Updates from August, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 08:55 on 2020-08-30 Permalink | Reply  

    La Presse asks and answers Why Macdonald, why now? with a UdeM historian.

    Alberta premier Jason Kenney is all bent out of shape about it, and says we can send the statue to him.

    Now we have a really nifty plinth in Place du Canada – whose statue should go there?

    • DeWolf 10:51 on 2020-08-30 Permalink

      In response to Jason Kenney, indigenous journalist Robert Jago posted on Twitter, “Fair play, Blackfeet, Cree, Metis deserve a shot at him too. Hell, they could do a tour.”

      Valérie Plante must be feeling burned by the recent negative media attention because she is all over this, insisting that the SPVM will investigate thoroughly and the city will restore the statue. I guess she’s worried the kinds of people who freak out over bike lanes also love Sir John A?

    • Kate 10:54 on 2020-08-30 Permalink

      I think it’s more a question of simply asserting order. As mayor, she has to be on the side of order, officially.

    • AA 14:52 on 2020-08-30 Permalink

      The most Montreal thing to do would be to replace with a statue of the Botero family: https://twitter.com/Montreal/status/1288196045906862080

  • Kate 15:39 on 2020-08-29 Permalink | Reply  

    No Borders Media reports on Facebook that protesters have thrown down the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald in Place du Canada. Photo from them. Links to come.

    Here’s video.

    Seems this was part of, or following a Defund the Police march Saturday afternoon.

    Update: Stories from Radio-Canada, CBC, La Presse.

    Further photos from Twitter:

    • Ian 16:51 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      Good riddance. I’m surprised nobody did it sooner.

    • EmilyG 17:04 on 2020-08-29 Permalink


    • thomas 17:27 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      So vandalism will convince people to defund the police?

    • Dominic 17:31 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      This is a good thing.

    • mare 18:51 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      And nobody stole the head? Or put it on a stake? Colour me surprised.

    • Douglas 20:17 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      City needs to put the statue back on asap.

      Kids pick up a history book for the first time in their lives and suddenly they are “woke”.

    • Blork 20:33 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      Nope. This is bad. This is not how you do things in a civilized country, especially in the current climate. This act was juvenile and illegal, and the backlash will also be juvenile and illegal and probably violent.

      We are not immune to the insanity that is prevalent in the US right now.

    • Dhomas 21:29 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      John A. MacDonald is a part of our history. Taking down his statue will not erase the fact that he was Canada’s first Prime Minister. Was he perfect? No, but he was a product of his time. Personally, I think he was pretty shitty to First Nation peoples, but I have the benefit of several decades of hindsight. Still, I’d much prefer if the statue remained with a plaque explaining who he was and why he is controversial by today’s standards. It would be much more of a learning experience for everyone, rather than allowing people to tear down whatever they feel doesn’t agree with their world view.
      Side note: I’m not exactly sure what John A. MacDonald has to do with defunding the police.

    • Kate 21:34 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      Dhomas, Macdonald was the main founder of the RCMP, widely used out west to suppress indigenous and Métis folks.

    • Kevin 22:12 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      Not the first time this statue was beheaded.

    • Dominic 05:42 on 2020-08-30 Permalink

      “Personally, I think he was pretty shitty to First Nation peoples”

      “I have reason to believe that the agents as a whole … are doing all they can, by refusing food until the Indians are on the verge of starvation, to reduce the expense.” Macdonald in the House of Commons in 1882.

      We should never honour men who supported and cheered on the mass-starvation of indigenous people, by blanketing it in some mock-protection of history. What kind of nation celebrates a racist who caused the death of thousands on purpose simply because that person was elected to office? The statue belongs in a museum, and his story taught to children, but not in display to all citizens. I’d rather see a dozen statues to Terry Fox or Viola Desmond or Dr Wilder Penfield before we put the JAM statue back.

    • Dhomas 07:36 on 2020-08-30 Permalink

      @Kate: I hadn’t considered the RCMP angle. Thanks for clarifying; it now makes more sense to me.
      @Dominic: that is pretty shitty. I had not heard this particular quote of his. I am glad I have now, and I would hope others also learn of how JAM was a genocidal maniac.
      Maybe we should move the statue to a museum, and maybe this latest incident will convince the powers that be to do just that. I don’t agree with these methods, though. I definitely agree with the right to protest, but I think it should be done peacefully and without violence or damage to property.

    • Michael Black 08:14 on 2020-08-30 Permalink

      But this isn’t about the guy, it’s about a mob pulling down a statue.

      If it had been a group of neo-nazis stomping around and doing damage, would people be cheering them on?

      150 years ago, Thomas Scott was not an elected official, yet he had a gang, and he was part of the process that expected people who were already in Red River to roll over and let Canada spread. He and his gang beat and lynched Norbert Parisien, they say my great, great grandfather stopped it, but too late. Norbert had been imprisoned by Scott, escaped, and in fear shot my great grandmother’s brother. Yet the family didn’t want any retaliation. Where were people yesterday taking responsibility? When the expeditionary force got out to Red River, in essence the forerunner of the mounties (complete with Sam Steele), there was a lot mire violence, and it seems from that force. People just talk about Louis Riel, but a lot of people were hated. How is that different from the mob yesterday deciding what’s “right”?

      I’m tired of people being so outraged by public figures, when everyone who came over were part of it. They carried the diseases, they spread it, and they moved in as population diminished. They benefitted, and they too were racist. They elected those officials that are now so hated. They were not really different from the mounties or the prime minister . That prime minister wasn’t the cause of the racism my great, great grandmother felt, it was from everyday people.

      It’s convenient to blame a long dead official, but real change won’t come from reacting to some historical factoid, but looking deep and realizing the problem isn’t some other. People should be thinking about this hatred, maybe it’s really that they hate themselves.

      It’s easy to be against something, harder to actual like something. But there is a whole lot that needs to be done, and it won’t change by slogans or just reacting to the tip of the iceberg.

      And on top of all that, tearing down a statue doesn’t do a thing to change police abuse. There too, people are outraged by the most blatant physical abuse, but tye story is way deeper.

    • Douglas 08:34 on 2020-08-30 Permalink

      Be honest. Those kids that pulled it down don’t care about aboriginals.

      They care about anarchy first and foremost and expressing wokeness.

      MacDonald was just a target of their teenage angst. I’d put up 2 statues in response but that’s just me.

    • dwgs 08:48 on 2020-08-30 Permalink

      Thank you Michael, that was very well said.

    • walkerp 09:40 on 2020-08-30 Permalink

      He’s also super boring and all those outraged by this can barely remember what he actually did.

      I’d rather they put up a big statue of a cool owl done by some crazy artist.

    • Kate 09:59 on 2020-08-30 Permalink

      Thank you, Michael Black.

      Douglas, what you don’t know about young people would fill a book. Teenage angst may exist, but it stays home and listens to sad or angry music. These people put themselves out there, risking police brutality and arrest, to make a point about the kind of society they want to live in. What did you do yesterday?

    • Meezly 10:15 on 2020-08-30 Permalink

      I fully support the toppling of statues of problematic historical figures. Whether you were a Hungarian who toppled the statue of Stalin, or an angry middle class Montreal student who just toppled the statue of JAM, toppling statues of leaders who had committed horrible acts against humanity is a powerful symbolic act. Sure, it’s not going to change people’s minds overnight. But for many, including myself, it signifies a first step towards ending the myth of white supremacy.


    • MarcG 11:48 on 2020-08-30 Permalink

      For people who say that it should have a plaque put on it or be moved to a museum rather than taken down like this: there was plenty of opportunity for that over the past few years when it started being vandalized on a regular basis. You snooze, you lose.

    • Jebediah Pallindrome 14:31 on 2020-08-30 Permalink

      Guys c’mon now, this one’s easy:

      Toppling statues in Eastern Europe 30 years ago = good, liberty

      Toppling statues in Canada now = bad, cancel culture

      Remember, they’re only genocidal racist maniacs if they’re from another country. When they’re from here they’re ‘flawed’ or ‘controversial’.

      Also, all statues erected in the 19th century are inherently good because no one from a long time ago ever made a mistake, and they certainly didn’t have any kind of political agenda.

      All public spaces with pre-existing statues ought to be secured against any kind of change – in perpetuity – despite whatever new information may come to light. All historians are dangerous radicals, unless they confirm what you already think you know.

      Oh and most importantly: removing statues erases history. The Soviets destroyed all Nazi monuments and this is why no one in Germany knows what happened between 1933 and 1945. Total. Mystery.

  • Kate 11:08 on 2020-08-29 Permalink | Reply  

    Is it a good thing that Time Out Market has put a terrasse on Phillips Square with the intention of using this public space for private use?

    • JoeNotCharles 11:23 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      How is that different from any other restaurant who’s allowed to put a terrase in the street in good weather?

    • DeWolf 11:53 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      Based on the article, it sounds like there is no food being served on site – you need to go collect your order from Time Out Market. The terrasse is public and it has been there for a couple of months already. This just sounds like a clever sponsorship deal that allows the city to get some extra cash in exchange for something that was already there.

    • Mr.Chinaski 11:58 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      Kate, save your post and re-read it in February when its -30C and half the restaurants will have closed in downtown MTL.

    • Kate 12:40 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      This may all be relevant, but there’s a sign in the picture saying the terrasse belongs to Time Out.

      Forgive me if I’m a little salty about hints of enclosure.

  • Kate 11:07 on 2020-08-29 Permalink | Reply  

    Quebecor had its investigative journalists dig into the supposed generosity of the Desmarais family toward the Montreal Heart Institute, and found that there’s more to it than meets the eye, including a company QMI says is prepared to sell private medical data to pharmaceutical companies – a claim it has already denied – this in an economic climate where the CAQ’s economy minister, Pierre Fitzgibbon, is on record as saying he’s quite happy about monetizing our medical data. At play is a potentially profitable new heart drug.

  • Kate 10:32 on 2020-08-29 Permalink | Reply  

    We knew this year’s marathon was cancelled, but the most recent organizer now says they won’t be doing it any more in future. The organizer says it wasn’t profitable, but is that really the point? Why should a Montreal foot race have to make money for an American organizer?

    • Daisy 19:58 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      Races do not need for be run by for profit organizations anyway, American or otherwise. The purpose should not be to turn a profit, just to put on an excellent athletic event while covering costs. (According to this amateur runner.)

  • Kate 10:23 on 2020-08-29 Permalink | Reply  

    Le Devoir’s Jeanne Corriveau gives us the history of Jarry Park; although she mentions that it was named for Raoul Jarry, a councillor in the area in the 1920s, she doesn’t add the odd fact that the adjoining street is named for a different, unrelated Jarry, landowner Stanislas Blégnier dit Jarry.

    I also missed last week a history of Mount Royal park, done by another of their writers.

    • ProposMontreal-Martin 08:26 on 2020-08-30 Permalink

      Weird choice of header picture. Why the pope when the area is clearly known historically for so many other things than that one single event.

    • Kate 20:28 on 2020-08-30 Permalink

      It was a pretty big deal at the time. 350,000 people crowded into the park – it must have been a real mess afterwards.

  • Kate 09:47 on 2020-08-29 Permalink | Reply  

    Quebec is still insisting that four small record stores pay the hefty fines issued last year when they stayed open past legal closing time on Record Store Day.

    • Michael Black 10:10 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      And topically, today is Record Store Day, postponed from April. Actually, they’ve spread it over three days, so also Sept 26 and Oct 24.

      I think the new releases are spread over the three days. But maybe this will spread the last minute rush. Or maybe it will make things worse, because the stores will only let a few people in at a time.

    • Ian 16:48 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      I know we’ve been having this conversation on Twitter too, but while these fines were issued by Quebec, not the city, Projet Montreal does control zoning & commercial property tax collection – both of which would be perfect for helping Phonopolis and the others out of this jam… unless all their talk about helping businesses in the pandemic is just more hot air.

      Projet Montreal talks a good game about helping small businesses in the pandemic and fighting gentrification but they’re just good at blocking off streets, pretty street furniture, and stenciling flowers over the potholes.

      Maybe the city can send over some clowns 😀

  • Kate 09:37 on 2020-08-29 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s a slow news day, and a new wave of drama from the Museum of Fine Arts is percolating in the media, along with a related tale about Quebec withdrawing a $10M grant it gave the museum earlier this year to create a special Riopelle wing.

    Just as well, really. Riopelle isn’t all that.

    • Ian 01:02 on 2020-08-30 Permalink

      I never understood why Riopelle is such a big deal. Borduas, McEwan, Goodwin.. There’s lots of way more interesting contemporary artists de chez nous of that period.

  • Kate 14:44 on 2020-08-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Montreal has extended its state of emergency till the end of September and Canada has kept its international borders closed for the same period of time. Everyone’s waiting to see how the September rentrée intersects with the pandemic.

    • Kevin 16:38 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      I think it’s obvious now: the area with one of the highest covid death rates on the planet (we beat Sweden!) has decided there is enough room in the ICU, so everybody back to work in the office.

    • Kate 19:20 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      Have they said that yet about office work, Kevin? I haven’t seen it.

    • Dhomas 19:38 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      The reason the CAQ is so adamant that schools and daycares must remain open is so that workers can go back to the office (or home office). They need babysitters. This is the intersection between the rentrée and work.

    • Kevin 20:51 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      Not in so many words yet Kate, but with the new 10-day isolation order, and the other loosenings, I’m letting my cynicism gallop.

    • Chris 21:00 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      >They need babysitters

      It’s not like the CAQ is alone in that opinion. Most of the *parents* I know share this view

    • Mr.Chinaski 23:06 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      Kevin, the law is 25% maximum. Most offices are WFH until 2021.

    • Mr.Chinaski 23:07 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      Oh and a lot more laws that make office impossible for most downtown offices : 2 people maximum per elevator. This make anything over 5 story impossible to work in.

    • Kevin 04:11 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      Mr. Chinaski
      I’m projecting. Many companies have far fewer than 25% in the building but I won’t be surprised to hear the government lifting that cap, and getting rid of the elevator restrictions.

      I also don’t expect many companies will *listen* to the government when this happens.

    • Tim S. 08:31 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      “They need babysitters”: So here’s a poll showing that 69% of parents (Canada-wide) want schools closed if there’s an outbreak:

      Of course it’s better that the kids be in school, but I’ve definitely got the feeling that it’s the government pushing this line, not the parents.

    • Chris 10:28 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      Tim, your link in fact says 69% of *poll respondents* not 69% of *parents*. It goes on to say it was an online poll of only 1510 Canadians, with only 385 of them being “parents with school-aged children in their households”. Further, it cautions “An internet poll cannot be given a margin of error because it is not a random sample.”

    • Tim S. 17:36 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      Fair enough Chris. What’s the source for your statement?

    • Michael Black 18:05 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      Up till now, it seems like the emergency has been extended by a week, or maybe a few days. I wonder why now it’s extended by a vague amiunt sometime into September?

    • EmilyG 18:47 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      It almost seems these days that extending the state of emergency is just a formality.

    • Kate 11:12 on 2020-08-30 Permalink

      EmilyG: it’s more than that, in that it gives the city legal powers to enforce pandemic measures.

      Michael Black: I don’t know. Till now it’s been done in blocks of 5 days each, not sure why.

    • MarcG 11:49 on 2020-08-30 Permalink

      I assume it’s because the rentrée is expected to cause a new wave of cases.

  • Kate 10:33 on 2020-08-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Mayor Plante has promised that police will not be sent to dismantle Hochelaga’s tent city, as she is confident its residents will move along peacefully by the end of the month – i.e., by the end of this weekend.

    She may also be relying on the weather forecast: we’re seeing an exceptionally chilly end to this August.

  • Kate 10:13 on 2020-08-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Patrick Lagacé writes about loving Montreal despite its flaws.

    • DeWolf 11:36 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      I moved back here from halfway around the world because I think it’s such a great place to live. “Le bruit, les chantiers, le trafic.” I mean, okay, compared to Rimouski it’s a noisy, dirty, frustrating city. But I’ll continue to enjoy what I consider to be a uniquely laid-back big city where I can enjoy quality neighbourhood life and abundant greenery in a dense, walkable environment that is always surprising and interesting.

    • Ian 12:53 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      I first started coming to Montreal back in ’86 when I was 16, and knew that I wanted to move here immediately. I moved here in 1990 for university. When I finished, I moved to Toronto because I had a huge student loan and the job scene here was bleak. I earned enough to pay it off in 5 years and moved back to Montreal as soon as I could. I was living on Queen West, the most fun part of downtown Toronto, but I missed Montreal every_single_day. I have never regretted moving back to Montreal, and I think one of the greatest things about it is that my 2 kids are real Montrealers, born and bred in the heart of the Plateau.

      Despite our different backgrounds I basically agree with Lagacé 100%, it sounds like our experience of the city is very similar. Just because you love something or somewhere doesn’t mean you are blind to its faults 🙂

    • Kate 14:40 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      I’m in the opposite situation: I was born in Montreal, and over a period of years watched my cousins – all older than me – then all my friends from school, then my sister all move away. Some thought I was crazy to stay here. Sometimes I wonder myself what I could’ve done in a place where I wasn’t a member of a semi-despised minority. (I’m not trying to take on a mantle of victimhood à la Bock-Côté, but let’s be honest, for someone who enjoys writing, and writes in English, there are better cities to be ambitious in.)

    • walkerp 16:00 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      There are, Kate, but the problem is they are all so boring. 🙂

    • Ant6n 17:30 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      New York is interesting

    • Ian 17:45 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      Toronto is actually a great city to live in, kind of dull to visit though. NY is great if you can afford it, like SF. Montreal is the only one of the bunch where you work to live, not live to work. It’s much more expensive than it used to be but in cities that have super high rents you kind of have to focus on your hustle.

    • Bryan 21:24 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      I totally agree with DeWolf. I came here in 2011 after having lived in London. I love that Montreal offers many of the desirable aspects of a big city (a diverse population, great food, a vibrant arts & music scene) but it is a more affordable place to live than the larger cities of Western or Southern Europe and North America. Of course, Montreal is more expensive than many other places to live in Canada. But, trade off of living in Rimouski over Montreal is much too big for me.

    • DeWolf 12:20 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      Toronto is a fascinating city with a lot going on. But as Ian said it has a horrible work/life balance, and part of that is because it’s so expensive you need to earn a ton of money to have the kind of lifestyle most of us take for granted in Montreal. I live in overpriced Mile End, and for what I pay here, I couldn’t even get a basement apartment in a mildly interesting part of Toronto.

    • Meezly 16:32 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      Totally agree with all the things about Montreal. Also live in Mile End and now that I’m older I find it’s a great place to raise a kid with a nice network of families, conveniences close by and not needing to own a car, which is a good trade off for the privilege of living in a pricier area. I have never found Toronto dull to visit. Always look forward to the diverse food scene, esp. of the Asian variety, and the book shops. Always make a point of visiting BMV. But geographically, it is quite an eyesore. I remember being on a plane seeing TO for the first time and thinking what an ugly concrete sprawl it seemed. Flying into Montreal, I see how the city surrounds Mount Royal and the St-Joseph Oratory. I get an immediate impression of a city with a rich history. Geographically, Vancouver can’t be beat, but no one can afford to live there anymore without being house poor, or having to commute to work from a distant suburb.

  • Kate 09:48 on 2020-08-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Some notes on what to avoid if driving anywhere this weekend. Metro has some longer term details on roadwork and related projects around town, including the REM.

    Even though the initial layout of the REM is far from complete, the Caisse de dépôt is planning a second phase in the east end, one branch linking Pointe-aux-Trembles to downtown, the other going along highway 25. Also, a new tax on suburbanites is being floated to finance the REM.

    • steph 15:20 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      tax on the suburbs is long over due – but I don’t agree that it should be for the REM, but for public tranport in general.

    • Ian 16:19 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      Unless it applies to the demerged suburbs too, it hardly seems fair…

    • Dhomas 01:27 on 2020-08-29 Permalink

      Tolls on every bridge would work, too. People like to move off-Island to avoid the higher taxes, etc, but then come work, usually by car, on the island and use Montreal roads and infrastructure essentially for free.
      But tolls are political suicide for any politician that proposes them. Trudeau saw that when he removed the planned toll on the new Champlain, before getting elected.

  • Kate 09:31 on 2020-08-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Trudeau Airport is laying 30% of its workers off in response to the long decline in air travel.

  • Kate 09:18 on 2020-08-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Lots of school-based stories Friday morning following the rentrée: a Grade 7 class was sent home from a private school on the South Shore because of a parent with Covid and several teachers have been diagnosed in the Montreal area.

    In one high school, students are in class but the teacher is on a screen because she’s pregnant and therefore at risk.

    The education minister says students are not to do activities with kids from other classes, for the time being. They must stay in their bubbles. (Does he remember what school was actually like?)

    CEGEPs are seeing increased enrolment although mostly in Montreal and Quebec City; regional schools aren’t seeing the same growth, and there are fewer international students signed up.

    I can see there will be an ongoing drama of school stories so I’ll be condensing them into one post per day for now, with updates.

  • Kate 08:52 on 2020-08-28 Permalink | Reply  

    A musician who did a free performance in the Parc du Portugal on the Main, earlier this month, was fined $449 for noise, despite it being early in the evening, and for playing during a pandemic, even though he says he got permission from one policewoman. The story is confused: either he was making too much noise or he was contravening pandemic rules, but I don’t see how he could be fined for both with one ticket.

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