Updates from February, 2021 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 23:37 on 2021-02-22 Permalink | Reply  

    Workers trying to fix the REM tunneling machine working under the Technoparc wetlands near the airport caused a subsidence of the ground that has had to be fixed somehow. This thing is also tunneling under the airport runways, an idea I now find a little alarming.

    • Max 02:09 on 2021-02-23 Permalink

      This cannot bode well. On any level. The deeper you dig in that area, the more trouble you’ll find.

    • steph 09:40 on 2021-02-23 Permalink

      As noted in Auger article from yesterday, they’ve got a blank cheque, The taxpayers will foot the bill.

    • ant6n 19:29 on 2021-02-23 Permalink

      Of course the Caisse will take the responsibility for any risks, thats why theyre entitled to most of the profits of the profits of this scheme

  • Kate 19:03 on 2021-02-22 Permalink | Reply  

    While plans are made for new social housing, existing buildings are being boarded up because they’re in terrible shape.

    • Kate 19:00 on 2021-02-22 Permalink | Reply  

      Foreign investment in Montreal fell by 15% in 2020 but that still shows up well compared to a general drop of 35% worldwide.

      • Kate 18:57 on 2021-02-22 Permalink | Reply  

        Quebec has announced a bump of $3 million toward a permanent day centre for the habitués of Cabot Square.

        Update: Some more about it Tuesday.

        • Meezly 09:45 on 2021-02-23 Permalink

          Some rare good news. I’ll admit it’s nice knowing that the QC gov’t can be capable of injecting funding where it’s needed. Just heard CBC interview the director of the Resilience shelter – they are overjoyed.

      • Kate 18:55 on 2021-02-22 Permalink | Reply  

        Not waiting for government approval, a pilot program has set up in Montreal North businesses to test everyone for Covid, with the intention to catch asymptomatic carriers before they pass the virus along.

      • Kate 18:47 on 2021-02-22 Permalink | Reply  

        Michel C. Auger, whose political analyses are always worth reading, dissects the REM as a cynical political project.

        • Tim 22:57 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

          “C’est comme avoir le beurre et l’argent du beurre.”

          Is this a common expression or did the author make it up? I like it better than “having your cake and eating it too.”

        • thomas 00:04 on 2021-02-23 Permalink

          It is a common French expression.

      • Kate 09:48 on 2021-02-22 Permalink | Reply  

        Christopher Curtis writes in Ricochet about an outfit that boasts that eviction is its business model.

        • Kate 09:18 on 2021-02-22 Permalink | Reply  

          That church in St-Léonard held another illegal service on Sunday, allowing 60 people into a building that should only have permitted ten. No tickets were issued, although TVA doesn’t attempt to explain why not.

          Alex Norris just mentioned on Facebook that the city’s executive committee has renewed the five‑day state of emergency for the 70th time running.

          La Presse is kind of pushing for opening up. I’ve been struck during the pandemic by how media have sloshed back and forth on “taking sides” about public health: Monday it’s performance artists and downtown merchants wanting things to move.

          I wish media would be a little clearer about the simple fact that you cannot negotiate with a pathogen. Hard though the pandemic is on us, it isn’t really about us! Nobody is oppressing you or your business, we all have a hard fact of life that has to be dealt with.

          • Mark Côté 10:38 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            I don’t think I understand this thing about not being able to negotiate with a pathogen. Obviously no one is suggesting that literally. Rather, we are (constantly) negotiating with ourselves about how to react to a pathogen.

            Clearly there are many ways that societies and governments have chosen to cope with, deal with, or ignore the issue. I’ve been dutifully housebound for a year like many people, but I wonder what the end of a pandemic looks like. Clearly it’s not now, but there isn’t going to be some sort of very discrete all-clear flag that says “yesterday we were worried about this but today we aren’t”. So this conversation isn’t going away because, well, it has to happen, and when is more “appropriate” to have it is far from clear. Doubly so because it is also very clear that our government has zero interest in a New-Zealand-style 0-tolerance approach (leaving aside the debate about whether that’s possible here or not).

          • Mark Côté 10:45 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            That said, the media definitely has a role in shaping the conversation. I saw a headline on CTV, I think, about how businesses didn’t want any more yo-yoing. The headline implied that some businesses might support, say, a strict lockdown for 6 weeks followed by extended reopening, but of course what the article actually said was that businesses just want to open now and stay open.

          • Kate 12:11 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            > The media definitely has a role in shaping the conversation

            Yes, it does. And I’ve been feeling all along that media has dabbled in making people feel injustices are being done. Media don’t have to act as an uncritical mouthpiece for government to have good sense about this.

          • Phil M 16:05 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            Seems like there’s a lot less outrage when churches are flouting the rules than when synagogues do it…

          • steph 16:19 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            Once I get vaccinated I’ll be parading my “all-clear flag”. Is there any other hope?

          • dmdiem 17:55 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            Steph unfortunately the vaccine doesn’t prevent you from catching or transmitting the virus, what it does is reduce the severity of the illness and the chance of death.

          • MarcG 18:06 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            @dmdiem: Got a reference for that? WHO and CDC say otherwise.

          • Mark Côté 18:12 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            From the WHO website about the Moderna vaccine:

            Does it prevent infection and transmission?

            We do not know whether the vaccine will prevent infection and protect against onward transmission. Immunity persists for several months, but the full duration is not yet known. These important questions are being studied.

            In the meantime, we must maintain public health measures that work: masking, physical distancing, handwashing, respiratory and cough hygiene, avoiding crowds, and ensuring good ventilation.

          • Meezly 18:38 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            Indeed, I don’t know why there isn’t stronger PSA on this.

            Even if individuals get vaccinated, they still need to exercise caution.
            We won’t achieve true herd immunity until enough of the general population is properly vaccinated.

          • MarcG 19:12 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            On the same page it says “The Moderna vaccine has been shown to have an efficacy of approximately 92 per cent in protecting against COVID-19”. Am I not smart enough or is this confusing?

          • Mark Côté 22:42 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            It is confusing. My understanding is that the vaccine mostly prevents covid-19, which is the disease caused by the virus. It seems that you can be vaccinated, and hence at a much reduced chance of getting covid (or at least reducing the effects), but the coronavirus itself can be in your system regardless and can possibly be transmitted through the usual routes (breathing), which are mitigated to some extent by wearing a mask and keeping at a distance from others. Hence, if you get vaccinated but there are still many who aren’t, then if you don’t keep the same precautions you can put the unvaccinated folks at risk.

            As far as I can tell we’ll only be safe, for some definition of safe, when the R-level falls significantly below 1, presumably due to vaccine-induced herd immunity. But there won’t be zero risk for a long time, if ever, and the presumably long but unknown grey area (er, time) stresses me out, particularly since I don’t trust/agree with this government’s risk analysis, who would presumably be the ones to “officially” declare the pandemic over at some point.

          • Meezly 23:22 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            That has been what I’ve been reading last week but forgotten I’d read it, because I’d been isolating at home with the kid because her class had a case of Covid and the days jhave been blurring… again…

            I was also wondering why I had deja vu when talking about herd immunity and realized I was parroting myself here asking if our health minister was putting all his eggs in the vaccination basket way too prematurely:

          • dmdiem 00:19 on 2021-02-23 Permalink

            The vaccine isn’t a magical shield, it just teaches the body to recognize the virus. So instead of walking around for weeks before its recognized, it could be a few days. This both reduces the severity of the symptoms when they occur as well as reduces the window in which the virus is transmissible. But since you’re still contagious for those few days, you still need to take precautions.

          • jeather 09:48 on 2021-02-23 Permalink

            Amazing, the usual suspects aren’t jumping to say how Bad Religion Is and how They Deserve Tickets and How Dare They Think They Are Special now that it’s not Jews at a synagogue. There are a lot fewer articles about this, too. Must be a coincidence, our secular society surely treats all religions the same way.

        • Kate 09:13 on 2021-02-22 Permalink | Reply  

          Radio-Canada looks back at the Sir George Williams computer riot in February 1969. Students had good reason to object to a professor’s racism, although how destroying a computer (a rare and expensive item at that time) was meant to help their case has always been a mystery to me. But we’ve discussed it here before.

          • Blork 10:31 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            People – in particular, young people – are not particularly good at tactics and strategies when it comes to protesting, as was seen during the 2012 student protests and as described in this squirt-gun parable: https://www.blork.org/blorkblog/2012/08/28/the-squirt-gun-a-parable/

          • Meezly 11:30 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            From the article that was shared on Jan 2019:
            “The only thing people know is that there was an occupation, that the computers were destroyed. That’s the narrative that has survived for 50 years.”

            According to Wikipedia, this is what actually happened:

            Most of the occupation was quite peaceful: the police were not involved, and negotiations continued. On 10 February 1969, an agreement was reached under which the students would leave the Hall building in exchange for a new committee to examine the allegations of prejudice against Anderson.[21] However, most of the students refused to leave the Hall building. The occupation continued until February 11 when negotiations broke down and riot police were called in to storm the Hall building.[22] After they learned that the university was planning to renege on the agreement, the remaining students began to barricade themselves in.[23] The faculty of Sir George Williams, siding with Anderson, vetoed the agreement to have a new committee appointed to examine the allegations of racial bias against black students.[24] Instead, the administration asked for the Montreal police to evict the students from the Hall building.[24]

            As the police and the students fought in the halls, other students threw the computer punch cards out of the windows, littering the streets above with thousands of punch cards.[25] A fire broke out in the computer lab, forcing the occupiers out of the building; 97 of them were arrested. John accused the police of starting the fire: “The violence was perpetuated — I have no hesitation saying this — by the police and the administration. Are students going to start a fire when they’re locked in?”[26]

            As the building burned, the crowds watching the scene from below chanted “Let the —–s burn!” and “Burn, —–s, burn!”.[27] As the students tried to escape from the burning building, they were arrested, subjected to racist insults and beaten savagely by the police.[24] Once in custody, the 87 students were divided by race with the 38 black students being separated from the white students.[24] The computer lab was destroyed, resulting in over $2 million in damage.[28] The entire incident was recorded live by television crews, and the most memorable image associated with the riot was smoke raising from the Hall building while the streets were swamped with punch cards.[29] Windows were broken and computer tapes and punched cards tossed onto the street below…. Public opinion in Canada was overwhelmingly against the students who were denounced as “rampaging criminals”, “thugs” and “anarchists”….


            Everyone should do their due diligence when commenting about property destruction that results from a protest, esp. a racially charged one, otherwise it sounds a lot like “BLM would get their message across better if they didn’t destroy storefronts.”

          • Kate 12:18 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            I apologize. I’ve cancelled what I wrote but left it under cancellation marks above so readers can see what Meezly was objecting to.

            I was wrong to think what I wrote up there, and will mend my ways.

          • Joey 13:15 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            @Blork in what way were the student protests of 2012 anything other than a total success? I suppose you can pick apart individual aspects, but as a whole the movement succeeded, no?

          • Kate 14:17 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            According to Wikipedia – I’m excerpting the main points – a series of student protests began in February 2012 against a proposal by the Charest government to raise university tuition from $2,168 to $3,793 between 2012 and 2018. Student protests evolved into generalized demonstrations against the government. The PQ was elected in September as a minority government and halted any tuition increases in line with its campaign promises.

            So from that angle yes, the movement succeeded. That it was not a Quebec nationalist movement seemed to get lost with the PQ in power again, but they were in for less than two years.

          • Joey 14:19 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            @Kate that’s my point – the protests worked

          • Blork 14:30 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            @Joey, I didn’t say the protests weren’t a success. I’m saying the tactic of boycotting classes was a bad one; basically shooting themselves in the foot. I think the success was in spite of that tactic, not because of it.

            Unfortunately my portal to the parallel universe in which that tactic wasn’t used is temporarily closed, so we can’t be sure. But I’m speaking in terms of principles; in particular the principle where you harm yourself, instead of aggravating your opponent, just isn’t a very good one.

          • Joey 14:54 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            @Blork you said that “People – in particular, young people – are not particularly good at tactics and strategies when it comes to protesting” – you gave the example of the 2012 protests *even though* the students won a resounding victory. Yes, there is no counterfactual, but even if the students won “in spite of that tactic,” *they still won*… how you can conclude that (a) not only were “people” good at tactics and strategies but (b) that *young* people were *particularly* good at tactics and strategies in this case is beyond me. They won a cancellation of the tuition increase, a freeze that basically still stands nearly 10 years later and a new government! From this you conclude that students were “shooting themselves in the foot”? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

          • Daisy 14:55 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            Can’t it be a good tactic if it succeeds in drawing a lot of attention to your cause, attention that it would not have received through other means?

          • Joey 14:58 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            @Daisy not only that, but it raises the stakes for the community that movement leaders are trying to motivate… things get personal for them, they get invested, they draw attention, next thing you know there are 100,000 people in the street, a minister resigns, a government backtracks, you win.

          • Joey 15:00 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            Moreover, there is a powerful message to be sent in sacrificing your own well-being in service of a perceived larger good. Boycotting classes because you think tuition increases are unjustified and will make accessing higher education more difficult gives the movement you are serving value. You’re basically saying that the struggle is more important in the long term than your own well-being in the short term. Why one would assume this wouldn’t galvanize support in the broader community is beyond me, and the 2012 protests suggest that it had precisely this effect.

          • MarcG 16:00 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            Boycotting classes served as a threat to the social order by backing up the flow of students through the system – it wasn’t self-harm.

          • CE 20:51 on 2021-02-22 Permalink

            Do you think we’d still be talking about the computer riots all these years later had the students just picketed peacefully outside? Would they have won any concessions?

            Would the students have halted the tuition increase in 2012 had they picketed peacefully in front of their campuses? Would they have even gotten many students to join if they were all focused on going to class and writing exams?

          • Meezly 00:28 on 2021-02-23 Permalink

            Thanks Kate. It wasn’t so much an objection as a way to stop perpetuating the narrative of destroyed property because things wouldn’t have gotten to that point had the university simply listened to the students. It’s just sad that the very forces that should have looked out for the students (the university, media and police) had utterly failed them instead.

            News articles that cover it now take great pains to not call it a riot and refer to it as the Sir George William Affair or the Sir GW Computer Incident.

            I only learned of this piece of history myself when the play Blackout came out a few years ago, which I think this very weblog had mentioned!

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