Updates from June, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 18:21 on 2020-06-10 Permalink | Reply  

    A coalition of community groups is striking while the iron is hot and asking for police reforms on racial profiling.

    At the same time, François “No Systemic Racism Here” Legault is promising to do something to increase hiring of visible minorities for Quebec government jobs.

    • paul g 09:21 on 2020-06-11 Permalink

      (Please note, this offer does not apply to visible minorities who display their religion)

    • Ephraim 17:12 on 2020-06-11 Permalink

      Better to hire visible minorities, rather than anglophones, who are also under represented in government jobs.

  • Kate 18:16 on 2020-06-10 Permalink | Reply  

    Not sure how I feel about Alexandre Taillefer being put in charge of Bixi. This is the man who ran Téo Taxi into the ground despite generous help from the Caisse de dépôt and the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, who acquired Voir in 2015 and just shut it down, and now he’s talking about revving up the electrical side of Bixi.

    [Whispering] I mean, is he such a great business guy? Really?

    • Mark Côté 18:59 on 2020-06-10 Permalink

      People like that always fail up.

    • Alex L 20:49 on 2020-06-10 Permalink

      He’s flashy and has powerful friends, I guess.

    • thomas 01:30 on 2020-06-11 Permalink

      i would say that someone that starts a company, Stingray, takes it public and now worth $400M is pretty good at business. Regarding Téo, from the start wasn’t he explicit as viewing it as a labour of love spawned from the death of his child? Perhaps his fault was underestimating the difference between a physical and digital business.

  • Kate 18:10 on 2020-06-10 Permalink | Reply  

    Valérie Plante intends to be both firm and flexible about the city’s temporary cycle and pedestrian paths this summer.

    • Kate 18:08 on 2020-06-10 Permalink | Reply  

      Patrick Pichette, the new independent Board Chair of Twitter, is a Montreal North boy. He’s a venture capitalist, mind you, not a left-wing social theorist or a scientist.

      • david888 18:35 on 2020-06-10 Permalink

        Former CFO of Google, before it split the whole Alphabet reorganization. Guy was a pretty big deal in his time.

      • Mr.Chinaski 11:02 on 2020-06-11 Permalink

        There has always been “two” Montréal-Nord, for having living there 25 years. There’s the older richer single-house bungalows and the newer (60’s-70’s) poorer part of white brick semi-detached duplex mixed with 8-plex and 16-plex.

        Nobody from one part has interraction with the other. There are class wars even inside MTL-North

    • Kate 09:47 on 2020-06-10 Permalink | Reply  

      A graph from Le Devoir shows that people are beginning to move around again on foot and by car around town. Public transit isn’t recovering so quickly, going by this.

      • JaneyB 10:42 on 2020-06-10 Permalink

        This might have something to do with the lack of public bathroom access under covid – at least for women. With a car, you can get back home to pee more quickly. By foot, you stay near home. With public transit…there’s a problem.

      • Kate 11:08 on 2020-06-10 Permalink

        I know! I’ve been thinking for weeks about taking my camera out to capture empty views of the city, but I don’t want to end up having to pee behind a tree somewhere.

      • DeWolf 11:30 on 2020-06-10 Permalink

        A big problem is that public washrooms are managed by the borough. The Plateau has reopened the toilets in Lafontaine and other major parks, and Mount Royal’s toilets are apparently open again, but I don’t think that is true elsewhere. There are lots of temporary chemical toilets around but I personally wouldn’t want to use one of those unless things are really dire.

        Montreal really needs a coordinated public washroom policy to ensure consistent access throughout the city.

      • EmilyG 11:47 on 2020-06-10 Permalink

        Public washroom access was bad enough even before the pandemic.

      • DeWolf 18:07 on 2020-06-10 Permalink

        It’s atrocious all over North America. Europe is better, but not by much. East Asia is the ideal: relatively well-maintained public toilets in every neighbourhood and most metro stations.

      • Ian 18:13 on 2020-06-10 Permalink

        I just don’t take the bus because it’s dirty and unreliable, even before the pandemic. Everyone who takes the STM catches more colds even in a regular year. I imagine a lot of the ridership currently going on is people with no other way to get to work.

      • david888 18:42 on 2020-06-10 Permalink

        DeWolf – which parts of East Asia? Vast swathes are bathroom heavy, but with sanitation levels lower than what you’re find in their slaughterhouses. Christ, you roll into these bathrooms in the second tier mega-cities of China and – apart from everything else you see, killing animals on the streets, zero handwashing, etc. – these public washrooms leave no room for surprise when you hear about a new virus cropping up.

        Obviously, we could do a lot better, but cost of provision is pretty high when we have the standards that we have for public washrooms. Whereas cost of provision is pretty low when your system is just a hole in the ground inside a concrete shack with flickering lights and no running water.

        The ideal I found in east Asia would be Japan or HK, but even then all the free public places are literally well-ish maintained holes in the ground, with all the proper washrooms coming at a not-neglible cost (which in Montreal would be considered an outrage).

      • CE 23:15 on 2020-06-10 Permalink

        I used one of those chemical toilets in a park today. I was ready for the worst when I went in but it was surprisingly clean. There was even water and soap.

        They had someone on the CBC who’s an expert or advisor or something regarding public washrooms. She said that Canada is among the worst on earth when it comes to access.

        When I lived in Colombia, there were lots of public washrooms. The quality and cleanliness usually weren’t amazing but it was nice to have them. You always had to pay though. Any restaurant or convenience store had at least a urinal they would let you use for a few coins.

      • Kevin 23:41 on 2020-06-10 Permalink

        Every day when I am out I see at least one car with a temporary plate. It’s normal to see two a week in the fall or spring- but not a different car on every trip, and not in June.
        Especially not with such light traffic.

        If we go back to thousands of office workers heading to the core every day it’s going to be brutal, but I think Covid has killed the market for a lot of office space.

      • DeWolf 10:45 on 2020-06-11 Permalink

        David, I was thinking in particular of Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea. Obviously China is a lot rougher because it’s not nearly as developed.

    • Kate 08:03 on 2020-06-10 Permalink | Reply  

      The river pilot who first spotted the whale off Montreal also found it stranded in Varennes. The whale’s remains are being studied to find out what caused its death. Whales do die in the river, as Alexandre Shields tells us, but we never saw one off Montreal before.

      • Kate 07:34 on 2020-06-10 Permalink | Reply  

        Marvin Rotrand, who sometimes seems to have constituted himself a one-man opposition party, a gadfly at city hall, is asking if there are too many policemen in the city per capita, compared to other Canadian cities. But in this, Rotrand is simply joining in the chorus of voices currently demanding the defunding of police.

        I haven’t seen anyone noting that crime in general is way down, and I don’t mean only since the pandemic lockdown. Montreal used to have a lot more murders, for example. Someone needs to do a little math showing how many cops we had in previous years vs. crimes committed, compared to current numbers. There very well may be a case to shift some of the police budget to other means of crime reduction – social workers, drug addiction and mental health resources and so forth. It’s quite possible there isn’t enough for our current police force to do in their conventional role.

        Also, shoe dropping, maybe we need more policing of white-collar crimes rather than street crime – or has that shift already taken place? Maybe the police actually need better PR to tell us how their tasks are allocated in 2020.

        • Joey 08:52 on 2020-06-10 Permalink

          Would love to see Mtl numbers but in the absence of that, here’s exactly what you’re asking about, only for NYC: https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2020/06/how-many-cops-does-new-york-city-need/

          Basically the number of officers per capita is basically flat (up a little,actually) since 1986 while the violent crime rate is down 80% (!). Why? Drum argues convincingly that it’s mostly due to lead removal efforts, which have been shown over and over to reduce aggressiveness and criminal activity among teens and young adults if done properly in childhood. Rotrand may be grandstanding and bandwagon-jumping but I think he’s probably right. If we are at all like NYC, we have a police force built for a level of criminal activity that we no longer have – and probably never will again. So why the need for all these cops, as opposed to other interventionist professionals?

        • Ephraim 09:20 on 2020-06-10 Permalink

          Unfortunately, you can’t really study a correlation between cops and crime because crime statistics are entirely fictional. And I’ve pointed that out repeatedly on this blog. It’s not crime statistics, it’s “reported crime statistics” and the two are NOT related.

          There are some pretty simple ways that cops can manipulate the data… suggesting that there is no point in reporting crime, making you go to their station to make the crime report and suggesting that they won’t catch the criminal anyway. (They tried to pressure me to stop reporting drug sales on my streets because it was ruining their statistics.)

          But the manipulation is just as bad by corporations. Banks don’t report embezzlement, cheque fraud, kiting or even credit card fraud… because they don’t want the press for it. Which is why I don’t think the Canadian government should allow them to write-it-off, unless it’s reported.)

          Did crime go up or down when the police slowed down as a strike action? Did crime go up or down when they stopped writing tickets… you know why you didn’t notice… because it doesn’t matter. It’s like all those people who think there is a still a correlation between crime and punishment… nope, it’s crime and apprehension and apprehension levels are so low that cops need to lower crime reports to make it all look good.

        • JaneyB 09:46 on 2020-06-10 Permalink

          I have to agree about crime stats. Many things are just not counted. In Toronto, for example, there’s a ton of ‘ethnic’ extortion going on eg: shake-downs, bribery, sometimes kidnapping and murder. We hear about the latter when it happens in public but not really the former. This is within the many ethnic communities. I’ve (white Anglo) actually seen a couple of shake-downs while having coffee at an ‘ethnic’ eatery. Those kinds of crimes are very, very under-policed and probably can only be addressed with lots of hirings within those communities due to language and cultural access as well as race. Plus, the emphasis needs to be on community protection to build trust, not so much on arresting murderers. Some of that applies here too but we don’t have the immigrant numbers that TO has. Ideally, cops need to not look like an occupying force and they need to have a stronger emphasis on social work/conflict refereeing and have lots of tools to find and stop extortion. This is in addition to not targeting minorities for abuse, obviously.

        • Ephraim 10:09 on 2020-06-10 Permalink

          And let’s not forget how many “missing persons” are never found. Some of those are likely murders where the body isn’t found. They say that only 23% of rapes are reported… prosecution rate is infinitely lower! Rapes of men are almost never reported… but we certainly see the suicides! How are the police equipped to handle suicidal women and men because of rape? Do they have training? Or is this something that should be handled by social workers? Crime solve rates are horribly low, so making the statistics go away helps make them look better.

        • Roman 10:39 on 2020-06-10 Permalink

          Yes, way too many.

        • Alison Cummins 10:54 on 2020-06-10 Permalink

          It kind of depends on what you’re looking for and why.

          For Covid I ignore cases and focus on fatalities — and ideally would like to look at excess deaths. This particularly applies pwhen I’m trying to compare jurisdictions.

          That doesn’t mean that “cases” are useless. The people collecting the “cases” data have reasons for collecting it the way they do and will interpret the information in that light. So when test kits were limited, BC heavily tested their health care workers and long-term care residents from the get-go because they recognized these populations as a significant means of transmission both within the health care system and to the community. Elsewhere, testing was done with different criteria. In Rwanda they adapted their Ebola protocol, isolating travellers, tracing and testing contacts, and following up with community surveys to see if they re getting everyone. Here it seemed to be done fairly broadly with a focus on travellers, looking for people who might have brought it in from abroad.

          While no set of “cases” numbers is representative of general populations and they can’t be compared, they’re meaningful to the particular committees who asked for them. Even Quebec’s apparently haphazard flailing and wrong-headed testing approach seems to be meaningful because deaths are dropping. I was wringing my hands as we were talking reopening while deaths were increasing, but the authorities may have known something I didn’t because reported deaths are dropping steadily. (Alternatively: they were just lucky; or the reported deaths numbers are subject to heavy political influence.)

          Back to crime. When comparing crime rates over time and between jurisdictions, murder is probably the only comparable metric. It’s pretty much a yes/no number. But numbers can still be revealing. Montreal’s downtown has a *higher* reported crime rate per capita than Vancouver’s Hastings. But the Montreal downtown reported crimes are primarily pickpocketing while the Vancouver Hastings reported crimes are primarily gun offenses. So that still tells us something.

          But yes Ephraim, as someone from the corporate world I am quite aware of how numbers are cooked because someone doesn’t want to look bad. Which is stupid. But a thing.

          Still, we were able to use our numbers to support smart decisions — a testament to the abilities of motivated individuals.

          To;dr in the right hands, even bad numbers can be useful for something as long as they have some kind of connection to reality, however tenuous.

        • Alison Cummins 11:53 on 2020-06-10 Permalink

          My limited interactions with police as a nice white lady (anglo version):
          • Reporting a B&E at my home. Helpful: explained that they were not going to find the person and that I was unlikely to ever find my stuff, but explained how to change the lock so this wouldn’t be a problem again.
          • Reporting a missing person at risk for suicide. Counselling and stern lecture to missing person included. Extremely helpful.
          • Reporting a “missing person” [black, mentally ill] so I could find which homeless shelter to leave cigarettes at. Helpful: quick; good communication [to me]; brief counselling and referral to appropriate services [to “missing person”]. This was in Ottawa though, not Montreal.

          The impression I get is that most cops, like most people, like to feel helpful. When they aren’t going to be able to fix something they get curt and cranky. When they can help out the person in front of them they do their best, and that often involves counselling. I think we all agree that’s part of their job.

          Then there are the assholes who like to hurt people and boss them around, who see the world as their enemy. The problem is not so much that these folks exist (they exist everywhere) as when they are enabled, protected and even get into positions of power and decision-making.

        • mare 19:07 on 2020-06-10 Permalink

          I bet the police brotherhood will claim that there are so few murders exactly because there are so many cops on the streets (and because they’re doing such an excellent job).

        • Ephraim 05:58 on 2020-06-11 Permalink

          There is a correlation between reported crime rates and abortion…. let’s see them explain that one. Crime was up in 2018, did it have anything to do with the police at all? Not if you ask them. And worse, it wasn’t petty crime… it was violent crime.

          The police have so little effect on crime… car theft as an example. When has the police had an effect on car theft? Electronic immobilizers, car trackers, etc…. those have an effect, the police? Might as well hire Buston Keaton.

      • Kate 07:27 on 2020-06-10 Permalink | Reply  

        Radio-Canada reports that Osheaga and Île Soniq are cancelled for 2020, although I was fairly sure this had already been covered by the blanket cancellation for group events and festivals this summer.

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