Updates from March, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 16:16 on 2020-03-18 Permalink | Reply  

    CBC has pulled the plug on local English-language TV newscasts all across Canada, centralizing everything in Toronto. Steve Faguy summarizes saltily why this is a big mistake at a time like this.

    Radio won’t be affected, I’m glad to say.

    Update: Some more wordage about how the crisis has forced the CBC to centralize. I’m not sure this piece adds anything to what we already knew.

    • Tim S. 19:08 on 2020-03-18 Permalink

      I didn’t fight to save the CBC from the Harper cuts so that Debra Arbec would have to go on Facebook to announce that she’s still working, sort of.

    • david100 01:23 on 2020-03-19 Permalink

      If I were appointed prime minister by the PLC, aside from massive housing development, infrastructure and the environment, I think the CBC would be a top interest of mine, as I’ve said before.

      The CBC should be changed into a European-style national broadcaster. No advertising, no goofy programming, nothing – give people the information they need, and cultural programming that’s interesting.

    • Kate 10:24 on 2020-03-19 Permalink

      david100, there are reasons I listen to BBC radio a lot more than the CBC. Obviously I choose CBC for local news, but the BBC has such an archive of beautifully produced stuff – comedy and drama – and continues to produce more, also good science and informational shows, that if I have radio on, it’s what I listen to by choice.

      (The current British government wants to tear down the BBC. In a sense, that’s all you need to know about that government.)

      But I don’t think you can ordain that the CBC become more like the BBC. The background culture just isn’t there. Toronto is not London and never will be.

    • david100 10:32 on 2020-03-19 Permalink

      Rad-Can isn’t ideal, but it’s a lot better than what the CBC has degenerated into. We could start there.

      Anyway, I don’t think the CBC could ever become as great as the BBC, but it could be a lot closer to it than it is. We should have started that shift a long time ago, and it’s not too late to start now.

  • Kate 13:24 on 2020-03-18 Permalink | Reply  

    There are now 94 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Quebec and we’ve seen the first death in an elderly person in the Lanaudière.

    SAQ stores are staying open, but with restricted hours, security to limit the number of shoppers, and a requirement to pay by card, not cash.

    • Ephraim 16:27 on 2020-03-18 Permalink

      There are going to be a lot of homeless people with the inability to buy bottles.

    • Kevin 16:49 on 2020-03-18 Permalink

      The cash thing is silly. You’re not going to die from handling bills and change.

      It’s also silly to constantly be wearing gloves while you handle everything, touch your face, go for a smoke, etc…

      Just wash your hands.

    • CE 17:30 on 2020-03-18 Permalink

      I’ve gotten used to setting cash down on the counter to be taken and to not putting my hand out to have change given back to me. The switch happened pretty fast.

    • Ian 17:48 on 2020-03-18 Permalink

      Is it even legal to refuse to take cash? Serious question.

    • Chris 19:29 on 2020-03-18 Permalink

      Kevin: Indeed. We should be careful to neither underreact nor overreact to this crisis. I’m seeing some overreacting at this point, some people are acting like it’s an airborne plague.

      Ian: Yes, it is. Businesses are not obligated to take cash, cheques, interac, or anything else for that matter.

    • Tim S. 20:11 on 2020-03-18 Permalink

      Ian: I researched the definition of “legal tender” once after a dispute with a store clerk, and the rule seems to be that legal tender – cash, I suppose, must be accepted as payment for a debt. So, in a sit-down restaurant, having consumed the meal, you are in debt to them, and they can’t refuse your offer of cash to redeem your debt (I pity the SPVM officer called into the middle of such a dispute). In a store however, because you haven’t taken possession of the item, they can ask for whatever they want in exchange.

    • dmdiem 20:44 on 2020-03-18 Permalink

      chris, there is some evidence (not yet peer reviewed) that it can remain aerosolized for several hours. Not as bad as the measles or chickenpox, but not great either. Let’s just hope its not 3.6 roentgen.

    • Ephraim 21:25 on 2020-03-18 Permalink

      @Tim S. – There are legal limits to coins, though. So someone can’t walk in there and pay with a bulldozer worth of nickels. I don’t think you can legally refuse cash, though. In San Francisco they actually had to pass a law to require businesses to take cash as it was keeping the homeless and poor out. In the US, many people aren’t banked at all. In fact, Walmart essentially runs a cheque cashing business and bank in many US stores… it’s sad.

    • Dhomas 08:11 on 2020-03-19 Permalink

      I was speaking to someone from the SAQ about the possibility of them closing. They told me the unions would like for them to close, but they’re somewhat of an “essential service” for folks who have problems with addiction. They are often unable to stock up on liquor, as they don’t have the means to buy it and/or store it.

    • Blork 09:29 on 2020-03-19 Permalink

      Oh great. This notice just appeared at the top of the page of my SAQ mail order (that is supposed to be delivered today):

      Canada Post has suspended home deliveries requiring a proof of age and will indicate you where to pick up your order at a post office near you. The SAQ pledges to give back the $12 delivery fee to FBQ.

      …entirely defeating the purpose of the mail order.

      OK maybe not entirely. The suggestion before was to order online for pickup at your local SAQ (thus avoiding the shuffling about in the store and the paying process) and to use Canada Post delivery if you are in quarantine. I’m not in quarantine but I wanted to try it. But from Canada Post’s POV, EVERY MAIL DELIVERY OF BOOZE is to a house under quarantine, so I suppose you can’t blame them for not wanting to do that.

    • Kate 10:30 on 2020-03-19 Permalink

      Dhomas, the SAQ is important, and not just for career alcoholics. The bars are closed, a lot of people are now stuck at home, and if having a drink in the evening makes life more tolerable, then the SAQ is on the side of the angels.

      If we had to drink nothing but dépanneur wine for three weeks, there might be a revolt.

    • david100 10:36 on 2020-03-19 Permalink

      I agree with Kate. Without booze, spending so much time indoors would be intolerable.

    • dmdiem 11:09 on 2020-03-19 Permalink


      its not just alcohol. its anything that requires a signature.

      “You will receive a notice card indicating the post office where you can pick up your items by showing proof of identity and signing. If you are sick or under self-isolation, please arrange for someone to pick up these items in your place.”

      you cannot, by definition, send someone else to pick up something that requires id.

      so now canada post is requiring any one who is sick, but needs a package delivered, to leave the house, go to the post office and stand in line. exposing who knows how many people.

      this is insane.

    • Chris 11:10 on 2020-03-19 Permalink

      Tim S.: That’s not correct; it is as I said, see for example: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/it-may-be-legal-tender-but-more-businesses-are-snubbing-cash-1.4428655

      Ephraim: Laurentian Bank won’t even take *rolled* coins: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/laurentian-bank-wont-take-customers-800-dollars-in-coins-1.5284469

      Regarding the ‘need for booze’… is the SQDC still open?

    • Michael Black 11:53 on 2020-03-19 Permalink

      First, not every package requires a signature. Alcohol and marijuana are special cases since they don’t want some kid to order and say “my father’s taking a shower” when it”s delivered.

      I don’t see anything about this at Canada Post. They do have a FAQ and one is about if tye custimer doesn’t want to come to the door. It indicates they may be more lenientduring this “crisis” but maybe they’ve changed policy and tge site hasn’t been updated.

      But, you can easily send someone from the same address. Having the card left when they couidn’t deliver is one of the “IDs” required.

      If you need someone else to get it, there is a process spelled out at Canara Post’s website.

      You can even get a package without “proper ID”, it just takes more pieces of paper.

    • dmdiem 12:20 on 2020-03-19 Permalink

      They have waived signature requirements for most things. Which is smart. Alcohol and marijuana only require proof of age id. So anyone can pick it up with the delivery notice.

      “Registered, Xpresspost Certified, Proof of Identity, COD (collect on delivery) and items where custom fees are due” all require the recipient to show up in person. This is not an insignificant amount of mail.

      Unfortunately my nearest post office is right next door to my nearest saq. Which is just outside of walking distance for me. Since i dont know anyone with a car i guess im gonna be sober for the duration. That or dep wine. Ugh. Sober it is.

    • jeather 13:40 on 2020-03-19 Permalink

      I’m not for obvious reasons willing to drive people, but I AM willing to figure out a way that I can pick up mail or alcohol for people who need it, if you’re in St-Henri or Griffintown contact Kate and she has my email and real name.

    • dhomas 14:25 on 2020-03-19 Permalink

      @Kate, david100: I completely agree. Being in isolation sober would be almost unbearable for me and my wife. I was simply relaying what the SAQ employee had told me. In any case, I stocked up at the SAQ Depot (15% discount when you buy 12+ bottles), just in case. 🙂

    • JaneyB 15:16 on 2020-03-19 Permalink

      Dep beer is often good and I dunno about your IGAs but mine is a wonderland of excellent beers and local ciders. I realize it’s probably more of a scotch moment than a cidre moment right now lol.

    • dmdiem 15:43 on 2020-03-19 Permalink

      JaneyB thats a great idea. I think iga even delivers wine and such. I went to check their website, but it seems to be down. I think you might be right about the scotch moment, although after reading the Imperial College report, I think this might actually be a crippling heroin addiction moment.

      jeather you’re an angel. or at the very least santa claus.

    • EmilyG 16:56 on 2020-03-19 Permalink

      I’ve been stuck inside. I wish I had some wine.

    • dwgs 08:19 on 2020-03-20 Permalink

      EmilyG what neighbourhood are you in?

    • Michael Black 08:48 on 2020-03-20 Permalink

      Maybe they’ve invented freeze dried wine. So only a small packet of powder has to be delivered just add water when you’re ready to drink.

    • Kevin 09:15 on 2020-03-20 Permalink

      Bu brand wine is available at grocery stores and it’s better than some stuff I’ve had from the SAQ.

    • Tim S. 09:38 on 2020-03-20 Permalink

      Chris: the article you linked to provides a link to the Bank of Canada that says that cash/legal tender is: “the money approved in a country for paying debts.” So I don’t think that contradicts my point, though like I said I would hate to be the police officer called upon to mediate such a technical dispute. Maybe it could be a sitcom episode. Also, David Graebner is great on the whole cash/debt nexus.
      Sadly, I’ve been told to avoid alcohol for non-pandemic related health reasons. Normally I don’t drink so often that it’s an issue, but these days….

    • Ephraim 09:42 on 2020-03-20 Permalink

      @Chris – Rolled coins are still subject to limits. But they are also subject to suspicion. The bank needs to weigh them or write the account number on them, in case they come back “light”.

      These are the limits… Section 8(2) of Canada’s Currency Act states that a payment in coins is a legal tender for no more than:

      $40 in coins above $1
      $25 in $1 coins
      $10 in coins over 5c and under $1
      $5 in 5c coins.

  • Kate 09:13 on 2020-03-18 Permalink | Reply  

    A roundup of local coronavirus news: Accès Montréal offices and service counters at police stations are now closed.

    Negotiations between the city and seven of its unions are on hold. The city is buying a lot of laptops to make it easier for its people to work remotely.

    Shelters for the homeless are coping with a problem central to how they operate: normally they serve meals cafeteria-style and bunk people fairly close together, but now they can’t. Item says no homeless person has presented with COVID-19 yet, but doesn’t say how many have been tested.

    Two men stabbed on the weekend were Korean and that community fears its members may be getting targeted because of the virus. The kind of people who would attack Koreans and vandalize Vietnamese temples may simply see them as Chinese (and thus “deserving” of punishment for the virus).

    Jonathan Montpetit analyzes François Legault’s approach to the crisis. Compared to the fumbling of other leaders, Legault has rung the bell by coming off as steady and sensible. Montpetit thinks he learned this from Lucien Bouchard’s take on the 1998 ice storm.

    Legault has been appealing to young people to respect the social distancing decree, but what I see on social media is that it’s oldsters who have been the most alarmingly nonchalant. Old people, they’ve seen everything, etc. etc.

    Wednesday: Trudeau address at 10:30 ET, Finance Minister & Bank of Canada announcement at 11:15 ET.

    • CE 09:43 on 2020-03-18 Permalink

      The New Yorker ran a piece about boomers not taking this seriously and this quote summed it up pretty well: “My theory is that coming of age at the height of the Cold War/nuclear panic inculcated a faith that no matter how scary things look, the Bad Thing never actually happens.”

      (I’ve seen this with older people’s reaction to climate change too)

    • jeather 13:36 on 2020-03-18 Permalink

      I don’t like Legault overall but he’s handling this crisis really well: he takes the medical advice seriously and ignores the lack of public popularity of his announcements.

    • JaneyB 14:34 on 2020-03-18 Permalink

      Also not a Caquist but Legault has a very warm but firm grandfatherly style that I’m sure resonates with most people. The three of them are very impressive: Arruda is more emphatic and McCann more technocratic. Everyday, some response vulnerability has been improved. They ask people to contribute in different ways which reminds us of the solidarity this will take. It seems that Quebec is actually driving the federal policy at this point (eg: airports, tax). Good.

    • Meezly 16:09 on 2020-03-18 Permalink

      It’s interesting to see Legault do a complete 180. Just a few weeks ago, he was willing to do whatever it takes to stop the railway blockades so that they don’t interfere with economic progress. Now he’s willing to halt the economy for the health of his fellow Quebecers. He has shown admirable leadership in this time of crisis, but let’s not forget who he is once society stabilizes again.

    • Ian 17:49 on 2020-03-18 Permalink

      I suspect in a few weeks he’ll be allowing nurses regardless of what kind of head covering they wear.

    • Chris 19:38 on 2020-03-18 Permalink

      Meezly, there isn’t necessarily a 180 there. The calculation could be as simple as: “halting” the economy now will do less overall economic damage than not doing so. The health of fellow Quebecers could be immaterial to the calculation. (I don’t think this is the case, only saying it could be.)

    • Meezly 21:49 on 2020-03-18 Permalink

      Your right, it’s not really a 180 – his administration had definitely done the calculations (I wonder if they had read the Imperial College report) and determined that it was better economically to act now than suffer greater losses later. Too many people that require hospital care is also a drain on resources, and we would need a healthy population to reboot the economy once this crisis stabilizes, even if it’s just for a series of cycles (isolation/ reintegration) until a vaccine can be distributed.

  • Kate 08:56 on 2020-03-18 Permalink | Reply  

    If one crisis wasn’t enough, this is flooding season, and the Rivière des Prairies is, as usual, acting up. Quebec has warned that it won’t be able to provide emergency shelters if things get rough, because of the risks of contagion.

    • Max 12:43 on 2020-03-18 Permalink

      The water’s already pretty high in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. This is not gonna be a good spring, me fears.

    • Ian 17:50 on 2020-03-18 Permalink

      Well I guess the one saving grace is that there wasn’t a ton of snow this year. Fingers crossed.

    • EmilyG 22:35 on 2020-03-18 Permalink

      I wonder if people should start sandbagging now.

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