Recent Updates Page 2 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • 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.
      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


      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… 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:

      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.

  • Kate 08:51 on 2020-09-26 Permalink | Reply  

    Radio-Canada has quite a long and discursive piece in discussion with a series of urbanism and sociology professors about the future of Montreal, in particular vs. the regions, as things evolve to face the challenge of Covid.

    It begins to filter through as you read that no amount of expertise enables someone to foresee how the city will look in 5, 10, 20 years: will downtown rebound, will there really be more foci of urban activity, as suggested by one, or just lots of distributed teleworking/coworking centres, as another proposes? Will the regions flourish as Montreal declines? Will other, unpredictable factors come into play?

    “Six mois dans l’histoire d’une ville, c’est quand même quelque chose d’assez court” as one of the experts says, although another thinks “On va revenir à une économie où les rencontres, les dîners d’affaires, se serrer la main, se regarder, vont revenir comme avant” and I’m not sure we can rely on that. Major crises tend to effect permanent changes that only become clear in retrospect.

    I’m going to be a pain in the ass here and note that all the experts in this story are white males. Since the writer doesn’t have a souchy sort of name, I can’t clobber him on the ethnicity side, but I’d have enjoyed reading about what one or two women experts thought as well.

    • DeWolf 13:00 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      I think there was an important point made in the Norman Foster op-ed that Meezly links to above: “Covid-19 will hasten existing trends [but] will not create new trend.”

      It’s also worth looking back through history at the many pandemics and epidemics that have taken place before. As a species we have never been healthier than we are today; a century ago we would have all been more likely to die from a disease far more horrific than Covid. The bubonic plague, cholera, typhoid, polio, the Spanish flu – all of these killed millions, sometimes all at once, and yet as soon as the worst was over, people continued shaking hands, hugging, going out to restaurants and drinking in pubs, just as they had done for centuries. The way they did those things may have changed, and the context in which they did them was altered, but there are some human behaviours that are so deeply rooted I don’t think they will ever go away.

    • Chris 13:56 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      For centuries human have been moving into cities, because we are social, and because ideas are best exchanged by groups being together. This won’t change.

    • Mark Côté 14:53 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      Except that it has changed in the past. In 1850 15% of the US population lived in an urban environment. Now it’s above 80%. This was driven mainly by changes in economics, with more jobs being created in the city. If covid-19 fundamentally changes the perception of offices, it has removed one of the drivers for urban living. I’m not saying that we’ll all end up in the countryside, but smaller towns may become more appealing if there’s only a requirement to be physically present in an office every few weeks or less.

    • Kate 11:45 on 2020-09-27 Permalink

      People may also have noticed how much time is wasted in offices – pointless meetings, chatting around the water cooler, little birthday parties for people, all the bullshit jobs basically. People can probably get the actual work done at home, far more efficiently, without this stuff.

    • Michael Black 11:52 on 2020-09-27 Permalink

      That’s what they say about home schooling. Actual learning can take place pretty fast, but it’s slowed down by the classroom.

      We’re talking John Holt type homeschooling, not “keep kids at home for religious or conservative reasons”.

  • Kate 23:47 on 2020-09-25 Permalink | Reply  

    A woman received some minor injuries Friday evening when a shootout apparently broke out between two groups in St-Henri.

  • Kate 22:21 on 2020-09-25 Permalink | Reply  

    A man was shot in Montreal North on Friday. He’s recovering, and he’s “known to police.”

  • Kate 22:18 on 2020-09-25 Permalink | Reply  

    The SPVM annual report for 2019 shows it’s still mostly a white male crew: men outnumbered women 2-1, and only 8% of the force are visible minorities.

    That article and this one from TVA also give out various figures on crime, traffic accident statistics and so forth. The full document is here.

    • Chris 14:03 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      The CTV article doesn’t answer so many interesting questions: how many non-white-males graduate police academy? How many apply to work at the SPVM? How many are accepted/rejected? Knowing that would paint a fuller picture.

  • Kate 19:05 on 2020-09-25 Permalink | Reply  

    Quebec is ponying up $2.3 billion for public transit to offset the massive drop in revenue from the pandemic, to be handed out in chunks over the next couple of years. Nothing here about how much the STM specifically will get.

    Le Devoir spins this story differently: the $2.3 billion is for municipalities, with $1.2 billion meant specifically for transit.

  • Kate 19:00 on 2020-09-25 Permalink | Reply  

    Lots of students living in the McGill ghetto have tested positive for Covid.

    The entire city is now an orange zone.

    The health minister is asking everyone to cancel social plans for 28 days.

    • walkerp 09:04 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      What are “social gatherings”? Does indoors and outdoors not make a difference? These guidelines are so vague.

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

      This is what a CBC piece is saying on Saturday morning. The guidelines are way too vague.

      I sat here Friday night listening to my neighbours whooping it up outside in the alley for a couple of hours. Not the first time they’ve done this over the last month. In earlier times, I always thought it was nice that my immediate neighbourhood was a convivial place where a lot of the households (families with kids around the same ages, which is one reason I don’t tend to give more than a friendly wave – I don’t really fit in, sociologically) are mutually sociable and supportive.

      But last night, jeez. Half a dozen or more households, now? Without masks or distancing? Even outdoors, it felt like they were pushing a boundary.

    • Joey 10:03 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      Clearly we are overestimating what is meant by the term “bubbles.”

    • Joey 10:04 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      Or rather, what is understood, not meant.

    • Tim S. 10:25 on 2020-09-26 Permalink

      Based on what’s happening in Europe, which seems to have been a couple of weeks ahead of us throughout this whole thing, I’m increasingly convinced that intermediate measures are useless, at least as proposed so far. Once exponential growth starts, the only instructions that people seem to be able to grasp, society-wide, is “stay home.” It’s why I think the school thing is more complicated than the government lets on. Regardless of whether kids actually transmit it, as long as schools are open it sends the message that everything’s normal. And on that note, my kids’ school just sent out instructions to make sure the students bring everything home with them each night.

  • Kate 16:20 on 2020-09-25 Permalink | Reply  

    Happened on this story about outdoor coworking spaces planned to pop up around town next summer. A prototype is already operating not far from Blog HQ, in Villeray. Story later picked up by TVA.

  • Kate 11:57 on 2020-09-25 Permalink | Reply  

    There were 637 new Covid cases diagnosed in Quebec over the last 24 hours.

    • jeather 13:49 on 2020-09-25 Permalink

      Call display now shows “Santé publique” if tracers try to reach you, which has to be a slight improvement.

    • Kate 19:13 on 2020-09-25 Permalink

      Until the spammers learn to spoof that too. But yes.

  • Kate 11:32 on 2020-09-25 Permalink | Reply  

    The SPVM has put a mobile command post in Old Montreal, seeking to resolve three recent incidents of violence in the area.

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc