Updates from September, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 20:41 on 2017/09/18 Permalink | Reply  

    We waffle over Silo No. 5, but look what was done with a cluster of grain silos in Cape Town.

    The world has just learned of the death of Stanislav Petrov, whose cool head on responding to an apparent missile attack on the Soviet early warning system in 1983 probably kept the world from melting down into radioactive slag. We need to name something after this man.

     
    • DeWolf 21:57 on 2017/09/18 Permalink

      The Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town benefits from a certain clarity of vision. It is the first contemporary art museum dedicated to African art, which is the kind of groundbreaking vision that lends itself to taking risks in terms of architecture and program. Montreal suffers from the same problem as the whole of Canada. Nothing feels like it’s that important, or urgent, and so everything muddles along which results in stuff that is nice and good enough, but rarely excellent.

  • Kate 19:26 on 2017/09/18 Permalink | Reply  

    Much excited social media chatter has followed the announcement of a big name tribute concert to Leonard Cohen at the Bell Centre November 6.

     
  • Kate 06:57 on 2017/09/18 Permalink | Reply  

    Lots of talk Monday about the painted lady butterflies seen in town lately. I was surrounded by a cloud of them more than once while walking around this weekend – very Disney image, but true. Good shots from the Montreal wildlife Flickr group. Insectarium exepert weighs in on why.

     
    • dwgs 11:44 on 2017/09/18 Permalink

      Our block is full of them, it’s great.

    • Taylor C. Noakes 15:37 on 2017/09/18 Permalink

      Yeah more of this is fine with me.

      Was disappointed to see far too few bees this year.

      It can’t honestly be that expensive to maintain a few F/T apiarists can it?

      Bees are little bosses, we could use more of them.

    • Kate 19:15 on 2017/09/18 Permalink

      TCN, have you hung out in any place with lots of weeds? Sometimes I have to wait for a bus where there’s goldenrod and other weeds growing. Tons of bees.

    • Alison Cummins 07:00 on 2017/09/19 Permalink

      Didn’t see many bees while dog walking in the weedy Parc Écologique Saint-Michel this summer, but they’re out there. My crabapple tree is full of apples, so someone was busy pollinating this spring.

    • carswell 08:49 on 2017/09/19 Permalink

      Many bumblebees and the occasional wasp are visiting my container herb garden in CDN this year but very few honeybees. And that’s despite living close to the mountain and, reportedly, some rooftop hives.

      Painted ladies tend to flutter by until I water the plants. They then land en masse, not on the plants but on the parts of the rooftop moistened by the runoff. This leads me to suspect the dry spell we’ve been experiencing has made them — and probably other forms of wildlife — thirsty.

    • Ian 08:52 on 2017/09/19 Permalink

      I have a stand of Himalayan balsam in my yard, which bees love, especially bumblebees. Hundreds of bees in my yard at any given daylight moment all summer. The honeybees go nuts for the daisy fleabane I let grow wherever it wants. So maybe I got all your bees.

    • Taylor C. Noakes 15:06 on 2017/09/19 Permalink

      Hmmmm. Perhaps the fact that my garden is on a balcony on the third floor of an apt bldg has something to do with it, but I could swear in years past I generally saw many more of them.

      But either way, we know the population generally speaking has been in decline. One F/T apiarist per borough tasked with running and maintaining urban hives should be a priority. More bees = better gardens no?

  • Kate 06:52 on 2017/09/18 Permalink | Reply  

    In Le Devoir, Jean-François Nadeau outlines why we shouldn’t want Amazon’s headquarters here and why Denis Coderre should think twice before courting them.

     
    • Ephraim 07:38 on 2017/09/18 Permalink

      We can’t anyway. The office would need to function in French. It’s a moot point.

    • Kate 07:55 on 2017/09/18 Permalink

      Ephraim, you don’t think Quebec would make an exception for something that big?

    • Ephraim 08:44 on 2017/09/18 Permalink

      Honestly, no. The exception for Domtar was made because they were already here. There are a myriad of computer companies split into operating units of 25 to avoid the requirements.

    • Clément 09:06 on 2017/09/18 Permalink

      Have you been inside the HQ offices of Molson, SNC-Lavalin, Alcan, Air Canada, CN, BCE, Power Corp, CAE? Good luck finding a management level meeting held in French.

    • Ephraim 12:43 on 2017/09/18 Permalink

      Clement. Here is the list of 54 companies with exemptions under the law. http://www.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca/francisation/entreprises/ententes.html

      The exemptions are usually not given unless head office is in Quebec… which would make Amazon ineligible.

    • Clément 14:43 on 2017/09/18 Permalink

      Thanks for the list. Here is what wikipedia told me:
      Air Liquide is a French company with a local HQ in Montréal.
      Avon is an American company with a local HQ in Montréal.
      Bell Helicopter is an American company with a local HQ in Montréal.
      General Dynamics is an American company with a local HQ in Montréal.
      Abbott Laboratories is an American company with a local HQ in Montréal.
      Leviton is an American company with a local HQ in Montréal.
      Merck is a German company with a local HQ in Montréal.
      Novartis is an Swiss company with a local HQ in Montréal.
      Oracle is an American company with a local HQ in Montréal.
      Pfizer is an American company with a local HQ in Montréal.
      Pratt & Whitney is an American company with a local HQ in Montréal.
      Rio Tinto is an British-Australian company with a local HQ in Montréal.
      SAP is an German company with a local HQ in Montréal.
      Wabtec is an American company with a local HQ in Montréal.

      How is Amazon different?

      Yes, I’m positive the current Couillard liberal government would never ever make an exception for 50,000 jobs. That’s not something a liberal government would do.

    • Ephraim 15:11 on 2017/09/18 Permalink

      These companies all operate research centres, which is a different exemption under the law:

      Adacel inc.
      Bell Hélicoptère Textron Canada
      Bombardier Produits récréatifs inc.
      CMC Électronique inc.
      Corporation Bauer Hockey
      Corporation MacDonald, Dettwiler et Associés
      Distech Contrôles inc.
      General Dynamics Produits de défense et systèmes tactiques-Canada inc.
      Lockheed Martin Canada inc.
      Medtronic CryoCath, société en commandite
      Nuance Communications Canada, inc.
      Oracle Canada ULC
      Pratt & Whitney Canada Cie
      Presagis Canada inc.
      Recherche BCA
      Rheinmetall Canada inc.
      SAP Canada inc.
      Wabtec Canada inc.

      The rest are Head Office for Canada. Amazon is looking for a 2nd office, not a head office for Canada nor a research centre. The government might make an exception, but then what happens when another government gets into place and you need a renewal or change? It’s too risky for a large corporation.

    • Douglas 21:20 on 2017/09/18 Permalink

      God these language laws are extremely xenophobic and backwards.

    • SteveQ 23:56 on 2017/09/18 Permalink

      Ha ha ha ha ! I was waiting for someone to come up with the word xenophobic or racist or something like that. I knew it was going to happen. So funny….yet so pathetic !

    • Alison Cummins 07:44 on 2017/09/19 Permalink

      What does that mean exactly, that the office would need to function in French?

      That internal memos and documentation would need to be in French? For 50,000 or 5,000 employees, Amazon can do that. Ten of those 50k are the ‘linguistic services’ department. Bingo. That HR would need to be able to interface in French? These are people who would be hired locally anyway. That the computers would use the French version of their OS instead of the English version? Okey-dokey. That hiring for people who need to be able to use a particular language for their job (for instance, to be able to speak with their bosses in English and their direct reports in French) includes that requirement? Well, yeah.

      I understand that a smallish company might not have the scale for linguistic services. But Amazon?

      I used to work for a corporation with smallish branch offices in Quebec. Yes, there was some tension when the interfaces and training manuals for in-house tools had to be translated into French. Many of the engineers I worked with were from Hong Kong. They worked in Toronto and were required to speak English at all times, even among themselves, in addition to reading all manuals and so on in English. It wasn’t necessarily easy for them but they did it. And they saw scarce budget funds being allocated to translate materials into French for a Canadian office. I’d bypass the political and legal discussions, explain that not everyone in Quebec understands English, and all would be well. (Management never expressed resentment, they just wanted to be sure all boxes were ticked so they could get on with their jobs.)

      Because we applied for contracts with the Quebec government, we were audited for compliance. No English motivational messages visible in our cubicles. Permission needed to be requested for an anglophone employee with national responsibilities working from Quebec to have all his stuff in English including his OS. It was granted.

      Exemptions or no, not all employees hired in Quebec will understand English or understand it well enough to perform at their best. For a company the size of Amazon is there a significant difference between “enabling all employees to perform at their best” and “complying with the law”?

      (Genuine question.)

      Now, a company may choose to bypass thinking about/ spending on language at all by locating in a jurisdiction that corresponds to the language of the mother ship. Fine. But are the legal requirements that significant a burden, once the practical requirements are taken into account? Operations folks are often not big linguists. They’re often crude in their mother tongue and approximate in any others.

    • Dee 08:11 on 2017/09/19 Permalink

      I work for an English company that was visited by the language police last year. We still do everything in english but now have French signs saying please cover your food in the microwave.

    • Ephraim 08:25 on 2017/09/19 Permalink

      Alison, legally it means that the office must completely function in French. All the memos, etc. The manuals, the entire functionality, even meetings have to be in French. The software has to be in French. Even La Presse had problems with the OLF when it came to software because the Quebec French version of the software was undermining the price the company got for their software in Europe, so the company charged the European price for the French version of the software. They wanted to use the English version because it was like 25% of the price, but the OLF wouldn’t allow it.

      Dee, what was the size of the company? The laws differ based on size. Under 25, over 50, over 100?

    • mare 09:19 on 2017/09/19 Permalink

      From a operations standpoint this new Amazon HQ will be on the East Coast. In case of a major earthquake in Seattle (which will happen, we just don’t know when) the infrastructure will be damaged and Amazon will be hurt, maybe hard, and might lose profitability for a while because many of its operations have pretty small margins.

      If they have a backup office in an area that isn’t prone to natural disasters that is definitely a plus for them. Montreal has very few natural disasters. Currently the likelihood of major infrastructure damage due to hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and flooding are not nil, but pretty small. We haven’t head a major ice storm in decades, and Hydro Quebec has upgraded their network considerably, and added redundancy, so the damage will be more limited. Of course some of that might change when weather patterns are shifting because of climate change, but still Montral will probably be less affected by it than other areas.

      So language might not be such a problem, and a big pool of well educated workers (and a big pool of badly educated workers too for the grunt work assuming the 50,000 jobs will also include warehouse) might give it an edge over other west coast cities. The subsidies Quebec and Montreal are willing to grant, and the lower pay scale and cost of living in Montreal are also an advantage.

      But still it’s more likely that it will be an American city, especially in the Trump political climate of America first.

    • Ephraim 10:38 on 2017/09/19 Permalink

      Actually, Toronto has a damn good chance as well, good flight connections and Canada has a lot more university graduates than most other countries.

    • Ian 13:34 on 2017/09/19 Permalink

      It’s moot in any case. Look at the city rankings here:
      https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/07/here-are-the-cities-that-match-amazons-wish-list-for-its-second-headquarters.html

      Montreal’s only indexed value on the chart there is mass transit, and on this chart even Edmonton ranks better.

    • Clément 14:41 on 2017/09/20 Permalink

      Ian, I don’t understand this checklist.
      So they made a top 20 for each category and then ranked based on that?
      How is Montreal not in the top 20 for universities or labor force education?
      I understand Dorval doesn’t make the top 20 airports. But universities? Cincinnati has better universities than Montreal???

  • Kate 06:48 on 2017/09/18 Permalink | Reply  

    There was a non-fatal stabbing overnight in Point St-Charles, but the police blotter is pretty empty otherwise.

    Update: The victim in this incident has died. CBC says it’s our 17th homicide.

    Another update: The Journal has details on the victim, whom it describes as a transgendered sex worker.

     
    • dwgs 11:45 on 2017/09/18 Permalink

      It’s fatal now…

  • Kate 06:47 on 2017/09/18 Permalink | Reply  

    The chief prosecutor in the Chamberland commission “forgot” to mention a donation to Denis Coderre. The commission is investigating, among other things, the mayor’s involvement in police surveillance of journalist Patrick Lagacé.

     
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