Updates from June, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 10:42 on 2017/06/19 Permalink | Reply  

    The Journal has an infographic comparing various present-day city statistics with ones from the past.

    • Ian 11:54 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      Interesting that 20% declare themselves to be without religion, and yet that’s not part of the Ethics and Religious Culture curriculum in school at all.

    • Joe Mason 14:11 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      What appalling graphic design. I can’t tell a thing from these charts without squinting at them for several minutes. How am I supposed to compare the length of bars that go in opposite directions? Is there any significance to the order that the different religions are stacked? It’s not largest first…

    • GC 20:01 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      I think most people who call themselves “Christian” in 2011 probably mean it very differently from those who said it in 1911.

    • Jake 20:18 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      I prefer the original Statistics Canada version of this infographic: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-627-m/11-627-m2017020-eng.htm

    • Chris 21:15 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      I bet a non-trivial fraction of the 1911 “Christians” were atheists too. Atheists have been around (and closeted) forever.

    • Kate 01:58 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      GC: Very likely most who declare as Christians now, in Quebec, use the church for weddings and funerals but have no plans to allow its rules to dictate how they live. But they still have an ancestral guilt that won’t let them declare for no religion.

      Chris: It’s hard to say because people wouldn’t have spoken up. I mean, obviously a few daring folks did, but for most people, life was easier in most ways if you just played along with it – probably as it is in strict Muslim countries now.

      Ian: Really, there’s no module on the viability of living without any religion? That’s short-sighted of them.

    • Chris 09:03 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      Kate: exactly. Hadn’t heard of Guibord; interesting. I suspect things were not so bad here then, than they are in some Muslim-majority countries now. Consider Ahok in Indonesia, Avijit Roy in Bangladesh, etc., etc. I wonder: were ‘blasphemers’ commonly murdered here 100 years ago? I haven’t heard that was the case…

    • Kate 09:47 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      I’m not saying the situations were comparable in every sense, Chris. Just that when there’s a dominant religion there’s social pressure to fall into line.

    • Bill Binns 13:08 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      @Ian – “Interesting that 20% declare themselves to be without religion, and yet that’s not part of the Ethics and Religious Culture curriculum in school at all.”

      Right. Those numbers are also more than enough for “no religion” to be considered an”established” religion and get some of that sweet, sweet accommodation I have heard so much about. Most atheists shy away from the “atheism is a religion” concept but I think that’s a mistake. We need to get in there and play the game.

    • Kate 13:52 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      What accommodations do you need for your lack of belief in gods, Bill Binns?

    • Bill Binns 14:43 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      @Kate – Thank you for asking. I think we could start with parking immunity on Super Bowl Sunday. Maybe some sacrificial fires for the ceremonial burning of the packaging on the morning after Black Friday. Possibly some special hours at public pools but not sure who we want to kick out during “our time” yet. We don’t really have a need to build sheds on our balconies but would like to reserve the right to violate fire codes in some other fun way for a few weeks every year. Maybe indoor fireworks?

    • GC 15:26 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      I had never heard of Guibord, either; interesting.

    • SMD 16:06 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      @GC: He was quite a fellow. And the street named after him follows in his counter-current footsteps, as it is diagonal to the others around it and due to a typographical error doesn’t even bear his actual name.

    • Ian 17:53 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      @SMD I had no idea about Gilford being named after Guibord. Fascinating! I did remember Guibord’s problem with getting buried but had gotten vague on the details so thanks for that reminder, too, @Kate.

      @Bill – as a secular humanist I’d settle for backyard campfires, I would love some s’mores, fire regulations be damned. I guess you’ve never been in one of those balcony sheds, but they’re pretty cool, basically treeforts for grownups. We should make them too. If every does it, it’s okay, right? Do I have to be Jewish to build one? I’d check with my rabbi, but y’know… actually I’d be very interested to learn if technically anyone is allowed to build a sukkah if they feel like it. Let’s secularize this awesome festival, basically camping out and doing vodka shots with your neighbours in a makeshift hut. Icefishing without the brutal cold and annoying fishing part. You’d probably like it more than you think.

    • ant6n 18:14 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      White cis male complains about the unfair privilege granted to some minorities regarding rules surrounding hats.
      …also always complains about the privilege somehow granted to homeless people.

    • Chris 21:55 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      Sad to see you stoop to ad hominem ant6n. :(

    • ant6n 22:37 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      You must be referring to the many other times when I’ve used words like asshole, jerk, bigot, neoliberal etc. to describe certain commenters here.

      Pointing out the ironic ignorance often associated with white, male privilege isn’t actually an ad hominem.

    • Chris 22:58 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      ant6n, I’m referring to your “white cis male complains about…” comment… “male” singular. You seem to be referring to Bill *specifically*, not making some kind of generalized statement about “white male privilege”. In other words, you are saying that because he is a ‘white cis male’ (if even true), his argument is discountable. As they say: “attack the argument, not the man.”

    • ant6n 01:05 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      What argument? I’m attacking idiocy like ‘atheist deserves some of that sweet accomodation’, referring of course to his own unfair treatment by society. The context of who pretends to be treated unfairly (yet again) does matter.

      If you want to elevate not so subtly-veiled bigotry to the status of ‘arguments’ that need to be countered, why don’t you go argue on Breitbart or something.

    • Kate 01:18 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      I agree with ant6n that it does matter who claims unfair treatment. But I also dislike seeing personal callouts happen on my blog, so let’s end this here.

      Ian: would it be cultural appropriation to put up a secular sukkah and invite one’s friends to picnic in it?

    • Chris 08:56 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      ant6n, methinks you need to lookup ‘argument’ in the dictionary. :) From OED: “1: An exchange of diverging or opposite views, typically a heated or angry one. 2: A reason or set of reasons given in support of an idea, action or theory.” The first applies quite obviously. :) The second too. Not to put words in his mouth, but Bill supports the _idea/action_ of, ““no religion” [should] be considered an ”established” religion and get some of that sweet, sweet accommodation” citing as a _reason_ that, at 20%, they number even greater than other ‘religions’ that do get accommodation. It’s a defensible position, though of course attackable too. The idea can be attacked without regard to the person making it. For the record, I don’t even agree with Bill here (though do have mixed thoughts on the larger topic). If nothing else, it’s nonsense to consider ‘non-religion’ a ‘religion’, by definition really.

      Kate, since I have OED open :) “cultural appropriation: the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc. of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society.” If the hypothetical builders of a ‘secular sukkah’ forthrightly acknowledged it as from Jewish culture, that solves one part. At 20%, atheists outnumber Jews in Montreal, so I guess the ‘more dominant’ part is satisfied. So I guess it comes down to would it be “inappropriate”, which is subjective of course. The real question I guess is “is cultural appropriation even wrong?”.

    • Kate 09:36 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      Chris, when you’re down to “methinks” and dictionary definitions of common words, you’ve already lost.

    • Ian 11:47 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      I imagine that if I wanted to build a “secular sukkah” I would have to declare it a sukkah for it to be allowed, otherwise it’s just a random structure in violation of the fire code… so to some extent cultural appropriation would be necessary to get away with it. That said, in all honesty, I wouldn’t do it simply to avoid offending any of my neighbours who might think I was mocking their customs.

      Cultural appropriation is always a bit of a pickle in that in North America most of our customs, food, etc. are adapted from some other culture in some form though of course there are dominant narratives in play. We wouldn’t have modern art if it wasn’t for some white Europeans riffing on Asian prints and African sculpture. That we now see that kind of riffing as problematic is a very complicated discussion but I think what it boils down to is simple respect – if someone is offended, don’t do that. If not, go ahead. So I will still pepper my conversations with Yiddish terms, eat smoked meat, and buy kosher snacks from Lipa… but I won’t start wearing a shtreimel or build a sukkah.

      As to the whole “it’s nonsense to consider ‘non-religion’ a ‘religion’” argument, I think the point here is not that Bill wants non-religion to be considered a religion but rather that he wants religions not be accorded special rights not also accorded to the non-religious. I agree with Kate that there aren’t really any big ticket items in that list other than the obvious one of not taxing churches… but that aside, my point is not that I want atheism or humanism or agnosticism taught in ERC because I think they are the same as religious wordlviews, but rather to clearly state that it is indeed possible to live morally and ethically based on a philosophical worldview rather than a religious one. The stated goals of ERC are “The … twin paramount principles (of) Recognition of Others and Pursuit of the Common Good. It is also claimed that the course will promote a “culture of dialogue” among students.” I just see them learning “this is what people do for Diwali. This is what people do for Hanukkah. The Ojibway call the Earth Turtle Island (etc)”… not too heavy on the ethics, basically a jumped up version of the social studies courses we had when I was a kid. I think they could improve the curriculum.

    • Chris 18:42 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      Well said Ian. Though “if someone is offended, don’t do that” can’t be taken literally of course. Should the 96% of Canadians that eat meat stop because it sincerely offends the 4% that are vegetarian? Likewise for other situations…

    • Ian 08:11 on 2017/06/22 Permalink

      Sure but y that couldn’t be construed as cultural appropriation. Different discussion.

    • GC 11:52 on 2017/06/23 Permalink

      @SMD, thanks for the info.

  • Kate 10:15 on 2017/06/19 Permalink | Reply  

    The CSDM is coping with a growing overload of primary school students but what did they expect? I’ve seen school buildings repurposed as condos, torn down because they were too mouldy, boarded up and left to rot. That school commission was acting for decades as if they never expected kids to be born in the city any more.

    Update: The commissions are blaming Denis Coderre for not stepping up to help them out of this jam. But this is something Coderre cannot be blamed for. This problem comes from decisions and attitudes adopted long before this municipal administration, and they were never within the city’s purview anyway.

    • Jack 10:30 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      What are our expectations as citizens when we elect our school commissioners. The two largest school boards on the island are run by a former cinema location site seeker whose only real qualification to run a massive organisation like the CSDM was her PQ “bona fides” ( Her mom…Louise Harel) . The EMSB is led by a nutritionist with impeccable Liberal-Coderre connections. When we elect such ill suited officials who are frankly clueless what do we expect?

    • Ephraim 10:44 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      How many of these school boards have full governing boards in place? What is the government doing to ensure this governing boards are in place? I don’t think any government, Liberal or PQ have actually forced the schools to have the governing boards in place.

      Honestly, the boards are so rotten. The government should just make them publish budgets, per school and force the school to send home a copy with the students… and then see how long it takes to get parents involved and screaming to get the administrations to fly right. They move money from one department to the other because the governing boards aren’t there to stop them.

    • Phil C. 11:26 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      If westmount is so over capacity, why was the city so slow on securing a spot at the children hospital development for a school? The area doesn’t need a new community center more than it simply needs more class space. More capacity won’t appear unless they start laying bricks.

      On a side note, isn’t this the same city that complains about families with children moving to the suburbs? Primary schools are kind of an essential service for retaining them (Although as displayed by this article, there is clearly no shortage of young children)

    • Kate 11:30 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      If I were being super cynical, I’d say part of the problem is that the professional class that provides most of our politicians sends their kids to private schools, which have not faced neglect, been torn down, recycled into condos, etc., so they were not particularly touched by this issue themselves.

    • ant6n 11:45 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      That’s the problem with private services undermining public ones.

    • Jack 11:50 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      Everyone knows that Quebec elites don’t send their kids to public schools. Only one I repeat one Minister of Education has ever let their child step foot in a public high school. Only QS is dead set against this school segregation and its primarily why I’m voting for them next election.

    • Ian 11:56 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      Amusingly enough, that QS initiative is being spearheaded by Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois …who attended Collège Regina Assumpta.

    • Jack 12:10 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      Look man all three of the student leaders were private school grads. Everybody in current Quebec news media-commerce-politics are private school grads. Does anyone want to play, who amongst francos in those domains went to a public school, name 5.

    • SMD 12:19 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      This discussion of public-private segregation is timely, as a new movement of parents against “school segregation” has just been born. The term is a strong one, as one of the founders (a teacher and member of the original Parent commission) notes in an open letter. The group’s website is http://www.ecoleensemble.com.

    • Ephraim 13:56 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      Jack – Read their budget… they may be against private school segregation, but they are also for spending your children’s future.

    • Kate 01:40 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      SMD, I’m of two minds about some of that. This is why:

      I was a straight-A student coming out of grade school (which included grade 7 in those days) so I was streamed into the top math class at grade 8 when I reached high school – a public Catholic high school as existed then.

      The class had about a dozen students. I understood the math and I aced the class. Sometimes I outdid my friend Rob, who went on to become a Rhodes scholar and math professor. He later said we were fortunate in having a teacher who, at grade 8 level, was demonstrating proofs as he went along, not just making us memorize and repeat stuff. But it wasn’t only fortune. There was real value in having a smaller class size and a teaching level that let us move along with vigour, not plodding along hoping for the dullards to catch up. I remember the vibe in that class as one of the best things in my high school career.

      At some point between my grade 8 and grade 9, somebody at the school or the commission had a fit of conscience, and they cancelled “streaming” for the smart kids.

      Grade 9, my math class had 40 kids in it. The teacher was mediocre. It was chaos. I nearly flunked, for the first and last time in my life. My parents were furious, but they didn’t understand it was not my fault. I lost my grip on math and, in general, became disenchanted with learning at that point in a way from which I’ve never quite recovered.

      I had one or two more decent teachers before graduating high school – at age 16, since I’d skipped a grade earlier – but I also encountered some serious duds and learned the dubious skill of goofing off and doing just enough work to get by. When you’re smart and can coast, it takes skill to make you rise above that. I mostly learned to coast, and coasted pretty effortlessly to graduation.

      So I don’t think education should be doled out according to the wealth of the parents, but I don’t see any point in piling all the kids the same age into one class from the very brilliant down to kids who can barely function and need a helper with them all the time not to lose their shit and throw things, as I’m told happens regularly now. I don’t have a completely fair answer for this but I still regret the time I wasted in grades 9 to 11 at my high school, when I could’ve been learning so much.

      People need very different atmospheres and approaches to learn effectively, and pretending they don’t, from a social justice motive, impoverishes us all.

    • Kevin 09:00 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      @Ephraim: Parents don’t care. Most parents would be utterly unable to understand a school budget.

      Many don’t even care if their children are unable to spell or add, and can’t even tell if their kid is making mistakes.

      I was in my daughter’s grade 6 class last week to get the children to write thank you notes. About 1/3 of the children were unable to write a ten-word message — in English or French — without making at least two spelling errors.

      There is a reason people segregate their kids into private schools in order to give them a chance to succeed: it’s the only way to avoid tall poppy syndrome.

    • Fab Pine 10:36 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      Kate, that was an excellent personal anecdote that is similar to my own experience in high school. But I think it all comes down to social priorities and governance. Many states and provinces spend more on highways than on public education, in effect creating great drivers rather than great people.

    • Ephraim 10:37 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      @Kevin – As a teacher, you basically have to figure out the 3 different classes of parent, those who care, those who don’t and those who care too much and do the work for the child. Part of the thing of having private schools is that those who care, find the money. But you still have a certain amount of those who care who are in the public system, you just have to let them know where the administrators are putting the money allocated for their children’s education, they will scream bloody murder to make sure it goes to the right place.

      For example, when money for high school science is reallocated to a barbecue, it legally must go in front of a governing board…. no governing board, no civilian eyes on it, no civilian eyes on it, administration does as it pleases. I used a barbecue as an example, but I personally know of MUCH MUCH worse. And the contracts for buying computers that don’t even make sense. PCs for vocational that aren’t even networked, so they don’t know how to work on a network when they get into the real world…

    • Mark Côté 11:20 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      As a member of a public school governing board, I know school budgets are very strictly defined into different categories, and I doubt administration could legally move money from a science program to a barbecue. So we’re talking about possibly illegal action there, not merely ill-advised. Though I agree that the governing board would at least provide a check on any shady goings-on like that.

    • Ephraim 15:28 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      Mark, I just used it as an example. Resources being moved from Voc. Ed, High School and Primary schools need to go in front of a governing board… but often don’t. As an example. Not only shouldn’t they move, they should be paid for at a reasonable rate… so using unreasonable rates would allow for funds to change between schools and divisions, as an example. Only a governing board could object and stop such games. $10K worth of equipment transferred for $10K after 3 years of use….

    • Mark Côté 22:38 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      Oh yeah, don’t get me wrong, there are some serious issues in school-board governance generally right now; that’s pretty well known. But they seem to be a lot higher than at the individual school level.

    • Ephraim 12:44 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      I used to be a union rep. Every year I would start questioning the budget of the union. And every year the budget kept on getting leaner and cleaner because they never knew what part of the budget I was going to zero in on. It was a local Montreal union, so why were there calls to the US? etc. The same with the school boards, when they know that the parents are watching, they will fly right… or the government will step in.

  • Kate 10:11 on 2017/06/19 Permalink | Reply  

    Three supervised injection sites are opening for the first time Monday – two addresses and a mobile clinic.

    • Ephraim 10:45 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      It’s a good start.

  • Kate 09:52 on 2017/06/19 Permalink | Reply  

    A man is in critical condition after a fight in Côte St-Paul the Sud-Ouest early Monday. It’s a pretty quiet police blotter for a summer weekend.

    • ste.ph 10:12 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      That’s in Ville Emard, not in Cote-St-Paul.

    • Kate 10:17 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      Fixed. (Although the Voix-Pop Sud-Ouest, via Metro, put Côte-St-Paul in the headline.)

    • Mathieu 12:56 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      What’s the limit between Ville-Émard and Côte-Saint-Paul?

    • ste.ph 13:34 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      @ Mathieu,
      From the canal the boundary goes down Briand, and then east (real east) on Caron to Laurendeau. South along Laurendeau and then east along the alley between Leprohon & Jaques Hertel.

      To be fair, google maps has it grossly wrong. I find it curious how some of the old names stuck (with loose geography) in the Sud-Ouest borough, but have long been abandoned in many other boroughs.

    • Kevin 14:37 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      Sorry ste.ph but you are incorrect.
      Ville Emard is to the west, while Cote Saint Paul is to the east.

      It is confusing since the name of Ville Emard only existed for two years. It was part of Cote Saint Paul then was subdivided and called a bunch of names with Saint Paul in them until some guy decided to rename Ville Emard after himself before giving up and getting annexed to Montreal.

      The city of Montreal’s archives page says that Ville Emard’s eastern boundary was Ryan/Briand and the western boundary was Beaulieu — but old maps show Cote Saint Paul being everything between the two canals

  • Kate 09:46 on 2017/06/19 Permalink | Reply  

    A free yoga class in Lafontaine Park has been cancelled because nobody is allowed to commandeer the park for their own large-scale organized activities.

    • ste.ph 10:14 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      They should keep doing their yoga in the park, just abstain from organizing.

    • Ephraim 10:39 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      Spontaneous free yoga classes at 5:30PM on Friday. It’s not organized at all. Our instructor likes to show off his/her poses and if you spontaneously feel like joining in, it’s a free park, you are welcome to do the poses with them. We also can’t guarantee that they will even be there. But if you do see us, you are more than welcome to join. :)

    • Ian 11:47 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      So basically the yogic equivalent of a tam-tam :D

    • Viviane 14:59 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      I live close to Lafontaine Park and often see organized activities there (group picnics, yoga, cardio workouts, moms exercising with strollers, etc.). I believe most of these events are organized via the Meetup website.

  • Kate 00:51 on 2017/06/19 Permalink | Reply  

    A small march Sunday pressed the city to make its police stop reporting to border services and put some real teeth into the concept of being a sanctuary city.

  • Kate 00:47 on 2017/06/19 Permalink | Reply  

    The STM is adding more bus departures for the summer, focusing on lines most used by tourists.

    • Ephraim 07:39 on 2017/06/19 Permalink

      If only someone would decide where the 747 bus stop actually is. The central stop has moved so often that I’m not even sure where to send people anymore. They changed the stop last week again. Now it’s 52844 https://goo.gl/maps/gzRjUvXV8bK2 and last week it was 61611. It’s annoying.

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