Updates from September, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 20:52 on 2019-09-30 Permalink | Reply  

    The artist who created the totem pole at the Museum of Fine Arts is making a personal plea to get back the arm, which apparently came off when some yahoo decided to swing their full weight on it at bar-closing time ten days ago.

    I was just wondering how a person could arrange to bring back such a thing anonymously. How do you make an anonymous phone call when there are hardly any pay phones left?

    • Roman 22:57 on 2019-09-30 Permalink

      Perhaps the same way they stole it anonymously?

    • Daniel 06:59 on 2019-10-01 Permalink

      Point taken, but I do see a shocking number (to me) of pay phones here. I’ve never seen so many anywhere else in years. In the metro. On the street. In the bagel shop! (There’s barely room for bagels there and yet still a pay phone somehow.) So maybe Montreal is the place it’s still possible?

    • Chris 08:27 on 2019-10-01 Permalink

      Pay phone calls are not anonymous. They have a unique number. They are often watched by CCTV. Your voice can be recorded.

      The CRTC requires a minimum number of cell phones, which is why Bell has not got rid of more. You’ll be happy we have them when the cell network goes down for whatever reason.

    • MarcG 09:24 on 2019-10-01 Permalink

      I don’t own a cellphone (how does he survive!?) and don’t find it too bothersome to find a payphone when I need one, although there definitely used to be more and they’re often not in great condition when located outdoors.

      When you send a package through the post do they take ID?

    • Kate 13:03 on 2019-10-02 Permalink

      I don’t believe Canada Post wants ID for sending an ordinary, unregistered package. Postal workers probably remind you to put a return address on the parcel but I doubt they have time to check its validity. Going across borders you do have to fill out a small form that gets stuck to the parcel, again I doubt whether the person at the wicket does more than glance to see it’s been filled out.

    • EmilyG 13:42 on 2019-10-02 Permalink

      Good news: The hand has been returned.

    • EmilyG 13:44 on 2019-10-02 Permalink

    • Meezly 15:50 on 2019-10-02 Permalink

      The power of a sincere apology.

  • Kate 20:39 on 2019-09-30 Permalink | Reply  

    Protesters occupied Justin Trudeau’s riding office Monday, intent on pressuring him to denounce the regime of Jovénel Moïse in Haiti.

    • Kate 12:21 on 2019-09-30 Permalink | Reply  

      Anglo media continue the theme against the Loi sur la laïcité de l’État (Bill 21) with more pieces about teachers who feel targeted by the law.

      • Meezly 20:14 on 2019-09-30 Permalink

        Fight the power, people!

    • Kate 12:14 on 2019-09-30 Permalink | Reply  

      Frank Zampino has been granted a stay of proceedings on his trial for fraud and corruption at city hall. The judge accepted his claim that UPAC overstepped the bounds when it tapped his communications during the investigation.

      • Kate 08:04 on 2019-09-30 Permalink | Reply  

        Le Devoir looks at a new book on Hasidic Montreal, which it says is the first book in French on the subject. Interesting to know that only 16% of the city’s Jews are Hasidim.

        • Chris 08:29 on 2019-10-01 Permalink

          They don’t say how they define “Jew” (cultural or religious), so the 16% figure doesn’t mean much.

        • jeather 12:02 on 2019-10-01 Permalink

          Presumably people who claim they are Jews, which is the usual way to count it. (Not sure if this normally includes Messianic “Jews”.)

        • Ephraim 15:27 on 2019-10-01 Permalink

          Actually, the Hasidic are “messianic cults”. Which is why you see they sometimes have signs referring to Mossiach (messiah). Those who call themselves “Jews for Jesus” aren’t really Jewish anymore… once you accept a different religion, you can’t claim to be Jewish anymore, really. And those on the far end of the spectrum (and Ashkenazi) are anti-Israel, you even see them protesting against Israel on Israel’s independence day in Montreal. The Lubavich are actually Israel neutral. The Sephardic ultra religious are generally supporters of Israel. (Confused yet?)

          Generally in Montreal, the largest community is likely the Mizrachi/Young Israel, Western jews, some who wear kippahs and some who don’t, but if they do, it’s a knitted kippah and they sort of meld in with everyone else. Sometimes hiding their kippah under hats, so you don’t even see them. More orthodox than reform, conservative or reconstructionists, though there are synagogues/temples of all those off shoots.

        • jeather 15:45 on 2019-10-01 Permalink

          Messianic “Jews” (a superset including Jews for Jesus) are indeed not Jewish, though some claim to be, but getting into the intricacies of calling Hasidim messianic is . . . complex and makes things more difficult to follow. You can be Jewish and have all sorts of opinions on Israel (many Hasidic groups are anti-Zionist). Honestly I have no idea why you brought up Israel, as it turns a religious/cultural question into a political one well outside the scope of that article.

        • Ephraim 18:35 on 2019-10-01 Permalink

          Jeather, because it’s important to understand that these groups are not the mainstream at all. And that they aren’t uniform either. Naturei Karta, for example, actually used to donate to the PLO. And Satmar is built on the premise that holocaust was caused because Jews weren’t religious enough (which in itself is a sin). And their view on Zionism is directly related to the fact that they are messianic… believing that Zionism lengthens the time that it will take for messiah to come… and they want him to come sooner. Belz, one of the better groups, but still anti-Zionist. While as you move towards the centre, you get groups like Chabad/Lubavitch, which doesn’t wear the old clothing and is Israel neutral. and the Sephardi ultra orthodox, which aren’t anti-zionist. You see pictures of their leader sometimes around Montreal… Schneerson (who died and created a rift, some believing that he is the messiah and will reappear – sound like something we have heard before, about someone else?)

          Jews for Jesus is not considered Jews by any part of mainstream Judaism… these are converts to Christianity. Also, proselytizing is strictly forbidden under Jewish law… so handing out those pamphlets is another proof that they aren’t Jewish.

        • Chris 20:46 on 2019-10-01 Permalink

          As you’ve both demonstrated, there are many definitions. Which is why it seems really weird to claim an exact number like 16% (not even something vaguer like 1/5th) without even providing a definition for what you’re measuring. Hopefully the actual book is more detailed.

        • jeather 09:01 on 2019-10-02 Permalink

          I’m not sure how much clearer I could have been that Messianic Jews are not Jewish every time.

          Chris, the two of us are agreeing about who is Jewish, we’re just picking around the edges of different belief systems. There aren’t really that many definitions in common use, though I agree the book should explain which one they chose.

        • Chris 09:54 on 2019-10-02 Permalink

          jeather, for me, the big dividing line is Jews that believe in Yahweh vs those that don’t. In the US, about 1/4 of Jews don’t believe a god. https://www.pewforum.org/2013/10/01/chapter-4-religious-beliefs-and-practices/

        • Kate 10:07 on 2019-10-02 Permalink

          Chris, are you mansplaining Judaism to jeather?

        • jeather 10:46 on 2019-10-02 Permalink

          Ok, and you’re calling them Jews, and I’m also calling them Jews, and it’s a pretty acceptable stance since Spinoza so . . . I don’t get what the point is? Common use definitions of “who is a Jew?” do not regularly exclude Jewish atheists and agnostics.

        • jeather 10:50 on 2019-10-02 Permalink

          In case it’s not clear, I am a Jewish atheist (who would be considered a Jew by, as far as I know, every standard).

        • Kate 13:05 on 2019-10-02 Permalink

          Ephraim, a Christian cousin of mine posted an “uplifting” quote recently over a picture of Menachem Mendel Schneerson. I don’t think she had any idea who he was except he was a kindly looking old man.

        • Chris 14:27 on 2019-10-02 Permalink

          Kate, no; why do you say that? You may be reading into my words something that’s not there.

          There’s no word, that I’m aware of, for “believer in Judaism, the religion” other than “Jew”. Let me coin “Judaist”. Hasidics are notable for their, let’s say, devoted Judaism. I’m wondering: are they 16% of Judaists or 16% of “Jews”? Hopefully that’s clearer.

        • jeather 14:33 on 2019-10-02 Permalink

          You’re making up a separation that isn’t real, Chris. No one counts “Judaists” (which I am reading as Jews who believe in God) because it’s not a particularly useful measure.

        • Ephraim 14:43 on 2019-10-02 Permalink

          Chris – Simple, if your mother was a Jew, you are a Jew, without any requirement to believe. And that right is passed down through the mother. In fact, in China, where they suddenly switched and passed down through the father, they were required to reconvert back into Orthodoxy to be accepted as Jews.

          And yes, there are Chinese Jews (Kaifeng Jews), Black Jews (Falasha as well as African American), Bukharin, and even Indian Jews (who have been in India since the destruction of the temple), etc.

          You can leave the Jewish religion, like accepting Jesus, but you are either born into it, or converted and if you converted, it’s a LONG process and you have to start it, since it’s against the religion to try to convert someone.

      • Kate 07:53 on 2019-09-30 Permalink | Reply  

        STM bus ridership was up in 2018 but by less than a percentage point, and this despite issues that made the service a little rocky at times. There are also some stats on various popular and unpopular routes.

        • Kate 07:46 on 2019-09-30 Permalink | Reply  

          The fast bus lane under construction on Pie-IX will now go all the way down to Notre-Dame instead of ending at Pie-IX metro station by the stadium.

          • Francesco 22:12 on 2019-09-30 Permalink

            Interesting. Perhaps there’s an upcoming announcement for transit on ND to PaT…?

            Weird how quickly they are announcing a logical 1.5 km extension to the SRB, but a decision about the logical 700 m REM extension in Dorval is still being shuffled from one agency to another, three years after its initial proposal at BAPE proceedings. Ah, Québec…

        • Kate 10:56 on 2019-09-29 Permalink | Reply  

          The Centre d’histoire looks this week at the origins of Saint-Luc Hospital and some of the features it pioneered here.

          The Gazette looked back to some interesting items including the final edition of the Montreal Star in 1979 and Mordecai Richler, just after publishing his incendiary article about Quebec in the New Yorker in 1991.

          Radio-Canada also looked back at the end of the Star.

          • CE 15:12 on 2019-09-29 Permalink

            I help my friend sell junk that he finds in the garbage (his blog, http://www.garbagefinds.com is worth checking out) and old copies of the last edition of the Star are a dime a dozen. It seems every Anglo in the city bought a couple and put it in the basement to be eventually thrown out by their kids. It was probably the paper’s best day for circulation!

          • Michael Black 18:27 on 2019-09-29 Permalink

            I remember someone being on the radio talking about collectibles. And he said the most obvious things aren’t worth much, precisely because people keep them. So the last Montreal Star would be fairly common, but few would have thought to keep the second to last edition. It makes sense. It’s no different from any time people decide something is valuable, like Beanie Babies or comic books. But the things that nobody kept of course is what people want.


          • Blork 19:17 on 2019-09-29 Permalink

            Following up on Michael Black’s comment, I recently read about someone needing to find a paper copy of the New York Times from September 11, 2001. Couldn’t find it anywhere. September 12 papers were all over the place, but nobody kept September 11 because the paper had already been printed before the attacks happened, so it was unremarkable.

          • CE 08:55 on 2019-10-01 Permalink

            My friend and I have talked about this quite a bit. It’s not unusual to find hoards of things marketed as “collectibles” (Beanie Babies, sports cards, event memorabilia, commemorative coins) usually from the 90s. People were told they would only increase in value in the future but are now pretty much worthless. My neighbour thought she was going to put her kids through university with her Beanie Baby and VHS collection. I think the internet and eBay spurred it on. People were selling ordinary but rare things for lots of money in auctions that suddenly, everyone could see so people thought that other ordinary things would be worth lots of money in the future (which obviously didn’t happen).

        • Kate 09:48 on 2019-09-29 Permalink | Reply  

          Two to three hundred people came out to protest Bill 21 the Loi sur la laïcité de l’État Saturday.

          We have to accept the bill Loi sur la laïcité de l’État as law, and recognize that this kind of identitarian politics is part of Quebec culture until the zeigeist enters another shift. Sad stories about teachers who need to move away to keep wearing religious head coverings are only fuel to the fire: to the people for whom the law was passed, they’re simply evidence of its effectiveness. Make those strange people go away or disappear, either way, it works.

          I wish I had taken note where I saw the idea expressed, this week, that when poiticians attempt to allay xenophobia it only makes it worse.

          • Chris 11:22 on 2019-09-29 Permalink

            “We have to accept the bill as law” -> In that case, why do you keep calling it Bill 21 instead of Law 21?

          • Kate 12:13 on 2019-09-29 Permalink

            It has been a convention in Quebec to refer to major laws under the bill number they were launched under, e.g. Bill 101. But since you insist, I will re-edit.

          • Chris 13:03 on 2019-09-29 Permalink

            I wasn’t insisting! 🙂 It’s just your first link has a big picture of a “Loi 21” button, so I was just wondering.

          • Meezly 09:42 on 2019-09-30 Permalink

            Must we accept the bill as law? And who’s we? Easy for me whose wardrobe is predominantly athleisure-wear. What if the laws we must abide by are unethical and feels downright wrong?

          • Kate 12:25 on 2019-09-30 Permalink

            Meezly, I don’t like it either, but a large majority in Quebec support that law. This is the culture we are living in. This is Quebec in our time.

            Anglo media kicked against the Charter of the French language for years, and sometimes still do. But the majority supported it and it’s now felt to be a solid building block of modern Quebec. Living here means accepting it. I can’t tell you now whether in 10 to 20 years feeling will have turned against the secularity law, as we did against the Duplessis padlock law for example, or whether it too will be seen as an important, historic piece of legislation.

            But for now, it is an expression of the will of the people.

          • Kevin 11:08 on 2019-09-30 Permalink

            Anglo culture frequently refers to all laws as Bill XX. 22, 101, 21. It’s just what we do.

            Meanwhile Quebec’s commentariat continues to lament the decreasing political influence and shrinking demographics of this province https://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/201909/17/01-5241713-demographie-le-quebec-poursuit-son-declin.php

          • Meezly 16:08 on 2019-09-30 Permalink

            I see what you mean, Kate. It’s just the word ‘accept’ kind of disturbs me, as I kind of equate it to the bystander effect. Wouldn’t it have been the will of the majority in the American South to maintain segregation laws if they could?

            I feel there are more Quebecers than we think who also do not like this law but are merely shrugging their shoulders saying, eh what can we do? I just hope that Quebec does not go the way of the latter years of the Weimar Republic, is all.

            And if I were a school principal, would I accept this law by telling a teacher to remove her head covering, even firing her if necessary? Or would I challenge this law by disobeying it with the risk of being penalized? Perhaps ‘tolerate’ might be a better word, but I would say that accepting a bad law is just as bad as enforcing it. I just feel with the way things are going these days, we must challenge bad laws in any way we can, however miniscule the action.

          • Kate 20:44 on 2019-09-30 Permalink

            Meezly, various school boards initially announced they’d flout the law, but when school started and push came to shove, they all obeyed it. They had no other choice. The boards are creatures of the provincial government (not for much longer, apparently) and, in a sense, can’t not do what it says.

            I don’t know what would happen to a school principal who defied the law, but I imagine he or she would not have their job for long. They are there to carry out the will of the board, which is there to carry out the will of the government, which is there to carry out the will of the people. And for now we’re stuck with it.

          • ant6n 01:38 on 2019-10-01 Permalink

            Just because a majority of Quebecers support something, and this something is also law, doesn’t mean I have to accept it. Otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered going to the climate march the other day.

          • Chris 08:36 on 2019-10-01 Permalink

            “What if the laws we must abide by are unethical and feels downright wrong?” -> there are entire books on that subject. And there are lots of laws other than 21 that many people feel are wrong. Shall everyone just pick their own laws to follow or not?

          • Meezly 09:08 on 2019-10-01 Permalink

            Yes, there are books about this subject that go as far back as the days of Socrates, and even he felt that disobedience to bad laws can sometimes jolt democratic processes into motion. And there are not many laws that go against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the civil liberties of people, and the ones that do tend to get challenged.

          • Chris 09:17 on 2019-10-01 Permalink

            The Notwithstanding Clause is *part* of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, so Laws 21 and 101 by definition do not “go against” the Charter.

          • SMD 09:34 on 2019-10-01 Permalink

            It goes against the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or at least it did until the government amended it to add “State laicity” as a “fundamental importance” for which “a person shall maintain a proper regard.” So I guess we can just abrogate minority rights when the majority is feeling threatened. Cool cool. This is fine.

          • Meezly 09:39 on 2019-10-01 Permalink

            ok Chris, you got me. I can now rest easy and accept this law like a good law-abiding citizen. I just don’t know why civil liberties organizations are getting themselves all worked up then.

          • Chris 09:40 on 2019-10-01 Permalink

            SMD, don’t confuse my statements with endorsement, I’m just saying the Charter is what it is, not what you want it to be.

          • Ant6n 19:10 on 2019-10-01 Permalink

            I think there are ways to “not accept” laws other than disobeying them (civil disobedience).
            One can also protest the law, go demonstrating, form an organization, bitch about it on social media etc.

        • Kate 08:58 on 2019-09-29 Permalink | Reply  

          The totem pole outside the Museum of Fine Arts has been vandalized, the left arm of one of the lower figures having been broken off and stolen. The museum is hoping it will be returned.

          • Max 09:24 on 2019-09-29 Permalink

            I’m amazed that nobody’s lobbed a beer bottle at the Chihuly piece yet.

        • Kate 08:55 on 2019-09-29 Permalink | Reply  

          Québec solidaire’s Amir Khadir promised to donate his $90K bonus as a departing MNA, and so he has done with gifts to groups around the Plateau.

          • Kate 08:52 on 2019-09-28 Permalink | Reply  

            News of the climate strike has swamped almost everything else, but it’s worth recalling that this weekend is the Journées de la culture, which has a lot of stuff going on. It’s also Puces Pop this weekend.

            • Kate 08:41 on 2019-09-28 Permalink | Reply  

              The body of a construction entrepreneur was found in the trunk of his own car in 2015. The lurid background is told here as the convicted killer was sentenced to 11 years this week, although he’ll be out again in 5½.

              • Kate 08:22 on 2019-09-28 Permalink | Reply  

                CBC has some signs from the climate march. My favourite, which is not shown here, read “Keep the Earth clean, it’s not Uranus.” The Journal has a speeded-up video from a point above Park Avenue near Milton, showing the endless march coming down from the gathering point at the Cartier monument. Greta Thunberg’s speech is on CBC.

                One man was arrested for chucking an egg at Justin Trudeau.

                An anti-capitalist demonstration was held Friday night around Square Victoria. This was rather more vigorous than the climate march, and had better attendance by police as well. La Presse describes the demo as on the margins of the climate march, which strikes me as one of those moments where journalists like to suggest a link that may not actually exist.

                • Mark Côté 09:03 on 2019-09-28 Permalink

                  The environment has been one of many anti-capitalist issues; it wouldn’t surprise me if that is now more heavily emphasized. There were anti-capitalist signs in the march yesterday. Although it wouldn’t be right to say it’s primarily climate-oriented or some sort of offshoot of that movement.

                • Uatu 09:56 on 2019-09-28 Permalink

                  Greta T. implies the link when she mentioned the myth of eternal economic growth in her speech as one of the lies told by politicians that hampers climate change policy. Bill Mahr mentioned on his show that the march reminded him of Anti Vietnam war protests in it’s youth vs establishment vibe so maybe anti capitalism is riding that wave of youth enthusiasm and engagement

                • Ant6n 12:49 on 2019-09-28 Permalink

                  Yet the establishment is walking along partying, demonstrating left and governing right. And even the egg missed him.

                • Chris 13:02 on 2019-09-28 Permalink

                  ‘Capitalism’ is too broad a term, there are many varieties of capitalism. People can thus argue that capitalism is either the cause or solution to the problem, and actually agree quite a lot, depending what exactly they mean by capitalism.

                  But eternal economic growth can’t continue forever on a finite planet.

                • qatzelok 19:51 on 2019-09-28 Permalink

                  I think what people mean by “capitalism” is private wealth accumulation and the profit motive – whatever tinkering it gets. And it is easy to see that a nation run by profit-seeking corporations might just be impossible to save from environmental collapse. Individuals can’t understand something that might lower their personal income level. (this human trait is a lot scarier than it might seem)

                  As a socielty – we are driving larger, more dangerous automobiles (SUVs) that use more gasoline than we did ten years ago. This makes adults in our societies look callously suicidal.

                  And the cynical newspaper comments regarding the protests (ex. “Look at all those plastic containers and unrecycled protest signs! tsk tsk”) make me embarassed to live in this culture as an adult.. The adults in our societies are mainly spoiled children who are mentally incapable of making wise decisions because they spend so much time in front of commercial media that commercial memes become “their lived reality” which is what leads to opinion-formation.

                  This socialized ignorance – highly-profitable for advertisers – might be harder to cure than any disease in our midst.

                • Dhomas 21:33 on 2019-09-28 Permalink

                  On an aside, we now have an answer to Brett’s very important question from September 9th: https://mtlcityweblog.com/2019/09/08/greta-thunberg-plans-to-join-us-september-27/.
                  Ms Thunberg did in fact drive an electric vehicle to get to Montreal from New York: “Thunberg arrived in our city on Thursday after driving up with her father from New York in an electric car lent to her by Arnold Schwarzenegger.” From the Gazette’s story here: https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/the-day-with-greta-thunberg-at-montreal-climate
                  I’m not sure if Brett’s question was sincere or if it was some kind of veiled criticism, but we now have an answer.

                • ant6n 00:24 on 2019-09-29 Permalink

                  “Growth” can continue indefinitely on a finite(ly sized) planet. One just has to redefine what growth is. GDP is measured in some obscure number, not actual physical products. There’s some evidence gdb growth is decoupling from energy growth at higher levels (but not mobility yet), so in theory numbers could continue going up while staying within the constrained resource budget available.

                • Chris 11:33 on 2019-09-29 Permalink

                  ant6n, well, you can’t really just redefine commonly understood terms like that. 🙂 Greta, Uatu, and I all said “economic growth” which has a commonly understood meaning https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_growth

                  That said, I agree GDP is a crap measurement and crap goal.

                • ant6n 11:51 on 2019-09-29 Permalink

                  “Money” is virtual, “services” are virtual. You can produce more virtual services, producing in turn more virtual money, in turn raising the GDP without producing any physical goods.

                • Meezly 10:25 on 2019-09-30 Permalink

                  Expanding on Uatu’s reply: it’s no small task to make an emotional impact in your speech while driving home the urgency in an elocutionary manner without bogging it down with too much data. GT knows what she’s talking about when she brings up the myth of eternal economic growth, but this may seem vague and conceptual to many.
                  Scientists have been defining how we are part of and completely reliant on our global economic system. I found this article helped me frame the Thomas Malthus concept in 21st century terms:
                  And a Quebec scientist arguing for a degrowth economy, a far-reaching solution which he tries to frame realistically. My take is that the politicians aren’t exactly pushing lies – humanity’s ultimate addiction is to a growth economy and it would require a massive paradigm shift to even start conceiving of degrowth.

                • Meezly 10:26 on 2019-09-30 Permalink

              • Kate 19:09 on 2019-09-27 Permalink | Reply  

                Several hundred thousand people marched Friday for the climate in Montreal. CBC estimates it was a crowd of half a million, making it the biggest demonstration in the city’s history.

                • Uatu 10:02 on 2019-09-28 Permalink

                  I would have to give kudos to the STM agents in the metro for keeping everything running smoothly as well as the transit folks of the various South Shore agencies at Longueuil. Just the act of answering questions and calmly keeping everyone moving goes a long way to alleviate potential commuter rage

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