Updates from February, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 22:24 on 2013/02/25 Permalink | Reply  

    There were demonstrations Monday to mark the education summit and a few people were arrested and fined. The summit continues tomorrow after an announcement that there will definitely be tuition increases tied to inflation rates.

    One young man who made a crack on his Facebook page about bringing a baseball bat to the demonstration was arrested and charged for uttering threats. La Presse estimates a thousand protesters were out Monday and more are expected Tuesday. Photos from Monday’s protests.

    • Ephraim 22:30 on 2013/02/25 Permalink

      Didn’t I say that they would go back on their promise to not increase tuition rates? It’s was an impossible promise. The naïveté of the students… well, now they are starting to be jaded, welcome to the real Quebec!

    • jeather 23:07 on 2013/02/25 Permalink

      Ah, that’s why there were helicopters overhead near downtown tonight.

    • Ant6n 23:42 on 2013/02/25 Permalink

      …stupid helicopters

    • Ian 05:56 on 2013/02/26 Permalink

      How many thousands of dollars an hour for those helicopters again, for a few hundred demonstrators? I guess the police haven’t figured out how to use mobile devices to check their own twitter feed to see what direction the marchers are going in, and of course police radios are so 20th century crowd control. Cut the police budgets and put the difference towards education spending.

    • Kevin 07:35 on 2013/02/26 Permalink

      How about we organize student volunteers to clean up the paint sprayed on government buildings, or to fix the windows? That’s wasted money that could be going to education spending too.

    • Bill Binns 08:02 on 2013/02/26 Permalink

      All that’s left is for an announcement to be made that the tuition increases are as much or more as the ones proposed last year. Remember all that chest beating for knocking the big bad Nazi Charest out of power and replacing him with the pot banging Marois? Congratulations on your great victory kids.

    • Ian 09:13 on 2013/02/26 Permalink

      Don’t blame me, I voted QS. :D Kevin – how about we go after specific perpetrators instead of painting an entire movement with the same brush? You may as well say the police are justified in instituting a full curfew after 6 pm to prevent the possibility of illegal demonstrations.

    • Philip 09:57 on 2013/02/26 Permalink

      Wait people are opposed to the idea of adjusting tuition to inflation? Isn’t that a fair compromise? Keep tuition consistent with the value of the dollar?

    • Ian 10:31 on 2013/02/26 Permalink

      It’s definitely more fair than what the PLQ governemnt had on the table, but it’s a betrayal of one of the core principles of the quiet revolution.

    • GC 11:05 on 2013/02/26 Permalink

      Not too surprising that a tuition increase of some sort had to happen, but I *am* surprised they announced it during the summit. Cynical of me, but I would have expected them to keep it under wraps until the summit was over.

      Tying it to inflation isn’t really an _increase_ so much as avoiding a decrease. Semantics, but still…. If my employer only gives me enough of a raise each year to meet inflation, I don’t really consider that a case of increased compensation.

    • Ant6n 12:06 on 2013/02/26 Permalink

      Tying tuition to inflation is fair if you assume the current fees are fair, which is not obvious. Certainly it’s better than the last 5 years of ~10% increases.

      And realistically, a full freeze without making an actual policy to slowly converge towards a defined level (e.g. 0) will just invite some future government to quickly jack up the fees for a couple of years, in order to undo the losses due to the freeze relative to inflation.

    • GC 16:25 on 2013/02/26 Permalink

      “Tying tuition to inflation is fair if you assume the current fees are fair”

      True. And tying it to inflation also doesn’t make sense if you are actually moving towards a goal of zero, of course.

  • Kate 22:17 on 2013/02/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Heritage Montreal has released a list of ten sites at risk around town.

    Update: more info and photos from La Presse.

    Seems to me a couple of these are a bit too late to save – the lower Main and the Redpath house for example, one is gone and the other has been neglected to a point where there’s nothing left to save. The only thing to do would be to make efforts to replace them with something that isn’t horrible for its setting, and what chance do we have of seeing that?

    And I admit I will shed no tears when the city finally remodels Viger Square from the concrete maze it somehow once thought was a good idea. Yes, I know some good artists worked on it. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t be wrong.

    • Ephraim 22:27 on 2013/02/25 Permalink

      Some of them might be historical, but you can’t save everything all the time. For example, Place des Nations wasn’t supposed to last beyond 1967. Square Viger is one of the worst designed public squares, ever, anywhere. And the Rodier building? Why would you want to preserve it? Don’t we have enough to spend money on?

    • MB 02:56 on 2013/02/26 Permalink

      Wow, that’s awfully cynical Ephraim. I’d hate to see Place des Nations go, it’s quite an impressive relic that surely could find some use. Square Viger…can’t argue on that one. But the Rodier building? What do you recommend? It’s one of the last buildings from that period in the neighborhood. If we don’t spend money on stuff like this, where is it supposed to go? Lemme guess, fixing potholes? Keeping the riff-raff out?

    • Ephraim 11:25 on 2013/02/26 Permalink

      I wasn’t intending to be cynical, but realistic. The whole Expo 67 site was built with the intent that it was temporary.

      I don’t know about the Rodier building. It just doesn’t seem really historical to me, it’s interesting, but does it really deserve public money or is this just one more dream? We have limited money, we need to be more realistic and preserve the best of the best. I see the point of Redpath, I just don’t when it comes to Rodier. Unless you can find a genuine use for the building.

    • Ant6n 16:17 on 2013/02/26 Permalink

      10 sites isn’t “everything”, and if you don’t save the historical sites “all the time”, they’re gone with only one time not being saved.

      Montreal really sucks at preserving its heritage.

    • Pete M 19:07 on 2013/02/26 Permalink

      The architectural jewel at Expo 67 was the German pavilion. However, my strongest and happiest memory is of a large model train going into and out of the building at the Maine pavilion and some sort of chicken hatchery with lots of happy little chicks.

      Looking at the Heritage Montreal list, the picture of Viger Square shows the Agora part, which could, in my opinion, have been one heck of a farmers/artisans market. It also had a large waterfall that you could ride your bike along inches (or less!) from the falling water. But the reality is that it wasn’t a happy place at all.

      The Place des Nations site is also neglected. Montreal has a lot of neglected waterfront/island/shore/river settings. Exhibit A: Bonaventure expressway blocking a lot of shoreline. I need to try to find one of the occasional proposals to de-autoroute-ize this part of Montreal.

      Caserne LeTourneau turns my head every time I pass it.

  • Kate 13:11 on 2013/02/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Not sure what the point of this talky piece about the changing skyline is trying to do: basically it has Clarence Epstein saying “new buildings good” varied with a brief bite from Phyllis Lambert saying “yes, new buildings good.”

    • William 14:19 on 2013/02/25 Permalink

      I guess it was time to balance out all the vapid articles about “gentrification.”

    • Tantastic Ted 19:03 on 2013/02/25 Permalink

      Would you indulge me this just this once? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMPMiLddsuE

    • qatzelok 07:26 on 2013/02/26 Permalink

      Isn’t Phyllis (Bronfman) Lambert at a conflict of interest since her family is in the real estate development business? Maybe Clarence Epstein has interests as well?

    • Ian 10:34 on 2013/02/26 Permalink

      It’s a big family. Lambert is a well-known philanthropist and architect, and as of late has been pushing for urban renewal in areas such as Shaughnessy village that ironically have been kept in an economic slump by the investments of other branches of the Bronfman family such as the theatre block that’s been left to rot.

  • Kate 13:01 on 2013/02/25 Permalink | Reply  

    A clinic in Montreal charging for access to health care is under investigation.

    • David Tighe 16:58 on 2013/02/25 Permalink

      It seems to me that the charge is very modest given that it is more or less impossible to get a consultation at short notice. I agree that parallel public/private systems should not exist, but if the public system is close to breakdown, what can one do? At the moment we go without, hoping that the need to see a doctor will simply evaporate, or if a doctor must be seen, then off we go to emergency, at a colossal social cost. Until the public system can stop its decline, which it shows no sign of doing, then such alternative systems should be encouraged.

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

      There are a lot of people for whom a half or whole day off work waiting to see a doctor is much more of a barrier to healthcare than a token fee.

    • jeather 17:44 on 2013/02/25 Permalink

      Of course, if new doctors were allowed to practice in Montreal, that might help, too. Or allowed to practice in Quebec at all, half the time.

    • Marc 18:45 on 2013/02/25 Permalink

      Yes.. the PREM system is a big, big problem. I’m not saying the hinterland doesn’t need staff, but don’t punish those who want to work in Mtl. Offer a bonus to those who want to go “in the regions.” Carrot, not stick.

    • Kevin 07:36 on 2013/02/26 Permalink

      There is a mega bonus for working in the regions.
      And there’s no penalty at all for having a PREM to work in Montreal and then deciding not to use it.

    • William 22:55 on 2013/02/26 Permalink

      Kevin – there’s a mega bonus for working at Fort McMurray too. When are you packing your bags?

  • Kate 12:59 on 2013/02/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Montreal has been paying as much as 85% over the quote on some sewer and water main contracts even though a series of reports beginning in 1997 sounded a warning bell.

  • Kate 07:41 on 2013/02/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Three writers from the UdeM have written a paper demystifying Mother Teresa but for anyone who knows Christopher Hitchens’ work this isn’t exactly news. The woman was a monster.

    • Jean-François 13:05 on 2013/02/25 Permalink

      It is funny how Curzi and others put the blame on the victims claiming they created the unfortunate circumstances by denouncing the english or italian wording on menus and signs. In other words, this in no way is a fault of the OQLF policy but rather on trolls who provoked this in order to ridicule the OQLF and by extension, invite Quebec bashing from anglo media. This kind of reasoning is in line with the dishonest and narrowminded view of unilingual cultural plutocrats like Curzi and Rioux or Proulx that would gladly see any reference to english culture disappear if this were possible to accomplish without raising the curtain on the less savory aspects of nationalism.

      I am a francophone and I have been waiting for the proverbial last straw; this seems to be it. I am really fed up with this stupidity, and especially with those defenders of the right to prune other languages from the landscape in order that french be the only visible remainder of note in Montreal. This city has been a bilingual multicultural haven for centuries and this iniquity has to stop. Nobody profits from it but those who compete with Montreal on a world stage. I dont see how anyone in a diplomatic or international business posting can easily explain the Kafkaesque, or Swiftian satire we are wont to absorb in this city.

    • Blork 14:16 on 2013/02/25 Permalink

      I think Jean-François’s comment was supposed to go with this post, below: http://w5.montreal.com/mtlweblog/?p=25620

    • Charles Lanteigne 16:19 on 2013/02/25 Permalink

      Exactly, Kate. In the UdeM announcement, they said “À l’instar du journaliste et auteur Christopher Hitchens, abondamment cité dans leur analyse […]” and I wondered what exactly they had contributed, since he had already done the work (and dared saying it out loud more than a decade ago).


  • Kate 07:30 on 2013/02/25 Permalink | Reply  

    The feds are studying the possibility of collecting tolls on three of our bridges to raise funds for building the new Champlain.

    • Faiz Imam 13:54 on 2013/02/25 Permalink

      As a younger Brossard resident who has never driven downtown in his life, Yay for tolls!

      I doubt I’ll still be here when the bridge is complete, but the prospect of improved transit being considered here really makes me happy.

      Now as long as they come up with a great design this’ll be perfect.

    • Ephraim 14:42 on 2013/02/25 Permalink

      The question is… why are we collecting the tolls and what will be the impact. If we are intending to keep people out of Montreal at all times, then a toll at all times makes sense. But if the intent is to maximize income, minimize cost and keep as many cars out of downtown for commuters, we are best to just charge tolls in the morning hours (from say 6H30 to 9H30) for travel into Montreal and then (from say 15H30 to 18H30) for travel out of Montreal. At other times the income would be much lower and wouldn’t serve any real purpose other than to keep people from travelling in and out who may be spending their money in Montreal.

      To maximize profit and be most effective, a rolling toll price might be best, the more people crossing, the higher the toll, until you find a price that will commuters out. Discounting shouldn’t even be a thought. That just encourages people to do it more often, rather than less often.

    • David Tighe 17:10 on 2013/02/25 Permalink

      Ephraim is right. Tolls should be adopted and modulated according to urban transport policy not because the conservative government wants to minimise its expenditure. The latter could result in constraining regional growth. However, I think that tolls, if they are judged to be economically and socially effective, should be imposed on all South Shore bridges. They should certainly be maximal at peak periods. At the same time, the recipient of these tolls should allocate a considerable part to public transport improvement. It is about time anyway that the Federal Government introduced a national transport policy aimed at promoting greater mobility.

    • Ant6n 18:03 on 2013/02/25 Permalink

      I agree with tolls during rush hour. But just like for New York, tolls only really need to be collected in one direction, towards the city in the morning.

  • Kate 07:22 on 2013/02/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Just as the education summit is poised to open, as the sun came up it became obvious someone had vandalized the building on Fullum where the education ministry has offices – not the first time the building has felt the loving touch of red paint.

    Update: Léo Bureau-Blouin and Pierre Duchesne also had their offices defaced Monday morning.

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