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  • Kate 08:05 on 2020-04-02 Permalink | Reply  

    Police broke up a party at Lionel Perez’s house on Wednesday, not long after the city hall opposition leader had tweeted to stay home and save lives.

    • Ian Rogers 08:11 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      There was no party and police agree that social distancing was properly maintained. Why the kerfuffle?
      Wait until Plante finds out I’ve been teaching classes of up to 14 people using MS Teams all week, she’ll call in the army.

    • walkerp 08:13 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      Yes, I was all ready to get outraged and then read the story. What exactly did he do wrong here? We and our neighbours were planning to do an apero from our balconies. Will the cops break it up?

    • Ian 08:25 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      Only if some nosy snitch tries to make political hay out of it, maybe.

    • Kate 08:33 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      CBC radio says Perez had someone outside playing music, which attracted people to gather outside.

    • Dominic 08:50 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      Looks like he’s saying there were 7 people who are in his family so it “looked like” a larger gathering than it was. Not sure how police are supposed to know who families are quarantined with.


    • Chris 10:34 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      Is it just me, or is everyone becoming a snitch now? At a certain point, this cure could be worse than the disease.

    • Kate 10:42 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      Chris, if you characterize reasonable concern as “becoming a snitch” then I can’t help you. This isn’t social disapproval or snobbery. Read the story about the wedding, 2 stories up from here. You hold a gathering, you enable contagion. It’s a fact, not a social fiction.

    • Chris 11:09 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      I characterize *unreasonable* concern as snitching. The line between reasonable and unreasonable is fuzzy to be sure, but I’m starting to find us sliding towards the latter. As in this Perez example.

    • JaneyB 11:16 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      @Chris – Regarding the ‘snitching’, everyone is hyper-aware and tired of being confined. They are going to notice when others are not observing the disease control protocols. The longer others gather, the longer everyone else has to stay inside to flatten the curve. Every new breach means we basically go back to Day 1 of the 14 days necessary to thwart the virus propagation. Some of us have been mostly at home for more than 3 weeks now. Whether stuck with family or isolated alone, this is not fun.

      Perez’s thing is not a problem since they were distancing but the big hotel wedding was, park gatherings are, basement parties are etc. Don’t think people won’t remember who wasn’t a team-player after this is over either. I don’t want to hate my concitoyens but I’m learning because some of them are showing me they don’t care about the common good. Frustrating.

    • Chris 11:39 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      JaneyB, yes, I quite agree with your assessment. It’s all very interesting psychologically. Person 1 is being a good citizen and staying inside, sees Person 2&3 in the park across the street tossing a frisbee, gets mad/jealous that he’s inside and they are out, and so calls the cops. But Person 2&3 already live together, and no one else is around them in the park. That’s the kind of thing I see us slipping into. (Doubly so if the person is also your political enemy.)

      >I don’t want to hate my concitoyens but I’m learning because some of them are showing me they don’t care about the common good.

      I’ve also been pondering why this sentiment doesn’t apply to environmentalism. All the people out there that don’t care about the common good by being gluttonous consumers, driving a car, using disposable goods, etc., etc. Very little scorn is poured on them vs the scorn currently being poured on the likes of Perez. Why? The best I can figure is that humans are very good at short term thinking (covid), but really bad at long term thinking (environment).

    • Tim S. 12:06 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      Chris, what are you talking about? There’s plenty of anger here directed against suburbanites, car drivers and others (I know, because I’ve expressed some of it). If extinction rebellion and so on have their way, that will just increase.

    • Ian 18:07 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      This isn’t a case of “reasonable concern”, there was no “party” or “gathering”, just some nosy busybody looking to rat out their neighbour. I do indeed think this is exactly the same kind of person that would snitch on their neighbour over environmental laws, like that lady who kept complaining to the borough about Fairmount Bagel to the point that Alex Norris decided to take up her flag and insult everyone in the neighbourhood who dared contradict him.

      Again, this is not the time to be doctrinaire. Think of context and the concerns of others before you decide what’s what, especially if it means calling the cops. We already know if you call the cops on someone you increasing that person’s chance of winding up dead.

      Here’s the thing: we will only achieve success against this pandemic by acting as a community. We will only achieve success against environmental catastrophe by acting as a community. We will only achieve success against anything that might destroy our communities by acting like a community… and I’ll tell you one thing that doesn’t improve trust and working together and acting as a community:


    • Dhomas 19:11 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      It’s not snitching, it’s being a concerned citizen. If you’re a family, the police will come and confirm it and you’ll be on your way. Period. The end. If you’re NOT family, then you’re in trouble. And you should be, because you’re being an inconsiderate jackass.

    • Ian 20:01 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      “Nothing to be afraid of if you;’re doing nothing wrong”, right?
      Just watch, one wrong family intervention and the cops will be shooting people. We’ve seen it before, here in Montreal.

    • Stayhome! 20:16 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      ”but he asked a friend to play music in the driveway to help the celebration”
      How is this essential? Immoral if not illegal..

    • Blork 21:11 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      There is room in this conversation for both ideas; that some people are overly vigilant in — e.g., yelling at people who are walking next to each other ignoring the fact that the people live together, or calling the cops on neighbourhood 5à7 gatherings where everyone stays in their own driveways — and people who are legitimately reporting gatherings that should not be happening.

      In this case it seems like Perez was right on the line between acceptable and not, but what tips him into “not” is his position as a public figure who should be setting an example. Yes, that matters, and that’s the price you pay when you have a soapbox that isn’t available to the average person; you have a duty to double-down on whatever it is you’re preaching (or should be preaching).

    • Ian 21:54 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      Someone standing outside playing music is immoral if not illegal? Pardon me, I think I just rolled my eyes so hard they got stuck.

      If we make out stuff like this as crucial we can hardly be surprised if people don’t take distancing seriously. We are still allowed to line up outside grocery stores, the city isn’t in full quarantine. Don’t make this out to be something it’s not, that’s just ridiculous and in the case of Plante, obvious political posturing.

    • Kate 22:01 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      I’m on Blork’s side here. Perez was responsible for setting up something on the order of an “attractive nuisance” by having music and the appearance of a social event at a time when people are getting starved for social stimulus.

    • Dhomas 05:56 on 2020-04-03 Permalink

      @Ian: I would agree with your comment if you were talking about, say, mass surveillance, but this situation is entirely different. As much disdain as you seem to have for police, it’s not like it’s in their job description to shoot up citizens. At a certain point, we need to trust the police to do their jobs. We can’t fall into lawlessness because we think the cops might be “shooting people”.

    • Ian 08:13 on 2020-04-03 Permalink

      So now we’re needing to not even have the “appearance” of violating social distancing laws? Creating an “attractive nuisance” is a concept used in tort law, usually talking about the safety of children. If nothing actually happened, you are playing a game of “what if”. Having a musician in your driveway is not a crime, and it’s certainly not “immoral if not illegal”. Perez may very well be the grade A jerk I have heard him described as but regardless, the police did not fine or charge him, so what exactly is the big deal here? Did an impromptu dance party erupt? Did somebody try to kiss the musician? Then what exactly happened? Nothing, that’s what. This is Plante making a mountain out of a molehill out of spite and political opportunism.

      Let’s not forget that singing on your balcony and people are playing “c” on their stoops & in their backyards across the city is being celebrated in these dark times. Having a friend play music in your driveway is no different. There is no law against music, only gatherings.

      @Dhomas right, police brutality isn’t real, you have nothing to fear if you aren’t doing anything wrong. /s

    • Jack 09:42 on 2020-04-03 Permalink

      “Thursday, speaking on Radio-Canada’s morning radio program Tout un matin, Perez said he “failed in my role as a leader, to lead by example.”

    • Chris 10:44 on 2020-04-03 Permalink

      Tim S., I didn’t mean there’s *no* scorn poured on “suburbanites, car drivers and others”, just that’s it’s much less than the current hysteria wrt physical distancing today.

      To take Stayhome!’s phrasing: “immoral if not illegal”. Using a disposable shopping bag instead of a reusable one is immoral, though not illegal. Ever hear of the cops being called for such an “offence”? Yet for the “offence” of standing outside playing music it’s seemingly normal to some of you here to call the cops. Why for the latter but not the former?

  • Kate 22:11 on 2020-04-01 Permalink | Reply  

    Excellent Tracey Lindeman piece on Maisonneuve about the Montreal rental market. I see she’s done a podcast updating it to the COVID-19 era, but I haven’t listened yet.

    I like this bit: According to the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to housing, financialization happens when housing is commodified and treated as a “vehicle for wealth and investment rather than a social good.”

    We’re deep into that doo-doo now.

    • Ian 08:27 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      If nothing else positive comes from it, I am pretty confident that there will be a lot of former AirBnbs back on the rental market. I’ve been seeing a lot of postings for surprisingly expensive fully furnished apartments for rent lately, but those prices will come down as people get nervous about their mortgage load.

    • Blork 09:44 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      We’re already seeing Airbnb properties being listed for long-term rental. My Facebook is full of them. But none so far have been appealing because they are ALL fully-furnished apartments at pretty high rent. (Remember, those Airbnb “entrepreneurs” are not just invested in real estate — they have huge sums invested in furnishings).

      While there is undoubtedly a small market for “fully furnished” units, we’re going to see a glut of them. That doesn’t just mean it comes with a fridge and stove; EVERYTHING is included from the television and the linens right down to the dinner plates. How does that serve the majority of tenants who already have their own stuff?

      I saw a Youtube video for one place in Griffintown. Tiny one bedroom place. Bascially the equivalent of a small hotel suite. Tiny kitchenette, living room that literally had room for a two seater sofa and a TV on the wall and nothing else, and a bedroom that didn’t even have any dressers. $1700 a month. (Lots of windows and nice views though!)

      Another listing — I forget where — was for a smallish two bedroom place. A bit more room than the one above, but again, fully furnished — decorations, dinnerware, beds, bed linens, seating, etc. — for $3000 a month.

      So yeah, that works well for some executive who’s coming to Montreal to work for a few months, but how does it help regular people?

      The next wave after the short-term-turned-long-term rental failure will be the foreclosures and subsequent condos for sale — possibly at a bit of a discount.

    • nau 09:53 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      They sound like excellent places for the city/province to temporarily expropriate to use as accommodation for health-care workers who want to avoid spreading disease to their families.

    • Blork 10:22 on 2020-04-02 Permalink


    • Ian 13:03 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      I suggested the same on one of Richard Ryan’s facebook posts but he didn’t respond 😀

    • Tim 13:06 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      Expropriation implies, to me at least, that the government would financially compensate AirBnB operators. No thanks!

    • nau 13:32 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      I was trying not to imply that but failed I guess. Whatever the term, they’re going to need some sort of such housing. Given that asymptomatic doctors have spread at least 40 cases at Verdun Hospital (per Lapresse), healthcare staff really are not going to want to go anywhere near their families..

    • mare 15:05 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      I received an email from Airbnb that short term rental is completely forbidden in Quebec, so they’ll refund all guests without penalty.

      Funny that apparently now Airbnb can abide to the law, but in the past they claimed they couldn’t, for instance by not accepting multiple full apartment listings by one host. Or listings not in the designated areas along main arteries.

      It would look very bad if they continue to hide behind their usual defence of “hosts have to make sure they comply by local laws; we can’t enforce those laws ourselves”. Suddenly they can enforce the local laws, when it would hurt their image or if they would be sued by guests.

  • Kate 17:20 on 2020-04-01 Permalink | Reply  

    Community transmission of COVID-19 is present in almost every part of Montreal by now, according to public health honcho Mylène Drouin in her Wednesday press conference. There are now 2100 confirmed cases in the city.

    More than half the people diagnosed with the virus in Montreal are under 50 and, of that group, the most affected are from 20 to 29. (Update: On Thursday, the Journal says the group most affected are in their forties.)

    Parks are not closed but the importance of maintaining distance is restated. Mayor Plante has a Facebook thing about how if people congregate in parks, they will have to be closed, so don’t do that.

    It’s not the first time I’ve seen mention of transit pass issues for yearly users, but the last time they said the April payment would be refunded. This time it’s more like a suspension – the payment for April will only be applied once emergency conditions are lifted.

    Justin Trudeau admitted Wednesday that emergency measures may have to last until July.

    Bike repair shops have been declared an essential service and given permission to reopen.

    • MarcG 17:25 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      Hilairous photo of Trudeau in that last link.

    • Max 17:37 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      I imagine there won’t be a lot of passes bought by people who only ride the bus this month. I think I’ll go for some individual tickets this month.

      Does anyone know if the commuter train inspectors are working? I have seen any inspections lately.

    • Ant6n 22:35 on 2020-04-01 Permalink


    • Chris 10:38 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      MarcG, I think you mean second to last link?

      Glad to hear bike shops are open! Crazy that car shops were allowed but not bike shops. Cycling is up 50% in NYC, this might help that happen here too.

    • MarcG 14:12 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      I’m the victim of Kate’s editing

    • Ian 18:11 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      @Chris I can see the value in having your bike tuned up in case you need to go get tested or something, but I’m not sure you want to use NYC as an example of good pandemic behaviour. We aren’t even supposed to be doing groceries more than once a week, you shouldn’t just be going out for bike rides, either. Everyone is supposed to stay home as much as possible.

    • Kate 18:56 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      My apologies, Marc G. I reordered the items and made nonsense of your comment.

    • Chris 10:50 on 2020-04-03 Permalink

      Ian, NYC’s biking increase was an example of a ‘silver lining’. Who said anything about leisure bike rides? Are car repair shops open because people need leisure car rides? No, they are open because transportation is still vital, and, as with public transport and car share, bike riding is a form of transport. I know at least two MDs at the Jewish that bike to work. They have more money than time and don’t repair their own flats, they just take them to the shop. And cyclists can much more easily keep 2 m apart than can public transport users.

    • Alison Cummins 11:06 on 2020-04-03 Permalink

      Aren’t we supposed to go out to help vulnerable people and take walks? Cycling is much safer than public transit. Two weeks ago in Ottawa kids were being encouraged to cycle with their friends as an activity they could share without getting too close.

      Apparently I’m not keeping up. What is the official policy on bike rides?

      +++ +++ +++
      The local skatepark has been closed, which I see as a really bad thing. Can’t we train neighbourhood volunteers to keep people from bunching up in groups, but still allow young people to blow off steam and use their bodies?

  • Kate 11:25 on 2020-04-01 Permalink | Reply  

    My landlady waited till 1 hour before the deadline before issuing her rent increase for July 1.

    Also, I was laid off my job (the entire shop shut down) two weeks ago, I made an error while applying for EI and was given a canned message saying I would get no benefits unless I phone in. It is currently impossible to phone in.

    How is your day going?

    • Anonymous Coward 11:39 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      She may have been hesitating about how to handle it, given the current uncertainty.

      The federal emergency package made things easier for us. For technical reasons, our tenants got their full rent increases on their usual schedule. We also asked our tenants to talk to us if their financial situation changes. We can be unofficially flexible.

      It’s possible that your landlady would be more open to discussing an unofficial rent holiday than scrapping the rent increase entirely. Talk to her. If that isn’t encouraging, refuse the rent increase.

      You heard me: I’m a landlord. I instruct you to refuse the rent increase!

      She’s looking after her interests as best she can; it’s up to you to look after yours. Your interests aren’t incompatible. You’re a good tenant and she wants to keep you. She would also like to maintain the value of her property. But she would rather keep you than try to find a new tenant in these unknown times. So refuse the increase.

    • Tee Owe 11:50 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      Geez Kate I wish I could help in some way other than electronic handholding – I hope something comes through for you

    • DeWolf 12:09 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      At this point would it be more useful to apply for the CERB? Or would that not work because you’re already in the EI system?

      Hope everything works out! At the very least remember you’re not alone in this.

    • Kate 12:36 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      DeWolf, every time I get the recorded message saying call volumes are too high, I’m reminded I’m not alone in this! But thanks all for supportive words.

    • Anon1984 13:30 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      What a shitty move! I think all pending EI applications automatically move to CERB..just make sure you’re registered with CRA (if not already)..got a text from my landlady yesterday afternoon saying “it’s that time of the year rent renewal/increase!” At least no happy face emoji attached..Still haven’t received email with new lease..B.C. and Manitoba have frozen all leases hopefully Quebec will follow (closed my shop of 23 years last week don’t know when I’ll be able to reopen)..your website is keeping me sane Kate, thanks again!

    • Ephraim 14:07 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      I have no EI. I have no real coverage for anything at the moment. I’m not even sure I qualify for anything, since I’m not really paid a salary and even if I was, I wouldn’t be eligible for EI since I’m self employed. My mortgage is still taken each week and I have no income to help pay for it. Nothing.

    • Dhomas 14:27 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      I’m a landlord and I did not increase the rent this year. One of my tenants wrecked his bathroom and mine last year by negligently leaving the water on in the bath, so I had planned to increase the rent to help cover the renos. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it in the current situation. He’s also a single father of two who lost his wife 2 years ago, which also played into my decision. Still not sure if I made a mistake…

    • Anon1984 14:31 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      Ephraim you should register with CRA, then when they roll out the CERB you can apply, I’m pretty certain everyone including all self employed will be eligible (I’m hoping)

    • EmilyG 14:31 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      I haven’t been paid yet for my main job, so I think one of my accounts might be overdrawn. And I just paid rent, so I think my other account may also be overdrawn.
      And I have cash and cheques I can put into the bank, but I can’t go to any banks and don’t have mobile apps for anything.
      If I could just get the right money into the right places, I’d be okay, but the pandemic makes that a little challenging.

    • Tim S. 15:08 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      Kate: Patreon?
      Dhomas: You didn’t make a mistake. Everything helps.
      Anon1984: I know your handle is anonymous, but as someone who shops everyday on Monkland (in normal circumstances) I’d be happy to support your shop in future (unless it’s one of the hair salons or something, in which case..)

    • Kevin 15:42 on 2020-04-01 Permalink


      If you’ve got your banking info at home you should be able to log into your accounts. Every major bank has online logins. Many still have logins by phone.

      You can also get set up with one of the online-only banks for a no-fee daily chequing account. (I use Tangerine) You can deposit cheques by taking a photo, and then you can transfer those funds to your other bank accounts.

    • qatzelok 15:52 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      Me too.
      No revenue coming in.
      No way to call anyone or visit anything. Meanwhile, on David Geffen’s yacht:


    • JaneyB 15:53 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      Your landlady’s late increase notice suggests she was hesitant. I suggest you fully lean on her reluctance. Odds are she will cave.

      A fall-back option for you is to suggest adding the increase on after 1st September. A third option could be to suggest backpaying the amount of the increase between now and September but only when things normalize (probably by September). Don’t start with that option though. She may have considered doing the increase after covid but wasn’t sure if she could start that if she didn’t file now so she may be just fine with delaying it for a few months. Tactically, you could assume that was her plan, giving her a face-saving out and she will probably agree to a delay because most people hate confrontation, especially about money.

    • Matt 16:18 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      +1 on Tim’s Patreon suggestion. I don’t have a sense for how long I’ve been benefiting from the work you’ve put into this site, but it’s been a long time. I’m lucky enough to still have a job and I’d gladly subscribe to a Patreon or similar to help cover your costs and support the work you’re doing, Kate.

    • Douglas 17:05 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      Throw up ads on this site and get some money.

      Don’t starve yourself.

    • Kevin 17:41 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      Good luck.

    • Dhomas 18:55 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      Just a note about actually going through with refusing a rental increase, based on Anonymous Coward’s recommendation. It costs 78$ plus time to file an application with the Régie du logement. I usually try to be reasonable and keep my annual increase close to that amount. Either my tenants pay me the extra, or they pay it to the Régie.

    • GC 19:43 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      Sorry to hear that, Kate. You should definitely put up a Patreon or some other way to get some money back from this site.

    • Nic 19:48 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      +1 on the Patreon suggestion

    • Kate 23:17 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      Thanks all for kindly words. I may do the Patreon thing soon.

    • Alison Cummins 01:05 on 2020-04-02 Permalink


      Kate refuses the increase. (The landlady should provide her a form to do that when she sends the notice of the increase.) Kate does NOT have to go to the régie. or open a file. She just uses the form and refuses.

      If the landlady really wants the increase she can ask the régie to decide on a fair increase. The landlady will pay to open the file, but if the régie finds the increase was reasonable they can ask Kate to pay the fee. Or the landlady can figure she tried but it’s obviously not a good time, accept the reality that an increase is not going to happen this year and not open a file.

    • Hervé 04:35 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      I would definitely chip in on Patreon.

    • Ian Rogers 08:17 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      I too would chip in on Patreon.
      I am lucky enough to have been assigned some adult ed classes last minute, I thought I would be walking into this lockdown without EI eligibility too… Good luck to all of you caught in a bind, I both sympathize and empathize.

    • Rebecca 09:41 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      +1 to the Patron from a long-time lurker, rarely poster.
      Also, Kate–if you have a resume on linked it — put it somewhere your visitors can find. Some of us are still working and a (very) few places might still be hiring, but mostly through reference.

    • ant6n 11:37 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      +1 (previously on wrong thread)

    • Patrick 13:18 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      +1 on Patreon.

  • Kate 09:38 on 2020-04-01 Permalink | Reply  

    The Gazette looked into how Kiryas Tosh, the Hasidic community in Boisbriand, is facing a backlash after it was reported as a COVID-19 hotspot. But police may be enforcing a wider and stronger quarantine on the community and its members than are warranted.

    In tangentially related news, a mikveh (Jewish ritual bath) in Côte St-Luc was reported as still operating, with people gathering there. Côte St-Luc is the island’s hottest spot, so it doesn’t really help that the mayor says “In their mind they were not doing anything wrong.” The Wikipedia article on the mikveh tells you more than you need to know about how central it is to Orthodox life.

    • Alison Cummins 11:30 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      Judaism can be a very humanist religion. It’s very easy for a rabbi to say that religious gatherings are harmful to people right now and therefore forbidden under rabbinical law. There are parables about the particular religious practice or observance being less important than the choice to practice or observe *something.*

      +++ +++ +++

      Hillel, 1st century BCE:

      [A] gentile … wanted to convert to Judaism. This happened not infrequently, and this individual stated that he would accept Judaism only if a rabbi would teach him the entire Torah while he, the prospective convert, stood on one foot. First he went to Shammai, who, insulted by this ridiculous request, threw him out of the house. The man did not give up and went to Hillel. This gentle sage accepted the challenge, and said:

      “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the commentary—go and study it!”

      +++ +++ +++

      So managing covid in orthodox communities may be a problem because of large families, but there’s absolutely no reason for the mikveh to be a sticking point.

    • Kate 11:53 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      Alison, the fact remains that in those communities, a married couple cannot “legally” have sex unless there’s a mikveh. It’s a difficult item to overcome.

    • gonzo 13:30 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      I’m Jewish and originally from Israel where Hasidic communities are much larger. In the fight against the virus in Israel this is a big and controversial issue. The sickness rates in the hasidic communities are much higher than in the general public. It’s a real tragedy.

      Big families, close contact between community members incl. large gatherings of hundreds every day in closed buildings and above all: disregard of law and governance and general ignorance. The average extreme hasidic is not connected to the outside world, and can’t make a decision that could contradict their Rabbi. If the Rabbi, the community leader, decide they need to jump from the roof, they will jump. So the role of these leaders in this crises is so important. Unfortunately, at least in Israel, many ignored the new reality and restrictions and even managed to ease in-place restrictions through political power and leverage (not relevant in Quebec, too small minority). This is a bit like with these christian preachers in the US and South America that still host large religious ceremonies because god told them to and connected to powerful politicians.

      The whole Mikveh thing also was a big issue in Israel, one of the last institutes that stayed open, but under restrictions. Because of political pressure from hasidic parties

      Montreal must learn from mistakes done in Israel. Quarantine in Boisbriand is important. Unfortunatly, I think we will see more deaths and sick people in the Outremont community and maybe others. Not sure what can be done there.

    • Alison Cummins 13:41 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      gonzo, yes, strong connections with rabbis is essential.

      They will figure something out if they need to.

    • Ephraim 14:03 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      Kate – This all falls under “Pikuach nefesh” (פיקוח נפש) and these ladies going to the Mikveh are frankly violating Jewish law. They even closed the mikvah in Kiryat Joel… if Satmar can do it, they can certainly manage it. (And the life they may be saving… is the observer’s life… she is most at risk, as she is there with each person who enters.)

    • Ephraim 14:04 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      It is also going to be easier to handle in the summer, as they can use a lake or river, if deep enough. But there are ways to make this safe. Certainly there should be only 2 people there. And they can move the witness to be behind glass or watching via camera, if only to save their lives.

  • Kate 09:00 on 2020-04-01 Permalink | Reply  

    Grocery stores are expecting a rush before the mandated Sunday closures, and are asking for police help to manage.

    • TC 22:14 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      I hope they have a system in place for distancing. Staff to mange lines inside and outside the store, tape to designate where people should stand while waiting.

    • Chris 10:46 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      It’s distressing that our society has descended into one where armed men have to manage queues of people lined up rationing one of life’s basic essentials.

  • Kate 08:43 on 2020-04-01 Permalink | Reply  

    Travel and Leisure has a virtual trip to Montreal with links to virtually visit our museums and listen to music.

  • Kate 18:43 on 2020-03-31 Permalink | Reply  

    CDN-NDG mayor Sue Montgomery has been charged with multiple ethics violations by Quebec’s Municipal Commission. Some details are given here, but as has been true throughout this story, there’s a strong sense of an unrevealed drama that journalists either can’t or won’t report.

    Also, as with many pre-pandemic story lines, there’s also a strong taste of “who the hell cares” about it.

    • MarcG 19:59 on 2020-03-31 Permalink

      I miss posts like this

    • walkerp 20:46 on 2020-03-31 Permalink

      Damn, they are really going after her hard. Please somebody suss out the back story here!

    • Jack 14:00 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      “…including harassment, lack of respect and failure to maintain a harassment-free work environment.”
      This can mean something as simple as saying “…do your job…” to a unionized civil servant.
      Can anyone find out if there has been more than these three cases? Sue Montgomery, Giuliana Fumagalli and Tamara Thermitus.
      Something more is going on here.

    • Ian 08:23 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      It does seem to have an air of familiarity to it, and I find it interesting that it always seems to be women getting hung out to dry…

      Even if Projet isn’t trying to allow “business as usual” to the extent of allowing corruption to flourish, this kind of behaviour certainly gives that impression. Since we can safely assume every administration before them was on the take, it would serve Projet well to be more careful about their optics, to say the least.

      I have always said that I vote for Projet because they are the only party that isn’t obviously on the take, but I certainly don’t trust them unconditionally any more.

    • Mark Côté 16:21 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      “I have always said that I vote for Projet because they are the only party that isn’t obviously on the take, but I certainly don’t trust them unconditionally any more.”

      Same, and even though I’ve long believed that our system doesn’t let real progressive change get too far, I’m still disappointed (yet again). So hard not to let the disillusionment overwhelm me.

  • Kate 17:16 on 2020-03-31 Permalink | Reply  

    The city will shortly be opening three new homeless shelters as well as new day centres in parks. If this seems like a lot, remember that the homeless now have to be sheltered individually, not bunked in together as they usually are.

    CTV looked into how the Douglas Hospital has had to help its patients face the extra stresses of a pandemic, on top of whatever demons they already cope with.

    I see completely conflicting advice on wearing a mask if you have to go out. During the 1 pm press conference, quoted here, Horacio Arruda said it couldn’t hurt, but don’t let a mask make you feel invincible, and keep washing your hands.

    Current list of confirmed cases by borough and suburb.

    • qatzelok 23:05 on 2020-03-31 Permalink

      Did it really take a global virus pandemic to make us (society, the community) care about homeless people enough to give them proper, private homes?

      Maybe we have been sick for a while with a much worse virus than COVID-19.

    • jeather 13:38 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      Oh, I don’t think this proves suddenly everyone cares about homeless people, it just proves that everyone is scared that if homeless people are around, outside, they will infect others.

      (I do hope that this changes our long-term plans for homelessness — giving housing helps, and it’s also the right thing.)

    • qatzelok 15:59 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      jeather, what I was getting at is that our new generalized precarity might inspire people to give up on the “Culture of Punishment” that we have been living under for centuries. Virtually every minority or person in trouble is punished, as if this can improve them.

    • jeather 19:38 on 2020-04-01 Permalink

      Oh, I get it, I just am more pessimistic about whether we will move in that direction after this is over.

  • Kate 08:48 on 2020-03-31 Permalink | Reply  

    A homeless man has died after testing positive for COVID-19. His actual age is not given, but he’s described as elderly. But in another story about a different homeless man suspected of being positive, it turned out he was not.

    There’s been one death and eleven more confirmed cases at a CHSLD in Lasalle.

    Radio-Canada reports on how traditional funeral rites in the three Abrahamic religions are now impossible.

    The Journal de Montréal speaks to a man who is living in his car on quarantine because he got back from a trip after a breakup, and has nowhere to live.

    Read xkcd on pathogen resistance especially the cursor popup.

    • Alison Cummins 09:27 on 2020-03-31 Permalink

      The article on the homeless man mentions another reason not to restrict cigarettes: when supply is limited, people share them.

    • Tim S. 12:43 on 2020-03-31 Permalink

      Thanks for the laugh, Kate.

    • Chris 10:59 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      Alison, or an alternative way to look at it… (as a thought experiment, not saying I’m for/against)

      The CDC’s worst case estimate is that 2 million could die in the USA from COVID. To prevent that, we self-inflict mass unemployment, limitations of civil liberties, etc., etc. Think of the lives it will save! How could we do less?!

      The CDC also says 0.5 million Americans die from cigarettes *each* year. To prevent that, we should make them totally illegal. Think of the lives it will save! How could we do less?!

  • Kate 17:38 on 2020-03-30 Permalink | Reply  

    Metro trains and buses are reported to have been crowded intermittently since the reduction in scheduling that came into force Monday.

    Monday, François Legault announced Sunday closure for stores throughout April, intended to give workers a rest. The only exceptions are deps, gas stations, pharmacies and restaurant takeout. Supermarket chains have welcomed this order.

    A Quebec couple who fled to a remote village in the Yukon was quickly sent packing.

    A man under strong suspicion of being a gangster, held awaiting trial, has pleaded for release from Bordeaux Jail before the virus gets there. Although some suspects awaiting trial in Ontario have been freed on similar pleas, the prosecutor here is quoted saying if anyone’s going to be let go, it won’t be a drug lord. But the judge will decide.

    • qatzelok 23:14 on 2020-03-30 Permalink

      -“Hello, kind people of Yukon. We have brought Hudson Bay blankets as a gift.”
      -Back on the plane! *purells airport*

    • Michael Black 23:32 on 2020-03-30 Permalink

      Infected blankets were never needed. Anyone who came over from Europe was a potential carrier, that’s the real vector. And that’s why the population was devastated. I suspect everyone had a loss to disease from Europe. And surely it happened with early contact so when settlers actually spread out they soaw such small populations that they never gave it thought. Any infected blankets were just twisting the knife.

      So there’s a collective memory, which is why blockades are going up. They don’t want rampant disease again.

    • Raymond Lutz 08:49 on 2020-03-31 Permalink

      Mask or not? Going in crowed places and still unsure about wearing some kind of protection? More data and analysis review by kottke: You Probably Should Be Wearing a Face Mask if You Can.

    • Kevin 09:47 on 2020-03-31 Permalink

      Banning Sunday shopping is stupid.

      With stores closing early, the only time essential services workers can do their groceries is on the weekend.

      Forget online delivery or ordering for pickup: they’re swamped. Lufa sent out an email yesterday saying they were now first-come first-served. By the time doctors got home and tried to login, everything was booked.

    • Meezly 11:21 on 2020-03-31 Permalink

      That Quebec couple. So many adjectives going through my mind after hearing about them. You really can’t make that sh*t up!

    • Tim S. 12:42 on 2020-03-31 Permalink

      They drove from Quebec to Whitehorse. They had a lot of time to think about whether that was really a good idea and turn around, and yet they didn’t.

    • Michael Black 13:00 on 2020-03-31 Permalink

      The amusing thing about their decision (their action isn’t amusing) is that they feared getting the virus, but in travelling tyat distance, including flying, they probably risked more contact than if they’d just stayed home with the doors and windows locked.

    • Chris 11:13 on 2020-04-02 Permalink

      >Supermarket chains have welcomed this order.

      Could they not have closed on their own if they wanted/need to? Is there a law requiring them to be open Sundays?

  • Kate 16:54 on 2020-03-30 Permalink | Reply  

    Here’s the Montreal public health page: we have 1612 confirmed cases in town, with a clear bump in CDN-NDG and Côte St-Luc. For once, Montreal East is a healthy place to be, although if you can afford Senneville you’re even more fortunate. Steve Faguy tweeted a graph showing the per capita numbers, which shows Hampstead and Outremont also up there. Despite claims I’ve seen about Park Ex, ViSaMiPex borough is not doing badly.

    • mare 17:50 on 2020-03-30 Permalink

      Steve Faguy’s tweet has been deleted because it showed cases per million, and suddenly neighbourhoods had 1000s of cases. New graphic is here

    • Kate 18:16 on 2020-03-30 Permalink

      Thanks, mare. I’ve replaced the link I had with your new one. (I also stripped out the code that was making it tiny.)

    • Anon1984 19:33 on 2020-03-30 Permalink

      I wish they would separate NDG from Côte des Neiges for purposes of counting COVID infections..my feeling is that it’s much more concentrated in certain areas of NDG and would mean #s of infection per thousand much higher and could hopefully help with containment strategies..I live and work in Monkland Village a population of very affluent,well-traveled people (also lots of Doctors)..first sign we might have been in potential future hot spot was case at NDG Library..I really wish Sue Montgomery was more pro active

    • JP 20:03 on 2020-03-30 Permalink

      If that were true…it might also help with reducing the xenophobic comments being thrown around. NDG doesn’t quite have the stigma that CDN does. Just read a LaPresse article on FB where the headline was about lots of cases in CDN. The comments section was full of ignorant and xenophobic comments.

    • nau 07:40 on 2020-03-31 Permalink

      Yeah, would be nice to see the île des Soeurs and “mainland” Verdun cases separately for the same reason.

    • walkerp 08:12 on 2020-03-31 Permalink

      Why are Cotes-des-Neiges and NDG the same borough in the first place? They are barely contiguous and each is almost as big as the biggest boroughs in the city.

    • Kate 09:53 on 2020-03-31 Permalink

      Bad decisions were made after the merger-demerger debacle, walkerp. Areas were smushed together for political expedience. NDG and CDN have different needs and problems and are, as you point out, each big enough to deserve their own administrative structure. Whether the city had been told to limit the number of boroughs, or whether Quebec was cannily creating a large borough it hoped would chronically fight with city hall, I don’t know.

      On a smaller scale, I live in an equally misconceived borough. Villeray, Park Ex and St-Michel are all distinctive areas, with different histories, demographics and issues. But here we are with them all smushed together into one administrative unit.

    • Kevin 09:57 on 2020-03-31 Permalink

      Most analysts I’ve spoken to say it was done for the same reason the PQ rammed through the municipal mergers.

    • Kate 11:27 on 2020-03-31 Permalink

      Kevin, how would you characterize that reason?

    • Kevin 22:47 on 2020-03-31 Permalink

      To reduce political power

  • Kate 10:00 on 2020-03-30 Permalink | Reply  

    Mayor Plante says the city will requisition a hotel to house the homeless, but she hasn’t said which one yet. The state of emergency has been extended.

    In general, police are going to be stricter about breaking up gatherings and making sure nonessential businesses stay closed.

    Further measures, such as asking people not to stray more than one kilometre from their homes, or for only one person in a household to go out shopping at a time, haven’t yet been put in place.

    The Orthodox Jewish community in Boisbriand has been placed under quarantine. There are 4000 people in that community and anywere between ten and twenty have tested positive – numbers differ.

    • Alison Cummins 13:15 on 2020-03-30 Permalink

      I’m glad about the hotel.

      Since this is a long-haul project, what about people with tenuous housing situations – say, people with small children living with a violent alcoholic?

      It might be better for people who have the space to take a roommate, rather than require single people to live alone in permanent lockdown. (I wouldn’t mind taking in a roommate in theory, but in practice I would worry quite a bit if it wasn’t someone I knew well.)

    • Ephraim 14:31 on 2020-03-30 Permalink

      Wouldn’t it be easier to requisition a dorm… Concordia cleared theirs. McGill has encouraged people to leave. And UQAM should offer them to CHUM staff that don’t want to go home and put their family at risk.

    • Spi 16:28 on 2020-03-30 Permalink

      I’m not familiar with the state of each institution’s dorm, but hotels make sense because they all have individual bathrooms and don’t have shared amenities like kitchens and living space. I know the new rez at McGill could meet those criteria (being a former hotel). Putting a lot of people in a space where they share a lot of the basics (bathroom/kitchen) defeats the purpose of social isolation.

    • Ephraim 18:03 on 2020-03-30 Permalink

      Most dorms are a lot more robust, furniture and fixture wise. I’m sure some of them must have their own bathrooms. Remember, the city will be responsible for damages. So maybe a hotel that is looking to refurb… because they are going to be hard on the property.

    • Joey 08:42 on 2020-03-31 Permalink

      @Ephraim recall that the dorms had to be shuttered because they were too conducive to gatherings. Anyway, I’m not sure why it would have been “easier” to requisition a dorm than a hotel. I say put the homeless up in the fanciest hotels until the pandemic is over. Let’s start with the renovated Queen E.

  • Kate 08:53 on 2020-03-30 Permalink | Reply  

    The new Champlain bridge was lit up like a Christmas tree overnight as a symbol of hope.

    TVA even spotted someone walking around in a rainbow costume. This use of the rainbow symbol began in Italy with the slogan “andrà tutto bene” and has been adopted here with “ça va bien aller” under it. It must derive from Genesis 9:12-16.

    • Dominic 10:07 on 2020-03-30 Permalink

      Saw the bridge. It had been a while since it was lit up. I didnt realize it was for this. It looked great!

    • CE 16:29 on 2020-03-30 Permalink

      I can see the UdeM tower from my balcony and saw that it was lit up with rainbow colours last night.

  • Kate 18:08 on 2020-03-29 Permalink | Reply  

    Everyone held a press conference Sunday. The good news from François Legault and Horacio Arruda is that although COVID-19 numbers are up, they’re not rising as fast as they have in some other places, and there were no new deaths since Saturday.

    The mayor said there will be more police patrols and potentially more fines if people break public health orders.

    I’m a little confused by the CBC piece, which quotes top public health honcho Dr. Mylène Drouin as saying “there are currently six areas with 50 or more confirmed cases. They are Côte Saint-Luc, Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie, Plateau-Mont-Royal, Ville-Marie and LaSalle.” But then later it says “Côte Saint-Luc is considered by Montreal public health officials to be among the “hot zones” in the city, along with Côte-des-Neiges, LaSalle and Parc-Extension.”

    • qatzelok 19:09 on 2020-03-29 Permalink

      Perhaps it’s because Cote-Saint-Luc has a much smaller population than the arrondisements mentioned, that 50 or more cases translates into a much higher rate? Anyway, who in the world goes there that doesn’t live there?

    • Kate 20:26 on 2020-03-29 Permalink

      qatzi, some people may go there to attend religious services.

      I was mostly concerned about Park Ex being named in the second passage, although not the first. It too has some religious establishments. I’ve heard of events being held at one of the Greek churches until fairly recently.

      Normally if someone’s religious beliefs cause them to forego medical care I figure it’s their funeral, but with a disease like COVID-19 it endangers everyone if people ignore social distancing rules. Right now it’s especially dangerous if religious ceremonies attract people from different parts of town, and then send them back home possibly with viral hitchhikers.

    • qatzelok 20:36 on 2020-03-29 Permalink

      How is it possible to police this? Are the police going to be breaking down the doors of religious buldings to catch worshippers “in the act” of not social distancing? Seems like it would create a huge backlash.

    • Kate 20:45 on 2020-03-29 Permalink

      Cops will have to talk to the communities. In Côte St-Luc they’d have to cast an eye on synagogues on Saturdays and holy days. Passover starts April 8 – I’ve seen pieces about how people will only be able to hold a seder with the people they’re already in the house with. Easter is on April 12 and Greek Orthodox Easter is a week later. I have no idea when Hindu and Sikh holy days are, but those affect Park Ex too, they’d have to know, and keep an eye on the temples and make sure people weren’t gathering.

      Nobody wants to be the boss man who breaks up a religious service, but it’s got to be done.

    • Brett 20:46 on 2020-03-29 Permalink

      I’m wondering if the police will enforce this using the same technique they used with the rail blockades.

    • JP 01:05 on 2020-03-30 Permalink

      I’m Hindu and my family goes to one of the temples in Parc Ex. As far as I’m aware, the temple is closed and has been for a while now. There are no official gatherings or events taking place.

    • Kate 08:22 on 2020-03-30 Permalink

      Thank you, JP.

      Brett, the situations are not comparable.

    • Brett 09:43 on 2020-03-30 Permalink

      I’m not so sure the situations are that different, Kate. We know that this virus came from overseas, and we also know that the hotspots in Montreal for this virus are in neighbourhoods that have a higher proportion of immigrants (Park Ex, CDN). What if, when confronted with a large gathering of minorities for religious or other reasons, the police let it slide for fear of being accused of racism?

    • Kate 09:55 on 2020-03-30 Permalink

      They will not. There is no basis of comparison for a pandemic vs. the supposed importance of a pipeline.

    • walkerp 11:01 on 2020-03-30 Permalink

      Brett, where to begin. Are you trolling, because that is some serious bullshit question you are asking on many levels.

    • vasi 11:03 on 2020-03-30 Permalink

      The synagogues in Cote St Luc have also been closed for quite awhile. I think we’re seeing echoes of the large get-togethers from before the quarantine. Combine that with the return of a lot of snowbirds, and the very high number of seniors….it’s not a good recipe. But as far as I know, nobody there is insisting on having religious meetings despite the risk.

    • Brett 11:44 on 2020-03-30 Permalink

      Not a bullshit question. The rail blockade in St Lambert was kept despite being illegal and the only reason the protesters left was because of extremely cold weather. Why were the protesters there so sure they weren’t going to face consequences from the police? And what’s to stop people from ignoring the police in this situation?

    • Mark Côté 14:34 on 2020-03-30 Permalink

      Why do you think they were sure they weren’t going to face consequences from the police? Activists get arrested all the time. And groups of people of colour get broken up and arrests made all the time as well. I can’t even believe I had to type that…

    • walkerp 14:34 on 2020-03-30 Permalink

      Brett, you seem to really believe what you write, so I will take the troll bait. All of your assumptions are wrong. The protestors chose to leave because they felt their message had been sent. They were not sure at all that they weren’t going to face consequences. They were scared as shit about the police. We still don’t know why the cops didn’t come in and crack heads and kill people like they did at Oka, probably because it was a very tenuous and complex political situation and for once they realized it would make things worse. Do make an effort to understand the history of the First Nations in Canada, particularily the violence they have and continue to suffer at the hands of the police.

      And then what does any of that have to do with this situation? Are you suggesting that it is only non-white people who would be breaking the rules of the lockdown? And that then the police would be too scared to bust up a bunch of immigrants doing some weird ceremony because of being called racist?

      Who do you think is most likely to be breaking the rules? Who do you think is most responsible for the community spread?

    • Chris 15:40 on 2020-03-31 Permalink

      >Nobody wants to be the boss man who breaks up a religious service, but it’s got to be done.

      It’s interesting to observe Israel’s reaction. Over 50% of the cases there are ultra Orthodox, even though they represent just 10% of the population.

      See for example: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-s-ultra-orthodox-jews-face-coronavirus-devastation-they-need-face-masks-1.8728283

      Choice quote: “… Yaakov Litzman, Israel’s minister of health, believes that this is going to end with messianic intervention.” We shall see! 🙂

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