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  • Kate 09:49 on 2015/03/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Metro spent a day with the Urgences-santé team that goes out when the patient is morbidly obese, i.e. over 350 lb. They’re not paramedics, but they bring special equipment and muscle to help the paramedics move the patient safely.

    • Alison Cummins 11:51 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      Interesting. Does each ambulance dispatch include a question about the weight of the patient?

      (Also, they are paramedics but on that unit their job is just to help move the patient.)

    • Kate 13:44 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      My guess is they have a shorthand word that cues the dispatch. Also, thanks for the clarification.

    • Bill Binns 14:08 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      At airports, the double wide, heavy duty wheelchair is refferred to as a “Galaxy Chair”.

    • Alison Cummins 15:33 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      Kate, I mean that when I call 911 to say that my beloved is having a heart attack, at what point does the dispatcher ask me how much my beloved weighs?

    • Blork 15:43 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      @Alison, I doubt the dispatcher asks that. The dispatcher might ask something about the person’s mobility (to see if the person is wheelchair-bound, etc), in which it would probably come out. Also, if the person has been taken away by ambulance before then the person calling 9-1-1 might know to offer the information, plus there should be a notation in the database based on the person’s address (but don’t bet on that). Otherwise it’s probably a case of the first responders taking a look and then calling in for the special service while they stabilize the patient.

      Of course that adds a delay to the response. On the other hand, people needing this service should pretty much expect a slower response because even with the specialized team it takes a while to set up all those braces and pulleys, etc. The bigger the person, the longer it will take to set all that up and to get them loaded into the ambulance and unloaded at the hospital.

    • C_Erb 16:46 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      People calling 911 with special needs often know what to ask for in advance. For example, I had a job where employees occasionally needed to get into large tanks to clean them by hand. We all knew that if someone were to lose consciousness or be hurt in a tank that we had to ask for an enclosed space team to be dispatched, rather than normal paramedics.

    • Chris 22:16 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      Euh, none of them are paramedics at all, in Montreal we only have EMTs, *not* paramedics.

    • Matt G 22:26 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      @Alison Cummins @Kate

      Urgences-santé dispatchers don’t ask the weight of the patient (source: I’m a dispatcher there). Usually, that information is given by the caller or as Blork correctly speculated, we do have some patients whose addresses trigger a message reminding us to send the “unité de soutien technique” out right away.

      The main role of that unit is to reduce workplace injury. Some patient evacuations are tricky: think rickety stairs in poorly maintained buildings (their training also includes some structural assessment techniques) or most often, getting unstable patients out of medevac airplanes. Patients don’t necessarily have to be obese for the unit to proceed.

      @Chris, their title is now “Technicien ambulancier paramédic” and some recent graduates of the 3-year DEC are qualified as “paramedics”, though I’m certain there’s a very specific, Québec-only definition of the term and their qualifications probably lie somewhere between Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support units commonly found across North America. (Though this is informed speculation on my part, as I am not familiar with the qualifications of other cities’ paramedics.)

    • Kate 22:27 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      Matt G: thanks for the information!

  • Kate 09:28 on 2015/03/30 Permalink | Reply  

    The AMT is about to embark on new work to upgrade the Mount Royal tunnel with more ventilation and basic modern safety items like emergency phones and fire extinguishers. The tunnel is very nearly a hundred years old.

    • Robert J 10:53 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      While the articles mentions that the Édouard-Montpetit train connection has been “mis de côté”, tunnel upgrades are the best possible way to make it possible in the future. This is the best investment the AMT can be doing currently. That tunnel should eventually take on the role of a 5th metro line (as was the initial plan).

  • Kate 09:24 on 2015/03/30 Permalink | Reply  

    A collective called Lande has looked at Montreal and found that we have 25 square km of vacant lots, created a website to find them and suggests using them for community gardens or parks. La Presse resorts to a 20th-century media approach, telling us about a website but not linking to the damn thing, so I’ve linked it above.

  • Kate 08:52 on 2015/03/30 Permalink | Reply  

    UQÀM activists are blocking access to some of the school’s buildings in protest of the university’s expulsion of nine students last week, and more generally in continuation of the anti-austerity theme.

    • Raymond 15:44 on 2015/03/31 Permalink

      J’aurais apprécié que nous ne fussions pas enfermés dans ce vocable détestable: austérité.

      Si les gouvernements successifs (PLQ et PQ et au fédéral PLC, PC) n’avaient pas modifié les régimes fiscaux pour favoriser les plus nantis et les corporations, nous aurions de quoi financer l’éducation, les infrasctrucures, la santé.

      Ce n’est pas de l’austérité, c’est de la destruction des services publiques et de la fiscalité redistributive. Je ne suis pas anti-austérité, je suis pro-services et pro-impôts (comme Warren Buffett!).

      Il y a quand même un lien entre austerité et capitalisme: le Calvinisme. cf Wikipedia: “One school of thought attributes Calvinism with setting the stage for the later development of capitalism in northern Europe. In this view, elements of Calvinism represented a revolt against the medieval condemnation of usury and, implicitly, of profit in general. Such a connection was advanced in influential works by R. H. Tawney and by Max Weber”

    • Raymond 20:00 on 2015/03/31 Permalink

      Kate, this is slightly off topic (and I’m squatting another thread too), but it needs to be said:

      L’austérité c’est de l’ostie d’marde.

      Serious guy says: “(…) governments sovereign in their own currency have no solvency concerns, because they have an unlimited capability to generate nominal wealth. This point is very central to both modern monetary theory and monetary sovereignty, because it implies that austerity is an untenable position in fiscal policy, and that the whole litany of neoliberal concerns about the sky falling someday because the Government is running out of money is just a fairy tale.” [1]

      So more and more economists say it: Austerity is non-sense and based on lies. Its midterm goal is public services sell out: “That’s the standard technique of privatization: defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital.”– Chomsky

      Ok, he’s not an economist but the phrase is catchy. If you want more substance, listen to this Randall Wray [interview] or read its pamphlet [WHY WE’RE SCREWED]


  • Kate 08:46 on 2015/03/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Radio-Canada presents a people’s dictionary of Montreal. (No, A is not for Anglos – it’s for Arcade Fire.)

  • Kate 16:14 on 2015/03/29 Permalink | Reply  

    A scrum between secularity supporters and anti-racism protesters was broken up by the police during a demo at Collège Maisonneuve on Sunday. Although the CBC says it became “violent” this consisted of someone being attacked with picket sticks – OK, you wouldn’t want it to happen to you, but can the media get a grip and keep the words “violent” and “violence” in their place? There’s nothing in this report about injuries.

    • Joe Bin 18:55 on 2015/03/29 Permalink

      Swinging at and/or striking someone with a picket sign or the stick used to prop it up fits squarely into the definition of violence.

    • Kate 20:26 on 2015/03/29 Permalink

      I’ve seen more “violence” at the tam-tam games:

    • ant6n 07:36 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      Maybe it’s fair to say “altercation at protest”. Saying “protest turns violent” brings up images of like a hockey riot.

    • Raymond 07:40 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      Bin, vous avez raison, pourtant, je n’ai jamais vu le qualificatif correctement utilisé dans les grands titres des MSM ainsi:

      “L’intervention violente du SPVM laisse une étudiante grièvement blessée”

      Non, j’ai plutôt lu (Le Devoir, IIRC)

      “Manifestations: la police choisit la ligne dure”.

      Kate, j’ai écouté le clip vidéo et on entend crier “Police! Police!” sans trop comprendre qui crie et qu’est-ce que ça signifie:

      “Police! Police! Au secours, on me frappe dessus”
      “Police! Police! Je suis une police, ne me frappe pas dessus!”
      “Police! Police! Je suis une police, je vais te frapper dessus”
      “c’est une police! police! J’ai pogné une police déguisée en manifestant!” (montebello sq)


    • Orolo 08:04 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      Commercial media represents commercial interests, and they all have an interest in maintaining the status quo. This is why media is so quick to point and say “violence” and this is why money often sends in its own violent “protestors” to give the police and general public a scare.

    • Raymond 08:12 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      Orolo: and political media represents political interests? Had there been anywhere in the past, media interested in plain good old FACTS? Décrire est mentir?

    • Orolo 08:27 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      The only media that is unbiased is word-of-mouth, but to be useful, you need social capital – a wide variety of social experiences growing up. This has been degraded over the last few genratiions because the controloling class learned to fear polical association once religious superstition faded from popular culture.

      Social capital is dangerous to oligarchs. That’s why it has been slowly eliminated by recent technologies (cars, suburbia, entertainment media, his-and-hers office dronehood, etc.)

    • C_Erb 08:39 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      @Orolo: That made no sense whatsoever.

    • Bill Binns 08:46 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      Try whacking the cashier at the IGA with a small stick sometime. Good luck with your “that’s not violence” argument while chatting with the police.

    • Kate 08:54 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      Bill Binns, that could be called assault, but nobody in their right mind would call it violence.

      Orolo, C_Erb is correct, that made no sense. We all recognize you as qatzelok, so I’m going to add your new identity to the ban list. This is because your participation has always had a tendency to derail discussions in ways that are not useful.

    • JohnS 08:55 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      That there were no injuries is irrelevant. That someone was attacked with sticks indicates that this was indeed violence.

      Kate – you replied as I was writing this. Assault = violence. I fail to see how anyone could interpret it any other way.

    • Kate 08:58 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      If I see “violence” mentioned in a media headline connected with a protest I think of actions leading to injury or damage, not a couple of guys squaring off with sticks for about twenty seconds. It’s purely a matter of choosing words. “Protesters come to blows over racism” – yes. Violence is knives and guns, or knocking people down with cars, or even rocks maybe, but not a couple of angry hits and then the fight’s broken up right away. Most of the people in that video were not fighting.

    • Kevin 11:23 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      Hitting someone with a stick is an assault, but not violence?

      I understand the people who think attacks on property are not violent — I understand but I disagree with them completely.

      If attacking someone with a stick is not violent, dictionaries need to be rewritten.

    • Alison Cummins 11:29 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      “Violence” covers a whole range of behaviours. Using a word that encompasses torturing someone to death to describe an everyday scuffle when more precise vocabulary is easily available is misleading. It’s disingenuous to pretend that because the use of the word isn’t technically *incorrect* that it’s therefore the most appropriate, neutral and informative choice. Clearly other, more precise words would have been more accurate, more informative and less open to misinterpretation. Choosing “violence” when “altercation” is more appropriate is a deliberate, value-laden inflammatory choice.

      What’s Newspeak for “violence”? “Ungood”?

    • Bill Binns 12:30 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      Newspeak for violent protests in Montreal is “mostly peaceful”.

    • Adam Hooper 15:18 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      Newspeak for violence depends on who’s being violent. In most cases it is “terrorism” but from the state it is “unterrorism”.

    • John B 15:59 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      Yeah, we’ll just file this away for next time the SPVM get out their billy clubs, because that’s not violence ;)

    • Bill Binns 16:21 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      @John B – Somehow, the cops wearing riot gear which is 100% defensive is seen as either violent or the cause of violence. The cops never benefited from the “few bad apples” or “mostly peaceful” statements that were used to describe nearly every student protest.

    • No\Deli 17:08 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      I don’t know how things work there in Billbinnsistan, but “few bad apples” is, in fact, the exact phrase that’s trotted out every time police are found guilty of systemic violence and persecution.

    • Bill Binns 17:53 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      @No\Deli – “every time police are found guilty of systemic violence and persecution.”

      When has that ever happened?

    • No\Deli 00:23 on 2015/03/31 Permalink

      Oh, I don’t know… this month.

    • Raymond 07:12 on 2015/03/31 Permalink

      Oupss! Orolo n’a plus de capital social? Moi je trouvais son commentaire significatif et pertinent, ça m’a fait pensé à Marcuse et “l’Homme Unidimensionnel”, parcouru à l’université.

      Adam Hooper: doubleplusplus!

    • Bill Binns 08:15 on 2015/03/31 Permalink

      @No/Deli – Seriously? Ferguson? I did not realize you were speaking about all police on the planet. Thought we were speaking about Montreal.

    • Raymond 14:57 on 2015/03/31 Permalink

      Speaking of SPVM excessive use of force (violence?) let’s not forget SPVM alleged corruption…

      Remember the discussion _here_ of the killing of Ducarme Joseph?
      One commenter had _very_ interesting things to say, but didn’t prove… 8-)

  • Kate 16:01 on 2015/03/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Le Devoir has a sheaf of cultural pieces this weekend connected with the city arts council prize (le Grand prix du Conseil des Arts) the 30th edition of which was just awarded to Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon of Lemieux Pilon 4D Art, creators of interactive environment art.

    They talk to other finalists incluing Louis Rastelli, archivist of Montreal’s underground press and czar of all the Expozines, and to Jérémy Verain, who runs the documentary film festival.

    There’s also a brief piece on the success of the 2014 Biennale and several other pieces on arts groups.

  • Kate 10:40 on 2015/03/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Radio-Canada looks at the 80th anniversary of Frère Marie-Victorin’s Flore laurentienne, a landmark work by the man who also founded Montreal’s botanical garden. There are editions of the book still in print but you can get an 84.7MB PDF of the whole book from the Grande Bibliothèque for free.

  • Kate 21:41 on 2015/03/28 Permalink | Reply  

    With an overtime goal by Max Pacioretty against the Florida Panthers on Saturday night, the Canadiens clinched themselves a playoff spot.

  • Kate 14:36 on 2015/03/28 Permalink | Reply  

    An anti-austerity march is taking place downtown Saturday while, in St-Michel, an anti-Pegida gathering is waiting at Pie-IX and Belair but – so far – Pegida has not turned up. Although this is called Little Maghreb you can see the Asian-style trim on the Ngun Shing resto on Pie-IX in the Twitter photos from Radio-Canada.

    Update: Police tweeted at 16:40 that the anti-Pegida gathering has ended since the Pegida demo failed to materialize.

    Images from the anti-Pegida gathering.

    • Chris 12:17 on 2015/03/29 Permalink

      If Wikipedia is to be believed, attendance at PEGIDA events is down in Germany too, so they are waning it seems.

      Which is probably best, given that the founder has pictures of himself dressed up as Hitler.

    • Dave M 08:41 on 2015/03/30 Permalink

      I’d sort of prefer my crazy extremists take pictures of themselves dressed up as Hitler. It makes it easier to be sure no one will take them seriously.

  • Kate 13:41 on 2015/03/28 Permalink | Reply  

    Le Devoir looks at the interior of the building now known as the Musée Dufresne-Nincheri and some objects on display there.

    • yossarian 09:20 on 2015/03/29 Permalink

      There is the most amazing “smoking room” in this mansion. I see this as a new mcmansion feature once the 420 legalization goes full mainstream.

  • Kate 12:14 on 2015/03/28 Permalink | Reply  

    From La Presse+, François Cardinal bemoans how filthy Montreal is.

    It’s like clockwork. I posted this list of cyclic stories last year, but (cyclically) here it is again. At least we’re moving from OMG POTHOLES to OMG FILTH, which means spring has to be coming eventually (even if we’re not getting above zero on Saturday).

    Very early spring: Oh no! Potholes! So many potholes!
    Early spring: Who threw all this trash around the street? Why is the city so filthy?
    First heat wave: Why don’t we have air conditioned buses and metros?
    Moving Day: How quaint, except for sad abandoned pets
    Eve of the construction holiday: Gasoline is suddenly so expensive!
    Rentrée: The traffic, my god the traffic!
    Christmastime: Why are the ERs jammed with so many noncritically sick people?

    Have I missed any?

    We’re likely to see a particularly filthy spring, too, after such a long, unrelenting winter.

    • JaneyB 13:20 on 2015/03/28 Permalink

      There’s always: ‘moving day brings abandoned pets’, new Stade roof option, and the evergreen ‘Champlain bridge repairs’. I myself can’t wait for ‘how to cook a turkey’ and ‘have a safe halloween’. I think we have a mtlweblog calendar in the making here!

    • Charles 14:08 on 2015/03/28 Permalink

      Someone could write a robot that generates that type of content. News outlets already have robots to write financial, sports and weather reports. See

    • jack 14:42 on 2015/03/28 Permalink

      I agree Cardinal has been mailing it in for awhile.

    • John B 16:05 on 2015/03/28 Permalink

      Mid July: OMG Stop using so much power for AC Hydro-Quebec can’t handle it, combined with OMG Heat! Stay in an air-conditioned location if you are old/a baby/have breathing issues.

      February: OMG Stop using so much power for heating Hydro-Quebec can’t handle it.

    • Kate 18:07 on 2015/03/28 Permalink

      I don’t remember Hydro-Quebec ever having problems with air conditioning overload. One hears about A/C brownouts in parts of the U.S., but not here. Winter’s different – we pull a lot of watts on the coldest mornings with everyone getting up wanting a hot shower, coffee and toast and cranking the heat up.

    • mare 22:04 on 2015/03/28 Permalink

      And don’t forget all the factories, like Alcan.

    • yossarian 09:21 on 2015/03/29 Permalink

      Bike lanes painted-lines are gone and won’t reappear for months. Because bikes and montreal’s roads department are still not BFF.

    • mare 10:37 on 2015/03/29 Permalink

      @yossarian In my hood, the bike lanes and the crosswalks were the first thing to be repaint in the spring. But yeah, those painting crews are painting all year (except winter) and they can’t do everything at once. And instead of having many painting crews that get hired in the spring it’s just a few of them that work all year for the city.

      Icy snow and snow ploughs function as excellent sandpaper to sand off the road markings. In some countries they use coloured tarmac for bike paths. No lines necessary.

    • Kate 11:06 on 2015/03/29 Permalink

      JaneyB: As you say, the bridges and the stadium can crop up anytime. But articles about Moving Day, the abandoned pets and the junk left behind are cyclical. I’m adding Moving Day to the list.

    • C_Erb 16:54 on 2015/03/29 Permalink

      @yossarian I noticed that last year was the best I’ve ever seen for repainting the bike lanes. Every other year, the lanes would be completely repainted by maybe August. Last year they were all done by June at the latest. Bike lanes, IMO, are more important to repaint than the lines in the street because with streets, a 2 lane street is a 2 lane street whether the lines are there or not. If the bike lane isn’t painted, it ceases to exist entirely.

  • Kate 11:46 on 2015/03/28 Permalink | Reply  

    Unrelated closures Saturday: people have known about the impending closure of the Jardin Tiki on Sherbrooke past the Olympic stadium for awhile, but the day has come and it’s closing Saturday evening.

    What a lot of its employees apparently did not know until this morning was that Future Shop was closing its Canadian locations. There were several in Montreal including a high-profile storefront on Ste-Catherine. Some will become Best Buy stores but many workers have suddenly lost their jobs.

    • Ephraim 13:55 on 2015/03/28 Permalink

      Futureshop was predictable. The American parent is in a lot of trouble. Of course most of the BestBuy stores don’t have appliances, so I’m assuming that will be the first fix.

    • Charles 14:25 on 2015/03/28 Permalink

      Maybe it’s just me but I thought the Jardin Tiki’s food was just bad like in all those other so-called “chinese” restaurants. My guess is they all get their food from the same place and just reheat it. I went there once for the fun of it but I wouldn’t have gone back.
      I remember when they opened a Best Buy at Carrefour Angrignon. That store stank for a long while. I don’t know if it’s the glue they used for the flooring or the rubber mats they had or the lack of ventilation but it was sickening. I hope they don’t do they same thing on Ste-Catherine. The Future Shops were less depressing than the Best Buys.
      The retail market is certainly going through a lot of change (which has been predicted for years) but at least in this case, no one is blaming it on the lack of parking space…

    • Kate 14:41 on 2015/03/28 Permalink

      The Future Shops were less depressing than the Best Buys.

      That was my impression as well. But I went to the Future Shop in the Marché centrale last year to buy a TV for an older friend, and although there was hardly anyone in the store I could not get anyone to serve me, and when I asked at the cash about delivery they said it would cost $100 to take the $250 purchase to Lachine. It was clear I would’ve been better off buying it online.

    • Ephraim 20:34 on 2015/03/28 Permalink

      The Jardin Tiki was quite something in it’s heyday, but it just deteriorated over the years to be a generic Chinese buffet… and not a good one at that.

  • Kate 11:32 on 2015/03/28 Permalink | Reply  

    The city’s going to impose a tidiness clause on construction firms working on the St-Denis Street infrastructure job this summer between Duluth and Marie-Anne. They’re explicitly trying to avoid the kind of damage done to businesses along the Main during a similar dig a few years ago.

    • Tim S. 16:24 on 2015/03/28 Permalink

      Does anyone know why this kind of thing isn’t included in every construction permit?

    • Kate 18:10 on 2015/03/28 Permalink

      Just not a priority, I guess. But it depends what they’re doing and what you call tidy. I have photos of the ancient sewer pipes that were removed from both Park Avenue and the Main. Those tend to get stacked up before being hauled away – they’re not something you can just toss in the bin or cover with a lace doily. So the worksites simply can’t be anything but an eyesore at certain points. Viz:



      Top one is from Park Avenue near Fairmount, probably 2011. Bottom one is on Napoleon facing the Main, March 2007.

      The dig on the Main was always going to be worse, because it’s so much narrower than either Park or St-Denis.

  • Kate 11:29 on 2015/03/28 Permalink | Reply  

    More real estate puffery here: Un nouveau souffle pour Montréal says the TVA video strapline. The story? Some guys plan to remodel one of the disused needletrade buildings in the Mile Ex, not for condos but for offices. If you scroll down you’ll see how they look now. Developers have run out of handsome old brick buildings to convert, so now they’re turning to faceless 1960s industrial boxes. I don’t see any souffle here.

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