Updates from June, 2022 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 22:10 on 2022-06-01 Permalink | Reply  

    A man murdered Wednesday evening in a Laval restaurant has been identified as Bernard Cherfan, described by La Presse as a businessman close to organized crime figures including Stefano Sollecito and Frédérick Silva. A killing like this is inevitably seen as a move in the dangerous game over who’s running the local mob.

    Update: TVA is really covering this, with a witness statement, thoughts from a retired cop on how hit men put innocent onlookers at risk, facts about the murdered man and more.

    Otherwise it’s a slow news day.

    • Kate 20:27 on 2022-06-01 Permalink | Reply  

      The city is creating a housing committee to advise it on creating social affordable housing, to be led by a triumvirate composed of Benoit Dorais, the president of developer Broccolini, and a leading community representative. As the mayor says here, all this should have started happening ten years ago.

      • SMD 03:23 on 2022-06-02 Permalink

        Affordable housing, not social housing. The definition of which can be quite murky.

      • Margaret 08:00 on 2022-06-02 Permalink

        Given the Montreal Childrens’ Hospital site fiasco, developers should be required to have the social / affordable housing component built and occupied before being allowed to continue on with the rest of their project, from which they will reap huge profits for years to come.

      • Kate 08:32 on 2022-06-02 Permalink

        SMD, extremely cromulent observation. It’s a supremely weasel word. Affordable – for whom? Others are asking the question.

      • Joey 09:43 on 2022-06-02 Permalink

        How much longer are we going to promote ‘affordable’ housing policies that require developers to act against their interests before we realize it will never work? Take all that money and energy and focus on two things:

        1. Major expansion in the housing supply, with a focus on the kinds of housing that are particularly scarce (e.g., anything that isn’t a 500-sq-ft apartment, but especially two- and three-bedroom units for families). There’s only so much construction capacity, both in materials and labour, so governments will have to manage the trade-off decisions among potential projects – the focus should be on sustainability and density.

        2. Tackle the affordability issue on the demand side by making money available (loans? Grants? A mix?) to those priced out of the housing market. This includes better rent control and tenant protections. Let the developers build and use the state’s money to help citizens overcome the affordability hurdle.

        Relatedly, I saw an interesting infographic on twitter the other day that showed that about a third of the sale price of a new housing unit in Toronto goes to government, in the form of taxes on the sale as well as the various permits, etc. I didn’t realize how lucractive new housing starts are to governments. Only about 10% winds up as developer profit: https://twitter.com/benmyers29/status/1531732342385127425?s=20&t=9cvPgbhtA68bP95PqaFyLg

      • GC 09:45 on 2022-06-02 Permalink

        I’m curious how we would define the difference between “social” and “affordable” housing. Not that I can’t see the difference…I’m just not sure how to articulate it. My condo is affordable to me, obviously, but not to everyone. (And I suppose it would be peanuts to someone wealthy…) I am glad that I bought when I did, though, as I’m not sure I could afford to buy in my hood now.

      • Kate 11:04 on 2022-06-02 Permalink

        I believe social housing is pegged at 1/4 of whatever the tenant is bringing in, be it a low salary or some form of social benefit. Whereas “affordable” is probably relative to the average cost of a similar space at the moment.

      • SMD 13:58 on 2022-06-02 Permalink

        @GC, by my understanding social housing is socialized, in that there is some form of public ownership and control. This could be owned and run directly by a level of government, or by a cooperative or other type of non-profit. Affordable housing includes unit owned by private, for-profit entities but whose price is kept lower than market value by government policy or subsidies.

      • Kate 21:16 on 2022-06-02 Permalink

        It has to be socialized or else speculators will flock around like the vultures they are, and soon the “affordable” places will be the same price as anything else.

      • GC 23:51 on 2022-06-02 Permalink

        Those seem like reasonable definitions. I’ve probably used the terms interchangeably in the past, without really thinking about it.

    • Kate 16:41 on 2022-06-01 Permalink | Reply  

      Mont-Royal Avenue will become a sort of linear park all summer, closed to traffic between the Main and Fullum as it often has been in the past.

      “L’avenue risque d’être animée sur le plan culturel.”

      • Kate 16:35 on 2022-06-01 Permalink | Reply  

        There will be more than 50 roadwork sites in the Montreal area this summer.

        • Blork 16:59 on 2022-06-01 Permalink

          That’s about 10% of what there usually is, innit?

        • Kate 20:22 on 2022-06-01 Permalink

          CTV says it will be worse than last year.

        • Ephraim 11:27 on 2022-06-02 Permalink

          Well, they have completely killed Avenue des Pins. The work that was supposed to be done by last December, is still going strong and they have hardly started on the second half, which was supposed to be done by the end of this year.

      • Kate 16:15 on 2022-06-01 Permalink | Reply  

        François Legault is promising us an unspecified payout if the CAQ is re‑elected this year. Bread and circuses next, I suppose.

        Legault is also planning to monitor statistics on use of French at home. I wish this was the Beaverton, but it’s not.

        • Kevin 16:43 on 2022-06-01 Permalink

          If Levesque were still alive, he’d be ecstatic that the knowledge of French in Quebec had increased to its current level of 94.5% (it was 89% in 1977).

          Monitoring the use of French in the bedroom is the only way to say that use of the French language is in decline.
          Coming up with hypotheticals that French won’t be spoken at home in Quebec in 50 years is delusional.

        • EmilyG 17:00 on 2022-06-01 Permalink

          That’s not even secretly a bribe, that’s openly a bribe.

          I used to speak more French at home when I lived alone, and would make phone calls in French.

        • Uatu 21:05 on 2022-06-01 Permalink

          I’m waiting for the OLF inquisitors to show up with voice recordings from Helix to stop doubleplusungood behavior against the state

      • Kate 12:23 on 2022-06-01 Permalink | Reply  

        Quebec has ended is ending the health emergency that began in mid‑March 2020, with a few remaining rules like masks on public transit and in health facilities.

        • steph 14:25 on 2022-06-01 Permalink

          *is ending in december 2022.

          I’m a provincial government employee. Covid, the health emergency, is what’s finally allowed me to work from home after dozens of years of asking for it. I love it, I never want to go back to the office. The needs of my job allow me to do all my work remote. With the end of the pandemic, I’ll have to go back to the office december 2022. That gives me (my union) 6 months to finalize negotiations to allow WFH.

          To date, they gave me no equipment aside from a 400$ allowance to equip myself. I’ve been working with my personal computer & personal phone. Rediculous. “It’s a crisis, be thankful for having a job, thanks for helping out, everyone has to do their part”. 2% increases with 7% inflation, it’s no wonder everywhere has retention problems. As a person, government services have become Kafkaesque and near impossible to obtain. Front line employees seem simply trained to pass the buck, managers are impossible to find. Blaming computer systems is flagrant and everyone just shurgs. The pandemic only agrressed these budding problems. I hope we make it out alright, but I have very little hope that the younger generations will have a decent quality of life.


        • JaneyB 07:55 on 2022-06-02 Permalink

          I’ve actually found a lot of government-type services better under WFH. I’ve chatted on the phone with line-workers from banks, tax, EI, Videotron, universities etc and almost universally, they’re all in noticeably better spirits than when they have to work at the office. Also, they end up being more helpful and more resourceful. I hope most places like that keep WFH for most of the week. Teaching (adults) online, which is my case, is a bit aggravating and/or weird but is tolerable. That should go back to mostly onsite but lots of other jobs should stay mostly WFH, I think. A few days a week onsite is probably necessary for networking and job mobility – key for younger workers and the pre-retirement crowd. I’m optimistic about this great work experiment; this could radically the real estate market in a good way by allowing people to live outside the big cities (provided government monitors and fosters it – possible in QC).

        • Joey 08:50 on 2022-06-02 Permalink

          I think what steph is describing is largely a function of Willam Baumol’s “cost disease,” which (quoting wikipedia) “is the rise of wages in jobs that have experienced little or no increase in labor productivity, in response to rising salaries in other jobs that have experienced higher productivity growth.” It originated in a study of the performing arts – Baumol and his colleague William Bowen observed that there haven’t been any productivity gains in classical music performance, basically, ever. A string quartet playing Beethoven requires just as many people working for just as long as it did 200 years ago, and yet the cost of putting on a performance has increase substantially.

          The authors concluded that this is an inevitable result of labour productivity gains in other sectors of the economy that have driven wages up; you have to pay musicians more than in the past because they could get relatively better-paying jobs doing something else. So even though performance hasn’t gotten any more productive (from an output-per-employee-hour perspective), you have to pay musicians salaries large enough to entice them to not become widget-makers or hedge fund assholes.

          Here’s a good, quick overview of the implication of cost disease for government budgets: https://aneconomicsense.org/2013/09/10/the-big-squeeze-on-government-consequences-of-baumols-cost-disease/

          “And the nature of what government provides makes it impossible to match the productivity growth rates that one has seen most spectacularly in goods such as microchips and hence computers, but more generally in manufacturing and agriculture. Government services, like many services, have had improvements in productivity, but at rates that simply cannot match the pace of productivity growth possible elsewhere.

          “Hence, because of Baumol’s Cost Disease the relative price of government services should be expected to go up over time. This is precisely what has been observed. There is no reason to attribute this rise in the relative price to allegations of corruption or lazy government workers. It is of course possible that corruption and lazy workers exist, but for this to have caused the rise in the relative price over time one would need to make the case that corruption and lazy workers are not only worse now than before, but that they have become steadily worse over time. There is no evidence that supports this.”

      • Kate 09:03 on 2022-06-01 Permalink | Reply  

        Park Extension is losing a key community hub, possibly for several years, possibly for good. The William Hingston centre is no architectural gem, but it includes a library, a school, gyms, food banks, and room for various community groups. It’s one of those low, crawling concrete monstrosities Quebec built for educational purposes in the late 1960s and early 1970s and is now falling apart – but the community has few other spaces it can use, and there’s no guarantee the CSSDM will rent space to community groups again after the repairs are completed.

        Update: The CSSDM is also selling a building in Ahuntsic that has also functioned as a community hub.

        • Kate 08:57 on 2022-06-01 Permalink | Reply  

          Advocates of gun control, including a survivor of the Polytechnique massacre, are in favour of the new federal gun law with some caveats but, not surprisingly, guys who sell guns are not.

          Police are doing a major operation Wednesday morning against illegal arms traffic.

          • Kate 08:51 on 2022-06-01 Permalink | Reply  

            Kids as young as 11 have been working in Quebec, and there’s no law against it. The labour minister is having a time of reflection.

            • Meezly 10:48 on 2022-06-01 Permalink

              “Jean Boulet was asked to comment on the fact that more and more youngsters between the ages of 11 and 14 are getting jobs. He said, in response to Liberal MNA Marwah Rizqy, that the situation was not “normal”…”

              Maybe our current labour shortages also has to do with Bill 21 and 96 scaring away past, present and future immigrants? If this was such an “extremely important” issue that “worries him enormously”, perhaps this should’ve taken precedence over 96?

            • Kate 11:10 on 2022-06-01 Permalink

              Meezly, you’ve got to understand, nothing is more important than preserving the French language in Quebec, and that includes employment conditions as well as the environment, health care and everything else.

            • dhomas 14:21 on 2022-06-01 Permalink

              My dad is 75 years old. Today, he was offered a job at a shoe store he was at as a customer. The labour shortage is definitely pinching the retail sector.

            • Meezly 15:03 on 2022-06-01 Permalink

              I’m well aware, Kate. Even the exploitation of minors. But I still had to make my dig!

            • Kate 17:57 on 2022-06-01 Permalink

              dhomas, when does he start?

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