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  • Kate 08:56 on 2020-09-28 Permalink | Reply  

    The new chairman of the EMSB was acclaimed on Sunday, since there were no challengers to Joe Ortona, who’d previously been vice-chair. All but one of the board members has also been acclaimed in, which may at least avoid an election during a pandemic, but sidesteps the organization’s need for a breath of fresh air.

    • Kevin 09:15 on 2020-09-28 Permalink

      There’s also a search going on for a new Director General, which should have more of a role in the daily operations of the board.

    • Jack 09:25 on 2020-09-28 Permalink

      What a joke “Team Ortona” wins 9 of 10 wards without an election. Ortona like many others before will bide his time waiting for a Liberal safe seat. Dominique put him on speed dial.

  • Kate 08:52 on 2020-09-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Sunday’s high temperature established a record for the date, held since 2003. Monday will be warm too, but after that it’s a return to more seasonal weather.

  • Kate 21:39 on 2020-09-27 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s all over Twitter that health minister Christian Dubé said on Tout le monde en parle that Montreal and Quebec City will probably be declared red zones over the next few days.

    • Ian 08:24 on 2020-09-28 Permalink

      I misread “probably” as “permanently”. I think I need another coffee.

  • Kate 14:43 on 2020-09-27 Permalink | Reply  

    We’re coming up on 50 years since the October Crisis so we’re bound to see some items about it. This piece talks about a 25-minute documentary that will be available soon on various platforms.

    Le Devoir has a good timeline of the story and the Journal put up a photo essay recently.

    Incidentally, unless Wikipedia has missed a trick, James Cross is still alive at 98.

    • Jack 20:57 on 2020-09-27 Permalink

      Cross was Irish and like many Irishmen did not support Ireland’s neutrality in the face of Nazism. So when freedom needed defending he enlisted in the British Army. Oddly his primary kidnapper, and current columnist with the Journal de Montreal, Jacques Lanctôt, had a connection to World War II also. His father was one of Adrien Arcand’s lieutenants and was a fascist who supported Hitler.

    • Kate 21:36 on 2020-09-27 Permalink

      Jack, that’s quite a study in contrasts.

    • Jack 08:47 on 2020-09-28 Permalink

      Oddly the other kidnappers, the Cossette-Trudel’s spawned the head of the anti maskers in Quebec. Alexis who has earnestly declared that Justin Trudeau is a satanist and a pedophile, however he did not say anything about his socks.

  • Kate 14:39 on 2020-09-27 Permalink | Reply  

    A year from the massive march for the environment, have the concerns expressed then been eclipsed by Covid?

    • dmdiem 14:48 on 2020-09-27 Permalink

      One apocalypse at a time, please.

    • Meezly 08:52 on 2020-09-28 Permalink

      Indeed it has, and activists and environmentalists realize that. Many organizations have been focusing their efforts into pushing the feds for a green recovery plan.

  • Kate 12:27 on 2020-09-27 Permalink | Reply  

    The restaurant industry is flinching as the government urges us to avoid socializing to hold back the new Covid surge.

  • Kate 11:37 on 2020-09-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Quebec has recorded 896 new cases of Covid over the last 24 hours.

    • Kevin 16:53 on 2020-09-27 Permalink

      And a whole bunch more to come as kids have been exposed through school and sports teams.

    • MarcG 17:22 on 2020-09-27 Permalink

      And the nice weather this weekend surely has people throwing caution to the wind.

    • Ian 08:25 on 2020-09-28 Permalink

      It certainly did, Beaver Lake and Jarry Park were both packed as I passed them yesterday.

    • Kate 09:30 on 2020-09-28 Permalink

      The Tam-Tams were also full of people Sunday.

  • Kate 10:47 on 2020-09-27 Permalink | Reply  

    France’s Le Monde has a piece on the state of Montreal’s downtown but you can’t read all of it unless you subscribe.

  • Kate 09:31 on 2020-09-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Patrick Lagacé tells a grim little story about an elderly resident in a care home in Laval who, knowing she had Covid, blithely went about without a mask, infecting several others, including a friend of hers who caught it from her and died. Lagacé is too good at this to overly emphasize that the story’s also a warning for the wider world, with a moral.

    • Meezly 11:50 on 2020-09-27 Permalink

      He’s also too good to not identify Madame L, as well as the daughter of the dead friend, who thought reckless was a better term than the too generous “rebel”. I’d be curious to know whether Madame L will be criminally liable for recklessly killing someone who contracted Covid from her.

    • Kate 12:46 on 2020-09-27 Permalink

      Hard to say, Meezly. If she stayed within the home – eating with others, having her hair done, as he describes – she may have a case that she never went outside and so didn’t have to wear a mask. Might come down to whether her home is defined as the door of her personal quarters, or the entire extent of the complex.

    • MarcG 17:23 on 2020-09-27 Permalink

      At the seniors residence I’m familiar with their policy is that you’re supposed to have a mask on outside of your apartment.

  • Kate 19:58 on 2020-09-26 Permalink | Reply  

    A climate protest downtown marked a year since the huge gathering here that welcomed Greta Thunberg.

  • Kate 13:06 on 2020-09-26 Permalink | Reply  

    François Cardinal is dead on the money here: it’s not on the government or the health authorities to end the pandemic: it’s on us. We know what we have to do. We don’t need to check what colour the alert is at before we go out, or count how many visitors we should have, and from how many households. Government is going to be cautious because it doesn’t want a revolt on its hands, and it’s going to get fussy and bureaucratic, because that’s what government does.

    We need to stay home, not go out needlessly, and not have visitors come by, and put up with this till we’re through this thing, or it will drag on and on. If we want to win back to something resembling pre-Covid times, we can’t wait to be nannied through it. We just have to grit our teeth and see it out.

    • John B 13:31 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      Counterpoint: Clear guidelines & restrictions make it easier for individuals and smaller groups to take action.

      For example, my son is playing soccer this summer, he had a game this morning. If players don’t show up for games maybe there aren’t enough players to play and the team automatically loses, dropping in the standings. If the club decides it’s not safe to play and pulls all its teams it has to pay fines to the league. If the league decides to shut down maybe they have to pay fines to Soccer Quebec, and so on up the chain. If there was a clear guideline that we should or should not be playing we could stop without letting down our teammates and/or financial penalties for the club.

      I’m sure there’s a similar system at play in other areas. Small businesses & restaurants probably don’t have the finances to just decide to shut down, but if it’s a forced shutdown maybe there will be help for them. If people just stay home those businesses have to stay open for no customers.

      Yes, we need to stay home. But it would be a lot easier if pressure to go out was removed.

    • Chris 14:10 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      It’s a delusion to think we can “end the pandemic”. (Assuming you meant that literally.) It’s a force of nature, and we can at best manage/mitigate it. And we are, and we have been. The cost of stopping it 100% is just too high.

    • Kate 14:27 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      Then it will drag on and on.

    • Ephraim 17:34 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      Humanity has managed to actually END several pandemics (smallpox and diseases, though, at the moment with the rampant anti-vax people, it’s difficult. I mean, measles was almost eradicated in the Americas until the anti-vaxxers ensured it’s revival. That being said, there is no guarantee that we can even find a vaccine. And if we can’t, we will have to go for herd immunity and a lot of dead people. Diseases that vaccines have eradicated or almost eradicated… Polio, Tetanus, Rubella, Whooping Cough, Mumps, Rotavirus, Diphtheria, Chickenpox and Smallpox. In the case of Smallpox, the last naturally occurring case was in 1977. You can check this list with the CDC, Wikipedia or many other sources. Polio is still considered a problem in 2 countries which don’t vaccinate for it properly. In fact, when I went to a country NEXT to one of them, the Quebec government suggested that I get the booster for Polio. In 2018, there were 33 wild case of Polio (Afghanistan and Pakistan) and 104 cases related to the vaccines. Last case of Polio in the Americas was in 1991.

      There is a few articles on the subject written by epidemiologists. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-the-covid-19-pandemic-could-end1/
      for example, is one of them. The whole social distance thing will eventually give way to herd immunity, from my understanding of the articles, but at a hospitalization and death rate that is more manageable… remember Italy and Spain when hospitalizations exceeded ability to handle it? I’m not an expert, which is why I link articles.

    • Meezly 18:13 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      We got a dinner invite today which we had to decline. It was really hard not say, dude. Like WTF?

    • Kate 18:52 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      Ephraim, were any of the eradicated or nearly-eradicated diseases coronaviruses?

      Meezly: I know. Smart to stay away.

    • Uatu 19:23 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      People don’t care. It’s all abstract until it happens to them. If covid killed outright then there’d be no cheating the rules or doubts about it. They need to do what they’re doing in Indonesia- making covid rulebreakers dig the graves of covid victims

    • Phil M 22:41 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      Most people will not do anything beyond the bare minimum required by law. And even then it’s tough to get compliance. You’d think they would, but the evidence is clear that they will not.

      Hopefully the winter cold will stop a lot of people from taking needless risks, but we need clear rules, and stiff enforcement either way, because depending on the populace to do what’s right is a losing proposition.

    • JP 00:11 on 2020-09-27 Permalink

      I’d be curious to know the source of new cases…are they stemming from primary schools or high schools? Irresponsible young adults? Cases in CHSLDs? (The information is probably out there, I just haven’t bothered to look yet).

      I don’t think I needlessly go out…but my friend coming over to my backyard tomorrow for lunch. I need it…for my mental health. I’ve already started grinding my teeth during the pandemic, my heart sometimes starts to race..I’m feeling anxious as are many others. That doesn’t mean I need to go to some big party, but I do need to see a friend in person from time to time. There’s a safe way, I think, to still have one’s social needs met. Unfortunately, as mentioned above most people will not do anything beyond the bare minimum required by law. Maybe the 80/20 principle applies here too.

      I see both sides of this. I definitely agree we need to make a collective effort…but I also agree that this is a force of nature. We can help mitigate it but, viruses being what they are (e.g., capable of mutating etc), we’re going to have to put up with this for a while, unless all of the countries on the earth agree to stop everything for a few months together. And even then…

      International travel also adds a layer of complexity to all of this…and I have been hearing and seeing planes, so there’s certainly some movement. (and let’s face it…I’ve heard those thermometers they take the temperature with aren’t really reliable and cases don’t always present with fever, not to mention those who are asymptomatic…)

    • Dhomas 03:13 on 2020-09-27 Permalink

      My brother-in-law cancelled his daughter’s 10 year birthday party yesterday. It would only have been my family and his, but we thought it better not to take chances.

      Meanwhile, my backyard neighbour had his “end of summer” party yesterday, as planned. Usually, he would have had it in his backyard so guests can use the pool, but this year they stayed inside, I assume so neighbours wouldn’t notice and call the cops. They are not yet in the “at-risk” age group, but getting close to it (in their 50’s, I think, but I’m bad at gauging age).

      It’s really frustrating to see. I’m relatively young and healthy. Chances are I wouldn’t die of this virus. But I do my best to protect others. It angers me to see people (like my neighbours) so blatantly flouting the recommendations.

      @JP: about the sources of the new cases. I know correlation is not causation, but cases started to explode again in September, just after school started. I would be very surprised if the data DIDN’T show schoolchildren as being a vector for transmission.

    • Kate 09:16 on 2020-09-27 Permalink

      Dhomas: https://www.lesoleil.com/opinions/caricatures/la-caricature-de-cote-aac58a4de1f8904e9e414a5bb120b137

      JP, I saw a list somewhere, although I don’t recall right now if it applied here or elsewhere. I’ll post it if I find it.

      …OK! Got it. Not here, but Quebec City, so not exactly here but might be interesting. Les Perreaux has a tweet where he extracted the numbers from this piece in Le Soleil on September 24:

      Quebec City got a rare snapshot of the source of its 50 or so outbreaks one day last week.
      Workplaces: 20ish
      Seniors’ homes: 9
      Bars and restos: 8
      Schools: 6
      Adult learning: 2
      Resort: 1
      Sports: 1
      Church: 1

      Also, commenting on your observations about travel, I’ve a friend who felt flu-ish last week so I suggested he go get tested. While lined up for the test, he had the impression that several parties around him were getting tested preparatory to travelling out of the country. He and I were both a little shocked by this.

    • Mark Côté 15:34 on 2020-09-27 Permalink

      I keep reading that gatherings of friends and families are the number one source of new infections, e.g. from some epidemiologist at McGill. The number of new cases is largest in the age group from 20 to 40. Occurrences at schools, at least in Montreal, seem to still be scattered. Lots of reports of infections but not many clusters.

    • Ephraim 19:25 on 2020-09-27 Permalink

      Kate: From my understanding, Coronaviruses include the common cold, MERS, and SARS. This is actually the second SARS. But there has never been a vaccine for any Coronaviruses. For the most part, from what I read, other than the cold, there are a total of 7 CoronaViruses that have passed to humans, with 4 being mild (AKA the common cold) and the other 3 being MERS, SARS and SARS2 (aka Covid-19). There have been a few vaccines for Coronaviruses in Animals.

      In the Herpes family, we have managed to create some vaccines, chickenpox and shingles. And there are a number of viruses that we haven’t been able to kill, we have found treatments or we live with them. There is no cure, but there are treatments for HIV, Herpes.

      Viruses are the problem. It’s the least explored of medical sciences. It’s the most interesting part of the future of medicine at the moment. Being conquered slowly… until… well… this one got out of hand. We should have invested the money when HIV started… as a warning that untreatable viruses were coming.

      If you want to invest in this future, the biggest players are Gilead, the GSK, AbbVie, J&J, Sino, Merck, B-MSquibb, Aurobindo, Arbutus and Roche. But there are many small companies. Moderna is well into phase 3, for example.

      The NYT has a tracker on these vaccines… https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/science/coronavirus-vaccine-tracker.html We can see quite a few are in phase 3. This is faster than we have ever developed a vaccine. And we can see a number that have gone into wide phase 3… experimental access to the public, like the Russian vaccine. And there were a few discussions.

      And finally, the US is playing games… like pulling out of WHO. Canada, like many countries has invested and bought vaccines even though they may not work, because that’s how you fund the research. Even if they don’t work, they may discover other things that work.

    • mare 20:35 on 2020-09-27 Permalink

      With the high percentage of cases in the US, the phase 3 studies that take place in the US might be much shorter than normal for a virus. Maybe that’s why Trump et al don’t do much to stop the spread.

      If you have 30,000 people in your research group, of which 15,000 are vaccinated and 15,000 are not, you need a certain number of infections in both groups to determine if the vaccine works. If the vaccine is very effective you would only see infections in the control group. Subsequently you have to follow the vaccinated people that showed an immune response and see how long it takes before their immunity response wanes off. Then you know how long your vaccine works and if people have to be re-vaccinated every x month or years. So yeah, phone 3 trials take long and are expensive. If their are some people getting serious side effects you might even need to cancel the trial.

      I don’t think it’s considered ethical to infect volunteers on purpose to speed up the process, but I read somewhere it has been done in certain countries.

  • Kate 11:50 on 2020-09-26 Permalink | Reply  

    Following up on Jonathan Montpetit’s recent piece on the topic, La Presse’s Tristan Péloquin wades into the muddy waters of Quebec’s anti-mask movement and what’s behind it. The article gets a little bogged down in a tangent about financial irregularities, but picks up again with pertinent observations about how diverse threads in right-wing and conspiratorial groups are flourishing in separate bubbles inside this movement, including offshoots of QAnon with its bizarre theories about pedophile networks abducting children and how Covid is a hoax perpetrated by Bill Gates. An interesting coda tells about the people quietly watching these groups and reporting on them when necessary.

    There were 698 new diagnosed cases of Covid and seven new Covid deaths recorded Saturday in Quebec.

    • David277 00:18 on 2020-09-27 Permalink

      Sorry, it’s stronger than I am.

    • Kate 11:38 on 2020-09-27 Permalink

      Is this a reference to zoning (in the other thread)?

  • Kate 09:59 on 2020-09-26 Permalink | Reply  

    Le Devoir has an op-ed riposte to a piece published earlier this month which, mostly, championed the car, and criticized Valérie Plante for leading an administration focused on the people who “sleep here”. The current writer points out, among other things, that most of the decline in retail being blamed on Projet began long before Projet was elected – suburban malls, the rise in commercial rents, online shopping, capped by the desertion of downtown due to Covid, none of these are the doing of Projet, and the creation of a few bike paths is being blamed for hardships that have nothing to do with it.

    Also, who should Plante be running the city for? The people who live in it, first and foremost, surely.

    • Meezly 11:09 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      What a difference between an emotion-based, single-minded opinion and a well-reasoned one based on research, logic and observation.

      Here is a Guardian opinion piece supporting the riposte from a well-travelled, big name architect, and at 85, even he can see that cars are not the future: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/24/pandemic-accelerate-evolution-cities-covid-19-norman-foster

      The 15-minute city makes a lot of sense.

    • Kate 11:54 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      Excellent piece, Meezly – thank you! Norman Foster actually pretty much says here what I said in a post earlier today: “Major crises tend to effect permanent changes that only become clear in retrospect.” In 10, 20, 50 years people will be writing analyses of the pandemic’s impact and the socioeconomic changes it brought about.

    • Meezly 14:55 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

    • david25 16:22 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      By now, we all know how massively destructive ultra-restrictive zoning is to the collective well-being and to human flourishing more generally. It benefits the owners of property, causes displacement and gentrification, leads to a DECREASE in population density, and is basically inimical to the 15 minute city proposition (which I not only support, but have been living my entire adult life).

      Hardcore conservatism manifested as not wanting anything in your neighborhood to change, to your benefit as long as you own your apartment, or haven’t been renovicted or owner move-ined out, it’s understandable.

      But as public policy, it’s just very very bad.

    • Kate 18:53 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      david, you’re back to obsessing on zoning again.

  • Kate 09:03 on 2020-09-26 Permalink | Reply  

    An elderly man who was the passenger in a car on Pierre-Dupuy Avenue Friday night has died after a hit-and-run: the car he was in wasn’t badly damaged by the collision, but he suffered a heart attack.

    Interesting legal point. If caught, would the other driver be charged with involuntary manslaughter, given that it wasn’t an injury directly caused by the crash that killed him?

    • thomas 09:31 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      Possibly. Is there a civil law equivalent of the “eggshell skull rule”?

    • david100 13:06 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      Yeah, thin skull rule applies in Quebec under Art. 1611 C.c.Q.

    • dwgs 13:48 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      Wow, is there really a thin skull rule? Because if there is it’s probably due to the death of a neighbour of mine in my hometown. Got into a fight and fractured his skull when he was knocked to the ground.

    • david100 15:18 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      It’s the old eggshell plaintiff rule for calculating civil damages – goes way back. Basically, the idea is that the court takes the plaintiff as he was at the time of the tort. So, if I shove you to the ground and that action shatters every bone in your body because of some brittle bone condition, even if I couldn’t have reasonably expected that you’d have that brittle bone condition, you can still recover damages for those injuries.

      For some reason, it’s called the thin skull rule in Canada and Quebec – very likely, as you say, because the precedent setting Canadian case involved someone with a thin skull.

    • Ian 14:00 on 2020-09-27 Permalink

      @dwgs one-punch deaths are more common than you might think.

  • Kate 08:55 on 2020-09-26 Permalink | Reply  

    Fifteen years ago, a teenager named Brigitte Serre was stabbed to death during her night shift at a gas station in St-Léonard. Now the young man convicted of the killing is up for parole, but current restrictions mean the girl’s family members can’t attend in person. They’re not happy.

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