Updates from April, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 17:05 on 2020-04-16 Permalink | Reply  

    The STM sent a suspension to Gleason Frenette, head of the maintenance workers’ union, Thursday morning, and there were some spontaneous walkouts in response. The union’s position is that the STM has not been doing enough to protect bus drivers and other workers from contagion.

    • Kate 17:01 on 2020-04-16 Permalink | Reply  

      Aéroports de Montréal is closing Trudeau airport’s longest runway and using it to park airplanes. (Tip on this story from Les Perreaux on Twitter.)

      • Bert 12:49 on 2020-04-17 Permalink

        I wonder what Mirabel looks like now. Lots of runway and taxiway! Imagine if they had built it out to Lachute like the wanted to!

    • Kate 16:21 on 2020-04-16 Permalink | Reply  

      Montreal public health director Dr. Mylène Drouin said Thursday she thinks the city has reached a plateau with a fairly staggering 90 deaths from COVID-19 over the last 24 hours.

      A young woman thrown in at the deep end on the COVID-19 floor in a Lasalle CHSLD has told a story of neglect and poor treatment of its residents stretching long before the pandemic arrived. It’s been translated to English and posted also on the Globe and Mail site.

      • Kate 09:22 on 2020-04-16 Permalink | Reply  

        François Legault is determined to see schools reopen on May 4.

        • Tim S. 09:27 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          Odd, seeing as they’re also preparing to transfer school personnel to the hospitals if necessary.

        • walkerp 09:41 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          There seems to be so many challenges around the logistics that I don’t see how this could be possible. Will the parents who used to crowd around the fence saying goodbye to their elementary school kids now all have to wear masks and keep six feet apart? Do we disinfect the kids before letting them in the house? What about the teachers and staff working in the schools? Will there be easily accessible testing for all?

        • walkerp 09:43 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          Oh I should have read the article all the way through, this is a nothingburger. Basically, May 4 is one of many potential scenarios they are working on. And Kate, I am not sure how you got “determined” out of that article.

        • Kman 09:45 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          Great news. As parents of 2 kids working in the healthcare system, it will ease our minds to know they are in familiar surroundings with familiar people instead of being in a thrown together system to “help” us out.

        • Kate 10:05 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          walkerp, he’s been talking about it for weeks. This is the man who once said he wanted all school kids in class from 9 to 5, and has been trying hard to get 4-year-olds into structured classes. I don’t think he can have any memory of what it was like to be a kid.

          I have another thought about this. A lot of folks feel like Kman here, or they’ve had enough of trying to school and discipline their own kids. They want schools back. Most likely it’s going to be the teachers’ unions that refuse to go back so soon. This will give Legault some popular leverage against the unions.

        • Raymond Lutz 10:05 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

        • Raymond Lutz 10:06 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          Kate, sadly I think you’re spot on…This is disgusting.

        • John B 10:14 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          Funny, we’re still early enough in the pandemic that there’s a giant tent to house a COVID-19 ward going up outside of the Verdun hospital, yet it’s almost time to go back to school?

          How about we let kids into playgrounds for a week and see how that goes, then think about school.

        • Kevin 10:16 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          The same government that’s agreed to pay brain surgeons and dermatologists $12,000 a week to feed the elderly needs leverage against unions?

          I think we’re still in the situation where WAY too many government employees don’t have clear directions and they have way too much free time, so they’re just throwing up endless trial balloons.

        • John B 10:17 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          I should have added: This does look like a nothingburger. May 4 is the last date that anyone mentioned, so the people who work in schools wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they weren’t preparing for a return May 4. They were probably preparing for a March 30 and April 13 return as well.

        • Kate 10:21 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          Does anyone really think there’s any point in resuming this school year?

          Anyway, here’s Angela Merkel talking about infection margins. There are subtitles:


        • Tim S. 11:20 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          I’m not sure how many people are ready for schools to come back or for the economy to re-open. According to this poll, at least 75% of Canadians favour waiting for conditions that seem remote at the moment (although admittedly the way the questions are posed seem a little slanted).
          That said, I can see where Kman is coming from. I know the staff at my son’s daycare are doing their best to be available for children of essential service workers, and I think any child sent there would be perfectly fine, but there does seem to be a lot of improvisation that must be unsettling.

        • Kman 11:45 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          If they continue to add to the list of essential services, construction and businesses that can respect the 2m distance between employees etc, then more an more people will require daycare services for their children. The only option would be therefore to open more and more service de garde d’urgence. At these places there is no education for the kids. Would we not be better placed to reopen the schools and make it optional for parents. Obviously immunocompromised kids and teachers would not have to be there. If we’re saying to keep the schools closed until September, then where does that leave summer day camps etc where the majority of the monitors are adolescents on summer jobs?

        • Kman 11:56 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          I would just like to add that I understand the apprehension shown by parents to the reopening of schools. Those stuck inside since this began will only have a heightened sense of fear to the outside world. Unfortunately a miracle is not on the way before September, so our children will still be at the same risk then as they are now. It may be 18 months before vaccine is available and we may like it or not, but life will have to continue.

        • Kevin 12:17 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          I think people have missed something incredibly important about “flattening the curve”. It means instead of dealing with an overwhelming spike in disease/death/treatment in a few weeks, we deal with a health care system running at 90% of ICU capacity — and far fewer deaths — for many, many months. I will not be surprised if this crisis lasts until 2021 or 22.

          I’m thinking that if schools reopen this year (not scholastic year — in 2020!) it’s simply going to be as buildings to house children of people who work outside the home — not something with a serious educational component.

          At the moment, summer day camps are not expecting to open. They hope and pray, but it’s unlikely.

          18 months before widespread distribution of a vaccine is a best estimate! It’s not a guaranteed date at all.

        • JaneyB 13:36 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          I like @JohnB’s idea of starting with opening the playgrounds as a first step. Legault will not be doing anything that is not supported by Arruda’s data. If supportive data is not there, school openings won’t be happening for 4 May.

          It’s important to remember that the ‘gradual re-opening’ will be happening despite continued covid cases. This is what the ‘flattening the curve’ is about. We will not be shut until there are zero cases. Resistance to the mere thought of re-opening is partly why it must begin; prudent habits have drifted into settled anxiety. In the next 18 months, some working-age people and a small number of kids will get covid but we will have the hospital capacity to treat them. Of course, this is discomfiting. That’s the best we can do and that was always the goal. For the record, the parents I know can hardly wait until schools reopen in some fashion. No one thinks the rest of this term or even the Fall term will be business-as-usual. Classes will be smaller and some students will be kept home.

        • dwgs 17:32 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          For high school kids a return doesn’t make much sense. The exam period usually begins the last few days of May or the beginning of June. They’ve already announced that ministerial exams are cancelled so what would happen? The kids would go for 3 weeks only? They would go for 3 weeks and then write a modified exam? They would go through until St. Jean? Any kid who is immunocompromized or lives with anyone who is would be unable to attend, ditto for any such teachers or other staff or anyone who lives with an elderly family member. It just doesn’t make any sense.

        • Raymond Lutz 22:53 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          Aanndd remember folks,,, all this is simply a rehearsal! Climate change is pushing out more species out of their natural habitat, resulting in more NOVEL zoonosis…

          Wait! There’s more: melting permafrost! Remember the craptapulous movie “The Thing”? Seriously, There are diseases hidden in ice, and they are waking up. -fetching the popcorn- (and some are worried about the _housing market_? Spitting popcorn LOLing)

      • Kate 08:58 on 2020-04-16 Permalink | Reply  

        Garden centres are going to make bank this spring, since it seems a lot of people want to grow their own food.

        • JaneyB 13:40 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          Dollar stores often carry seeds. Or rather, they did. Completely out of stock at this time in my neighbourhood. I’m really happy about the sudden mass awareness of fragile supply chains. One good thing!

        • Kate 16:18 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          What I need is some potting soil, but I discovered today that Reno-Depot charges $65 to deliver two sacks totalling $17. I won’t be planting for another couple of weeks, which should give me time to figure out a better source.

          Normally I just grow a few herbs and some kale, but I’m thinking this year if I can get these fabric pots filled up and organized, I should be able to have more fresh greens without going to the store.

        • Kevin 16:41 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          I’ll bring you a couple 20L bags of potting soil, if you want. I probably have some leftover in my shed, but if not, I’ll buy ’em and bring them over as thanks for hosting the blog.

        • dwgs 17:35 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          I’m about to order some necessary supplies from Rona for a household job that needs to be done, I could throw a couple of bags of potting soil on the order if needed, between Kevin and/or I we can sort you out.

        • Kate 18:42 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          You guys! I would be so happy if either of you can do this. Drop me an email to mtlweblog@gmail.com and I can give you my address.

        • Kevin 21:20 on 2020-04-16 Permalink


        • Alison Cummins 23:34 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

          Oooh, there’s an idea. Kate, do you have an amazon wishlist?

        • Kate 20:35 on 2020-04-17 Permalink

          Alison, there’s hardly anything I want that comes from Amazon.

      • Kate 08:57 on 2020-04-16 Permalink | Reply  

        A teenager was shot in an underground parking lot in St-Laurent on Wednesday afternoon. He’s expected to recover, and there’s very little detail beyond this. Same CP story in French.

        • Kate 08:43 on 2020-04-16 Permalink | Reply  

          Montreal has a $251-million surplus from last year’s budget, but as this Radio-Canada piece puts it, they can’t expect anything similar from 2020.

          • Jonathan 09:02 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

            I’m wondering why they think this wouldn’t be the case in 2020. Municipal revenu isn’t tied to the economy save for the housing market. The value of housing on which the city’s revenu is based doesn’t change for the next 3 years.

            Is the city spending a lot more than normal? Are certain costs reduced?

            It would be interesting if the media or the city reported some sort of analysis of what has changed in terms of revenue/costs for the city… rather than just saying it would be ‘bien différente’

          • Kate 10:13 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

            I don’t have all the figures, but the real estate market is down, and the city is extending low-interest loans to small businesses. The article says they normally rake it in on welcome taxes, but there won’t be so much of that this year. Likewise, while STM ridership is way down, the city still needs to keep transit running. Even if it’s trimmed bus and metro service back to more or less Sunday level, it’s still got to run, even if most of us didn’t buy an April pass and won’t need to buy a May pass either.

          • Kevin 10:19 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

            Police-based revenue will be down, since hardly anyone is driving (and committing infractions).
            On the other hand, police shouldn’t need to work overtime to manually switch traffic lights at construction zones.

          • DavidH 13:42 on 2020-04-16 Permalink

            @Kevin, that overtime brings IN money. The city bills the MTQ and private contractors an insane amount of money (twice the personnel cost+management fees) for the service. It’s another hole in the budget.

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