Updates from June, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 17:12 on 2020-06-07 Permalink | Reply  

    Thousands of people came out on a beautiful Sunday afternoon to sustain the ongoing protest against racism and police brutality.

    • Douglas 22:08 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

      Where’s the 6 feet distancing? Where are the city / health officials having a meltdown over crowds gathering?
      Where’s the Montreal Gazette twitter thread about how this is putting lives at risk and how dangerous this is?

      We have just as much infections right now as when the shutdown happened. Shows me yet again this entire shutdown by health officials was a crock of crap. We could have kept everything open and thrown masks and gloves on everyone am I right?

    • Kate 22:19 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

      Let’s try again:

      If our social distancing and other lockdown measures work, plenty of people will say we over‑reacted.

    • walkerp 22:53 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

      Almost everybody was wearing masks. Social distancing was tough at times but people were generally trying to avoid close contact and would spread out when the street widened.

      Given what we know about outdoor transmission, I don’t think the risks were that high, given the breezy weather as well. We shall see.

      Sometimes when you are in a war, you have to take some risks.

    • Douglas 00:28 on 2020-06-08 Permalink

      Gathering in large groups is ok now if we have masks and keep our distance.

      Good to know 10 weeks later.

      10 weeks ago the health experts couldn’t figure that out for us.

    • Douglas 00:38 on 2020-06-08 Permalink

      I want to see the same level of concern and outrage at these large gatherings and groups as I heard for 10 weeks straight.

      1) We are being selfish putting health workers lives at risk if we don’t stay home in confinement.
      2) Nothing is more important than saving lives of our elderly.

      If you protested for the right to put food on your table you were met with vitriol and anger by the covid police.

      Where is the covid police now? We could have socially distanced and worn masks and keep the economy open.

    • Uatu 07:36 on 2020-06-08 Permalink

      I agree with Kate. Hindsight is always 20/20 and there always will be couldashouldawoulda after every major event. As far as the protests, there’s so much critical mass of outrage built up over time that outlawing them is probably impossible. But in 2 weeks we’ll see if there’s a covid spike…

    • Kevin 07:45 on 2020-06-08 Permalink

      Here are health and public authorites being concerned about mass gatherings.

    • Tee Owe 11:09 on 2020-06-08 Permalink

      Uatu is correct, we won’t know whether Douglas’s annoyance is appropriate or misplaced for another 2 weeks, whether there comes a spike in cases or not. Meanwhile, this report says that lockdowns in Europe cut infection rates by 80% – that’s 3.1 million dead bodies they didn’t have to deal with
      (I got the link from an article in the Guardian but that URL is pages long).

    • Kate 11:20 on 2020-06-08 Permalink

      Thank you, Tee Owe. I had found an article on TVA summarizing the same report. It’s good to have it in both languages.

    • EmilyG 12:09 on 2020-06-08 Permalink

      For what it’s worth, I believe the health authorities have said that people should wear masks in public places when social distancing cannot be observed.
      If the protesters are wearing masks, then this doesn’t contradict that.

    • Chris 10:21 on 2020-06-09 Permalink

      I think you all make good points, including Douglas. I think the observation that there’s been less quarantine-shaming for this protest is demonstrably true. There was a lot more criticism of the restaurateurs protesting for example. And there’s definitely a chunk of the population that seems to think every last covid death should/can be prevented, at any cost. Fact is, covid is not the most important thing ever. Other things are important too. Protesting racism is important. Protesting to save your livelihood is important. It’s a risk/reward tradeoff. We all take some risks all the time, crossing the street, not exercising, overeating, skydiving, whatever. And everyone’s risk/reward calculation is different, as it should be. If you’re young and black, covid won’t likely sicked you much, if at all, but you might get harassed by cops often. If your restaurant is going broke and you have no income, your situation is different from an office worker now working at home for full salary. People need to think about being in someone else’s shoes before they get on their high horse with the quarantine-shaming. I think this may finally be happening now with this BLM protest, but it should have happened earlier. For many, the risk of covid is low, and other things sometimes outweigh it. This is too nuanced for government policy of course, which just uses a big hammer of “stay inside”, but we don’t need 100% compliance despite it being stated like we do.

    • Mark Côté 12:22 on 2020-06-09 Permalink

      > This is too nuanced for government policy of course, which just uses a big hammer of “stay inside”

      I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently. Clearly there is a range of behaviours right now from those who rarely leave the house and are always masked when they do, to people who are still going to parties and hooking up regularly on Tinder. Most people are somewhere in the middle. As usual enforcement is sparse and arbitrary, so it’s left up to people to figure out their needs and their ethical lines. The blanket statements from the government like what Chris pointed out means that those who are naturally rules followers will be more likely to put the well being of the many over their own needs and even the needs of their family, despite the statistical unlikelihood of occasional infractions (like extending their household bubble slightly) leading to any real consequences. Those who are naturally not inclined to follow rules will take bigger risks. The former are likely to conclude that their actions are even more important in compensation for the latter’s.

      This feels especially relevant to me as a social person who lives alone half the time and has a daughter who is increasingly visibly suffering with every passing day from her lack of proper social contact. I am, for better or worse, also a natural rules follower, so I sit here watching as hair dressers, restaurants, and other parts of the economy open up while we are still told that, even if we have people over to our house, we should keep our distance. Every time I think about how damaging this isolation is to me, let alone my daughter, the ethical quandary comes up of how much I should take this situation into my own hands versus sticking with the rules put down by our government, and how I would feel if someone close to me got sick because I didn’t follow the big-hammer blanket rules that others choose to break. I oscillate between thinking that I’m just living up to my values and others can do whatever they see fit, to feeling like this is pointless martyrdom and that I’m too cowardly to make my own decisions and live with the (unlikely but possible) consequences.

  • Kate 15:47 on 2020-06-07 Permalink | Reply  

    The Link reports on residential activists pressing the Université de Montréal to offset the effect its new campus is having on living conditions in Park Extension.

    • Kate 12:05 on 2020-06-07 Permalink | Reply  

      While people march downtown against racism, Toula Drimonis fingers the Journal: “Members of ethnic groups routinely top the ranks of Quebec’s and Canada’s self-employed business owners, yet ALL eight entrepreneurs being interviewed here are white francophone men. No racial or gender diversity and not a single editor at the JdM even noticed?” She goes on to explain that this is systemic racism – invisible to the people who benefit from it.

      • david56 12:46 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

        I’m not unsympathetic to this position, but to be clear, it’s racist that the long-time Quebec Inc project doesn’t include minority business owners? Or that the Journal is trumpeting a rebooted Quebec Inc rather than the minority business owners?

        Also, I’d like some clarification on where the Italians and Portuguese stand on this spectrum of minorities. Is this an indictment of how closed the francophone business class is? Or is it straight up that these faces aree white and that there’s nobody brown there – they should put a brown face in there to represent? Such tokenism is usually derided as racist among the wokes, but Toula is also coming from a specific background.

      • NoDarnGoog 14:23 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

        David, I’m not sure this jumbled pile of “just asking questions” really gets to anything. That eight white guys is an inadequate representation of what Quebec is in 2020, doesn’t need clarification. (Also Quebec inc and the Journal can both be flawed without contradiction)
        There is never likely to be a perfect answer as to what constitutes proper diversity or representation, it’s a moving target. To demand one is reactionary stalling.

      • Kate 14:24 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

        David∞, if you were to take a random sample of small business owners in Quebec, what are the odds all eight would be white francophones de souche? What if your sample was from Montreal?

      • david88 16:35 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

        Quebec Inc. is a longstanding collaboration between industrialists, business leaders, and government to advance Quebec interests at home, in Canada, and abroad. It’s something that both nationalists and liberals are on board for, grew out of nationalizations, and is a fundamental part of the statist corporatist approach that Quebec tends to like to take.

        An immigrant shopkeeper is a world removed from this project, and is basically irrelevant to it.

        If Toula is saying that Quebec Inc – which is necessarily going to be run in one way – is racist and exclusionary in its operation and/or inclusionary aspects, that’s one thing.

        If Toula is saying that Quebec Inc – which is necessarily a statist (or dirisiste in the french) approach to capitalism – is racist and exclusionary in its purpose or function, that’s another thing.

        If Toula is saying that the Journal’s decision to focus on Quebec Inc when there are all sorts of immigrant-owned businesses to focus on is racist and exclusionary, that’s yet another thing.

        What would the solution even be to the issue she’s raising, if she could clarify it? Minority quotas on company boards, on newspaper pages that report on business development?

        I’m not trying to troll, I’m again trying to parse this out. Quebec Inc is a famous and long-running project to give Quebec businesses an advantage and ensure local ownership. Where does the racism come in?

      • david88 16:59 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

        Like, answer me how reporting on this is racist: http://archive.is/CD4lW

        (Aside from a Toula-type “well, capitalism is fundamentally racist” type position.)

      • Kate 17:05 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

        David, simply by suggesting that “Quebec” = white guys, implies that that is what “Québec Inc.” is.

        Do you feel included? As a (white) anglo woman I sure don’t, and I can’t imagine how it feels if you’re an immigrant of colour trying to run a business around here. The Journal’s “nous” is not an inclusive “nous”.

      • david88 17:33 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

        I mean, I’m sympathetic to that perspective, no question. But I need more.

        And as an anglo, I’m an outsider too to this entire ‘francophone CEO with political connections and government backing’ type world.

        But I don’t think it’s racism. Without being glib: there are plenty of immigrants in Argentina (for instance) but the idea that an ultra (eg. Toula) Argentine would claim “systematic racism” because the Argentine business class is dominated by longtime Argentine families and figures is just alien there. As it is in Quebec, despite it’s being part of the Canadian federation. The anglo cultural bleed-over (at this point almost totally informed on these issues by the US) is changing that somewhat, but it’s still not all that logical.

        And it especially falls apart if you start talking – the way we usually did until this American framing became dominant – about franco/anglo/allo, where allo was a pretty expansive group. Allo was Italians, Greeks, Arabs, the works. It described something real about the operation of Quebec society.

        Now that we’ve decided that allo doesn’t matter and it’s about brown/black vs. “white” (per the imported American frame), I’d just like some clarification of how it’s even supposed to work.

        In the end, it’s one thing to debate this stuff on an anglo blog filled with high information consuming mostly progressive people, and quite another to actually take stock of how poorly this imported frame describes Quebec society as seen and experienced by the overwhelming majority of Quebecois.

      • Jack 17:39 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

        They are oddly consistent. The Journal’s commentary team has been working very hard to educate their readers on racism in Quebec and how it impacts white people the most, they are the victims.

      • Spi 17:58 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

        To be clear when JdQ/JdM uses the term Quebec Inc. we’re straying away from the traditional use of that term. Traditionally as you said it is reserved for the largest industrialist/business leaders in Qc, the likes of Bombardier, Metro/PJC, Gas Metro, Rona not the small entrepreneurs being featured here.

        What Toula is criticizing is that in this series of articles they sought out small entrepreneurs that pivoted during the crisis (frankly some of these stories are not that interesting or exceptional) and that if they cared at all they would have been able to find minority entrepreneurs to include, the fact that they didn’t and or were oblivious to it is what she’s calling systemic racism.

      • GC 18:06 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

        Can we also stop assuming that anyone who isn’t white must be an immigrant?

      • Kate 18:09 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

        GC: good point, thank you for the reminder.

      • Michael Black 18:26 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

        Sme non-whites have been here since time immemorial.

        But yes, other non-whites have been here long, so it’s not their parents or grandparents that were immigrants.

      • JaneyB 21:24 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

        It’s nice that people are thinking about racial exclusion right now but I don’t see those articles as systemic racism. They’re standard navel-gazing about the health of entrepreneurial skills among the ‘de souche’, a matter of long obsession since the Quiet Rev. It’s basically ‘Quebec Inc’ comes to the neighbourhood level – eg to the JdM readership. Now that covid is less acute, thoughts turn to the economy. Soon there will be an article about drop-out rates chez les Francos. Every time the Quebec press, even the annoying JdM, obsesses about the ‘de souche’, it is not a slur against everyone else. I think focusing on the SPVM’s membership and its treatment of people of colour/Indigenous would be more productive than this reading of the JdM. Eyes on the prize.

    • Kate 10:48 on 2020-06-07 Permalink | Reply  

      La Presse tells about the city’s baseball team that never played in the city, and was stuck with the nonsense name the Royales. The Canadian Baseball League only lasted for one season in 2003.

      • Kate 10:31 on 2020-06-07 Permalink | Reply  

        A design firm landed the contract for urban furniture for the new Esplanade Tranquille, but their ideas may not work so well in an era of social distancing.

        • qatzelok 12:08 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

          “And now, Anthony Faucy and the Covid-19-dancers present a post-modern dance number that problematizes the urban furniture design for a public square in Montreal.”


        • Chris 13:15 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

          An “era” usually means a long time. Urban furnature has a long lifetime. Social distancing is short term and will pass.

        • Kate 14:26 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

          Chris, it’s not certain that social distancing is short term. We don’t know enough yet about this virus, about resistance and immunity to it, and whether any vaccine will work, or work for more than a few months at a time. Social distancing may well be the new normal.

        • Chris 14:41 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

          Kate, well nothing is certain, sure, but I think that outlook is very unlikely. You can see things returning to normal out there already.

        • Spi 14:46 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

          Is there a city of montreal policy that I’m unaware of requiring that we design new and distinctive urban furniture for every new public space? I’m not saying we should be living with benches from the 80’s but most cities either aspire to have a certain aesthetic or design language we have gone the complete opposite route.

          If you take the right route from Old Montreal to McGill University you’re likely to see 3-4 completely different streetscape styles.

        • Kate 16:02 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

          Spi, I don’t have an answer to that. Years ago, benches installed by the city were in one or two styles everywhere. Now, it seems a park (or other city space) has to be designed as a complete new environmental installation down to details like benches and garbage cans.

          Arguably, this brings business to architects, landscape and industrial design groups, but it does tend to mean the fittings are custom designed and manufactured, and thus more expensive.

        • DeWolf 11:55 on 2020-06-08 Permalink

          One-size-fits-all usually means one-size-fits-none. I think the city has indeed changed its approach because having the same standard furniture in many different types of public spaces doesn’t work very well. Each of those spaces has a different vocation, a different environmental context and different user demographics. The whole point of design is to make things that work well for people, not to force people to fit into a specific mould. I think it’s well worth the extra money.

        • Kate 16:22 on 2020-06-08 Permalink

          DeWolf, I’m not sure what that pans out to in action. The main innovation we’ve seen added to public seating in recent years has been hostile design to make them unusable for stretching out and sleeping on. Not sure this is better than the city’s old concrete-and-wood flat slat benches we had for so long.

        • DeWolf 18:00 on 2020-06-08 Permalink

          I don’t think that is true at all. The past few years have given us a lot of new innovative street furniture:

          Large bed-like wooden platforms like in the park at Bernard/St-Dominique
          Adirondack chairs as seen along the Lachine canal
          Benches sculpted out of trees on St-Viateur
          Small benches that hug and protect street trees on St-Laurent
          Tables and chairs in the Fleurs de Macadam, plus large wooden platforms you can lie down on

          The new benches in Dominion Square and the Place du Canada don’t have any barriers that prevent someone from lying down. In fact they’re very old fashioned looking.

        • Kate 22:26 on 2020-06-08 Permalink

          OK, OK, granted. In fact, that’s worth a photo essay.

          I also like the big lawn chair things that crop up, in different places – I’ve seen them as far apart as St-Henri and Villeray.

        • DeWolf 11:36 on 2020-06-10 Permalink

          This guy has already done it!


          The series started in 2013 but there is a list of updates from more recent years. It’s pretty comprehensive.

      • Kate 10:13 on 2020-06-07 Permalink | Reply  

        An architectural contest has been launched to design the Peter McGill Centre, which will be part of the vast complex rising on the site of the old Children’s Hospital. It’s to become western Ville‑Marie’s Maison de la culture and library.

        Who was Peter McGill? Among other things, he was a Scotsman, and the city’s second mayor.

        • Kate 09:33 on 2020-06-07 Permalink | Reply  

          A second rally against police brutality is planned to start at 10 a.m. Sunday at Place Émilie‑Gamelin.

          • walkerp 14:28 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

            Just got back from it. Excellent turnout, though almost all young people. Very diverse, really showed the size of the black community in Montreal. Very few middle-aged people or families. Super peaceful and positive. We’ll see if the foreboding yet goofy gang of riot cops in weird brown padded suits will be needed or not. Somebody (a young white male) yelled “fuck the police” and three people (young black women) hushed him and said “We don’t need that here” and “that’s not what this movement is about.”

          • Chris 15:12 on 2020-06-07 Permalink

            Just back too. It skewed young, but not really more than most protests I don’t think. The last big one I went to, that climate protest, similarly skewed young. I saw those brown suit bear cops too, but only hidden away near the start, they kept out of sight; come to think of it, there weren’t that many cops in sight at all. I didn’t see any violence at all either. Someone set off a firecracker or something, but nothing came of it. Saw a few ‘fuck the cops’ kind of signs, but most signs were BLM, or ‘no justice no peace’, ‘can’t breathe’, etc. Didn’t see any black bloc types. If the signs are any indication, the protest skewed anglo too, didn’t see many French signs or hear many French chants. Even saw an ‘abolish kafala’ sign, that was cool. It was a very big turnout, I only got to the start at 11:45 and joined the march at noon at the very back of the line but an hour later there were countless more behind me!

        • Kate 09:30 on 2020-06-07 Permalink | Reply  

          A demonstration Saturday outside Justin Trudeau’s riding office demanded permanent resident status for asylum seekers working in health care.

          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