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  • Kate 13:51 on 2019-04-17 Permalink | Reply  

    Looks like we’ll be having a rainy Easter weekend.

     
  • Kate 08:06 on 2019-04-17 Permalink | Reply  

    Hasidic groups in Brooklyn have been the site of a recent measles outbreak, so with Passover visitors expected here, the local communities are bracing for trouble.

    The item doesn’t explain where anti-vaxx ideas intersect with Orthodox Judaism.

    Passover this year coincides closely with Easter i.e. this upcoming weekend.

     
    • Ephraim 08:37 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      This is a second case. There was a case earlier, but the measles never transferred to Montreal because they vaccinate here. The reason is simple… it’s free. A lot of the Haredi community doesn’t have full healthcare in the US… where you have to pay for it. And in Israel, fully socialized medicine is only from 1995, so those older generally didn’t have coverage. Of course, since you have to buy it, not everyone follows the law…

    • Kate 08:51 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      How much can an MMR shot cost? (I’m prepared to believe it’s hundreds of bucks, in the United States.)

    • Brett 09:39 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

    • Ephraim 10:20 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      @kate – See https://www.walgreens.com/topic/healthcare-clinic/price-menu.jsp it’s $99.99 for MMR per dose (and this is given at the pharmacy… it’s even more at the hospital, doctor or clinic in the US) and you need 2 doses. Incidentally, if you wonder what the maximum the RAMQ pays for a medication is, it’s all published online at http://www.ramq.gouv.qc.ca/en/publications/citizens/legal-publications/Pages/list-medications.aspx but standard vaccines aren’t there, because you don’t buy them with the pharmacare program, they government buys them in bulk. But it’s much cheaper to vaccinate than to deal with the medical costs of not vaccinating… never mind the coffins for the 1 in 1000 that dies of measles.

    • Ian 11:15 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      “When asked why people are opting out of vaccines, the New York city health department said anti-vaccine propagandists are distributing misinformation in the community.

      The fearmongerers include a group called PEACH — or Parents Educating and Advocating for Children’s Health — which appears to be targeting the Jewish community with misinformation about vaccine safety, citing rabbis as authorities, through a hotline and magazines. Brooklyn Orthodox Rabbi William Handler has also been proclaiming the well-debunked link between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. Parents who “placate the gods of vaccination” are engaging in “child sacrifice,” he told Vox.”

      https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/11/9/18068036/measles-new-york-orthodox-jewish-community-vaccines

      Each community follows the advice of its own rabbis, presumably the Montreal Hasidim aren’t on board with this particular line of thought.

    • Ian 11:16 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      But important to note, that is a small group –

      “Some Jewish community leaders are not wild about New York City’s new, shall we say, vaccination edict, but they, their organizations, and the overwhelming majority of local doctors are resolutely pro-vaccination.

      Ezras Nashim, the women’s ambulance corps that serves observant Jewish women in Borough Park and the surrounding area, issued the strongest of statements encouraging vaccination, citing, among other things, the Talmud’s declaration that “all of Israel are responsible for each other.”

      Rabbi David Niederman, director of United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn (UJO), a Satmar community-service group, was equally emphatic about the Halachic demand to vaccinate children. He stressed that those who opposed it are part of a fringe group, much like the anti-vaxxers in the United States as a whole.”

      https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/283472/hasidic-community-health-emergency

    • Chris 14:24 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      Kate, there’s this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccination_and_religion

      I could imagine a correlation between religiosity and vaccination hesitancy. Both groups are prone to believing in things without evidence. (i.e. if virgins can bear children, then vaccines can cause autism.) Not sure if anyone has studied that…

    • Kate 15:14 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      Ian, Ephraim, thanks for the research.

      Chris, you don’t see it. Because a person or group of people is religious it does not necessarily open them to new irrational ideas. I was curious where anti-vaxxers had found an opening into Orthodox Jewish culture, which is in most ways pretty realistic about medical care.

    • Mark Côté 15:50 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      The anti-vax stuff I’ve seen has had very little, if any, religious content, unless you count “new age” viewpoints.

    • thomas 16:45 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      @Mark It seems anti-vax proponents will make up any argument if they think it will stick to a target audience. There was a nytimes article over the weekend where an evangelical family objected to vaccinations because they are made from human abortion DNA.

    • Chris 22:56 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      Kate, of course. I did not say it _necessarily_ does, I said I suspect a correlation/overlap between groups. Religion is the ultimate fake news, if one can fall for it, one could be more likely to fall for another kind. A quick search reveals there is at least some data supporting my suspicion: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3906279/#R147

    • jeather 13:59 on 2019-04-18 Permalink

      Wealth correlates negatively with religion but positively with anti-vaccine, so I wouldn’t think “those crazy people who believe in god probably don’t believe in vaccination” follows. (Historically vaccination and earlier variolation were invented and taken up by religious people as well-.)

    • Raymond Lutz 20:12 on 2019-04-18 Permalink

      Wealth correlates negatively with vaccination? That’s not what Gapminder shows for vaccination rate VS GDP/capita

    • jeather 21:24 on 2019-04-18 Permalink

      Wealth correlates positively with anti-vaccine in North America, the context of vaccinations is very different in other cultures and also not particularly relevant to the question of how it correlates with religion.

    • Chris 10:41 on 2019-04-19 Permalink

      Correlation is not causation. I don’t think there’s a causal relationship like: religiosity -> anti-vax. I suspect it’s more like: predisposition to ignoring evidence -> anti-vax, predisposition to ignoring evidence -> climate change denial, predisposition to ignoring evidence -> religiosity.

    • jeather 17:17 on 2019-04-19 Permalink

      Correlation is not causation, no. But your argument doesn’t even have the grace of actually fitting the evidence.

  • Kate 07:56 on 2019-04-17 Permalink | Reply  

    City council did proceed to move that Montreal is a centre of excellence for metal music.

     
    • Tim F 18:26 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      Nothing says hard core heavy metal like a city council resolution.

  • Kate 07:10 on 2019-04-17 Permalink | Reply  

    Reported on reddit a few days ago, the presence of a tiny white horse on St Helen’s Island is a mystery. Authorities are trying to locate it so it can be caught and looked after properly.

    Update: the story has made it to the BBC.

     
    • Ian 11:45 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      Has anyone asked David Lynch about his whereabouts?

    • Kevin 13:33 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      This is the time of year when digital artist students are producing their ‘how real can I make it look’ work.

      A couple weeks ago someone was trying to pass around a video of a toddler running down a street as real, but there were many things that looked off.

    • Kate 13:52 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      Kevin, the CTV report claims several different people have seen it.

    • mare 16:09 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      Not necessarily a VFX graduation video. In our neighbourhood (Petite-Patrie) there are at least two people with a mini horse. I saw and petted one white mini horse outside the dog park two years ago, and talked a bit with its owner and he said he knew another person who had one.

      It’s illegal to keep livestock, but these are only slightly bigger than a Great Dane or Newfoundlander so they’re more like a pet. When you have an enclosed courtyard, or keep them inside at all times (they can be paper trained, but it would be kind of cruel to not walk them) nobody will know or tell on you.

    • Kevin 16:34 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      Well it is a hoax created by TVA The first article I saw was written by the Journal and both are owned by Quebecor. https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2019/04/16/curieux-mini-cheval-sur-lile-sainte-helene

  • Kate 07:07 on 2019-04-17 Permalink | Reply  

    A regular reader has been keen on the idea of making restaurants post the results of cleanliness inspections, and now the city is pondering doing just that – grocery stores, too.

     
    • walkerp 08:42 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      Rather not do anything that empowers those inspectors. Their policies are based on industrial production of food and they come into wonderful local butcher shops and force them to upgrade their equipment and use techniques that are not relevant (like keeping portuguese sausages at freezing which ruins them). This is what kills local businesses.

    • Kate 08:50 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      I know. They also make Portuguese bakeries take freshly baked pasteis de nata out of the oven and refrigerate them, which turns that wonderful pastry into cardboard. And they’ve hounded Chinese BBQ pretty much out of existence here with their draconian – and pointless – rules about temperature.

    • Marco 10:17 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      They do this in Los Angeles and I think it’s great. It ensures that the restaurant management is serious about health and cleanliness. If you want to go to a place that has a C rating then it’s up to you but I would prefer to be informed. Health inspectors are not your enemy.

    • Ephraim 10:24 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      There are a list of best practices, but there is also just plain cleanliness. Yes, a nata doesn’t really need to be refrigerated, the sugar does the job. But how many restaurants with mouse/rat droppings and or not cleaning the hood or rotating the oil do you need? Most people can’t taste rancid oil… some people can smell it when they walk into a restaurant. We don’t need to go over the deep end… if we did, we wouldn’t have rare steaks. But we do need to ensure that things are washed and disinfected (e. coli), fish is fresh, etc.

    • Ian 11:19 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      Fair, but that level-headed approach is not what our inspectors take. Kate’s examples are not just hypothetical (though you can still get fresh natas and Chinese BBQ if you know exactly where to go, shhh)

    • Jonathan 08:30 on 2019-04-18 Permalink

      I think this is a bad idea. I agree with most of the comments here that the system needs to be updated and consumers need to be more aware of what ratings mean before they are given a number or score.

  • Kate 07:04 on 2019-04-17 Permalink | Reply  

    The kind of delays that plague city projects mean that the Sir George Étienne Cartier pool reconstruction won’t be complete till summer’s end – if then. That corner of St-Henri is a bit of a mess right now, with work also being done on the canal side adjacent to the park.

     
    • Joey 08:34 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      Why can’t the city manage these park projects properly? I heard that the tennis courts at Jeanne-Mance Park – which have been closed for reconstruction for two summers and appear to be done – won’t be open until 2020.

    • walkerp 08:42 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      Corruption. This is why excusing SNC-Lavalin is so unacceptable.

    • Kate 08:53 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      Joey, you’ll notice in the article that the city insisted on also including a meeting room in the pool project. It’s probably not just here, but I’ve always noticed a tendency to make renovation projects better and more “worthy” than the thing they’re replacing. While that neighbourhood swelters this summer for lack of a pool, the city will be putting together something more like a community centre – in a park.

    • mare 15:33 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      A few reasons I can see besides outright corruption.

      Contractors bid on more projects they can handle, get too many of them awarded but then they can’t find enough skilled workers to carry out the work. I’ve seen so many projects that lay idle, without anybody working, for many days every week, and sometimes for weeks on end, with heavy machinery present but not moving an inch from day to day. Construction companies can make more money by having multiple job sites because there are apparently no stiff fines for not completing a project in time. So they can take their sweet time, then be ‘surprised’ by winter (and probably charge more because of hardship). Whatever they do, the city isn’t going to take the project from them and give it to another firm. The city doesn’t have a lot of skilled inspectors who enforce rules either, since they have been downsized years ago and now hiring them is hard because they are rare and can make much more money in the private sector.

      Anecdotal evidence: all projects (mostly sports installations, but also a dog run) in the park that’s close to my house and that I visit daily while walking my dogs, have laid idle for extended amounts of time, and have taken absurd amounts of time to complete. In the last phase they were often rushed with suddenly lots of crews working at the same time and doing shoddy work. Such shoddy work, that it needed to be done again next year, and still wasn’t done right. At every point in time during the last 10 years an area of the park has been a closed off and muddy construction site.

  • Kate 20:53 on 2019-04-16 Permalink | Reply  

    The last council session has been held at city hall until it reopens in 2022 after extensive renovations and repairs.

     
    • Tim F 08:32 on 2019-04-18 Permalink

      Just wondering… How’s the fire extinguishing infrastructure in city hall? I bet a lot of renovators of historic buildings are thinking about that after Paris…

  • Kate 20:42 on 2019-04-16 Permalink | Reply  

    The case of Bela Kosoian, who was arrested for not holding a metro handrail when ordered to do so by security, will be ruled on by the Supreme Court in a few months’ time. The incident happened almost ten years ago.

     
    • david100 01:25 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      Before the idea catches hold that this woman was fined for not holding a handrail on an escalator, which is a patently stupid thing to stop someone for, but exactly what is being reported, let me bang this off. I know that newspeople read this blog.

      Here’s what you must to understand:

      One, she was disorderly (whether drunk, drugs, or simply obstinate, we don’t have facts) and the cops just got wrote her up on whatever. Prosecutors dropped the charges, of course.

      Two, she sued for false basis of arrest, with the procedural posture as follows.

      Her lawsuit was dismissed right off. When a court case is dismissed, it dies as a matter of law – ie. it’s found that there’s no relief available to the plaintiff, as a matter of law, so the court tosses it. Short story is that our judicial system lets you sue people, but you must first convince a judge that you’ve actually got what’s called a cause of action. A cause of action is a claim that some party violated your legal rights, and you have to support it with some minimal level of proof that said violation took place, based on named elements. So, for instance, if you were assaulted, and you went civil to take money off the assailant, and they moved to dismiss the case, you’d show a police report, record of conviction, maybe if it hadn’t got that far you’d file an affidavit – all showing that they committed the offense as outlined by the law. Then you’d beat the motion to dismiss.

      Anyway, this case was dismissed for failure to state a claim under which relief could be granted, and she’s been appealing and arguing specifically about the legal defense to her claim – what internationally is called qualified immunity for the public security services. In a nutshell, this is a legal doctrine that immunizes certain police actions from liability, assuming they followed the law, as it was understood and reasonably interpreted at the time.

      Basically, this claim in the news is not something that went to jury, it’s all about the interpretation of law, that’s what they’re fighting about.

      It’s on this basis that it found its way to the Supreme Court of Canada. The Plaintiff is seeking to get a certain legal standard citizen/police interactions adopted, and Quebec is seeking another.

      Obviously, behind the high-minded rhetoric, we can see the issue here pretty clearly. I’d personally love it and benefit a lot if Canada had a torts system that made it easy to take money off the government for borderline cases when the police make an example of a loudmouth “I know my rights” type, a foreigner, a drunk, a protester, etc. It’s payday central. At the same time, it’s not the sort of public policy that most Quebecois would love, given the cost of paying people out, and the fact that the harm is relatively minor, and the court costs relatively significant.

      So, yeah, that’s a long way of saying this: maybe you think that cops should be hammered in the court, but maybe you also think that such a rule would cost us, not just in money but also in less effective law enforcement.

      (And before the normal chorus chimes in to impute race into this, you have the Plaintiff Bela Kosoian, the Defendants Fabio Camacho and the City of Laval, and the Plaintiff’s attorney Aymar Missakila. You’re talking about a bunch of copper-tones here).

    • Kevin 07:36 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      I reviewed my notes from a decade ago and Kosoian was the first person in the history of the STM to be fined for not holding a handrail.

      She was also fined for obstruction.

      Both of those were dismissed in court — but that’s not why she’s at the Supreme Court. She’s there arguing cops were jerks.

    • ricardus 11:46 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      The officer had no right under the Code of Penal Procedure to order her to surrender name and address to serve her a ticket. The officer hence had no right to arrest her when she refused to surrender these things. The officer applied an offence that does not exist under any law. His arrest thus was not “authorised by law”.The officer hence committed assault as his act was not protected under s. 25 Criminal Code. The Court of Appeal ruled that sure Officer Camacho is a criminal, but under the civil regime he is not at fault because “ignorance of the law is no defence” does not apply in civil law, they ruled! They went so far as to imply that the arrest was illegal under criminal law but legal under civil law, claiming that CPP arrest powers were respected. When it does say however in s. 72 that one must have “probable cause” that an offence has been committed to serve a ticket, this does not permit that argument to work.

    • ricardus 11:55 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      The “obstruction” was the not giving name and address and “forcing” an arrest for an offence that does not exist.

      s. 72 of the Code of Penal Procedure provides; “A peace officer who has reasonable grounds to believe that a person has committed an offence may require the person to give him his name and address, if he does not know them, so that a statement of offence may be prepared.”

      It is obvious that this offence must exist. That is the officer must have reasonable grounds to believe that the subject has committed a real offence. If they suspect that the person committed an offence that does not exist, then the officer may not demand this information.

      s. 73:” A person may refuse to give his name and address or further information to confirm their accuracy so long as he is not informed of the offence alleged against him.”

      And if that offence does not exist, then it is clear that the person may refuse to give name and address.

      The arrest power is in s. 74: “A peace officer may arrest without a warrant a person informed of the offence alleged against him who, despite the peace officer’s demand, fails or refuses to give him his name and address ….” I have seen cases where judges hive this provision from the two others to claim that there is no need for probable cause! That of course makes CPP arrest powers more permissive than Criminal Code ones if this is so and makes a mockery of the scheme of the Act! At any rate, minimally when the police “inform” of the “offence”, it must be a real offence and not a fake one like in this Kosoian case.

      In municipal court, the two tickets fell because 1) The first ticket discloses an offence that does not exist, and 2) An officer applying an offence that does not exist is not in execution of his duties.

      This case has huge civil liberties ramifications. Laval and the STM are arguing that police should have the right to make up the law on site or at the police station and that this is presumed correct and all persons must act as if it is correct. It becomes an easy matter to force names and addresses from people to investigate them by claiming they are committing fictitious offences.

  • Kate 20:30 on 2019-04-16 Permalink | Reply  

    The CAQ is firm that there will be no exceptions for Montreal on Bill 21.

     
    • Jack 05:55 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      Who cares, no institution in Montreal will enforce this law. Their is actually no method of enforcement in the law itself. My only concern is the Municipal Unions ( Fire, Blue Collar, White Collar) because they dont live in Montreal and probably a majority of them voted CAQ. As a matter of fact the Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness ( Really) Simon Joliet-Barrette was a member of the white collar union at the city. He grew up in the tough streets of Mont St.Hilaire and attended the University of Sherbrooke.

    • Chris 22:59 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      Well, it is logical that Bill 21 should apply everywhere. The problem is that Bill 21 itself is stupid.

  • Kate 06:58 on 2019-04-16 Permalink | Reply  

    Inevitably, after the disaster in Paris, the question is asked whether our churches are safe from a similar fate. The answer is clearly no.

     
    • Tim S. 10:36 on 2019-04-16 Permalink

      By their nature churches are vulnerable to fires. They’re largely made of wood (at least the roof and tower structures) and wide open. Medieval churches were constantly burning down because of lightning strikes and the odd dropped candle (also, invading armies). It seems as though we can do more to protect them these days, but they won’t last forever. That said, it’s still sad when it happens on our watch, so to speak.

    • Frankie 10:43 on 2019-04-16 Permalink

      Some churches have switched to battery-operated lights to replace candles or just don’t have anything at all. Probably saves on insurance costs as well as reducing the likelihood of a hellish conflagration.

    • A 13:06 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      If it is similar to the way it seems to work in France, they probably don’t have insurance in the traditional sense. France itsself owns most of the religious buildings therefore they ‘self-insure’ the building (i.e. they cover the cost themselves and by they, i guess they mean the taxpayer/some rich people with offshore bank accounts)

  • Kate 06:48 on 2019-04-16 Permalink | Reply  

    TVA reports that an STM honcho says 70% of the metro system has reached end of life and the system is in a serious state of maintenance deficit, and it would cost $4 billion to restore. He also says passengers are not at risk.

     
    • Kevin 15:48 on 2019-04-16 Permalink

    • jeather 16:06 on 2019-04-16 Permalink

      This isn’t really related except it is about the metro: I am in Lionel-Groulx a lot lately, which place sells the good Nanaimo squares you mentioned recently?

    • Kate 07:16 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      On the lower level there’s a spot on the platform where there are 2 businesses back to back. One is a dep called Tabatout. The other is a small place called Underground Café selling coffee, sandwiches and various snacks. The Nanaimos are $1.75.

  • Kate 06:27 on 2019-04-16 Permalink | Reply  

    The CAQ is proposing a “temporary” 90-cent surcharge on all taxi and Uber rides to help them reimburse taxi permit holders. I put that word in quotes, because which government has ever repealed a tax?

     
    • Ephraim 08:39 on 2019-04-16 Permalink

      So an airport ride is now going to be $41.90? This is stupid. At least put it at $1. And how long do you think it will take Revenu Quebec to program this new tax collection system into their computers, never mind how much it will cost to program this nonsense into their systems. And the taxi bureau to actually print up new signs for every damn taxi. As for Uber… that’s their problem… but then again, they still haven’t told their drivers to get themselves a damn F plate so they can deduct expenses… instead of pay income tax on their gas, car expenses and depreciation.

    • Chris 08:49 on 2019-04-16 Permalink

      Well somebody has to refund the old value of those medallions. I guess they figure better the users of taxis/uber than the general tax payer.

    • Ephraim 09:18 on 2019-04-16 Permalink

      @Chris – That’s the problem with people who don’t think… this leave RQ and the Taxi Bureau with a bill as well. We can’t expect that RQ won’t pay it’s programmers. And how about the taxi meters, someone needs to reprogram them… etc.

    • Ian Rogers 10:23 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      Well there was a “temporary” tax on cigarettes for 30 or so years to help pay for the Olympic Stadium, wasn’t there?

    • Ephraim 10:25 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      75c per packet. Never removed.

    • Ian Rogers 11:27 on 2019-04-17 Permalink

      Huh, for some reason I thought I read somewhere that it was. Well, there you go, then. Temporary taxes fan tutti. FWIW income tax was supposed to be a temporary measure to pay off WW1.

  • Kate 21:44 on 2019-04-15 Permalink | Reply  

    City council made a unanimous resolution Monday against Bill 21.

     
  • Kate 16:44 on 2019-04-15 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s hard to find Montreal trivia today that’s worth mentioning on a day when a large part of Notre Dame de Paris has been destroyed.

    It’s a harsh reminder that neglecting old treasures – as happened to Notre Dame de Paris over the years – will eventually lead to their loss.

    The people of Paris have my sympathy today. It’s a loss to them and to all of us.

    Update: Radio-Canada talked to some French expats. No surprise, they were all shocked and unhappy.

     
  • Kate 09:29 on 2019-04-15 Permalink | Reply  

    The winter shelter at the old Royal Vic has been deemed a success, such that plans are already being made to reopen it next year. It’s closing for the season on Monday.

     
    • Uatu 17:01 on 2019-04-16 Permalink

      Good. I’d rather see the place used to help people in need instead of being converted into luxury condos for weaslly Porter- like slimeballs.

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