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  • Kate 23:25 on 2015/01/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Twenty-three million dollars have been put in a pot to be used over three years to make Montreal a more intelligent city. This will include offering free wi-fi downtown as of this summer. Now that almost everyone has a data package it comes a little late, but it’ll no doubt be useful to visitors who don’t want to rack up insane roaming charges.

    • Blork 11:23 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      The best way to make Montreal a more intelligent city is to use that $23 million to buy a bunch of one-way bus tickets.

      Thank you, thank you. I’m here all week folks.

    • Blork 11:30 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      But seriously, most people have data packages, but many (such as yours truly) have fairly small packages, so free wifi helps. But it has to be *friendly* free wifi. That means easy to connect, no spam, no convoluted sign-up pages, etc.

      Case in point: there’s a place downtown where I eat lunch occasionally. They have free wifi. But in order to get the free wifi you have to do something that prompts a web-based internet connection (e.g., try to go to a web page). What inevitably happens is that you go to the page on your data connection, and then after some time (it might be three seconds it might be a full minute) a big annoying overlay pops up saying WELCOME TO OUR FREE WIFI and then you have to enter some information (I forget what, exactly; email address maybe?) and then there’s about a 50% chance you’ll get a connection after waiting another 30 seconds.

      Screw that. It’s too much trouble so I’d rather just eat away at my small data plan, except that even if I reject the restaurant’s free wifi it keeps prompting me every time I refresh the browser (i.e, go to a new page).

      If our “intelligent city” is going to have free wifi like that then I revert back to my bus tickets crack.

    • John B 14:50 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      You might be able to eat away your small data plan in peace by telling your phone to “forget” the restaurant’s wifi network.

    • Blork 18:31 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      Yes, I know. My point is that there are good ways and bad ways to do free wifi.

    • Kate 00:13 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      I agree, the wifi should be seamless, as if you just walked into your own house, but what are the odds? They’re going to want you to know who’s doing you a favour.

    • Uatu 09:40 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      They will probably blow the 23 mil. On a”fact finding” trip to Singapore to see how to “properly implement a network” just like the trip Loto Quebec took to Macao to see how to run casinos…

    • Kate 10:58 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      I’m hoping Harout Chitilian is a little more honest than that, but nothing will surprise me.

  • Kate 23:22 on 2015/01/29 Permalink | Reply  

    The ideas of Imam Hamza Chaoui have delayed the permit for his new Muslim centre and raised the hackles of Quebec immigration minister Kathleen Weil, who thinks the city should not offer a soapbox to the fundamentalist preacher. (Friday morning update: the permit was already delivered.)

    If Chaoui’s ideas about women and homosexuality make him persona non grata, then what about the Catholic church?

    Update: Quebec is trying to find a way to block this centre within our laws.

    It fascinates me that this is really about conflicting stories. The imam tells his story about creation and god and the purpose of the human being. We tell our story about science and reason and the circumscribed freedoms allowed to human beings. The imam does not flinch from condemning us outright, but the terms of our story hold us back from fully condemning his. The conclusion may not be in whose story is better and more noble, but whose is stronger.

    • Ephraim 08:37 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      What about his opinion of democracy?

    • Kate 09:06 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      I saw him quoted as saying a big problem with democracy is that unsuitable people – such as women, homosexuals or atheists – could be elected. That’s probably in addition to the fact that open western democracies don’t force people to live by sharia law, but it struck me as following along the usual route of misogyny and homophobia.

    • Blork 09:26 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      Apparently he’s not against women driving, because that is less bad than having women on public transport where they will be mixed in with unwashed men.

    • Blork 09:35 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      But here’s the thing: if “nous sommes Charlie,” so to speak, meaning if we embrace the idea that “I disagree with what you say but I will defend your right to say it,” then the very people who are against islamic fundamentalism don’t have a leg to stand on with this guy, at least with regard to what he says.

      It is hypocritical to only defend one side’s right to free expression.

      So let’s look at what’s really going on. It’s not just that people disagree with what he says, it’s that people are afraid he will attract the fringe elements — including those who feel disenfranchised, oppressed, are mentally unstable, etc., and are searching for something to cling to and to focus their rage — and that his muslim centre will become an incubator for radicalization, radicalism, and acts of violence in the name of jihad.

      There it is, plainly put. So I would suggest that if people are against this guy and if we don’t want him to open his muslim centre, that they should protest it on those grounds and not on the grounds of simply disagreeing with what he says.

      Unfortunately it is really hard to successfully protest something based on fear and speculation.

    • Jack 09:45 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      Looking how Quebecor platforms are promoting this story we need a new moniker for LCN-TVA. Fox news North is already taken, any suggestion?

    • Kate 10:09 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      Blork, what I see is more immediate. There seems little doubt the imam will produce what we could define as hate speech toward gays. Are women definable as a group in the same sense? If so, he’s also going to be issuing hate speech against women. The question – especially in Quebec with its unresolved laïcité debate – is, which do you prioritize? Does the imam get to sidestep our concerns about hate speech, because he’s a cleric? His beliefs on women, gays and other issues are not something he can simply edit out, as far as I understand it: they’re part and parcel of what he believes is important. But if we believe strongly in freedom of speech, we need to let him express these ideas and even recruit others to agree with him regardless of the fallout.

      I wasn’t kidding about the Catholic church, though. If you’re going to be logical, you should not tolerate a church in which women are relegated to second class and in which homosexuality is deprecated. Same would apply other churches besides the Catholics as well as any other religions holding such non-modern principles.

    • Blork 10:57 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      Kate, two things:

      First, I’m not sure his homophobia and sexism qualifies as hate speech. In order to be hate speech (AFAIK) it has to call for acts of harm and violence against the target group, not just that they shouldn’t be elected. I might be wrong on that, but AFAIK simply saying you don’t think gays, or women, or blacks, or whatever, shouldn’t be elected makes you a colossal asshole, but I don’t think it’s legally “hate.”

      Second thing: the trouble with your Catholic references is that you’re comparing a group with a person. The issue here isn’t Islam, its this one guy. So it would be fair if you were comparing this guy with a particular priest, or if you were comparing Islam with Catholicism, but that’s not the gig here. (Because despite what might be Catholic doctrine, there are many, many priests and lay Catholics who do not hold those non-modern principles.)

    • Josh 14:23 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      One other thing: Shouldn’t we wait for the actual hate speech to occur rather than deciding that “there seems little doubt” he will produce hate speech?

      I prefer it when the repercussions for criminal acts come after the acts, not before.

    • Kate 15:20 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      Josh, I tend to agree with you on the principle of justice being for acts committed, but apparently this imam’s views are well known and understood. Many of them are, shall we say, inimical to those of a western liberal bias. That alone does not justify shutting him down.

      I tend to suspect if they’re delaying the permit for the centre it’s mostly so CSIS can wire it up but good.

    • yossarian 17:59 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      If you want to stop “religion” preaching hate against the gays, you will have to stop my local branch of the Russian Orthodox church. Bonus points for identifying and expelling from our country the Russian spies and Russian mafia who also show up there each week to get their dose of Putin-Approved love of God.

      They also have great food starting around 11:45 am. Bring your own containers. Downstairs for the food, upstairs for the hate, I mean love.

    • rue david 19:10 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      it’s easy enough to nuke this gang – simply rescind tax exemption for religious groups. virtually none of these could survive if they had to pay normal taxes, especially that the catholic church with its huge landholdings. really, how likely do you think it is that some radical preacher in montreal would get himself enough ongoing funding to keep this thing viable?

      also, and this is not being snarky, when i read about these kinds of guys and their projects, i wonder to what extent it’s a fishing/phishing operation for the government to identify extremists. maybe this preacher dude is a csis informant/asset, maybe his right hand man is, maybe their phones are already tapped. it could be a good thing that they’re out there and active, drawing out the crazies.

    • H. John 19:55 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

    • Kate 21:06 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      Thank you, H. John. That’s very clear.

      The item is straightforward, and underlines the requirements for qualifying something as hate speech: it has to incite to action, and it has to be delivered in a public place.

    • H. John 16:56 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      @Kate, the problem in understanding the issue is that people use the term interchangeably when talking about very different legislation: federally the Criminal Code, and The Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA), and provincially, human rights acts or charters.

      The Criminal Code has a number of provisions listed under Hate Propaganda.

      Hate propaganda refers to s. 318-320 of the Criminal Code. These sections, adopted by Parliament in 1970, were based for the most part on the 1965 Cohen Committee recommendations.

      Advocating Genocide
      318. (1) Every one who advocates or promotes genocide is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

      Public incitement of hatred
      319. (1) Every one who, by communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace is guilty of
      (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
      (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

      Wilful promotion of hatred

      (2) Every one who, by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, wilfully promotes hatred against any identifiable group is guilty of
      (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
      (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.


      (3) No person shall be convicted of an offence under subsection (2)
      (a) if he establishes that the statements communicated were true;
      (b) if, in good faith, the person expressed or attempted to establish by an argument an opinion on a religious subject or an opinion based on a belief in a religious text;
      (c) if the statements were relevant to any subject of public interest, the discussion of which was for the public benefit, and if on reasonable grounds he believed them to be true; or
      (d) if, in good faith, he intended to point out, for the purpose of removal, matters producing or tending to produce feelings of hatred toward an identifiable group in Canada.

      So, s. 319(1), which is public incitement of hatred, requires it be in public (which “includes any place to which the public has access as of right or by invitation”), and that it is likely to lead to a breach of the peace.

      On the other hand, s 319(2), wilful promotion of hatred, does not have those two requirements, but it does have the four listed defences.

      The Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA), provincial and territorial rights acts.

      Every legislature in Canada has passed a human rights law to prohibit or limit discriminatory activities. Most of these laws contain a provision that prohibits in some form the public display, broadcast or publication of messages that announce an intention to discriminate, or that incite others to discriminate, based on certain prohibited grounds.

      The CHRA, and the Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories laws also have (or had) a prohibition against the promotion of hatred or contempt. These prohibitions are broad, covering a range of message types, displays, publications and broadcasts. The CHRA’s section (s.13) was repealed in 2013.

      The press has referred to the Supreme Court’s decision in Whatcott. The case dealt with Saskatchewan’s limit on the promotion of hatred. A church minister had distributed four anti-gay flyers. The head note for the SCC case explains:

      The definition of “hatred” set out in Canada (Human Rights Commission) v. Taylor, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 892, with some modifications, provides a workable approach to interpreting the word “hatred” as it is used in legis¬lative provisions prohibiting hate speech. Three main prescriptions must be followed. First, courts must apply the hate speech prohibitions objectively. The question courts must ask is whether a reasonable person, aware of the context and circumstances, would view the ex¬ pression as exposing the protected group to hatred. Second, the legislative term “hatred” or “hatred or con¬ tempt” must be interpreted as being restricted to those extreme manifestations of the emotion described by the words “detestation” and “vilification”. This filters out expression which, while repugnant and offensive, does not incite the level of abhorrence, delegitimization and rejection that risks causing discrimination or other harmful effects. Third, tribunals must focus their analysis on the effect of the expression at issue, namely whether it is likely to expose the targeted person or group to hatred by others. The repugnancy of the ideas being expressed is not sufficient to justify restricting the expression, and whether or not the author of the expression intended to incite hatred or discriminatory treatment is irrelevant. The key is to determine the likely effect of the expression on its audience, keeping in mind the legislative objectives to reduce or eliminate discrimination. In light of these three directives, the term “hatred” contained in a legislative hate speech prohibition should be applied objectively to determine whether a reasonable person, aware of the context and circumstances, would view the expression as likely to expose a person or persons to detestation and vilification on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.

      The Quebec Charter does not have this provision.

    • Kate 17:25 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      Jesus, that covers a lot of ground. Doesn’t 319(3b) offer a huge out for religious beliefs? And the human rights commission starts moving into areas you can’t verify, like whether someone’s spoken opinions cause a change of feeling in individuals in the audience. But it’s fascinating stuff.

    • H. John 18:00 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      It’s also useful to know that the criminal code is very hard to use, and there have been very few cases. Unlike most provisions, laying a charge under these provisions requires the approval of the Attorney-General.
      And you’re right about 319 (3)(b), and that’s exactly why its there.

  • Kate 22:56 on 2015/01/29 Permalink | Reply  

    The Economist makes Toronto and Montreal the two best cities to live in, worldwide. Link to the PDF study results which lay heavy stress on safety. I love Montreal, but who can really think it’s a more exciting place to live than London or Paris or Hong Kong?

    • mare 23:05 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      “Aucune autre ville canadienne n’a été considérée par le réputé magazine américain.”


    • Kate 23:06 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      Oh good catch.

    • Blork 09:40 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      But Kate, the study isn’t about “the most exciting” cities to live in, it’s about the “best” cities to live in according to an index that accounts for various safety factors, cost of living, economic opportunity, culture, etc.

      If you want the “most exciting” city try Baghdad. Adrenaline, 24/7! ;-)

    • Alex L 11:16 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      A matter of personal taste. I wouldn’t live in London or Paris (no clue about Hong Kong), even if I enjoy visiting those cities. In my mind, Montréal is clearly more livable, as are Hamburg or Nantes for example.

    • yossarian 18:08 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      Montreal: better lifestyle. Toronto: more jobs.

      Montreal: frequently has blue skies in winter. Toronto: wishes it had blue skies in winter (it isn’t called the big smoke for nothing).

      Montreal: beer available at almost every store on every street corner. Toronto: 536 beer stores in ALL of Ontario.

      Winner: Montreal!

    • Doobious 11:57 on 2015/01/31 Permalink

      Not to mention that we’ve got the best looking girls.

  • Kate 13:38 on 2015/01/29 Permalink | Reply  

    A look at the remaining worker housing in St-Henri also asks: how many examples do we need to save, and is it up to individuals to do this, or should government get involved?

    I recall reading that, after one massive fire in the 18th century, the city passed a law saying houses had to have stone or brick cladding. Clearly some of these houses never did. I wonder if I’m misremembering.

    • Clément 18:52 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      Yes, in Montreal, there is a bylaw that requires new building to have a “fire proof” envelope (usually brick or stone). I tried to locate it on the city’s web site, but that thing is a lost cause.

    • Taylor C. Noakes 19:26 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      First things first – do a municipal building census. Every single civic address city-wide, get all pertinent info, up to date photos etc.

      At that point we’d have a much better idea about what we have and in what quantity.

      It’s the only sensible way moving forward in a city that absolutely needs to protect architectural heritage as a vital aspect of its quality of life.

      Melvin Charney made this case back in the 1970s – if Montreal destroys it’s architectural heritage, we also lose the neighbourhoods and housing styles that support the creative class.

      It’s not just about protecting old buildings from the wrecking ball, it’s about recognizing what local design traits were developed specifically for our local conditions, and further realizing our city needs to consider the intersection of sound urban planning and the development of cultural capital.

    • rue david 19:52 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      saint henri was annexed in 1905, does the law predate?

    • Kate 20:19 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      That might be it, rue david. The law’s definitely older than that.

    • Alex L 11:28 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      In archaeology, the context of an object give it its historical value. If you find a 16th century comb in a dump for example, it’s interesting, but if you find it in a layer of soil with let’s say Iroquoian artifacts, it suddenly gets more meaning.

      I think the same may be said about heritage buildings still standing. One house can by itself be of great interest, but a whole neighbourhood that has kept its vernacular architecture clearly has more historical value, those of its houses plus the combined value.

    • Kate 15:05 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      True, but we can only freeze a certain amount of urban space as a tribute to history. I suppose a couple of blocks of St-Henri could become a kind of historic village, but what then? Should people still live in the houses? If you own one of the houses, would that constrain you from making significant changes in the building?

  • Kate 12:18 on 2015/01/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Mordecai Richler’s widow doubts Montreal will ever honour her husband and she is probably right. Richler’s satirical expositions of Quebec politics in the New Yorker and elsewhere are, and will remain, unforgivable.

    • Robert J 12:29 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      I always thought he was kind of on the mark with those.

    • Kate 13:16 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      Richler didn’t play fair. Anglos were supposed to be respectful of Quebec nationalism. Richler, who had lived for years in England and picked up some British snark, wrote satirically about Quebec from within. Ironically, considering Quebec’s own satirical tradition – currently manifested in Le Navet, La Pravda and Quebec’s excellent editorial cartooning tradition – this evoked a torrent of anger that has not ceased. This morning I saw an outbreak of fury on Facebook after someone I follow posted a link to the Gazette’s coverage of this non-story.

      Sorry, Mrs. Richler – it’s never gonna happen.

    • Doobious 13:39 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      > Anglos were supposed to be respectful of Quebec nationalism

      How am I supposed to be respectful of movement that aims to eradicate my language, culture and history?

    • Ian 14:18 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      I think a lot of francophone readers don’t understand that Richler was a satirist, or know (or perhaps even care) that he mocked Canada just as much as he mocked Quebec. He wasn’t just an anglophone writer either, he was a Jewish writer, and a lot of francophones that hate him are resentful of his pointing out the racism endured by Quebec’s Jews especially when it taints the memory of heroes of nationalism like Lionel-Groulx whose anti-semitism was not only openly displayed, but pretty vicious. Or, for that matter, that Quebec nationalism at the time was essentially drawn along ethnic lines. As he aptly put it “when thousands of flag-waving nationalists march through the street roaring ‘Le Québec Aux Québécois’ they do not have in mind anybody named Ginsburg. Or MacGregor, come to think of it”. In any case, Luc Ferrandez has made it quite clear that he has no intention of naming anything after Richler, and although at one time he claimed to be against naming things after dead people we can see by the example of Parc Lhasa de Sela that this is another lie meant to disguise a somewhat more unpleasant truth. So sure, it’s okay to mock muslims in the style of Charlie Hebdo but when a filthy anglo Jew mocks Quebec nationalism, it’s unforgivable. Richler has done more to make Montreal famous through his books and essays than a clod like Ferrandez will ever achieve in his entire lifetime. In 50 years nobody will remember Ferrandez’s name, but Richler will be remembered forever, as will his immortalization of Mile-End.

    • Lucas 14:29 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      Montreal comes off looking terribly provincial in its treatment of Mr. Richler.

    • Blork 14:46 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      Fitting, given that one of Richler’s chief complaints was the provincial nature of Montreal.

    • Anto 15:21 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      @Doobious: The funny thing is that, with reflections such as these, you’d probably be sovereignist if you had been born in a french speaking family.

    • yossarian 17:30 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      well, lots of people in our belle province have been holding a grudge since 1759 and when the french gave away nouveau france in the treaty of Paris in 1763 the locals decided to blame the british anyway and have been doing so ever since.

      So don’t expect anything soon in the Richler file. Heck, great frenchman Voltaire had to flee France for his satirical words and ended up living in Geneva–where you can visit his house today, so there is still hope for some permanent historical recognition, if the family doesn’t sell off his local real estate heritage.

    • Clément 18:48 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      Just my two cents, but the fact that people here aren’t lining up to honour the memory of Richler has very little to do with racism.
      Yes, a long time ago, nationalists used antisemitism to promote their ideas. But that was a long time ago. And it wasn’t just here (and it was far worst in a lot of other places). And it wasn’t just antisemitism. Protestants were just as vilified.
      This is 2015. The chanoine has long been dead and for most Québécois, he’s just a metro station.
      I was born in Baie-Comeau in the 60’s of French-speaking parents both born in Quebec City. Went to catholic school where we had nuns as teachers, but I had never heard of Lionel Groulx until I moved to Montréal. So no, French-Québécois are not raised to idolize racist bigots like Lionel Groulx, we don’t have posters of him or of Duplessis in our homes.
      In fact, I’d bet a paycheque that most French-Québécois have no idea of the religious affiliation of Mordecai Richler.
      Every society has a core of racist people, not just Quebec. And every society has people (politicians and others) willing to exploit the racist few to their advantage. Most racists are ignorant and racism tends to follow trends. Back in the 30’s, it was the Jews. Later, it was the Chinese, then the Vietnamese, later the blacks and now the Muslims.

      I believe that the reason many people here are less than enthusiastic about honouring Mordecai Richler has little to do with racism and more to do with what he wrote about us. Yeah, maybe it was satire, maybe we misunderstood him, maybe deep down, he loved us. But it sure didn’t feel that way.
      Maybe we need to be educated about the man. What can be done to correct that? I don’t know. I do know that putting myself and my fellow French-Québécois in the same category as Lionel Groulx won’t help.

      It sucks that French-Québécois aren’t willing to properly honour Mordecai Richler by renaming a street after him, but I understand why. They didn’t feel a lot of love for him. It’s the same reason Dorchester Blvd is still called Dorchester Blvd in Westmount.

    • rue david 19:49 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      right on, clément! well said!

    • Poutine Pundit 20:36 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      He lived a large chunk of his life in Montreal and never bothered to properly learn French yet had the gall to call French-Canadians provincial. I don’t blame people for thinking he’s a jerk. He probably thought he was a bit of a jerk himself.

      That said, he also wrote Solomon Gursky was Here and Barney’s Version, two outstanding novels that overshadow every questionable utterance he ever made, so he should definitely be honoured in this city for his literary accomplishments.

    • Jack 21:15 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      I get that, but a cool thing is the fact that any artist now who considers him or herself a Quebecer will now know how to speak French.

    • No\Deli 23:34 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      He lived a large chunk of his life in Montreal and never bothered to properly learn French yet had the gall to call French-Canadians provincial.

      That’s funny.

      If all that’s required to break the bonds of provincialism is knowing an extra language or two – then I’ve got some Papua New Guineans, Central Africans, and Caucasian mountaineers who will be pleased to learn their new-found cosmopolitanism.

      I’ll get a telegram off to them right away!

    • Paul H. 23:39 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      But, back to this matter of having to respect nationalism. I find this nothing more than a vile sickening sentiment that should be held up for scorn and contempt particularly in regard to the anniversary observed this past week with a vow that the atrocities of 70 years ago [borne out of nationalist fervor] shall never be forgotten nor repeated. Kate- It saddens me to see you holding to such a shameful point of view.

    • No\Deli 00:09 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      I don’t believe she said any such thing. She was talking about the mores of the day. Re-read.

      Further, I’m not sure invoking the worst case scenario is particularly helpful to this discussion.

    • Ron 05:56 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      Fair? When has fair had anything to do with this province? I remember Mordecai sitting in a booth in the Hunter’s Horn. I wished I could write down everything that he said. Some people are able to hit the bullseye.

    • Marc 09:10 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      We need more Clément’s. Right on.

    • Kate 09:11 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      Paul H., kindly back off with the emotion-laden diatribe stuff. I was, as No\Deli correctly notes, merely making an observation.

      I don’t know why Richler left London to return to Montreal, but I understand how Canada might have seemed both provincial and comic to him after living in a bigger city and a wider world. He made fun of Canada in books like The Incomparable Atuk too, but he didn’t touch a tender spot with them.

    • Noah 10:46 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      Je suis Mordecai.

    • yossarian 18:14 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      It isn’t rocket science to understand the situation:

      Revenge: a dish best served cold.

    • Doobious 21:11 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      Oh you clever bastard, Anto. That’s so friggin’ true it hurts.

  • Kate 11:57 on 2015/01/29 Permalink | Reply  

    The mayor held a meeting to ask religious leaders to indicate to their followers that extremism is bad, mmkay?

    Some councillors are unsettled by a prayer breakfast planned for April at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. It’s apparently traditional, very Catholic, and previous mayors have co-presided. Denis Coderre is not planning to go, although his sidekick Pierre Desrochers will appear in his place.

    A Muslim centre is about to be opened in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve by an imam who’s said to hold radical views, such as that women can’t be independent, music is evil and democracy is un-Islamic. There are more. The existence implied by so many strictures is a grim one, but I guess it appeals to some.

    • rue david 15:49 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      the headline mayor strikes again. i mean, seriously, does he just sit around dreaming up populist attention-grabbing gestures to pencil into his calendar? savvy but exactly what we don’t need.

    • Blork 16:13 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      It appeals to people who feel they’ve been oppressed and/or marginalized, as well as bat-shit crazy people who have unfocused rage and are looking for something to cling to and to help focus and direct that rage.

    • Kate 17:45 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      (I suspect Blork’s response follows from my comment on strictly interpreted Islam, not Denis Coderre’s populism. But I could be wrong.)

    • Blork 21:09 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      Yes, it followed “The existence implied by so many strictures is a grim one, but I guess it appeals to some.”

  • Kate 11:39 on 2015/01/29 Permalink | Reply  

    The Globe & Mail has a late look at the Luminothérapie which will be taken down after February 1.

    • yossarian 17:32 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      This gives me hope that maybe the Gazoo will take a look at local tourism delights… but I’m not holding my breath.

  • Kate 11:36 on 2015/01/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Radio-Canada offers an audio file, with some photos and text, about the Buchanan House, an historic building on Sherbrooke just east of the Main. It’s up for sale for a cool $3,600,000 – the Sotheby’s page has more photos.

  • Kate 16:37 on 2015/01/28 Permalink | Reply  

    Mayor Coderre wants to see a public heliport be built downtown.

    Update: Pertinent views from a La Presse contributor.

    • Clément 17:17 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      “À l’heure actuelle, les hélicoptères qui atterrissent à Montréal le font dans des héliports privés”.
      So, it’s now come to this… Even when there are existing facilities available, wealthy helicopter owners don’t want to put some wear and tear on them and actually have to pay a fee to use them. No, we need to build ANOTHER one, but with taxpayer’s money.

      How many people in Montreal actually own or have access to an helicopter? 100? 200? How much is that? 0.01%? Paid for by the 99.99% who will never get to use it!

      This is insane!

    • Clément 17:43 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      So I crunched a few numbers:

      Building a new facility, according to some numbers I found on the Internet, would cost somewhere between 3 to $20M. Let’s average to $10M and add 30% for corruption and 20% because PPP. So $15M
      Land purchase (unless we use an existing park…), let’s say $2M

      So $17M to build the place. Let’s finance this with a 4% loan over 25 years, so $1.1M per year financing cost.
      Operating costs (per year):

      Staff: 2 full time staff, direct+indirect cost, $100K each
      Manager: 1 full time manager, D+I, $200K
      Maintenance, repairs, heating, etc, $50K
      Misc fees (Transport Canada, permits, etc), $50K
      Various lawsuits due to excessive noise, $100K

      So $600K per year for operating costs.
      Total cost is $1.7M year (1.1+0.6)

      Let’s assume the place is well built and can last 25 years.

      According to the article: “Près de 2000 hélicoptères pourraient y atterrir annuellement, d’après un plan d’affaires de l’AQTA réalisé en 2010″.

      Hmmm, $1700000/2000 landings=$850/landing.

      So, unless users of this heliport are willing to pay $850 each time they land their toy, I maintain that this is insane.

      Anyone, feel free to correct my numbers.

    • Kate 17:53 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      No, they make sense. I think we have to accept that Denis Coderre loves being a big shot, and hanging out with other big shots, and making life nicer for big shots. And now he has millions of mugs to foot the bill.

    • carswell 18:39 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      I live on the north slope of Mount Royal, normally a wonderful buffer between my place and downtown, and already find many pleasant days on the deck interrupted by helicopters. On Grand Prix afternoons, they’re enough to make you stay indoors. Helicopters are incredibly noisy, even when far and indirectly overhead.

      Also, assuming the powers that be, which is to say the target users of such a facility, don’t give a damn about noise pollution, where’s the money to build it going to come from? The Caisse de dépôt maybe? Which makes you wonder if the wealthy men who run the Caisse plan to focus on funding infrastructure projects they and their cohorts find sexy. Projects like airport trains, downtown heliports and — what do you want to bet? — MLB-class stadiums.

      The way Coderre frames it (“il pourrait notamment servir lors des différents festivals montréalais, le Grand prix du Canada ou pour des occasions d’affaires“) glosses over the fact that most of the traffic at such a heliport would be to and from the airport, the same airport we’re already going to be spending megabucks to connect to downtown with a fast train. Such a train is justifiable if it is part of a Train de l’ouest project and is affordable by and easily accessible to the public. Coderre’s celebrities, high-rollers, executives and politicians don’t like the idea of sharing a 20-minute train ride with the hoi polloi? Then let them hop in a tinted-glass limo and sit in traffic.

    • EmilyG 20:20 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      Public heliport? How about improving things for the modes of transit that most commoners actually use. Like fixing up the roads and increasing funding for public transit. Improving Bixi and that car-sharing service.

    • Alex L 22:59 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      Sorry, but that’s stupid. Things are starting to go wrong with Coderre.

    • Chris 08:37 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      Alex, “starting”? Everyone knew he was a fool before us fools elected him.

    • Ephraim 09:09 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      I want to see him pay for it personally. I don’t think either of us are going to get our wish. Unless we need this for the greater good, we are going to have to live without a heliport for the rich.

    • Bill Binns 10:38 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      Agree mostly about Coderre acting the big shot but…most big cities (especially island cities) do have a heliport right?

      Also… I could swear that I read somewhere that there used to be a heliport somewhere downtown. Maybe in the 70’s? No?

    • Doobious 10:50 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

    • Ian 11:46 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      There’s already commercial heliports in Anjou, Laval, and Longeuil. There’s also one at the Kruger main office in CDN, and one in Ahuntsic at Sacre-Coeur. Anyway my point is that it’s not like there aren’t any heliports in Montreal already. The one in Anjou is only about a half hour drive from City Hall …

    • ant6n 12:07 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      It should take a cab around 20 minutes to get to St Hubert Airport.

    • Bill Binns 12:34 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      @Doobious – Ah right! That’s the one. Nice view of the Farine Five Roses sign with “Flour” still present in that shot too.

    • Blork 12:41 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      Don’t interpret this as me supporting the heliport idea, but I think the idea is to get a heliport *downtown* (or close), not in Anjou or Saint-Hubert, which might as well be on the moon during peak hours. The whole idea of traveling by helicopter is to fly over traffic and get from point A to point B with precision.

    • Bill Binns 12:50 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      I think the airport is too close for this to make sense as transportation from downtown to the airport for this to make sense (even for the rich). A taxi is $50.00 and usually takes 15-20 minutes. You are still going to have to take a taxi to the heliport regardless of where they put it (unless it also comes with a huge parking lot). Either way, it’s a lot of loading and unloading of luggage for not a lot of time saved.

      It does however, make a lot of sense for travelling from the city to your cozy country house up around Mt Tremblant. I have a friend with a house up there and I have seen more than one house with a helicopter parked in the back yard. Also, the drive up there is hellish on summertime weekends.

    • Kate 13:19 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      If the wealthy and the corporations really pay for this, I don’t see a problem. But we can all get stuck paying for things like this based on the familiar arguments it’s good for the cityit’s good for businessmajor cities need to have these things (baseball, grand prix, heliports, whatever) – you have to invest to thrive, yadda, yadda yadda. But there comes a point where we’re asked to chip in over and over again for things which only benefit a tiny number of residents – a microcosm of the 1% problem the world is at grips with, not surprisingly.

    • carswell 14:38 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      So the only issue here is public funds? Noise pollution, possible crashes, aesthetics, quality of life for the 99% aren’t concerns? The notion that if the big shots can fly over traffic congestion, can avoid overcrowded, inefficient public transit, they’ll be less inclined to support efforts to improve them doesn’t enter into it?

    • Kate 16:22 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      Public funds are important, but the horse has already got away on the rich getting to move around faster and more comfortably than the rest of us.

    • yossarian 17:33 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      good bye quality of life. But on the other hand hello rich douchebags.

    • Kate 17:46 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      But we need those rich douchebags, yossarian!

    • Clément 18:57 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      Actually, there is an helipad (private) in the Technoparc, close to downtown, etc. Except that Transport Canada says it can’t be used.
      I don’t see how building a new one would somehow fix that!

    • Kate 19:08 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      I wonder if Coderre can wave his magic wand and sweep away the concern about not having a helipad “à l’intérieur de la zone bâtie de la ville” – a concern that would pretty much rule out all of downtown.

    • Clément 19:33 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      As much magic as Coderre may have, he’s a federal Liberal and Transport Canada is currently under the control of the Tories.

      I was actually thinking, since many of the very rich in this town live in Westmount or Outremont, it would only be logical to build the heliport conveniently close to where they live. How about Summit Park?

    • Kate 20:20 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      I imagine you’re being satirical here, because Summit Park is a nature preserve.

    • Clément 20:25 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      Hmmm, satire, I hear my people aren’t very good at detecting it ;-)

      And yes, I was kidding about Summit Park.

    • mare 23:18 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      I bet they want to put it on one of the piers in the old port. Built a parking garage underneath it and two flies are caught in one blow.

    • carswell 23:57 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      @mare Just what Old Montreal/Old Port need: more cars and more helicopters…

      My bet is a little further southwest, somewhere in the Cité du Havre, Village aux Oies and Griffintown triangle, alongside the glorious new baseball stadium and its dedicated transit link to downtown, the Richard Bergeron tram line (you heard it here first, folks).

    • Kate 09:58 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

      I agree. Somewhere near the old STOLport Doobious evokes.

      Odd thing: I expected to see more wails and handwringing over Bergeron’s desertion of Projet, both from Projet people and from the general public. And there’s been next to nothing.

  • Kate 11:27 on 2015/01/28 Permalink | Reply  

    A group of 24 small businesses has lost a court challenge of the charter of the French language. Business owners were prosecuted for not using French predominantly on signs and websites.

    • rue david 13:00 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      I guess it follows but I didn’t realize oqlf could nail you for English websites. I’m skeptical on the value of that aspect and of their mandate.

    • Blork 13:14 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      It would have been helpful if that piece had given some indication of what those businesses were.

    • Steph 13:20 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      When should we expect a french version of the site? /s

    • Kate 13:24 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      Since does not sell anything or do any business online, it is regarded more as a sort of publication, along the lines of Cult MTL or similar blogs online, than as a store or shop, which would require it to make its offerings available in French.

      I cannot write 100% perfect French and even if I could, I don’t have the time to produce everything on the blog twice every day.

      I realize this is lame, but it’s how things stand.

      blork: I don’t think the decision is up yet on soquij, but if I can find the list for you I will do so.

    • Clément 13:27 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      Rest assured Kate, I don’t think anyone subscribed to your blog seriously expects you to do that!

    • Ephraim 13:44 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      Actually, Kate, I would assume that even if you did sell anything, you are not in violation of the law because you are cultural and political, both of which are covered by exceptions under the law.

    • H. John 14:18 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      The case, I assume, was heard by the criminal division of the Court of Quebec and SOQUIJ should have the written decision within a week.


      52. Catalogues, brochures, folders, commercial directories and any similar publications must be drawn up in French.

      58. Public signs and posters and commercial advertising must be in French.

      They may also be both in French and in another language provided that French is markedly predominant.

      However, the Government may determine, by regulation, the places, cases, conditions or circumstances where public signs and posters and commercial advertising must be in French only, where French need not be predominant or where such signs, posters and advertising may be in another language only.

      59. Section 58 does not apply to advertising carried in news media that publish in a language other than French, or to messages of a religious, political, ideological or humanitarian nature if not for a profit motive.

    • H. John 13:17 on 2015/01/30 Permalink

  • Kate 11:23 on 2015/01/28 Permalink | Reply  

    The city is considering placing a new intermodal terminus near Lionel-Groulx metro, on a piece of land Projet had hoped could become a park. It may become the endpoint of the new Champlain bridge light rail.

    • Doobious 12:49 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      I guess they’re looking at reviving the line east of the St. Henri IGA. Not a bad idea, assuming it would be elevated.

    • Ephraim 13:47 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      Let’s see… park or less cars on the island… which should be choose?

      Would be nice to include some greenspace within the planning, or at least a few more trees.

    • MathP 16:03 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      They could put a park on the terminus’ roof, like they’re doing in San Francisco.

    • Alex L 22:57 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      It would be a shame to destroy the park that has been created along the old railway.

    • Faiz Imam 03:17 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      Interesting, though it would make the SLR a negative for many south Shore commuters, who work in the core and are able to walk from Bonaventure to their destinations.

      This essentially doubles the their costs, because they’ll need a combined RTL/STM pass (called zone 3).

      I hope that by the time this actually happens we get the univied payment structure we’ve been promised for years now…

    • rue david 04:21 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      when the suburbs start kicking in their fair (fare!) share maybe?

    • Daisy 08:03 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      I need a zone 3 RTL/STM pass even though I live in Montreal and can walk from Longueuil-Université-de-Sherbrooke to my destination.

    • ant6n 12:14 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      It’s not just cost — they’ll be turning a one-seat ride downtown into a three-seat ride (actually 1.5 seat + 1.5 standing ride). And their property values may go up cuz there’s now rail. I wouldn’t go for it.

  • Kate 10:42 on 2015/01/28 Permalink | Reply  

    Stéphane Harbour, once mayor of Outremont, pleaded guilty this week to four counts connected with defrauding his old borough. He left the job under a cloud in 2007.

    • yossarian 17:35 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      And yet his tremblay-party and now independent “Outremont-Party” replacement is still in the mayor’s chair today.

  • Kate 10:39 on 2015/01/28 Permalink | Reply  

    A brief but moving Radio-Canada video report talks to two Holocaust survivors living in Montreal, part of the worldwide media notice of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz this week.

    CBC talked to a woman who was born in the camp in secret, in its last few months, and CTV talked to another woman who survived as a child.

    Sophie Durocher in the Journal also interviews a survivor, and also gives a brief but chilling look at Quebec’s antisemitism.

    • jeather 11:01 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      My uncle owned a house up north somewhere when he lived in QC, and the deed said that it could not be owned by anyone of the Hebraic race.

    • Ephraim 08:51 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      jeather, there is a mention of that in Sidney Zoltak’s “My Silent Pledge” which is also about a local Montreal Holocaust survivor. He mentions walking away because the original deed stated that, even though everyone told him that it was *NOW* illegal to have it in the deed.

    • jeather 14:45 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      He kept it because he thought it was funny, I think they rewrote the deed without that stipulation. But it was very common. (See also: why the Jews built their own hospital, why the Jews went to English schools and not French, etc.)

  • Kate 09:50 on 2015/01/28 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s not every day I look at Quebec City items, but after hearing Gaétan Barrette on radio yesterday nonchalantly saying Quebec’s venerable Hôtel-Dieu need not retain any hospital services I wondered, first, what that could mean for our older hospital buildings and, second, what interests Dr. Barrette might have in condo development in Vieux-Québec.

    Quebec’s new hockey arena, built at a cost of $400 million in public money to flatter the whim of Régis Labeaume, will open this year and will host… the Remparts of the LHJMQ.

  • Kate 09:42 on 2015/01/28 Permalink | Reply  

    Government austerity is forcing universities to cut many courses from their calendars, including UQÀM which may have to trim as many as 150 courses to cut deficits, and profs and lecturers may see pay cuts as well.

    • Joe 09:50 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      I have a crazy idea out of left field, how about we raise tuition fees? Ah right…never mind.

    • ant6n 10:56 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      I have this other crazy idea, how about we try not to cut public services? Ah right … never mind.

    • f 13:20 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      I have another one of those wacko ideas, how about we cut down in useless clunky administrations?

    • Ephraim 13:53 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      See, I have other crazy questions… Are those courses viable? Why aren’t they viable? Why have we been supporting unviable classes? Why wasn’t anything done BEFORE you lose money to the budget instead of after?

      Every once in a while I wonder why we don’t have zero-based budgeting.

    • Blork 14:19 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      Because “monetary value” is not the only metric when it comes to education.

    • Ian 15:00 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      If strict profitability was the only thing a society was based on, the government could save time and just sink all the budget into the SAQ and loto-Quebec. If profit was the only thing that mattered we could raze the musée des beaux-arts and build a parking garage. If monetary value was the only thing worth looking forward to from a university degree, you may as well ditch all the liberal arts and fine arts programs altogether, and put all the unemployed artists, writers, and musicians to work sweeping the streets (without pensions of course).

      People that think like taxpayers first and citizens second are exactly why we have these neoliberal tools in power in the first place, and you don’t have to think too hard to realize that there is more to society, being a citizen, and being a human being than how much things cost or can earn.

    • Ephraim 15:55 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      Viable doesn’t simply mean costs, but also the output. A class on Josephus versus a class on forensic pathology, for example. No idea where we are going to employ the student of the first, but pretty much sure we know where we need the student of the second.

      (As far as the SAQ… I don’t know why the government runs the stores, because they could collect all the tax at the wholesale level and let private companies sell. And if we didn’t have proof of that, that is exactly what they do in a jurisdiction that is too small for a store.)

    • Kate 16:34 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      Ephraim, do you really think it would be best to let history be forgotten?

    • Alex L 23:09 on 2015/01/28 Permalink

      Ephraim, really. Public transport isn’t viable. Schools aren’t. As are roads. Cleaning water. Public libraries. Museums. You just can’t make profit on everything.

      Let’s not forget that a society can be rich but still stay ignorant. And that rich citizens don’t necessarily make good citizens.

    • Ephraim 09:08 on 2015/01/29 Permalink

      @Kate – Absolutely not. But how many people are you going to get into a specialized class on Josephus at UQAM? If someone needs to study Josephus, let’s be realistic, they may be better served doing a semester or summer course at a University that more specializes in it, like Oxford, the Sorbonne or Hebrew University (And incidentally, I have taken University level courses in American History, European History, Russian History, Chinese History and Japanese History, just to name a few and all we were well attended.) A general knowledge of history makes a person well rounded, a specific course about Josephus? You really think that more than 1 person might sign up for such a course at UQAM? Especially in a day when students often run to websites that rate their professors on how easy it is to get through a course, rather than take courses that challenge them, regardless of the marks?

      @Alex – Viability isn’t simply about being profitable financially. Measures of success aren’t simply in dollar terms, though, having a value for something does make it easier to measure. The viability of clean water pays off in the health of those who need it. A very viable resource.

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