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  • Kate 09:26 on 2020-09-24 Permalink | Reply  

    QMI keeps up its attack on Valérie Plante with a Joseph Facal column in which he accuses her, as of something terrible, of running the city for her voters.

    He also lambasts her for not caring about the “recul du français” and for acknowledging the indigenous history of the land – all stuff from the nationalist playbook, and coming poorly from a man who was himself not born in Quebec but, according to Wikipedia, has learned to speak English, while complaining that the Plante city hall is a “bilingual administration” – i.e. that it doesn’t adhere to the fiction that everyone in Montreal is a francophone

    It isn’t the mayor of Montreal’s job to act as a lieutenant to the OQLF, but to attend to the people who actually live here.

    I wonder what QMI is really burned about with Plante. They can’t have been crazy about how the Coderre administration messed with their journalist Michael Nguyen (Denis Coderre had the police seize Nguyen’s computer) and Coderre has always been implicitly a federalist, so they can’t really want him back. But what do they want?

    • walkerp 12:07 on 2020-09-24 Permalink


    • Kevin 13:34 on 2020-09-24 Permalink

      Not just cars and construction, but “ses niaiseries sur le ‘racisme systémique'”.

      Anyone blowing dog whistles that loudly must be feeling the pinch somewhere.

  • Kate 21:44 on 2020-09-23 Permalink | Reply  

    Here’s an upcoming event I’ve seen publicized on Facebook. October 11 in Jarry Park, “Action pour la Liberté” including Steeve Charland from La Meute, pastors and evangelists, Alexis Cossette-Trudel, one Frédéric Pitre, who says he’s not anti-mask, just pro-choice (somebody ask him if he can choose not to catch Covid or give it to someone else).

    Xavier Camus has a piece on these anti-maskers.

    Nobody seems to know yet how they got permission to hold their event in Jarry Park – or if they even did. More to come.

  • Kate 20:50 on 2020-09-23 Permalink | Reply  

    The cost of the SRB Pie-IX keeps climbing with the extension of the original route down to Notre-Dame. Also the original plan involved conventional diesel buses, but now the intention is to buy electric buses.

    By the time the SRB is completed, will anyone be commuting north-south along Pie-IX?

    • Faiz imam 11:28 on 2020-09-24 Permalink

      I have not seen the data in a few years, but the current Pie-IX bus routes are still among the most busy in the city right? Job needs to get done.

      And there are quite a few large infill construction in progress are along that axis. We need that project more and more over time.

    • DeWolf 11:39 on 2020-09-24 Permalink

      Given that many low-income essential workers live in the neighbourhoods along Pie-IX, I would say it will be pretty heavily used.

    • Michael Black 12:07 on 2020-09-24 Permalink

      For some reason maybe twenty years back I took the bus along Cote Vertu. It was packed, though late in the afternoon. I assumed it was full of workers who worked along that stretch.

      That’s who we have to keep in mind when talking about public transit. If there was a surge in bicycle commuting this year, it surely came from those people, not people who have cars. I can, and do, avoid rush hour (though sometimes I’ve landed on a bus just as school let out). But I can’t imagine doing it every day on a jammed bus, even aside from the distance that many travel.

    • Ian 20:46 on 2020-09-24 Permalink

      When I worked in light manufacturing I was the only person at the entire factory with over 300 employees that biked to work. If you go for a jaunt through light industrial VSL even now you will notice that none of the factories have bike racks. Might be different out at CV but I kind of doubt it… bicycling to work is not a typically working class thing.

  • Kate 20:46 on 2020-09-23 Permalink | Reply  

    If you test positive for Covid, it’s up to you to inform your contacts about it. The government tracing folks are overwhelmed with simply finding the people who’ve tested positive, let alone all their friends and relations.

    Shall I borrow some snark from Sugar Sammy? Better not.

    • walkerp 05:51 on 2020-09-24 Permalink

      If only we had a tracing app that was secure and could be used on a device that almost everybody has…

      (there, did it for you. 🙂 )

    • Tim S. 16:02 on 2020-09-24 Permalink

      They hired summer students to do contact tracing when everyone knew that the surge was coming in the fall. I wish I had a witty comment here, but the stupidity just speaks for itself, really.

  • Kate 20:06 on 2020-09-23 Permalink | Reply  

    A six-year renovation project has dragged the Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine house back from decades of decrepitude on Overdale. It was the only thing spared when the entire block was razed in 1987.

    The house isn’t going to be become a public benefice. Once details of the interior are completed, it will be sold into private hands. I imagine some large corporation may snap it up as a prestige ornament to their downtown headquarters.

    • David 10:55 on 2020-09-24 Permalink

      What a shame. I always liked the idea of turning the house in to a museum of the history of Canadian democracy. We owe so much more to Lafontaine and Baldwin than the vast majority of us realize. A museum about their work and how it continues to effect us today would go a long way towards making their story better known to Canadians.

    • Ian 16:26 on 2020-09-24 Permalink

      Strangely, Projet Montreal is hailing this as a great victory and patting themselves on the back:
      “En 2012, Projet Montréal déposait une motion pour demander à la Ville de sauver la maison Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine – 8 ans plus tard, on peut crier victoire!
      Ce matin a eu lieu l’inauguration de l’ancienne maison Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine, premier ministre du Canada-Est et grand défenseur des droits des francophones, qui aura été restaurée brique par brique durant les 6 dernières années.
      Riche symbole historique et architectural, cet important monument de Montréal était laissé à l’abandon depuis plus de 30 ans : il aura aujourd’hui retrouvé ses airs d’antan ! ✨
      On parle du projet de restauration juste ici” (links to the same rad-can page as Kate posted)

  • Kate 17:10 on 2020-09-23 Permalink | Reply  

    Spotted near my place Wednesday afternoon. It’s probably indicative of something that what initially struck me most was that both messages are in English.

    • thomas 18:08 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      Does the extra “e” in government imply that the anarchist is a native francophone?

    • Kate 18:40 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      It might, but it’s not definitive 🙂

  • Kate 10:31 on 2020-09-23 Permalink | Reply  

    Great piece by Patrick Lagacé on twin brothers who’ve been taking their laptops to sit outside the closed library in Hochelaga so they can connect to its wifi and follow their CEGEP courses. Only it’s been getting colder in the mornings…

    • Josh 11:32 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      I don’t know what it’s like in Montreal but here in Whitehorse, there are several different types of shops and institutions (groceries, liquor, banks, some government offices) that have had people queuing outside since March to enable social distancing inside. I hope they are talking now about the coming months…

    • Michael Black 11:43 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      It’s cold enough in Montreal in January or February.

      There was an article about moving schools outdoors, but that’s only good till the end of in Montreal, but no mention in the article about cold weather.

      When I first got a tablet, in 2012, I wanted to try the GPS, but it needed an internet connection (because of the map), and wouldn’t work at all without a wifi connection. So I leaned against the wall outside Indigo downtown, and was able to get both the gps satellites, and wifi.

      I definitely tried wifi outside a McDonalds once.

    • Jack 12:55 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      Goodness gracious, did we read the same article.
      These kids are an absolute beacon to what new immigrants have given this society. Mother busting her ass working, taking care of “our” old people. Her kids busting their asses to make a better life for themselves and in doing so for “us”. What a great inspirational piece. Please support this journalism , La Presse is necessary.
      The major opinion pieces in the Journal today.

    • Kate 13:18 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      Jack, I don’t think I said anything negative. I didn’t want to summarize the entire story and give all the background, because I want people to read the column.

      Josh: likewise, we have to line up sometimes for grocery stores and the SAQ if we’re shopping at times that are at all popular. I imagine people will simply have to get accustomed to shopping earlier in the day and so on, if they can.

    • Jack 13:53 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      No this wasn’t a critique of your set up Kate. It’s just this was one of the most inspirational pieces I’ve read since March. These two boys are iconic.

    • Kevin 22:02 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      Every time I’ve been to my local library there’s been at least one person outside using wifi.

      Sophie Durocher is not getting the joke all the way back home to her place in Westmount.

    • JP 23:28 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      Thanks for sharing that article, Kate. I wish those brothers all the best. With attitudes and work ethics like that, their futures are bright.

      Regarding internet access, while it’s true that a lot of people have internet access…there are people who don’t (more than we would think). I think there are people who always find this shocking, but there have been ways to get by until recently…

      For years I didn’t have data on my phone..of course, one of the managers at work (who probably makes quadruple what I make) was shocked that I didn’t have data when he found out…I sometimes wonder if they have any clue what they pay their employees…(They want you to check emails on your phone…but they don’t want to incur any of the associated costs)

      Another manager was shocked that I didn’t have a car.

      Note to those of you who own companies or are managers: Ask yourselves how much your employees are paid before you act shocked by the fact that they don’t have data on their phone, or don’t have a car or whatever the case may be.

    • Kate 10:53 on 2020-09-24 Permalink

      JP, I’ve been wondering this. The pandemic has forced a lot of folks to conduct even more of their lives on the net, but that risks seriously excluding people who don’t have it at home. Nobody can go to school only a phone, supposing they even have that.

    • Ian 08:14 on 2020-09-25 Permalink

      I guess it depends if they keep the malls open, but a lot of people hang out at the malls just to use the wifi. One of my students even before the pandemic didn’t have internet at home so she would hang out at a McDonald’s to do her homework over their wifi, on her phone.

      I know for a lot of students it’s been a real struggle – even those who do have internet at home usually only have DSL and often share the computer with siblings and/or parents, not exactly the same thing as the shiny new computer labs at school.

      Access to the internet is becoming one of those things like having a phone, especially with a shift toward distance learning in the pandemic – it shouldn’t be considered a luxury but a necessity so there should at the very least be a tax break, and the government should be regulating providers with an eye to universal access.

  • Kate 10:22 on 2020-09-23 Permalink | Reply  

    Sophie Durocher is not amused by a recent tweet from Sugar Sammy. In response to news about more money and staff for the OQLF, Sammy tweeted In Quebec when businesses will go bankrupt, we’ll make sure they do it in French. Given that a lot of folks – and not only anglos – have made similar remarks about the OQLF news, Durocher must be in a constant state of inner turmoil. I mean, make fun of anything else, but not the Office.

    (Tiny footnote: Sugar Sammy is such a good Quebecer that he used French syntax in English. In English we’d normally say “In Quebec when businesses go bankrupt…” but it’s not good style in French to use a verb in the present form when talking about the future. You’d use a future or maybe a conditional.)

    CultMTL’s Lorraine Carpenter defends Sugar Sammy with a clear explanation why he’s allowed to slam the OQLF.

    • Meezly 12:52 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      Durocher completely missed the point of the tweet. In the context of the ongoing pandemic, many businesses are going bankrupt, therefore why is the CAQ allocating $10 million to the OQLF??

      If businesses weren’t shutting down left right and centre, I’m sure Sugar Sammy would not have joked about the OQLF funding!

      We have many anglo and franco parents totally stressed out about sending their kids to school and trying to launch a lawsuit to make their children more safe at school. I’m sure they’d be pissed too because this money could have gone into something that is useful NOW.

    • Kate 13:13 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      Meezly, I know. People are concerned about priorities. But I have to keep reminding myself: just as I (and, I think, you) hope governments don’t abandon all concern for the environment as they try to get the economy back into gear, there are some people for whom it’s just as important, if not more so, to preserve the French language in Quebec before all else.

    • Meezly 13:16 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      I do recognize the importance of protecting the French language, but can’t help thinking what is the point if there will be potentially fewer people to speak French because of some preventable things like funding for healthcare and keeping kids & teachers safe?

      Can’t speak when you’re dead!

    • Douglasquaid2 19:18 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      5M$ of tax payer money flushed down the toilet.

    • Kate 20:13 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      No, Douglasquaid2, because it wouldn’t exist if it were not the collective wish of a large number of Quebec residents. Language policing is the political equivalent here of what’s called fan service in the entertainment industry. No politician in Quebec would dare not do it.

    • Kevin 22:05 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      One articles I read today mentioned the number of complaints the OQLF dealt with last year without mentioning how few of those complaints were actually justified.

      And that’s the crux of the matter: our society spends millions to give some crankpots a number to call when they spot a word in English.

      I can only think the alternative is those people joining QAnon or some other cult of stupidity.

    • Kevin 11:06 on 2020-09-24 Permalink

      That should be “Not one of the articles….”

    • Kevin 11:09 on 2020-09-24 Permalink

      Wait, wait, I’ll get this correct.
      Not one articles I read today mentioned how few of the OQLF complaints last year were actually justified.

      That’s what I’m trying to say. Yeesh.

    • nau 13:04 on 2020-09-24 Permalink

      “Wait, wait, I’ll get this correct. Not one articles…” Thanks for my Thursday laugh.

    • Kevin 13:36 on 2020-09-24 Permalink

      I should know better than to tempt Muphry’s law.

  • Kate 10:17 on 2020-09-23 Permalink | Reply  

    Here’s a source I haven’t used before, and it’s an anodyne PR story in some ways, but the new produce terminal in St-Michel reminds us of all the things going on in a big city to sustain its residents, but which we normally don’t see or think about.

  • Kate 09:42 on 2020-09-23 Permalink | Reply  

    Police arrested Adam Pichette in hospital Tuesday after he had sufficiently recovered from injuries he received in the shootout in the Old Port on September 13. Pichette is accused of attempted murder and possession of an illegal firearm, among other things. Item mentions that this was the most intense shootout involving the SPVM since the Dawson shooting in 2006.

  • Kate 09:30 on 2020-09-23 Permalink | Reply  

    The city will be testing emergency sirens Thursday afternoon, but you’re unlikely to hear them unless you live near industrial installations at risk of toxic leaks.

  • Kate 09:22 on 2020-09-23 Permalink | Reply  

    As mentioned last month, the city is making changes to allow as many of its workers as is practical to work from home indefinitely. I wonder how this squares with the mayor’s encouragements to bring workers back downtown into conventional offices.

    • steph 11:02 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      New color codes come with the government recommendations to not cross into the orange zone. Workers are going to keep staying home.

    • dwgs 12:10 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      Not McGill employees. A lot of the technicians, clerical, and service staff were ordered back to work around the beginning of August. I shouldn’t really complain because we’ve been paid throughout but when your job is working with students and there are no students to work with you have to wonder why you come downtown every day to sit around and do nothing. Profs are teaching from home, administrators are administrating from home but the plebs are on site, largely doing nothing.

    • Kate 13:15 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      dwgs, that’s nuts. Can your union not speak up?

      I have a friend who’s a support AV technician at Concordia, and except for a couple of quick trips downtown to get equipment, he’s been able to do his entire job from home since mid‑March.

    • walkerp 14:03 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      McGill sounds like one of the worst employers. Utterly regressive policies led by micro-managers. Ugh. And these are the white collar jobs.

    • david45 21:29 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      Yeah, McGill, the horrible employer that pays their employees well, grants competitive benefits, requires little in the way of experience, has the “utterly regressive” policies of unionization, a super clear performance evaluation process, and equity hiring measures for every identity group under the stars, etc., and has been paying its employees not to work for months.

      What a horror show, we’re all very lucky that so few employers are like McGill.

      Another valuable contribution from Walker P.

    • walkerp 08:59 on 2020-09-24 Permalink

      That may be what you read on paper or what your troll employers are telling you to say, but it certainly doesn’t square with the actual McGill employees that I know tell me.

    • CE 09:28 on 2020-09-24 Permalink

      This just in! Online polymath David has worked every position at McGill University, declares all jobs to be just fine. All criticism of the university as an employer now null and void.

    • Ian 22:37 on 2020-09-24 Permalink

      Requires little in the way of experience? I know your role here is contrarian Dav8d (n) but come on. I know people working there from communications to lab techs to tenured profs, and none of those guys are easy to land. Whether McGill is shittier to work for than Concordia or UdeM or whatever is more the point… but I have heard some pretty dark stories from university and college employees all over. It’s this perception.that working for higher ed is somehow a cushy job that needs to be examined. I personally do ok but my experience is by nommeans universal.

  • Kate 09:03 on 2020-09-23 Permalink | Reply  

    I’m seeing the question raised whether we will have Halloween this year. Mylène Drouin suggests here it might not be wise, especially if Covid cases continue to rise.

    Public health in Montreal is giving up on contact tracing for the moment, since it’s having enough trouble simply getting hold of people who’ve tested positive – as we discussed here recently, a lot of people don’t answer their phones now when a call comes from an unidentified source, but medical and official phones usually don’t display a number. Might I suggest that Covid testers remind patients to answer their phone?

    • DeWolf 09:13 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      I’m confused by how people are contacted. G&M reporter Les Perreaux had a thread on Twitter in which he said that people are called several times and if they don’t respond, they are contacted by text message and email. As a last resort, bicycle couriers are sent to drop off a note telling them to urgently get in touch. That sounds pretty thorough and if that’s how it is done, people really need to go out of their way to ignore the messages.

      And yet most media reports simply state that people are ignoring their phones and can’t be contacted. So which is it?

    • MarcG 09:37 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      When I was tested a few weeks ago they took my phone and email and said I would get a phone call if it was positive and an email if negative. I got the email, thankfully, but if it was positive I don’t see why they wouldn’t do both? I can understand how ideally they’d like to speak to the person because it might be hard news for them to hear but…

    • DeWolf 09:51 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      On a side note: how is it that our health authorities here always manage to make obviously very wrong decisions that will haunt us all in the future? Back in March, the facepalm moment came when the decision was made to allow staff to continue moving between different CHSLDs. It was obvious that it would be a disaster and, no surprise, it was one of the factors that led to the CHSLDs being ravaged by outbreaks.

      This feels similar. Contact tracing is generally acknowledged to be the best tool in controlling outbreaks. And now we are giving up on it? The article states that only the closest contacts will be contacted, eg family and close friends. But these are the people who would likely already know about the Covid diagnosis. As one of the disgruntled health service employees told La Presse, It’s the “medium risk” people who need to be traced because if they were infected, they’re less likely to be aware of it.

    • Kevin 22:07 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      It’s not giving up on it, it’s that seven months in they STILL haven’t hired enough people to do the job, and they’re STILL not telling everyone getting a test that they need to answer every fucking phone call.

      It’s stupidity up and down the line.

    • Uatu 10:28 on 2020-09-24 Permalink

      I like how it’s impossible to contract trace but completely feasible for the oqlf to track down and harrass language violations. Maybe they should take up the job

  • Kate 22:07 on 2020-09-22 Permalink | Reply  

    City council resolved Tuesday that the SPVM is not going to get facial recognition tools till they say so. The SQ already has them and it sounds from this article like the SPVM is being extremely shifty about whether it’s been using them or not.

    I’ve always assumed that once such tools became viable, authority would use them. It’s like everything from phone hacking to GPS tracing – if you’re after somebody, you’ll use the tech and then figure out later how to present the evidence in court.

  • Kate 21:59 on 2020-09-22 Permalink | Reply  

    Chinatown has been very hard hit by the pandemic, not only the decline in foot traffic plaguing other stores and restaurants, but an unfair association with the contagion of Covid on top of it.

    I remember during the SARS moment in 2003, C-town establishments were hurting and put signs out saying there were no cases of SARS in the area (we didn’t). I can’t imagine what Covid is doing to them.

    And yet, I’m not going downtown. On the CBC noon radio show Tuesday the topic was the state of downtown, and they had one guy on boosting it and saying how it was safe and great and so on. But to go downtown, I’d have to take a bus or metro for anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes each way, and right now I don’t want to do it – it seems like a stupid exposure to risk, to take public transit for a jaunt.

    Still, I have now spent the longest period of my life without setting foot on Ste-Catherine Street, and some days that feels weird.

    • dhomas 22:22 on 2020-09-22 Permalink

      I had to pick something up from downtown this past weekend and had to take my car. I drove up St-Laurent, through Chinatown. I was actually surprised by how many people were walking, in quite close proximity, on the pedestrian section of de la Gauchetière. I’d walked down Ste-Cath the week prior and there were many more people in Chinatown by comparison. Anecdotal evidence for sure, but maybe things were looking up for the area (before this new surge this week)?

    • Kate 22:42 on 2020-09-22 Permalink

      I hope so, dhomas. I’m very fond of our old Chinatown, even if there’s an argument that a newer and livelier C-town has been growing up around Concordia and west to Atwater in recent years.

    • Ian 08:13 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      I’m in Chinatown every Sunday and I’ve noticed it’s picking up for sure. I haven’t been on Ste Kitty since March. I do miss Kazu and Mon Ami but I haven’t gone to a sit-down restaurant since the first lockdown.

    • DeWolf 09:01 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      I spoke with a restaurant/bar owner in Chinatown recently and he told me that things have been very unpredictable. One night will be busy, the next will be dead, with no rhyme or reason.

      There are pockets of activity elsewhere downtown. Ste-Catherine is consistently busy from Metcalfe to Atwater – sometimes almost as busy as normal. Place des Arts is usually pretty lively with plenty of people lingering on the pedestrian stretch and on the Place des Festivals. The rest of downtown is very quiet. The Latin Quarter is especially moribund.

    • Em 09:45 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      I’ve found Old Montreal and Chinatown to be quite busy on weekends or when the weather is nice, but I’m guessing it probably drops off a lot when that isn’t the case.

      I’m consistently surprised by how many people seem to be eating in restaurants and shopping in various parts of downtown, especially since we keep hearing stories about an abandoned city. But I understand the recovery is far from uniform.

      This post is a good reminder for me to swing by and pick up some pastries or takeout next time I’m near Chinatown.

    • EmilyG 13:16 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      I feel the same – I live somewhat far from downtown, and I don’t have a car, and I feel it’s a bit risky to use public transit when not essential.

    • mare 18:31 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      I read (in the Derfel’s Twitter feed) the surprising fact that there are no Covid cases that can be traced back to the use of public transport. Of course that doesn’t take into account that not all cases have been traced, and that there are currently many more students in busses and the metro, who are more likely to be a carrier of SARS-CoV-2. So public transport might be or become more of a vector of transmission.

    • JP 23:17 on 2020-09-23 Permalink

      During the month of August, I started using the metro again about once a week to go downtown or Old Montreal. I kept using it because it was never crowded (at least when I was using it, on weekends). Most people are wearing masks and on the orange line, it’s been relatively easy to maintain distance. I’m on the fence about this weekend though with cases rising. I actually feel more comfortable on the metro or bus…I don’t know if that feeling can be backed up by any science, but I feel like the bus, especially those new ones with air conditioning, tend to feel stuffy.

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