Updates from June, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 16:45 on 2017/06/09 Permalink | Reply  

    A bomb scare on St Helen’s Island halted the yellow line for an hour Friday afternoon while a suspicious package was neutralized. TVA link has text and video report. Radio-Canada now indicates the package was not a bomb.

    Mathieu Charlebois goes looking for Formula One fever for L’actualité, and is underwhelmed, noting that the main pleasure in attending some of the street events is getting to walk on a street closed to automobiles.

  • Kate 10:01 on 2017/06/09 Permalink | Reply  

    The Journal claims that the city’s requirements for security at the Atwater filtration plant mean it’s paying a lot more than it should. This is after the same paper ran repeated pieces about how poor the security was at the plant.

  • Kate 09:40 on 2017/06/09 Permalink | Reply  

    A transport truck crashed into a McDonald’s in Saint-Léonard just after midnight Friday morning. Two people were injured including the driver, who apparently suffered some kind of health problem at the wheel, and now has two broken legs to go with it. TVA link has video.

    Friday afternoon, a woman crashed her car into a school in NDG. I guess she had Formula One fever. Nobody died, and no kids were even hurt.

  • Kate 09:29 on 2017/06/09 Permalink | Reply  

    QMI has a photo feature on the Grand Prix taking over downtown. CBC has a special weather forecast for the weekend.

    • Viviane 14:20 on 2017/06/09 Permalink

      And there’s an anti-Grand Prix bike protest tonight at 6:30, starting at Phillips Square.

  • Kate 09:24 on 2017/06/09 Permalink | Reply  

    Some parents are upset that one of the city’s supervised injection sites is near a grade school.

    If we’re going to have supervised injection sites, they’re going to be near some normal stuff. Because someone shoots up it doesn’t mean they’re also a hustler of kids, as implied in the piece.

    Why do I get the sense that the Journal sent a few people to check out the environs of the injection sites to try to rustle up some scare stories and negative feedback?

    • jeather 13:27 on 2017/06/09 Permalink

      That’s about 4 blocks away, which seems far enough. Is there an increase in crime near the supervised sites in Vancouver?

    • DeWolf 14:00 on 2017/06/09 Permalink

      An analysis of crime data from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside between 2005-2015 showed that crime rates remained relatively stable, despite major gentrification and other upheavals (search “10 years of police data” from the Georgia Straight). Hard to say what impact the safe injection site had on this.

      What is clear is that safe injection sites save lives. After the safe injection site opened on Hastings Street, there was a 35 percent decline in overdose rates in the 40 surrounding blocks. The HIV infection rate in Vancouver as a whole has also plunged (see “The science is in. And Insite works” from Macleans’).

    • Bill Binns 14:05 on 2017/06/09 Permalink

      Look, addicts are desperate and they do not make good neighbors. Many of them are half crazy besides their addiction issues. Not wanting addicts in your neighborhood or around your children is common sense. Services intended for addicts of course attract addicts to the area.

      In the year I have lived in the Village I have called 911 more times than I have called during the other 46 years of my life and that includes 20 years spent on the road in some of the shittiest neighborhoods in the US. The guy who answers 311 in English for Ville Marie is named Alain. I no longer have to give him my address when I call. My wife has participated in a police lineup to identify a man and a woman who had been on a spree breaking into cars. I find used needles so often that I now throw them into a bowl in my garage when I find them outside my back door. We have had numerous small items stolen from our porch. People regularly have sex or defecate in the alley behind my house. The 3 1000 watt flood lights and security cameras attached to almost every building in the alley deters nobody because their is no enforcement whatsoever.

      Just yesterday, I had a contractor here installing air conditioning who left the door open for a minute and I found a guy inside my garage who was “just looking around”. The contractor had found a different guy cupping his hands over the window of his van to see what was inside and to cap it all off, when my wife didn’t close the front door properly, it took about 30 seconds for some piece of shit with face tattoos to arrive on my front porch about to enter my house. That was all a big misunderstanding (he thought this was his friends house). That’s a single day. We are under siege.

      I don’t care what is good or bad for these people. Not even slightly. I want them gone, run off, dispersed, jailed, I don’t care. I will complain to the city about the injection sites at every possible opportunity. I will go fill out a police report for every incident no matter how small (something the cops go out of their way to dissuade you from).

    • DeWolf 14:09 on 2017/06/09 Permalink

      Bill, I don’t know why you insist on making life miserable for yourself just because you think you ought to be able to live anywhere and not have any problems. Just move. You could literally go two kilometres north and not have any of the problems you are describing.

    • Bill Binns 14:41 on 2017/06/09 Permalink

      @DeWolf – Historic single family 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with a two car garage 100 meters from a Metro station for the cost of a 2 bedroom condo. That’s why.

      I’m not miserable. And although I have been shocked by the sheer volume of issues and the Police apathy, I knew most of what I was getting into. This is an entirely solvable problem not much more complicated than a raccoon infestation. I will eventually get the services out of the police that I pay for. There are 4 other homes on our little street that cost more than ours, all of them owned by people from France. We know two of the families and they are on board. The Plateau is full and expensive and my neighborhood has the same type of housing stock with far better transport closer to downtown. The junkies are literally the only obstacle in the way of the neighborhood becoming the next Plateau.

      The fact that the cops really don’t want you to fill out a police report over the theft of a 3 dollar broom shows me the soft spot that needs to be pressed. Crime stats.

      My point from the first comment is that nothing needs to be “rustled up”. The issues are there for anyone to see.

    • Blork 14:58 on 2017/06/09 Permalink

      Regarding the supervised injection site, I can understand people not wanting it right across the street or next door to a school, but 200 metres is enough buffer. Particularly when you consider that the neighbourhood is already awash with Bill-Binns-nemeses, so it’s not like these kids aren’t already in the junkie soup.

      Also consider that the people who go to these safe injection sites are likely not the worst-case scenario types that everyone associates with “junky.” I’m speculating, but I think the people who bother going to such sites are the ones who are not as far gone as that. Maybe I’m wrong.

    • Kevin 15:54 on 2017/06/09 Permalink

      What Bill Binns describes is exactly what it was like when I lived in Vancouver 3 km and 12 km from the safe injection site.

      Drug addicts need money, and property theft is the easiest way to get it specifically because police don’t make any attempt to stop it.

      Police need to have a visible presence in high crime areas, and they need to arrest the people who are buying stolen goods.

    • CE 16:10 on 2017/06/09 Permalink

      I lived in a neighbourhood with pretty much the same issues as described by Bill Binns. I’ve also lived with neighbours who are similar to Bill. Personally, I’d rather live around the addicts.

    • Kate 17:38 on 2017/06/09 Permalink

      Bill Binns: “We are under siege.”

      Bill Binns, I agree with DeWolf: You could move to any other neighbourhood in Montreal and not have this problem. You’ve chosen to try to gentrify Centre-Sud, but that part of town is not going to change because you complain to 311 every week.

      You may have decided to bet on property values increasing in the area, but it isn’t worth it. Not in the cost to your blood pressure and your peace of mind. Pack it in and have a look at Vieux-Rosemont, Ahuntsic, western Verdun, St-Lambert – so many neighbourhoods with older housing stock you could choose from.

    • Bill Binns 18:11 on 2017/06/09 Permalink

      @Kate – Gentrification is happening here, there are signs of it everywhere. I would not be here otherwise. I may be gambling but I’m not crazy or reckless. Hipster barbershops, artisinal bakeries, high(ish) end restaurants and gourmet grocers are replacing the pawn shops, vape shops, armored deps and empty storefronts at an encouraging pace along Ontario.

      All of the single family houses within a few blocks are valued around 500k or better. One over on St Andre near the corner of Ontario is for sale for 800. Every street is lined with mature trees and has it’s own little park (currently exclusively used by addicts for the most part). There are some dilapidated homes cut up into a ridiculous number of tiny apartments but there are even more homes with reno permits in the windows. There are lots of good signs with the big problem being that we are in the midst of a heroin epidemic. Heroin epidemics tend to work themselves out one way or another.

      I’m not breaking ground here. Somebody else started this process but I intend to do everything I can to help it along. A lot of that simply means being a good neighbor myself.

      We looked at many of the neighborhoods you mentioned. We got into a protracted bidding war over a house in Pointe St Charles and lost. We even bid on a house out in Lasalle and shopped as far out as Monkland. We decided to go for proximity to downtown and the Metro. My wife works in the middle of downtown. She is at her desk 14 minutes after walking out our front door if the Metro is running but can walk it in little more than 30 if she needs to.

    • ant6n 20:42 on 2017/06/09 Permalink

      “…This is an entirely solvable problem not much more complicated than a raccoon infestation…”

      This continuing crypto-fascist bs is really dragging down the quality of this blog.

    • dwgs 21:05 on 2017/06/09 Permalink

      “This continuing crypto-fascist bs is really dragging down the quality of this blog.” No it’s not. I rarely agree with Bill B. but at the same time I have no desire to live in an echo chamber. The very reason that I like this place is the divergence of opinions and the usually civilized debate that comes from that. This is Kate’s party and I think she does a pretty good job of hosting. Your issues with BB shouldn’t cause you to take a backhanded shot at her.

    • Kate 22:22 on 2017/06/09 Permalink

      Bill Binns, since you’re sitting on a piece of property chiefly in hopes of seeing it increase in value, I have a whole orchestra of tiny violins for you. Too bad you have to live in it meantime.

      ant6n, dwgs makes a point. We need to know how people are thinking even if they don’t think like us.

    • js 22:51 on 2017/06/09 Permalink

      Am I the only person who _enjoys_ Bill’s bile? He’s my favourite commenter. Free Bill Binns! (my silent slogan during his little time-out a while back)

    • Blork 23:33 on 2017/06/09 Permalink

      “Bill Binns, since you’re sitting on a piece of property chiefly in hopes of seeing it increase in value,…”

      Hmm. Bill Binns can correct me if I’m wrong, but I have the impression it’s not so much “chiefly in hopes of seeing it increase in value” as “hoping the neighbourhood will improve so that he can have a nice house in a nice neighbourhood without having to have paid the nice house/nice neighbourhood price.”

      Not quite the same thing. (One emphasizes gaining money while the other emphasizes saving money.)

    • Blork 23:34 on 2017/06/09 Permalink

      +1 dwgs. (Do people still do “+1?”)

    • Tee Owe 06:12 on 2017/06/10 Permalink

      Sure they do!
      +1 dwgs and js

    • ant6n 08:50 on 2017/06/10 Permalink

      Most commentary here (by volume) is written by centre-right/neoliberals. If anything, this place is slowly turning into a right-wing echo-chamber.

      That said, just because one is willing to entertain different opinions doesn’t mean one has to allow de-humanizing, near-hate speech bile. It’s not funny, and one doesn’t learn anything new; it’s always the same basic drivel. The constant contempt for whole swaths of people is definitely dragging down the quality of discussion.

    • Kate 09:46 on 2017/06/10 Permalink

      ant6n, it makes me sad that you feel this blog is being dragged down. You made a comment to this effect also on Facebook, where I asked you how you would handle the situation, and you haven’t responded.

      It’s not an empty gesture. I really do wonder how you’d deal with the problem you describe, if you were in my situation.

      I mostly clip the news. Some days I simply don’t have time to polemicize. Most of the time, I’m simply linking to the stories that catch my eye as an interested Montrealer.

      Now and then I remove a comment that’s offensive, or just someone exercising their idée fixe, but I don’t make a habit of it.

      The only way I can see of making this blog into a more talky left-wing discussion group would be to reboot it: devote much more time to it, to studying the issues, making my own crtitical contributions, and bringing in more thoughtful debate. Unfortunately, I do not have time for this at the moment.

    • JaneyB 10:35 on 2017/06/10 Permalink

      Like probably many readers, I enjoy both Bill_Binns’ right-wing anguish and ant6n’s laser insight into transport matters especially. I hope you both stick around! In a perfect world, Bill_Binns would get politically visible in his district and that ant6n could get hired by the city as a transport critic.

      The blog is just fine IMO. We get a fair bit of lefty bike activism and community services discussion as well as centre-right commentary. We’ve got property-owners, renters, ex-pats and people who’ve moved away but still hang out here (@mare?). A discussion-group vibe is hard to maintain even in real life – whatever the political slant; people are going to have their obsessions and it is hard to stay open-minded and collaborative when those topics are broached. Plus sometimes people just feel like having a good whine!

      @Bill_Binns – re:the neighbourhood. If you want to ride the property value train as the neighbourhood rises, you should rent out your place during that period and you and your family should move to a nice neighbourhood. There is someone who will not care about the craziness you are currently tolerating. You can rent another place; the costs will cancel out each other. There is nothing saying you have to have a front-row seat in the transition; investment is enough. If you are absolutely determined to stay, you and your Français neighbours should start a volunteer patrol group. That’ll be on RadCan in minutes (make a press release) and you might get more police action.

    • js 11:11 on 2017/06/10 Permalink

      I keep hoping that one day I’ll log on here and see a link to a story in the news about a Gay Village resident who was caught trying to hasten gentrification with an elaborate plot involving trails of those irresistible $3 brooms leading into Greyhound buses bound for Quebec City and Ottawa.

    • Blork 12:07 on 2017/06/10 Permalink

      @ant6n, beware confirmation bias! I’m pretty sure most people aren’t experiencing this blog the way you describe. I certainly am not.

      @Kate, no reboot please. I like it just the way it is, including Bill Binns’ curveballs from way over there.

    • Bill Binns 12:29 on 2017/06/10 Permalink

      I’m not a property speculator. I’m not trying to flip this house in 18 months. I’m doing what most people do, I’m living in a neighborhood I can afford. My wife and I have not regretted buying this house on our worst day here. After 20 years living in apartment buildings with their shared laundry rooms, elevators and sometimes noisy or otherwise horrible neighbors living above, below and beside us, living in a single family home is a dream come true. It cost us our life savings plus another life savings we haven’t earned yet so I am highly motivated to protect that investment. The idea that I should be fine with crime existing in my neighborhood because it was here before I moved in is pure bullshit.

      The crime problem is much less severe in many ways than I expected it to be. I spent the first 13 years I lived in Montreal avoiding this neighborhood like the plague. I didn’t even like to change trains at Berri UQAM if I could avoid it. I moved in here like I was moving into a war zone. I spent thousands of dollars on Medeco locks. I have two separate and redundant alarm systems and more security cameras than most banks. For the first few months, I had an aluminum baseball bat propped against the wall next to the front and back doors (they have since been relocated to the garage). What I actually experienced was very low level crime but a shit ton of it as I explained above. I have no worries at all about physical violence and do not worry about my wife being here alone when I am away for weeks at a time. Most of these guys vaporize as soon as you say boo to them. The problem is an annoyance but sometimes a severe annoyance.

      In many ways, this type of crime is very similar to graffiti plagues that I have been counseling my clients on for years. The biggest part of the problem is that the cops have been told that they are front line soldiers in the global war on terrorism and these types of quality of life crimes are not worth their time. So, I am following my own advice and documenting everything with the intention of shaming the cops into action either by messing with their stats or literally shaming them. In a month or so when my bowl of needles out in the garage is full to the brim, I will put photos on Reddit and Twitter and see if I get any attention. If not, maybe I will show up at a city council meeting with a fishbowl full of needles in 6 months.

      The city could easily fix this problem with some visible police presence and a few arrests but instead, they make the problem worse by placing more services here that attract these people and keep them here. So, just like the good folks of Hochelaga and St Henri, I am going to fight for my neighborhood to be more comfortable for folks like me but instead of terrorizing grocery stores and smashing windows, I am going to do it the legal way. I am looking forward to the 2018 elections and intend to be engaged and involved as much as possible.

      My initial comment was not a plea for help (no tiny violins necessary). I was countering Kate’s suggestion that resistance to supervised injection sites would need to be drummed up by a crafty newspaper trying to stir shit. There is plenty of resistance already and for damn good reasons.

      @Ant6n – If this Obama loving, anti-gun, anti-war, pro-abortion, pro-drug legalization atheist from Massachusetts represents the height of conservatism to you than you must have a tough time out there in the real world (assuming you ever visit it).

    • Blork 12:39 on 2017/06/10 Permalink

      Hear you Bill Binns. But sure you realize that things like safe injection sites will REDUCE the number of needles you find in your yard. Also, safe injection sites reduce the odds of you finding a passed-out or dead addict on your front step. Plus they are, for many people, the first step in getting clean, which also reduces the problems you describe.

    • Blork 12:41 on 2017/06/10 Permalink

      *Surely* you realize … (Stupid iPad…)

    • Bill Binns 12:56 on 2017/06/10 Permalink

      @Blork – I could possibly be convinced that the injection sites are necessary evil but even then would scream NIMBY. If they must exist, lets place them in existing medical facilities rather than wedged between the florist and the bakery on Main St. And let’s put them in ALL of the existing medical facilities so they will be evenly dispersed across the city rather than being concentrated in areas the city has given up on.

      As it is, there is something really weird about the government having the position “Heroin is super illegal and really bad…..but, if you have some we will provide you with the tools you need to consume it and a place to do it in”. This is a strange form of limited legalization with none of the benefits to the community at large that would come from actual legalization.

    • Blork 13:32 on 2017/06/10 Permalink

      @Bill Binns; it’s part of a broader philosophy of “harm reduction,” in which you accept certain unpleasantries for the sake of an overall reduction in harm for both the individuals and society. It’s a bit radical, and it’s not an easy sell, but as far as I know the data shows that it does reduce the ill effects of heroin addiction (both for individuals by reducing overdose deaths, and socially by getting some junkies out of doorways and backyards etc.)

      It requires a certain tolerance for ambiguity to accept this, and you need to think past the first degree of logic.

      I saw a documentary on CBC a few months ago about a place in Toronto (Vancouver maybe?) that provides free alcohol to hardcore alcoholics. These are boozers beyond any other sort of help. It gives them a place to stay during the day (and I think they actually live there), and they are provided with one foul-tasting alcoholic drink per hour.

      None of them are “drunk” because it’s just enough booze to take the edge off and to keep them from getting the jitters. But in the meantime, these guys are contained, and are doing no harm to themselves or others.

      A lot of people object, saying this just enables them. But to get into the program you have to be referred by social services or a doctor (or something like that) and be certifiably way over the edge. Someone who cannot just stop drinking. Someone who can’t just “get a job” because no one would hire them and they don’t have the personality to stick with a job and be responsible anyway.

      So would you rather these guys be out on the street bumming change, puking on the sidewalk, crapping behind dumpsters, and sleeping in parking lots, or would you rather they were just sitting around being somewhat civilized and not barfing on anyone?

    • Bill Binns 13:46 on 2017/06/10 Permalink

      @Blork – That reminds me so much of the water coolers full of terrible gin from “1984” but I like the idea and would support a version of that for heroin. “Here’s your heroin, go lay in a cot over there and enjoy the high, when you want more just ask. No need to go steal Bill’s broom. If you want to quit we can help you with that too”.

      I imagine heroin or some synthetic equivalent would be a lot cheaper for the government to buy than the cost of dealing with all the trouble caused by addicts roaming the streets desperate for cash. Such a thing seems sort of impossible but it could be made viable by something like the Fentanyl crisis.

    • Ephraim 16:22 on 2017/06/10 Permalink

      Trollish comments such as “This continuing crypto-fascist bs is really dragging down the quality of this blog.” with no backup nor explanation is what drags down discussions.

      Discussions have the “di” in it to point that at least two views are needed. Putting down someone’s point without any real points to back it up are exactly how some people block other people’s opinions, without actually disseminating any counter arguments.

      And before someone says that I have an opinion on where safe injection sites should or should not be… please be assure that I hold no opinion at all, other than we should actually have doctors dispense heroine, safely, as done in many countries.

    • Myles 22:36 on 2017/06/10 Permalink

      Referring to human beings as an infestation, as Bill has done here and does quite often, is unacceptable, dehumanizing. Such rhetoric has in the past been used by fascists and it’s jarring and saddening to see.

    • ant6n 01:09 on 2017/06/11 Permalink

      My point had nothing to do with ‘opinions’ expressed in this ‘di’-scussion. It was about the continued bigotry, contempt and dehumanization of people. This way of thinking is infectious when constantly being exposed to it, after a while people don’t even realize it’s there (as evidenced by multiple people who didn’t get it even after it was pointed out).

      And then readers here are OK with equating the people involved with crime and drugs as some sort of vermin that the Police should deal with by being more authoritarian — all in order to protect the capital of upstanding citizens. After a while most don’t even realize the fascist undertones, cuz oh, that’s just our funny/cranky uncle Bill, he’s always like that.

      I believe this kind of rhetoric is unacceptable. Not in order to create some lefty paradise safe space (as I tried to point out we’re far away form that here anyway), but as a basic requirement for any public discourse.

    • Kate 10:37 on 2017/06/11 Permalink

      Thank you, ant6n.

  • Kate 00:45 on 2017/06/09 Permalink | Reply  

    Questions about the REM still abound after a series of hearings: its governance, its financing and what special powers will be accorded to the Caisse de dépôt are still up in the air. The piece notes that the REM will not be subject to the ARTM, recently spawned specifically to manage the overall transit picture in the urban area, but already reduced to a stooge by the advent of the REM.

    Not that the ARTM situation has made everyone happy. Radio-Canada has another piece about how Laval and Longueuil are already gearing up for a scrap over what they get from the bureaucratic shuffle that birthed the ARTM.

    • ant6n 13:36 on 2017/06/09 Permalink

      Concerns relate to how cdpqinfra may effectively levy taxes via the ARTM, how they will pay for 1/3 of the project but receive total control, and how they have much more preferred shares despite not paying more per share.

  • Kate 00:30 on 2017/06/09 Permalink | Reply  

    Police say Montreal’s festivals are not at risk of terrorist attack. There are concrete blocks around where people will gather, and the photo shows bags being searched as well, so the risk of improvised attacks using ordinary items like vans and knives is reduced.

    • Michael Black 00:54 on 2017/06/09 Permalink

      I was going to go up St Lawrence Blvd tonight, but at Milton the fence looked quite tight across the street and sidewalks, and it looked like only an opening for one person. That may explain the line I saw, or maybe they were checking bags, so I skipped the street sale. I’m not certain this was happening, it looked d like it and I avoided it.

      Maybe it will be different after the racing cars are finished.

      I’ve never seen this done with a sidewalk sale, but the jazz and likely other big festivals have one this, except they are looking for imported drinks, an maybe glass bottles. In 1990 or 91, one very wet afternoon I simply wanted to go west, and despite the lack of crowds, the gatekeepers wanted to search my pack, so I had to go around, betting even wetter. I’ve avoided the jazz festival (and never gone to the other festivals in that area) ever since.

      There is a difference between a site one goes specifically to, and one that blocks everyday traffic. Though now it’s for different reasons.


    • DeWolf 14:03 on 2017/06/09 Permalink

      Bags were only being searched between Milton and Prince Arthur, presumably because that is where the big music stage is. There weren’t any security checks on the rest of the street.

  • Kate 00:18 on 2017/06/09 Permalink | Reply  

    Two men have been charged with murder in the first degree in the killing of Angelo D’Onofrio a year ago in Ahuntsic. At the time, media said D’Onofrio was connected with the mob or that he was, in the time-worn phrase, known to police; they’re now indicating the shooting was a mistaken identity (“innocent victim of Mafia war“).

    In La Presse Friday, Daniel Renaud tells us some of the story how cops traced the suspects from the day of the murder to this week’s arrests. He too mentions that D’Onofrio merely resembled a man the gang had in their sights, quoting the victim’s brother saying Angelo D’Onofrio had nothing to do with the mafia.

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