Updates from December, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 18:44 on 2019-12-28 Permalink | Reply  

    The Journal is already dreading roadwork cones for 2020.

    • Kate 10:42 on 2019-12-28 Permalink | Reply  

      Daniel Renaud writes about the fall of the house of Rizzuto at the helm of organized crime in Montreal. With the loss of Nick Jr., Vito and Nick Sr. over the last ten years, the family no longer features in lists of potential godfathers, if indeed the mob can continue in the classic Mario Puzo style.

      Update: Adding a link to the Gazette’s timeline of the last decade in organized crime in Montreal

      • david100 11:52 on 2019-12-28 Permalink

        I wouldn’t be so sure that Rizzuto-Sollecito isn’t consolidating right now, as per the article a week or two ago, the point of which seems was precisely this:

        « dans la mafia, tout le monde cherche à faire de l’argent et lorsque tu n’es plus là pour diriger et gérer des conflits, cela ne donne rien d’avoir un nom de famille et de ne pas être capable d’agir », ajoute l’ex-policier.

        So, when you’re looking at his four keys to understanding the continued strength of the Sicilians/Rizzutos . . .

        Plusieurs facteurs expliquent cette situation, selon Nicodemo Milano. Un : la fortune des familles siciliennes, dont celle des Rizzuto. Deux : leur réseautage, c’est-à-dire ces personnes dont on n’entend jamais les noms et ces gens d’affaires, propriétaires d’entreprises légitimes, qui facilitent leurs activités. Trois : leur alliance avec des groupes criminels majeurs, dont les Hells Angels. Quatre : les enquêtes policières, qui ont affaibli les Siciliens, mais aussi leurs ennemis, dans des moments clés.

        On (1), while the gang war has surely hit income, the wealth of the Rizzutos probably has only increased over the past few years (construction boom, money laundering boom, drugs steady), particularly as their legit investments bear fruit, this is probably the major reason that it’s Rizzuto rather than Sollecito himself who is the current ‘godfather’ – he brings the money; on (2), we don’t really know how the gang war has affected their network of extortion victims, associates, etc. but, again, these familial connections are probably a big reason that Rizzuto rather than Sollecito is in charge, at least nominally; on (3), reinforcing this link was the explicit takeaway from the article of a couple weeks ago, and it’s clear that Rizzuto/Sollecito are buttressing this pillar of their strength; and on (4), their enemies have been suffered worse, far worse, police scrutiny than have the Sicilians over the past couple years.

        Anyway, it’s always interesting to get the insight of a guy like Milano, and it’s just common sense that the Rizzutos are diminished, as well as that the pickings for organized crime are getting slimmer. But crime that pays requires a greater outlay of cash, more sophistication than ever, more connections (especially for laundering), and a greater distance from the “street” or front line, where risk of being a police target is higher. So, from that perspective, it seems pretty plausible that Rizzuto/Sollecito could be around for quite some time, provided they can stay alive – there’s just no Montreal underworld type more connected, wealthier, and sophisticated.

      • david100 12:27 on 2019-12-28 Permalink

        That’s IF Leonardo is sitting as the titular head of the family with Sollecito as the consiglieri. Still not clear that this is the case.

      • Kate 12:38 on 2019-12-29 Permalink

        david100, is there any reason to believe there’s still some sort of capo-and-consigliere structure? Everyone “knows” about that from The Godfather but that’s long ago and far away, and fictional, and that story didn’t encompass Hells Angels and other crime gangs in the mix.

    • Kate 10:29 on 2019-12-28 Permalink | Reply  

      On Christmas Eve, two men held up a Banque Nationale branch in TMR in the old style, with masks and a gun. The SPVM says it’s already caught one of them.

      • Kate 10:20 on 2019-12-28 Permalink | Reply  

        The Gazette’s T’cha Dunlevy discusses the French “invasion” of Montreal (nice mistake, “tarte siflette” for tartiflette) now that 60,000 French nationals live in the city. With profiles of a few of the expats.

        Update: Now they’ve fixed “tarte siflette” but have spelled “tartiflette” wrong.

        • Hamza 13:33 on 2019-12-28 Permalink

          If there are people who can get upset at this headline there are probably anglos who never think to catch that ‘plateau’ and ‘mont’ or even ‘royal’ are all french too.

        • Michael Black 14:57 on 2019-12-28 Permalink

          I don’t think this is about language, just an observation of a trend. And maybe made more obvious because a small area has a high density of people from France.

          It’s not a new thing that people come over to go to University, but maybe is a more recent trend that people have stayed. Twenty years ago I knew a few dancers from France, Switzerland and I think Germany (but she spoke French), and they were here long enough that I thought they had moved here.

          I guess the incentive is that they don’t have to learn a new language, but can move to a place that isn’t France.

        • Jo Walton 09:07 on 2019-12-29 Permalink

          I go to book festivals in France fairly often, and I can confirm from personal conversations with people in France that there’s huge interest there in moving here for exactly the reason Michael suggests. Indeed, if I am in France walking along carrying my Fromagerie Atwater bag strangers will talk to me in the street about the possibilities of moving here. I always tell them yes, Montreal is lovely, yes, there are economic opportunities, yes, it isn’t perfect but… and that they need to know that people here take their shoes off in the house, because I wish somebody had told my (French) upstairs neighbours this.

        • dwgs 09:57 on 2019-12-29 Permalink

          You’re doing the Lord’s work Jo Walton. I’ve had those neighbours.

        • Blork 12:19 on 2019-12-29 Permalink

          Where I work, almost half of the new hires in the past five years or so have been from France and Belgium. These are software developers and data scientists in their late 20s and 30s who have skills and experience, and presumably they want to go somewhere where they can work without bearing the yoke of 50 invisible layers of patriarchy and social restrictions — I’m looking at you, France — and where their earnings can actually add up to something.

          There’s also the issue of many of them wanting to improve their English without having to be fully immersed in an Anglo environment as they would be in The RoC, US, or UK. For example, where I work the day-to-day talk is mostly in French but probably 75% of meetings, 50% of email threads, and 80% of Slack threads have USers or South Americans looped in, so it happens in English. Also, 80% of customer interactions are in English.)

        • Kate 12:40 on 2019-12-29 Permalink

          Jo, what’s the thing about shoes? Everyone takes boots off in the winter, but I was never raised to take ordinary street shoes off in the house when the weather isn’t messy.

          I certainly don’t expect any visitor to do so, and I never like having to creep around in my socks in the houses of people who do enforce this.

        • DeWolf 12:56 on 2019-12-29 Permalink

          Re. shoes – this is one of those things that makes people on the internet go wild because it’s about very deeply enshrined personal behaviour. I was raised to always take my shoes off in the house, which was also the case for everyone I knew in Calgary/Vancouver. It doesn’t seem as universal in Quebec where many people seem to wear shoes indoors in the summer.

          Back to the main point: France has been experiencing a brain drain for a long time, but the global financial crisis sent an especially huge wave of people overseas and that wave never receded. Hong Kong’s French community exploded from about 5,000 people before 2008 to roughly 50,000 people today. Like in Montreal, many are young people on working holiday visas, but many more are young professionals who ended up having kids and staying. The French International School just built a fancy new campus in a newly-built suburb of Hong Kong that some have described as a kind of “French town.” When I walked around this fall there were already French bakeries and grocery stores selling imported European treats.

        • Kevin 21:03 on 2019-12-29 Permalink

          I was raised to take off my shoes, as was just about everyone I’ve ever known.

          I will bring my own slippers if going to someone else’s home, and I provide slippers for guests. (My of my gifts this season was a bag of guest slippers)

          The first time I encountered people who left their shoes on indoors was when I was visiting relatives living in the US and their other guests kept their shoes on.

        • Kate 00:19 on 2019-12-30 Permalink

          “Here, put a pair of these on” says the host, offering you a basket of hideous knitted things in garish colours, when your outfit is all black. No thank you. (Forgive me for feeling this is something of a power move.)

        • JaneyB 14:07 on 2019-12-30 Permalink

          Also from shoes-off land eg: Wpg. Could be a holdover from the era of wall-to-wall carpeting. In apts, shoes are like elephants for those below. Phentex, ftw!

          As for the Français immigrants, I’ll be the annoying person who wonders about all our home-grown software developers, data scientists, marketers, designers etc who can’t get work. I’ve met a few young Français and they always seem to have had way more experience and responsibility than our young grads. How can our grads compete with that?

        • Kevin 10:44 on 2019-12-31 Permalink

          If it’s a fancy-pants event, bring your indoor shoes.

        • CE 13:49 on 2019-12-31 Permalink

          I grew up on the east coast and shoes always come off, no matter the season. I was out there last week and dropped by someone’s house to pick up a friend and they said to to leave my boots on. I felt very uncomfortable walking through their house with boots on. When I lived in South America for a few years, you ALWAYS keep your shoes on in the house. That took a very long time to get used to.

      • Kate 10:15 on 2019-12-28 Permalink | Reply  

        A man barricaded himself in a downtown hotel room early Saturday, and when police showed up he suicided out of the 12th-floor window. The Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes is investigating because it was a death that happened during a police action, although in this case I don’t see how the cops can be blamed.

        • Kate 09:42 on 2019-12-28 Permalink | Reply  

          CTV notes the similarities among the three domestic murder-suicides here recently, but doesn’t discuss the key factor: in all three cases, from what we see in the media, the marriage was ending and the woman was preparing to leave the man.

          Radio-Canada talked to some people in Coaticook who knew Astrid Declerck, the woman killed on Christmas day by her partner, who then killed himself. The couple had lived there for a few years. TVA says she was planning to move back to France.

          • curious 13:31 on 2019-12-29 Permalink

            The presence of firearms in the home is also probably a contributing factor.

          • Kate 14:12 on 2019-12-29 Permalink

            The most recent incident was reported as involving firearms, but no report from the Tétreaultville killings in October, in which Jonathan Pomares apparenty killed his two kids then himself, allowing his wife to find all three bodies, mentions guns. Nor do reports from the December 11 killings allegedly by Nabil Yssaad, who later suicided by jump, mention guns.

            I’m not implying anything about guns, simply reporting what I’ve seen in the media.

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