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  • Kate 14:12 on 2023-11-30 Permalink | Reply  

    The National Assembly unanimously adopted a motion Wednesday to defend Christmas.

    This followed from the question whether Christmas is racist which has been giving some politicians grist for trolling. The Bloc’s Yves‑François Blanchet challenged Justin Trudeau on Wednesday in Parliament to respond to the question, Trudeau’s response being “I’m very pleased to stand up and try to answer a totally ridiculous question.”

    The Canadian Human Rights Commission had pointed out in a recent paper that Christmas and Easter are the only two statutory religious holidays in Canada, meaning that adherents of other faiths are often unable to celebrate their holy days and feasts. Trudeau hedged on this, saying that “all holidays and festivals that take place this time of year” should be recognized. I wonder which ones he had in mind.

    • Meezly 14:32 on 2023-11-30 Permalink

      So heartening to see the nat’l assembly act so swiftly and unanimously to adopt a pro-Christmas motion.

      If only they can move even half that fast to resolve the ongoing negotiations with our public sector unions!

    • Ian 14:33 on 2023-11-30 Permalink

      I demand a Festivus for the rest of us!

    • bob 14:46 on 2023-11-30 Permalink

      Abject stupidity. The CHRC is increasingly incoherent as it wallows in faux-progressive jargon, and the National Assembly is not voting *for* anything, it is voting *against* “money and the ethnic vote”.

    • jeather 14:55 on 2023-11-30 Permalink

      I can see the argument for Christmas as a stat holiday, though it is a religious holiday, even if some people celebrate it secularly. But Easter?

      In any case, the question was never “is Christmas racist?” (no), it was “is having Christmas and Easter as stat holidays giving Christians rights that people of other religions don’t have?” and anyone saying the answer to that is also no is lying.

    • dhomas 15:04 on 2023-11-30 Permalink

      Everyone else in the province: “hey, I wonder when my kids will be able to have an education with teachers that are paid and treated properly?”
      Politicians: “I wonder what fake controversy we can create to distract people from the important matters we should be discussing instead?”.

    • Blork 15:41 on 2023-11-30 Permalink

      I agree that Easter is an odd one, as it’s so very obviously Christian. But Christmas (despite the name) has evolved to become largely a secular holiday.

      I’ve argued this before and I’ll do it again. The big attraction of Christmas as a holiday is that it comes at the end of the year, and is only a week apart from the actual year-end holiday. That doesn’t mean much to some people, but many people do measure their lives by various time-based touchstones, and one of them is the end of the calendar year.

      The fact that Christmas and New Years (a totally secular holiday) are only a week apart means a lot of people take that week off work. In fact, many offices close for that week. This isn’t a religious thing, it’s a “marking the end of another year” thing.

      We’re heading into the longest slog of winter (only an issue in northern places), the financial year is over, the calendar year is over. It’s a good time to take a break, spend time with friends and/or family, think about the year gone by and the new year coming up, etc. etc.

      This isn’t religious. And it applies to everyone who is using the Gregorian calendar for everyday practical purposes, so therefore everyone. The fact that this pair of week-apart holidays has been around for as long as we can remember — and combined with the relatively recent tradition of some offices closing that week — and the fact that it applies to everyone, means it has evolved to be a secular tradition not a religious one.

      And for what it’s worth, there’s nothing stopping people of other religions from using the last week of the year to get together with their friends and family too, the same way they do on Canada or Labour Day. It’s just a holiday! The fact that some people go to church that day doesn’t mean it’s only for the church-goers.

      There, I said it. Again. If people would just stop seeing Christmas as an exclusively Christian holiday we would not have any of these time and energy wasting arguments.

    • H. John 15:45 on 2023-11-30 Permalink

      The CHRC published a “discussion paper” in October.

      It stated:

      “The purpose of this discussion paper is to explore the concept of religious intolerance, its history in
      Canada, and the mechanisms that perpetuate it.”

      And in one paragraph, in an 11 page page document, it states:

      “Discrimination against religious minorities in Canada is grounded in Canada’s history of colonialism. This
      history manifests itself in present-day systemic religious discrimination. An obvious example is statutory
      holidays in Canada. Statutory holidays related to Christianity, including Christmas and Easter, are the
      only Canadian statutory holidays linked to religious holy days. As a result, non-Christians may need to
      request special accommodations to observe their holy days and other times of the year where their
      religion requires them to abstain from work.4”

      The footnote refers to a “policy” of the Ontario Human Rights Commission which was published in 2015, and in place for the last eight years . The Ontario policy states:

      “Faithism can also take on less obvious and more systemic forms which can be “hidden” to the people who don’t experience it. Systemic faithism refers to the ways cultural and societal norms, structures and institutions may directly or indirectly, consciously or unwittingly, promote, sustain or entrench differential advantage or disadvantage for individuals and groups based on their religion or belief. [38] Systemic faithism may appear neutral on its surface, but have an “adverse effect” or exclusionary impact on people belonging to particular communities of belief.
      Example: The standard work week and statutory holiday calendar in Ontario is organized around the Christian Sabbath and high holy days (Christmas and Easter). While this structure is understandable given Canada’s history and demographics, it may adversely affect non-Christians, some of whom may therefore need to seek out special accommodations to observe their own faith holy days.’

      The fake outrage over the CHRC discussion paper started when a “reporter” for Blacklocks (a group that the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery originally refused to accredit) wrote:

      “Christmas is discriminatory, says a Canadian Human Rights Commission report. Observance of Jesus’ birth is “an obvious example” of religious bias rooted in colonialism, wrote the Commission: “No one is free until we are all free.””

      Needless to say the word “Jesus” isn’t anywhere in the discussion paper.

      The National Post’s Tristin Hopper wrote:

      “The Canadian Human Rights Commission, which wields broad quasi-judicial powers, argued that a day off on Christmas is ‘discriminatory’”

      It did’t say that, of course, but he goes on to write:

      “Canada’s first Sikh temple opened in 1908 in Vancouver, and according to the Vancouver Heritage Foundation was an “inter-religious space where non-Sikhs also held executive positions.” The country’s oldest Jewish congregation dates back to 1768 in Montreal.
      None of this is mentioned in the discussion paper. Rather, it focuses primarily on the one glaring exception to Canada’s record on religious tolerance: The decades-long state push to eradicate traditional Indigenous spirituality in favour of Christianity, mostly through the Indian Residential School system.”

      The phrase “… the one glaring exception to Canada’s record on religious tolerance…” let me know that Tristin’s opinion isn’t based on even a passing knowledge of Canadian (or Canadian Jewish) history.
      If the CHRC’s intent was, as they stated, “to explore the concept of religious intolerance,… and the mechanisms that perpetuate it.” they have no better place to start than Canada’s press and its legislatures.

    • Tim 15:48 on 2023-11-30 Permalink

      @jeather: what rights of non-Christians are being infringed upon by having a stat holiday that falls on Easter?

  • Kate 11:15 on 2023-11-30 Permalink | Reply  

    The STM is going to cut 250 positions to save money, but details aren’t available yet. The unions aren’t happy about the uncertainty caused by an announcement like this.

    • Kate 11:13 on 2023-11-30 Permalink | Reply  

      It’s off-island news, but pretty major when a town as big as St‑Jean‑sur‑Richelieu has no running water for a week.

      • Kate 10:36 on 2023-11-30 Permalink | Reply  

        Catching on very late to a trend, someone’s opening a Harry Potter store on Park Avenue. I predict imminent picketing by trans activists.

        • Ian 11:45 on 2023-11-30 Permalink

          He should have used a spell of divination … no business has stayed open more than a couple of years in that particular location for over a decade.
          The storefront will get stickered up with trans flags pretty fast though, yeah.

        • EmilyG 11:50 on 2023-11-30 Permalink

          Considering that the author has said that people spending money on Harry Potter items support her transphobic views, I wish there would be less Harry Potter-themed items around. I wish this store weren’t opening. But what can I do.

        • Kate 11:53 on 2023-11-30 Permalink

          Ian, I’m glad you’ve noticed that tendency too. Once a couple of businesses fail in a location, it creates a vibe that’s hard for any new business to overcome. It’s subtle, but everyone in the area subconsciously perceives it to be a bad spot. There may be nothing objectively wrong with the place – on paper it might look quite promising – but it has a lingering hex on it that can be hard to dispel.

          Somebody has to remodel the frontage or do some other radical thing to shake it off. I don’t think Harry Potter has the mojo for it.

      • Kate 10:28 on 2023-11-30 Permalink | Reply  

        The city has no plans to bill festivals for police presence. Mayor Plante contradicted the police chief on this point on Wednesday.

        • Ian 11:48 on 2023-11-30 Permalink

          It’s not the “big, big conversation” about defunding the police we were promised, but it’s a start.

      • Kate 10:15 on 2023-11-30 Permalink | Reply  

        A man died in a house fire in Tétreaultville Wednesday evening.

        • Kate 23:33 on 2023-11-29 Permalink | Reply  

          Responding to a study by HEC researchers claiming that Quebec’s public transit authorities are more expensive to operate than others in Canada, STM spokesperson Amélie Régis counterclaims that the STM is not more expensive than Toronto or Vancouver. Seems the discrepancy is at least partly due to how the different cities manage transit debt.

          • Kate 23:04 on 2023-11-29 Permalink | Reply  

            The body of a young man was found in an apartment in Lachine on Wednesday evening. Police are investigating but no homicide number has been given out yet.

            Thursday morning, this has been declared the 32nd homicide of the year.

            • Dominic 07:39 on 2023-11-30 Permalink

              6:30am: “Le corps policier a confirmé jeudi matin qu’il s’agit du 32e meurtre à survenir sur son territoire”

            • Kate 10:47 on 2023-11-30 Permalink

              Thanks, Dominic.

              The current homicide total still remains lower than the 41 recorded last year. And seven of this year’s 32 (so far) died in that fire in Old Montreal, without which it would be a low tally compared to recent years.

          • Kate 17:16 on 2023-11-29 Permalink | Reply  

            The city was faced with twice as many challenges to property valuations for the 2023‑2025 period as for 2020‑2022.

            • Kate 10:55 on 2023-11-29 Permalink | Reply  

              Two men have been arrested in a double homicide late last year in which a grandmother and her granddaughter were both shot dead. One of the men was already imprisoned over another double homicide.

              • Kate 10:52 on 2023-11-29 Permalink | Reply  

                Police chief Fady Dagher has floated the idea of making major festivals pay for police security. Not surprisingly, the president of a coalition of major festivals hates the idea, calling it a form of police privatization.

                • Ephraim 12:00 on 2023-11-29 Permalink

                  It depends on the service. But it should be done by private security, not city police. And even if they were to pay, that money should go to the city, not the police. We need to denormalize paying police for overtime. It should be a job with good pay, but like any job, under 40 hours. We need to move the safer parts of the job to the general public, like traffic wardens. And we need to have certain parts of the system moved to the central government, like technological detectives, because the average policeman can’t follow the trail of a credit card fraud case. They just aren’t trained for that.

                • Kate 12:18 on 2023-11-29 Permalink

                  I haven’t decided what I think, but any city that establishes a “quartier des spectacles” should define what that means, and it might mean the city pays the bill for its security (as well as tolerating noise levels that surpass what’s OK in a quartier sans spectacles).

                • Joey 13:19 on 2023-11-29 Permalink

                  Given that so many of the festivals rely on public funds to function, won’t they just turn to government to cover additional security costs? So Fady Dagher can save a little on his OT budget, but it amounts to robbing Peter to pay Paul if some other gov’t department is picking up most of the tab.

                • John B 13:27 on 2023-11-29 Permalink

                  Festivals don’t already pay for the police overtime required to police festivals? That sounds like an amazing deal for the festivals.

                • Ian 18:57 on 2023-11-29 Permalink

                  What I’d like to know is why after grotesquely inflating the cop budget Dagher is still shambling around like a Dickensian orphan begging for more gruel.

              • Kate 10:49 on 2023-11-29 Permalink | Reply  

                MétéoMédia is predicting a mild December followed by a typically unpredictable shuffling of climate cards after the holidays.

                • Kate 10:46 on 2023-11-29 Permalink | Reply  

                  Buses and trains are coming to the rescue of people who usually drive over the crumbling Île‑aux‑Tourtes bridge.

                  • John B 13:29 on 2023-11-29 Permalink

                    Are these the first trains to Hudson since the Hudson service was cancelled a couple of years ago, or was service to Hudson quietly restored before now?

                  • Kate 01:08 on 2023-11-30 Permalink

                    I don’t know, John B, and it seems nobody else here has a response for you either.

                    Has it ever stopped being called the Vaudreuil-Hudson line, even though only one or two trains a day go all the way to Hudson?

                  • carswell 08:34 on 2023-11-30 Permalink

                    IIRC the last time I checked, about a year ago when a friend bought a house in Hudson, there was one early morning train to Lucien-L’Allier and one early evening train to Hudson on weekdays. Minimally workable for commuters but not even that for day-tripping centre-city dwellers.

                  • MarcG 09:39 on 2023-11-30 Permalink

                    I don’t see any references online for the Hudson service ever being cancelled completely. The name was changed from “Montréal/Dorion-Rigaud” to “Vaudreuil-Hudson” in 2010. (ref)

                  • John B 09:53 on 2023-11-30 Permalink

                    I think I’m confusing Hudson with Rigaud. I thought that when they stopped running to Rigaud they no longer went further than Vaudreuil, but it seems they kelpt that one morning train from and one evening train to Hudson as well.

                • Kate 10:20 on 2023-11-29 Permalink | Reply  

                  La Presse has a dossier of three stories on the profitable mob enterprise of sports betting, which is run like a tight ship. This isn’t new, but it seldom figures in accounts of organized crime the way drugs and prostitution do. There’s also a lineup of names and faces beginning with Leonardo Rizzuto.

                  • Kate 10:04 on 2023-11-29 Permalink | Reply  

                    Striking teachers at several schools have seen police called by teams of construction workers sent to cross the picket line and work on the school buildings.

                    • steph 11:04 on 2023-11-29 Permalink

                      These construction companies need to be named and shamed.

                      It’s really lame how some people are working hard to make sure these strikes don’t cause any inconveniences. I see my employer bend backwards to accommodate parents whose children are at the affected schools. I say let these parents feel the consequences and then vote their frustrations against the CAQ at the next election. Let the employer feel the consequences.

                      Neo-Liberalism is gutting our society and the majority is just worrying about their own skin.

                    • Kate 11:47 on 2023-11-29 Permalink

                      I pondered offering to coach any of the kids on our block in English, but decided it would be a minor undermining of the strike efforts. The microlocal Facebook group here is full of mutual offers to babysit kids during the day, though.

                    • Ian 15:34 on 2023-11-29 Permalink

                      One more example of cops supporting union busting, like they have for literally hundreds of years. They shouldn’t be allowed to have a union.

                    • Meezly 16:51 on 2023-11-29 Permalink

                      I’m surprised and not surprised that the teacher’s strike is now in its second week. But if this goes on until the holidays…? Am I willing to sacrifice my kid’s education if this spells doom and loss of faith in the CAQ?

                    • Ian 18:58 on 2023-11-29 Permalink

                      It’s the sort of thing you might even call your MNA to complain about 😉

                    • Tim S. 19:02 on 2023-11-29 Permalink

                      Kate, I don’t think it would be at all undermining the strike to work with neighbourhood kids. If anything, think of it as undermining the gap between public and private school kids.

                      Ian, my read of the story is that the police allowed the workers back in the retrieve their tools, which seems like a reasonable compromise de-escalation. But maybe I missed something.

                    • Michael 19:13 on 2023-11-29 Permalink

                      What’s the problem exactly? Construction workers are suddenly not allowed to work on buildings that need repairs?

                    • Kate 19:43 on 2023-11-29 Permalink

                      Michael, are you my new right-wing troll?

                      Nobody should cross a picket line.

                      Tim S., I’m not likely to consider it seriously unless the strike goes past the new year. I’m not a teacher by profession and my apartment is not set up as a teaching space. I’d love to see the neighbourhood kids put on a couple of scenes from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” though…

                    • Ian 09:32 on 2023-11-30 Permalink

                      In my neighbourhood some parents have started pooling time for informal “daycare” – there may be something similar going on in your area, Kate, and adult women offering to help out would be appreciated, I’m sure. Many people view men with suspicion in regards to child care but there are other ways men can help out, like food preparation & delivery.

                    • Meezly 10:06 on 2023-11-30 Permalink

                      @Ian, in fact I did email my MNA about the urgency of the situation before I made my post. She’s an elected rep of the QS so the best I can hope for is that she relays the message to the CAQ during assembly or whatever it is that politician do to communicate!

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