Updates from October, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 20:01 on 2019-10-09 Permalink | Reply  

    Lucien Bouchard, whose government refrained from financing a new baseball stadium with public money in 1998, is now all gung-ho and is part of a small group now trying to push “l’acceptabilité sociale” of the project.

    • Ghost of Ginger Baker 12:58 on 2019-10-10 Permalink

      In the era of climate change, any public money spent subsidizing the frivolities of the ultra wealthy borders on being a crime against humanity.

      We’ve spent nearly $2 Billion just on Olympic Stadium. Now they want land, another stadium, millions of gallons of clean drinking water, cheap hydro-electricity (etc.) – when will it end?

      At what point does our society make them realize just how out of touch they are with reality?

      We need a baseball team and a new stadium like a massive gaping hole in the head.

      How is it socially acceptable to spend money on a new ballpark when the same amount could rapidly expand public transit, potentially getting tens of thousands of cars off the road?

      There’s probably no greater example of the perpetual abuse of taxpayers and the needs of the citizenry by the political and economic elites than this baseball bullshit.

    • Kate 13:11 on 2019-10-10 Permalink


    • Michael Black 13:17 on 2019-10-10 Permalink

      People need bread, and they need roses. You can take anything and use it to claim full attention, but in reality one can’t spend on just one thing. Yes you need healthcare, but arts funding is also important. Yiu can take any cause and find people who think it is the most important thing, but so will some other group. Time oasses and the importance dwindles. There were 500,000 people out in New York City on June 12th, 1982, but virtually nobody talks against nuclear weapons,even though they still exist. Frida Berrigan recently wrote that her motger was planning to do more civil disobedience against nuclear weapons, and I don’t expect it to get press. But people do it because they see tge weapons are wripong, and they don’t need a mass to legitimize their view.

      That said, I have no interest in sports so I think slending money on a ball park isn’t worth it. But others might, and they still have to live, even if global warming continues.


    • Faiz Imam 14:48 on 2019-10-10 Permalink

      Spending money to subsidize business activity is not inherently bad, this includes entertainment and sports. There are cases when it is a net good.

      The key here is that we have data, we have analysis that has been done on these topics. We know what forms of investment works and what does not. We literally have government departments whose job it is to decide who to give loans and subsidies to to catalyze activity.

      There is a ton of economic data that shows that large investment in auditoriums, stadiums are at best marginal, and often a huge opportunity cost. Spending on festivals, convention centers is better but not huge.

      And we know that small amounts of money on local institutions is much better than large amounts on national and global institutions.

      we know that money on flexible, multi-use facilities is better than money on limited use ones.

      We also know that the part of town they want to build this baseball stadium in does not need “help” getting developed. If the stadium does not happen, a dozen condo towers will take its place. In this way, the opportunity cost of the stadium is the very direct destruction of a potential new neighborhood with thousands of new residences.

  • Kate 19:58 on 2019-10-09 Permalink | Reply  

    The city’s going to dole out $25 million to schools to use as they see fit to improve road safety around their perimeters. It’s a little unsettling to read that 81 kids between 5 and 17 years of age were seriously injured in traffic incidents near schools in Montreal in 2017-2018.

    • Tim S. 07:51 on 2019-10-10 Permalink

      Not a bad start. The part about police being “without mercy” in school zones is a bit of hot air, but improving street design can only help. There was an article the other day, I think on CBC, about crossing guards wearing body cams (in other parts of Quebec). It seems to be working, though a key part of the story is that the police actually followed up on infractions reported by the crossing guards.

    • Kevin 09:51 on 2019-10-10 Permalink

      The most dangerous thing around my child’s school right now is construction to reinstall a traffic light.

      Crews showed up earlier this year to install lights. That took a couple of weeks.

      They showed up again Monday to fix the installation — so streets and sidewalks around the school have been dug up, intersections are closed, and there is no way for school buses to approach the school. This will last until Halloween.

      The incompetence is mind-boggling.

    • Ephraim 13:50 on 2019-10-10 Permalink

      What ever happened to the pilot project to put cameras on school buses to catch those who don’t stop when they are flashing lights? I once sat there waiting patiently at the flashing lights as cars and bicycles drove around me and honking me. I know school bus drivers, they say those that stop are really the minority and in the opposite direct, it’s almost a miracle to see people stop.


    • Michael Black 13:59 on 2019-10-10 Permalink

      When they clean streets in Westmount with the street cleaner, they send a Public Security guy along, who pops out to ticket any cars that missed the no-parking signs. Though, I don’t know if it reduces the bad parking the next time.

      So maybe they should arm buses with cops to ticket drivers who don’t stop.

      At one time, maybe still, parents at a nearby school woukd park on the sidewalk, even drive along the sidewalk, as if it was more imoortant to not block traffic than keep pedestrians safe.


    • Ephraim 19:48 on 2019-10-10 Permalink

      The cameras on the buses are actually a Quebec invention, but not implemented here, as far as I know. Essentially when they catch someone, the video is set directly to a police officer and the officer writes the ticket. You don’t lose points, because you weren’t caught on the spot. But the ticket starts at $200. If a policeman was there… it’s 9 demerit points. The only exception is when there is a median, otherwise all directions have to stop and it legally includes all vehicles… so bicycles as well.

  • Kate 10:55 on 2019-10-09 Permalink | Reply  

    Been meaning to link to Eater’s previews of three large food halls expected to open downtown soon. Besides the Le Central market described in that piece, Time Out Market will open in the Eaton Centre, and Le Cathcart in Place Ville-Marie.

    It’s the big time for downtown lunchers, I guess.

    • Michael Black 11:34 on 2019-10-09 Permalink

      I thought something like this was opening up on St Catherine street just east of Guy. A few years ago there was construction a few doors away from the Pharmaprix with signs that suggested a food hall or market. But the construction was finished and no big announcement, so I keep forgetting. I think something else is there now, but nothing very clear. It makes me wonder if I misinterpreted the sign, or if the end project fell through.

      Of course Le Faubourg was a good food place when it opened, not just the variety of fast food restaurants, but a bakery, Plantation for fruits and vegetables, a butcher, a bulk food place and others. It was great until the endless construction set in.


    • Ghost of Ginger Baker 12:29 on 2019-10-09 Permalink

      ^nyet nyet nyet tavariche!

      The Faubourg had a shelf life; it was very much a project of its era. The Faubourg’s problems started with the successful rehabilitation of the surrounding neighbourhood… the ‘celebration marketplace’ idea may have worked in various American cities but in Montreal it was always a smidge out of place. It came about after Dawson moved into the motherhouse, as the CCA was going up, when Concordia began its capital campaign and the Shaughnessy Village was getting its heritage status. It served those needs when the need was new.

      Moreover, it was always a for-profit development, not a public market (we can debate whether it should have been picked up by the city and converted into a public market), and as such, once the western stretch of Ste-Cat’s began picking up steam again in the early-mid oughts the Faubourg redeveloped all its frontage on Ste-Cat’s as standalone retail spaces. There was then no reason to go inside. As area rents increased, so did the FB’s which in turn provided no incentive to extant businesses to remain.

      We forget as well the Bourg was originally an ‘everything under one roof’ type affair: the office building on Guy was originally a hotel. Classrooms in the basement used to be a cinema. Not all economic stimuli are created equal; students are very different from urban DINKs.

      The food halls are a welcome change from the food courts, but let’s be real – it’s a fad, and in twenty years when the fas is completely exhausted, we’ll be waxing poetic on how great they were.

    • jeather 12:46 on 2019-10-09 Permalink

      There was that food hall thing downtown 10-15 years ago — maybe near McGill College? It was fun to go to, though I can’t remember when it closed or why.

    • thomas 14:04 on 2019-10-09 Permalink

      @jeather You might be thinking of Mövenpick which was in PVM. I think it closed simply because the weak economy. Just as well though, the von Finck family that owns it has a long history of funding fascist politics that continues to this day.

    • jeather 14:15 on 2019-10-09 Permalink

      Oh yes, that was it.

    • Uatu 20:27 on 2019-10-09 Permalink

      The le Cathcart artist renderings remind me of Les Terraces back in the 80s.

  • Kate 09:03 on 2019-10-09 Permalink | Reply  

    Excellent thread by Jonathan Montpetit on responses to criticism of the Loi sur la laïcité de l’État (Bill 21).

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

      This! Thank for sharing that.

    • Kevin 09:32 on 2019-10-09 Permalink

      Francois Legault said last week that Bill 21 is a violation of the Charter of Rights.

    • Chris 10:47 on 2019-10-09 Permalink

      I was going to say Raj’s use of the word “discriminatory” should be uncontroversial, since “to discriminate” merely means to “recognize a distinction; differentiate”.

      But then again, the OED describes “discriminatory” as “making or showing an unfair or prejudicial distinction between different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.” We discriminate by age a lot. If you’re 17.9 you can’t buy beer, but if you’re 18.1 you can. That’s making a distinction by age. But is it unfair or prejudicial? Most would say not. Is Law 21 unfair or prejudicial? That’s a value judgment. So indeed categorizing it as “discriminatory” is perhaps a phrasing an unbiased journalist should not use.

      I’ll also note that the 3 specific instances the OED gives (race, age, or sex) are things that are unchoosable and immutable. Religion is not such a thing. Discriminating based on something someone has no control over is a whole different level than discriminating based on something someone chooses or thinks. Certainly both can be wrong, but the former much more so. People conflate these a lot.

    • Kate 11:14 on 2019-10-09 Permalink

      Chris, you do hammer on the idea that religion is a purely free individual choice. For many people it is not. It’s part of who they are as individuals and as members of a culture and a community.

    • Michael Black 11:25 on 2019-10-09 Permalink

      But that’s where the concept of a “gay gene” comes in. One group is against homosexuality, and bases it on “it’s a choice” even though nobody fusses over what type of ice cream someone likes. So a big search for something to explain why it’s not a choice. It”s far simpler to challenge the concept that discrimination is okay.

      You’re again diminishing people’s connection to religion. For many people, it comes early, hence can’t be a choice, But once you treat it as a “mere choice” it allows you to dismiss religion, without regard for the people who are religious.

      “Let’s cut off those heathens’ hair” said the Europeans, and endless trauma resulted, the results still affecting many people. Long hair on the cousins may be “a choice” but that doesn’t make it okay to do so.

      Age discrimination may be similar, but generally there is some real basis, either to protect someone too young, or protect people from someone whose faculties may not be so fast. Banning religious symbols is discrimination since it targets specific types, and at best the excuse is that it’s being done “for their own good” as if they were children and need adult supervision.

      Arguing semantics is in this case just a means of making the discrimination acceptable.
      One way to challenge the bill is to vote NDP, since having Jagmeet Singh as prime minister would hopefully make people think about how they see people who “are different” and might outrage some to show their discrimination. His comments moments after Trudeau’s blackface photo makes Jagmeet Singh a good leader in this regard. There is no difference between my Metis great, great grandmother Henrietta feeling the results of discrimination and how someone black or native or wearing a hijab or other religious symbol feels the discrimination against themselves.


    • Tim S. 11:37 on 2019-10-09 Permalink

      This is going to sound more relativistic than I like, but it’s also not really a choice if you happen to think it’s true – did you choose to be an atheist, Chris, or is it a position that best accords with the facts as you see them?
      Personally, I would say that the Bill is discriminatory because it doesn’t target religion as such – it’s not asking civil servants to sign a declaration that they hold no religious beliefs (though I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s next). Rather, it discriminates between religions which have symbolic clothing as part of their beliefs, and those that don’t.

    • Kevin 14:03 on 2019-10-09 Permalink


      Legally we are not bound by the dictionary: we are bound by the Charter, which states that it is illegal and unlawful to discriminate against religion.

      Article 2.
      Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
      (a) freedom of conscience and religion;

      (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

      (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

      (d) freedom of association.

      Someone could attempt to argue that banning religious symbols is a “reasonable limit” that could be “demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society”, as allowed by Article 1, but that’s a very, very steep bar to hurdle, one that nobody in our provincial government has even tried to leap.

      Now the CAQ has taken it upon themselves to alter the Quebec Charter of human rights, deciding to add “Whereas the Québec nation considers State laicity to be of fundamental importance;” to the preamble in order to justify Bill 21, since even the Quebec Charter contends in Article 1.3 that
      Every person is the possessor of the fundamental freedoms, including freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of opinion, freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association.

      But that opens up a whole can of worms about how a province that is ostensibly secular has so many churches, state funerals in churches, and places and streets named after saints.

    • jeather 14:35 on 2019-10-09 Permalink

      Schools named after saints! If you can’t wear a hijab in a school, it shouldn’t be allowed to be named after religion either.

      I don’t really object to state funerals held in churches for people who deserve a state funeral but were also religious, though of course this is rank hypocrisy if you are okay with this and also Bill 21.

    • Michael Black 15:06 on 2019-10-09 Permalink

      I shouldn’t post this, but I will. The CBC has a story about a shofar that was in Auschwitz, which apparently gave some hope. And when the prisoners were marched out, someone who was too ill gave it to the man who kept it until the camp he was marched to was liberated.

      It’s a sad story that makes me cry. But also a reminded of a time when a religion was discriminated against, to the fullest extent, and when people still wouldn’t deny their religion. Yes, some children were sent away to hide as Catholic or Protestant, but that wasn’t a denial of religion, it was an attempt to keep their children safe.

      It doesn’t work. Discrimination against religjon tends to make people resist, so it doesn’t go away. I think I’ve said it before, my friend Rusty says he doesn’t believe in religion, but he won’t deny his Jewishness, in part because of what happened in WWII. I would rather be classified as Jewish than see such things happen again, and I’d hope I had the strength to stand up to such forces.

      Again, similar things happened to the distant cousins, that desire to erase them because they were different. I can find a quote from Sitting Bull where he says be knew James Ross, Henrietta’s brother. Louis Riel, who is distantly related by marriage (but in Red River enough interaction that the distance seems less) of course stood up to Canada. And distant cousins are on the Colville reservation in Washington state, where Chief Joseph went after he said he’d fight no more forever (and I think I have relatives related to him). Three of the most visible instances of native resistance intersect with my family. It’s not an exception, it’s an understanding of the harm done with discrimination.

      I don’t care if people don’t believe in religion, I really don’t. But that’s not a reason to dismiss those who do believe.


    • Meezly 15:52 on 2019-10-09 Permalink

      As an atheist and secular person who does not care for institutionalized religion, I also understand that religion is a human trait and recognize that people have a right to their own beliefs and to practice their religion free from hostility and intolerance in our society. One of the reasons is that religion is so closely intertwined with culture.

      What I don’t understand is the nit-picking from those who seem to feign objectivity of this so-called law, but ultimately do not contribute to any constructive discussion of BILL 21. I feel that they have not experienced any real discrimination in their lives.

    • Jack 19:48 on 2019-10-09 Permalink

      Montpetit tweet was inspired what he read in the Journal. In QEB radio Richard Martineau balado is entitled,
      “Je suis sur le bord de repartir le FLQ”. One of the things that people need to realize is the dominant message in Quebecs franco media is populist and dangerous. Bill 21 is what they have given birth to, more is coming.

    • Chris 13:19 on 2019-10-10 Permalink

      Kate, it’s not binary. Do you not agree that religion is more of a “free individual choice” than skin colour? I personally know numerous people that have switched from religious to irreligious, don’t you? Know anyone that has changed skin colour? Changed race? It is a pet peeve of mine I guess. People often treat religious belief like it’s totally unchangeable.

      Michael, yes, for many people, religion comes early, so indeed it’s not a choice at first. But eventually children develop the mental capacity to decide to continue to believe or not, that’s when the choice starts.

      Kevin, yes, someone (not me) could argue it’s a “reasonable limit”. The European Court of Human Rights for example has upheld full face veil bans in public. Something much harsher than 21.

      Anyway, I wasn’t trying to argue that I personally do or don’t think 21 is discriminatory or not, I was saying that a journalist trying to be unbiased shouldn’t presuppose it.

    • Kevin 13:57 on 2019-10-10 Permalink

      If Bill 21 put people who wear religious symbols in an internment camp nobody would deny it was discriminatory.

      The discrimination of Bill 21 is self-evident in that it prevents people from certain religions from working in certain jobs.

      The hypocrisy is that the legislation specifically does not affect the religious belief that is shared by the majority of Quebecers.

  • Kate 07:58 on 2019-10-09 Permalink | Reply  

    The Mois de la Photo, which had been running for years, rebranded itself this year as “Momenta”. A review in this art blog shows more examples of what I’d call cluttered installation work than actual photos, which suggests a certain mission creep has set in. Or maybe the way everyone sees photos on their devices all the time has blunted the desire to see straight-up photos on gallery walls?

    • Kate 07:55 on 2019-10-09 Permalink | Reply  

      At 9:30 Tuesday evening, after giving warnings, police proceeded to arrest the Extinction Rebellion folks who, blocked from holding a march, had held a sit-down protest on René‑Lévesque near the Sun Life building. Thirty people were arrested (La Presse says it was 41). The Journal scouts opinions on whether this strategy is useful in changing public opinion.

      • Kate 07:53 on 2019-10-09 Permalink | Reply  

        Oh those suburban mayors. Some want to pay less to the agglomeration. Some want to turn Dorval into another Quartier des Spectacles.

        • Ghost of Ginger Baker 12:36 on 2019-10-09 Permalink

          And when they flood next Spring they’ll be bitching and moaning about how the city never prepared them for it.

          Beaconsfield is one of the wealthiest suburbs in the city: law enforcement exists primarily to protect their citizens and their investments. They absolutely should pay the most for things like police.

          If the people of Beaconsfield want a greater say in municipal and metropolitan affairs, by all means, join the city.

        • Filp 13:53 on 2019-10-09 Permalink

          I always have reservations when the goal of a revitalized area is to become a regional destination. Regional destinations are subject to the ebb and flow of trends, and when you focus on outsiders to come to your neighborhood and make business function, there may eventually be a point where this stops working. It could be for a number of reasons. Like a new big mall somewhere else, or traffic works on some highway somewhere. The point is that areas should be self sustaining for the most part. Diversification of store fronts that cater to local needs so that the neighborhood will always be supplied by a population who has reasons to go there. Even st-Denis has learnt this lesson. It will never be a st-catherine street, so I think at this point it should stop trying, and find it’s success in catering mostly to the Plateau.

        • qatzelok 09:24 on 2019-10-10 Permalink

          I wonder how many film-makers are now regretting their upcoming move to the Quartier des Spectacles, now that Dorval Village will be getting similar paving stones.

        • mare 13:11 on 2019-10-10 Permalink

          I know the National Film Board regrets it, since their state-of-the-art sound mixing and recording studio is right on top of the metro. And despite sound insulation the rumble when a metro passes makes it unusable. So the sound people are still using the sound facilities in the now deserted giant old building on cremazie, without much support staff.


      • Kate 07:52 on 2019-10-09 Permalink | Reply  

        An idea to redevelop an old city works yard in Ahuntsic into social housing has some nearby residents worried about the creation of a ghetto.

        • Ghost of Ginger Baker 12:37 on 2019-10-09 Permalink

          Christ some people suck. This is precisely the kind of person who shows up at public consultations who has nothing to offer.

      • Kate 07:22 on 2019-10-09 Permalink | Reply  

        CBC’s Benjamin Shingler asks why the chief of the SPVM is surprised by a report showing that his force stop indigenous, black and brown people far more often than whites. Not only victims and social justice groups, but journalists, academic investigators and judges have repeatedly described the pattern for years.

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