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  • Kate 12:23 on 2020-11-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Total Covid deaths in Quebec passed the 7000 mark on Saturday, which also saw the highest number of new cases yet in 24 hours – 1480.

    Montreal also saw its cumulative cases pass 50,000.

    • Kevin 17:58 on 2020-11-28 Permalink

      Inconsistent messaging kills again.

  • Kate 11:32 on 2020-11-28 Permalink | Reply  

    La Presse’s Mario Girard has a longish piece Saturday on rising homelessness in Montreal. A lot of things are touched on, but toward the end of the piece, Serge Lareault mentions the huge difference between offering someone a free hotel room for the night (and chucking him out first thing in the morning), and giving someone a home they can stay in, like most human beings, 24/7. The first is something you do in an emergency situation to keep a person from freezing on the street overnight. The second is harder, but it’s the real solution.

    • david211 14:29 on 2020-11-28 Permalink

      There’s another solution, which Montreal had for basically its entire existence but which has declined massively due to a variety of city policies: flop houses. Used to be that a person could get him- or herself into a flophouse for a few bucks a night, without any real problem. If we’ve collectively decided that keeping “neighborhood character” is more important than affordable housing, we could at least suspend our little rules so that people aren’t actually sleeping in the streets.

      You look at the variety of regulatory measures taken by the city (and in some cases, the province), such as minimum unit sizes, occupancy limits, identification requirements, payment options, hotel taxes, and zoning (the fundamental driver of the artificial land shortage which has just launched the cost of housing into the stratosphere) . . . and it’s hard not to conclude that we’re actually legislating homelessness.

      (And the mode for bringing back flophouses would be the sort of conversion of old hotels we’ve already seen, with incentives/disincentives.)

    • david211 14:43 on 2020-11-28 Permalink

      Then again, the activist position now seems to be that the homeless should be living in tents traffic medians and grown over lots – which is perfectly and somewhat elegantly consistent with the ‘don’t build more housing’ line of “progressive” politics.

    • Kate 15:05 on 2020-11-28 Permalink

      Lareault doesn’t give a solution, he simply describes a need. And it’s not a flophouse either – it’s the need for someone to have continuity.

    • david211 15:52 on 2020-11-28 Permalink

      A person who’s living on the streets doesn’t need to stay in a giant video-surveyed room at the old Vic where highly paid social workers babysit them, and they don’t need a tent and a nice patch of grass in the media on Rene-Levesque, they need a lockable room with a bed and a sink, with daily, weekly, or monthly rates. And that has been made, de facto, illegal in this town at any price-point that makes sense to a homeless person.

  • Kate 11:22 on 2020-11-28 Permalink | Reply  

    There will be a demonstration in defence of French on Saturday afternoon in Place Vauquelin.

    La Presse solicited suggestions from readers on how to protect French.

    TVA is running a piece by André Pratte on whether French is in decline in a climate where even questioning this can be politically dicey.

    • Daniel 14:48 on 2020-11-28 Permalink

      The reader ideas on how to protect French was a fascinating read. For some of them, I nodded or shrugged. For some, my jaw-dropped — people seem to believe that Quebec could control the languages that people speak outside of Quebec? LOLZ. No.

      It did make me wonder: How many of those suggestions were made by people who do not work or have not worked in an age or an industry where the rest of the world is a click (or at most, a phone call — quelle horreur!) away?

    • Kevin 17:40 on 2020-11-28 Permalink

      I gave up after reading two suggestions to do things that are already done, and two suggestions that violate human rights.

    • Jack 18:52 on 2020-11-28 Permalink

      The French language in Montreal is not in decline. More people speak French in Montreal then at anytime since the 1830’s. Montreal has never been an exclusively French speaking city. The only thing in decline is French origin Quebecers. If you say that in Quebec now you are excommunicated. The “decline” of French is a way for our political class to be elected in ridings where the idea of the other is a construction of Quebecor. This whole “debate” was started by a small group of conservative nationalists who have the megaphone of 70% of Quebec media. They have targeted English speaking institutions because there’s is a zero sum game. Dawson is led by a guy from La Tuque. McGill’s President is from St-Timothee both are “Pur Laine” yet they are not able to get that page turned. The signs I saw at the demo today all focussed on those two institutions.

  • Kate 00:50 on 2020-11-28 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s not just Longueuil that has too many deer. Parks on the eastern and western ends of the island of Montreal are having their forests chewed up by a surplus of these animals.

    • dhomas 09:16 on 2020-11-28 Permalink

      On Wednesday, I saw one on the side of Saint-Jean-Baptiste Boulevard in RDP, just chewing on a tree’s bark in a front yard. It’s a pretty busy street, though it was pretty early in the morning so not much traffic.

    • John B 16:31 on 2020-11-28 Permalink

      Some well-meaning wildlife laws have come into force over the past generation-ish, and it means that people are generally not allowed to move or kill wildlife that appears in the city. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to apply to predators, (see: hand-wringing over coyotes early this year), so some non-predators have taken up residence in town, especially in the greener areas, (and with more urban greening in vogue the greener areas are expanding).

      This is leading to some problems, for example too many deer in parks, or groundhogs eating their way through community gardens, and people aren’t allowed to do anything about it.

  • Kate 00:46 on 2020-11-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Galeries d’Anjou mall was evacuated on Friday evening after someone let off tear gas following a brawl.

  • Kate 00:32 on 2020-11-28 Permalink | Reply  

    The city’s plan to convert an old golf course into an extension to Bois d’Anjou park has been thwarted, and instead Anjou is going to get a new Costco.

    • mare 01:10 on 2020-11-28 Permalink

      Well, and Bois d’Anjou was already such a great park. I went there once with our dogs because I had to drop someone off and Google really displayed it in large type. But there is no access to it. On one side it’s surrounded by the golf course and at the other side there’s a bunch of vague industrial buildings. I parked at the golf course and got immediately told that parking is for members only (this was on a morning Ain early spring, with still quite some snow on the ground. Not exactly golfing weather. So I drove around and couldn’t find another entrance so I parked on the street and then trespassed over the golf course anyway. I have to say it’s by far the most unimpressive city “nature” park there is. Rather tiny and there are no paths, you have to bushwhack your way into it.

      At least a Costco has a parking lot, maybe the park will be easier accessible as well.

    • dhomas 09:43 on 2020-11-28 Permalink

      I’m disappointed. But it’s not really news. It’s been known since at least February 2020 (unofficially by Costco employees) that this would be the site of the new Costco. It was supposed to open in October 2020, but was delayed because COVID.

  • Kate 18:11 on 2020-11-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Dawson and Vanier have moved most of their final exams online.

  • Kate 18:10 on 2020-11-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Vincent Ouellette, the teacher denounced by several students recently in Montreal North for making racial slurs, has lost his job. A further investigation had shown that Ouellette had been notorious for offensive remarks for a long time.

  • Kate 18:05 on 2020-11-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Three people were arrested Friday in a case of identity theft of Quebec teachers.

  • Kate 11:00 on 2020-11-27 Permalink | Reply  

    QMI continues with its theme of criminals at the casino: the premier asked Loto-Quebec for explanations to which its president responded, weakly, that they can’t keep anyone out but minors, troublemakers and moneylenders. QMI went on to find evidence of criminal money deals going down with desperate people on the premises.

    Is it racist to call a moneylender a Shylock?

    • Nick D 14:34 on 2020-11-27 Permalink

      Yes, it is, defiinitely. (“Ah no, but it’s in French, so it’s totally different!…”) I see that they have changed the text but the term is still in the URL.

    • thomas 19:29 on 2020-11-27 Permalink

      Isn’t there poetic justice in mobsters victimized by state sponsored gambling?

  • Kate 10:52 on 2020-11-27 Permalink | Reply  

    I remind you, at the request of one of my readers, that the link to Mobilité Montréal is over there on the right, if you’re on a desktop, just above Recent Posts, and that it is therefore no longer necessary for me to link to media articles about weekend traffic.

  • Kate 10:40 on 2020-11-27 Permalink | Reply  

    The federal government is going to pay to extend the REM to the airport.

    • Faiz imam 13:57 on 2020-11-27 Permalink

      Very interesting that the dept of finance is straight up paying $600 million for this, as opposed to asking the newly created infrastructure bank to provide a loan for the purpose.

      I wonder how that sort of decision is negotiated.

      Also I wonder if this impacts in any way the extension to Dorval station, which Is obvious and is best done now when the machine is literally in the tunnel.

      Apparently they will announce it next week.

    • Ant6n 16:13 on 2020-11-27 Permalink

      But remember, cdpqinfa is paying 51% of the full construction cost, which is why they have monopoly control over everything. Oh and since they take on all the risk, which the minority shareholders (qc, fed givt) are apparently not, cdpqinfra is entitled to preferred dividends giving them most of the profit of the scheme.
      Le sigh…

    • Ephraim 21:05 on 2020-11-27 Permalink

      Yes, but there is less income from the airport spur, in that they can’t really build around it for extra profit.

    • Phil M 03:20 on 2020-11-28 Permalink

      If I read this correctly, which I may not have, though I trust Google Translate better than my own French, the feds are providing a loan, that would be repaid by ADM eventually.

      Also, if the REM is taking the risk, and absolving the govt partners, I think it’s relatively fair that they should benefit from first dibs on profits. That’s always how it goes with venture capital.

    • ant6n 05:33 on 2020-11-28 Permalink

      The point is they`re not taking the risk: originally CDPQInfra were supposed to pay for the airport station, it was part of the project. Then they gave the airport super a minimal design, which the ADM considered inappropriate, and told the aiport “if you want something better, pay for it yourself”. That cost for that airport station has gone from 250M to 600M. that´s one of the ways that CDPQInfra has taken project risks (cost risks) and shoved them back to the public. In return, the public won´t get any equity (which would mean that by now we have control again, because we pay for most of it).

      Presumably, the project is conveniently sliced so that the airport station doesn´t belong to the REM – so CDPQInfra can still claim the 51% ownership. This has happend multiple times for this project, necessary infrastructure that belongs to this project was taken out of the REM and given to the public, then they got some loans and some funding out of certain development funds, none of which gave the government equity in return.

      So overall CDPQInfra has taken on very little of the increasing project costs, while still mainting the contolling ownership stake. And this is all within a contract framework that gives them preferred dividends because suppossedly they´re suppossedly taking on greater risk.

      This is not a normal PPP-contract.

      (Mark my words: if this starts operating and for whatever reason the ridership is low, which is unlikely but possible given Corona, CDPQInfra won´t take that risk of low operating profits either, but get another subsidy)

    • david211 14:38 on 2020-11-28 Permalink

      My blood runs cold when I see anything reminding me that Chrystia Freeland is that finance minister. Like, is the media asleep at the wheel? Does the role of finance minister no longer require any subject matter expertise? Starkly insisting that we not forget: the people running the show don’t know what they’re doing.

  • Kate 10:32 on 2020-11-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Covid hospitalizations have risen over 200 in Montreal; on Thursday 1464 new cases were reported in Quebec, the highest yet. And yet I’m hearing more and more about people being expected back at the office, as if everything is tickety-boo. It most certainly is not. People want to feel things have normalized, whereas if anything, they’re verging on a shitshow.

    • Tim S. 11:24 on 2020-11-27 Permalink

      Every day I pass by a ground-floor open plan office with nice big windows onto the street. No attempt at social distancing, some people make a half-hearted effort to wear a mask but most don’t even try. They’re mostly young intern types, and I wonder which megalomaniac boss running the place has decided the situation doesn’t apply to their business.

    • DeWolf 13:15 on 2020-11-27 Permalink

      I see the same thing, Tim. Lots of ground-floor offices where nobody wears masks. Between that and the schools, it’s a reminder of why we’re still seeing such high case counts two months into red zone. Also a reminder of how mystifyingly inconsistent the Quebec government’s approach to masks is. Apparently we should only be concerned about transmission between strangers but not colleagues and classmates?

      Thank god the museums and restaurants are still closed! /s

    • dhomas 07:25 on 2020-11-28 Permalink

      The government is failing tremendously in their communication plan. You can’t tell people “this virus is super dangerous and extremely contagious! You should avoid being in contact with anyone.” while also telling them that is ok to go to work and for kids to go to school. Most people will not take it seriously as the line is blurred between what is acceptable risk and what is not.

      Here’s an anecdote from my personal experience. My upstairs tenant lived as a shut-in with his two kids at the beginning of the pandemic when they closed down the schools. His kids would never leave the house, and he would leave the house to get food in full gear with a mask and gloves (still not sure how I feel about him leaving his 8 and 6 year-old kids alone at home). When he would come pay the rent (still in cash, unfortunately), he would stay much further away and mention how scared he was of the virus. Yesterday, he threw a birthday party for his daughter. She even invited my daughter (we politely declined).

      People are not scared anymore and are not being careful. And a lot of it has to do with inconsistent messaging.

  • Kate 10:30 on 2020-11-27 Permalink | Reply  

    I find it so odd that we have Black Friday even though we don’t have American Thanksgiving. People were lining up overnight in hopes of getting deals.

    I can’t help seeing this as a way for retail to clear older stock out so they can put out more expensive stuff for Christmas shoppers. Am I mistaken?

    • Blork 12:26 on 2020-11-27 Permalink

      The link between Black Friday and Thanksgiving is tenuous. I think it’s primarily because most USers are off work today so hey, might as well go shopping. Canadian retailers are just riding the wave of free publicity about it that drifts up from south of the border.

      I am so not a Black Friday shopper, but then every Black Friday I suddenly realize “wait a sec; there are some things I want/need, so why not buy them now and save some bucks?” (Which is different from the frenzy of shopping for things you don’t want or need, just because you got caught up in it.) But then I can’t remember what it is I’m thinking about buying.

      And yeah, I think it is a way of clearing out old stock. The company I buy underwear from sent me a Black Friday specials email, and I though “why not?” since I do wear underwear. Why not buy it now, cheaper, instead of waiting a few months and paying full price? But then none of the styles/colors I wanted were available in my size, so no deal. :-/

      One other thing: loads of software and online services on sale today, so if you were thinking about trying premium versions of this or that, or that photo editing software you’ve been thinking about, etc., today’s your day.

    • Kate 13:14 on 2020-11-27 Permalink

      Yes. I bought two of the Affinity apps, which I’ve wanted for awhile and which were on sale this week.

      Incidentally, I used some of my Patreon cash for this, and thank everybody again.

    • Meezly 14:02 on 2020-11-27 Permalink

      Exactly, Kate. Clearing out old stock to make way for shiny new stuff. Also so many chain and box stores are owned by American companies now. In an American capitalist’s mind, Canada is just one big annexed state of 37 million consumers.

    • Azrhey 21:01 on 2020-11-27 Permalink

      By a quirk of the calendar canadian thanksgiving is different from USian one. But at least we HAVE a Thanksgiving. I find it so WEIRD to go to random online portuguese and Spanish shops and find Black Friday deals plastered all over in big swats of yellow and black with poorly animated turkeys at the edges. TURKEYS!

      Paint me unimpressed! consumerism rant. capitalism rant. americaa imperialism rant.

    • dhomas 07:41 on 2020-11-28 Permalink

      Black Friday became increasingly popular with Canadians around the late 2000’s. In 2007, the Canadian dollar was worth more than the US dollar. However, most goods here were still priced about 30% higher than in the US, mostly just because they always were due to the historical exchange rate. Canadians were buying tons of stuff in the US with their newly found purchasing power. And then they discovered Black Friday. These deals combined with the high Canadian dollar got tons of Canadians to go spend their cash South of the border. By the time Canadian Boxing Day sales came around, consumers had nothing left to spend or nothing left they wanted to buy for themselves. Canadian retailers were hurting. So, they decided to throw their own Black Friday sales to take back some of those retail dollars. And it mostly worked.

      Black Friday does have some decent deals. But a lot of it is also a legal form of bait and switch. “This TV is 85% off (only 10 in stock per store)!”. After those first ones are sold, people who came in looking for a TV buy something else with a higher profit margin. Those deals might even be loss leaders to drive more sales. Boxing Day is more about clearing out of stock that didn’t sell very well in the period leading up to Christmas.

    • Kate 13:50 on 2020-11-28 Permalink

      Good history, dhomas. Thank you.

    • david211 17:16 on 2020-11-28 Permalink

      I had almost completely forgotten about boxing day sales, which were huge when I was young.

  • Kate 10:19 on 2020-11-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Around 80 animals died when the Biodome shuffled them around to do its recent renovation.

    • qatzelok 12:18 on 2020-11-27 Permalink

      The reset was hard on them.

      Hahaha… oops

    • Meezly 13:47 on 2020-11-27 Permalink

      That is so unfortunate. I guess the renos must have been necessary to update old infrastructures. The transport of so many animals requires complex planning, very specialized knowledge/experience and lots of money and resources. I imagine with multiple obstacles like delays and budget constraints, it’s probably not surprising there were bio-casualties.

    • Kate 14:07 on 2020-11-27 Permalink

      CBC news at 13:00 had someone on saying a weasel got into a bird enclosure, among other things.

      I had a friend who worked in a downtown pet store, back when such places sold animals. One night a ferret got out of its enclosure, and it methodically went through the entire store and killed every single rodent pet in the place. Every mouse, gerbil, hamster, rat and guinea pig. The ferret wasn’t even hungry – it was just on a killing spree.

      I can only imagine what the weasel did to those birds.

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