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  • Kate 23:34 on 2020-11-26 Permalink | Reply  

    The Journal alleges that the Casino put out the red carpet for high-rolling members of the local mob.

  • Kate 23:30 on 2020-11-26 Permalink | Reply  

    Le Devoir has much more detail about the report on the archdiocese and how it failed to deal with pedophile priest Brian Boucher.

  • Kate 19:11 on 2020-11-26 Permalink | Reply  

    English school board elections have been delayed again as it finally percolated through that holding them five days before Christmas during a pandemic wasn’t a great idea. There’s no new date, and almost all the candidates have already been acclaimed.

    • Michael Black 19:24 on 2020-11-26 Permalink

      I just got the notice for the second date yesterday. A little slow there.

      For the EMSB, there’s only one “riding” where there’s competition. I don’t know about the other boards. But they should just go to a mail-in vote given the small numbers.

  • Kate 19:05 on 2020-11-26 Permalink | Reply  

    I’m of two minds posting this, because although CTV is a reliable news source, it’s clear from context that while the white supremacist is trying to stir things up, nobody at McGill knows anything about the “white students’ union” he claims to be trying to establish there. Giving a guy like this free PR is distasteful to me, but we nonetheless need to know that guys like him are out there trying to win hearts and get followers.

    • Raymond Lutz 19:42 on 2020-11-26 Permalink

      Ouf, tout ce qui manque à cette affiche, c’est trois torches Tikki…

  • Kate 15:50 on 2020-11-26 Permalink | Reply  

    The mayor launched plans for winter on Thursday. There will be “resorts” – warming stations – in parks in all boroughs, Christmas markets and outdoor sports

  • Kate 14:35 on 2020-11-26 Permalink | Reply  

    There was a break-in at the Ecomuseum zoo this week, and someone either stole a raven or allowed it to escape. It’s a rescued and rehabilitated bird that needs medication and care to live.

  • Kate 14:30 on 2020-11-26 Permalink | Reply  

    The Iroquoian symbols turtle, wolf and bear will be appearing on Peel Street this year instead of the conventional Christmassy motifs. These three apply specifically to Mohawk clans in the Montreal area.

  • Kate 09:37 on 2020-11-26 Permalink | Reply  

    Covid hospitalizations are on the rise in Montreal, and with the busy time of the holidays imminent, health authorities are worried.

    Why do more people go to hospitals around the Christmas holiday? I’ve never understood that, but it’s clearly a thing.

    The city has given out hygiene rules for wintertime.

    Half the city’s office workers are continuing to work from home for the foreseeable future. This week I talked to someone I’ve worked with, who told me his agency was having him come in 2 days a week, the rest to be done from home. I imagine there’s a lot of that kind of thing going on.

    • Blork 13:31 on 2020-11-26 Permalink

      The holidays are stressful for many people, for a variety of reasons. Stress and anxiety can exacerbate underlying conditions, and/or bring on physical symptoms that might feel like something more than an anxiety response (e.g., increased blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, indigestion, insomnia, various aches and pains from inflammation flareups, etc.). All that can make a person feel like there’s something wrong with them (OMG, I’m about to have a heart attack! OMG I feel bad because I have cancer! Etc.etc.)

      Also, many people simply eat or drink to much and they think their hangover is something worse.

    • MarcG 14:03 on 2020-11-26 Permalink

      I’ve been to emergency at holiday time and there was a guy there was obviously lonely (talking about his family and Christmases past) who the staff seemed familiar with. Also lots of drunk and drugged people who either fell over or got into fights. There are probably more car accidents as well because drinking + driving + darkness + slush/ice.

  • Kate 19:37 on 2020-11-25 Permalink | Reply  

    A report by a retired judge is harsh on how the Catholic archdiocese failed to handle a pedophile priest. Brian Boucher is doing time, but the damage is done. The report lays out how the church looked away while the abuse occurred, and how it should proceed now if suspicions are raised about anyone in its ranks.

    Update: CBC says Catholics are angry and sad. When I see a headline like this my first reaction is “there are still Catholics?”

    Second update: Some people say penalties should be harsher not just for perpetrators but for those whose inaction enabled them.

    • Jack 09:36 on 2020-11-26 Permalink

      According to the article Loyola High School would not let him hear confession. What did they know? How was he involved in the school? Anybody know anything about this?

    • Chris 09:43 on 2020-11-26 Permalink

      Hard to be surprised. We’re talking about an organization founded on a lie, who’s main purpose is to propagate their lies. Further, they insist their priests live in an unnatural state of no sex and no masturbation even. Altogether predictable results alas. And we give them tax exemptions!

    • Kate 10:01 on 2020-11-26 Permalink

      Chris, when you yell IT’S ALL LIES it’s comforting to you, but it doesn’t do anything for real analysis of why an organization turned a blind eye to abuse in this or similar cases. Churches flog mythology but so do corporations and politicians – it’s the nature of human organization that’s flawed, and regardless of the wares being sold, measures have to be put in place to reduce the potential for abuse.

    • walkerp 11:51 on 2020-11-26 Permalink

      Yes, agreed, but the Catholic Church is an extreme and special case that has long benefited from extraordinary protections under the law. They have a history of evil across the planet and continue to perpetrate it to this day. At this point, it is beyond a question of measures. The whole thing needs to be shut down and many people put in jail, its property distributed to local governments and charities.

      I mean these people enabled and supported a child rapist for decades and all they get is a report? Where are the names of the administrators who made these decisions? Why are we not investigating them as accomplices? I hope at least they will be hunted down in civil court for damages to the families.

      This is very little grey area here. The only reason we get a lame duck response is because of the power of this institution.

    • Chris 20:57 on 2020-11-26 Permalink

      Kate, why the kid’s gloves? 🙁 The catholic church has fought against so much of society’s progress since forever. In the last century or so, they’ve been against: woman’s suffrage, contraception, divorce, gay rights, sexual freedom, euthanasia, abortion, IVF, and that’s just off the top of my head. They *actively* fought/fight against those things. They have very few redeeming qualities in exchange.

    • Kate 10:26 on 2020-11-27 Permalink

      Kid glove. Not children’s mittens.

      I don’t think it’s kid gloves, not in Quebec. I think Quebec has largely put the Catholic church into a memory hole. Even though a lot of people were brought up in it, to one extent or another – religion, as in catechism, was still taught in most schools till 1997, and people over 50 were soaked in it – the whole idea makes us (as a society) so uncomfortable and itchy that we don’t even want to think about the Catholics and their methods, we outlaw signs of religious adherence and we pretend we’ve got a secular society. Huge chunks of denial prop this up. If Quebec were a person, they would need extensive therapy for their toxic relationship to religion. What’s the equivalent of therapy for a whole society?

    • Chris 10:50 on 2020-11-27 Permalink

      >I don’t think it’s kid gloves, not in Quebec.

      I case I was unclear, I meant your gentle criticism of the catholic church, comparing its malevolence to a run of the mill corporation.

      >If Quebec was a person, they would need extensive therapy for their toxic relationship to religion.

      You think that’s unique to Quebec? You don’t think the USA, Saudi Arabia, India, and just about everywhere need similar therapy? I think they need much more therapy than us!

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

      What do you want me to do, Chris? Rant and rave?

  • Kate 14:56 on 2020-11-25 Permalink | Reply  

    Who received the phone alert? I knew it was going to happen (see post below) but it still startled me.

    Also, I got it even though I was on wifi, and the original story said you had to be on LTE to get it.

    • Meezly 15:01 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      I did.

    • Marc 15:03 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      Yup, just received it while on wifi which was a bit surprising to me as well!

    • fliflipoune 15:05 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      The LTE connexion is still active even if you’re on Wifi, unless you turn it off explicitly, or you are somewhere without signal.

    • Kate 15:07 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      I wonder what kind of crisis would be major enough to require this signal.

    • jeather 15:08 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      I received it, what was most startling is that my phone started reading the alert out loud as if the entire thing were English, it was incomprehensible. (I also received it on my old phone which doesn’t have a SIM card.)

    • Mathias 15:12 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      I did too

    • Bill Binns 15:20 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      I received it on my old US phone that doesn’t even have service at the moment (It was called a “Presidential Alert” but the body was written in French). Weird.

      I did not receive it on my Videotron cell phone. My wife is on Fido and she didn’t get it either.

    • Ephraim 15:49 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      @Kate – Amber alerts, missile attack, terrorist actions, dirty bomb.

      Got it on Videotron.

    • Bert 17:19 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      Yeah, got it.

      What types, I am sure that that questions is asked a lot… Yes it is….

      As long as a phone has a SIM it (obviously) can receive these messages and will complete calls to 911. No service is required. I am guessing that in your case the message presentation wrapper is hard-coded and only with a place-holder for the message itself. The Canadian and US systems are based on Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) so are of course interoperable between carriers and devices. If you walk back through wiki to the US EAS system it goes in to detail of the Rube Goldberg setup of it all.

    • Mark Côté 17:26 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      Went off in the middle of my lecture because of course it did.

    • Chris 18:49 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      Bert, a SIM is not required. The SIM only has your phone number/client info and a little bit of memory. It’s the phone’s built-in antenna that allows it to connect to the network. You can also call 911 even without a SIM card.

    • Kate 19:29 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      Ephraim, this is the thing. If it’s a missile attack or a dirty bomb, there’s not a lot we can do. Terrorist actions tend to be too localized for this kind of wide alert to be useful.

      Does the Amber Alert use this system or do they have some other channel? I don’t remember what it sounded like when we had one.

    • EmilyG 19:29 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      I heard it on the radio.

    • Ephraim 19:44 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      Kate, a large fire, an industrial fire, wildfire or forest fire… avoid the area. Tornado, flash flooding (remember the river Decarie?) Earthquake, hurricane or tornado… seek refuge, stand in a doorway, get in the bath tub, etc. Avoid an area because of a biological, chemical or dirty bomb. They are usually concentrated in one area… head in the other direction. Oh and don’t drink the water! There is a bomb at the Atwater metro, get off the metro before that station! Terrorists. A trunk spilled hazardous material over a large area. Amber alert. An attack by a shooter (like at the Polytechnique)

    • Bert 19:49 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      Any emergency alert, Amber or other uses the same protocol and procedures.It’s all the same channel.

    • EmilyG 20:33 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      It makes the same sound no matter what kind of alert it was.
      A couple years ago, I was in a restaurant that had a TV, and the sound came on the TV with a storm warning.

    • denpanosekai 21:11 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      Who didn’t get it, really? Seemed like a major success.

    • MarcG 22:21 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      I have a cheap Nokia brick phone w/ Fido for emergencies and didn’t get anything. If not for this blog I wouldn’t have known anything about it.

    • Chris 00:36 on 2020-11-26 Permalink

      denpanosekai: I didn’t get it.

    • Daisy 06:52 on 2020-11-26 Permalink

      I have no cell phone, only a landline, so I didn’t get it either.

    • dhomas 07:31 on 2020-11-26 Permalink

      Amber Alerts also come in via this system. We got one in July for Norah and Romy Carpentier.
      I was going to get into the technical details, but Bert beat me to it. Thanks for the details!

    • Blork 13:59 on 2020-11-26 Permalink

      Confirming what Chris said about not needing a SIM. I have an old iPhone without a SiM that I use as an iPod, and it got the alert.

  • Kate 14:28 on 2020-11-25 Permalink | Reply  

    Some of the inhabitants of the tent city say they want to camp through winter. CTV says 100 people live there.

    • JS 17:39 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      Is letting them pitch their tents in covid-empty municipal hockey arenas a bad idea? Don’t these places have bathrooms, showers, and kitchen facilities? And wouldn’t staffing them be cheaper than putting the tent dwellers up in a hotel?

    • Kate 19:31 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      JS, I don’t know what all the rationales are for the choices the city has made. I imagine the hotel allows for better distancing than an arena, although I know they’re using those as well.

      Does the hotel deliver room service so people can stay distanced, I wonder.

    • david44 14:38 on 2020-11-26 Permalink

      The homeless in hotels things is an interesting dilemma and I don’t think the authorities see the political peril.

      Dump a bunch of homeless in empty hotels, it’s win-win from one perspective – you get the homeless off the streets (goal of activists), you possibly slow the spread of covid (goal of health officers), and you get some money into the pockets of hotels (goal of important constituency that’s greatly suffering).

      But from an electoral perspective, this is dicey. It’s not just the risk that the neighbors get active and noisy about the antics of the hotel denizens, you just sort of do a mix of writing off their votes and/or do the standard bit of shaming them as hating the poor or being racists. The big risk is how people think about the money.

      Potentially massive budget cuts are coming, and unemployment will be elevated for some time to come, while the cost of housing and lots of other stuff continues to increase at a pace far higher than inflation. At the same time, the cost of housing these people is just huge, relative to their relatively small numbers. Tell me that’s not something a politician could weaponize.

      If these people are dead set on shoveling this money out the door, the smartest strategy would be to do it completely in secret, swear everyone involved to secrecy, obscure the budget line, refuse to answer questions about it, etc.

  • Kate 14:12 on 2020-11-25 Permalink | Reply  

    Quebec’s fund for helping small businesses downtown has run dry, and no more will be forthcoming till January. The city can advance some cash next month, but with lockdown continuing, a grim winter awaits many.

    • dmdiem 14:31 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      I literally just wrote a comment about how at least our government is trying to help small businesses. goddamnit.

      On the bright side, there might be an abundance of real estate if anyone has a good idea for a business.

    • Ant6n 09:09 on 2020-11-26 Permalink

      „… if anyone has a good idea for a business.“
      How about a condo conversion?

  • Kate 11:20 on 2020-11-25 Permalink | Reply  

    Teachers were asked to test air quality in classrooms around Montreal, and even leaving aside Covid, the results were not good. Do you remember feeling groggy by mid-afternoon in school? CO2 levels can get high enough in a crowded, closed classroom to do that.

    This wasn’t a complete, controlled test, but a sampling. I’d be curious to know how much better the recently constructed school buildings are doing, compared to the big old brick piles still functioning as schools around town.

    Update: CBC has a new science piece on how indoor air is the real risk with Covid. Washing hands and sanitizing surfaces will go on, but they’re not the key.

    • Ephraim 11:56 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      In most of Europe, you MUST open the windows in the classroom every 20 to 30 minutes, even in the winter, because of COVID. In Quebec… we have them sitting in classrooms with windows that won’t open and with no air filtration systems.

      Seriously, how hard was it to spend $1000 a classroom to bring in some damn HEPA filters to keep kids healthy. You want the kids back in school… well, make it healthier for them.

    • walkerp 12:45 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      This is such a giant fail by the Legault government. Teachers have been complaining for years about poor air quality. Many suffer headaches and other issues because of it. They had a golden opportunity to do some real change and upgrade all the ventilation systems in Quebec schools this summer. The science has been screaming about ventilation since May. Sure it would have been a bit of a pork boondoggle, but isn’t that how this government works anyways?

      Fundamentally, this government that is supposed to be so “business” has no vision or sense of innovation. Their plan is for kids to wear jackets in the classroom and teachers to open the windows. I bet those windows are also not easy to open, so this is one more burden on the teachers.

    • DeWolf 12:58 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      I just bought an air purifier for my bedroom because my wife and I are both prone to allergies. It cost $150, has a HEPA filter and UVC light, and if my past experience with air purifiers is any indication, it will do its job very well.

      It’s not like this is complicated new technology. It’s not even very expensive. What kind of incompetence stopped the government from buying up thousands of air purifiers over the summer so there could be at least some improvement in classroom ventilation?

    • j2 13:55 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      DeWolf, sorry I don’t think that scales that simply. A class room is larger than your bedroom and will have more sources of pathogens, ie people. It also doesn’t solve the co2 problem.

      Also one of the concerns with the older schools is the power. I’ve heard that Saint Monica (elementary in NDG) can’t even run fans in every room because the electrical will blow first. Purifiers will necessarily require more power because of the drain through the filter.

      That said, I don’t disagree I just think it would be more expensive to do it. Much more likely.

    • Meezly 15:02 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      A parent had been lobbying and working with LBPSB to put this in place:…/lester-b-pearson-board…
      This also to clear the path for other school boards, and hopefully the province to take active measures to ensure the safety of children in the classrooms this winter.

      On Monday, Nov. 9th, the LBPSB discussed and passed a resolution to purchase HEPA air filters. The topic of air quality across all schools was also discussed and recommendations for getting this implemented in other school boards.. The following are copied from notes of that meeting, which is available online at the board site and was shared in a FB group that I’m in.

      It’s definitely doable for most schools who need this. Once again, what about the $432.2 million in federal funds allotted to Quebec at the start of the school year specifically to improve Covid safety measures? Why hasn’t this been used to improve ventilation or purchase air purifiers???

      Due to Covid + Cold Weather Season
      Is required to protect the safety of students and staff in naturally ventilated classrooms.
      This is an emergency that threatens human safety allows the purchase outside of tender.
      420 HEPA Units sole source purchase from: Novexco Inc / Hamster.
      $518,600.54+Tax [$1235ea.]

      Mechanically Ventilated schools:
      Ministry has asked school boards to keep the fresh air dampers open as much as possible to keep bringing in as much fresh air as possible. Several non-normative HVAC references suggest an upgrade of filters to MERV-13, LBPSB is doing this, where possible, in addition to the fresh air guidance from Quebec. The MERV-13 were ordered the first week of September to arrive ten weeks later [by Nov. 16].

      Naturally Ventilated schools:
      Keeping the windows open will become difficult in naturally ventilated schools, so they are implementing their plan B, which is filtration.
      One unit per classroom which allows the windows to be opened less amount of time.
      The units should be arriving at LBPSB around Nov. 16th.

      The HEPA filtration units go up to 1400sqft [implies “AeraMax Professional 4” from Fellowes running at 440CFM], providing 5 air changes per hour [5ACH].
      Classroom sizes:
      600sqft Elementary
      800-900sqft Secondary
      There will also be units in staff rooms.
      LBPSB will keep windows open for some time to ensure fresh air, in both our naturally and mechanically ventilated classrooms. [This will provide additional ACH.]

      Electrical load of the units was considered and the panels were confirmed to be adequate due to upgrades that had been made in the past years in the targeted schools.
      boardsite . lbpsb . qc . ca /webcast/2020-11-09.html

    • JaneyB 01:01 on 2020-11-26 Permalink

      Another cheap but effective option here: – basically a HEPA filter strapped to a fan. Another talk he gives on his fan quest during the ‘airpocalypse’ in China:
      Provides all the data and specs.

    • Ephraim 19:17 on 2020-11-26 Permalink

      HEPA filters need to be on when the room is occupied. There are also filters for bacteria, fungus and viruses that work by heating the air to over 200C and cooling it on the way out that are highly effective but need to run 24 hours a day, because they remove concentrations continuously. Unlike HEPA filters, which remove particulate. The air coming out of such a system is virus free but not particulate free. Two caveats… the right size and the 24 hour functionality. Basically, the way that virus is killed by a dryer, but in a smaller controlled system.

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

    CBC’s Mike Finnerty, who’s taken long sabbaticals before, is definitively leaving the CBC as of this Friday. I’m not seeing any announcement yet about his replacement.

    • EmilyG 11:08 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      I think he said the replacement will be announced on Friday.

      I’m going to miss him so much.

    • Uatu 11:32 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      Too bad. I guess cheesemonger is his true calling!

    • Bert 17:27 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      I agree with EmilyG. Have been a loyal CBC Ottawa morning listener for a few years now. I don’t know if it was linked here, but Steve “firsted” this mid-october:

      It will be nice to support my local CBC radio station as of Monday!

      The French say “jamais deux sans trois”….. hopefully there is not a variation for “quatre”

    • EmilyG 19:30 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      Ah, I haven’t read Steve Faguy’s blog in a while. I’m not too fond of his sarcastic style.

    • Kate 10:03 on 2020-11-26 Permalink

      Funny, I always find Steve erring on the side of understatement. He works for the Gazette and is careful not to overstep any bounds that might endanger his job in a dwindling industry.

    • EmilyG 18:04 on 2020-11-26 Permalink

      I see.
      Maybe I was thinking less of his blog, and more of his twitter feed. Though I haven’t read the twitter feed in a while.

  • Kate 10:58 on 2020-11-25 Permalink | Reply  

    The plan to enlarge Dawson College, which was on the CAQ’s to-do list, is being seen more and more as an attack on the status of French in Montreal.

    QMI is not letting up in its push against English, outraged Wednesday that three quarters of the courses being offered to foreign students are in English.

    I hate to have to point this out, but the global numbers from Wikipedia:

    Languages by number of native speakers:
    English – 379 million
    French – 77.2 million

    Total number of speakers:
    English – 1.268 billion
    French – 277 million

    If you’re a person from another country with no investment in Canada’s politics, want to extend your education and brush up a major world language, English will be more useful to you. Of course French would be better if you plan to live in France or Quebec or one of the other places colonized by France, but in general, you’ll go more places with English.

    I suppose QMI is more concerned that people will get some education here in English and then decide to stay. Working out how to make this impossible will be interesting.

    • Nick D. 14:13 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      Those numbers from wikipedia seem too low, both for English and French (just based on a quick mental arithmetic of the populations of English and French speaking countries around the world.) I wonder how reliable they are. (I love wikipedia, in general, just to be clear.) But I agree with your point.

    • Kate 14:20 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      Nick D., the numbers can’t be precise. There are people in China learning their English from other Chinese people who learned their English from other Chinese people who learned from some expat in a big city. How much gets lost to broken telephone over so many iterations, and do those people really count as second language users? Do Creole languages count as French or English? And so on.

      But it probably gives a general sense of how English likely has 3 to 4 times as many speakers around the globe as French. Colonization followed by the dominance of the United States gave the language the edge.

    • MarcG 16:16 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      “1,268 billion” that comma is throwing me off – is this the correct way to write it?

    • Mark Côté 17:29 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      Should be a period, in English anyway.

    • Kevin 23:07 on 2020-11-25 Permalink

      There is no legal solution to people moving out of the city.
      There is no legal solution to thinking all mother-tongue anglophones are identical and interchangeable.

      This is a problem with an ideological paradigm

    • Kate 12:56 on 2020-11-26 Permalink

      MarcG and Mark Côté: You are correct, I fixed the comma.

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