Updates from May, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 20:10 on 2020-05-08 Permalink | Reply  

    While some media announce a ‘massive’ screening strategy in Montreal, others eye the failure to test potential carriers that has helped make the city a hotspot. CBC heard from a nurse who says only her insistence on being tested stopped her from carrying an asymptomatic case of the virus into a facility previously untouched by infection.

    TVA notes that most of the COVID-19 cases in Terrebonne and Mascouche are under 60 years of age.

    Philip Authier at the Gazette summarizes the disarray of the Legault-Arruda side at this time.

    The STM will be handing out free masks to users.

    A judge refused to free a man being held on remand at Bordeaux Jail on charges of growing and distributing cannabis. Johnny Samuel Videz-Rauda has been there for a year and a half awaiting trial, and doesn’t want to catch COVID-19, as who would? Meantime, the government went into the pot business itself. Surely someone like this, not accused of any violent crime, could be safely let go – after being tested, of course?

    The superior court judge, Guy Cournoyer, says the pandemic is only one element in deciding whether an inmate can be let go. Daniel Renaud reveals here that Videz-Rauda does have “des antécédents de violence” so there’s that.

    • Alison Cummins 09:47 on 2020-05-10 Permalink

      RE Videz-Rauda, the judge says:
      « L’obligation qui incombe aux autorités correctionnelles est de faire preuve de diligence raisonnable par la mise en place de mesures raisonnables afin d’empêcher la transmission et la propagation du virus. L’échec des mesures mises en place n’établit pas nécessairement le caractère déraisonnable de celles-ci ».

      So the judge’s job is to decide whether someone stays in jail or is offered bail while awaiting trial, based strictly on the accused’s risk to society. The judge may not have an opinion on the risk to the accused while in custody.

      In particular, according to this judge, correctional services does not have a duty to keep the people in its custody safe. It has a duty to act reasonably, but no duty to act effectively.

      As long as administrators can demonstrate that they acted reasonably, everyone within a prison’s walls can die of a communicable disease and that’s nobody’s problem or responsibility.

      +++ +++ +++

      I’m troubled that the judge is speaking as if Videz-Rauda has already been found guilty, which he has not.

      I thought that denying bail — by definition, to someone who is not [yet] guilty — was justified by the seriousness of the charges, not the likelihood of the accused’s continuing to offend. If someone is charged with growing pot, you offer bail no matter how likely the accused is to continue growing pot, because growing pot is illegal but not that immediately dangerous. If someone is charged with murder, you deny bail because the risk to society is high enough that it balances out the possibility that the accused is not guilty.

      Somebody please correct me!

    • david1000 22:07 on 2020-05-10 Permalink

      I’m pretty sure this is the key issue:

      « Même en tenant pour acquis que le requérant se présentera à son procès, le profil de ce dernier, les récidives en semblables matières alors qu’il fait l’objet d’une enquête policière et l’irrespect des ordonnances judiciaires justifient de conclure que sa détention s’avère nécessaire pour assurer la sécurité du public », conclut le juge Cournoyer.

      Ie. he’s a stone cold criminal. And that’s not touching on whether he’s in this country legally, has been ordered deported already, is a gang member, has had other charges dropped for lack of evidence, or has misbehaved in prison. That’s JUST on what the judge has reviewed of his criminal history and likelihood to show up at trial.

    • david1000 22:08 on 2020-05-10 Permalink

      Sorry, meant to say NOT on likelihood to show . . . rather, public safety of releasing him.

    • Alison Cummins 01:46 on 2020-05-11 Permalink


      Yes, the judge is assuming that the subject is guilty of the charges against him. That’s my concern. There has been no trial *in a year and a half.*

      A year and a half is an awfully long time to hold someone who hasn’t been convicted.

    • david1100 02:02 on 2020-05-11 Permalink

      Right, but the judge is saying that he’s a hardcore criminal and that in his opinion, it’s not in the public’s interest to release him. This is exactly the sort of decision judges are there to make. Trust me, this sort of move is rare. Meaning that there’s obviously some background here.

  • Kate 15:16 on 2020-05-08 Permalink | Reply  

    Masks are now recommended although not required on public transit.

    • Kate 14:09 on 2020-05-08 Permalink | Reply  

      A lot of folks are talking about the 20th anniversary of Dédé Fortin’s suicide. He had lived upstairs of a pasta deli (which I think still exists) in the Plateau, where I shopped occasionally, and I recall when the front door to his flat became a shrine of flowers and mementoes for days.

      • JoeNotCharles 13:03 on 2020-05-09 Permalink

        Yep, it still exists.

    • Kate 11:01 on 2020-05-08 Permalink | Reply  

      The STM saw a ridership increase of 2.9% for 2019, but experts say it will take three to five years to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

      I find it puzzling that the metro was racking up much better numbers than the buses. Our buses are not so bad, and – put simply – the bus network goes to a lot of places the metro doesn’t. It’s not as if you can choose only the metro if you happen to be going somewhere beyond the reach of a reasonable walk from a metro station.

      One side effect of a general repugnance to public transit is that bike repair shops are going nuts as more people pull out their old junkers from sheds or basements and need help making them roadworthy.

      A footnote to local transit: Normand Parisien, who headed Transport 2000 (now Trajectoire Québec) for many years, championing the development of effective public transit in Montreal, died recently.

      • Thomas H 11:21 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

        The frequency and reliability of the bus system has measurably deteriorated in Montreal for the past 5-7 years. Over the same time period, non-driving non-transit alternatives have grown expoentially (Communauto, car2go, Bixi, Uber, to name a few). This time frame also coincided with a high degree of economic prosperity in Montreal, where the rate of car registrations well outpaced population growth. Contrastingly, the metro has in fact increased capacity over the past few years by increasing frequencies from 6 AM to 10 PM and through the added capacity of the AZUR trains. We are now running very near the capacity of the metro system on the orange and green lines without adding new tracks or new trains.

        The one or two dozen bus lines that are wildly popular (e.g., 105 Sherbrooke, 121 Côte-Vertu/Sauvé) already run at or near capacity and have for some time. That is to say, running them at higher frequencies would actually slow the service and make it less reliable due to the phenomenon of bus bunching.

        There are few cities on this continent that have managed to increase bus ridership over this the past decade. The ones that have (Vancouver, Seattle, perhaps Houston) are characterized by two common factors: a very high population growth rate and a recent complete overhaul of the bus system (usually decreasing the number of routes but increasing frequencies and reliability). Unlike these “newer” cities, however, I wonder if an overhaul here could produce similar results, considering we still have comparatively high bus ridership in general, and that many older folks and long-term residents have their bus route habits ingrained in their DNA.

      • Blork 11:21 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

        Metro vs. bus is complicated. It’s true that buses go to more places, and generally they’re not bad. So for regular commuting on a schedule, it can work. But for irregular “getting around” they don’t work well at all, for various reasons, including:

        Unknown routes and schedules. Irregular users likely don’t use the Transit or similar apps, so they don’t really know when the buses are coming or what exactly their routes are. (Compare to the Metro, which is pretty simple and never changes.)

        Waiting times. The longest you’ll ever have to wait for a Metro is 10 minutes, and that’s worst-case scenario but at least you’re indoors (assuming the system is up and running). But with buses you are stuck outdoors, and if you miss your bus you might have to wait 20, 30, 40, or more minutes for another one.

        Crowding. When the Metro is crowded it can be very unpleasant, but at least you have the option of getting off and waiting for the next one if it’s really getting you down (usually just 3 minutes or so); and you’re waiting indoors. But you might wait 10-12 minutes outdoors in the rain for a bus, and when it arrives it’s too full to board (or too full for you to want to board) and the next one might not be for 15 minutes.

        Unpredictable. During commuting times you’d think main routes like the 80 and the 24 would have buses coming every few minutes, and the schedules might even make you believe it. But then you go to a bus stop and you wait and you wait and you wait. In the meantime you see three of your buses pass going the other direction. Finally after 20 minutes your bus arrives; two, three, even four of them bumper to bumper. This isn’t fiction; this is exactly what happens every second time I take the 24.

        Comfort and speed. Generally speaking, the Metro moves swiftly and you get the feeling of getting to your destination quickly. And it’s reasonably comfortable, and not particularly jerky. Buses can be really slow; stuck in traffic, poking around small side streets, taking long and convoluted routes, and if you are standing it can be extremely jerky (those Nova buses are really bad with stops and starts; jerkiest buses I’ve ever been on).

      • Blork 11:48 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

        Here are some comparative measurements that might be relevant, although it’s entirely anecdotal. Preamble: sometimes I meet people at Benelux at Sherbrooke and Jeanne-Mance for after-work drinks. That’s 1.9 km from where I work at Ste-Catherine and MacKay. During fine weather I just walk it. But in foul weather I have a choice of taking the Metro or walking up to Sherbrooke and hopping on the 24.

        METRO: at first glance the Guy-Concordia Metro is right across the street and over one block. But when you calculate all the turns and ups and downs, it’s about 300 metres from my building’s front door to the actual platform. At the other end it’s almost 500 metres from the platform of PdA to the door of Benelux. 800 metres of walking, so the Metro only takes me about half way. But it is fast.

        BUS: Front door of my building to the 24 stop on Sherbrooke is about 400 metres. But it drops me 50 metres from the door of Benelux. So the bus saves me 350 metres of walking. But EVERY SINGLE TIME I choose the 24 I regret it. I’ll be standing at the bus stop for what feels like hours, freezing or getting soaked, and EVERY TIME I realize “I’d be there now if I had taken the Metro” and I’m still waiting for the 24 to arrive.

        (All measurements via Google Maps.)

      • DeWolf 12:14 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

        Blork hit the nail on the head. The buses have become unreliable and even the scheduled frequencies are lower than they were 10+ years ago. The 80 used to come every six minutes or less during the day. Now it’s 10 minutes.

      • Spi 16:29 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

        Buses also don’t make much sense in the super-urban core of the city where commercial strips have developed themselves to be near the metro.

        I’ll often walk from Park to Laurier or Mont-Royal on the Orange line, it’s a 12-15 walk. Given the frequency (even on busy routes like laurier) and how many stops it’s likely to make + me having to look up the bus schedule and time my movements all of it to save 5-7 minutes? It’s simply not as hassle-free as the short walk. I find most people don’t bother with the bus unless it’s a minimum 1km or they are carrying things with them.

      • david99 18:04 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

        Buses are unreliable, and that’s a killer when it’s super cold outside. Only time I take the bus in winter is when I can pick it up somewhere I’m waiting inside – metro station, whatever. It’s just too cold to stand out there in misery hoping that it shows up.

      • Blork 18:13 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

        The thing about buses is that they look good on paper; transit “planners” see that they require very little dedicated infrastructure (cheap!) and they can go almost anywhere instead of being tied to set routes (flexible!). So from perspective of the white-shirted people who drive to their STM jobs in their Audis and set about determining what a great transit system we’ll have, they look fantastic. But those people rarely if ever actually use the goddamn bus, so they don’t “eat their own dog food” so to speak. Yet another example of where the user experience gets lost among the spreadsheets and catered lunches.

      • Benoit 18:27 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

        I agree with Blork. Case in point: the bureaucrats are very good at adding kilometers of reserved bus lanes, but only where they are easy to add and where they wouldn’t be controversial! For example, they added bus lanes on Viau, between Rosemont and Pierre-de-Coubertin, where these is no traffic at all. But hey, it was easy to add the bus lanes, there were 3 lanes in each direction!

        Where it would take courage to add lanes, they don’t. Sherbrooke is a good example, that’s exactly where adding bus lanes would be useful.

      • Dhomas 08:02 on 2020-05-09 Permalink

        @Benoit They DID take the unpopular-with-drivers decision to add a dedicated bus lane on Papineau last year. Maybe we’ll see some courage to do something similar on Sherbrooke someday.

      • CE 12:31 on 2020-05-09 Permalink

        From what I’ve heard, that Papineau lane has made a big different for that route. I have a friend who lives near Papineau and said that the bus lane halted the time of his commute.

      • mare 14:22 on 2020-05-09 Permalink

        The Papineau bus lane addition is all done with paint, and unfortunately the paint that indicates the (new) turning lanes and the merging indicators is almost all scraped off by the snow clearing in the winter. I’ve seen some nearly head-on collisions near St-Zotique were the second driving lane is removed and cars have to merge to one lane. I hope they repaint those soon, only drivers that drive that stretch regularly know how the—quote chaotic—lane situation is along that stretch between Jean-Talon and Bellechasse. Now there are more cars on the road again, a major collision is about to happen.
        (Incidentally this is highway 19.)

    • Kate 10:50 on 2020-05-08 Permalink | Reply  

      Longtime shoe store chain Aldo has filed for creditor protection. The CEO says here the company “has had to modify its activities over the past few years” and that’s probably going to turn out to be true for a lot of retail chains: the pandemic will be the tipping point.

      • Kate 10:22 on 2020-05-08 Permalink | Reply  

        The EMSB has a history of talking big to Quebec, but giving in when push comes to shove. It was going to defy Bill 21, but didn’t; it was going to reopen schools if and when it saw fit during the pandemic, but now it’s going to comply with the government’s order to reopen schools on a certain date, even if it’s ridiculously close to the end of term by the time it’s ordered.

        • Mark Côté 11:17 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

          In this case, the EMSB Is being run by a trustee appointed by the government, so it would be pretty shocking if they were to go their own way (in fact, I was surprised and confused when it sounded like Jennings was saying they weren’t going to listen to the government. Her clarification is sadly much more in line with what I expected).

          Also there is still a lawsuit against bill 21 pending (one of three other lawsuits from the EMSB against the government that are in progress).

        • david99 18:14 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

          EMSB is completely powerless viz. Quebec, like it’s not even an unbalanced relationship: no, they have absolutely no power, Quebec has mastery of their destiny in the way that I control the destiny of my phone. Legault has no need of the votes or the money that the EMSB constituents bring and, in fact, getting rid of them would be politically popular outside of Montreal. The only real issue is that it might cost the province more money to replace them.

          So, EMSB picking fights with Quebec is fundamentally against the interest of Anglophones. Moronic virtue-signalling, political posturing with an eye to higher office, truly held convictions? Doesn’t matter, it’s damaging to the Anglophone community.

      • Kate 10:20 on 2020-05-08 Permalink | Reply  

        The city had been planning to tax owners of commercial buildings with empty storefronts, but had decided that it’s not the right move during a pandemic.

        • Ian 15:30 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

          What a bunch of cowards. They can “suggest” or “recconend” whatever they want. This inaction has gone on for years. PM didn’t just get elected yesterday

        • david99 18:21 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

          I disagree – this is the perfect time to quietly implement some radical changes, while the public is paying attention to everything but permitting and use regulations, but the changes we’d want to see would be bans on chain shops, and radical loosening of all sorts of rules about terrasses, tables outside, take-away (including drinks), nuking open container laws, privatizing various inspections, etc. We should even consider use segregation, and restrictive permitting altogether. Liquor licenses should be easy and fast to obtain, noise bylaws should be modified, streets should be closed.

          Basically, we should make re-opening our local businesses – and starting new ones – as easy as possible, and making it as easy and cheap as possible for them to be successful.

          But hammering the empty storefronts right not won’t do much except suck a bunch of money off the landlords, the market being what it is (or is anticipated to be).

        • Alison Cummins 06:31 on 2020-05-09 Permalink

          Fire is the risk here. Buildings that are expensive to own and that don’t bring in enough revenue to cover costs are particularly susceptible to fire.

          This isn’t a risk to take lightly when so many storefronts have residential units above.

      • Kate 10:13 on 2020-05-08 Permalink | Reply  

        One of my West Island correspondents says he’s just seen snow outside the window. I’m not getting any yet here in Villeray. Anyone else?

        Update, 10:40 a.m.: Snowing here now.

        • Dominic 10:14 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

          Downtown here. Definitely was snowing hard for about 10-15 minutes between 9-10am.

          Happy mid-May!

        • jeather 10:15 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

          Snow for about the same amount of time here in St Henri.

        • Michael Black 10:28 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

          There’s a West Island bureau now?

        • Kate 10:32 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

          I don’t think he’d like to be called a bureau, Michael Black.

        • CE 10:45 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

          It snowed here in Parc-Ex for about 20 minutes at around 9:00am and is snowing again now.

        • Meezly 10:58 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

          Still seeing light, gentle flakes floating down in the Plateau.

        • Kevin 11:03 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

          It’s my fault. My new motorcycle pants were delivered yesterday…

        • EmilyG 11:14 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

          11:14 AM, snowing in my Rosemont backyard alley.

        • Blork 11:24 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

          Lightly snowing in Longueuil right now (11:20 AM).

        • John B 11:48 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

          It’s been snowing in Verdun since 9.

      • Kate 10:12 on 2020-05-08 Permalink | Reply  

        This brief TVA piece completely fails to explain why the SPVM can’t proceed with its anti-discrimination program because of the pandemic.

        Also today, Isabelle Hachey tells how our police are still ticketing the homeless, specifically in this case a young schizophrenic man who’s been “escaping” from the Douglas and going walkabout. As she asks, “Qui peut vraiment se vanter de connaître en détail le décret sur l’état d’urgence sanitaire adopté par Québec?”

        • Ephraim 16:47 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

          There will always be a reason why they can’t stop their discrimination… but there will never be an acceptable reason why they can’t just stop NOW. Until this discrimination is unthinkable, it’s unacceptable and management should be held accountable. The only time to start is IMMEDIATELY, no matter what else is happening.

        • Michael Black 17:22 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

          APTN has a story about a Cree women I guess suicidal and David Chapman of Resilience Montreal talked to her for hours and she finally agreed to go to a hospital. But a bunch of police cars arrived, complete with dogs.

      • Kate 09:56 on 2020-05-08 Permalink | Reply  

        The Mount Royal tunnel will close Monday for three years of construction on the REM.

        • Francesco 11:27 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

          The last passenger train in the tunnel for the next couple of years leaves Central Station for Mascouche this evening around 19:25.

        • Kate 13:20 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

          Indeed. Leta Polson from CBC posted: “When this last train finishes its journey this evening, the Deux-Montagnes line will have been in operation for almost 102 years (inauguration on October 21, 1918)” and she quotes a spokesman: “Difficult to adequately highlight this moment for our operations teams in the current situation, but it will certainly be a “bitter-sweet” day. We will be there on Monday to operate the new Train shuttle of the mitigation measures.“

      • Kate 09:48 on 2020-05-08 Permalink | Reply  

        Quebec is leaning on its asylum seekers for help in the COVID-19 fight. Yves Boisvert documents the life and death of Marcelin François, one of their number.

        • Jack 11:30 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

          That is a must read column. All the crap that was hoisted on the back of people like Mr. Francois whose life was taken from him and his family, feeding , cleaning and taking care the most vulnerable members of this society. A society he sought refuge in and contributed to.

          To think back of all the column space ( Bock-Cote, Martineau, et al ) to think off all the anti immigrant refugee pandering CAQ fed to its base. To think of this mans wife and children…
          When someone wrote earlier last week about this fact Benoit Dutrizac ( Quebecor -Tele Quebec) had these kind words.

        • Kevin 15:44 on 2020-05-08 Permalink

          I’m not a huge Dieudonné fan, but he skewered Martineau at the end of this recent video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6O901q2JqE

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