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  • Kate 13:27 on 2019-12-13 Permalink | Reply  

    Customers of Exo trains are angry about the “let them eat cake” response of one honcho in the organization, who suggested such things as hiring domestic help or bringing children to work, to offset the time loss that will follow the closure of the Mount Royal tunnel for hundreds of commuters. They’d like to see her fired.

    • Stoic 13:48 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      Maybe they can pay for the extra help by borrowing against the future increase in the value of their property because of the REM. People choose to live out in the middle of nowhere and whine about disruptions cause by bringing in a service that will benefit them most.

    • Kate 14:01 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      “Whine” is a prohibited word on this blog. It’s always used to dismiss the complaints or difficulties of people the writer doesn’t care about.

      I don’t think it’s unreasonable for people who chose to live near a convenient commuter train line, were told the tunnel would close for a few days for REM construction, and are now facing a closure that will disrupt their lives for a long time, to be angry about this.

    • Jonathan 14:39 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      Hmm. I watched the video. I don’t think it’s too condescending. I think she’s just asking people to be creative. There are measures in place to accomodate the displaced train riders, and people may need to drive to work more often or carpool or ask employers to be more flexible (what Josée mentions), or push for some daycare facilities at workplaces, etc. We can’t expect it to be as direct or timely as the train… I think I have a problem with people who move into the suburbs and feel entitled. Whining maybe isn’t the right word, but I think we shouldn’t try and dismiss the idea that it’s unfair to make costly accommodations to people in deux montagne when there are more pressing transit needs (like people who bus into town from Montreal Nord for their badly paid retail jobs that nobody else would want.

      I’m unfairly categorizing people from both MTL Nord and Deux Montagne, but to prove what is hopefully seen as a valid point.

    • Blork 14:42 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      All this hate on people who “move to the suburbs” ignores the fact that many of those people were born and raised there. It’s home for them; their community. It’s not just a cheap bedroom.

    • Blork 14:48 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      …particularly ironic given the thread below this about the STM bus shortages. Well heck, as a former Plateau resident I have no sympathy for people who move out to ParkEx or NDG or Rosemont and now feel “entitled” to have buses available to take them to work in the morning. [sarcasm]

    • Jonathan 17:33 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      I was born and raised in the suburbs, and on the rive nord next to Deux Montagnes. I want to see better transit to those areas, as I experienced how isolating it can be to lack mobility. I just want people to put the money where their mouth is. I literally LOLed reading Blork’s bit about suburban community. My extended family, and some high school friends all still live in the suburbs, and I can attest that they have almost no clue who their neighbours are, don’t care, and would never call their neighbourhood a ‘community’. This is anecdotal of course.

      Blork, your sarcasm actually makes a great segue into the idea of governance. The people in Park Ex, NDG and RPP do have an entitlement to good public transit because they pay taxes to the City of Montreal. That city pays for a majority of the operating budget of the STM. Unfortunately the high cost of providing transit to (mostly) low density and commuter areas, and the resistance of these municipalities to raise property taxes to pay for improved transit means that the residents of the City of Montreal are disportionately paying for transit that people living in suburban communities use. Let’s not even talk about the roads, social services, etc. The current system of municipal governance is a governance failure… and it isn’t likely to be fixed because the political system benefits from this, as does the majority of people who hold the power and have the voice in Quebec.

      I would suggest, Blork, for you to take a deep look at the municipal governance system. Rather than feel entitled, people in RPP, NDG, Montreal Nord and Park Ex actually have entitlements that they would like to cash in on…

    • Tim S. 17:47 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      Nah, the video is pretty bad. It’s “we all have to come up with solutions”, meaning you have to change your lives because we broke something, which may or may not benefit you. Let’s remember that most people don’t work for fun, but because they have to, and unaccountable organizations throwing obstacles in their way while they try to get to their jobs, while lecturing them on their responsibility for overcoming the obstacle, well, I have a hunch that it’s stuff like this that leads to them voting for populist, anti-elite blowhards.

    • Uatu 18:01 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      Anything (homes and businesses alike) within 1km of REM stations will pay an increase in property tax so they’re already paying for the increase in property values. Also let’s call the REM what it is: a haphazardly planned means of daisy chaining real estate developments. If it were a properly planned transport system then no one would be spitballing ideas like they’re onstage at improv night and there would be a link to the airport like they have at O’Hare. Instead it’s all about new condo cities around the dix30 etc.

    • Filp 18:11 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      Uatu, the REM already has a connection to the airport. It’s one of the project’s selling points. Unless you mean a better connection. Is there something particular about the blue line to O’Hare?

    • Uatu 18:35 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      Oops. I got mixed up with the airport train station and it not being connected to the Dorval train station. The image of O’Hare was just the 1st thing that came to mind

    • Faiz Imam 18:52 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      @Jonathan or anyone else, do you have a feeling as to how much time getting off bois franc and taking a bus to côte Vertu will take?

      Because I’ve traced the route on a map and it seems like a pretty inoffensive detour. Maybe 15-20 mins?

      Not nothing and people will have to expect congestion, but the link is still there.

      I think the real trouble will be after 2022(Ish) when the REM opens till bois franc and the end of the line shuts down.

      That’s probably going to Suck, but that’s not what people are talking about now I think.

      Leaving aside the broken promises by cdpq, Are the current alternatives not adequate?

    • Kevin 19:59 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      My favourite suggestion from the REM about dealing with the tunnel closure has to be: renegotiate union contracts so employees can stagger their hours or work from home.

      It has the virtue of admitting there is no way around several years of absolute disruption and pain.

  • Kate 13:22 on 2019-12-13 Permalink | Reply  

    The Teamsters are warning that Montreal is about to lose 100 CN Rail jobs to Edmonton.

  • Kate 09:57 on 2019-12-13 Permalink | Reply  

    We’ve all seen news that the STM is short of buses, but I’ve seen no explanations how they decide where to distribute the shortages. Do they cancel departures on different routes in turn? (My customary 55 bus has vanished this week, for example. I’m blogging from a bus stop after Transit told me to expect a 17-minute wait, which has already elapsed.)

    • brett 10:40 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      Ugh, the buses are terrible. I waited in vain on Wednesday for the 110 to show up at Angrignon station at 14:44 – and this is a bus that comes every half an hour! Just imagine the size of the lineup..

      Out of curiosity, does anyone fill out the complaints form for no-show buses on the STM website?

    • dhomas 10:42 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      My bus used to pass every 6 (or maybe 10) minutes during rush hour when I moved in here, The other day, there was 24 minutes between buses. Not impressed. Luckily, I live 2 stops away from the metro , so it’s only about a 7 minute walk, but on cold days it’s nice to have the bus available.

    • Daniel 10:55 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      We’re half a block from a bus stop where, depending on the time of day, the bus is supposed to come every 30 minutes. The other day we checked what is supposedly the live bus tracker on the STM website and then shot out the door to wait a minute or two for the next bus. We ended up waiting 15 to 20 minutes.

      I was trying to do everything right! We can often be flexible with timing, but it would be nice to avoid standing around in the cold for no reason when our warm home is just steps away.

    • Spi 11:39 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      Aren’t buses and bus routes assigned to certain bus depots? So if your bus depot has a deficit of buses then you’d be chronically short, it would be more logical to have planned reduction (not announce it or acknowledge it) in services given a reduced fleet size than rotating cuts to lines.

    • Meezly 12:27 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      Since Transit is unreliable, I always cross-reference with the STM bus schedule website via my phone. I learned the hard way that my 8:47 bus is sometimes removed from the schedule on Thursday and/or Friday. So a scheduled bus can vary throughout the week.

      @brett, I always try to send a complaint to STM after a schedules bus is MIA, or if the driver drives by a queue of passengers at the bus stop if their bus was full (or not even that full). They actually responded (eventually) to a few of my many complaints. Once, they replied apologetically to say that a bus didn’t arrive because it had broken down.

      I even wrote to them about why buses are designed to always end at a metro station which creates fragmented bus routes instead of continuous ones. A few weeks later, one of the STM bus planners phoned me to provide an explanation! It was completely unexpected. But we had a good conversation.

      The STM system is definitely flawed, but it seems that they are trying to make an effort. The planner explained that in the new year the STM will be organizing public consultations, and the planner encouraged me to attend if I have concerns.

    • jeather 13:35 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      I’ve never found the website to be particularly accurate, when I take the 24 the numbers on the “next bus in x minutes” seem to be random and uncorrelated with the actual wait time. (No idea about the 165, which leaves so often it doesn’t matter.)

    • CE 14:43 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      The 80 is the bus I take the most and it’s been bad. Just yesterday, a bus don’t show up and when the next scheduled one arrived, it was a regular sized bus full of two articulated busloads of passengers. It was cramped to say the least.

      That being said, I’d rather they cut buses from a line like the 80 that comes often than from one where the bus only comes once every 20 minutes or half an hour. If one of those buses doesn’t arrive, it can really mess up a lot of people’s days!

    • Meezly 15:49 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      I mostly complain about the 35 or 168. And the 35 I take at the start of the route, so it’s easy to tell if the bus should arrive on time or not.

      I also take the 80 regularly, but don’t tend to complain since it tends to run regularly enough. I have noticed that there have been more regular sized buses in lieu of the articulated ones, and I’m wondering if it’s because the articulated busses are getting long in the tooth and are requiring more repairs, breaking down more, etc.

    • Joey 19:15 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      A related problem with ghost buses is the fact that the next bus has to take on twice as many people, and since we don’t yet have rear boarding at every stop, it takes considerably longer at every stop, meaning the ghost bus is followed by a slow bus. The subsequent buses wind up moving too quickly, as they wind up catching up with the slow bus. By the time the slow bus is halfway down the route, there can be one or two half-empty buses right behind. Miss one of those (Murphy’s Law says the bus you need will go through a yellow while you’re waiting to cross from the other side of the street) and you’ll be out in the cold for a disproportionately long time. So one bus every X minutes can really mean three buses every 3X minutes, but they’re all clustered together so the wait is considerably longer.

      Maybe routes like the 80 should have express buses that don’t stop at every block? My guess is this idea works better in theory than in practice, especially since the “local” and “express” buses would have to share the same reserved lane.

    • denpanosekai 20:15 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      Yeah fuck the buses. I just walk to the metro now.

  • Kate 08:45 on 2019-12-13 Permalink | Reply  

    Brendan Kelly writes in the Gazette about the demise of our white Christmas, kindly reminding us it was a song sung by Bing Crosby.

    • dwgs 09:39 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      Brendan Kelly always seems to think he’s the smartest guy in the room

    • Jack 10:58 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      I went to High School with him, he was.

    • Kate 13:37 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      The smartest guy, Jack? Or the one who thought he was?

    • Chris 21:22 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      Or both? 😉

  • Kate 08:40 on 2019-12-13 Permalink | Reply  

    It was only a couple of weeks ago the city bought some land for its big western park, but it has now added another 140 hectares to the collection. The map is still a little patchworky but it’s coming together.

    • qatzelok 10:39 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      Most of the waterfront of this new park – like the rest of the West Island – is covered in McMansions and bungalows, and this is the most beautiful part of most partks – their waterfront. Perhaps flooding will eventually remedy this.

    • mk 15:21 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      @qatzelok jeez that’s dark…

    • Faiz Imam 18:56 on 2019-12-13 Permalink

      But not wrong, we should expect a repeat of the recent floods quite regularly in the years ahead. I think many of those folks will be ready to sell to the city before too long.

      That issue aside, I’m really shocked this happened as fast as it did. I figured this would take years of negotiations and litigation. But after only a few months à enormous area of nature on this island has been preserved for good.

      We can’t control the exurbs, but the efforts the core is doing to limit suburban sprawl is real and admirable.

  • Kate 08:36 on 2019-12-13 Permalink | Reply  

    Layoffs decreed by Molson Coors mean the departure of workers from the old Molson brewery by the end of the year, as the company centralizes itself in Chicago. The new local brewery will open on the south shore in 2021 with a smaller workforce.

  • Kate 08:29 on 2019-12-13 Permalink | Reply  

    The Plante administration has plans to revive Notre-Dame East from downtown out to the tip of the island with either a tram or a branch of the REM. The bus lane being built on Pie-IX is now meant to connect to this new route.

  • Kate 21:25 on 2019-12-12 Permalink | Reply  

    Some weekend driving notes from CTV.

  • Kate 19:00 on 2019-12-12 Permalink | Reply  

    Although all three judges of Quebec’s top court agreed the secularity law (aka Bill 21) does irreparable harm, especially to Muslim women, the court declined to suspend the law, because of the notwithstanding clause, and because the court has to assume the law serves a valid public purpose. Quoting several commentators on Twitter but mostly CBC’s Sarah Leavitt.

  • Kate 14:16 on 2019-12-12 Permalink | Reply  

    Montreal will experience the largest rent house price hikes in Canada next year.

    • Brett 19:02 on 2019-12-12 Permalink

      It seems the article is about the increase in the sales price of real estate, and not increase in rents(which are controlled by the rent board)

    • Kate 21:28 on 2019-12-12 Permalink

      Yes, you’re right. Blogging in too much haste. Although inevitably this heated market will rebound on rents, and the rental board can only do so much.

  • Kate 14:12 on 2019-12-12 Permalink | Reply  

    The city has to kick in for air quality tests in the east end, which is apparently not as simple as it sounds.

  • Kate 14:10 on 2019-12-12 Permalink | Reply  

    I had no idea this existed, but apparently it has for 20 years: if the STM makes you late for work you can get a late note from its customer service.

  • Kate 09:15 on 2019-12-12 Permalink | Reply  

    Architects are strange, giving out awards for building sketches that haven’t been built yet: the new bus garage at Bellechasse and Rosemont has been given the nod by Canadian Architect.

    Speaking of new projects, construction of the Royalmount complex has begun but a coalition of groups is begging Quebec to impose limits on Carbonleo’s plans.

    Radio-Canada also visited the construction site of the REM’s Édouard-Montpetit station near the UdeM. I remember on the blog a couple of years back snickering at the idea of having a crossover station there between the metro line and a train going under the mountain. And now look.

    • Mr.Chinaski 11:22 on 2019-12-12 Permalink

      3 projects by the same single architectural firm (Lemay).

  • Kate 09:03 on 2019-12-12 Permalink | Reply  

    On his official visit to California, François Legault made one of those statements that will be remembered: all French-Canadians are Catholic.

    CBC radio noted this morning that in Quebec, about three quarters of the populace claim to be Catholic, but I wonder how many actually practise the religion any more. People say they’re Catholic meaning their parents or grandparents were Catholic, or maybe because they’d find it too difficult to admit they have no beliefs. They’ll check a box on the census, but almost nobody lets the Catholic church tell them how to live.

    The governor of California refused to be drawn into a discussion about religious symbols, too.

    • Tim S. 09:36 on 2019-12-12 Permalink

      I chatted with a Protestant pastor once, who had a congregation out in the suburbs, who thought that since the decline in Catholicism in Quebec people had developed a spiritual emptiness, and some were filling it by turning to evangelical groups – a process that’s also taking place in South America. To be seen.

    • Chris 10:04 on 2019-12-12 Permalink

      Do you have to “practise the religion” to “claim to be Catholic”? Perhaps you imply a contradiction where none exists? One is Catholic if one says one is, and that’s it. It’s just a matter of self-identification.

      At least, that’s kinda the flip side of what was argued against me here months ago when I said there are many more atheists than it seems. The retort was ‘people say they belong to religion x, so we must assume they aren’t atheists’.

      Being generous, perhaps Legault meant “Catholic” in the same way a lot of people say they are “Jewish”, i.e. in a cultural sense, but atheistically. I’m noticing this more and more with “Muslims” too: people that eat pork, drink booze, don’t pray, shave, etc. but still have a sorta ancestral group identity. If such people can still be “Muslim” then people that don’t attend church to cannibalize wafers can still be “Catholic”.

    • Clément 10:14 on 2019-12-12 Permalink

      That’s a stupid statement, even coming from a stupid politician.
      First, he’s ignoring the fact that these days, a significant proportion of practising religious French-Canadians are likely muslim or some other non-christian religion. Mosques are much busier than churches these days.
      Furthermore, how is being catholic defined?
      Somewhere in some database, I’m probably counted as catholic since I was baptized in the 60’s and never officially apostated (is that a verb?).

    • Chris 10:24 on 2019-12-12 Permalink

      Clément, yes, that’s a verb. The conjugation you want is “apostatized”.

    • Kate 10:29 on 2019-12-12 Permalink

      Chris, being Jewish is a cultural thing as well as a religious one. Being Catholic is not the same. Yes, it’s tied pretty closely to some nationalities, but it is not a nationality in itself.

      Clément, from things I’ve seen I suspect the Catholic church uses that database (in which case I would count as well) but realistically the only way to count would be by people’s self-definition in the census. That’s not perfect, as in some families the parents would list their kids as belonging to a religion which they might never practise as adults, but it’s the best we’ve got.

    • JaneyB 10:31 on 2019-12-12 Permalink

      FCs are definitely Catholic in a cultural way. It is a discernible mindset in older people, esp since QC was once effectively a theocracy. I call them ‘anti-clerical catholic’ and it exists elsewhere in Cda too and among Anglophone Catholics.
      @Clément – I very much doubt that “a significant proportion of practising religious French-Canadians are likely muslim”. Not a chance.

    • jeather 10:48 on 2019-12-12 Permalink

      I am Jewish in a lot of ways, and also an atheist (I would write myself as Jewish on a census, but only because I don’t believe you can put two answers for religion), but I am not Jewish in any kind of nationalistic way. There’s a lot of history there, but calling Judaism a nationality is often a way to hide anti-semitism (I don’t think you were doing this Kate).

      Not all religions follow the Chrisitan method of being more based on what you believe than what you do.

    • Joey 10:51 on 2019-12-12 Permalink

      I think the technical discussion of what defines a Catholic misses the point here, which is that the premier is of the opinion that French-Canadians who are not Catholic (i.e., non-Catholic immigrants, converts, etc.) are not really *French-Canadian* – this message is of course consistent with his stance on the Charter of Values, law 21, etc. Moreover, the implication is that French-Canadians, i.e., those who were raised in the Catholic church (whether they still practice, believe, identify, etc., is kind of irrelevant), are the only “real” Quebecers.

    • Clément 11:08 on 2019-12-12 Permalink

      @JaneyB: If someone was born in Tunisia, emigrated to Canada and is a practising muslim, doesn’t that count as “French Canadian”. I define French-Canadian as someone who speaks French and lives in Canada, no?

    • Kate 12:33 on 2019-12-12 Permalink

      Joey is right about the political meaning of Legault’s remark and I thank him for snapping this discussion back to the real issue.

      Clément: arguably, French Canadian can also mean those of French ancestry rather than language. You can be French Canadian if you’re living anywhere in Canada, even speaking English most of the time, but your roots go back to France, just as I can fairly be called Irish-Canadian although my Irish ancestry is too far back to qualify for Irish citizenship and I do not speak Irish.

    • Patrick 13:18 on 2019-12-12 Permalink

      @jeather, ironically, Trump’s new executive order on anti-semitism defines (at least that is how it is being interpreted) Jewishness as a nationality precisely in order to increase protections against perceived discrimination against Jews on college campuses.
      @Tim S., I don’t know if the evangelical thing is a trend, but I was surprised to see a francophone evangelical baptist church planted in the middle of Rosemont, corner of Saint-Michel and Saint-Joseph. Check out the Google reviews…

    • Blork 13:31 on 2019-12-12 Permalink

      There is a huge evangelical church in Longueuil, and apparently it’s well attended.

    • Clément 14:03 on 2019-12-12 Permalink

      @Kate It comes down to opinion, and I suspect you and I would probably disagree with most Caquistes and other meutistes. I tend to think that French Canadian are Canadians who mostly speak French, whether they were born in Saskatoon, Lyon, Baie-Comeau or Casablanca and live in Chicoutimi or Whitehorse, just like I tend to think of English Canadian as Canadians who mostly speak English, whether they were born in Montreal, New Delhi, Beijing or Vancouver and live in Quebec city or Toronto.
      But yes, I realize many people prefer to use a “shortcut” definition of French Canadian as “Pure Laine”, whatever that means.

    • Kate 14:21 on 2019-12-12 Permalink

      Clément: yes, it’s not a hard and fast definition. I’m not totally sold on mine, just it’s what comes to mind first.

      Blork: I work in a small firm, most of whose employees are Muslim, but of the people with typical Québécois names one is an evangelical. (This came out one lunchtime when the Muslims were talking about their ban on alcohol, and he was insisting Christians are not allowed to drink except maybe one glass of wine with dinner, and – channeling my Irish Catholic ancestors – I was like, where did THAT come from?!

      Mostly I try not to get involved in the religious debates at work, but that was just silly.)

    • Thomas H 14:27 on 2019-12-12 Permalink

      Let us not forget that Legault has also said that he is not practicing and is agnostic (“I hope God exists”):

      Many people (myself included) identify as Catholic (and other religions) even when their beliefs change, as has been noted above. I think that’s what Legault was getting at, even though he was also implying something a bit more nefarious about identity, intentionally or not.

    • Kevin 14:48 on 2019-12-12 Permalink

      I bet Legault will be in church this Christmas with his mother, and the parking lots and fields and sidewalks around churches will be packed on Christmas Eve.

      That most definitely is not the definition used by anyone else.

      If you want to define people by the language they speak, do that. If you want to define them by ethnicity or regional background, do that — but don’t try to go Through the Looking Glass on us. That way leads madness and misunderstanding.

    • Chris 20:50 on 2019-12-12 Permalink

      @Kevin, honest question, what’s your point re: betting Legault will be in church this Christmas? Is that supposed to contradict his being supposedly non-practising and agnostic? Christmas is barely a religious event anymore, it’s mostly a consumer holiday.

    • Clément 21:11 on 2019-12-12 Permalink

      @Kevin: I’m sorry to be a disappointment to your stereotype.

    • Kevin 22:39 on 2019-12-12 Permalink

      Because I think French Quebecers are much more religious and conservative and tribal than is commonly admitted in our provincial commentariat. Even if it doesn’t necessarily translate into going to church as often as in the past.

      And I know Legault is playing to people’s fears.

      There are standard definitions for these terms. But I think you missed my literary reference.

  • Kate 08:57 on 2019-12-12 Permalink | Reply  

    CTV has a background on the woman and kids found dead this week including a history of domestic violence and a peace bond intended to keep the man away from his partner and children. The man also killed himself.

    More from TVA who also talked to the neighbours.

    And yet more background including details on the couple’s troubled history and the failure of society to intervene.

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