Updates from May, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 22:08 on 2020-05-31 Permalink | Reply  

    A scientist writing in Maclean’s sees Canada’s weak federalism as one reason our pandemic numbers are so much worse than those in comparable countries.

    • david1010 23:32 on 2020-05-31 Permalink

      Germany is a weak federal system in the same way. China is as strong as they get (and everyone knows they’re lying about their numbers). Italy and Spain are looser semi-federal states, in France, South Korea, Japan, and the UK the capitals run the show, totally unitary. In Argentina, Australia, Brazil, and the good old US of A, we have something in the middle.

      SO . . . this article is political and not really providing much indo.

    • Raymond Lutz 08:49 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      Each country popular adherence to COVID policies and the policies themselves (their degree of harshness and their timeline) depend on collective social values… NOT on the way stratified power is distributed among municipal, provincial and national levels.

      This will be a treasure trove of data for social and political studies. Outliers to observe: Vietnam! Venezuela! USA! New-Zealand! Brazil, Sweden, Germany, whole Africa.

    • JaneyB 13:19 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      It’s not really ‘weak federalism’, it’s decentralized and it has its virtues for our culture. Only Switzerland is more decentralized (‘confederal’). I’d like to see their numbers.

      The main reason our numbers are not great is because we have a cultural tradition of coasting on our prosperity, our remoteness from the world’s conflicts, and our cities are buffered by huge distances so we can’t even get internal momentum and unrest. We basically don’t have to organize much ever. Most other countries have to deal with constant threats and they get good at all kinds of defence. We have been a lucky country for a long, long time. It’s not just JT’s government; it goes all the way back and all the way down. I’m not sure Canada, (mostly Ont, QC & Ottawa), will ever be able to plan pre-emptively. This is a cultural disposition much more than a structural problem.

    • Kate 13:45 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      That’s a very good point, JaneyB.

  • Kate 19:45 on 2020-05-31 Permalink | Reply  

    Here are some reports on the Montreal demo in support of protesters in the US. Radio-Canada says thousands turned out and TVA had an en direct with reports, tweets and photos. Twitter photos from CBC’s Simon Nakonechny, video from CTV’s Billy Shields. La Presse reminds us of the police deaths of people of colour here: Fredy Villanueva, Nicholas Gibbs, Pierre Coriolan, Alain Magloire.

    • david112 08:59 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      There was a big protest against the American cops in Berlin too.

      Like, do these people just want to be part of the American party? I think again of my cousin who follows US politics ultra closely and yet knows next to nothing about politics in his town, in Quebec, or in Canada.


      That joke that Reagan used to tell: An American and a Russian are chatting about political freedoms. The American says that the United States is so free he can stand in front of the White House and yell, ”To hell with Ronald Reagan.” Unimpressed, the Russian replies: ”That’s nothing, we are just as free. I can stand in front of the Kremlin and yell, ‘To hell with Ronald Reagan,’ too.”

    • david112 09:18 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      And I see that they had a big demonstration in Vancouver too, with signs directed to Trump and all the rest.
      Just want to again underline the fundamental strangeness of a bunch of Canadians protesting stuff happening in a foreign country.

      Their actions are totally irrelevant to effecting any sort of change in the USA, where virtually nobody will ever know that they were protesting up in Canada or over in Berlin.

      Even if Americans knew about these protests, the American responses would be confusion, annoyance at the presumptuousness, or a polite “thanks, but we’ve got this.”

      And it’s not just following the freakshow like it’s Game of Thrones, which would be the obvious assumption if a person were forced to explain it to an American.

      No, it’s something much stranger. The marxists talk about false consciousness, and psychologists talk about fantasy prone personalities – for some reason, there’s this collective delusion that grips a small but significant segment of the population, causing them to believe, in some important way, that they belong to the American family.

      This bizarre delusion causes them to neglect their basic responsibilities in the polity of which they actually form part.

    • walkerp 09:26 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      David, there is police brutality against people of colour (and other marginalized groups) here in Canada. Plenty.

    • Tee Owe 09:26 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      David112 – These protests are not so much against American cops as against racism, which people experience in all of these countries.

    • Douglas 09:49 on 2020-06-01 Permalink


      The protestors in Canada protest because they need to feel like they are a part of something important and they don’t know how to do that in their own personal / professional lives.

      Like the American Psycho once said, “I need to fit in”.

    • Kate 10:29 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      David∞, Douglas, walkerp is right. It isn’t wanting to play along, it’s that this is a moment when people want to emphasize that racial profiling by police, and the attendant disproportionate numbers of arrests and police killings of people of colour, are not acceptable.

      Think about it. The conversation a black parent has to have with their children about interactions with police is completely different from the one you would have with your white kids as a white parent. It’s an entirely different experience, and you have to make an exercise of your imagination to grasp that.

    • Meezly 10:46 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      Douglas – “The protestors in Canada protest because they need to feel like they are a part of something important and they don’t know how to do that in their own personal / professional lives.”

      davdi112 – “Just want to again underline the fundamental strangeness of a bunch of Canadians protesting stuff happening in a foreign country. ”

      It’s not strange at all. It’s called solidarity.

    • Kevin 11:20 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      While it’s crucial, in this era of fading MSM, to pay attention to news in our own neighbourhoods…
      everyone knows we’re all globalists now.

      Canada is a nation of immigrants and anyone who doesn’t have friends and family in other countries is an outlier. Geez, there are even U.S. presidential candidates who grew up in Canada!

      But riddle me this: how is it that the two guys who have been the loudest advocates for reopening businesses are the only guys who fail to understand how intimately and intrinsically Canada is linked to the United States?

    • david112 12:06 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      I mean, there are straight up no black people in Vancouver, yet the protesters were shouting “black lives matter” and doing the black power salute (which is a truly strange thing to see a huge group of white people doing). You’re telling me that’s because of an “intimate link” to the US or a vague call to end racism? No way. I could buy that it’s a solidarity protest, if I didn’t already know exactly what’s going on.

      Kevin touches on it – a lot of Canadians simply feel like they’re part of the American family, which they know “intimately” by consuming an enormous amount of American media/entertainment/culture. Since Canada’s culture is very weak, many Canadians have adopted the American one as a co-culture, and that co-culture has in many ways supplanted many of the functions that culture plays in normal places, for instance, in Quebec.

      A Quebecois talks about Americans as “they” and many Canadians are a whisper away from talking about the Americans as “we.”

      However, as most Canadians are rudely reminded whenever they actually visit the US, Americans do not think of Canada very often, do not feel any sort of kinship to it, they 100% think about Canadians in a way that would be considered offensive “othering” by these people protesting, and this “globalist” ethos is definitely not an American attitude, at all, so that this feeling that many Canadians have that they’re American by dint of a global identity is, ironically, a super un-American sense of belonging/citizenship.

      Which brings me back to the fundamental strangeness of these deeply-held feelings – so deeply-held that you have my cousin talking about Arizona senate race elections, you have large groups of white people shouting slogans that only make sense in the context of the US history of segregation and the rest, and you have back-filling (at most semi-plausible) justifications for these when we all know what the story is.

    • david112 12:08 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      And that story, friends, is very strange.

    • Tee Owe 12:14 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      David – I’m getting drawn into this against my better judgment – it’s about racism – check out New Zealand, and in Germany racism bubbles under the surface all the time. This murder in Minneapolis is a catalyst, solidarity is part of it but it’s got more to do with what people have been repressing for too long.
      Thanks for the Reagan joke BTW – I have some others, another time

    • qatzelok 12:17 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      @David112: “Just want to again underline the fundamental strangeness of a bunch of Canadians protesting stuff happening in a foreign country. ”

      Everyone is reacting to things that happened on their own television or electronic device in their own home. Everyone is reacting to an event that mainstream media has decided to spotlight. This makes it fairly easy for (USA) media to decide how we (viewers) feel and how we act.

    • Kate 12:20 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      David∞, our lives in Canada are always affected by American politics, yet we can’t vote there and have little or no impact on social change there. It’s not unusual that some people’s interest in it is disproportionate. I find it odd sometimes myself: I told a brief anecdote not long ago about observing someone more interested in the minutiae of U.S. politics than the immediate effects of local politics on his life, and it isn’t uncommon.

      But what’s happening in Vancouver is not germane to this blog. We’ve seen police here, in Montreal, overreacting to situations involving people of colour, arresting them and sometimes killing them well out of proportion to their numbers. People of colour are a red flag, a red rag, to police, and despite repeated promises over the years, nobody seems to be able to get a handle on this.

      That’s why march.

    • david000 16:37 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      Qatzelok – I agree. It was Adorno who said that “to dance the jitterbug is to express a desire to obey” – essentially, that participation in these mass rituals is a sort of call-and-response activity. The cultural vacuum into which – for many Canadians – American culture swept has basically put Canadians on the same call-and-response cycle as Americans. That’s depressing enough, but the really important thing is that America, a foreign country, has a very different history to Canada’s! Like, it doesn’t even make sense for thousands of white Vancouverites to shout Black Power! They think they’re acting politically, they’re in reality shouting into a void.

      I think part of it too is that there’s not too much to complain about in Canada, and some people just want to be in on the action that they read and watch videos about. It’s boring to pick fights and get outraged that people use the masculine articles in French, or spend all your time scanning people’s behavior for racist undertones, when you can jump into the whole American racial thing.

      I’ll really be laughing if they start rioting here too.

      But in order to feel like you *can* jump into the American thing, which many Canadians do, for a variety of strange reasons, which I’ve speculated about above.

    • Meezly 18:00 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      I do hear what you’re saying, david. I mean why doesn’t Korchinski-Paquet’s name get shouted by Canadian protesters as much as George Floyd? Or other Canadian victims of police violence or racist attacks? I agree the media does present a lot of US-content. Probably because the incidents of racial violence is way higher and more extreme. Personally, I too would like to see more Canadian content in these protests.

      However, as a POC seeing anti-racist protests sweep my country (well, at least the few major cities), I admit it gives me some hope and encouragement. Yes, some protesters are misguided in their American-centred approach, but I see their hearts are in the right place. It is undeniable that Trump has emboldened people around the world who harbour racist views, so I really don’t find it strange for Canadian protesters to direct their ire against Trump.

      This is why it rankles me when someone (who may not have experienced racism perhaps) are belittling these protesters and calling them losers. I would call an apathetic couch critic a loser, but not someone who took time to go out on the street to express their solidarity, however their message is directed.

    • Mark Côté 18:34 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      “I think part of it too is that there’s not too much to complain about in Canada”

      Putting aside the colour of the people shown in protest photos here for the moment and focusing on this statement, how many serious discussions about racism in Canada have you had with people of colour?

    • Meezly 18:46 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      Also I find the comment “there are straight up no black people in Vancouver” strange. So only black people should be protesting at these anti-racism events? BLM happens to have a chapter in Vancouver, so there seems to be enough black issues in BC to warrant one and the Vancouver chapter also helps out with other marginalized folk in the spirit of y’know, inclusivenes. Because isn’t inclusiveness a big part in the fight against racism? Isn’t it important that those who happen to be part of the dominant race out on the streets? Not that white people are needed to bring legitimacy but if I were one of the few black people in Vancouver, I would be heartened by that. And actually, looking at some of the photos of the anti-racist rally in Vancouver, I saw a lot of white, black, brown and yellow faces. Predominantly white, yes, but many different faces.

      If all anyone can do is rain on their parade, then I’m sorry, they are not the losers.

    • Alison Cummins 19:18 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      « There are straight up no black people in Vancouver. »

      Oh no! Are you telling me the only black person in Vancouver was my stepsister and that she has died within the last few days? Yikes. I’ll have to investigate. Thanks for letting me know.

    • Blork 21:31 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      “there are straight up no black people in Vancouver” is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen in the comments of this blog. I mean there’s not a ton, and in fact it’s only 1% of the population according to the 2016 Canada census, but that still means more than 6000 in Vancouver proper, not including the suburbs and other surrounding communities.

      (BTW, about half the population represents one visible minority or other.)

    • Blork 21:34 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      BTW, almost 30,000 blacks in the Greater Vancouver area. (Same source.)

    • walkerp 22:34 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

      Yes, that comment is definitely in the top ranking of stupid things said in the comments here. It is ignorant and revealing on so many levels.

      I would also add that Vancouver has a significant First Nations population and a large population of homeless and addicted, who suffer disproportionately from police abuse.

  • Kate 16:05 on 2020-05-31 Permalink | Reply  

    La Presse asked people about their favourite hidden corners around town and the result is a good piece about exploring Montreal on foot, with photos.

    • Kate 16:00 on 2020-05-31 Permalink | Reply  

      CTV talked to several black Montrealers about the protests happening in the U.S. in reaction to the police killing of George Floyd.

      A demonstration against police killings is planned here Sunday at 5 pm at police headquarters, 1441 St‑Urbain.

      • Kate 12:34 on 2020-05-31 Permalink | Reply  

        I’m seeing a lot of attention on this piece by André Noël on Dr Joanne Liu: “Quebec has entrusted its response to the inevitable second wave of COVID‑19 to a publicist, while the Wayne Gretzky of public health rides the bench.”

        • Kevin 19:50 on 2020-05-31 Permalink

          The idea of Stephane Gobeil being an advisor on this matter explains a lot. Take a stroll through his Twitter feed @gobeillades or just recall that he was one of Pauline Marois’s chief counselors in her final election, where she was unaware until election night that she had tanked in the polls several weeks earlier.

      • Kate 12:12 on 2020-05-31 Permalink | Reply  

        So my ipad bricked itself this week. I haven’t mistreated it, but it started behaving oddly, then wouldn’t let me do a factory reset, so it’s currently in limbo. The ipad was bought two years ago and has never been dropped or otherwise mistreated. I’m careful with my stuff.

        The blog does not depend only on the ipad, although it’s part of how I usually work.

        Normally I’d bring it to the Apple store for diagnosis, but obviously not now. The store is still closed.

        Just heard on CBC radio that students are likely to need a lot more tablets and laptops to study from home, not to mention all the WFH going on now. So there may be shortages, not to mention difficulties and delays in getting things delivered. As it stands, if I bought a replacement today, I wouldn’t get it for at least two weeks.

        So this is partly a request for advice, and a general request.

        The advice: do I invest in a new ipad or do I hang on, hoping the existing ipad is just in a coma and needs some Apple hocus pocus to come back to life?

        The request: do any of my readers have an ipad they hardly ever use, that they would let go for a reasonable price?

        • walkerp 16:31 on 2020-05-31 Permalink

          Do you have Apple Care? If not, I would suggest taking it to one of the local repair places and have them diagnose it. Could be something reparable and that could be less than $100. Knowing the repair possibility and price will help you answer the question. The guy at La Boutique iZone on Parc and Laurier has done good work for me in the past for a good price. He’s open via appointment if you call him.


        • Phil M 17:03 on 2020-05-31 Permalink

          If you have a backup online, or on your computer, you can try a hard reset by holding down the buttons on iPad for some length of time, depending on the model. Just google your iPad model and “hard reset.” (You can also try this if you don’t have a backup, but then you’d lose any unsaved data. Apps can be restored from the App Store.)

        • Sean 17:06 on 2020-05-31 Permalink

          If you do end up buying a new iPad, I highly recommend getting a refurbished one on Apple’s website.


          I’ve had great experience buying refurbs directly from Apple.

        • dwgs 18:19 on 2020-05-31 Permalink

          Sorry, can’t help with the Apple products thing but the screen on my faithful ten year old Lenovo ThinkPad died on Friday and since I have 2 kids schooling remotely I absolutely needed a replacement ASAP. Spent 3.5 hours yesterday driving around to find a new lappy. Laptops and tablets are indeed scarcer than hen’s teeth at the moment.

        • Dhomas 18:52 on 2020-05-31 Permalink

          If the iPad is only 2 years old, you can probably still get it repaired for free by Apple, even if the manufacturer’s warranty is expired after one year. Thanks to the “legal warranty” provided by Quebec’s Office de la protection du consommateur, anything you buy must last a “reasonable” amount of time (which is generally longer than the manufacturer’s warranty). What is reasonable is somewhat debatable, but 2 years is way too fast for an expensive iPad to fail.

          My brother got a straight exchange for his iPhone since it failed within 2 years. He got a refurbished unit, which was fine by him. However, it’s easy to say that an iPhone should reasonably last more than 2 years since it was subsidized by his carrier over a 2 year period.

          Google “legal warranty OPC” for more info.

        • Kate 20:12 on 2020-05-31 Permalink

          I don’t have Apple Care on this ipad, but was unaware of the law dhomas mentions, which may be helpful.

          I don’t have the ipad backed up, but that’s OK. I can get the apps again and re-copy books and audio from my mac.

          walkerp, thanks for the recommendation. I will consult them.

          Thanks also Sean for the refurb recommendation. I specifically want a regular full size ipad in Space Grey, which they don’t have at the moment in refurb, but if I find I need to get a new one I will look in refurb first.

          Thanks, everybody.

        • Dhomas 06:10 on 2020-06-01 Permalink

          Last thing about the legal warranty. It seems like others have also had similar issues with Apple and have met with varying degrees of success. Here’s an example on Reddit:
          I would try to get the Apple Store to fix it for free by mentioning the legal warranty without going through all the steps the Reddit poster did. Others seem to have set precedent so you may not need to do as much.

          Apple acknowledges the existence of the Quebec law, but doesn’t go so far as to detail how it applies to their products:

          Finally, there is a class action against Apple that you would qualify for as an iPad owner, though it’s not totally related to your issue:

      • Kate 10:23 on 2020-05-31 Permalink | Reply  

        Radio-Canada’s Émilie Dubreuil casts all kinds of shade on the city’s plans for non-gendered French.

        Meanwhile, on Maudits français, they ask why mosquitoes are called maringouins in Quebec. (The writer uses an expression I didn’t know: Que nenni.)

        • Kate 10:08 on 2020-05-31 Permalink | Reply  

          Reed Scowen, who was PLQ MNA for NDG in the 1980s and a name mentioned often in the language squabbles of those days, has died. He was 88.

          • Michael Black 11:23 on 2020-05-31 Permalink

            I thought he’d already been in the news. But after a bit of searching, I realized it was Peter Wheeland’s father that was in the news.

            Peter Wheeland and Peter Scowen both worked at the alt weeklies 25 years ago. I can never remember which worked where.

          • Peter Wheeland 14:12 on 2020-08-26 Permalink

            Neither can we.

        • Kate 19:45 on 2020-05-30 Permalink | Reply  

          The city has extended its state of emergency till June 4.

          • Kate 12:49 on 2020-05-30 Permalink | Reply  

            CBC’s Sarah Leavitt reports that a humpback whale is in the river, under the Jacques-Cartier bridge. This species doesn’t usually make it this far upriver.

            Here’s a report from Baleines en direct. Nobody knows why the whale made its way upstream away from the saltwater around Tadoussac where it would usually live.

            Fabulous shot by Jacques Nadeau.

            • Kate 11:12 on 2020-05-30 Permalink | Reply  

              La Presse has a terrific piece this weekend with five bylines, retelling how COVID-19 came to Montreal and how hospitals, politicians and bureaucrats responded or failed to respond, with some parts of the story only now being made clear. It reads like an intense screenplay outline.

              • Jack 11:40 on 2020-05-30 Permalink

                People I have no skin in this game but La Presse is worth paying for. The company is struggling and without them our society will be collectively poorer.

              • Kate 12:57 on 2020-05-30 Permalink

                Relevant piece in Ricochet: A free press is no luxury.

            • Kate 10:12 on 2020-05-30 Permalink | Reply  

              Some local businesses have seen the online side of their sales boom during lockdown, only to run into the bottleneck of parcel delivery and the hassle of lost or stolen shipments. Canada Post is not keeping up, but it’s also being asked to handle more items, and bigger and more cumbersome items, than ever.

              • dwgs 19:37 on 2020-05-30 Permalink

                Canada Post is a mess. It took 17 days for them to deliver a phone from TO to MTL.

              • Blork 21:14 on 2020-05-30 Permalink

                No kidding! I had a package marked as “shipped” from BC that was supposed to take two days to get here and I ended up waiting 14 days for it. Ditto a package from Sherbrooke that was supposed to arrive next day. It’s been five days now, and the tracking just says “delivery date pending.” :-/

              • Alison Cummins 23:16 on 2020-05-30 Permalink

                Somone I know in the biz has a theory that UPS just parks its containers for three days to let the virus die before opening them and sorting the contents.

                I think they’re just overwhelmed.

                In addition to the more/ more complicated packages problems, a lot of delivery is done by small subcontractors who can lay themselves off and collect CERB payments. So staffing has dropped.

            • Kate 10:00 on 2020-05-30 Permalink | Reply  

              With no conferences on, the Palais des congrès has become an enormous warehouse for medical material.

              • Kate 20:26 on 2020-05-29 Permalink | Reply  

                The Victoria Bridge cycle link to St-Lambert has been closed for the season as it’s been declared unsafe and must be rebuilt.

                • MarcG 10:45 on 2020-05-30 Permalink

                  I’ve biked from St-Lambert to Montreal and I’m having a hard time understanding what they’re referring to. There’s a bridge that goes over the 132 to get to the Victoria itself, and then there’s a small concrete bridge that goes over the water, then a bridge at the locks, and then you’re dumped onto the Seaway.

                • qatzelok 12:08 on 2020-05-30 Permalink

                  I think it means the movable bridge (raises, lowers) that carries cars and the bike path across the seaway from the Seaway bike path. The entire link there is very low-budget Soviet style, and cracking, so I think maybe a few other pieces of that link need to be upgraded or replaced.

                  In the meantime, one is forced to confront the architectural spam that is St. Lambert in order to make a proper loop across the river and back.

                  Tangent: I think the suburbs should erect giant screens along their bike paths and project images of the forests and wetlands that used to be there so cyclists don’t endanger their immunity systems by looking at bungalows and lawns for too long.

                • Blork 13:05 on 2020-05-30 Permalink

                  It sounds like they specifically mean the passerelle over the 132, which is pretty old and decrepit. I hope they replace it with something spectacular like the passerelle in Longueuil that was knocked down by a snow truck a few years back. That replacement took almost two years, but that’s mostly because they had to stop and redesign it half way through the job (original plan was deemed to be not up to code or whatever).

                  The resulting passerelle is basically the greatest passerelle of all time, or at least of all Quebec. Seriously, that passerelle is the best thing about Longueuil.

                  Here it is in Google: https://goo.gl/maps/5MzKQptMmKjTAcR27

                  Look at that in 3D mode if possible.

                  Here’s a photo of it from the river side:

                  Come on, Saint Lambert. Can you one-up Longueuil?

                • Blork 14:38 on 2020-05-30 Permalink

                  BTW, this is the St-Lambert passerelle:

              • Kate 20:19 on 2020-05-29 Permalink | Reply  

                The federal government has banned cruise ships carrying more then 100 people till at least October. It’s good sense, but it’s another blow to the tourism industry.

                • walkerp 09:52 on 2020-05-31 Permalink

                  Hooray. They should shut these ocean-destroying scows down forever.

                • Uatu 10:30 on 2020-05-31 Permalink

                  Seriously. I’m wondering if the industry will change because this pandemic has highlighted that cruise ships are just wandering petri dishes leaving trails of trash and pollution in their wake

              Compose new post
              Next post/Next comment
              Previous post/Previous comment
              Show/Hide comments
              Go to top
              Go to login
              Show/Hide help
              shift + esc