Updates from June, 2022 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 18:09 on 2022-06-20 Permalink | Reply  

    Labour minister Jean Boulet says Quebec needs more robots, not more immigrants. But Quebec is happy to bring in temporary workers to save some industries, always without extending them the same rights as residents or citizens – essentially treating them as disposable robots.

    Meanwhile, refugees are waiting while their cases drag on slowly through our bureaucracies. And some experts chiefly worry about temporary workers diluting the pool of French.

    (Another tab pileup, another infodump.)

    • Ephraim 22:14 on 2022-06-20 Permalink

      Yes, robot nurses, robot doctors, robot SAQ employees, robot casino dealers, robot politicians…

    • maggie rose 23:05 on 2022-06-20 Permalink

      Ephraim – I like the idea of robot politicians. They don’t really need penthouses, do they?

    • Mitchell 07:24 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

      @Kate — your comment has historical resonance. If I remember correctly, it was RUR that introduced “robot” into English. And isn’t the root meaning of “robot” serf or slave?

    • Kate 08:08 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

      Karel Čapek coined the word from Czech robota (“drudgery, servitude”). Interestingly, according to the Wiktionary, “robot” had already been borrowed into German to describe a system of serfdom.

    • Ephraim 10:19 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

      To be honest, we don’t really need politicians at all. We could replace them with direct voting on key issues. Instead you would have ad hoc groups to further each political idea who would disappear after the vote. And government bodies which would have to report on why or why not we should implement each idea. Just make it easier to vote than having all those referendums in Switzerland. The idea of Politicians is sort of archaic in the age of information. We need someone with grand ideas and charisma to lead us in the right direction, but most of the rest of it could be voted on our smart phone and be done with it. We could make the National Assembly into an old folks home… oops… it already is.

    • Kevin 10:43 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

      It’s always demographics. It’s just amusing that it’s catching the boomers off-guard.
      It’s the Catherine Koetter cartoon “I can’t believe it. I forgot to have children” writ large.


    • JaneyB 11:57 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

      @Ephraim – unfortunately, we need politicians and parliaments because the general population is often ignorant and/or busy. Imagine the world that QAnon people could make on a committee. I’m recalling even benign cases like ‘Boaty McBoatface’. The general population has flashes of wisdom but they are sooo defenceless against real manipulation – as we’ve been seeing for these past smartphon-ian years.

    • Ephraim 13:40 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

      @JaneyB – That would be the point of the ad hoc committees, they would be the point of information. Look at Switzerland… it’s mostly referendums. What we really need is a Prime Minister and leaders of the opposition. We don’t really need the individual members of parliament. In many cases, they are the same people who would have voted for Boaty McBoatface anyway.

      I once spoke to my MNA (MM from SQ) and I asked about their view of the Generations Fund…. and basically they just wanted to spend it all, not even a thought about what this might mean for future generations. Quickest way to lose my vote… steal money from babies.

    • Chris 10:02 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

      Ephraim, only 43% of eligible Ontario voters could be bothered to vote last month, and those elections are only every 4 years. If you think people will be bothered to vote in even more frequent direct voting, I have a bridge to sell you.

    • Ephraim 13:28 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

      Chris… they might, if you do it on your smart phone. But let’s be realistic, not voting is agreeing to accept everyone else’s choice… That’s why there is a fine under the Hare method of voting.

      In fact, we could require a quorum majority in order to pass any laws that have a spending attached… salary increases beyond inflation, any new spending, but not require it for savings. It would be almost impossible to increase taxes! I bet they would found incredible ways to save money if they couldn’t easily increase taxes and they wanted salary increases in government. Ah,so much innovation from lack of ways to simply tax more or spend more…

    • Joey 16:07 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

      @ephraim wouldn’t it be simpler to just hand over the keys to the CPC?

  • Kate 16:52 on 2022-06-20 Permalink | Reply  

    Le Devoir looked into how the city is using traffic light timing to keep traffic moving. It’s interesting to know that it’s the major north-south streets that are given priority, among other things.

    • mare 23:21 on 2022-06-20 Permalink

      I know traffic lights that have many hours per day a cop pressing a button to extend green cycles. In construction zones, but also elsewhere. What a waste of money, a robot could do this. Or it could be done from a distance if traffic lights were linked and computerized. But they’re not, and never will be, because even new or upgraded roads get old fashioned traffic lights with one control box per intersection.

    • Meezly 09:40 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

      I’ve noticed this living by Ave du Parc. It takes way longer to wait for the light to change in order to cross Parc compared to the intersecting east-west streets.

    • Chris 09:41 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

      Jean Boulet, is that you? 🙂

  • Kate 08:33 on 2022-06-20 Permalink | Reply  

    The Gazette has an English translation of André Pratte’s weekend piece in La Presse on how individual rights in Quebec are being weakened under the CAQ, which is also working to bring all powers under the National Assembly, not the courts.

    A useful takeaway from Pratte is that, while the Canadian charter of rights is a fundamental document that can’t easily be amended, the Quebec charter can be changed at will by the government of the day – and we know the CAQ is bent on making that kind of change.

    • Kate 08:01 on 2022-06-20 Permalink | Reply  

      Pie-IX is a street of many worksites. From the reconstruction of the overpass at Henri‑Bourassa to the long years of building the SRB, businesses along Pie‑IX have endured difficulty – and soon the Pie‑IX bridge to Laval will have to be rebuilt too.

      • Thomas 12:00 on 2022-06-20 Permalink

        Picturing the intersection of Henri-Bourassa and Pie-IX in my mind’s eye, I have no idea what the overpass being referred to could possibly be. As far as I know, that is a standard, at-grade intersection with traffic lights. Unless maybe there used to be an overpass there that was demolished before my time…?

      • Thomas 12:13 on 2022-06-20 Permalink

        Yep, demolished in a few years ago apparently. Must have been crazy back in the day since the article refers to the former structure as an échangeur, which is usually used in the context of freeways.

      • Mark 12:33 on 2022-06-20 Permalink

        Here’s what it looked like before the teardown in 2012-2013. Basically, Pix-IX went under HB, with a couple ramps to connect the two.


      • Spi 15:18 on 2022-06-20 Permalink

        The Pie-IX bridge to Laval has been under construction for 2 years already, we’re closer to the end than the beginning at this point.

      • Thomas 17:30 on 2022-06-20 Permalink

        Interesting to see the old configuration; if it was torn down in 2013 I would have just missed it. I suppose it’s better now, but it’s still a gigantic North American intersection best avoided unless you’re in a car.

        But once the longest construction of two bus lanes in the history of the world is complete, hopefully the BRT service will prove to be a vector of development for Pie-IX.

    • Kate 07:56 on 2022-06-20 Permalink | Reply  

      The federal government is putting $64 million into hosting a section of the COP15 conference on biodiversity in Montreal this October. The event was to have taken place in China, but Covid lockdowns in that country, plus Canada making an offer the UN couldn’t refuse, has brought the conference here. Between 12,000 and 15,000 visitors are expected.

      Update: TVA is putting the news in the conditional tense and also in December rather than October.

      Second update: Tuesday morning it seems to be firm news that the conference will be held here in December. Will China express annoyance at losing it?

      • Robert H 13:23 on 2022-06-20 Permalink

        Ottawa à la rescousse ! Voilà le type d’événement qui pourrait être tout aussi prestigieux pour Montréal que le Grand Prix. La COP15 apporte un autre type de notoriété et s’aligne sur les objectifs progressistes de la ville. Mais compte tenu des deux années habituellement nécessaires à la préparation, je me demande comment la ville pourrait être prête à accueillir un tel grand rendez-vous en octobre. Avec le soutien de l’administration Trudeau (64 millions, c’est un engagement !), la ville pourrait se rallier à temps. Je pense que la chance d’accueillir cet événement avec succès en vaut la peine. D’ailleurs, malgré le froid, Montréal au début du mois d’octobre peut être la période la plus éblouissante de l’année.

      • Kate 16:38 on 2022-06-20 Permalink

        It really is, Robert H – cool and crisp and beautiful. But the feds also just pledged $5 billion to NORAD – probably not entirely stupid with Putin on the warpath, but that’s an engagement and how.

    • Kate 07:51 on 2022-06-20 Permalink | Reply  

      A topless demonstration by women at the Tam Tams took place Sunday. This brief CTV piece doesn’t mention the number of participants nor whether there was any police intervention or other trouble, so the assumption is that it was not a big event.

      • Kate 07:34 on 2022-06-20 Permalink | Reply  

        Delivery of the REM will be delayed another year because of issues inside the Mount Royal tunnel. Costs will inevitably rise again too.

        I bet they wish they hadn’t relied on using the hundred‑year‑old passage for the project.

        • Robert H 12:01 on 2022-06-20 Permalink

          Oui, on aurait pu éviter un tel gâchis avec un tout nouveau tunnel. Mais sans le projet REM, auraient-ils découvert tous ces dangers dans un tunnel déjà utilisé quotidiennement par des milliers de navetteurs ? Donc, pas de surprise ici. Après les conclusions de la CNESST, cela était prévu. Et bien sûr, le temps, c’est de l’argent. Mais, la sécurité avant tout !

        • Kate 16:36 on 2022-06-20 Permalink

          Peut-être le tunnel aurait été satisfaisant pendant des années, avec quelques trains par jour. Mais ils l’agrandissaient et essayaient de le rendre “plus sûr” et voilà.

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