Updates from January, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 20:40 on 2020-01-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Some may remember a news story last month about small record stores being fined ridiculous amounts for staying open past official retail hours. This is about to change, although it’s not made clear here how the restriction on retail hours, decreed by the province, will be dealt with, nor whether the stores will be able to escape the high fines the Quebec inspectors levied on them.

    • Ian 21:55 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      PM has already made self-congratulatory posts on Facebook but have admitted thy can’t do anything about existing fines. All they did for the hours thing was change the zoning, it’s an easy workaround they should have enacted on Mile End’s commercial streets decades ago, as it would have avoided all this unpleasantness. I guess the PM crowd aren’t into records.

  • Kate 19:34 on 2020-01-28 Permalink | Reply  

    This photo has already gone around a bit, but I wanted to blog it: a shot of the depth of the excavation that will connect the REM to Édouard-Montpetit metro station.

    • mare 20:01 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      Those elevators better work. ALL THE TIME.

    • Robert H 21:30 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      Vraiment saisissante. Cela me rappelle de monter dans le métro à Washington DC. Ce qui m’a frappé, c’est la profondeur des stations, chacune un puits de mine.

      @mare: An understatement, pun intended.

  • Kate 19:20 on 2020-01-28 Permalink | Reply  

    City hall has declined to adopt a definition of antisemitism that has been found controversial. Inevitably Lionel Perez and Marvin Rotrand are enacting outrage, Perez even saying the decision sends a message of hate.

    Note that neither Calgary nor Vancouver have adopted the definition either.

    I’m getting tired of the politics of extremes in our time. Nobody really thinks city hall is a nest of antisemites, and it cheapens the seriousness of the real existence of antisemitism to play a game pretending it is.

    • Ian 20:19 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      When I see people trying to define antisemitism in this way I often feel uncomfortable.
      It ties in very much to an extremely specific view of what Israel is, who it is for, and what it is that even excludes a lot of Jews. It’s intellectually disingenuous and manipulative.

      Worse, it leads to situations like the JDL harassing the “wrong” kind of Jews in the streets, threatening to cut the “sideburns” and trim the beards of Hassidim.


      No one group should get to define who is a “good” Jew and call everyone else antisemitic… the relationship between pro-Israel and white power orgs is very disconcerting,

  • Kate 19:14 on 2020-01-28 Permalink | Reply  

    A dog that’s been a hot potato since it attacked and injured six people in summer 2018 will be euthanized, Anne-France Goldwater having finally given up on her crusade to preserve its life.

  • Kate 13:26 on 2020-01-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Both the orange and green lines took a dive Tuesday morning, but are back to normal as I post.

    • jeather 13:35 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      Irritatingly, the stm twitter accounts were useless for this. I don’t know why they bother having them. (I was on around 8:20 when they said service was resuming; the first tweet was at 8:52.)

    • Blork 13:39 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      Yeah, I spent a glorious 30 minutes adrift at Berri/UQAM, during which my headphone batteries died.

    • jeather 18:20 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      Green line down again this evening!

    • Blork 19:07 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      I KNOW!!! And slowdown on the Orange line. FFS!

    • Daniel 19:16 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      It’s a source of regular frustration to turn up to the station and find things are down with no prior reporting on their Twitter accounts. Of course, if people are informed of shutdowns, they could plan alternate routes or delay their journeys, and take some of the load of the system. It seems common sense to me for the STM to want to keep their customers informed, similar to how things work in London for the TfL.

      I’ve no idea why the STM don’t reliably report their outages. The only reason I can think of (besides incompetence) is it makes their service stats look better, but that’s dreadful customer service.

    • John B 19:33 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      They only claim to report outages of 10 minutes or more on Twitter, (which is an improvement – I think it used to be 20 minutes). Having knowledge before heading out would be great, but it’s clearly not a priority for the STM, (see also: iBus).

    • denpanosekai 20:56 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      yep today sucked.

    • Joey 10:04 on 2020-01-29 Permalink

      I haven’t taken the Metro as a commuter since, I don’t know, 2005? When one of the lines is down, is there any kind of indication outside the station to give people a chance to find an alternate route without going down to platform level?

    • JaneyB 13:05 on 2020-01-29 Permalink

      @Joey. Nope. Nothing outside the station because…nothing inside the station either. STM likes to keep an element of mystery to commutes.

    • Joey 13:33 on 2020-01-29 Permalink

      Thanks JaneyB. I can understand why they would hedge if the delay seems relatively short, but talk about low-hanging fruit…

  • Kate 13:13 on 2020-01-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Pierrefonds-Roxboro wants guarantees from Montreal on flooding, after the feds dished out $50 million to help. Unfortunately, that won’t pay for a time machine to go back and tell people not to build houses on wetlands and flood plains.

  • Kate 09:14 on 2020-01-28 Permalink | Reply  

    The Craig pumping station, a curious little stone building under the Jacques-Cartier bridge, looks to be on its way out after decades of neglect led to the demolition of its chimney recently.

    • nau 17:55 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      Not on topic, but that old typhoid hospital building by Lucien-L’Allier metro that burned is being demolished. Looks like they’re keeping the facade on three sides. As I mentioned in the old thread, there’s a large space behind that building. Now, post-fire, maybe they will expand the footprint of the building, making the development more lucrative.

    • Janet 19:08 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      In 2016, a large part of the block where I live was destroyed by fire (https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/police-investigating-arson-in-old-montreal). The developer of a new condo project had been obliged to preserve the façade of the greystone building on Wellington. The day following the fire, the façade was demolished, though Dinu Bumbaru was publicly calling for its preservation. Now the entire space is taken up by a fancy new condo building, with no need to incorporate any historic elements.
      Not far away, in what has become a commercial street in Griffintown, I see another huge excavation where there had previously been a flower store that was sold. Next door to that was a carwash, which conveniently burned to the ground a few months ago (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/fire-griffintown-1.5076473). Now that entire space is being developed as condos.
      How can one not see a pattern in these fires? Why are the developments allowed to proceed (often bigger and better) afterwards? (I see that some readers did express a certain scepticism regarding the Peel Street fire back in March.)
      It might be interesting to keep a running tally of such fires.

    • Kate 09:10 on 2020-01-29 Permalink

      Janet, it’s not a bad idea to have a list of areas where people mysteriously profited from destruction, but I don’t think that can be applied to the Craig building, which is sort of marooned on a traffic island in a spot where I don’t think anyone will want to build condos.

      Although you never know. That area will change radically once the Molson buildings are demolished.

    • Janet 12:07 on 2020-01-29 Permalink

      You’re right, Kate. I was replying to Nau’s not-on-topic comment — thereby hijacking the thread.

    • Ian 13:45 on 2020-01-29 Permalink

      “Mystery” fires are very common. Walk down any residential street in Mile End, if the building is built more recently than 1920 chances are that was a “mysterious” fire. People don’t remember how common those were but even in the early 1990s I wasn’t able to get fire insurance for my apartment on St. Larry at St Joe as the entire neighbourhood had been blacklisted by the insurance industry for having too many fires within too short a space of time.

    • Anthony van Osch 00:26 on 2020-01-30 Permalink

      Regarding the Craig Pumping Station and its impending demolition, the city says they can’t safe it. I was just in Dresden, Germany and compared to the restoration of that city, whose centre was obliterated by WWII firebombing, Montreal’s excuses are patently ridiculous

    • Ian 10:14 on 2020-01-30 Permalink

      Maybe they felt there was more point to rebuilding the city centre of one of the most beautiful cities in Germany than an antique pumping station out in the east end Montreal hidden under bridge.

  • Kate 09:12 on 2020-01-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Owners of downtown condos have been fined by their condo syndicate for running their properties as Airbnbs.

    • Blork 11:25 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      Not just owners; also the long-term tenants. The condos were leased to people who then turned around and Airbnb’d them. Both parties held responsible.

    • Ephraim 12:12 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      Why is RQ not doing their job. The fine is $2.5K per day and $5K per day corporate. We need this money to pay off the deficit.

    • jeather 13:04 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      One owner was fined, but not the other; I’m not sure why.

    • Blork 13:06 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      @jeather, it could be that one owner was shown to know what was going on and to enable it (thus fined) but the other owner was unaware.

    • jeather 13:08 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      Sure, or one owner was in the process of eviction, or one owner was renting to their sibling who rented out. I couldn’t find the court judgement to see.

    • Ephraim 19:03 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      @jeather Likely not published yet. But there are at least 2 other judgement in the system where the strata has won against the condo owner. (And a slate of judgments at the rental board where people lost their apartments for doing STR without notifying the landlord.)

  • Kate 08:59 on 2020-01-28 Permalink | Reply  

    The STM has suspended Gleason Frenette, head of its maintenance union. No specific problem is mentioned, but (and this is starting to sound like a refrain) intimidation and “verbal violence” are alluded to.

    • Chris 11:29 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      Words are not violence. Words can be hurtful, etc. but they aren’t violence. This modern phrasing diminishes real violence.

    • Ian 13:49 on 2020-01-29 Permalink

      Huh interesting, I was wondering if thee was anyone left who wasn’t aware of the seriousness of bullying and intimidation as forms of mental abuse, but now I know. FWIW it also falls under federal laws against criminal harassment. https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-46/section-264.html

    • Chris 22:37 on 2020-01-29 Permalink

      Ian, not sure your point there. Those things are bad to be sure, but aren’t violence either. Not everything bad is violent.

  • Kate 20:14 on 2020-01-27 Permalink | Reply  

    The Gazette promises more detail on the Sue Montgomery débâcle, but there’s not much more in this item. Whether there was the usual office drama going on (isn’t there always?) or whether the manager was a real monster is not clear, and probably never will be, as this will not get aired out in a court of law.

    I think the oddest part about this story is the statement that neither of the people allegedly subjected to psychological harassment actually brought a complaint. If not – how did the process even get started?

    Update: A little more from TVA, in which they quote Montgomery as saying “Demander à quelqu’un de faire son travail, ce n’est pas du harcèlement.”

    • Jack 21:08 on 2020-01-27 Permalink

      I’ve been wrong before, often, but this case makes me think of this one. Career civil servants can bank on this strategy when they don’t like their political boss. https://montrealgazette.com/opinion/columnists/martin-patriquin-another-side-to-the-tamara-thermitus-story

    • Kevin 22:01 on 2020-01-27 Permalink

      Montgomery asked for an investigation into another employee.

      Sounds to me like a bunch of office workers hate each other and some are much more connected.

    • walkerp 07:18 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      So many questions.
      Is Sue Montgomery taking this position because she hasn’t seen the report or because she doesn’t agree with its conclusion? If not, why did she call for the investigation? How does she not know what is going on with her direct report?
      And on the other side, why did Plante go nuclear so quickly? Doesn’t she need Montgomery’s support and presence in her cabinet, given the size of NDG? Could they not have talked together and worked something out?

    • walkerp 10:06 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      Hmmm, reading through the timeline does give the impression that Montgomery had several chances. Feels like she is going to the wall to defend Harris. Either she is blind to her direct report’s behaviour or she feels there is a political motivation behind the report.

    • Blork 11:29 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      I haven’t read extensively on this, and I have no skin in this game, but my understanding is that Montgomery was ordered to fire the assistant that she had hired, but was denied access to the report that outlined why the person should be fired.

      If it were me, and I hired someone, and my boss ordered me to fire them, I would most certainly want to know what the grounds for dismissal were. I have no opinion about Montgomery otherwise, but based on what I’ve read, I’d be in the same position as her.

    • Kate 13:19 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      Blork, that’s how I reacted as well, but Ian says in a comment earlier that it’s not unusual, in a hierarchical situation, to be told to fire someone without knowing why. I’ve never worked in highly stratified settings myself so I’ve never encountered this.

    • Blork 13:21 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      Kate, I did see that, but I’m not really buying it. Particularly with something like this (political bureaucracy) where everyone is always yelling about “transparency.” I know I for one would not do it so easily, even if it was the norm in my workplace.

    • walkerp 16:16 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      It was Montgomery who ordered the investigation in the first place, so she must have known or at least heard something was up. The reason she isn’t getting the report is because the investigation itself accuses her of turning a blind eye to what was going on. Still, does seem weird. They should just show her the report to make her un-blind about what is going on, if there is actually some real harassment going on.
      But again, I she should have already known what was going on. It is her direct report. I am totally speculating here, but I wonder if she ordered the external investigation as a stalling/avoiding tactic and it ended up blowing up in her face.
      The other suspicious factor is that Harris’ first action (from what I have read) was to fire Daniel Sanger, who I guess was a Projet loyalist of some older guard. So this “harrassment” could be she is having conflicts with existing staff who were loyal to Sanger.
      But it also could be that she is not a good manager and was abusing her staff. That kind of behaviour seems almost endemic in older Quebec institutions.
      Again, so many questions.

    • Jack 08:36 on 2020-01-29 Permalink

      “Demander à quelqu’un de faire son travail, ce n’est pas du harcèlement.” Thats why Im getting the vibe that this was a unionized employee who did not like a political appointee.

  • Kate 19:58 on 2020-01-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Mathieu Bock-Côté says the situation of French in Montreal is catastrophic. There’s even graphs.

    • Dhomas 20:15 on 2020-01-27 Permalink

      Mathieu Bock-Côté is a catastrophe. I’m not even sure I want to read that article.

    • Jack 21:17 on 2020-01-27 Permalink

      Even I couldn’t read it. The guy he interviewed is also freaking out about that other English speaking bastion…Longueuil.

    • John B 21:30 on 2020-01-27 Permalink

      I’ll admit to giving up about halfway through, but…

      Pour assurer la stabilité du poids relatif à long terme des francophones au Québec, au moins deux conditions seraient requises : 1) que les transferts linguistiques des immigrants aillent à 90% environ vers le français et 2) que les francophones n’effectuent pas de transferts nets vers l’anglais.

      Ces chiffres sent la bécosse. Je me demande dans quel trou il les ai trouvé.

      In that section he’s talking about how 55% of allophones switching to French as a preferred language won’t be enough to keep growing the use of French. I’m not sure what he’s talking about, but show me an investment with a 5% payoff every year and I’ll take it every day.


      For fun, I Googled “MBC Graph”


    • John B 21:33 on 2020-01-27 Permalink

      I guess images get eaten by the blog, that’s probably for the best. It was a down-and-to-the-right chart of some cryptocurrency with the symbol MBC.

    • Kevin 00:04 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      The French-descended people, not the language. But that kind of sloppiness is typical of MBC and his followers.

    • mare 01:42 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      I love the graphs, with a resolution of a few percentile points between top and bottom. The margin of error in these polls is probably bigger than that.

  • Kate 14:07 on 2020-01-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Reports have varied on whether snow was going to be picked up after Saturday’s mixed precipitation, and in which boroughs. My own borough only just chimed in on Facebook that it was going to follow suit with the boroughs planning a pickup.

    They’ll have to move fast, because it’s melting away, lakes big enough to be named growing at street corners.

  • Kate 14:01 on 2020-01-27 Permalink | Reply  

    The STM has been testing electric buses on the 36 Monk bus route for two years, and now it’s ready to declare it the first all-electric bus route in the system.

    • Ephraim 09:59 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      Plenty of all-electric buses in Toronto…. Maybe all-battery-electric?

    • Kate 13:51 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      Well yes. We don’t have the overhead cabling for the other kind of electric bus.

    • Ephraim 14:37 on 2020-01-28 Permalink

      But that’s not the “first all-electric bus route”, is it? Trolley buses are electric. Toronto has had them since 1922. Heck, Montreal had them until 1966. But Vancouver still runs them.

  • Kate 13:58 on 2020-01-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Lizzo, Kendrick Lamar and the Foo Fighters will be on the bill at Osheaga, at the end of July.

    • EmilyG 14:50 on 2020-01-27 Permalink

      That’s pretty neat.
      I was only at Osheaga once, though I might like to go again. I’ll wait and see what other bands/artists are playing.

    • denpanosekai 17:11 on 2020-01-27 Permalink

      Section.80, HiiiPoWeR

    • EmilyG 19:35 on 2020-01-27 Permalink

      Ah, they have the rest of the lineup announced now.

  • Kate 08:49 on 2020-01-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Last year saw a record 26 road rage incidents recorded by the SPVM.

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