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  • Kate 09:17 on 2014/10/20 Permalink | Reply  

    View of the new MMFA show called Van Gogh to Kandinsky. More from the Globe and Mail.

     
    • TC 11:58 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      Great show, I saw it the weekend it opened.

  • Kate 09:16 on 2014/10/20 Permalink | Reply  

    Metro has a brief but cogent history capsule on the origins of the Main. Anyone know where the parish of St-Laurent was located that’s mentioned at the top? The only Église St-Laurent that exists now is in the suburb of the same name.

     
  • Kate 09:13 on 2014/10/20 Permalink | Reply  

    A tree book by the late Bronwyn Chester is being launched this month. Nice piece on how the book came to be after the writer’s death from cancer in 2012. Spacing still has an archive of Chester’s writing on trees.

    I’ve put this book on my Amazon wishlist, conveniently located in the sidebar on the right (cough, cough).

     
  • Kate 09:02 on 2014/10/20 Permalink | Reply  

    Home daycare workers are holding a strike Monday in an effort to get the government to recognize the number of hours they actually work. Fourteen thousand workers, almost all women, are out.

     
    • Noah 09:13 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      Union workers holding parents hostage for their own gains – we’re lucky because we have our parents to watch our kids. How many people will lose a day of work today because of this? Unacceptable to make parents pay for the government’s and the unions’ inability to negotiate. Shame on both sides.

    • Bill Binns 09:14 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      We are currently telling the cops and firemen to stick it. Good luck to the government babysitters as they get in line behind them. These strikes will do nothing but highlight the fact that we cannot afford this program.

    • Kevin 09:48 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      @Bill Binns
      You are completely incorrect.
      Every bit of research has shown that the one clear, non-debatable benefit of Quebec’s cheap daycare program is that it generates revenue for the provincial government.

      Cheap daycare gets more women back in the workforce, earning taxable income far in excess of the tax dollars spent on the program. The math varies but for every dollar spent on daycare the province gets back about $1.75.

      You can criticize early daycare for many things, but not on the basis of not being able to afford it.

    • Kate 09:50 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      Noah, the main leverage workers have under pressure is to deny their labour. Except for essential services, everyone has the right to refuse to work.

    • Noah 10:06 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      @Bill: I disagree – the program is sustainable in that it allows more people to be working. Rather than myself or my wife staying home, this allows us to both make a salary and pay associated taxes, gives us disposable income to re-invest into society, etc. People in other jurisdictions pay $30-40-50 a day for daycare, which is pure insanity. That said, it has to be managed better and not be subjected to politically-motivated cost freezes like the Liberal and PQ governments of the last decade imposed to gain votes. But overall, cheap daycare means more people working and I’m all for that.

      @Kate: Understanding the motivation of the action doesn’t make it right. There are parents whose employment will be jeopardized by this action; there are many others who will have trouble paying rent this month or putting food on the table because they are losing a day of pay. It’s simply not just to attack parents who have nothing to do with these negotiations because the daycare workers and government can’t be bothered to negotiate in good faith. I’m sorry, but this is not a just action.

    • Bill Binns 11:34 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      @kevin @Noah The magical accounting number of $1.75 for each dollar invested comes up with every discussion of 7 dollar daycare. The big problem with this number is that it assumes that every parent currently using the program would be unemployed without it. Most of the people who use the government program will continue to have daycare, continue to have a job and continue to participate in the economy after it is cancelled. The difference being that they will be paying for daycare with their own money rather than money the Province has borrowed.

      How do Ontario, ALberta, B.C., Manitoba and Saskatchewan all manage to have lower unemployement than Quebec without a government babysitter program? Aren’t all of their parents unemployed? Why haven’t they copied our stunningly sucessful program that nearly doubles every dollar put into it?

      The defense of any government entitlement will include the argument that somehow, through some leap of logic, the program generates more money than it costs. Yet every year, even with all those profitable government programs, another two Billion goes on the credit card.

    • Tim S. 11:50 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      Does anybody know if a stay-at-home mother is included in the unemployment stats? My quick Google search was unhelpful.

    • Noah 12:00 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      @Bill: I’m not quoting any magical numbers, I’m quoting a reality that I live. I’m generally fiscally right-of-centre, but part of that is acknowledging that some expenditures are actually investments, not outright losses.

    • Bert 12:28 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      Tim, they should not be included, since they are not actively searching for work. This phenomenon is also responsible for a weirdly stagnant unemployment rate as the economy picks up after a recession. People who stopped looking for employment and then start again as the economy picks up, change from not being included to being included in the unemployment numbers.

    • Bill Binns 12:35 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      @Noah – Even looking at just your own personal situtation, can you really make the case that the government is making a profit on the daycare that you use? The government spends something like 45 bucks per day per kid on daycare and workers are currently marching in the streets to raise that by more than 10%.

      So daycare clients have to pay something like $225 a week in tax PER KID at a job that they would not have without subsidized daycare just to pay back their portion of the costs. Somebody with two kids making 50k per year in a 35% tax bracket isn’t paying back their portion. People at or near minimum wage certainly aren’t paying back their portion. Where is this .75 cents in profit coming from?

    • jeather 13:59 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      Mothers remaining in the workforce mean that they are unlikely to be unable to find a job again after 3-10 years out of the workforce, and it increases their lifetime earnings since they still are receiving raises and gaining experience during this time. I’m sure it’s not an immediate profit to the government, but I’d bet that over the course of years, it is worthwhile.

      (I mean, this is true of either stay at home parent.)

    • Kevin 14:35 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      @Bill
      If you look just at income tax you’re missing out on a large chunk of government revenue. Money earned is money spent, after all… and PST is about 9.5%

      Meanwhile that cost to the government is mostly salaries — which turn around and get taxed again.

      I’m not denying it’s been a bold experiment, and nobody will pretend it’s perfect, but it is successful at getting women working, and it’s been successful at getting a minority of children very bilingual at a very young age.

    • walkerp 18:11 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      Economics aside, it makes for a better society to have children receiving equal opportunities for care and education at the beginning of their life. If the cost is to slow the economy down (which it isn’t but that’s the neocon argument we are dealing with here) than I’ll pay that price rather than live in a world of have and have-nots and the violence that entails.

    • carswell 18:22 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      Let’s also bear in mind that affordable daycare is an equalizing measure that helps level the playing field for women, that helps mitigate the social and economic disadvantage our society still burdens them with. Without the program, a large number of women who are currently working would be forced to stay at home, to stop being breadwinners, to give up or lower their career goals. The impact would be particularly hard on single mothers (on single parents technically, but they’re mostly women) and would surely lead to a rise in the number of children living in poverty. walkerp beat me to the trigger by a couple of minutes, so I’ll echo what he says: it’s not the kind of society I want to live in and, even though I don’t have children, I’m willing to pay for the privilege. And no, Bill Binns, that doesn’t mean I don’t take Quebec’s budget problems seriously.

    • JaneyB 21:36 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      First, @Bill, Ontario ‘manages to have lower unemployment than Quebec without a government babysitter program’ because it basically imports the parents of the new immigrants through the family unification stream and they function as the babysitter program. Ontario absolutely uses this to avoid building an adequate childcare infrastructure. Unfortunately, this burdens the primary and secondary schools with kids who have inadequate English skills and then there’s a lack of resources to fix that. So, really it ends up being a budget-line game; costs are just moved to another dept.

      Second, equalizing the ‘career cost burden’ of childcare between the sexes is also important to the pension problem. Women who don’t do paid work become poor old widows with health problems – another budget-line shell game. I say just pay as early and clearly as possible. There will always be a social cost to having children.

    • Bill Binns 07:09 on 2014/10/21 Permalink

      I don’t doubt this program has some benefits. I would certainly hope it had some benefits for 2 Billion+ in borrowed money every year. A “free groceries for everyone” program would also have many benefits but we don’t do that because it would be insanely expensive.

      Everyone says the same thing about Quebec’s budget problems “yes, we need to save money but not there and not that and not this thing over here”. We now have examples of what happens to a city, state or nation that lives it up on borrowed money for decades. Eventually there is no more money to borrow and a huge chunk of revenues is swallowed up for servicing debt. See Greece, Spain, Portugal, Detroit, Stockton, San Bernardino, N Las Vegas etc.

    • Tim S. 08:15 on 2014/10/21 Permalink

      Thanks Bert!

    • Kate 10:39 on 2014/10/21 Permalink

      Bill Binns, is it your perception that everything paid for by government is done with “borrowed” money?

    • Bill Binns 11:13 on 2014/10/21 Permalink

      @Kate – Well, our little group of eight million citizens is currently spending two point something Billion per year more than we are taking in. The daycare program costs two point something Billion. I guess we could be spending the borrowed Billions on something else but no more daycare program = a balanced budget. So we could learn to live without a “nice to have program” that the rest of the country lives without or we can learn to live with fewer doctors, nurses, police, firefighters, parks, hospitals, elder care facilities etc.

      The idea that we can simply keep heaping over two Billion on our pile of debt every year is nuts. It will end one way or another. Right now, we can still make choices. If the transfer payments stop or our debt rating slips, there will be no choices. Programs will be cut haphazardly with little notice and no debate in the middle of a crisis.

    • Noah 13:00 on 2014/10/21 Permalink

      @Bill: I agree completely that we need cuts. But I don’t think this is a place where it’s a good idea. This is too good of a program to abandon without looking at ways of making it viable first.

  • Kate 08:44 on 2014/10/20 Permalink | Reply  

    This has been mentioned before, but now there’s a maquette: a large wheel-shaped sculpture is planned to ornament the corner of Henri-Bourassa and Pie-IX, but it will not turn or function as a ferris wheel.

     
    • yossarian 16:12 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      speaking of maquettes, the UdeM Outremont bio-science ex-train-yards campus’s maquette is on display at Outremont’s centre intergenerational.

    • Kate 13:35 on 2014/10/21 Permalink

      I had never heard of that place, so looked it up: it’s at 999 McEachran, north of Van Horne and even of Ducharme.

  • Kate 22:34 on 2014/10/19 Permalink | Reply  

    Montreal and its chamber of commerce are petitioning Quebec to spare the metropolis by maintaining some of the tax credits that sustain major industries here, as Philippe Couillard proceeds with his austerity measures.

     
    • Ephraim 10:25 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      And now… I’m scared. The Chamber of Commerce (BoToMM) are the kind of people where I count my fingers after I shake their hand. These are the people who bring us Tourisme Montreal, Stationnement Montreal and Bixi. What was it, $654K as a golden parachute for the head of Tourisme Montreal? $283K stolen from the meters (that they found, likely more.) And how much did we lose on the Bixi financial fiasco? They even paid out $232K in bonuses before they declared bankruptcy, leaving the city in the wind for millions.

      (I’m not saying anything about the service and the idea, it’s the management. For the kind of money that was misspent we likely could have run the service for years.)

    • Sebastian 19:19 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      This is so scary. The idea of having people manipulate money for their own gain is very scary indeed

    • Ephraim 21:50 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      Sebastian – No, the Chamber of Commerce is manipulating PUBLIC money. The money for Tourisme Montreal comes from a 3.5% tax on hotel rooms that is collected by Revenu Quebec. Stationnement Montreal collects the public meter money. And well, Bixi went through millions in city money. It’s hands are in the public purse, not the private purse.

    • Chris 08:38 on 2014/10/21 Permalink

      Ephraim, your Bixi example is quite different from your golden parachute and theft examples. Unless I missed it, there was no fraud or theft with Bixi. It was just a matter of public money being spent in a way you don’t like. Similar to the big subsidized daycare discussion above, it can be hard to calculate if Bixi saved or cost money. It helped decongest crowded buses, got people exercising more, reduced greenhouse emissions, reduced pollution, etc. Like with daycare, hard to calculate the $ value of all that. But yes, Chamber of Commerce, Tourisme Montreal, and Stationnement Montreal do suck. :)

  • Kate 22:30 on 2014/10/19 Permalink | Reply  

    If people are getting fined for minor infractions in their recycling practices, maybe it’s time municipalities made their requirements clearer on their websites.

     
    • John B 22:57 on 2014/10/19 Permalink

      $177 seems somewhat steep for the wrong colour bag. Money like that is a good chunk of a month’s rent for many people, especially students. It’s also coming up on twice the $100 you get for leaving a child locked in a hot car.

    • No\Deli 01:23 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      Area city councillor Alex Norris defended the fines in an interview with CTV Montreal Friday. “If garbage ends up in a recycling truck, that can contaminate all of the recycling and make that whole effort useless,” he said.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but when the Plateau switched from the green clunky bins to these plastic bags, the icing on the cake of that change was that the recycling bags were themselves non-recyclable. And everyone LOL’d.

      Now maybe Mr. Norris’ quote was misused in the CTV story, or he was misinformed… but in the case of the two students, the only actual “garbage” contaminating their recycling would be a plastic bag of the wrong colour? That is to say: an equally unrecyclable bag to the clear ones that the Plateau still sells for $4-a-box at the borough office? Is that the situation Mr. Norris’ quote aims to react to?

      [FWIW, if I were a police officer, I'd be keen to keep Mr. Norris in office forever. Whether you're a cop handing out tickets to these newfangled cyclists ruining our placid city parks, or a cop writing tickets for these renegade recyclers, you can rest assured that Councillor Norris takes a keen interest in your job security.]

    • Kate 08:46 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      NoDeli, your analysis is shrewd.

    • Ian 13:15 on 2014/10/21 Permalink

      I recall recently reading that Montreal’s recycling centres were already overstocked on recyclable plastic bags, so regardless of the bag type they wouldn’t be recycled or compromise recycling anyway. I’d love to hear Alex Norris explain that away.

  • Kate 22:24 on 2014/10/19 Permalink | Reply  

    René Bruemmer outlines what the Montreal urban agglomeration land use and development plan is and what’s still up for discussion.

    (It’s kind of odd that René Bruemmer thinks 700 sq.ft. is a tiny condo, when this city has living spaces for sale down to 267 sq.ft. – but I guess it depends partly how the space is split up and how many folks are living in it.)

     
    • MB 01:42 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      Average square footage in Toronto is around 800, in Vancouver around 840 square feet. 700 is tiny by market standards, I guess?

    • Blork 08:08 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      I think 700 sq.ft is tiny for a condo. Maybe it’s OK for a single person, or for a very intimate couple who have hardly any stuff and no need for personal space. But for a family (even if there’s only one kid) it’s most def tiny.

    • Kevin 08:08 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      I had a 650 sq. ft. 3 1/2 in Manhattan and it was huge. It all depends on how the space is arranged.

    • Bill Binns 08:21 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      My wife and I briefly shared a tiny studio apartment and it was so bad we decided to sell our car in order to afford a bigger place. I think succesful cohabitation requires enough space so that two people can do two completely different activities at the same time without disturbing each other. If I was single, I could be happy in even the smallest of places. My sister in law lives alone in a 300 sq ft apartement in Paris and it’s quite cozy.

    • Blork 09:33 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      Some people need more space than others. Comparisons to New York and Paris are a bit silly, as those are both very different types of cities than Montreal (much denser, etc.).

      Both me and my spouse both need a lot of space — we’re both freelancers and we each need a home office, plus we both “need space” in the way that some people just need space (that might be a function of us each being the youngest of several siblings — birth order is a better predictor of personality than almost any other variable). In our current situation we have an abundance of space. Too much, really. But when the day comes that we abandon this house and move to a condo, there’s no way 800 sq.ft will do. I can’t see us managing in less than 1200 sq.ft (remember: two home offices).

      That’s just us, but I’m sure it also applies to a lot of those suburban parents who are supposed to move back into town after the kids fly the coop. Many of them will want a home office and a guest room. Plus they’ll want somewhere to store much of that lifetime of books, mementos, and other objects they’re built up over the years.

      An 800 sq.ft condo with two tiny bedrooms — each just big enough for a bed and one side table and a closet smaller than most house’s linen closets — just won’t cut it.

      And BTW, a desk in the corner with a Macbook Air on it does not constitute a “home office.”

  • Kate 14:19 on 2014/10/19 Permalink | Reply  

    Door-to-door postal delivery is coming to an end in some suburbs starting Monday, and this will inch inwards onto the island over the next few years until letter carriers join the milkman and the blacksmith as quaint relics of the past. Some people went door to door in the West Island on Sunday to drum up resistance to the federal ukase.

     
    • EmilyG 16:58 on 2014/10/19 Permalink

      We still have a milkman here in Pierrefonds as far as I know (my family had to stop having our milk delivered earlier this year, so I don’t know if our milkman is still at it.)

  • Kate 14:17 on 2014/10/19 Permalink | Reply  

    Quebec is seeing the first experiments with MOOCs, or CLOMs as they’re known in French – free online college and university courses. TELUQ is offering two: I’ve signed up for “Introduction à l’histoire politique du Québec” and will see how it goes. It’s quite possible my imperfect written French will make it difficult for me to succeed, but who knows? There are also free CÉGEP à distance courses.

     
    • John B 17:45 on 2014/10/19 Permalink

      I’m doing one on programming in Java at the moment, from a Swiss university. I’ve found some frustration when my programs are supposed to output stuff like “le Professeur Plum” and I just returned “Professeur Plum.” However, in most of these MOOCs you have a huge number of retries allowed, so it’s easy to fix, and the points and certificated don’t really mean anything anyway, so while it’s frustrating it there are no concequences.

    • Jack 17:52 on 2014/10/19 Permalink

      Kate enjoy that course, Eric Bedard your professor was one of the handful of Quebec intellectuals ( Bock-Cote, Courtois, Beauchemin) who advised Pauline Marois on her “virage identitaire”, he will also be a confident of PKP for his leadership run. His last book ” Quebec History for Idiots” lived up to its title.

    • rue david 02:25 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      you know nothing, jack snow.

    • Kate 08:47 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      rue david: 1. belay the ad hominem 2. Jack happens to know the local teaching scene, I know this from info he’s contributed before. If he says this Bedard chap is going to take a hard nationalist line, he’s almost certainly right.

    • rue david 11:33 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      was a tip of the hat by way of a game of thrones reference which was too oblique.

    • Jack 12:07 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      @rue david your meme illustrates much of the discourse Kate will be subjected too.

  • Kate 11:21 on 2014/10/19 Permalink | Reply  

    A study done by Podio puts Montreal’s Olympic stadium at the top of their list of projects that massively exceeded budget, by percentage. Not surprisingly, other cities’ Olympic installations are on the list, but so are many other famous human achievements.

     
  • Kate 23:30 on 2014/10/18 Permalink | Reply  

    There’s a limited paywall on the Boston Globe, but if you haven’t read 10 free articles yet, this item on Little Burgundy and Mile Ex is nice, if a bit swoony, as well as a piece on the two cat cafés now open in the Plateau, the Chat l’Heureux having opened recently on Duluth following the Café des Chats on St-Denis.

     
    • JaneyB 16:02 on 2014/10/19 Permalink

      Just a side tech note: you can get around the Boston Globe metered paywall by simply clearing your cache and/or with Firefox’s add-on ‘BetterPrivacy’ which clears the more devious ‘flash cookie’. (This method will also work for NYT). Yes, I do feel a bit guilty…a little bit.

    • Blork 17:26 on 2014/10/19 Permalink

      …or simply use a different browser (don’t most people have two or three different browsers on their computers?).

    • Kate 18:41 on 2014/10/19 Permalink

      Yes, but I noted it because it’s my policy here never to send people to sites where they’ll be blocked, but some sites allow a few hits before this happens so I mentioned that.

    • J 20:27 on 2014/10/20 Permalink

      Doesn’t browsing in incognito / private browsing mode get around these limitations?

  • Kate 23:18 on 2014/10/18 Permalink | Reply  

    Hunters are being allowed and encouraged to shoot deer on Heron Island. The deer are said to be damaging the island’s trees and putting at risk the nesting areas of a unique colony of herons. Only hunters with bows and crossbows are permitted, since these islands are close to where people live in Lasalle and western Verdun.

     
    • Doobious 19:43 on 2014/10/19 Permalink

      It’s interesting how an ecosystem can go out of whack when it’s too small or too isolated. I’ve always wondered how the flora and fauna of Valleyfield Island fared after the Beauharnois Canal was dug in the 1930s. Would make for an interesting research project.

  • Kate 23:04 on 2014/10/18 Permalink | Reply  

    Interesting review of a new book on the period when Montreal was well known as a wide-open city, during and after World War II.

     
  • Kate 15:20 on 2014/10/18 Permalink | Reply  

    Projet Montréal wants to see clearer more accessible information about road work sites and they’re not talking about the web but about posting placards explaining what the work is for and how long it’s expected to take.

    Web info would be nice too though.

     
    • jay 17:05 on 2014/10/18 Permalink

      Why are we so behind in these things, when I travel to ‘Tarantaa’ or ‘New Yack’, I see these signs on construction sites all the time. Now maybe it’s my University Urban Planner in me but how hard and why do we not do this?

    • Kate 22:37 on 2014/10/18 Permalink

      It hasn’t been anyone’s job to do so. I knew someone who worked briefly in a fairly minor Ontario government job, and she said there was a constant concern to convey “bang for the buck” i.e. to explain in clear (if not lavish) terms what any public project cost and how it would benefit the public. That simply hasn’t been a priority here in most cases, although long, high-profile projects like improvements to parks (Dorchester Square, Parc Lahaie) have had some signage up explaining things.

      Having boroughs explain ongoing work on the city website would be valuable too, because sometimes you’ll see something going on as you whisk past in a bus or car, and it’d be nice to be able to look it up online as well as from the adjoining sidewalk.

    • C_Erb 16:22 on 2014/10/19 Permalink

      A friend of mine who lived in Latin America until he was 18 then moved to LA for two years before coming here was really surprised by how make-shift all the construction was here, after having lived in LA. He said that in LA, signs would go up days before construction started, explaining what was being done and for how long. He said that the ways things are done here reminded him more of his previous cities in Colombia and Mexico than other places in North America, which surprised him a lot.

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