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  • Kate 04:01 on 2017/09/19 Permalink | Reply  

    Metro’s Romain Schué asks a pertinent question: is it profitable for councillors to join Équipe Coderre? Several people elected under other banners have joined the mayor’s party since their election, and while their base pay is always the same, belonging to the party in power offers extra cash for participating in commissions or other roles unlikely to be offered to opposition members. Quite a detailed list, including the interesting fact that while the Coderre team was elected with 27 candidates in 2013, it now counts 36 in council.

     
  • Kate 02:32 on 2017/09/19 Permalink | Reply  

    Le Devoir asks why CP is so dead set against allowing level crossings where people cross safely if illegally every day. CP repeats its mantra about safety, even where only a few slow trains pass chiefly at night.

     
    • Chris 07:27 on 2017/09/19 Permalink

      Those in favour of such crossings (like me) should not be shy to make the following retort about safety: we are willing to accept the occasional injury/death. Just as we (society) allow roads/cars/trains/planes to exist despite the occasional death. Perhaps CP would be more willing if reduced liability was codified in the deal.

    • SMD 10:09 on 2017/09/19 Permalink

      Chris: Feel free to let them know directly; the consultation of the Railway Safety Act Review currently underway! Online comments can be left at http://www.letstalktransportation.ca/RSA-2017-2018, and you have another week to submit a mémoire to tc.rsareview-examenlsf.tc@tc.gc.ca.

    • Nicolas Kruchten 15:26 on 2017/09/19 Permalink

      So many people *already* cross the tracks that level crossings would *increase* safety not decrease it.

    • Chris 17:38 on 2017/09/19 Permalink

      Nicolas: for those already crossing, yeah, quite possibly. OTOH, a legal crossing may increase the total number of crossers, as such even if the percentage of crossers hurt goes down, the total number could still increase.

    • rue david 08:54 on 2017/09/20 Permalink

      I’m pretty sure it’s that they don’t want to create an easement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Yeah more of this is fine with me.

      Was disappointed to see far too few bees this year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      How is Amazon different?

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

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

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

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

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

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

      God these language laws are extremely xenophobic and backwards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      (Genuine question.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      It’s fatal now…

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

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

     
  • Kate 23:05 on 2017/09/17 Permalink | Reply  

    Anne-France Goldwater has given her support to Valérie Plante for mayor. Plante is promising a big announcement Monday morning at 8.

     
    • ant6n 10:54 on 2017/09/18 Permalink

      Wow, quite a coup. Goldwater went from a potential competitor to endorsing Plante.

  • Kate 22:45 on 2017/09/17 Permalink | Reply  

    L’actualité very briefly profiles neuropsychologist Brenda Milner, still doing research at the Neuro at age 99.

     
    • JaneyB 09:33 on 2017/09/18 Permalink

      Wow. She’s amazing. Her name needs to be on the street naming list….

    • EmilyG 14:40 on 2017/09/18 Permalink

      Wow! Thank you for sharing.

    • Kate 19:16 on 2017/09/18 Permalink

      Yes, Milner definitely needs to have something named for her eventually.

  • Kate 18:59 on 2017/09/17 Permalink | Reply  

    The CHUM superhospital was formally opened Sunday with plans to start transferring patients in October.

     
  • Kate 10:58 on 2017/09/17 Permalink | Reply  

    Concordia’s plan to put up a new building on a field at Loyola is annoying some folks living nearby, but they’ve found that, thanks to Quebec’s Bill 122, they can’t force a referendum on the subject any more.

     
    • ste.ph 14:41 on 2017/09/17 Permalink

      I’m not a fan of the bill, but I don’t agree that this building plan should be used to rally against bill 122. I could understand a complaint if they wanted to build an ugly shopping center, but the building is for school, education. Pick a better battle.

    • Dhomas 21:10 on 2017/09/17 Permalink

      Well, that looks like Hingston Hall field. It used to be used for football and rugby practice by students at Loyola High School back in the 90s. I don’t know if it still is, but at the time it wasn’t just “useless” green space. In any case, there is a big, open-air parking lot right nearby. Why not put that parking underground and build on top of it?

    • Chris 08:41 on 2017/09/18 Permalink

      Dhomas, is that a rhetorical question? Underground parking construction is expensive, building on “undeveloped” land is cheap.

  • Kate 10:45 on 2017/09/17 Permalink | Reply  

    Look or listen for the CF-18s buzzing the city Sunday before the football game, just after 13:00.

     
    • Tim S. 12:03 on 2017/09/17 Permalink

      Thanks to this blog I know the backstory here, but I still find it weird that in city where motorcycles are free to tear down major streets at 3AM, this merits radio announcements.
      (One of which just inspired my mother to call me with an urgent message, as if there was a tornado warning or something).

    • Kate 12:30 on 2017/09/17 Permalink

      I think there’s a warning this time because of criticism of lack of warning previously. It has been pointed out that this city has residents who’ve lived in war zones and for whom that sound is more likely to evoke fear than excitement.

  • Kate 10:32 on 2017/09/17 Permalink | Reply  

    Sunday’s Centre d’histoire piece gives us the history of the refuge Meurling, one of the city’s first shelters for homeless men. It opened in Old Montreal in 1914, east of city hall, and saw its busiest period in the loss of jobs following the crash of 1929. Article doesn’t say when it stopped operating: the Archives de Montréal page says the refuge moved in 1956 and, I suppose, was later absorbed into social services and other refuges.

    Gabriel Deschambault’s history piece this week is about Ville St-Louis, absorbed by Montreal in 1910 and now part of the Plateau.

     
  • Kate 19:31 on 2017/09/16 Permalink | Reply  

    Prince Arthur’s pedestrian zone has officially reopened. I walked through it the other day. Not sure the blockages in the middle of the street, forcing walkers to move to the sides, is revitalizing in the way they seem to mean.

     
    • ste.ph 19:43 on 2017/09/16 Permalink

      If I can’t walk in the middle of the street, it’s NOT a pedestrian zone.

    • Chris 21:21 on 2017/09/16 Permalink

      I’m sure they did it to stop the cyclists from going through, a perennial complaint.

    • ant6n 21:35 on 2017/09/16 Permalink

      Then add a proper bike path.
      Or add one on Pine (wink).

    • David S 22:08 on 2017/09/16 Permalink

      Chris, it did not work. There are still many cyclists going through.

    • JoeNotCharles 22:13 on 2017/09/16 Permalink

      It seems like a popular place to hang out and drink on Friday night. So it’s got that going for it.

    • Chris 22:15 on 2017/09/16 Permalink

      ant6n: indeed they should. Prince Arthur *is* a bike path until St. Laurent, a dangerous busy street. the safe & rational choice for a cyclist is to continue on Prince Arthur. They should have put a bikeway there until St Dominique, then a bikeway on St. Dom until Pine.

    • Ephraim 09:02 on 2017/09/17 Permalink

      The bikes on Prince Arthur are now more dangerous than ever before. The police should just randomly come out and hand out the tickets. And the worst part is the far end, where the people from the readaptation centre walk.

    • Kate 11:38 on 2017/09/17 Permalink

      ste.ph, if I could star comments here, I would star yours.

    • Alex L 13:49 on 2017/09/19 Permalink

      I like the redesign. The trees and plants in the middle of the road help retain water instead of sending it all in the sewers. Think of it as a plaza instead of a street, like in many european or french cities where you have tables, chairs, benches, trees in the middle of an open space. The goal is to retain people for a while, not only have them pass through, I think it may work.

      That said, they obviously need to put a bike path on Saint-Laurent / Pine avenue. As pro-cyclist as I can be, I don’t think it would mix well on Prince-Arthur.

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