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  • Kate 20:44 on 2019-11-05 Permalink | Reply  

    The man who was pelted by bricks falling off a wall in Park Ex last week during the windstorm has died of his injuries. The Journal counts five deaths in Quebec from the storm, but this is the only one noted in town.

    • Kate 20:41 on 2019-11-05 Permalink | Reply  

      Verdun councillor Marie-Josée Parent was lauded in 2017 as the city’s first indigenous elected representative, and a year later was given the city’s reconciliation portfolio. But she’s stepped down from that position now that genealogists have queried her having any indigenous ancestry at all.

      Although Parent has apparently done some admirable work in advocacy for native people, one of the genealogists is accusing her of cultural appropriation and theft. As the CBC piece notes, a lot of Canadians (Americans too, from what I’ve seen) have a family tradition of indigenous ancestry which might not hold up to scrutiny. Parent was very likely acting in good faith.

      • Michael Black 22:46 on 2019-11-05 Permalink

        No, lots of people have folk tales about native ancestry. In the case of Cherokee there was actually a period when Europeans became Cherokee, to get land or some other advantage, but never had any actual claim or relationship. The whole “Eastern metis” thing is people with some vague story about some long past native ancestor, and many of those share the same ancesfor,who turns out to be a European woman, not native.

        Mi’kmaq is almost a giveaway, though I can’t remember if I wondered in this case. A lot of people of Acadian heritage also claim a Mi’kmaq ancestor.

        Even if someone has a traceable ancestor, it doesn’t make them native.

        But what bugs People is that too often someone has this folk tale and nothing more, but think that means they can spout off, usually without knowing anything. I once saw someone on tv talking about a musician wearing a headdress, and she said “I think it’s great, I have native ancestry”. They are perpetuating wrong, rather than doing good.

        Yes this woman has done good, but she didn’t need to claim anything, or at least just say “family history says I have a native ancestor”.

        I personally find it odd that people make claims but have never pursued it. I never knew until I was 22, and that came with a family tree. I never had folk tales. It seemed too far in the past, so I rarely mentioned it. I looked and never came across details. That changed when the internet offered up so.much about my family. I do have distant cousins in Washington state, but I also know so much about my faemiky in Red River. A CBC story a few years ago about a musician revealed she was descended from Annie Bannantyne. I knew some one had married a Bannantyne, oops, it was my great, great grandfather after Henrietta died. The musician is Metis.

        People should claim their ancestors, because it reveals a different story. They, usually women, shouldn’t be erased. But it’s not a cool thing, or to get some perceived status, it’s obligation. An obligation to pay attention, to at least learn a few words of the language, to know as much as you can about the cousins as you can but also native people in general. It’s about but empathy and understanding acting like a distant cousin, not wearing stereotypes that aren’t yours.

        I know so much about my family that that’s clout enough. I can invoke my ancestors to tell a story, I don’t need it to legitimize something.


      • Kate 08:23 on 2019-11-06 Permalink

        Michael, I’m not clear what rights or duties you think come with knowledge of indigenous ancestry, as opposed to a vague family memory of some intermarriage in the past.

        We both know that it isn’t always going to be easy to determine from documents whether any given ancestor had native blood, since many indigenous people adopted English, French or Scots surnames generations ago.

        DNA testing might give a clue, but when we’re talking one ancestor generations back, it doesn’t add up to much, and testing is only comparative to a pool of other people; a lot of “status Indians” are probably not full-blood either by now.

        But I’m not only grilling you, I’m wondering what our society thinks as well. How indigenous do you have to be to advocate for indigenous people? How much ancestry do you have to be able to prove to be able to claim to be a member of a community? And so on.

      • meezly 13:47 on 2019-11-06 Permalink

        Those were exactly the questions author Joseph Boyden, as well as his critics and supporters, had when he was embroiled in a very similar controversy re: his First Nations ancestry a few years ago. Boyden’s case is especially fascinating (for me at least, as I’m interested in race and cultural identity) and there are tons of excellent articles that explore whether he, as a person of mixed ancestry but no official status, has a right to identify as indigenous or not.

        I think the real question is – if you are mixed race but have no clear membership of any community, and have clearly benefited from the white establishment who particularly embrace non-white talent with light-skinned looks cuz, let’s face it, that is how the world works (and there is a loong history of this) – you must ask yourself, whose voice and opportunity are you taking away who DOES have the right to be the spokesperson or award recipient? It doesn’t matter how much advocacy you’ve put in, or how talented you are, if you are claiming an identity that is based on shaky ground, ie. oral history, and this identity claim is giving you opportunities that would not otherwise be available to you, then you are appropriating something, if not downright impersonating.

      • John B 15:24 on 2019-11-06 Permalink

        Reporting on how this story came to be would be interesting. This looks like an attack on someone who identifies as and truly believes she is indigenous, and according to the linked CBC piece has family documentation to back it up.

        According to the genealogist’s Facebook post “some people asked him” if Mme. Parent’s ancestors were Métis-Canadian. Who & why? And once he did the research is it appropriate to be publicly posting the full family tree of a living person? This is especially true since Mr. P-Thisdale based his research on parish registers, which are likely to have errors because of false paternity and social pressures over the past several hundred years, (for example, a mother may tell the priest that her husband is the father of a child, then later when the father pas passed write a letter telling the child who their real father is).

        With the potential for inaccuracy it was irresponsible, at best, for Mr. P-Thisdale to share the family tree publicly, especially with the very real-world consequences of doing so. A more appropriate action would be to share it with Mme. Parent privately, or if he truly believes she’s appropriating indigenous culture for personal gain perhaps with an investigative journalist who will find more information to prove or disprove that theory.

        Mr. P-Thisdale is very clear in his article that “THIS FAMILY HAS NO NATIVE ANCESTORS WHATSOEVER” (yes, he used all caps). If Mme. Parent can prove otherwise this seems like a pretty clear libel case to me.

      • Kate 16:10 on 2019-11-06 Permalink

        You make some very good points, John B.

        It would not surprise me if the “some people” came from Ensemble.

      • Chris 11:02 on 2019-11-07 Permalink

        >How much ancestry do you have to be able to prove to be able to claim to be a member of a community? And so on.

        Very much questions of our time. How (fe)male do you have to be to claim to be (fe)male? These days many answer: as much or as little as you want. Someone named Rachel Dolezal famously tried the same with race. In that case, many thought self-identification insufficient. Barack Obama is widely called black even though only half black. A fascinating topic. (And I’m staking no positions pro/con here.)

      • meezly 11:03 on 2019-11-07 Permalink

        I agree that P-Thisdale may not have gone about this process in a respectful nor responsible manner, but it would have been helpful to hear from at least one First Nations perspective on how they felt about someone with no proof of Mi’kmaq ancestry accepted an advisory role for indigenous issues.

        I’d like to know if MJ Parent ever clarified the media coverage of her Mi’kmaq identity, at the very least to cover her bases, saying look, I have not researched my genealogy thoroughly, but according to my family history, etc. I MAY have this ancestry, instead of saying nothing and ‘going with the flow’ because this was working for her career trajectory.

        With the exposure of Rachel Dolezal, she was someone who truly identified as African-American and to this day, still feels she has not been treated fairly. This is an extreme case, but I feel this is not that different from MJ Parent’s reasoning.

      • John B 14:54 on 2019-11-07 Permalink

        @meezly – from the CBC article “Parent said, without wanting to go into detail, that the information doesn’t align with documents her family has.” and “She said her family’s situation is not easy to understand. They don’t know which community they’re from and have yet to finish their family tree.” – it sounds like she may have proof, or something pretty close to it.

        > it would have been helpful to hear from at least one First Nations perspective

        That’s a surprising omission from the reporting. Both P-Thisdale and the journalist who wrote the CBC article appear to identify as indigenous, (they also both worked for the same paper at some point…) You would think one of them could track down another member of the community to give a quote or two.

      • Michael Black 16:52 on 2019-11-07 Permalink

        Rats. I typed in a long reply and didn’t actually press tge reply button before leaving. I’ll try again later.

      • meezly 11:30 on 2019-11-08 Permalink

        @John B – I’m sure Parent’s family is complex, however, what I’m trying to get at is that Parent was publicly lauded as the first Indigenous city councillor in 2017.

        If she was lauded based solely on her admirable credentials, then maybe this controversy would not have come up. But she went on record as the 1st Indigenous city councilor. If Parent’s family history was unclear and no one in her family knows which community they are from, then, as a public figure, she needed to do her due diligence in researching her ancestry.

        I think as a journalist, you need to maintain neutrality, but if P-Thisdale identifies as indigenous, I can probably see why he questioned Parent’s lineage. What may be contentious is that Parent had the privilege of being fully integrated in the establishment without the obstacles that someone with clear indigenous ancestry would experience. And would the indigenous community be ok with someone who has been appointed with a reconciliation portfolio in this case?

    • Kate 13:51 on 2019-11-05 Permalink | Reply  

      Quebec is working on a policy to limit access to government services in English to old-school anglos; Carlos Leitão asks how people will be qualified. Old-schoolers should get their family tree in order, I suppose. You! Citizen! Where was your grandfather born?

      This is relevant to Montreal because the majority of Quebec anglos live here. I’m not dipping further into the related issue of CAQ immigration reforms cutting off international students who expected to fast-track into Quebec residency based on their educational qualifications because it could conceivably involve issues outside the city limits.

      But I will say this: each of the CAQ’s major moves pushes Quebec to be smaller, poorer, whiter and less skilled. It’s the Quebec a lot of folks evidently want, or at least feel comfortable with, but it’s not really the Quebec we need for the 21st century.

      • jeather 15:45 on 2019-11-05 Permalink

        Apparently this is all because of the horrors of some people getting English bills from Hydro Quebec

      • willard 17:19 on 2019-11-05 Permalink

        If its caused because of Hydro bills, then HQ can just avoid it all + stop billing people…

      • Spi 17:39 on 2019-11-05 Permalink

        What if a white-francophone wants to receive his or her communications from the government in english? Are they allowed?

      • Chris 17:52 on 2019-11-05 Permalink

        Let’s all speculate wildly based on preliminary information! 🙂 I would guess “old-school anglos” would get defined as anyone here already, i.e. a grandfather clause, and the new rules would be applied to new arrivals. (This is neither an endorsement nor opposition.)

        PS: How is it that in 2019 CTV can’t get the accents on Leitão?!

      • Uatu 18:21 on 2019-11-05 Permalink

        I always found it funny that there’s a whole lot of posturing about government services only in french, but if you need tax forms in english, they’re readily available from Revenue QC. I guess $$ trumps all in this case

      • Michael Black 18:45 on 2019-11-05 Permalink

        A later story is saying “according to Bill 101” . That makes a certain sense, but I’m not sure I can find proof. And of course, it’s not that your parents could go to English school, it’s that after a certain date you couldn’t go unless a parent had. But none of that is in handy documentation. Initially I thought a birth certificate would be okay, but not everyone has a good Scottish last name. It is easier for those born early enough, at least if born here.

      • Kate 20:38 on 2019-11-05 Permalink

      • Kevin 22:05 on 2019-11-05 Permalink

        At this rate the Quebec:Canada population ratio will be under 20% in a decade

      • jeather 09:07 on 2019-11-06 Permalink

        My prediction is they will realise quite quickly this is unworkable so they will require French on all bills, you can get French-only or bilingual, and they will redo all the phone trees so it’s even harder to get it in English, and then the matter will be quietly ignored.

    • Kate 13:35 on 2019-11-05 Permalink | Reply  

      I was struck by a tweet from Karel Mayrand just now in which he posted the front page of Tuesday’s Journal with this observation: “Cette une du JdeMontreal une déclaration de guerre à Val_Plante et à la transition écologique. Les grandes villes se transforment. Nous ne sommes plus en 1960. La ville ne se résume plus aux autos et au déneigement des rues. Le JDM est-il devenu un organe partisan?”

      I think the answer is yes.

      • Jack 14:08 on 2019-11-05 Permalink

        I have written ad nauseam about this. I asked once why Projet Montreal simply says to Quebecor and their affiliates, that they are a media outlet that works against our collective good and they’ll no longer speak to them. Look at that cover today…..Look at the demographics in Montreal , J de M is a 450 newspaper, it speaks to one ethnicity and one lifestyle, look at the ads.
        You dont need them to win, look how much fire Ferrandez took . Yet his plurality went up each election, by 2017 he won 66%…make Quebecor an issue. They aren’t as strong as they think they are, a case in point was their full court press for the Bloc last election, Trudeau beat them with pretty much the same coverage Mayor Plante is getting.

      • Chris 17:43 on 2019-11-05 Permalink

        News at 11: right wing media doesn’t like left wing politician.

      • MarcG 17:52 on 2019-11-05 Permalink

        Where can I find me some left wing media?

      • Chris 18:01 on 2019-11-05 Permalink

        MarcG, there’s this thing called the internet, all kinds of stuff on there! 🙂 You might start with https://www.democracynow.org.

      • MarcG 18:03 on 2019-11-05 Permalink

        Big fan of that program. I was suggesting that all big media is right wing by nature.

      • Chris 18:09 on 2019-11-05 Permalink

        I know what you were suggesting. 🙂 Even if true, what of it? It’s still pretty banal that right wing media doesn’t like left wing politicians.

      • qatzelok 18:52 on 2019-11-05 Permalink

        I don’t know about righ wing, but all big media is pro-car.
        What choice do they have, cars are their biggest source of bribes (advertising money).

        Even if Quebecor secretly loves Ms. Plante, they have to put on a Punch and Judy show (Cars and Ferrandez show) to keep their advertisers interested in their rag.

      • Dhomas 20:45 on 2019-11-05 Permalink

        The question I have is why are we so beholden to the Almighty car in Quebec. We no longer have any major car manufacturers operating in Quebec. You would think at the very least we would try to push for electric vehicles as this would put money in the coffers of Hydro-Quebec (though we would still have these kinds of articles lamenting the state of the roads and snow removal).
        The tide may be turning on that with the recent news from Volvo: https://europe.autonews.com/retail/volvos-polestar-brand-picks-montreal-first-north-american-store. We’ll see.
        But I guess no EV manufacturers are paying for advertising. Tesla doesn’t advertise, and other car manufacturers would rather sell you an ICE vehicle as their margins are higher on those. I guess I answered my own question…
        Still frustrating, though.

      • Kate 20:52 on 2019-11-05 Permalink

        If we think media is losing its power, we’re wrong. Shortly after posting this, I had to take a short taxi ride, and the street was constricted by some cones at one corner. The cabbie started to inveigh against Plante and Projet, saying she had lied about mobility, look at all the cones, the construction on Ste-Catherine and McGill College, the Turcot, she lied! He totally parroted the Quebecor line against the mayor.

        I pointed out that the Ste-Catherine stuff dated from Coderre, the McGill College dig was due to the REM and the Turcot was a provincial project, not the city’s. He steamrollered me with a line about how, as a cabbie, he knew the promises about mobility were a big fat lie!

        It got kind of heated for a few minutes.

    • Kate 09:31 on 2019-11-05 Permalink | Reply  

      In Guardian Cities, Tracey Lindeman has a look at the viability of bicycle courier delivery with the focus on Montreal’s Colibri system.

      • Kate 09:02 on 2019-11-05 Permalink | Reply  

        Valérie Plante has a piece in La Presse giving her thoughts about how things are going halfway through her mandate; Metro considers whether Projet has kept its promises, and Lionel Perez throws mud hoping some will stick. Prediction: whoever becomes the Ensemble candidate for mayor two years from now will have some damage to undo from this interim leader, who has never made a constructive suggestion, presenting his party as a rabble of sneering begrudgers.

      • Kate 08:53 on 2019-11-05 Permalink | Reply  

        The story that blew up across regular and social media Monday was how much lead is in drinking water in Canada, with worse than Flint, Michigan being the scare statement. That’s clickbait, though, because our drinking water leaves the purification plant in fine shape – it’s the pipes leading into houses that are a concern.

        I just googled for “lead water montreal” and the top “People also ask” is a drop-down question: “Is it safe to drink tap water in Montreal?” with the response: “The city of Montreal says tap water must be boiled for at least one minute before it is safe to drink.” If you read on, you realize this is picked up from a very brief boil-water advisory in Anjou last March, and if you think about it, boiling tap water only works for organic contaminants and, if anything, would concentrate any lead in it, but some worried people will simply pick up on that errant piece of data and run with it.

        If someone wanted to do PR to make more people buy bottled water, they’ve rung the bell this time.

        • Kevin 10:54 on 2019-11-05 Permalink

          There’s no more lead in your drinking water than there was last year, or ten years ago, or 30.

          The only difference is that the amount a health agency considers acceptable has dropped considerably.

          The suggested limit that Health Canada set this year is 5 parts per billion. Before that it was 10 ppb (set in 1991).
          The acceptable limit in the U.S. has been 15 ppb since 1991.

          In France, the acceptable limit was 25 ppb until 2013, when they cut it to 10.

          Stop freaking out. Canadians already have among the lowest level of lead in their blood in the world.

        • Tim 12:27 on 2019-11-05 Permalink

          Kevin: it was discovered that testers would run the water for 5 minutes before taking a sample when testing for lead. This practice decreases the amount of lead in the results and has not been used in other jurisdictions for 30 years. In essence, the tests reported by the city have been manipulated for years.

          The map provided by Le Devoir will provide the data for your area if you are interested (https://www.ledevoir.com/documents/special/19-10_carte-plomb-montreal/index.html). I was going to have my water tested but after looking at my area on the map, I bypassed that and bought a triple filtration system, certified by the NSF, that will be installed under my sink tonight.

          If you consider me to be “freaking out”, so be it. You have your risk tolerance and I have mine.

        • Kevin 21:59 on 2019-11-05 Permalink


          I know all this. My water was tested by the city at 10 ppb earlier this summer.

          I may be overconfident, but given my wife has a PhD in Biochemistry and is now an MD as well, I doubt it.

          Not a single person in Montreal has ever had high enough blood lead levels to qualify as poisoned.

          This is just another case of Health Canada going ” oh the limits are X somewhere else? Let’s make ours even lower so we can pretend to be safer!”

      • Kate 08:16 on 2019-11-05 Permalink | Reply  

        An old MR-63 metro car has become a sort of student lounge at the Polytechnique.

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