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  • Kate 22:35 on 2015/04/23 Permalink | Reply  

    A new bus line, the 77, will link Lionel-Groulx metro station, which has an elevator, with the new Glen hospital. It’s described as temporary until an entire new accessible entrance is built to Vendôme metro, so it may be in service for years. The new route starts on May 11.

    • faiz Imam 00:21 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      That’s not a bad idea. Cool.

    • Tux 08:13 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      The airport bus is the 747, the hospital bus shoulda been the 911

    • Dave M 08:47 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      Is it too cynical for this site to assume this’ll be like the temporary reserved bus lanes on the Champlain Bridge?

      (And you would think that if this was at all planned, they could have started the route on Sunday. It’s not like the date of the move was a tightly held secret until recently.)

    • Robert J 09:49 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      Meanwhile they can just make Vendome metro accessible, which will be much more cost effective in the long term.

    • Uatu 14:22 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      This is because it’s more about PR than access. I mentioned in the earlier post about the SHosp. that management seems to be making on the fly decisions. Here’s a prime example.

    • faiz Imam 16:34 on 2015/04/24 Permalink


      It`s much easier bureaucratically and operationally to spend a few $100,000 a year on a bus lane than the ~$70 million for the fully accessible entrance.

      It needs to happen, and its redicilous that it hasn`t happened already, but it doesn’t make this any less useful

  • Kate 22:32 on 2015/04/23 Permalink | Reply  

    Guercy Edmond, the taxi driver involved in a 2012 incident in which his car rolled over a passenger who had been hostile with him, was acquitted of all charges Thursday. The incident was caught on video and was widely discussed at the time.

    • Blork 08:05 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      Not that I want to open it up again, but it’s interesting that a black man who ran over a white man got acquitted and not much is said, but if Edmond had been white and the passenger black, the rhetoric would have been very different. (I say that to point out that sometimes — not always, but sometimes — a cigar is just a cigar, that things need to be taken at face value. As in, race likely had nothing to do with this case, and even if the races had been reversed, race would have had nothing to do with it.)

    • Kate 08:17 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      I’m trying to imagine a situation in which the cabbie was white and his passenger black, but it’s not coming into focus.

    • steph 09:00 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      Are there any conspiracies linking Coderre & the Taxi industry to this story yet?

    • Blork 09:03 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      Huh? I’ve been in a cab with white cabbies plenty of times.

    • Kate 11:53 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      steph: not that I’ve seen.

      Blork: yes, but how many instances of white cabbie/black customer does this city see per day compared to the reverse?

    • Blork 12:39 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      Kate; true enough. But I refuse to see colour in this (as I would refuse to see colour if the races had been reversed). What I see is a guy being mobbed and just wanting to get the f&%k out of there. A complicating factor being that where he comes from, people are murdered in the streets on a not-infrequent basis. (That’s not a race thing either; the same would apply if he were from Syria, or Sarajevo circa 1990s, etc.)

      The lesson is if you harass someone personally, then turn a mob on them, they are going to do whatever it takes to flee, and this is particularly likely if the person comes from a place where mobs usually come to murder.

    • Kate 01:29 on 2015/04/25 Permalink

      Note that I didn’t initially bring race into it. I don’t think it’s a story mostly about race, but I do think it may have crossed the minds of the white guys hassling the cabbie that they might get away with it more easily because police would take the black guy to be the troublemaker.

    • Blork 13:08 on 2015/04/25 Permalink

      True again. (And I do note that you didn’t bring race into it. I was speaking in general.)

    • John B 14:59 on 2015/04/25 Permalink

      It probably didn’t cross their minds consciously, but they may be conditioned to assume they might get away with it, (if you asked them they may not even realize they thought that way, even if they did).

  • Kate 22:28 on 2015/04/23 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s been reported in various media this week, with Global leading the story, that a man whose son died of a drug overdose in a house in NDG a few weeks ago, and who wants Mayor Coderre to waive a parking ticket issued against the son’s car that night, is meeting firm resistance from the mayor. CJAD says the city may be relenting but gives no details.

    • John B 14:30 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      Does Coderre even have the authority to intervene? I’m not sure letting the mayor randomly do the court’s work when he feels like it is a good idea.

    • Kate 01:29 on 2015/04/25 Permalink

      That’s what Coderre said. I’m sure the mayor can make a phone call to get a ticket to disappear, but it’s clearly not a precedent he wants to set.

    • Alison Cummins 07:25 on 2015/04/25 Permalink

      I had to deal with the library claiming overdue fines when my mother died. I said she was dead and some idiot wrote back and said we had to pay anyway. I wrote back very firmly stating that my mother had been a strong supporter of the library for many years and that I was certain they would find a way to do the right thing and waive the fine. Which they did.

      It’s possible city bureaucracy may be less amenable to a stern talking-to.

  • Kate 21:40 on 2015/04/23 Permalink | Reply  

    This is not a great day for freedom of expression here. Jennifer Pawluck, who snapped an Instagram of a graffito showing police spokesman Ian Lafrenière with a bullet in his head, has been convicted of criminal harassment. I don’t think there’s even any suggestion Pawluck created the piece she photographed.

    Also today, the town of Granby wants to be able to issue fines against anyone caught insulting the police or municipal employees online.

    I’ve quite often snapped photos of protest art. I don’t think I need to sanitize my Flickr and Instagram feeds yet, but I will think twice before posting images like that in future.

    • Ian 05:27 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      Where are all the “Je suis Charlie” folks now? This is absurd. Charging someone with criminal harassment for posting a picture of somebody else’s artwork is beyond belief. Then again, this is the place where you can be up on charges without bail for assault with a weapon – for spraying silly string at a cop. Are the police and judiciary trying to a make a mockery of the entire judicial system? If so, they are doing a fantastic job.

    • Ephraim 06:53 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      Where is freedom of expression? You can damn well insult anyone you want, unless it’s libel. The city is going to lose and I’ll make bets that Julius Grey will be the first lawyer to sue them.

    • Ant6n 07:46 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      Between this, the no-bail silly-string, and the cab rolling over a person, one starts to wonder who the justice system is protecting, and it isn’t.

    • Bill Binns 11:48 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      As an enthusiastic amateur photographer, I was pretty taken aback by this as well. But if you read the article it seems that the deciding factor was her caption “One bullet, one cop” and carefully adding Lafrenière’s name (and even correcting the spelling more than once) that really got her in trouble. If the crime was simply posting the photo, a whole bunch of newspapers would also be in trouble.

    • Noah 13:17 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      I’ve been chewing on this for a day and listening to and reading comments. The issue here isn’t/shouldn’t be the re-posting of the picture. It’s the hashtag. The threat is the hashtag and I agree with the verdict with that in mind.

    • John B 14:33 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      I read the articles about the Instagram post as well, and the judge is quoted somewhere, (La Presse maybe? – something in French), as saying the problem was the “One bullet, one cop” and, to a lesser extent, the “ACAB” (All Cops Are Bastards), hashtags. If she had posted something like “Montreal Street Art” instead it looks like she would have been found innocent, if she was even charged.

    • Ian 15:20 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      The argument is obviously in whether she posted this image to instagram and captioned it as she did with any intent other than describing the image. ACAB was the artist’s handle. Lafreniere’s name was also included inn the piece. “One bullet, one cop” could also be taken as a description, “One ___, one bullet” is an old political slogan going back over 40 years. It’s a shaky argument at best. What’s more, instagram is a platform specifically meant to share images. If she were actually making a sincere death threat and not simply describing the image she was posting instagram would not be the place to do that… twitter, maybe. Or facebook. Or on the wall of a building. They are only going after this woman because they are embarrassed they couldn’t find the artist. There were a bunch of these up around town. Pawluck is being scapegoated and being made an example of, pure and simple.

    • yossarian 17:30 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      Freedom of expression is dead in this nation.

      Quite an assortment of thought crimes will get you sent to jail, and quite a lot of people in this ex-fair-and-free nation seem to think this is a very good idea. (not me though, I am of the opinion that (—-self-censored—-). See how that works? Freedom of expression dies a little bit every day. Until it is all gone.

    • steph 18:15 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      You’re all on a list now.

    • Joe Bin 19:30 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      I agree with the cabbie running over the guy, tho.

  • Kate 14:31 on 2015/04/23 Permalink | Reply  

    Photos of an STM bus on fire on the Turcot Thursday afternoon are making the rounds on social media. Nobody’s been injured. The shot in Metro shows the recently altered tower of St‑Zotique church in the background, too.

    Update: A woman riding on the bus admitted to reading a book, which we now know is very hazardous. Dead tree storage may have spontaneously combusted – you can’t rule it out.

    • Doobious 14:45 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      I’m not surprised. The latest version of the STM bus is definitely prone to overheating. Since the initial design a bunch of extra fans had to be kludged onto the radiator. And the back row of seats gets uncomfortably warm, regardless of the season.

      I’m guessing this was a 211 or one of the express Lakeshore buses. Those are some of the longest bus routes on the island.

    • Kate 14:46 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Also where these buses go fastest, too.

    • Doobious 15:02 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Yup, all highway from Dorval to Lionel-Groulx. Although CTV says it was a 495, which doesn’t seem to transit the Turcot.

    • Philip 16:03 on 2015/04/23 Permalink


      Those warm seats were a godsend in the winter, though…

      (Journal Metro mentions it was the 485)

    • Doobious 16:29 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Not so much when you’re sandwiched between two big dudes and you have to hold your jacket and backpack in your lap, Philip.

      485 makes much more sense.

    • EmilyG 18:15 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      The CBC news article I found says it was the 485 bus.
      I take that bus occasionally.

  • Kate 08:33 on 2015/04/23 Permalink | Reply  

    All eyes will be on the Vic this weekend as they shut their old building and transfer 250 patients to the new hospital building, the first of several institutions to do this on the MUHC side, to be followed in a year or so by the equally elaborate CHUM hospital moves.

    • JaneyB 08:45 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Apparently, the Vic’s moving day will cost $10 million. 250 patients will be moved so that means $40,000 per patient for that single process. We need to fix something about this. It’s too late for this move but whatever kind of thinking made that possible is out of touch.

    • Kate 08:50 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Is it reasonable to divide that sum by patient? A lot more stuff has to be moved – computers and files and other administrative stuff, plus a certain amount of delicate medical equipment you can’t just sling into the back of a truck. A lot of the equipment at the Glen hospital will be new, but the Vic would have to move some of its hardware and probably recalibrate some of it after it arrives, too.

    • Dave M 08:54 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      After the prinicple person responsible for the Glen became a wanted international fugitive and many of his accomplices (and firms that got the contracts) were charged with corruption and embezzlement of public funds, there wasn’t even the slightest bit of talk from people in power that maybe we should reconsider.

      “Thinking” is a little generous, JaneyB.

    • Kate 09:10 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Reconsider what exactly?

    • mare 09:13 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      The moving costs are also for the (temp) staff, and their wages. Twenty minute ambulance ride with 3 nurses/driver, plus doctors in case of crises, plus an hour transport to and from the ambulance and you’re reaching a few grand easily.

      Also, the total bed count in the Royal Vic: 517 (they must had an admittance stop during the past few weeks) but the total beds in The Arthur Porter Hospital (still no name? Glen site? Really?) is 356. And those aren’t only for Royal Vic patients, but also for other institutions. So don’t get seriously ill.

      At least the Allan Memorial (also on Royal Vic’s grounds) stays open, decrepit as it is.

    • Dave M 09:35 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Reconsider everything about closing existing hospitals distributed throughout the city and forcing everyone to move to the Arthur T Porter Corruptorium, with fewer beds and even less accessibility for anything other than a car than the Royal Vic.

      I’m fairly certain that for the generation of anglophones being born today, the “superhospital” will surpass the Olympic Stadium as Montreal’s iconic sign of corruption and mismanagement.

    • Blork 09:39 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Yes, I think this $10 million figure is for “the move” not just the direct expenses of moving day. (I might be wrong; where did this figure come from?)

    • Kate 09:46 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Dave M, by the time the entire story came out about Porter and SNC-Lavalin the project was well on its way, so that abandoning it would’ve been foolish as well as expensive and wasteful.

      I’ve seen the case made on both sides whether existing hospital buildings could have continued to function throughout the rest of this century. We don’t know the answer to that because there are so many variables and no objective study was possible under the circumstances. A huge PR push was done on the side of building the new hospital to accommodate modern equipment and allow for one patient per room rather than the 2 or 4 usual in the older hospitals.

      How much would it have cost to rebuild the interior of the Vic to 21st-century healthcare standards? Even the Children’s and the General were put up to meet mid 20th century ideals at best.

    • Blork 10:40 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      …bearing in mind the added complications of renovating a working hospital. It’s not like they could put all the patients out on the lawn for a year while they gutted and rebuilt the place.

    • Noah 13:41 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      The Vic has been outdated forever already. I think it’s time we embrace the Glen project and start looking at ways to make it something we can be proud of instead of constantly dumping on it. It’s here. It’s not going anywhere. Let’s start focusing on the positives it will bring. That doesn’t mean we have to be blindly gleeful about it and not hold the people running it to account, but the complaining about its existence is tired and pointless.

    • JohnS 14:27 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Dave M – I work at the RVH. It desperately required replacement, and that is really what the Glen is, a replacement for the RVH and the MCH. The Montreal General and other adult hospitals in the city aren’t going anywhere. There’s definitely bed closures associated, but really they were probably coming anyway and the move is just a pretext.

      Also I am not sure what you mean about less accessibility – the Glen is actually on a metro line and it is not directly up a steep hill (quite a challenge for those with mobility issues or heart and lung problems). If anything its more accessible via transit than by car given the current state of construction in the area and the cost of parking.

    • Kate 16:04 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Thanks for your inside view, JohnS.

    • Bill Binns 16:49 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      I always thought it was weird that we had two major hospitals perched halfway up the only hill in the city.

    • Kate 21:24 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Bill Binns, when the Vic was opened in 1893 it was not “in the city” properly speaking. In those days fresh air was regarded as important for invalids, so the building was put above the miasma of the industrial and built-up parts of town. I don’t know what the rationale was for the Montreal General being built where it is in 1955 – maybe the land was simply made available at the time.

    • Uatu 10:06 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      I am also an employee of the RVH. I’m not a doctor or researcher. Just a faceless member of the support staff and my job enabled me to see almost all the departments of the hospital from the loading dock to the doctors meeting rooms. I am ambivalent about the superhospital. Does the Vic need replacement? Probably, but I don’t think we needed to build a super site that comprises the Vic, The MCI, MCH, Shriners, and later the MNI. Keep in mind that I’ve heard rumours of a superhospital 30 yrs ago when my supervisor told me I was going to be let go because of “the giant hospital” they were going to build. That was back in the pre-Internet ’80s when building everything in physical proximity seemed necessary. Maybe today, not so much. Blork: there are entire floors at the Vic that have been renovated – S8 and 5 Cardiac in particular were given an extensive work over. I knew someone on the patients rights committee and these were deemed necessary after they did an audit of the floors. So it is possible to shuffle patients for renos because that’s what happened in these cases. I kinda agree with Noah, tho as it’s pretty much a done deal and we have to live with it but it’s hard when you hear rumours of botched construction in the RI and the Muhc fighting with Lavalin over who’s going to pay for it as well as on the fly management decisions that seem bizarre considering this was in the planning for years ( MNI staying on site as well as dialysis) You hear a lot when riding in elevators and a lot of what I heard is confusion, frustration and a resentment of management. Especially when CEO Rinfret got a 10% raise to 286,000$ and change. This in the face of job cuts etc. as well as him working side by side with rip off scamsters Porter, Elbaz, Armitage et al.
      In any case, this had better be worth it because I know of various staff from different departments, nurses and even doctors who have lost their jobs because of this mega project. That last one surprised me especially since attracting doctors to QC was one of the reasons for the superhosp.

    • Bill Binns 10:16 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      @Kate – Ah that makes sense. It’s east to forget that in the 19th century everything beyond St Cat was the burbs or countryside. I remember reading a story about someone walking from the old port to Rosemount (the mansion that used to be where Percy Walter’s Dog Park is now) during a bad snowstorm and getting lost and nearly dying. Hard to imagine now.

  • Kate 08:30 on 2015/04/23 Permalink | Reply  

    The police ethics commission has cleared five of their own in a case five years old: Maria Altagracia Dorval had made several calls to police about her ex, whom she feared. Then the ex killed her. The question was whether police had failed to protect someone they knew was at risk but the ethics committee clearly thinks not. Dorval’s family has opened a wrongful death case against the city.

    (H. John notes in a comment below that “of their own” is not a correct description of the police ethics commission.)

    More details on the circumstances surrounding Dorval’s murder, and the ethics case, in the National Post.

    • Ian 08:34 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      An internal investigation cleared the cops? Astounding.

    • Bill Binns 09:14 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      So what should be done when someone calls the police and says that a person “wants to kill them”. Should the identified person be arrested and thrown into jail before he commits any crime? Seems like there has been some sentiment against that sort of thing around here lately.

    • Ian 09:30 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Uttering threats is actually a crime, Bill. there’s no pre-crime element to be considered.

    • Kate 09:37 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      There are all kinds of options short of arrest, Bill Binns. Edens Kenol could’ve been asked to swear out a peace bond. He could’ve been charged with uttering threats, or his threats could’ve been used as the basis of a restraining order. Basically, more means could have been brought to bear on Kenol to make sure he understood he was being watched and that going near Ms. Dorval would automatically mean trouble.

      I don’t know why the cops were cleared, but the stories indicate that Dorval declined another option, of being moved to a shelter where Kenol couldn’t find her. It’s possible they feel that since she turned this down, the cops had done their best and she opted to remain in danger.

    • Blork 09:51 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      …and this pinpoints the failure. The fact that she declined other options (and, according to a report I heard on CBC, denied that she felt her life was in danger), was taken at the “first degree” so they walked away. People with good training in this field will tell you that people in domestic violence situations (or even “threat of domestic violence”) are often in denial about their situation. Also, they sometimes fear that the “other options” might make things worse, so they decline them.

      So in a sense, the cops just did what “first line” people are (poorly) trained to do, which is deal with the immediate situation then leave. However, better training would help them know when they need to see through the fog of domestic trauma and to look beyond the immediate concern. This is where the social workers are supposed to step in, but the first responders need to have their views and training expanded beyond the first degree.

    • Bill Binns 14:22 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      @Ian – There is nothing in either article that says he uttered threats.

    • Ian 14:32 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      @Bill – Presumably he had, how else would she know that “her husband wanted to kill her”, as she told the police?

    • H. John 16:07 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      @Kate you wrote the commission cleared” five of their own”. The article refers to a decision of the “Comité” which is a tribunal.

      Just as the Quebec Human Rights Commission investigates and the Rights Tribunal hears formal complaints, the Police Ethics Commission investigates and then proceeds to the Committee if it thinks a more formal hearing is required.

      How does that qualify as five of their own?

    • H. John 16:10 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

    • Ephraim 16:53 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      @H. John – Essentially, it’s a government committee that includes people in the judicial and government. It is not independent and it is not proper civilian oversight. Remember that police and the judicial work hand in hand… they need each other.

    • H. John 19:21 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      @Ephraim your argument is also true of the Human Rights Commission, the Regie du lodgement, municipal courts, and even the Court of Quebec.

      My only knowledge of the Police Ethics Commission comes from talking to a former Deputy Commissioner, Marlene Jennings (she ran the Montreal office before being elected to Parliament). I noticed on their web site that Martha Montour is one of the tribunal members.

      I’m not arguing against civilian oversight for police criminal behaviour. I assume we’re moving in that direction (the equivalent of Ontario’s Special Investigation Unit) since the Quebec Ombudsman recommended it, and the government of the day said it would do it. But that Ontario unit only deals with complaints of criminal behaviour against police officers (so police don’t investigate police). It does not handle ethics complaints.

      The Quebec Police Ethics Commission and its tribunal only deal with complaints of the police not following their own code of ethics.

      I’d rather wait to see the written decision (which should be online in a few days) before reaching a conclusion that it’s right or wrong.

    • Kate 21:26 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      H. John, I wrote sloppily. Thanks for your clarifications.

  • Kate 23:51 on 2015/04/22 Permalink | Reply  

    Fewer pets were abandoned at shelters in 2014 compared to previous years. Brief item has Anie Samson encouraging people to get cat licences: “Lorsqu’on possède un animal, on a la responsabilité de s’en occuper. Si on a un chien ou un chat, on doit se rendre au bureau d’arrondissement pour obtenir une licence.” You take care of your animals by making sure they live in beneficial conditions and go to the vet when needed, not by doing bureaucracy in their name.

    • Ephraim 06:15 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Isn’t she the highest paid mayor outside of Ville Marie?

    • Kate 09:48 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Those cat licence fees sure add up.

    • Alison Cummins 21:03 on 2015/04/24 Permalink

      I understand dog licenses because dogs are public nuisances. They crap all over the place, they scare people, they require dedicated, fenced-in green space for exercise, and may require police intervention. A dog tax helps support the infrastructure to integrate dogs into a dense urban environment. But a cat tax? For what, the extra burden of processing all that used cat litter?

  • Kate 23:44 on 2015/04/22 Permalink | Reply  

    The city ended 2014 with a surplus of $214 million. Guillaume Lavoie of Projet is reported in these two items as not being satisfied with this state of affairs, but in various ways: he’s not happy about how decreased public transit funding and depressed borough transfers have contributed to the Coderre administration’s vaunted success.

    • Ian 07:25 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Much like a deficit, a surplus indicates some kind of failure in spending. This isn’t a household budget, it’s government.

    • Blork 09:54 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Maybe all the anti-corruption stuff is starting to work, and the $214 million represents money that would normally have gone out the back door in brown envelopes.

  • Kate 09:14 on 2015/04/22 Permalink | Reply  

    There isn’t much for Montreal in the federal budget, and nothing at all for the 375th anniversary in 2017, but what did we expect, not voting Conservative? We’re hardly Canadian at all.

    • Bill Binns 12:12 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      I would rather not see any public money wasted (federal, provincial or municipal) on the silly 375th anniversary. I’m unclear on who is pushing this arbitrary anniversary celebration in the first place. Was there a big party for the 350th in 1992?

    • Kate 12:30 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      Yes, there were some festivities in 1992. I remember a big parade down Park Avenue, for example.

    • Alex L 12:41 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      Pointe-à-Callière museum is a 1992 legacy, among others.

    • carswell 13:05 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      I agree with Bill Binns. Celebrating the dodransquadricentennial is silly. Centuries are true milestones, 25 year intervals not so much. Fifty-year celebrations are at least defensible in that they ensure that everyone with a normal lifespan will be around for at least one of them.

      By the way, didn’t the big (and amazing) parade in 1992 go the Main to an all-night party at the Old Port?

    • Michael Black 13:43 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      2017 is also the 150th anniversary of Canada. So it’s reason to celebrate, the reason varying according to viewpoint.

      I don’t know what state the bid is in now, but local science fiction fans were trying to get the WorldCon here again in 2017. They did it in 2009, and it apparently went quite well. Initially, they put in a bid for 2019, a decade later, then changed the bid to 2017 for the dual anniversary. But I haven’t checked to see what’s happening, it might be back to 2019, or perhaps given up for the moment.

      Celebrating the dual anniversary doesn’t have to mean a major event or structure.


    • Ephraim 14:15 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      It was a very good budget for the rich. Like realistically who can afford to put $10K of after tax money into savings?

    • Bill Binns 14:20 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      @Carswell – Well, now that I know we can call it the “dodransquadricentennial”, I’m in!

    • dwgs 14:55 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      Yes, the 1992 parade ended in a big party at the old port. I remember my friends and I finding a fire escape we could climb to get on a roof on de la Commune to watch the fireworks. There were about six of us and we thought we were very clever and special. When we got to the rooftop we found about 50 people already up there and a party in full swing. It was a good night.

    • ant6n 17:42 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      The TFSA increase was very much a ‘bad for the public, good for me’. Shifting money from RRSP to TFSA is shifting tax revenue from tomorrow to today – it’s essentially borrowing money. Of course as long as most people just use savings accounts or GICs, this ‘loan’ may not be much more expensive than bonds.
      But of course rich people have caught on and are putting growth/dividend investments in their TFSAs – this will get much more expensive in the long run.

    • steph 18:12 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      I see the TFSA as an attempt to get the middle class to invest in their retirement, pre-empting the elimination of the pensions plans.

    • Josh 18:47 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      steph: It’s also an attempt to shrink tax revenues, thus forcing future (perhaps not-so-conservative) government to live within more limited means.

    • Mr.Chinaski 22:35 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      “some” festivities? WTF the 350th was a incredibly big thing in terms of urban infrastructures back in 1992, coming out of a recession.

      Le Biodome de Montreal ouvre ses portes. Le Musée d’art contemporain à une nouvelle maison. Le pavillon Jean-Desmarais du Musée des Beaux-Art est bâtie. Le musée McCord réouvre. Le musée des Hospitalières de l’hotel-dieu ouvre. Le Parc Jean-Drapeau est remis à neuf. La place Charles-de-Gaulle du parc LaFontaine est construite. La Place Émilie-Gamelin est aménagé. Le musée Pointe-À-Callière ouvre. Le réamagement du Champs-de-Mars. Le complexe Chaussegros-de-Léry. La réouverture du Marché Bonsecours. Le réaménagement du Vieux-Port de Montreal.

      It’s like I’m the only one here who’s been living in MTL for 25+ years??? It’s like a reddit circle jerk sometimes here…

    • Ian 22:38 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      Agreed, I remember all these things. Even the beer companies acknowledged the event; Molson had 350 bottle caps. Memory is short.

    • Kate 23:55 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      Mr. Chinaski, thank you for reminding us of the events and additions of 1992.

    • Ephraim 06:21 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Steph, the problem is that TFSAs represent after-tax money, not pre-tax money. For most people this still means that you should satisfy your RRSP before you put into your TFSA. Or as one person put it, fill your RRSP and put the refund in your TFSA. But for many, maximizing their TFSA and RRSP limits is going to be impossible, which clearly makes it for the upper classes. Then the question of what you are saving, since dividends and capital gains have very preferential tax rates anyway.

    • ant6n 07:22 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Anybody who expects to have a higher income later (e.g. young people) should max out their TFSA contributions first, and and pile up RRSP deductions for when they fall into higher tax brackets. Some young people also have lots of student credits anyway and don’t really need those RRSP deductions.
      It’s probably also a good idea in general to grow one’s personal TFSA limit asap.

    • Blork 08:16 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Ephraim, that RRSP/TFSA strategy you mention pretty much only applies to the fairly wealthy. Personally, I don’t know anyone who has maxed out their RRSP, yet I have a lot of middle class friends who use both RRSPs and TFSAs (as do I).

      The assumption with an RRSP is that your annual income after retirement will be less than it was before retirement, so the money you take out of your RRSP will be taxed at a lower rate. But retirement doesn’t mean you’re just going to sit on your balcony guzzling beer for the rest of your life.

      Let’s say you want get a new car, or to finally take that Caribbean cruise you’ve been putting off for years. If you pull $10,000 out of your RRSP you will be taxed on it, plus it will bump your annual income up by 10k, so it will be at a higher than usual rate and all other money you take out that year will be taxed more heavily. But if you have money in a TFSA you can take it out whenever you want, without paying tax on it and without it affecting your tax rate, because you already paid tax on it the year(s) you earned it. So TFSAs are best for when you need a big chunk of money in your retirement, whether for splurges or for emergencies, etc. That’s why it’s best to have both.

      So TFSAs are not just for people who have maxed out their RRSPs. Not by a long shot. Raising the limit from $5000 to $10,000 is a bit of a red herring, since it doesn’t take anything away from those who can’t or won’t put money into TFSAs, and it encourages people to save money and plan for the future. (And the amount of “lost” tax revenue is negligible.)

      And BTW, I don’t think it’s that hard for working young professionals to tuck away $5000+ every year if they’re living within their means. And by “young professionals” I don’t just mean doctors and lawyers. I know plenty of people in their 30s who are pulling down $60K+ as software developers, sales people, project managers, etc. These aren’t the cigar smoking Monopoly board fat-cat “wealthy,” they’re just regular people who happen to be doing slightly better than “average.”

    • Ian 08:33 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      That’s of course assuming that they aren’t paying 500 bucks a month in student loan payments, which would mean that they probably come from a bit of money since most student jobs aren’t enough to pay for tuition & living expenses and not everyone’s parents have the means to save for their childrens’ educations. So no, not necessarily wealthy, but not “slightly better than average”. I work with a lot of 30 somethings making money in that range and not one of them is from Saint-Henri, though some of them now own condos in Saint-Henri.

    • Blork 08:45 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Well, those 500 bucks a month payments don’t last forever. It took me 10 years to pay off my student loans, and when they were done I basically just reassigned those payments to savings, since I was already used to seeing the money fly out the window.

      I detect a note with some of these comments that implies there are only two kinds of people; the poor people from St-Henri and fabulously wealthy people. The reality is that most people are in the middle, so it should be no big surprise if some of the government’s policies cater to that large segment of the population.

      Not that I’m defending Harper and his government (not by a mile). But a bit of perspective isn’t a bad thing. This TFSA thing isn’t the kind of “wealth-grab for the wealthy” that a lot of people are making it out to be.

    • Ian 08:59 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      I’m going to have to politely disagree, average and median income are both under 40k in Montreal. Granted that curve probably has a pretty fat tail, but I think we can safely say that for most people tucking away $416.66 into a TFSA every month is a pipe dream. I don’t think most people are in the middle, or at least where you think the middle is – remember, Montreal still has an overall 40% high school dropout rate.

    • Blork 09:58 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      But we’re not talking about “most people,” we’re talking about a lot of people who can swing it. And if they can swing it, then why the hell not? Like I said, it doesn’t take anything away from those who can’t swing it.

      BTW, according to what I’ve read, media *household* income in Montreal is $71,000.

    • Ian 10:03 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Yes, that comes to 35.5k/a individually. My point stands.

    • ant6n 10:04 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      By “then why the hell not” I presume you mean providing ‘goodies’ like TFSA increase or income splitting. And the answer is: those are programs that cost money and only do help those people who “can swing it”, i.e. people who are not in financially precarious situations. Ergo this will increase the economic divide.
      And regarding being able to put so much money away — yeah it’s possible even for people who have a comparably small income. But I bet that gets _much_ harder once you have more mouths to feed than just your own. And even worse when you have other mouths to feed on a single income.
      Making daycare more affordable could decrease the economic divide (Not that much of an issue in Quebec, but definitely in the rest of Canada).

    • Blork 10:23 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Income splitting is a separate (although related) issue. I don’t really have anything to say about that.

      Again, I’m not saying it’s for everyone. But the tax revenue deduction is negligible. As many people point out, not many people will put $10K away every year. So what we’re talking about here is to look at the total amount of savings between 5K and 10K in a year (because it’s the increase we’re talking about), and then take the few percentage points of interest that those savings generate, then take the percentage of that interest that’s not being paid in income tax. It’s a relatively tiny amount. Chump change from the CRA’s POV.

      For example, if I managed to put $7000 in a TFSA next year (as if!), and that TFSA gained 3% interest, then we’re talking about $60 in interest. (Based on the $2000 in extra TFSA I’m allowed, because again, we’re talking about the change from 5K to 10K.) Let’s say I’m in the 40% tax bracket. That means I’ve saved a whopping $24 in income tax.

      And let’s say 10,000 people in Canada do the same. That means the CRA is out $240,000, which by CRA standards isn’t even lunch money. In the meantime, Canadians have an extra $20,000,000 saved, which means they might be a little bit less dependent on the government when they retire.

      And none of these numbers are even faintly interesting to the “wealthy,” but they are interesting to the people in the middle; the ones who are doing OK and are able to see a bit of light at the end of the working tunnel.

    • Ephraim 10:42 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      @Blork – I started putting away in my RRSP and followed David Chilton’s advice. But the new TFSA limit is $10K, not $5K… that’s a lot of money to put away. The best part of putting in your RRSP in January,February is that you can use it to lower your top tax rate (marginal rate) to maximize value on it.

      Then there is the question of what you should invest in with a TFSA. Remember there are eligible dividends and non-eligible dividends (with two different tax rates) and capital gains are taxed at half the normal rate. Not to mention the convoluted fun that a Unit Trust has as anyone who has received a T3 and had to calculate ACB can tell you.

      But the point being that changing it from $5K to $10K really only helps those at the very of the median wage scale. Not the everyday man. I guess the advantage of putting in Unit Trusts is that you don’t have to care about ACB and those dang T3 forms.

      The only thing that it has changed for me is the fact that I can’t get margin on it. I think Questrade allows you to link it and use the margin in your personal account, but TFSA funds aren’t normally allowed margin.

    • Ephraim 10:54 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Incidentally, if median household in Montreal is about $70K, let’s do the math…

      $70K would mean… $51K net. Put away $10K and you are left with $41K to live on and $10K in retirement. ($19K in tax paid)

      $70K – $10K RRSP = $60K gross… $44.8K net. So you put in $3.8K in the TFSA and still have $41K to live on, $10K in RRSP and $3.8K TFSA. (15.2K in tax paid). Yes, you still have a tax obligation on the $10K, but you have $3.8K to cover it. And you would need to be earning more than $44K in retirement funds to be in the 38% bracket (and basically be earning over $160K a year to have all your funds taxed at 38%.

    • Blork 11:12 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      But nobody says you HAVE to put the whole 10K in there, or to put any in there at all. Just because it only helps some people doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. This isn’t like one of those cash grabs where the very wealthy get to skip out on paying millions in taxes; this is just a tiny bit of help for some middle class people. Why are we spilling ink over it? (Oh! Red herring!)

      There seems to be this impression that as soon as you hit the middle class that all your problems are solved and getting the odd break here and there is necessarily some big exploit that harms the poor. Bullshit to that! This doesn’t harm the poor at all, and it’s of no interest to the very wealthy. It’s just a tiny bit of help for some people in the large demographic in the middle.

    • Blork 11:14 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      …but I’m sure it is calculated to draw a lot of Trudeau/Mulcair invective (which it is doing already), which keeps them talking about trivial bullshit instead of important things.

      Would you like your red herring pickled or smoked?

    • Bill Binns 11:32 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      @Blork – My wife and I just spent hours sitting at National Bank talking about this very subject and your comment up there at 9:16 is a clearer explanation than anything we got there. I think this is the first time I have ever printed anything from this blog.

    • thomas 13:43 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      For people who do not have fixed salaries and whose annual income can vary wildly, say $100k one year to zero the next, TFSA are a convenient tool.

    • ant6n 16:47 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      Actually, if you want to distribute tax burden across different years with varying income, an RRSP is a better tool – you can deduct putting money in during fat years, and pay the taxes when taking them out during thin years.

      A TFSA (which should really be called a Tax Free Investment Portfolio) is more a way to grow capital without paying taxes on the growth.

    • thomas 17:13 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      @ant6n True, except if one invests in funds like Fonds de solidarité FTQ for the extra tax break — before the age of 65 one must be in dire straits to withdraw from them.

  • Kate 09:12 on 2015/04/22 Permalink | Reply  

    Lawyer Anne-France Goldwater, described by the Journal as “colorée,” is in trouble for flashing her cleavage, but what puzzles me most about this item is the unexplained man in the Star Trek uniform in the photo.

    • Blork 10:01 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      Note the sidebar: “Je suis un 42 DDDD.” Keep it classy, JdM!

    • Blork 10:03 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      BTW, I think the Star Trek guy is a mannequin. The room appears to be full of toys and various geek stuff, and the pose of the guy (and the way the clothes fall, facial expression, etc.) appear to be very fake, as in, it’s a model.

    • LJ 10:21 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      Her office is filled with dozens, if not hundreds, of plush animals and other similarly silly toys. Unusual for a lawyer’s office, to say the least.

    • jack 15:23 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      Is that what they really called Louise Mailloux “la militante pro-laïcité” Isn’t she more celebrated for a being an out and out fascist.
      I once heard her on Bazzo TV and it hit me, her poor students at CEGEP Vieux Montreal had been introduced to this method of argumentation; 2 anecdotes +1 assertion= Fact… those poor kids.

    • Uatu 21:01 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      She’s the judge on the canal V show L’Arbitre, the local Franco version of “judge Judy”/people’s court etc. so it’s no wonder she’s a flamboyant character with an office full of show biz memorabilia.

  • Kate 08:35 on 2015/04/22 Permalink | Reply  

    UQÀM protester Hamza Babou is being held without bail by a municipal court judge in connection with a demonstration at the university on April 15. He’s got an armed aggression charge because he shot silly string at one policeman. Legal experts are querying the judge’s decision. CTV news leans lightly to the right most of the time, but even their report notes that “those accused of second-degree murder are often released on bail. Even Guy Turcotte, the doctor who admitted to repeatedly stabbing his children to death, has been granted bail.” It also notes that Babou has no criminal record whatsoever.

    Please, don’t weigh in with bravos for the judge. I’m posting this because it’s interesting, not because I’m trying to bait anybody on this topic.

    • Ian 08:49 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      Armed aggression? The SPVM has totally jumped the shark. This is our “officer bubbles” moment.

    • Mathieu 09:25 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      From the article, the judge said that he’s keeping him in jail because he went against the injunction and there is no reason to believe he would respect it were he to be freed. It’s interesting because, as the defense lawyer said, Babou isn’t even accused of contempt for the court. All of this to say that it’s not because of his crime that he’s in jail, but as a preventive solution.

    • Michael Black 10:29 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      Release can often have conditions. It’s not automatic, is the suspect going to appear at trial, even whether they will repeat the crime? The first time I was arrested, for trespassing, we were offered a conditional release, stay away from the power plant. For not well thought out reasons, we stayed in jail for two nights, then everyone was ready to bail out and signed the condition.

      You keep making incredible judgements, while overlooking the tone of the protest.

      That time the cop wanted to beat me up, the assault was in the threat. What’s the context here? Some boob wanting to “defuse” the situation with comedy, not thinking of how the cop will feel? Or was it an outright attempt at making the cop look bad? It could be as much a threat to the cop as that time the cop told me he wanted to beat me up.

      The problem is that this isn’t some isolated guy being mistreated by the cops, this is riding on a pushy mob that does things and then claims foul. “They started it” is probably not true (the mob and the unwillingness to give an itinerary, as well as a perception that protest is obstruction are indicators the trouble begins with the students), but even if it was, fighting back makes the crime. The cops are annoyed by that, and no, it’s not the same thing as some individual facing some police abuse.

      Where’s the political value of silly string? Where’s the political value of trashing an office or setting off a smoke bomb in the metro?

      But the kids are clueless. They are a mob, and that’s what the cops are reacting to. The kids are told to disperse, they don’t. Then they whine when they get arrested.

      It’s a complete garbling of protest. You have a demonstration to change people’s minds. There are people on the left that argue that demonstrations have no value, and I am increasingly seeing that point. But it is an organizing tool. However, it’s just part of the spectrum. How many are writing about what they are protesting? The kids are more interested in fighting the cops than the initial point. It’s even vague now, “anti-austerity” sounds good but says little, they can draw a bigger crowd as if numbers count.
      A few people on the side of the road may convey the message better, may change more minds. Rosa Parks did more to change things than this mob of students, her power derived from her ability to pay the consequences, and would not have done a thing if she was anonymous. She gave power to others, not by saying “follow me”, but by showing “you can stand up to power too”. Some mob breaking the law isn’t the same thing as the Berrigans smashing nuclear nosecones, the latter weren’t some mob, and sat down to await arrest. Blocking an intersection can be a tactic, but then don’t whine when you get arrested. Sitting down in an office is way different from barricading the doors of that office.

      Want to be radical? Learn from the Black Panthers, which was founded on the notion that law is for everyone. They got carried away with the guns, but it was initially an odd but sound protest. They’d also carry law books around. The kids, not even the one wanting exemption because she wants to be a lawyer, clearly have little knowledge of the law. “Knowing the enemy” is a key point of change. Knowing the law is vital, so you know where the line is, and stepping over it is deliberate, not accidental.

      Just because the vague thing the kids are allegedly protesting is what you believe doesn’t mean you have to accept their tactics. Indeed, their tactics may be a liability.

      The sixties loom large. Incredible change happened then, but it wasn’t the masses at demonstrations that caused the change. It was individuals changing that brought change, the civil rights movement, the women’s movement. Lots of people refusing the war, and doing time. But even the massive demonstrations didn’t stop the war, forty years ago it was still happening as Saigon fell, a war that had always been going on when I said that May “I just wish it would end”.

      The sixties are the wrong model for the kids, because they aren’t looking deep. It was cultural more than political, showing up topless back then was radical, now it says nothing. The mob is emulating all that because it looms so large, “I’m protesting like I saw on tv”. They can’t get organizing skills from the news, and neither can you.

      Organizing books will tell you to get the permit. Abbie Hoffman says so in “Steal This Book”, though he was hoping for confrontation. “The Organizer’s Manual” from 1971, written in the wake of the Cambodian invasion, and Kent State, says get a permit. A 1986 War Resisters League organizing book says get a permit. Law breaking is seen as some other step, with consequences that are part of the decision.

      Real police abuse happens, but all this fighting with the cops is burying that. Even with all this rumbling, there is no gradation of police abuse, so “we went hours without getting to a bathroom” is on par with someone getting hit with a tear gas canister. Some of that is leverage, wanting to equate police action with “oppression” of the cause, rather than arguing the point of low tuition or “anti-austerity”.


    • James 15:22 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      the guy was denied bail when second-degree murderers routinely get bail. nuff said re: fairness.

    • Bill Binns 16:46 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      @James – Excellent point. Second degree murderers should defenitely not be let out on bail.

    • Ian 20:54 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      Michael –

      I will be honest, your post is largely incoherent. I think I understand what you’re getting at point by point, but you go all over the place. I am going to go out on a limb and say that you have been an activist and thinker for some time and are used to pre-internet ways, like how you always sign your name even though your name is already in the header. I don’t mean that as a diss, I think it provides context and perhaps a starting point.

      Instead of viewing the student protests as a cohesive movement, think of them in terms of May, 1968. I’m sure you’re familiar with how that went down – the students became radicalized, fought for justice under massive police oppression, and in the end they got backing from the major unions and the entire structure of the society was reformed.

      To address your points one by one:

      Annoying the cops is a tactic. they routinely brutalize protesters, there is no reason to respect them as individuals. When they wear uniforms, they give up their right to be seen as an individual.

      You decry the mob, but in this case, it is an individual being held up as an example. You brought up Rosa Parks, not me.

      The political value of silly string is ridicule. The political value of smoke bombs is destabilization. These are not in the same category; you should already know this.

      The Black Panthers believed in violent revolution. You know that, and to pretend otherwise is disingenuous. Malcolm X advocated “Revolution by any means necessary”. What part of that seems unclear? The Wobblies believed in destabilization tactics. Saul Alinsky supported refusing to meet police constraints on protest. There are many histories of protest and activism, and many would laugh at the notion of complying with police protocols as a definition of valid protest. Frankly, I agree.

      You talk about the mob disdainfully without recognizing the value of populism in the protest culture of the 1960s. If you really think every single kid tossing a brick at a cop knew anything more than “Sous les pavés, la plage”, you’re delusional. Those kids still made a real difference. The kids of today might make a difference too, it’s not as if the adults are doing a damn thing to encourage them otherwise.


    • James 05:00 on 2015/04/23 Permalink

      bill it was Kate’s point i just repeated it. if you find jailing people for 2 weeks pre-trial for shooting silly string in someone’s face is fair then i don’t have much to talk to you about. in fact, i find your opinions quite depressing and they drove me away from following this website.

  • Kate 18:16 on 2015/04/21 Permalink | Reply  

    David Jean Cottard, who puzzled police in December by disappearing at lunchtime from his job downtown, has turned up dead in the water on Île Notre-Dame. No foul play is suspected.

  • Kate 10:18 on 2015/04/21 Permalink | Reply  

    The Town of Mount Royal has seen its anglo population drop to 25% of its residents, and a number of English-language schools have closed as a result. Interestingly, this fascinating map of the city’s third languages by area shows that Arabic is the third language in all sections of TMR.

    • carswell 10:39 on 2015/04/21 Permalink

      That map is indeed fascinating. Thanks.

      FYI, Town of Mount Royal doesn’t take the definite article in English.

    • Noah 11:33 on 2015/04/21 Permalink

      (It would at the beginning of a sentence if desired)

    • Mouwatin 19:41 on 2015/04/21 Permalink

      Third unofficial language is Arabic so that’s the third largest tax base in some areas yet Arabs are still treated like shit.

    • carswell 13:34 on 2015/04/22 Permalink

      What does position in the sentence have to do with it? When the definite article is used with the name, it is used irrespective of where the name occurs (e.g. “The City of Montreal has signed a water distribution agreement with the Town of Mount Royal.”)

      As far as Town officials are concerned, TMR’s name no longer includes the article and its unofficial style guide abjures it, though old habits die hard, especially when the Town’s bidirectional staff translator/reviser is a francophone. There is nothing exceptional abou this: dropping the article is common practice with names of bodies corporate these days (e.g. the Royal Bank). Leaving it in is quaint at best, not to mention clunky.

  • Kate 09:46 on 2015/04/21 Permalink | Reply  

    Projet Montréal says the Coderre administration doesn’t give them enough time to study major city contracts, sometimes announcing them then approving them on the same day.

    • Clément 19:06 on 2015/04/21 Permalink

      This also happens at the borough level. Here in NDG-CDN, contracts are often provided to councillors just a few hours before the council meeting.

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