Updates from April, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 23:16 on 2019-04-30 Permalink | Reply  

    The mayor is pressing Quebec to act on Airbnb rentals. Radio-Canada says Revenu-Québec hasn’t fined anyone since June 2018.

     
    • Ephraim 10:51 on 2019-05-01 Permalink

      What do you do what Revenu-Quebec isn’t doing it’s job? Who’s responsible (not the minister… management? Do we have the concept of responsibility within the system of Mandarins?)

      It’s time that Revenu Quebec be required to publicly report openly on it’s activities so that we have a way to know if they are doing their job. Examples… report the number of “denonciations” that they have received and the percentage that were looked into. Then the amount of revenue from that, the amount paid out in finder’s fees. This doesn’t give out personal information, but does show if they are doing their job and where it’s working and where it isn’t. Without a report (I think quarterly) showing revenues, changes, etc. then how are we supposed to know that they are doing their job as they should.

      Also, we need a report on the number of complaints, how fast they are handled, how many times people have had to go to their MNA or the ombudsman, how long that takes, etc. And a report on how much money they are holding in “unclaimed funds” and how many have been matched, etc.

      Revenu-Quebec asks everyone else to make monthly, quarterly and annual reports and to produce them on time… I’m sure that they can manage to produce a few of their own.

    • Ian 11:57 on 2019-05-01 Permalink

      Well said, Ephraim. For an agency that demands timely and thorough transparency from others it’s kind of shocking.

  • Kate 23:13 on 2019-04-30 Permalink | Reply  

    The McCord Museum is going to double in size in its current location, swelling to 10 floors and taking over tiny Victoria Street to do so.

     
    • SteveQ 23:45 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      I think eliminating Victoria street is a very good idea, especially if they use part of that space for pedestrians.

    • Max 00:40 on 2019-05-01 Permalink

      I guess by “empty lot on Président-Kennedy Avenue” they mean these buildings will be torn down?

      https://www.google.ca/maps/@45.5040854,-73.572887,3a,75y,299.96h,98.73t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sKDjGPw_DLKe97-a17SCyTg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?hl=en

    • Kate 06:41 on 2019-05-01 Permalink

      Max, I suppose so. That was a well-known French restaurant for years and years, but it closed awhile back – do you know what’s in the building now?

    • Max 07:14 on 2019-05-01 Permalink

      They’re both vacant as far as I know.

      I’m as glad as the next person to hear that the McCord is expanding “in situ”. But it irks me that we’re losing buildings of some architectural merit, while the media makes like they never existed in the first place. Hopefully somebody will at least save that rooster weathervane.

    • Alex 10:13 on 2019-05-01 Permalink

      Maybe they could be incorporated into the new structure in some way?

    • Kate 13:09 on 2019-05-01 Permalink

      Alex, those buildings always looked a bit fake to me, like a stage set. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’d bet there’s just a little brick box under the façade.

    • Ian 14:30 on 2019-05-01 Permalink

      You never know, there were some genuine article mansions in that neighbourhood. Chances are if they were original though, they were ruined by commercial use over many decades. I suspect there’s a reason that fancy building the old restaurant was in has stood empty for so long, and it may not just be property speculation. At one time asbestos was actually required of certain categories of use, and it’s from the right vintage.

    • Meezly 10:04 on 2019-05-02 Permalink

      That French restaurant was Le Caveau – had my wedding rehearsal dinner there back in the day! I was there recently and saw McCord Museam placards covering up the windows of that empty building, so McCord must be expanding into that. Maybe I’ve only noticed now that I have a kid, but McCord offers pretty interesting summer daycamps too, so their expansion would help benefit the surrounding community.

  • Kate 07:06 on 2019-04-30 Permalink | Reply  

    Tourisme Montreal has a goofy plan to make Montreal the «capitale gastronomique de l’Amérique du Nord». This is silly if only because, while we’re already reasonably well known as a place to get decent eats, we’ll never be able to compete with the range of offerings and cuisines in places like New York and L.A. and – dare I even whisper it – Toronto.

    A lot of money can be spent chasing a stupid marketing concept like this, a lot of ink can be spilled, and it’s just hot air.

     
    • SteveQ 09:35 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      I beg to differ. Montreal can easily compete with these 3 places. Better, Montreal can outperform these 3 places in certain areas of ”gastronomy”. While I agree with you that in high end restaurants, these rich places may have an advantage, but when it comes to affordable restaurants, you can easily find places for a $10 or $15 interesting meal in Montreal while almost impossible in the other 3.

      And that’s not counting what Montreal, and the region, is known for. Other than poutine, bagels, maple syrup, and smoked meat, there’s a world of local products that is worth being put forward to attract the attention of people. An american friend was here several years ago and was being suggested, by other Americans, to do the ”cheese route” and then the ”cidre route”. I didn’t even know we had that. But that’s great !

      No wonder why Montreal was a favorite of Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern. And even yesterday, I read that an american director, Jonahan Levine, said in an interview that: ”I admit that the main reason I love Montreal is….the restaurant”.

      That kind of ”plan” reasonates very well with ”food travellers”

      Therefor, never under estimate your potential !

    • Kate 09:50 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      SteveQ, if you don’t think affordable food can be found in those cities, it makes me wonder where you’ve been.

      Look, you know I love Montreal. But we don’t have as large or as wealthy a populace, and while we may get foodie tourists for some part of the year, they stay away for about half, and who can blame them. Likewise, although Quebec every so often tries to present itself like a province of France in terms of cheese, cider and even wine, we don’t have the ancient terroir or the growing season, and we don’t have the climate or farmlands of California that L.A. and San Francisco benefit from.

      Given our privations I think we do really well, but we will never be the continent’s capital of gastronomy, that’s sheer silly talk.

    • Ephraim 10:13 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      They need to justify their existence as a hidden private enterprise that survives on tax money and overpays their management to think of nonsense because even most of the tourism businesses in this city don’t trust them.

      We need the city of Montreal to take this away from the Board of Trade and actually bring in representatives from ALL of the tourism businesses and actually do a good job of getting people here. This is one of the biggest industries in Montreal and a profitable one… and we are letting these idiots screw it up.

    • Ian 10:18 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      Toronto’s restaurant scene is so far beyond Montreal’s it is crazy, except for very specific things like Quebec cheese, Lebanese fast food, and Jewish food. They even have decent poutine now. The thing that makes Toronto exceptional is the incredible diversity. You like Ethiopian? There is an entire neighbourhood where every sign is written in Ethiopian, with dozens of amazing restaurants. You like Chinese? There are 3 Chinatowns, not counting the short trip to Markham, where Montreal has a China block. You like Vietnamese? Again, 2 big neighbourhoods. You like roti? No problem, there are specific places to go for Indian, Jamaican, or vegan. You like Vietnamese ethnic Chinese? There are a bunch of really good places. How about Chinese ethnic Vietnamese? Ditto. You like sushi? Do you want high end or fast food, Korean or Japanese style? You like French food? Tibetan food? German food? Caribbean food? I could go on all day. Toronto’s food scene blows Montreal out of the water, _especially_ for cheap eats.

      Shaving truffles and foie gras on everything and calling it fine dining? Yeah. Montreal’s got _that_ market cornered.

    • walkerp 10:22 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      While I don’t totally disagree with you, Ian, you are clearly missing out on several developments in ethnic food in Montreal. The new Chinatown around Concordia has several really good restaurants that bring up to date regional chinese dishes beyond what there is in the traditional Chinatown (and that neighbourhood to has improved significantly in the last few years). Likewise, Indian food up on Jean-Talon between Parc and Acadie is quite good.

    • Ian 10:30 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      Yeah I’m aware that the old porn district is now the noodle district. Yes, it is much better than even 10 years ago – though I like the Japanese food in that area .

      …but have you really explored Toronto? Next time check out the west Chinatown on Queen just past Parliament, which by itself dwarfs everything Montreal has to offer, or if you like Indian food, the southeast Asian community on Sheppard is vastly more extensive and diverse than Parc-Ex.

      I’m not saying we don’t have any good food here, just that Toronto has way more, more options, with way more diversity, from street food to fine dining and everything in between as one might expect in a city that is more than twice the size, far more ethnically diverse, and situated in the most densely populated region of Canada. Quebec has Montreal and that’s it – Ontario has the entire Golden Horseshoe.

    • SteveQ 10:34 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      @Kate: I didn’t say you can’t find affordable meals in those places. But I will say that with $10 or $15, you will find much more interesting meals in Montreal, no doubt. Unless you count the hot dogs in Toront, the Pizza slices in NYC or the tacos in LA, Montreal will offer more and better for your bucks.

      But I agree with you when I comes to high end restaurants. While we are dojng very well, much more than expected, it is hard to compete with their wealthy populace, as you say.

    • JaneyB 10:35 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      I’ll have to agree with Ian on this one. I love Montreal in a thousand ways, one of which is cheese related, another potluck picnic etc. Still, Torontonians eat out as a form of recreation. They spend most of their leisure dollars on restaurants. It’s just nuts. The food scene there is vast and lots of it is affordable ethnic eats (that really only locals can find). It doesn’t just sport restos however. For instance, you can access dozens of Iranian bakeries, each with specialties. It really is extraordinary there.

    • Ian 10:40 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      @SteveQ it’s not just smog dogs – you can get really inexpensive food from all over the world. The roti scene alone is amazing, but you can also eat cheap in any of the southeast Asian styles, they kind of specialize in it, you know… and yes, you can walk into any Chinese or Vietnamese restaurant and get an amazing hearty bowl of soup full of veg and noodles and meat if that’s your jam – or if you are strictly vegan there are dozens of strictly Buddhist restaurants. Like I said, I could go on all day. Also like Janey points out there is . ton of specialization, not because they are rich, but because there is the population to support it. Even finding fresh natas or chinese bbq is a struggle in Montreal because food inspectors don’t comprehend ethnic food.

    • walkerp 10:40 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      Yeah, I don’t know about these cheap eats in Montreal. No decent slices. No deli sandwiches. No burritos (or barely). No bbq pork noodle places. What am I missing?

    • Ian 10:44 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      You’re right, we really do have some good cheap eats here. Some. What you’re missing is the diversity, range, and availability. Even burritos are a relatively new thing here, a decade ago there were almost no Mexican places in Montreal. Toronto was well in on the burrito scene as far back as the 80s, again, there is no comparison. You sound like somebody from Laval saying they have all the same stuff Montreal does so there’s no point coming in to the city.

    • walkerp 10:46 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      I am agreeing with you about the lack of cheap eats and was asking where I could find them.

    • Ian 10:53 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      Oh my bad, I know where you can get all that stuff, just not the variety. Depending on what you mean by decent slices though, there’s no real NY style slices here AFAIK. Assuming you don’t mean smoked meat, deli sandwiches are best had at a deli. My fave is Charcuterie Atlantique now that Boulangerie Clark is closed, but Snowdon deli is pretty awesome too. For BBQ noodles your best bet is Hong Kong style fast food in Chinatown, there’s a good place in the basement of the building Kim Fung is in (shhh) but there’s also My Canh on St. Larry just below R-L for the best Vietnamese soup in Chinatown (IMO) or if you like freshly hand made beefy noodles there’s the place right by the escalator to the grocery store in the basement of the Swatow. For burritos specifically I like Arriba Burrito on Mont Royal but for Mexican in general with more of a homestyle vibe I adore Tamalera on Fairmount.

      Like I said, you can get all this stuff… just the diversity and availability are more of a struggle in a smaller city, local specialties aside.

    • walkerp 11:38 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      Ah those delis are a trip for me but will keep them in mind for when exploring those nether regions.

      It is odd how rare decent, cheap lunch food is here. Mile End around Ubisoft has improved considerably with that massive market, but I still see a massive market for decent slices or burritos. It’s either fast food or way too upscale.

    • SteveQ 11:38 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      @ Ian: I totally agree with you, especially on Asian restaurants. Even though we can get good and interesting meals in Asian restaurants here, Toronto, Vancouver, LA, SF and NY are ahead of us no doubt.

      But where we stand out is by being different than other places with an almost perfect balance beetwen all that the world can offer. From the affordable BYOB in the heart of the city to the OKA area cheese producers, from the underground snack bars to the Jean-Talon and Atwater market, from the french offerings in the Plateau to the Lebanese joints in Chomedey and St-Laurent, from the Haitian mom and pop places in Saint-Michel to the East Europeans of the Main, from the québecois bineries to Little Italy, from the Cheskie’s to the Romados of this world, from the many micro-breweries to the still standing farmlands surrounding Montreal, from the Joe beef to the Pied de Cochon, from the Morrocan bakeries on Jean-Talon East to the Greeks joints in Parc-Ex, from the Chez Toqué to Chez Claudette and…. (I have to end this eventually), from the Peruvians restos in Villeray and St-Hubert street to the Irish pubs on Crescent/Bishop area….

      I think we are doing pretty well and have an amazing array of diversity of food that is hard to match.

      There’s also very good Iranian places in NDG and Sherbrooke west. More and more Afghan restaurants both on L’Acadie and in Chomedey. Indian and south indian in Parc-ex, 3 asian neighborhoods (The original Chinatown, the Ste-Cath west and Brossard), Caribean places in La Salle. Falafel joints in St-Pierre and one in Mile End and of course plenty of hipster places in St-Henri, Mile Ex and elsewhere.

      NY style slices: Adamo on Notre-Dame ouest in Saint-Henri. 2 big slices for $8 or $9 (they are very good)
      Tacos : Frida’s on Notre-Dame Ouest and Victor’s taco right next block.

      By the way, great discussion and good points form all sides!

    • Ian 12:07 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      I haven’t quite gotten over my dismay that so many of my favourite diners in St Hank got shut down for hipster joints but it sounds like it’s worth heading back to explore Notre Dame… and at least the Green Spot is still there 🙂

    • Ian 12:14 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      Oh, & walkerp – Mile-End has a lot more second rate sushi places it’s true but since Boulangerie clark shut down the lunch scene has indeed tended toward fast food or pricy. That said, Batory, the remarkably underrated Polish deli on Saint Viateur is still there, and is Barros Lucos on Fairmount & Saint Urbain which does really good inexpensive Peruvian food. If you hop on the 80 you get get to Jean Talon in minutes though and there are way more options all the way from Parc to Acadie. Also worth considering is catching the 55 to Beaumont, there are cheap eats there between St Larry and St Hubert, in particular a few tiny & inexpensive South & Central American places worth exploring.

    • CE 12:32 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      I’ve never been to Batory, in fact, I’ve never even really noticed it and I live just a few blocks away. I’ll check it out this week. The sandwiches look good. Barros Lucos is Chilean, it’s the only place I’ve been able to get a typical simple hearty lunch like I used to eat often while living in Colombia.

      One thing Montreal does very well is cafés. I remember being in Brooklyn (outside of Willimasburg and Park Slope) once and walking around for quite a while and never finding a place to take a seat and have a coffee and pastry. I ended up at Dunken Donuts. In Montreal, even the most neglected working class neighbourhood will have at least a few local cafés.

    • Meezly 12:33 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      Further to what Ian said, the Chinese noodle place at Swatow is Lan Zhou noodles (there’s also Zhonghua across from McGill campus on Sherbrooke which may even surpass Lan Zhou, imho). And the Cantonese joint below Kam Fung (now apparently Kim Fung) is Dobe & Andy (good noodles, but a wee sketchy in cleanliness). Noodle Factory ain’t bad either. But having grown up in Vancouver, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that there is no awesome Cantonese cuisine to be found in Montreal proper. There seems to be better choices for mainland Chinese, Korean, Thai & Vietnamese. Several inexpensive Korean restos and take-out spots have popped up in Mile End/Plateau in recent years, which is interesting and much appreciated.

    • Ian 13:30 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      @CE right, Chilean, my mistake. Not for a lack of eating there, it’s my favourite place to grab a quick bite on my way to other places.
      @Meezly thanks for all the names, I just know them by smell and general location 😀 FWIW the new Korean place on the corner of Saint V & Fairmount is actually pretty good, I think it’s a better fit than the last 2 restaurants in the same location so I hope they do well enough to stay open. I still miss the German restaurant that used to be there but at least I can get my German food at Charcuterie Atlantique even if it’s not as convenient.

    • DeWolf 15:55 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      @walkerp – I can think of half a dozen Chinese BBQ places just off the top of my head. That said, I can’t vouch for their quality, except for one place: Dak Hing on Van Horne/Victoria, right next to Plamondon metro. The char siu and siu yok is good even by Hong Kong standards (seriously). It’s worth a trip.

      I also suggest heading out to the strip of Decarie in VSL between Côte-Vertu and de l’Église metros. There are some good mainland Chinese spots there, plus a very good Chinese-Vietnamese place that does delicious noodles served with a side of pork bone broth, plus an amazing side dish of Chinese doughnut with a meatball in broth (for only $3!).

      Some of the new Chinese places opening up west of Concordia are really good. They cater to the foreign students and mainland Chinese families living in the area so they aren’t watering down their cuisine for the mass market.

    • Meezly 17:12 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      @Ian, are you referring to La Belle Coree on Fairmount and St-Urbain? that place is pretty good, so hoping they’ll endure in that location too. Have you tried Hansang on Parc and Hoya on Mont-Royal Ave? (I think the food is a little better with better pricing).

    • simon harel 21:13 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      How sad. Everybody talks about food. Everybody gives numbers. How many restaurants? How many “ethnic” restaurants? I can eat that or try this. Looks like being Hanoi or Teheran. Have you travelled? Every city boasts multiculturalism as a key to cosmopolitism. It is a bland cliché The foodie’s scene is not different. Variety is the rule of the game. Compounding how many restaurants the riches can afford is the new game in town. So boring, So North-American. I don’t care about Toronto. If you want to compare… choose the cities that count. Folks, let me tell you what is different in Montreal. Food is not a social status. Its a way of life. Have you ever heard about Canadian cuisine? Nope. This is the point to consider. Have you heard about Montreal – métissé – cuisine? Yes. If not, move on. The homegrown products, the chefs, the crowd and the proudness of being what we are. Simple. That is what Bourdain found in Montreal. That’s what Bourdain found in New Orleans. Go to Mousso. You’ll get a glimpse of what I mean. So surprising that so-called experts can’t name a real restaurant emerging from the vast scene of Montreal own cooking Laboratory. Well, we don’t live in the same part of town. Languages issues…Cultural misconceptions… Sheer ignorance?

    • simon harel 22:11 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      Bourdain:

      Most Canadian food in Canada

      “It’s the most uniquely Canadian food in Canada. In Vancouver the cuisine is a very strong mix of great Asian food from all over Asia, a lot of great homegrown stuff, but the cuisine in Montreal could exist nowhere else other than Quebec. It looks and tastes different from food anywhere else and the chefs, particularly when you’re talking about Martin (Picard), or Fred (Morin) or Dave (McMillan), are unlike chefs anywhere else.”

      — interview with The Canadian Press in 2012

    • Tim 08:58 on 2019-05-01 Permalink

      @simon harel: that quote is seven years old and I’m sure everyone on this blog knows pied de cochon and joe beef. The general direction of the comments have veered towards cheap eats not sophisticated cuisine.

      As someone who is done with $30 and up plates in this city, I continue to appreciate the variety of selection that is available in the grocery stores in Montreal. Meats that would only be found in specialty butcher shops in other parts of the country can be found in any grocery store in Montreal. This, to me, is something to celebrate.

    • Ian 12:06 on 2019-05-01 Permalink

      It’s been a while since that trio were considered trendsetters, let’s be honest here. Joe Beef & Pied du Cochon are basically places for rich tourists or to bring business associates on an expense account. Even Vancouver surpassed Montreal for fine dining yers ago. Like I said, shaving truffles and foie gras on everything and calling it fine dining? Yeah. Montreal’s got _that_ market cornered.

      “So boring, So North-American. I don’t care about Toronto. If you want to compare… choose the cities that count. Folks, let me tell you what is different in Montreal. Food is not a social status. Its a way of life. Have you ever heard about Canadian cuisine? Nope. This is the point to consider. Have you heard about Montreal – métissé – cuisine? Yes.”

      Spoken like someone with a narrow provincial outlook. There actually is a Canadian haute cuisine, maybe if you actually paid attention to anyone besides TV celebrity chefs from nearly a decade ago you might have heard of it.

      Montreal’s real charm is that whiel we bicker about our cultures one thing we all get together on is our love of food. Other cities may have fancier food, more diverse food, maybe even better food, but you would be hard pressed to find another place in the world where to start a serious argument all you have to ask is “where are the best bagels and smoked meat”. We care very deeply about food in Montreal, but that’s not something the Tourism board is even remotely capable of tapping into. Maybe for practice they can make another promotional video.

    • Ian 12:11 on 2019-05-01 Permalink

      @Meezly yeas, Belle Corée. TBH if I’m really hankering for Korean I like Chez Bong in Chinatown, best dolsot bibimbap in town IMO – though there are also lots of good little places out in NDG/Upper Lachine and the Saint Kitty noodle district. Even the Mon Ami chain is pretty good, they especially make excellent fried chicken.

      I’ll take any of the places Meezly or DeWolf suggested over another pretentious $20 burger any day.

  • Kate 06:53 on 2019-04-30 Permalink | Reply  

    Antisemitic incidents are still on the rise in Canada – with the highest numbers in Quebec, many of them from Montreal, although B’nai Brith appears to feel that student criticism of Israel is by definition antisemitic so that may be adding to the numbers.

     
    • Ephraim 11:58 on 2019-05-01 Permalink

      Some of it is, some of it isn’t. Some of it is simply a way of hiding anti-semitism in what appears to be polite conversation. Are they also condemning the occupation of Northern Ireland, Northern Cyprus, Crimea, Western Sahara, Transnistria, etc? Not to mention Kashmir, Jammu, Sabah, Gibraltar, etc. And should we even mention Hawaii, which was forced into the US without even a plebiscite?

      Should we mention that Israel is under 75% Jewish. The rest being Christians, Muslims, Druze, and others.

    • Ian 12:15 on 2019-05-01 Permalink

      Hawaii was forced into the US under the rifles of a squad of Marines on behalf of the Dole family… But yeah, international colonialism is kind of a hot topic on campuses these days, hadn’t you noticed? Difference is I don’t recall anyone threatening lawsuits or accusing anyone of racism over people denouncing the occupation of all those other places…

    • Ephraim 21:18 on 2019-05-01 Permalink

      Ian… because hardly anyone ever mentions the other occupations. Haven’t seen a “Free Jammu” sign.

  • Kate 06:47 on 2019-04-30 Permalink | Reply  

    CBC investigated a lot of Airbnb offerings and finds it’s hardly a home-sharing service any more because most are run by a couple of big corporations, usually with a fictitious friendly front. I especially enjoy their tracking down of the friendly “owner” images to stock photo services. Similar report on Radio-Canada.

    There’s also a plan afoot to pass laws to more firmly regulate Airbnb type rentals. I’d be surprised if the law concerned itself with the attack on neighbourhood life with the sapping of domestic rentals and affordability, though – a thing plaguing other cities besides ours. It’s probably going to be mostly about collecting taxes.

     
    • Ephraim 10:21 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      Still waiting for someone to ROAST Revenu Quebec by asking them how much they have brought in via taxes and fines for those doing it illegally.

      The laws changed… if you are doing this where you live, you only need a city permit. But if you are doing a whole apartment where you don’t live, you need a CITQ rating and sign.

      We need to look at Barcelona, Vancouver and Berlin and see how we can reign in AirBnB. Not just for the tax money. AirBnB falls in line if the regulations are strong enough. In one Florida city, if the city finds you in an apartment that is illegally rented, you are thrown out immediately… makes you think twice about renting. And AirBnB is complicit…. it hides people’s addresses and identities to help them evade taxes.

      PS: We also need to change the laws and require either AirBnB to issue a Releve with the income or we need to require banks to issue a Releve with income from outside resources transfered to your account. Either way, the money will be traced and a lot of questions asked.

    • Ephraim 10:44 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      The most important paragraph: “Or, à ce jour, aucun constat d’infraction n’a été délivré, alors que l’ampleur de ce phénomène a été documentée, particulièrement au Québec, par une enquête réalisée par Radio-Canada.”

      Not a single fine!

    • Ian 10:45 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      You really do have to wonder what they are waiting for, it’s like we have been primed for a big crackdown, literally everything is in place to jump, and then …. nothing.

    • Ephraim 11:06 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      @Ian – Can you imagine how much in GST, QST and income taxes in the last 7 years that is unreported? I would start looking at the transfers of money from AirBnBs accounts and then if it goes over $10K petition a judge to see the name of the account holder.

      And all you have to do is catch them once… RQ can then just make up numbers for the undeclared taxes and you have to prove you declared and what you declared. The first person auditted would scare the hell out of everyone else!

    • Ian Rogers 11:10 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      Millions at a guess, in Montreal alone. Supposedly up to 30% of the rental stock in Mile-End is illegal AirBnBs and judging by AirBnB listings in my area I believe it. How many of the sold out units in those new developments downtown are actually inhabited?

    • CE 12:35 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      A friend of mine cleaned Airbnbs in the Tour des Canadiens while it was still under construction and she figured that not a single person lived there full time.

    • Chris 20:08 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      Ian: why do you think they are waiting for anything? Evidence suggests they like the status quo. Tourists love AirBnB, homeowners love it (can make an extra buck). Yes, hoteliers like Ephraim hate it (understandably), just like cabbies hate Uber, but Joe Average loves Uber.

    • Ephraim 20:45 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      And just to show you how much of a criminal enterprise AirBnB and it’s users are…. the account of Mike that was discussed this morning in the article… is now Seb https://www.airbnb.com.mt/users/show/318040 and a brand new stock image https://www.pexels.com/photo/adult-beard-boy-casual-220453/

    • Tim S. 21:06 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      Hoteliers, cabbies, and people who think the function of governments is to enforce laws passed by democratically elected representatives.

    • Ephraim 21:36 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      Chris – I deal with the underside of this business. I get the begging and pleading phone calls. But I also see it in a way that others don’t… as the absentee landlord. And I see it for the taxes it steals. But, that being said, I would have no problem if it was an honest business… it’s not. It’s full of crooked people… and that starts at the top of the business model. And government has a part in this… RQ doesn’t make them collect GST/QST like they make Expedia, Booking and other reservation systems collect the taxes. And those missing taxes? You and I pay them. Their hide the addresses for no other reason than to evade taxes. People won’t put up pictures of their homes, because then RQ might find them and make them pay their fair taxes. It’s a criminal enterprise… otherwise, come to government, offer to show them who made what, offer them the names and addresses, be upfront. Time and time again they have refused, even when ordered by courts.

      Incidentally, the government did make at least one change to the law because of AirBnB… if you live on premises, you no longer have to post the government sign and no longer have to pay partial commercial property taxes. So my tax bill went down. And those people who rent their own place when they are gone… and those who rent a room in their apartment… all legal now. But if you rent an full apartment for under 30 days and you don’t live their as your person primary residence… you need a permit from the city, a rating from the CITQ and a sign. If you are missing any of those components, you are illegal. If you are doing less then $30K a year in business, you don’t need to collect GST or QST. But look at those listings on AirBnB, these people are running underground hotels… not paying their GST, QST, commercial property taxes and likely not declaring the income. This is today’s underground economy and the fact that RQ isn’t finding it… is their personal shame.

    • Ian 12:19 on 2019-05-01 Permalink

      Thing is, construction, property development, and property management are VERY profitable not just for the people in those businesses or even for the city (which they are) but also… wait for it… Revenu Québec.

      Maybe it’s in certain parties’ best interests to let sleeping dogs lie, and MAYBE somebody getting ready to pounce was told to back the hell of and not upset the applecart.

      Kind of like how the city pleads helplessness in the face of gentrification when it’s clear that property value increases are in their best interests as those taxes are one of their main sources of revenue.

      Remember, it’s not called “Impot Québec”, it’s REVENU Québec.

    • Ian 12:23 on 2019-05-01 Permalink

      …my point being that while we complain about all the residential AirBnB the main source of profit is those big new developments downtown that aren’t actually occupied by full-time residents. Millions upon millions of dollars are at stake here, those places get built and have “full occupancy”, that lines a lot of pockets. Maybe more than going after AirBnB. Maybe A LOT more.

      Even the residential neighbourhood AirBnBs benefit the city as they contribute directly to scarcity which inflates selling rices and by extension property taxes… and all those tourists help support the inflated commercial taxes in places like Mile-End.

      As always, cui bono? Follow the money and you’ll find your answer.

  • Kate 06:42 on 2019-04-30 Permalink | Reply  

    Work is nearly complete on two projects at parc Jean-Drapeau – the amphitheatre, and the new paddocks for the Grand Prix.

     
  • Kate 18:58 on 2019-04-29 Permalink | Reply  

    Idiots are going to the flood zones to see the sights and take selfies. Cops are asking people to stay away, and especially not to climb onto the sandbag dikes.

    CTV has a list from Public Security of stuff you should have in a go-bag for evacuations and emergencies. It’s a long list but slightly musty. Surely a solar-powered phone recharger ought to be on there, while “a deck of cards, books, magazines” sounds positively quaint now. And nobody ever seems to ask how you’re meant to get an extra supply of Rx meds “just for emergencies” wink wink.

     
    • Ian 09:56 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      That’s a pretty bg list that implies a lot of storage space like a minivan… most of the cooking supplies would have to be optional even if you have a compact car. Hand-cranked battery rechargers & flashlights are a must-have. An emergency transponder is a very good idea in case you get lost or isolated. I’d also be inclined to suggest a pot for boiling stuff in (not just utensils), a personal water filtration straw (carrying too much water is super heavy and a waste of space), duct tape, waterproof bags, needle & thread, a more serious knife with a serrated edge, a utility knife, crazy glue, and a pack of maxipads which beyond their intended use are super useful for stopping blood flow in case of injury. Also a good idea to bring along some little niceties that go a long way to making you feel better, like sugarcubes.

      Also of course, a towel (nod to Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy – they really are super useful)

    • Kevin 10:12 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      @Kate
      You ask your doctor for an extra supply for your emergency kit. Doesn’t everyone do this?

      I’ll note that list doesn’t include a cell phone, on the assumption that cell phone networks often break down in emergencies. And last time I price checked solar panel chargers they were very pricey for the output. But battery packs are cheap and useful (and some double as bluetooth speakers, so…)

      As for the card games: having stuff to do that doesn’t require electricity is always a good idea for when you’re stuck in a shelter with dozens of people.

      @Ian
      It’s a big list because it implies you’re at home, although it’s possible to stuff a lot of that stuff into a backpack. Or a duffel bag to toss into your car. Although if it really is a bugout situation, I’d think getting out of Montreal in a car would become impossible so I’d want to shift to two wheels.

    • Ian 10:24 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      If this were Toronto I’d agree but there are lots of routes off island and 30 minutes out of town here is sheer wilderness. I don’t know if your family is capable of bicycling through the Laurentians with full bug-out kit but I’m pretty sure mine isn’t… in any case I’m not talking a civil war scenario, just a localized natural disaster – there’s sure to be at least one bridge still up, we aren’t in a serious earthquake zone. In any case, in a “real” scenario I’m more of a camper than a hiker if you get my meaning. Communal effort will go further than hiding out in the woods IMO.

    • Kevin 10:46 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      @Ian
      I’m thinking along the lines of the Highway 13 jam which was caused by one toppled truck. A few fender benders on Decarie during the rush hour from hell and tens of thousands of people would be stuck honking until they run out of gas.

    • Ian 10:57 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      Oh absolutely – but this scenario is an evacuation. If this were a real emergency you’d be better off snipping a gate and running a truck up the railway since trains would be cancelled (for instance). The “I died because I got stuck in the inevitable traffic jam” is disaster movie 101 stuff.

  • Kate 15:04 on 2019-04-29 Permalink | Reply  

    Le Devoir has a sharp piece Monday calling back to 1934 and a strike at Notre-Dame hospital over the hiring of an intern called Samuel Rabinovitch: “The strikers demanded that the medical profession be reserved for franco-Catholics and claimed they were defending the right of patients not to be treated by a non-Catholic […] while claiming their intentions were not antisemitic.” Soon after, the Société St-Jean-Baptiste sent a letter to Hôtel-Dieu demanding they fire one of their doctors because he too was Jewish. The writer also notes the names of editorialists at the time who spoke out against the trend. Can’t ignore the echoes today in Bill 21.

     
    • Blork 15:28 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      Well now, that pulled no punches.

    • Jack 18:27 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      That was an op-ed from a prof at UQAM. Le Devoir supports Bill 21, as it supported the intern strike in 1934.

    • Kate 19:57 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      Additional piece: in response to François Legault’s “c’est comme ça qu’on vit” a L’actualité writer explains how we exactly do not live by pushing aside guaranteed rights to steamroller a bill into law. A second must-read for today. There’ll be a test in the morning.

    • Ian 14:17 on 2019-05-01 Permalink

      Thank you, miss. 😉

  • Kate 06:53 on 2019-04-29 Permalink | Reply  

    There really is no local news story Monday that isn’t about the flooding. CBC has a summary of road and school closures – mostly off-island – and notes on things like free train service for areas otherwise blocked off by closed roads and bridges.

    Luc Ferrandez has been reprimanded for posting a Facebook piece expressing frustration with people who build houses and live in flood zones, then expect government help when the water rises. He’s since taken it down and apologized.

    In some off-island areas, the flooding is being called worse than 2017’s.

     
    • qatzelok 09:13 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      Luc Ferrandez was guilty of flood-shaming?

    • Chris 09:27 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      Maybe if we (and others) had free train service for the last 50 years, we’d have less climate change. Maybe we should start free train service now to minimize how much worse it will become. Nah, that would infringe on business’ right to sell stuff!

      I guess Ferrandez’s timing is bad, but I’m pretty sure lots of people will agree with him.

    • walkerp 10:11 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      Is he really such a hothead or is this signs of somebody having too much power within his little fiefdom?

    • Ephraim 10:31 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      walkerp…. let’s see… he’s well known for deleting comments he doesn’t agree with from his facebook pages. Any politician who can’t manage to take on dissent isn’t much of a politician…. you don’t have to agree with what people say… you do have to let them say it. (And I had to walk away from his discussion in my local park when I heard him blaming parts of the problems in the Plateau on “Anglos”.

    • Ian Rogers 11:32 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      Twitter, too. He actually quit social media for a while because he kept arguing with people in a dismissive and confrontational matter enough that it started to create some pretty bad optics. I was actually pretty surprised he came back to social media. He and Norris both have an, ahem, “reputation” in this regard.

    • qatzelok 11:34 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      I prefer frank politicians to slick liars.
      Personally, I don’t like to be well conned.

    • Joey 12:00 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      The province/city need rules (or at least guidelines) for how politicians use social media. Ferrandez and Norris, and presumably others, use their personal social media accounts almost exclusively as political communications tools, yet they are both quick to delete comments and block people, including their constituents, from seeing their posts. In addition to creating an echo chamber, this prevents citizens from being aware of what their elected officials are communicating to the masses. You may recall that a U.S. federal court forced Donald Trump to unblock Twitter users. Even if you love Luc Ferrandez, warts and all, he’s been Plateau mayor for 10 years and there’s no sign of that changing anytime soon. Turnover, even just within the context of Projet Mtl’s plateau leadership, is overdue. A politician who wakes up on a Saturday morning in the middle of a crisis to have a temper tantrum on Facebook is probably due for a time-out.

    • Ephraim 12:10 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      If you use your personal Social media account for politics, you should expect dissent. You should also realize that when you are local politician and you get into discussions you have no REAL idea about, that you may be called out about it. (For example, making comments about International politics.) You should be smart enough to realize that deleting and blocking don’t solve the problem… they exasperate the problem.

    • Douglas 14:00 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      The only good thing I’ve ever read about Ferrandez was when he got ticketed for biking on the wrong side. Other than that, he is definitely just an emperor of his little fiefdom.

    • Blork 14:35 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      Ferrandez has always struck me as someone who has little patience or respect for people who disagree with him, which is great for a dictator but not so good for a politician.

    • JPM 15:23 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      He has always struck me as a “very stable genius”.

    • EmilyG 16:06 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      Wow, Ferrandez actually said “Fuck you” in his post? That’s pretty unprofessional (among other things.)

      And as for why people “choose to live in flood zones,” I lived in Pierrefonds for most of my life and I don’t remember there ever being any large-scale flooding there until two years ago.

    • Blork 17:34 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      He didn’t just say it, he said it twice (in the same post). Although it does seem that the F-bomb is barely a firecracker to many Francophones. But still…

    • Jack 18:14 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      Did anyone read what he posted? He is dead right.
      https://www.cliqueduplateau.com/2019/04/27/la-publication-de-ferrandez-maintenant-supprimee/.
      Read and tell me whats wrong with him calling out our collective hypocrisy, our collective comfort and convience first before our kids and grandchildrens futures. I think that was his I am mad as hell moment and I get it.

    • Alex L 19:38 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      Thanks Jack. There seems to be some easy Ferrandez bashing going on here. I’m 100% with what Ferrandez posted, although as said on here, maybe the timing wasn’t good.

    • Kate 20:11 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      Indeed. I am also of Ferrandez’ way of thinking. Yes, he could’ve been more tactful, but just imagine the amount of bullshit he has to listen to in his job.

    • Chris 21:02 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      Also, I’d rather a politician with good policies and poor tact, than vice versa.

    • Blork 21:43 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      It’s less about what he said as how he said it. Saying “Fuck you” (twice!) to people who are in the middle of an emergency situation, and using his personal social media to make inflammatory political statements… it feels like something Trump or some other ignoramus would do.

      Some of the people who are affected by these floods have been living at those locations for 30 years or more, and when they moved there it was considered a “once in a century” flood risk. Many of them are not even very close to the water. People have been building close to the water for 500 years.

      So yeah, in retrospect it seems like a bad idea but people are in harm’s way right now and are at risk of losing the most valuable thing they own, and this guy — a borough mayor — comes in and says “fuck you?”

      Is he also going to say “fuck you” to the people who live near Baldwin Park and are now stuck with homes — some new some old — that are built on a contaminated landfill site? If there’s a train derailment near Papineau and St-Gregoire and a bunch of homes burn, will he say “fuck you” to those people before the fires are even out?

    • Jack 02:38 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      @Blork he is saying fuck you to all of us. We are about to begin construction on a “ troisieme linge “ in Quebec City. Alberta and Ontario are reneging on the carbon tax. Alberta is threating BC economically if they don’t allow for another pipeline. I recognize that when some people bought they didn’t realize that these “events” would happen so frequently. But maybe now they can reflect on the fact that having 3 or 4 cars in the driveway, electing a CAQ deputy who had a zero page environmental platform, has a direct link to the situation they are in.

    • Blork 08:46 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      Hmm, yeah I took a closer look and I see that now. Still, seems a bit low class.

    • Jack 09:22 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      I think its just pure desperation, he has been on these issues for 20 plus years and sees us going backwards. When I think classy I think Dougie Ford.

    • walkerp 09:37 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      I too agree with the text of what he writes. The weirdness is that I am a citizen who has to phone 311 once a week to complain that the streetcleaner still hasn’t passed by. He is the borough mayor whose party is in power and who has demonstrated that he can use that power. This tone of frustration demonstrates that he really has no idea what real citizen frustration feels like and that to me is a sign that he has been in power too long.

    • Kevin 10:29 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      Ferrandez is a Manichean who wants everybody to sit in their own neighbourhood and never leave. He’s Lord Business.

      We shouldn’t build in flood plains – except all flood maps are out of date.
      We have to protect woodlands – except people want a place to live with space and the Plateau is too expensive.
      We shouldn’t build a third link to Quebec City except there’s too much traffic because people like being mobile.
      We shouldn’t build a second stadium except the Big O doesn’t work for anything.
      We shouldn’t expand the airport except for jobs that depend on tourism and mobility.
      We should put a deposit on glass bottles except companies don’t want to spend the money to use recycled glass.
      We know we need to sort our recycling at home except for all the times that didn’t work so cities stopped asking.
      We know we shouldn’t build a pipeline except we already have pipelines and use inefficient trains to transport oil, and the deal was to impose a carbon tax to discourage carbon use.

    • Ian 10:36 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      Well put, Kevin. Holier-than-thou and intolerant of the general population are not hallmarks of a great leader.

    • Jack 10:46 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      Kevin you should have stopped at we should or we should not thats where your logic was really strong, after that…not so much.

    • Chris 10:49 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      Blork “some … have been living at those locations for 30 years or more”. An earlier article Kate posted said it’s been illegal to build in flood zones for _50 years_. So even longtimers get reduced sympathy from me. Buying property involves professionals like real estate agents, lawyers, notaries, etc., obviously each case is different, and yeah some maps were outdated, but many buyers should have known even half a century ago that they were making a risky choice.

      I’m also reminded of the refrain in the USA after a gun massacre: “now is not the time to talk about gun control”. Perhaps the middle of a climate disaster *is* the time to get mad about and talk about things that are destroying our climate. Including most of Kevin’s list.

    • walkerp 11:34 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      I would love to see some journalism on what actually goes down (or went down) when people bought in a potentially flooding area. Does the agent mention it and brush it off and the buyer doesn’t ask because they don’t want to know?

    • Blork 12:37 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      @Chris my point was that much of what is flooded now wasn’t considered a flood zone 30-40 years ago. (AFAIK; to be confirmed.)

    • Kevin 12:38 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      @walkerp
      We did this in 2017: flood maps are out of date and very hard to find.

      Some places saw floods in 2017 for the first time ever. Some were places that flood frequently.

      Huntingdon used to flood all the time, but it hasn’t flooded for years.

      Flooding isn’t a uniform thing: it all depends on many bodies of water and snow packs that can be hundreds of kilometres away.

    • Blork 16:09 on 2019-04-30 Permalink

      There are a few things to bear in mind before you get all judgey on people who live near water. First thing is that 30-40 years ago, there was very little talk of climate change, and what little talk there was all seemed very abstract and theoretical, and even a bit flaky. And there was virtually no talk of flood plains. In fact, early “global warming” rhetoric was the opposite: it was all about how there would be LESS water; that everything was going to dry up and turn to desert. Rising sea levels was only raised as an issue for coastal cities.

      The idea of climate change leading to recurring flooding along the St. Lawrence and its tributaries was obscure at best. People were more likely to look at historical precedent than to rely on tangential side notes to some odd doomsday scenario, which is what global warming seemed like three or four decades ago.

      Back then, global warming was just one of any number of “sky is falling” scenarios that people heard about, all of which took back stage to more immediate threats such as getting vaporized by a Soviet nuclear missile or having your house collapse on you in an earthquake.

      Speaking of, how many of us live in houses or apartments that are earthquake-proof? You say earthquakes aren’t a big problem? They’re probably about as much of a risk now as flooding was 35 years ago. So when your apartment caves in on you next year and you loose all your stuff, I take it you won’t mind if some earthquake-preparedness advocate pays you a visit to give you a lecture on how you should have known better.

      (For the record, I’m not talking about recent housing developments along the water, where people really ought to know better. I’m talking about the majority of people getting flooded now, which are people living in houses built decades ago and have only had problems very recently.)

    • Kevin 08:48 on 2019-05-01 Permalink

      @Blork
      We’ve had multiple tornadoes and microbursts in Quebec in the past decade. How many new construction homes are spending the $2,000 to ensure the rafters are not ripped off?

    • Ian 12:34 on 2019-05-01 Permalink

      On CBC yesterday I was listening to a guy in the flood zone who wants to move pretty badly but can’t afford to. His house was built in 1895.

      While there are a lot of post-war developments that were clearly meant to quickly line the pockets of developers who are nowhere to be seen now, a lot of this retro-shaming is wildly inaccurate.

  • Kate 18:20 on 2019-04-28 Permalink | Reply  

    A massive legal battle is impending over who gets the job of installing the tracks for the REM.

     
  • Kate 18:17 on 2019-04-28 Permalink | Reply  

    In a special session in Pierrefonds, city council declared the flood emergency will extend till May 2. The bigger story is off the island with landslides and bridge and road closures all over; you can’t get to Île Bigras except by train.

     
  • Kate 14:05 on 2019-04-28 Permalink | Reply  

    The Biosphere, whose fate was uncertain after the end of a lease this year, will keep operating till the end of 2020 at least, after a deal between the city and the feds.

     
  • Kate 08:59 on 2019-04-28 Permalink | Reply  

    The Centre d’histoire piece this weekend shows a lost view of the Sun Life Building – when 5 Place Ville Marie went up, it threw the eastern side of that building into perpetual shade.

    The Gazette’s “History Through Our Eyes” looked at the opening of Expo 67 52 years ago, and at the 1944 crash of a warplane in Griffintown, among other historical incidents this week. It’s good that a paper as old as the Gazette is making a feature from their vast photo bank.

     
  • Kate 22:14 on 2019-04-27 Permalink | Reply  

    The Gazette has a map and list of roads closed due to flooding. On the island of Montreal, flooding is mostly in Pierrefonds-Roxboro and Ahuntsic-Cartierville, but there are lots of locations off island, and a breached dike in Ste-Marthe-sur-le-Lac is the big news of the moment. (Clue: you don’t want to be living anywhere “sur-le-lac” right now.)

     
  • Kate 21:51 on 2019-04-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Thousands were out Saturday to demonstrate in favour of urgent climate action.

     
    • Chris 09:32 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      “L’augmentation de la population humaine reste l’éléphant dans la pièce.” Good to see this point raised more and more.

      Free condoms and birth control pills, provided globally, to anyone and everyone that wants them, I think would be a much more useful solution than changing light bulbs and all the other crap they’re pushing instead.

    • qatzelok 09:53 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      If we all assume that a lower population wouldn’t be destroying the earth’s environments right now, you have a point. But what if 3 billion people just consumed twice as much? The lower population would be useless.

    • walkerp 10:30 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      The problem is that our entire economy is based on population growth. Free birth control only works when there is not an economic demand for labour (in developing nations) and housing starts (in developed nations). We need to change the entire system so that economic growth is not the fundamental objective.

    • Chris 21:07 on 2019-04-29 Permalink

      qatzelok: sure, theoretically, but what’s your point? We should just increase population then? Everyone wants a better standard of living. The Chinese would like to live as cushily as the Americans. It’s just not going to work without population reduction. Better with free condoms than eventual war.

      walkerp: yes, capitalism’s requirement for relentless growth eventually breaks with the reality of a finite planet. This is little discussed.

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