Updates from April, 2021 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 19:26 on 2021-04-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Just as Justin Trudeau did in his first term, after promising to undertake electoral reform to make election results fairer and more representative than the first-past-the-post system we’ve been stuck with since Canada was launched, François Legault has also pulled the plug on a promised 2022 referendum on electoral reform in Quebec.

    Sonia LeBel is pleading pandemic delays, but a sitting government with a majority (as Trudeau had in his first term, and as Legault has now) is always going to balk at making a change that’s likely to reduce its seats.

    • Bill Binns 07:28 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

      To be fair, we have been”stuck with it” since the Greeks invented democracy.

    • Tim F 07:42 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

      A) I thought the Athenians had direct democracy, not representative democracy. So no first-past-the-post elections.
      B) I like to think we’ve evolved in other ways since Classic Greece: voting rights for women, abolishing slavery, citizenship to people who haven’t served in the military…

    • Tim S. 08:02 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

      Greek democracy also used lotteries to chose people for various positions and assemblies. I always thought having a lottery to appoint the Senate would be an interesting idea. Of course, an Athenian jury also condemned Socrates, so nothing’s perfect.

    • Daisy 12:07 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

      That’s called sortition and it sounds quite promising to me, ever since I read the book Against Elections by David Van Reybrouck.

    • qatzelok 12:29 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

      The Greeks didn’t invent democracy – they just gave Europeans a European word to describe it.

      And “Democracy” is not what First-Past-the-Post is. FPTP is more like the coronation of a demographic game winner. Who can isolate 39.8 % of the electorate with particular memes, and win the jackpot?!

      **spins wheel**

  • Kate 19:10 on 2021-04-28 Permalink | Reply  

    François Legault, pressed by Manon Massé to admit there’s a housing crisis in Montreal, demonstrated Wednesday that he has no idea of how Montreal rents have risen over the last couple of years. Easy to get a place for $500 or $600 a month according to mononcle François.

    • Seb 00:13 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

      Wilfully ignorant of everything outside of his immediate bubble.

    • Raymond Lutz 08:34 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

      Kate, on écrit Mononc’ 🙂

    • Kate 09:16 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

      Merci Mononc’ Raymond!

    • Meezly 10:03 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

      Legault apparently has friends who are middle class, so this must prove he’s not out of touch.

    • Kevin 14:00 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

      My favourite bit is Legault’s press attaché stating that Legault never said rent is $500 a month and all the nasty politicians saying otherwise are lying.

    • steph 14:16 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

      with his logic we also have homeless people in montreal, and that’s 0$ rent/month.

  • Kate 16:04 on 2021-04-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Public health’s Dr Mylène Drouin says Covid seems to be on the decline in Montreal but it’s important not to drop our guard too soon.

    • Kate 13:59 on 2021-04-28 Permalink | Reply  

      Denis Coderre is truly already acting as if he’s won an election, creating “cabinet” posts like this one for Serge Sasseville, once a vice-president of Quebecor, who’s been appointed to be responsible for arts, culture and heritage.

      Item notes that Coderre has been criticized for his state visit to the homeless camp this week with no mask on, an act he defends as a “mistake”. At this stage of the pandemic, who makes a mistake like that?

      • Bill Binns 17:32 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        Depending on where you look, the chance of catching Covid outdoors is somewhere between extremely rare and impossible.

      • Kate 19:17 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        If you’re going to visit people and get in their face, indoors or out, a mask is simply polite, unless you’re a politician intent on getting your face all over the media.

    • Kate 12:05 on 2021-04-28 Permalink | Reply  

      Fifteen workers in the St Mary’s Hospital ER have been diagnosed with Covid although most had already received one dose of vaccine.

      • DeWolf 12:32 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        “But only mild symptoms and no patients affected.”

        Research shows the first dose of the vaccine is 100% effective against severe disease, and highly effective against all disease – but not entirely. And new research from the UK shows it significantly reduces transmission from those who are infected after their first dose.

      • j2 20:45 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        Hunh that’s when we were there. My partner has been long partially-vaccinated (as a health worker), and spent 16 hours over 2 days there; I unvaccinated (at that point) spent 10 minutes trying to get her her things, and of course I spend time with her. In some ways she had COVID-like symptoms, but tested negative. Either way, bullet dodged for all apparently.

      • Jonathan 14:29 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

        If I understand correctly, they tested positive for coronavirus infection but not necessarily COVID 19, which is the disease caused by the coronavirus. It’s like people who get cold sores. They have the virus for coldsores in their body, but don’t always have coldsores (the ‘disease’ or condition caused by herpes simplex).

    • Kate 09:17 on 2021-04-28 Permalink | Reply  

      The Atelier de Joël Robuchon at the Casino is closing permanently, after a year of pandemic shutdown. This is the resto that started in scandal when it opened in 2016 with a presumably large but never revealed shot of public money. There was also widespread grumbling that Loto‑Quebec had opted for this French star chef rather than anyone local. Robuchon died in 2018 but I don’t think he ever actually worked here, just rented out the lustre of his name.

      • Ephraim 09:31 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        No, I don’t think he was ever here. But a lot of people were trained by his team and the plates that they produced were pieces of art. I hope that those who were chefs there will have illustrious careers in other Montreal restaurants and raise the bar.

    • Kate 08:31 on 2021-04-28 Permalink | Reply  

      Winter shelters that were put up for the homeless have been extended till June, but some are choosing to rebuild tent cities like we saw last summer. CBC asks here why people would do this, but knowing that Covid is mostly transmitted indoors in poorly ventilated places might make anyone choose to sleep outside when it becomes possible again.

      In this item it’s noted that Denis Coderre “toured” a tent city and carped at Plante for not doing enough for the homeless. He’s evidently decided to act like the mayor in waiting.

      • Bill Binns 11:01 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        “He’s evidently decided to act like the mayor in waiting.”

        It worked the first time didn’t it? He seems to be running on the “I am not Valerie Plante” platform which may actually work. I’m really depressed about the choices so far. Still hoping for a late entry by someone I can get excited about.

        The city has severe financial difficulties around the corner and I don’t think Coderre is the person to lead us through them. On the other hand, everything that came out of Projet’s convention was frankly terrifying.

        If I had to bet right now, I would say get ready for four more years of bread and circuses.

      • Kate 11:15 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        Did it work the first time? When Coderre first emerged, I remember some head-shaking that this old federal Liberal lag thought himself a suitable candidate. But after the lengthy shambles of the last Tremblay term and the mess of the Applebaum debacle, voters stayed away in droves and Coderre stepped into the job. He had never publicly expressed any interest in municipal-level issues, but he was a recognized political name.

        What was terrifying about Projet’s convention?

      • Joey 11:52 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        This kind of thing (the endorsement of rooming houses, not the posturing) reminds me that there isn’t necessarily a huge amount of distance between Denis Coderre’s view of things and Valerie Plante’s. Not that you can just swap one for the other, but elections are designed to heighten differences, perhaps to an extent that stops being helpful. Granted I am more aligned with PM’s pet projects than Coderre’s (give me a REV over a Formula E any day), but a lot of these issues are likely closer to the margin than the core. Maybe Coderre as mayor with PM running most boroughs is a decent scenario?

        Of course most of us can’t really stomach Coderre’s posturing, but the PM equivalent (ah Luc, Alex Norris fighting with everyone on Facebook, etc.) isn’t much better. And we’ve all seen just how little can be accomplished *for* Montreal without a willing participant in the Premier’s office.

      • Joey 11:59 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        Forgot to add Joey’s first rule of politics: all politicians are assholes, especially the good ones.

      • Bill Binns 11:59 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        Defunding/Disarming the police and the per kilometer driving tax (on top of N America’s highest fuel taxes).

        Also no mention of where they are going to get the money they will desperately need in a year or two. Very alarming if you pay taxes rather than living off them.

        The funny thing is, I don’t think she will lose over any of that. She’s going to lose because she closed that damn road over the Mountain. This, more than anything else has made her into the “Bicycle Mayor”. My wife, who would fit in with the regular commenters here far better than I do (and voted for Plante last time, despises Plante because she walks everywhere, often with 2 dogs and is sick of dodging bikes on the sidewalk. Absolutely everyone I know in this town who is 55 or over is still furious about the road over the Mountain. Apparently, driving to the summit is a critically important post retirement activity in Montreal.

      • Joey 12:03 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        @Bill I think you’re right

      • Alex L 12:18 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        @Bill: Kilometer driving taxes are meant to replace fuel taxes, as electric vehicles become mandatory in Quebec (2035 is not far away).

        Defunding and disarming the police is something linked to our vision of society, I guess. Did you know that police forces are not armed in the UK?

      • Kate 12:36 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        It’s true that regular patrol police are not armed in the UK, although there are also special police squads that are armed.

        Joey, you’re right, I think, that with a Quebec government that has no need to please Montreal, there’s only so much any mayor can do.

      • david337 12:45 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        God help me, I’m also coming around to seeing a best case scenario of Coderre mayor and counsel/PM running the boroughs.

        Plante’s focus is all wrong for Montreal right now, and she has a very weak team around her. She should have been focused like a laser on housing and transportation, instead, she’s dicked around and accomplished nothing on either, and in the case of housing, to the extent she has done anything, it has been negative, trying to slow down the increase of housing, and looking at developers not as housing partners, but as an enemy or a source of cash.

        When it comes to city governance, the number one focus coming out the pandemic should be growth, and I have no confidence at all in Plante and her team to get this right. At least with Coderre, you know that growth is his mantra.

      • david337 12:46 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        That said, aside from their worst-in-class positions on zoning/development/housing, PM’s gangs have generally been excellent stewards of our neighborhoods.

      • Bill Binns 12:47 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        The UK does not have a 3000 mile border with an ocean of guns. The UK has also all but eliminated hunting which is one of the biggest obstacles to banning private gun ownership. I’ll get behind disarming the cops 10 years after the last murder by gun is committed in the city. I would never support defunding the cops. I’d vote right now to double the number of cops on the street if I could. Taxes be damned.

        I saw no mention of dropping fuel taxes in exchange for the per kilometer tax. Such a promise to do so in the future would be a lie. There is no such thing as a temporary tax in this town. This whole thing was just another provocation of drivers in the impossible attempt to get them to give up their cars for the pleasant, convenient and reliable STM.

      • Alex L 13:12 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        Taxes on fuel might not be dropped, but since the sale of gasoline cars will be forbidden in 2035, it will eventually disappear of its own.

      • Bill Binns 13:17 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        So until 2035 (should the ban on gas cars actually go into effect) drivers will pay both. Then we can hope that whomever is in power in 2035 will honor the promise of a long dead municipal party?

        Nice fairytale.

      • ant6n 14:49 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        As usual we see that neoliberals think that taxes are really bad, anybody who proposes using taxes to pay for things like infrastructure or the well-being of people is probably some sort of out-of-touch socialist or a leech on the proper tax payer people.

        The exception of course is if taxes pay for something they want (like a more oppressive police state), in which case taxes are an utter necessity.

      • dhomas 15:40 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        Most people I heard griping about the mountain road were either a) never going to vote for Plante anyway (for a variety of reasons), or b) from off-island, in which case who cares, they have no say.

      • CE 16:03 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        I’ve never once heard anyone in person complain about the mountain road closure.

      • walkerp 16:20 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        Yeah, I am highly skeptical that the mountain road closure is going to be an issue at all. That was blown way out of the proportion by the big money/big car media outlets and then further amplified by twitter goons. It got so loud because that is the one place where suburbanites go when they come to the city, probably on their once a year trip to Beauty’s.

      • Bill Binns 16:25 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        I don’t particularly care about the road on the mountain myself. I don’t think I have driven up there in 10 years. The age group that does care is also known for being reliable voters though. Let’s remember that Plante won with 51% of the vote. She can’t afford to lose anyone really and I doubt she has gained many fans while in office.

        Maybe it’s just the people I know (most of whom have dogs). We’ll see.

      • Chris 17:07 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        >b) from off-island, in which case who cares, they have no say

        If I’m not mistaken, business owners also get to vote in Montreal, and they don’t all live here.

        >Defunding and disarming the police is something linked to our vision of society, I guess.

        And what vision is that? Maybe we use different dictionaries but:

        defund: “prevent from continuing to receive funds.”
        disarm: “take a weapon or weapons away from (a person, force, or country)”

        Now, is that what defund/disarm advocates really mean? Because if so, no thanks. Usually, they actually mean they want the police to use force less often and only when necessary, and they want funding redirected away from militarization and towards ‘community policing’, and that kind of stuff. OK, sign me up! The defund/disarm terminology is *horrible* marketing. It doesn’t mean what it says on the package.

        Even in the US, polling shows only 18% support the “defund the police” movement. Partly because the name is just so stupid.

      • ant6n 21:57 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

        There´s a bit of a spectrum for activists who want to change the police.

        The most extreme are the police abolitionists, which I have encountered, people close to BLM, people of color. They say that the existence of police is worse for their communities than not having police at all would be. So they want to flat out abolish police… it`s easy to get into a long debate about how security would be provided in society without police, until you realize that its not their primary concern. Their point of view is that police are effectively the worst gang, getting rid of that comes first. To me, it´s quite a change of perspective, although I’m not sure how it translates into actionable policy.

      • Alex L 11:30 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

        Just a side thought, but isn’t it curious that non resident business owners and landlords have the right to vote, but not all permanent residents?

      • Tee Owe 14:09 on 2021-04-29 Permalink

        I am with Chris -(Chris+1) on the defund/disarm point – these words go way beyond the original intention and their use is confusing and counterproductive, they drive people away from an important issue

    • Kate 08:04 on 2021-04-28 Permalink | Reply  

      It was said to be cancelled, then media backtracked and said maybe not. But La Presse now says the Grand Prix is really not happening this summer.

      • Kate 05:10 on 2021-04-28 Permalink | Reply  

        Food prices are rising and are expected to keep climbing as costs for very basic commodities are high.

        I am no economist, but like the rental situation here, I see a tendency for prices to soar way out of proportion with necessity. With rents, it’s like:

        [–increased taxes and insurance–] + [—–whatever the landlord thlnks they can get away with—–]

        With food it’s the same:

        [–increased costs–] + [—–whatever the wholesaler and retailer thlnk they can get away with—–]

        And as prices rise, people become hypnotized to think $5 is reasonable for a cauliflower and $1500 for a studio apartment.

        Unfortunately, we all have to eat and sleep, so we can’t hold a general food and shelter strike.

        • DeWolf 10:43 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

          I think in the case of food it has less to do with price gouging than some basic shortages in labour and logistics. It’s very hard to find workers right now, which means farms can’t produce as much food. It’s also hard just to get anything from point A to B, which means food but also any sort of mechanical equipment farms might need to replace. There is a shipping container shortage around the world caused by last spring’s lockdown which is having a knock-on effect on a lot of industries.


          There’s also climate change which is apparently having an effect on crop yields.

        • david337 12:33 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

          So much food is imported from the US, where you’ve had a border shutdown and stricter enforcement under Trump (many food workers in the US are illegal immigrants), covid-related worker shortages in everything from lettuce pickers and meat packers to shipping and other supply chain.

          Seems pretty clear that we should expect inflation in food costs to continue into next year. Distressing, but luckily, food prices generally aren’t sticky, and they will come down again.

          More worrying is the effect that short term inflation in the cost of food stuffs will have on the rest of the economy.

      • Kate 05:07 on 2021-04-28 Permalink | Reply  

        Guillaume Lavoie, who was narrowly defeated by Valérie Plante in 2016 to head Projet, has joined Denis Coderre and will try for the borough mayoralty of Villeray‑St‑Michel‑Park Ex in November.

        • ant6n 07:31 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

          So does that mean Coderre appointed him candidate, or is he running inside Ensemble to be selected the candidate?

        • Kate 09:32 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

          Radio-Canada also has the story, albeit with slightly conditional verbs at the top.

          I suspect they met and Lavoie said he’d run for Coderre but not as a lowly councillor, only if a borough mayoralty was offered to him, and they’ve decided to crown him in VSMPE, where Giuliana Fumagalli, initially elected with Projet, was punted out of the party some time back. I don’t know what her odds of getting re-elected are like this time around but Coderre may have decided they’re not good.

          Notice also here that Coderre will be jilting Anie Samson, who was borough mayor for several terms before being unseated by Projet, and might well have expected to be invited back by Coderre.

        • DeWolf 10:45 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

          Wasn’t Samson one of the few Ensemble people who was critical of Coderre’s imperious return to the party?

        • ant6n 10:59 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

          Guilllaume Lavoie is kind of funny. He keeps posting pictures of various cufflinks on twitter. So he also used cufflinks to announce he’s gone to the dark side: https://twitter.com/glavoie_mtl/status/1387414163232894980

        • Kate 11:11 on 2021-04-28 Permalink

          DeWolf, Samson expressed mixed feelings not long after Coderre’s launch on TLMEP: “Samson […] se réjouit du retour de Denis Coderre dans l’arène municipale. Mais elle émet quand même quelques doutes quant à la transformation réelle de l’ancien maire.”

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