Updates from October, 2022 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 13:02 on 2022-10-19 Permalink | Reply  

    The number of Covid cases in school kids will not be revealed this fall. The education ministry isn’t even tracking the number of teacher absences, although surely those must be recorded somewhere.

    La Presse says 4000 kids are currently out sick with Covid in Quebec right now.

    General Covid status update from Aaron Derfel.

    • Ephraim 09:41 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

      Of course it won’t be revealed… and since we also don’t know which schools failed the 800… er 1000… er…. 1500 ppm air quality test, we won’t be able to correlated bad air to COVID cases and the failure of the Legault government to properly protect the health of our children (ie future tax payers)

  • Kate 12:56 on 2022-10-19 Permalink | Reply  

    Did Justin Trudeau confer with any constitutional lawyers before announcing that Quebec can pass a law dispensing with the oath to the sovereign?

    Update: As so often, Toula Drimonis has some relevant things to say on this issue.

    • steph 13:25 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

      Anything anti-constitutional is possible with the notwithstanding clause,

    • steph 13:30 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

      “ça prend des députés qui siègent et qui votent sur les projets de loi” – must swear the oath to pass a law to not swear the oath. feels like a bizarro reality.

    • Kate 14:59 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

      steph, Trudeau’s got to put his foot down sometime. Quebec’s already 2/3 of its way out the door as it is.

    • Tim S. 15:00 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

      Last weekend I was in St Jovite, and someone had gone around putting up a whole bunch of posters calling on people to protest the electoral system and demand reform. I saw no posters complaining about the oath to the king.

    • carswell 15:29 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

      Yeahbuy, Kate, doing the right thing might affect his top priority: his re-election chances. Same for the indefensible Baie du Nord project he recently greenlighted.

    • H. John 15:46 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

      The notwithstanding clause only applies to parts of the Charter of Rights. It can not be used in this case since the clause containing the oath is not in the Charter.

      I think Serge Joyal had a much more thoughtful response in Le Devoir:


    • jeather 18:17 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

      I absolutely do not care about an oath to the king. Trudeau needs to put his foot down (he won’t), but this is not where to do it.

    • Kevin 19:03 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

      In Canadian law, the monarch is the literal embodiment of Canada and its people and laws. He is the country made flesh.

      And under that law, swearing an oath to the King means swearing an oath to the laws of the country, nothing more: it isn’t an oath to him personally, it isn’t an oath to the Head of the Anglican Church, it isn’t an oath to the laws or people of the UK or the commonwealth. It is a legal fiction, a collective delusion, that we use to make the world work, in much the same way that we all believe money works.

    • Ian 19:28 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

      We should have gotten rid of the monarchy a long time ago. I don’t like how it’s being done here with legal tapdancing to get around it. I have always suspected that Quebec would lead the way in finally ditching the kings & queens nonsense but I was hoping for something a bit more direct. This just feels weaselly. Frankly I think France dealt with monarchy the best.

      Don’t even get me started on swearing oaths to God.

    • Chris 20:29 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

      >I absolutely do not care about an oath to the king.

      That’s nice. Other people do care.

    • Kate 09:19 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

      Ian: I think France dealt with monarchy the best.

      France cut off the heads of their king and queen in 1793, but by 1804 they had an emperor. Not much of an improvement!

      France did it in such a flashy way that we often overlook how the British had done similarly 150 years earlier, cutting off the head of King Charles I in 1649. But in 1653 they made Oliver Cromwell Lord Protector for life. So far from being no improvement, he was a horror, and after his son succeeded him and turned out to be a dead loss as a leader, the people brought back the monarchy in 1660 (and traded it in for one they liked better in 1688).

      Chris, rein in your snark.

    • walkerp 09:22 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

      It’s interesting too that this all started now that Elizabeth has died and Charles is the new king. I wonder if there is something inherently annoying about the latter that is triggering this when it never did before.

      Anyhow I am with Ian and others on this. We should not be swearing any oaths to anybody in Great Britain. This symbolic fealty to the king is one more small but significant brick in the edifice of horror that is colonialism and we need to take it down.

    • Kate 10:25 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

      walkerp, don’t think of it as an oath to a human being. It’s an oath to the fact that our system of government derives from the UK parliament (the Westminster system) and we feel some faith in the operations of this kind of government to approximate democracy, and if you’re an elected representative, that you will adhere to the rules that govern its proceedings.

      It’s perfectly easy to extract the idea of the oath from the actual person of the king.

    • Chris 10:33 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

      > don’t think of it as an oath to a human being.

      The oath literally has the name of a human being it in. Thinking of it that way is entirely correct.

    • Kate 10:52 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

      It’s an oath to the sovereign. The many people who took oaths to Eiizabeth II as part of their public service don’t have to retake a new oath to Charles III for that reason. The person embodies the idea, but the idea is the main thing.

      If Charles died tomorrow and William V became king, it would equally make no difference.

    • dhomas 18:51 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

      If it makes no difference, then why do it? Just take an oath to something else. Why do need to mention the monarchy of a different country at all?

    • Kate 21:45 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

      dhomas, technically it isn’t the monarchy of a different country.

  • Kate 12:54 on 2022-10-19 Permalink | Reply  

    Éric Duhaime, head of the Quebec Conservative party, says François Legault will experience the consequences of his acts if he excludes the party from the National Assembly.

    The Quebec Conservative party collected 530,000 votes, but did not win a single seat in the recent election.

    • Ian 19:31 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

      Knowing what little I know about Legault I am sure he is just quivering in his booties over this threat /s

      Why would he care about 530K votes when he is willing to happily villainize over 4 million people to no apparent consequence other than being merrily handed another majority by the rest of Quebec?

    • Kate 08:24 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

      Well, Legault does have to consider the factor of half a million voters being that far right. We should maybe be concerned that he’ll try to adjust CAQ policies to attract them back to supporting his party.

    • carswell 09:32 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

      I suspect that’s the most likely scenario, Kate. Legault doesn’t give them official party status and tries to co-opt their positions to further strengthen his base. Plus it gives him excuse to follow his own inclinations: moving his party and the province further to the right.

    • Kate 10:54 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

      I don’t even see how Legault could give them official party status when they have zero seats. Under the current system, they have no right at all to sit in the National Assembly.

  • Kate 09:35 on 2022-10-19 Permalink | Reply  

    Costs of natural gas have risen so much in the latest flare of inflation that the city’s bill to run the sewage treatment plant has almost doubled this year.

    But putting “explosion” and “gaz naturel” in the same headline? Priceless.

    • Blork 09:49 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

      I’m amazed that we use natural gas to treat sewage.

      Also: why is all of the island’s sewage treated at one plant in the east end. A turd from Ste-Anne-de-Belleview has to travel all the way to RDP for treatment? What happens if the plant goes down?

    • carswell 10:17 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

      Not rocket science to discharge a city’s waste downriver from its drinking water intake, beaches, fishing spots and aquatic recreational facilities, especially when the treatment plant has a history of releasing raw or semi-raw sewage during things like torrential rainstorms.

    • steph 10:22 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

      The sewage flows downstream, so by putting it at the east end we don’t want to pullute our own waters around the island. Let Quebec City downstream enjoy our treated turds. Lets not think too much of all the cities upstream from us.

      Generally the winds blow eastwards as well, which is why the industrial sector is in the east end.

    • Blork 11:42 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

      Um. This is sewage TREATMENT, so what’s discharged is treated water, not raw sewage (unless the plant breaks down).

    • Blork 11:43 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

      …and there are no treated turds. The turds are burned up by natural gas (hence the article).

    • John B 12:38 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

      We burn our turds? That seems wasteful. When I was a kid, in a much smaller town, we toured the wastewater plant for various school or Scouts outings. There, the turds were composted & sold back to the citizens as fertilizer.

      And yes, the water that came out was clean enough to drink. I think they used it to raise young fish for release or something.

    • Ian 19:38 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

      We should have named our soccer team “the Montreal Turdburners”

    • carswell 21:01 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

      Background on Montreal’s sewage treatment system. The article’s from 2009, which is long after the collector system was put in place and the plant was built, but it throws light on why it would be designed as it is.

      “While it’s an impressive system in terms of its scope and capacity, the treatment process itself leaves much to be desired. In fact, it’s actually one of the worst in Canada. A national “report card” issued by the Sierra Club in 2004 gave the city’s treatment process a grade of F-. The only other city to receive a grade worse than Montreal was Victoria, a place which doesn’t even have a treatment process in place yet.

      “The biggest problem is that the plant only provides primary treatment of its sewage. Most other cities across Canada deliver secondary and even tertiary treatment of wastewater resulting in far cleaner water. By comparison, the effluent from Montreal’s plant remains full of pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, and a multitude of other contaminants. While this pollution is usually kept clear from the shores of Montreal, it inevitably ends up somewhere downstream of the island where the effluent has been known to be wreaking havoc with the river’s ecosystem.”


    • Blork 21:15 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

      Maybe that’s why Quebec City doesn’t like us.

    • John B 10:04 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

      I think it has updated to some fancy ozone-using system since 2009.

    • carswell 10:16 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

      Yes but that’s irrelevant to the decision of the why the plant is located at the eastern tip of the island.

    • Janet 13:28 on 2022-10-20 Permalink

      While Victoria did have the shame of using the Strait of Juan de Fuca as its self-flushing toilet (at least the theory was that the tides took care of it), it now has a spiffy new treatment plant, about a five-minute walk from where my family lives. https://www.crd.bc.ca/project/wastewater-treatment-project

  • Kate 09:32 on 2022-10-19 Permalink | Reply  

    More discussion Wednesday on the traffic chaos foretold once the semi‑closure of the tunnel begins.

    • Kate 09:28 on 2022-10-19 Permalink | Reply  

      Québec solidaire – which has more seats than the PQ now, 11 to 3 – is now also planning to refuse the royal oath. François Legault has called his caucus to order, saying it’s all one big happy family.

      On radio this morning I heard some idea that Quebec could decide not to use the oath, but can it, while Quebec is still part of Canada? Like it or not, Charles III is head of state of Canada, of which Quebec is still a constituent part.

      The oath to Charles is not a promise to polish his shoes, it’s an oath to the sovereign as symbol of the state.

      • PatrickC 09:36 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

        QS and the PQ say they want to swear an oath to the people, but that’s significantly different from an oath to uphold constitutional legality. The distinction is clearer in the American system (flawed as it obviously is) than it is in Canada, but that’s the result of poor education and facile rhetoric.

      • qatzelok 11:14 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

        “The oath to Charles is not a promise to polish his shoes…”

        Maybe not. But it puts non-royals (even governing non-royals) on the same class level as shoeshine boys.

      • Kate 11:16 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

        Only if you believe in fairy tales, qatzelok.

      • Ian 19:37 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

        Either you believe in the divine right of monarchy, or monarchy is a scam. There’s no in-between.

        If you do believe that monarchy is valid, then they actually are better than all of the rest of us by birthright and yes, you are swearing an oath of fealty. Refusing to swear an oath to a king is not a betrayal of a country unless you believe the country is in fact an extension of not just the monarch’s power, but their effective identity as that which gives authority to the state itself.

        As Louis XIV said, “L’État, c’est moi”.

      • Tim S. 22:40 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

        Fun fact: there have been elected monarchs. In Poland, for example, or the Holy Roman Empire.

      • Kevin 22:52 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

        You can think whatever you want about the Oath of allegiance, but the only thing that matters is how it is defined in Canadian law, and it is most definitely not an oath of fealty.

    • Kate 09:15 on 2022-10-19 Permalink | Reply  

      City emergency rooms are over capacity and there seems little hope that this situation will improve.

      • mare 12:36 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

        Since the rest of our healthcare system (GPs, ‘walk-in’ clinics, CLSSCs, specialist clinics) is also overwhelmed and thinned out, some people need to go the ER (and have to wait 5+ hours) for relatively innocent things. Or they don’t, and then those innocent things become serious things. People are dying unnecessarily early of Covid, but also because of Covid.

        Anecdata: I had to have my stitches removed after hand surgery. The automatic message when you called the number to book appointments was ‘we’re busy, call back later’ and then it hung up. For three straight days. When I finally reached them the first appointment they had was in two weeks, so they said to go to the ER. Eventually I needed up removing them myself (it’s not rocket science, I’ve seen it being done, and it was my non-dominant hand) but that’s not for everybody.

        I’m very worried it will get worse, people working in healthcare are burning out and I personally know two people in their fifties who are looking if they can retire early, or leave the profession. The pipeline with new people is also very empty. Both at schools, new inscriptions are low, or by immigration, because all countries are fishing in the same pond and Quebec is not exactly welcoming at the moment.

      • Kate 15:01 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

        mare, you have no GP, or have never signed onto the list for one?

        I have a feeling you could still go to a CLSC to get stitches out.

        (Why is it that one of the few Dutch words I know is the word for a GP? huisarts!)

      • Joey 18:38 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

        @mare consider checking out local nursing services at your local pharmacy. I had a bad cut that didn’t require stitches but needed to be dressed by a nurse (in the ER, naturally). They sent me home with gauze and antibacterial pads and instructions to change the dressing in 48 hours and possibly again, depending on how it healed. I found an appointment at a nearby pharmacy a day later – for $20 a nurse took the time to undress the bandage, inspect the wound, clean it and re-dress it. She gave me gauze, a saline solution to clean it and even a pair of safety scissors. Best $20 ever spent. The finger is pretty much fine by now.

      • mare 19:06 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

        @kate, I’m lucky to have a GP, but he is also overworked (he took over all the patients of another doctor that went to a private clinic last year) and it takes 2 weeks before I can see them. And stitches need to be taken out at a certain point. I used to work with surgical equipment and I steam-sterilized it before using, and kept an eye out for possible infections. All is well, the skin has healed. This was just minor surgery, a carpal tunnel release. Using my hand is still very painful but that’s normal.

      • JaneyB 22:19 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

        @Joey – thanks for the tip. I’m really liking the expansion of services at pharmacies. It really fills some gaps.

    • Kate 09:13 on 2022-10-19 Permalink | Reply  

      Climate activists have chained themselves to an oil pipeline in the Port of Montreal, demanding it be shut down.

      • Kate 08:51 on 2022-10-19 Permalink | Reply  

        A project to build 400 condos in DDO where a strip mall currently stands has residents prepared to force a referendum to stop it. If you look at the described place on Streetview it’s not as if someone’s planning to put condos up to loom over single‑family homes – it’s definitely a “there’s no there, there” part of town.

        This is one reason why urban densification is so hard to achieve.

        The resident quoted is worried about traffic. But she did choose to live in a car‑dependent sector of the island.

        • carswell 09:04 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

          The quoted resident could instead work for improved public and active transit (e.g. extending the REM to the Dorval circle, regular 05:00 to 23:00 service on the Hudson-Dorion line, more and better busses, better bike paths). Funny how that’s not even mentioned (disclaimer: haven’t watched the interview). I wonder how many cars her family drives.

        • Kevin 09:09 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

          I used to work in a strip mall on that same block, and that’s the perfect place to put a large housing development. It’s right next to the highway so it’s not going to add anything significant to traffic for drivers — and it’s also right next to an REM station.

          That intersection should be revamped anyway to accommodate the REM station, and this seems like a good impetus towards that.

        • shawn 09:45 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

          Yes I’m from DDO (too) and it’s the perfect place. BTW it isn’t right next to the REM, which is on the other side of the Trans-Canada by Hymus, but it’s close enough,

        • Joey 13:33 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

          Cute to think that citizen-induced referedums will put a stop to REM-adjacent real estate development. Anyway, hard to imagine these NIMBYs will win, and good!

        • Ian 19:45 on 2022-10-19 Permalink

          It’s almost as if people don’t realize shunting the REM north of the 40 was meant specifically to create development “opportunities”. I suspect the main reason they didn’t run it along the 20 was that the are is already pretty built up and there would be a lot of NIMBY pushback from $$$ places like Baie d’Urfé that don’t want to be developed more. Fun fact: some of Montreal’s biggest developers live in Baie d’Urfé. Same groups are already putting up new developments north of the 40 where the new stations will be.

          This isn’t about YIMBYs or NIMBYs at this point, the REM stations will be hubs for all kinds of subdivisions and new developments, just like the metro system was in its day. Will this be good or bad? Who knows. It will create a lot of equity for the deciding class, that’s for sure.

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