because these idiotic Nuremberg-ish language laws they have now don’t work, unless one believes the current model of harassing and chasing away the english is a long-term plan that no one alive will live long enough to see realized anyway. Maybe they could speed things up by strapping on bomb belts and running into restaurants and coffee shops in english parts of town to blow themselves up. Come on Qatzelok, stop being such a pussy with this bullshit message board activism and man up.

    • Ephraim 10:06 on 2013/02/22 Permalink

      @qatzelok – Still off topic (and trollish behaviour to harp on an off-topic and essentially irrelevant topic to this discussion)

      Yes Hebrew and Arabic are the official languages of Israel, English has semi-official status and there is a weird algorithm to convert Hebrew names to English with Q used instead of K. And there is essentially no law against foreign languages, which any Francophone visiting Netanya can attest to. Not to mention signs in Russian all over the place.

      For an example of how to see the manipulation of the media, look for images of Gaza on Google Images, then try Gaza beaches and Gaza markets as searches. We are just too far away to know the reality. Heck, we are here in Montreal and we still don’t know the reality of the corruption in our backyard. Why would we expect that reporters on the ground half a world away would be able to tell us the reality there. Especially considering that we all know that there is a lot of media manipulation.

    • qatzelok 10:18 on 2013/02/22 Permalink

      Ephraim, I must concede that you are correct. Israel has been much more efficient and fair with its treatment of Arabophones than Quebec has been with its Anglophones.

    • Ian 10:34 on 2013/02/22 Permalink

      @Ephraim your attempts to whitewash are impressive, but it doesn’t take much digging to find fairly balanced media from both the Israeli and Arab sides of the fence. That aside, the almost universal international condemnation of the illegal settlements is quite profound, and to simply hand-wave it away as too complex for us in far-off Canada to comprehend verges on the absurd.

    • Ephraim 12:13 on 2013/02/22 Permalink

      @Ian – It is simply NOT germane to this discussion, which has 0 to do with Israel at all. I spoke of the sign at Berson, which years ago brought the OQLF to their doorstep until they backed away because it was one word in Hebrew on an entirely French sign.

      And frankly, yes, I don’t believe that most Canadians (regardless of religion) have a very good grasp on the subject at all. It’s like my telling the British how to solve the problem of Northern Ireland, or the Armenians how to solve their problems.

    • Ian 15:05 on 2013/02/22 Permalink

      I wasn’t aware that you were the moderator of this site, Ephraim. Conversations evolve.

      Though I’ve read extensively on the subject of Israel’s relationship with their Palestinian neighbours and have actually talked extensively with many people that have visited or lived in Israel, some as scholars, it’s true that many haven’t read very deeply on the subject. For anyone interested in learning more, this book is an excellent place to start: http://www.amazon.com/Palestine-Joe-Sacco/dp/156097432X

    • Ant6n 18:03 on 2013/02/22 Permalink

      What Ian is doing is not akin to telling British people _how to solve_ their problem with Northern Ireland, it’s akin to telling British people that there is a problem of Northern Ireland. Although the problems in Northern Ireland are pretty mundane to compared to the problems in Palestine.

  • Kate 10:11 on 2013/02/21 Permalink | Reply  

    The 10th annual Lumière fest opens Thursday – Voir picksLa Presse picks.

    As is customary, the festival will close with the Nuit Blanche overnight March 2 and 3. The Gazette has a preview, and this part of the festival also offers mobile apps to keep track of what you want to do. The STM keeps the metro open all night as well.

    • carswell 10:34 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      If the STM can keep the metro open all night for the Nuit Blanche, why can’t they do so on New Year’s eve, when far more people are out late celebrating and, in too many cases, driving home after overindulging? If cost is an issue, they could surely find a corporate sponsor — a brewer, distiller or distributor, the SAQ or a beverage alcohol industry association, for example — to assume a good chunk of it.

    • Mathieu 10:42 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      Their answer is that they need those 4 hours to clean up and repair the system. They skip on the maintenance for one day each year but couldn’t do it all year long.

    • Bill Binns 11:14 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      @Carswell – Good idea but I suspect th reason this can’t be done is the small fortune it would likely cost to get each unionized STM empoyee to work third shift on a major holiday.

    • MB 16:12 on 2013/02/21 Permalink

      @carswell, The night routes are handy and the frequent routes are well-used, though it can take forever to get to some parts of town like Ville-Émard or Rosemont (and forget it if you’re trying to get back to the suburbs).

  • Kate 09:52 on 2013/02/21 Permalink | Reply  

    The CSDM is being asked to accept kids whose families are not official immigrants. An estimate given here is that there are as many as 40,000 people in Montreal who don’t have papers, and some are children.

    Homeless people will not be able to vote in this year’s municipal elections although a nebulous promise to change this was made in 2009. Apparently homeless shelters can vouch for people to vote at the federal level, but people without a permanent address are barred from other elections.

  • Kate 09:35 on 2013/02/21 Permalink | Reply  

    Archives de Montréal prepares to celebrate its centenary on March 30. Of course Montreal history stretches back long before 1913, but apparently everything at city hall had become so chaotic that order had to be made and an archives service established. A good thing too, because this meant that a lot of stuff survived the city hall fire of 1922.

  • Kate 09:25 on 2013/02/21 Permalink | Reply  

    The New York Times looks at the Charbonneau commission and sees a scene from the Sopranos in the Nicolo Milioto testimony.

    If you need to, log in with mtlweblog/mtlweblog.

    Garnotte’s cartoon on the city hall raid is funny, but I’m wondering if an anglo cartoonist could get away with mocking Pauline’s imperfect English the way he pokes fun at Applebaum’s French here.

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