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  • Kate 21:12 on 2016/08/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Radio-Canada sounds a hopeful note about a youth cure on the Main but does anyone like that glass box proposed to replace the world that once existed between the Monument-National and the Cléopâtre? Work is supposed to begin in October, and the Centre d’histoire is meant to move into it – I don’t know what will become of the beautiful old firehouse on Place Youville.

    Update: CBC’s English side picked up the same note from Radio-Canada and calls it a makeover for the block. A makeover would be a lick of paint and a few new street lights. This is no makeover: it’s a radical departure in the nature of the street.

    I seriously think they chose the wrong developer and the wrong plan here, including the 12‑storey building intended for the corner of Ste-Catherine, but just wait till we see what’s going to replace the Spectrum a little further west. The whole soi-disant Quartier des Spectacles will soon be a soulless canyon among glass boxes.

    Meantime, they also report that it will take at least two years before the Esplanade Clark will exist.

    • rue david 13:15 on 2016/08/26 Permalink

      well, on the main street side, they’ll be returning several of the facades of the pre-existing buildings, so there’ll be some feeling of continuity. and activating that side of clark somewhat will be a plus. but yeah, losing that block was sort of sad, particularly since it has sat empty for so long. you’d think that we’d stop making these mistakes again and again.

  • Kate 21:05 on 2016/08/25 Permalink | Reply  

    The Journal says it was total chaos Thursday at the offices of the World Film Festival. CBC says the state of the festival is leaving filmmakers in limbo but reports on only one. This is supposed to be the 40th outing for the festival but there’s nothing festive in any of the reports. Quebec is refusing to come in with any last-minute bailout.

  • Kate 12:40 on 2016/08/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Cabbies delivered a mise en demeure this week to the taxi bureau demanding the end of the dress code imposed earlier this year. Video from TVA.

    • Ephraim 12:42 on 2016/08/25 Permalink

      Yes, because anything that will make us look more professional… must stop.

    • Bill Binns 13:55 on 2016/08/25 Permalink

      Isn’t the dress code something like “shirt with buttons and closed toe shoes”? What exactly do they want to wear?

    • j 17:20 on 2016/08/25 Permalink


    • Ian 20:54 on 2016/08/25 Permalink

      If it took less than an hour in the lineup to get a cab at the airport they could be wearing sheet togas and dollar store makeup for all I care.

    • Bill Binns 09:18 on 2016/08/26 Permalink

      @Ian – The limo is only 10 bucks more and you get guaranteed air conditioning and a driver wearing a suit who will not speak unless spoken to. There is usually no line either.

    • Viviane 11:19 on 2016/08/26 Permalink

      I don’t think Teo drivers are complaining about their uniforms. It’s just the independents.

  • Kate 12:38 on 2016/08/25 Permalink | Reply  

    There was a shooting early Thursday in St-Michel that left a man in his 70s in critical condition after a fleeing perpetrator collided with his car. TVA link has raw video.

    • Blork 12:50 on 2016/08/25 Permalink

      Quibble: if the “bystander” is driving a vehicle, is he a “bystander?” (CTV piece.) What’s a better word for an uninvolved third-party person who inadvertently becomes involved?

    • Viviane 14:23 on 2016/08/25 Permalink

      Blork, a bystander is “a person who is present at an event without participating in it.” Doesn’t matter if they’re standing or sitting in a vehicle.

    • Blork 17:18 on 2016/08/25 Permalink

      Well, it’s less a question of body position and more a matter of proximity. “Bystander” implies the person is present or observing an event. As far as I can tell, this man was neither. He was driving his car, probably nearby, but not at the location of the event.

    • Blork 17:45 on 2016/08/25 Permalink

      OK FINE. I called in the big guns over on FB and according to some editors I trust, “bystander” is OK here.

  • Kate 08:56 on 2016/08/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Le Devoir continues its series about the foundation of Montreal with thoughts about relations with the aboriginal inhabitants. Something tells me there’s myth-making here, notably in the claim that Montreal was conveniently abandoned by native people just in time for the French to occupy the island. Maybe that happened. If so, it was highly unusual in the history of colonialism.

    • Brenda 11:30 on 2016/08/25 Permalink

      “During the city’s first twenty years, most of the Aboriginal population was on the island because Montréal was a refuge to a great number of Huron, Iroquois and Algonquin bands, who had become separated from their tribes by war, famine and epidemics. ”;jsessionid=EF4E2CF534C9916E85E4137C0B28A278?method=preview&lang=EN&id=18408

    • Jack 17:00 on 2016/08/25 Permalink

      Christian Rioulx has a pretty weird filter, he isn’t an historian but a flamethrower living in Paris. Here’s an open letter Marc Cassivi wrote him:
      So when it comes to him framing Montreals founding, color me sceptical.

  • Kate 08:50 on 2016/08/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Some Hochelaga-Maisonneuve residents found their tap water was yellowy orange Wednesday morning. And it seems nobody knows why this is happening.

    • Ephraim 08:51 on 2016/08/25 Permalink

      Free Tang? :)

    • Bert 08:54 on 2016/08/25 Permalink

      Maybe Youppi! was visiting his old stomping grounds?

    • Bill Binns 08:59 on 2016/08/25 Permalink

      Graffiti runoff leaching into the water supply?

  • Kate 08:48 on 2016/08/25 Permalink | Reply  

    A lot of Montrealers have ties to Italy, so CTV is headlining a piece on how to help victims of the earthquake.

  • Kate 16:00 on 2016/08/24 Permalink | Reply  

    Denis Coderre says he has no idea whether the World Film Fest will proceed. It’s meant to open tomorrow but workers have deserted the ship and Cineplex has closed the Forum to the festival’s screenings.

    • GC 16:30 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      What a mess. There was a lot of drama last year, but the festival still went ahead. It was kind of disorganized, but not that much more than in previous years. Hearing after the fact about how the employees weren’t paid until months later, however… I still think the festival is worth saving in some form, but Losique should just let it go at this point. Skip this year and have someone else pick up the reins next year.

    • Kate 17:57 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      Bit late for that when people have come here expecting to screen their movies.

    • GC 19:25 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      I know. I feel badly for the film makers.

  • Kate 15:50 on 2016/08/24 Permalink | Reply  

    The city has passed a law over compost, although to write as CBC does here that Montrealers to face fines if they don’t compost is a smidge inaccurate. We’re not forced to actually compost in or near our homes, but simply to put things out in the bac brun.

    How the city will check is another matter. I predict sales of shredders may rise as people realize they’d better not put anything in the garbage that has a recognizable name or address on it.

    • Bill Binns 16:09 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      San Francisco started fining people for not recycling. Addresses that were flagged as never putting recycling out actually had their trash ripped open and inspected. It’s no wonder people resist these types of programs. It’s all nice and voluntary for a while until the goons show up and write you a ticket for illegal trash management.

      Bring it Montreal Garbage Police. I have a 1 horsepower garbage disposal built into my sink.

    • Kate 16:24 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      I didn’t think we were allowed to have garbage disposals here. I’ve heard about them but never seen one in my life.

    • Ephraim 16:28 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      Had one in almost every house I lived in in the city while growing up.

    • Bill Binns 16:54 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      They are kind of nasty actually. You will eventually drop a spoon or a knife down there and shoving your arm into the maw of that thing to retrieve it is the stuff of nightmares. We use ours primarily when trash pickup is still a day or two away and I have a chicken carcass or a box of Chinese takeout or some other stinky stuff to get rid of.

    • CE 17:08 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      I’ve always heard of the existence of garburators but I think I’ve only ever seen a single one in my life, in Calgary.

    • Blork 17:40 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      I’ve seen a few. They are awe-inspiring in different ways, which is to say they are simultaneously miraculous and scary as fuck.

    • Bert 19:11 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      They seem to be a much more American phenomenon. Certainly something to be respected. I wonder if “flushing” more food (for fish, algae, etc.) in to the water system is actually a solution.

    • jeather 20:48 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      I’ve seen and used them, I don’t find them scary to pull cutlery out of. I wish I had one.

    • Viviane 21:09 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      How the heck are people who produce less than one grocery bag of garbage per week supposed to compost anything? I’ll just flush the evidence if I have to :-p.

    • Janet 21:27 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      I had one in my house and used it regularly until a marine biologist friend saw it and was absolutely apalled. I presume from that that they are not great for the environment.

    • CE 23:13 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      I can’t imagine that ground up leftover pieces of food is much worse than almost everything else we flush into the sewers.

    • Tim 08:48 on 2016/08/25 Permalink

      Does anyone know how this is going to be rolled out for condos or apartments?

    • Bert 09:07 on 2016/08/25 Permalink

      CE, I suspect the issue is not with the quality of what is being sent downstream in the waste water, rather it’s the increased biomass in the water especially if more of it gets dissolved and makes it past the various waste treatment processes.

      More biomass does not necessarily mean more food for the various waterborne critters, it will consume some of the oxygen in the water in it’s decomposition process.

  • Kate 15:47 on 2016/08/24 Permalink | Reply  

    The Caisse de dépôt and CN have shaken hands over the Caisse’s control over the structure conveying trains into and out of Central Station and the use of the station itself. This is meant to preserve the Rodier building and New City Gas (this is the second time a public project has threatened them and then backed off). CTV says some residential buildings may be expropriated to make this happen.

    • ant6n 16:50 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      I would’ve preferred if VIA/AMT would’ve bought this years ago. In some sense it’s good news that an entity that at least claims to have an interest in transit bought it, and it gives them the chance to plan much better (if they took it…), but I would much prefer seeing such an important piece of infrastructure in public hands.

  • Kate 12:36 on 2016/08/24 Permalink | Reply  

    New transport minister Laurent Lessard says the plan for an Uber pilot project is still in the works.

  • Kate 12:20 on 2016/08/24 Permalink | Reply  

    Media have been collecting reactions to the Bain verdict of second-degree murder, which is to say unpremeditated. The Journal spoke to members of Denis Blanchette’s family, who say they’re relieved Bain received a conviction but felt it was indeed premeditated. Dave Courage, struck by the same bullet that killed Blanchette, and still coping with chronic pain from the injury, was more charitable in his discussions with Radio-Canada, saying he hopes people with mental troubles can get better care than Bain did.

    I’m seeing a lot of discussion here and there about why Bain was not accused of terrorism. Some of this is partisan, coming from PQ folks who want to press the issue of an attack on their party, but not all of it.

    Without any intention to defend or justify Bain, I don’t think that’s what terrorism is, or not unless we open up the definition of terrorism so wide that it becomes meaningless. I had a Twitter argument with Jack Todd last night: he tweeted that Bain was a terrorist. His feeling was that, had Bain been Muslim, he would’ve been called a terrorist. “Any solo political or religious attack called terrorism, if attacker is Muslim.”

    I strongly feel that the point about terrorism is that terrorists have a strategy. Terrorism is all based on perception. Terrorists sow fear in a populace by doing – or even threatening to do – something violent, always with the implication that other violent acts could follow. It’s a poor man’s way of waging war on a budget. Their acts are meant to be feared as part of a bigger picture, but a picture whose extent is unknown.

    You can’t just point at one action with no further threat attached and call it terrorism. Nobody thought for a moment that Bain was one of a hidden militia of scary old white guys. Yes, his act was politically motivated and he was a loose cannon of uncertain sanity, but those facts alone do not make him a terrorist.

    • Kevin 13:51 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      Jack’s correct that if Bain was Muslim it would have been called a terrorist attack, whether or not he had any connection to a terrorist group.

      People have been running amok for centuries, but the kneejerk reaction post-9/11 is to call every violent act by a Muslim in the West terrorism — and to avoid using that term for anyone else.

    • GC 14:23 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      I agree with you, Kevin, but that’s not what Todd said: He pretty much labelled him a terrorist, as-is.

    • Kate 15:55 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      What’s interesting, Kevin, is that if someone Muslim carries out an attack now, it’s possible he or she would feel they were doing it in the name of ISIS. Just as it took Bain’s jury eleven days to sort out their conclusions about his probable state of mind when he came armed to the Metropolis, so we have trouble discerning whether a given attacker is simply insane, a lone wolf attacker, or if they are a jihadist, or – more confusing still – if they’re someone whose mental instability has been stoked precisely by the promise of an Islamic state.

      Craziness collects around ISIS. I read about how this is an internet-driven phenomenon, but it’s not entirely new. Compare it to people here who wore brown shirts and admired and followed Hitler. It’s not so different.

    • Bill Binns 16:36 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      The word “terrorism” has a pretty straightforward definition…

      the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.

      The Bain attack seems like it may fit. Did he think that killing Pauline Marois would somehow destroy the PQ or did he just want to attack her because he hated her? It may be a little clearer if he had actually gotten to Marois but he killed someone that wasn’t really attached to the political group he opposed.

    • Kevin 16:50 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      He also said that he thinks using a fighter jet qualifies as a terrorist attack.
      The definition has become twisted and for practical purposes meaningless as a crime.
      Murder is murder. Whether the motive is jealousy, revenge, or ideology is irrelevant when it comes to meting out justice.

    • GC 19:29 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      I’m not disagreeing with you about the definitions of words, Kevin. (In fact, I said above that I agreed with you.) The fact remains, Todd did not say “Bain would have been labelled a terrorist if he were Muslim”–which is probably true. He said “Bain is a terrorist”–which is debatable.

    • Kevin 22:39 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      Please reread Kate’s sentence after she mentions Jack :)

    • GC 09:07 on 2016/08/25 Permalink

      Kevin, please reread Todd’s tweet: “Bain is a terrorist”. There are no qualifiers there.

    • Kevin 13:02 on 2016/08/25 Permalink

      I know you stopped there. I’m asking you to read further and get the context.

    • GC 14:50 on 2016/08/25 Permalink

      Kevin, you don’t know where I did or did not stop reading. Just like I don’t know what you have or have not read.

      Tweets don’t have much context, which is one problem with them.

      “Bain would have been labelled a terrorist if he were Muslim.” We seem to agree that would happen–but that doesn’t mean I think it would be correct to do so.

      Todd carries that to “so, Bain must be a terrorist.”. Calling a Muslim a terrorist in this case would have been exactly the knee-jerk reaction you referred to above. If it would be inappropriate to call a Muslim a terrorist in this case, then it’s still inappropriate to call Bain one.

      Murder is murder, as you say. However, some cases of murder involve terrorism and some don’t–regardless of whether the murderer is Muslim.

      As you said: “…call every violent act by a Muslim in the West terrorism — and to avoid using that term for anyone else.” I completely agree with this. Todd’s argument in those tweets is different.

      If the word “terrorist” is already overused to the point of being meaningless then it should be used less, not more.

      We do seem to just be repeating ourselves, however, so maybe we’re at an impasse on this.

  • Kate 10:53 on 2016/08/24 Permalink | Reply  

    The city has passed a bylaw banning plastic shopping bags and the Retail Council says it’s a bad law. It comes into force in 2018.

    Do we need an outright ban? When I was in Ireland a couple of years ago, shopping bags cost about 25 cents, by law, enough to motivate people to bring their own. Everyone could be seen walking into stores with some sort of shopping bag in hand.

    • 11:01 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      Now they’ll just use or sell the thicker ones (>50 microns thick) that I can re-use for my cat litter.

    • Alex L 11:23 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      Good news.

    • Bill Binns 11:27 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      Everything will be fine. However, like so many environmental initiatives this is an empty gesture that will do little or nothing for the environment. It unclear if the reasoning behind this is to reduce litter or reduce the use of plastic but I doubt it will do either. As mentions, there is a built in loophole that will result in many people walking out the door with a heavier bag containing much more plastic (or paper) than the old bags. I have seen this in action in California where the clerk at the drugstore will put your toothpaste in a heavy paper bag with a twine handle. Some places have heavy plastic bags. ALL stores have some sort of bags available.

      The only place I have seen a real ban on bags is France. If you are lucky there will be some boxes piled up at the front of the store but you often see people loading loose groceries from the cart into the back of their cars. Even this isn’t the end of the world. Costco works that way and they seem to be doing OK.

    • Blork 11:32 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      I agree with Kate. I’m in favour of greatly reducing plastic bags (I’ve probably taken fewer than a dozen plastic bags from grocery stores over the past decade) but this idea of an outright ban is just stupid. Use incentives (or disincentives) instead of bans! Not everyone always has a reusable bag handy.

      It reminds me of the ban on bottles of water. It’s perfectly OK to sell me a bottle of over-sugared soda or fake fruit juice, but plain water is treated like an illegal narcotic. That makes no logical sense at all (even though I agree that we should reduce the plastic waste from all those water bottles). Incentives, not bans!

      Hysterical reactions don’t solve anything except the question of “how stupid can we get?”

    • Bill Binns 11:38 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      @Blork – The bottled water thing drives me nuts too. You are not supposed to buy bottled water because you can go into any nasty gas station bathroom and fill that tin cup you carry around with you everywhere you go with all the lukewarm tap water you want.

    • Blork 11:41 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      @Bill Binns, yes, exactly (on the water). Regarding the bags, the reasoning behind this is neither to reduce litter nor the use of plastic. The reasoning is to be seen to be doing something.

      Your Costco example isn’t very good because 99.9999 percent of Costco customers wheel their cart from the store right to their car, so bags are moot. But what about the grandma who buys six things at the dep and realizes she forgot her plastic bag? What about the receptionist downtown who has to make a quick run to Pharmaprix to buy some stuff for the boss who has put together an impromptu half-day meeting that needs snacks and drinks and paper napkins? What about the kid who gets sent over to the epicerie on Mont-Royal to get six lemons, a can of chick peas, and a half-dozen apples but forgot to take a reusable bag?

      These aren’t crime scenarios. And if the majority of people use reusable bags then plastic bags for these edge cases won’t add up to much.

    • Alex L 12:00 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      @Blork, if you forget your bag, not a big deal to go back and pick it up. If it is, not a big deal to buy a reusable one for the next time. And if you end up buying reusable bags a few times in a row, maybe you’ll think about it eventually. Habits need to change, that’s what this is about.

      Seriously, for me the impact will be more on those people that don’t give a fuss about anything else than their own routine, the types that ask for double plastic bags to carry anything bigger than a lemon.

    • Bill Binns 12:40 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      @Blork – I’m sure every place will have some type of bag available. It may cost a dime or a quarter but they will be available. You travel to LA from time to time don’t you? Haven’t you been places that have a bag ban (I think it’s by county in Cali)?

    • Blork 12:51 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      As long as some kind of bag is available, then I’m OK with it. It should definitely cost 25 cents minimum.

      @Alex L, I elect you to be the one to tell an 80-year-old grandma that she has to walk seven blocks back home to get her bag that she forgot.

      @Bill Binns, I don’t recall encountering bag bans in California. OTOH, whenever I’ve bought groceries there I’ve always had reusable bags with me, although I definitely recall a couple of times when my order was more than the bags could accommodate so I ended up with one or two plastic bags. (That would be in L.A. I have no recollection of other places.)

    • Patrick 13:33 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      @Bill Binns, I live in LA, and I can tell you the plastic bag ban has not been a problem. Grocery stores, Target, etc,. will sell you a re-usable bag for a dime, and many of them also give you points of some kind for bringing your own. Clothing stores give you a paper bag. There do seem to be exceptions to the rule. The bookstores I go to still offer a free plastic bag, and I think drugstores do too.

    • Blork 13:57 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      I’m curious as to how “severe” the plastic bag problem even is. 20 years ago, virtually every shopper at every store walked out with a clutch of plastic bags, but that’s not the case now, and hasn’t been for some time.

      From personal observation at my local grocery stores, maybe one in 20 customers uses plastic bags. The rest use reusable. At least that’s what it’s like across the river where I live, and where most people do one or two large orders of shopping a week and are more routine about things like that than might be typical in the city.

      One place where I still see a lot of bag usage is in the produce department, where many people routinely use those super thin bags to contain the produce they pick. I occasionally do (such as if I want to keep a basket of strawberries contained) but I certainly don’t for loose pieces of fruit and vegetables. Oddly, sometimes the cashier tries to bag my loose fruit in a plastic bag before putting it in my re-usable bag! I always stop them (and I’ve been seeing less of that over time.)

      And then there’s the farmers’ markets. Now that is plastic bag central right there. I bring reusables, but sometimes it’s hard to avoid the plastics, such as when you buy a lettuce that’s nicely displayed in a little basket, but is actually half-wrapped in plastic. When you buy it they close the bag and hand it over. If you say you don’t want the bag they just throw it away because it’s already used, so there’s nothing gained. (And truth be told, lettuce lasts longer when bagged.)

    • JaneyB 15:51 on 2016/08/24 Permalink

      And still no ban on the mecca of plastic: dollar stores. Any one item there is probably the equivalent of 30 plastic bags.

    • Alex L 14:39 on 2016/08/25 Permalink

      @Blork 80 year old grandmas have lived the majority of their life without plastic bags for their groceries. When it comes to it, they’ll probably be more resourceful than most of us in finding a way to carry their stuff.

  • Kate 10:45 on 2016/08/24 Permalink | Reply  

    Le Devoir continues with its series, today looking at the large part women played in the foundation of Montreal.

  • Kate 10:40 on 2016/08/24 Permalink | Reply  

    Police have found the body of taxi driver Si Belkacem Silakhal, missing since just before Christmas. Several bodies were fished out of the river in May and his was one of them, only recently identified. Cops don’t suspect murder.

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