Updates from November, 2022 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 15:42 on 2022-11-08 Permalink | Reply  

    Slightly outside the Montreal remit here, but I recommend this Walrus piece by Martin Patriquin about how the Quebec Human Rights Commission mistreated its first Black president.

    • GC 10:56 on 2022-11-09 Permalink

      Thanks for sharing that.

      Obviously it’s possible she was both a bad boss AND the victim of mistreatment. Indeed, just the fact that she admits she had never overseen such a large organization means she probably came in not being so great at it–at least in the beginning. (Some are natural leaders, I suppose, but the rest of us have to work at it…)

      But, wow, there are so many red flags… She entered an organization that seemed to have redundant, underqualified managers and, when she questioned why, some of those managers complained about her? Hmm. (And, sure, she could have been biased in this but external consultants echoed the same thought…)

      And someone criticizing her…boots? Really?

      I’m also not too surprised she got push back on the smudging ceremony, but I wonder if they ever had a Christmas party at that oh-so-secular office.

      I also find it interesting that the woman who was famous for fighting against discrimination came into the Human Rights Commission and some thought she was “too focused on issues of race”. What level of focus would have made them comfortable, I wonder?

    • H. John 12:45 on 2022-11-09 Permalink

      In Le Devoir Michel David wasn’t impressed with Patriquin’s arguments:


    • Kate 14:31 on 2022-11-09 Permalink

      David starts out by expressing a general beef with Patriquin over his 2010 article about Quebec in Maclean’s, so you know he’s not on his side for starters. Then he ducks and weaves through the issue whether anyone parachuted into the role could have survived it. Since we don’t know the specifics of the charges against Tamara Thermitus, anyone can say anything about these.

      But from Patriquin’s article it seems clear Thermitus was meant to clean house, which means she realized at some point she was going to have to do two unpopular things: tell people to speed up procedures, and remove some unfit people from their very cosy well‑paid government sinecures.

      No amount of management training could make these actions palatable, and people are very likely to find them unfair, even if to the outside observer they’re not. In private businesses people mostly have to put up with diktats like this – accept change or leave – whereas in public life – well, you see what happened. It’s somewhat reminiscent of what happened to Sue Montgomery in CDN‑NDG: put a woman in charge of a bureaucracy that’s very set in its ways, which may be corrupt or full of dead weight, and then blame her when she suggests changes.

      Being a woman attracts a certain style of acrimony, and being both a woman and a person of colour so much more. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to see that. David doesn’t really have a cogent argument to counter it.

    • Tim S. 15:14 on 2022-11-09 Permalink

      I’ll just quickly point out that the current mayor of CDN-NDG is a woman of colour, and there’s none of the acrimony of the Sue Montgomery era. Meanwhile, as a citizen of the borough things seem to be humming along just fine, despite the terrible bureaucrats. She also got 9.7% of the vote, running as a well-known incumbent, so it’s not like she was a beloved figure thwarted by mysterious backroom boys. Can we finally accept that Montgomery just wasn’t good at the job and stop making it a gender thing?

    • Kate 16:53 on 2022-11-09 Permalink

      I thought of her, Tim S., and I hope she doesn’t run into such issues. She’s only been in the job a little over a year.

  • Kate 15:08 on 2022-11-08 Permalink | Reply  

    A documentary about the fabled West End Gang is now streaming.

    • Em 10:54 on 2022-11-09 Permalink

      I saw it and enjoyed it, although I felt there were some gaps and explanations that went missing somewhere along the line.

  • Kate 14:43 on 2022-11-08 Permalink | Reply  

    The Nilufar restaurant, a fixture on Ste‑Catherine West for decades, has to close, and it found out about the rent hike because of a rental listing, not because the landlord actually spoke to them.

    • MarcG 17:12 on 2022-11-08 Permalink

      Used to eat those $1 falafel sandwiches when I was a skinny vegan at Concordia in 2001. That neighbourhood has been changed dramatically since.

    • Josh 11:43 on 2022-11-09 Permalink

      Reminds me of a time I took a sick day and woke up when I heard keys entering the lock of the basement rental suite where I was living. I opened the door, and it was the landlord, showing the place off to a prospective buyer. No heads-up. Just thought no one would be home.

  • Kate 10:46 on 2022-11-08 Permalink | Reply  

    In one of our city’s famous weather reversals, following a summery weekend that shattered high temperature records, we may see the first snow this weekend.

    • Kate 10:45 on 2022-11-08 Permalink | Reply  

      Not the first time that a mayor of this city has made the point, but Mayor Plante said at a recent forum on municipal funding that the city needs new forms of revenue outside of the property taxes which are its main source of funding. Montreal has been leaning on Quebec for years about this, but the province clearly always has its reasons for keeping the city on a short leash.

      Update: Dominique Ollivier said on CBC radio Tuesday afternoon that property taxes account for about 2/3 of the city’s revenues.

      • Ephraim 11:18 on 2022-11-08 Permalink

        Why is this city so lacking in innovation? Here’s a bunch of new tax ideas that won’t bug most citizens….

        An escalating tax on the usage of public property for construction or building hazards. If you need to put scaffolding up on the public land, you pay… and the longer you do so, the more it costs…. so you build or fix your building faster

        Take over Tourisme Montreal and make it part of the city

        Rezone every AirBnB/Tourist accommodation where the house/apartment is no longer used as a residence. It’s commercial, pay commercial rates! (B&Bs, that serve breakfast are required by law to be residential and for there to be someone who lives there 100% of the time.)

        A time factor to permits that increases if you need to extend them

        Require the permit numbers be displayed on temporary “No Parking Signs” so that citizens can verify the permit and if there is a violation of the permit (for example, we had a company mark off both sides of the street for double the space they had requested), that you can easily fine them for violation of the permit… because the permit number is listed. If they don’t have a permit number posted on the sign, everyone can just ignore the signs

        Electronic parking tickets that allow the “green onions” to scan plates to issue tickets that have cellular connectivity so that GPS information and time can be automatically entered and that it’s much quicker to issue a ticket along with a photo. Especially for those who park temporarily in handicapped zones… you can just mail them the ticket so you don’t have to worry about the confrontation. The data can be mined for patterns that allow you to direct the agents for where to very and how often to maximize ticket revenue.

        A special non-occupancy tax after 3 months of non-occupancy and no construction permit. You want to buy a building and sit on it, with no one there… pay a price for that!

        I’m sure that I can think of a few others. All of which don’t rely on property taxes for the general population.

      • Kate 12:32 on 2022-11-08 Permalink

        I wonder how many of your ideas would have to get provincial approval first.

        I think there’s a reason the mayor is saying this, rather than simply enacting some new bylaws, which may be that she’s held back from doing so from lack of provincial collaboration. Montreal really is Quebec’s bitch.

      • Joey 12:50 on 2022-11-08 Permalink

        Scale matters most of all. There’s only so much more juice you can squeeze out of no-parking permits.

      • Ephraim 14:54 on 2022-11-08 Permalink

        @Joey – It’s easy to tell when you reach the right amount… when apprehension is so high that people don’t even contemplate not paying. But it’s actually NOT the meters that I’m talking about… there are plenty of other places, like timed zones, double parking and loading zones. The handicapped parking as stopping zones is really problematic… if a handicapped person sees someone in the spot, they have to park further away and they certainly aren’t responsible for an intervention. We don’t have enough loading zones, so even Doordash and UberEats use handicapped spots for loading zones. We can’t ask the agents to really deal with getting the person to move on… but if they send out enough tickets of the car in the spot along with the tickets, so it’s very difficult to contest it, people will learn to fear even stopping there.

      • Joey 20:01 on 2022-11-08 Permalink

        I was referring to the permits you get to occupy city property (for moving, construction, etc.). But the point was that all that revenue that you’d chase is a drop in the bucket compared to property taxes.

      • Ephraim 21:18 on 2022-11-08 Permalink

        @Joey – Yes, it is, but you have to find revenue that won’t antagonize the existing population. Moving is a minor thing… but construction is major. There are buildings that can have scaffolding around them for a long time, simply to avoid paying to do the work… we definitely don’t need to become another NYC in that way. But it also has another added bonus, if you increase the cost over time, it’s an incentive to get things done quicker.

    • Kate 10:29 on 2022-11-08 Permalink | Reply  

      A homeless camp under the Ville‑Marie has been issued an eviction notice by the transport ministry, who claim they want to do maintenance work in the area. Nakuset is quoted here as saying there aren’t enough shelter spaces, so these people may end up on the street.

      What a life, when all you’ve got is a cheap tent on gravelly land under a highway, and winter’s coming, yet you want to hang onto it.

    • Kate 09:50 on 2022-11-08 Permalink | Reply  

      The city recently tested the water square it installed in the place des Fleurs-de-Macadam on Mont‑Royal to see if it really would absorb the quantity of water we’d get during a massive downpour – and it did the job.

      It’s not really rocket science to realize that if the city is solidly paved, runoff has nowhere to go except the sewers and people’s basements, but if you punch a few holes here and there, water will have somewhere better to go. The city’s acting on this idea now.

      • shawn 11:11 on 2022-11-08 Permalink

        It’s a cool little square. The odd name – to my ears – is of course from a song by Jean-Pierre Ferland, whose family owned the gas station in this site. I had thought it had something to do with macadamia nuts having flowers but no, a “macadam” was an old type of road. All news to me.

      • shawn 11:26 on 2022-11-08 Permalink

        Oh and fwiw, here’s a 1969 NFB animated musical vignette with that song: https://www.onf.ca/film/fleurs_de_macadam_en/

      • DeWolf 11:35 on 2022-11-08 Permalink

        It’s one of the best new public spaces in the city. Not only because of its environmental benefit but because it was prototyped with a temporary installation, so the designers were able to observe how people use the space. And people were already in the habit of hanging out there so they instantly reappropriated it when construction was done.

      • shawn 11:56 on 2022-11-08 Permalink

        I didn’t know that. What sorts of things did they change, would you know?

      • walkerp 12:56 on 2022-11-08 Permalink

        Dang, I wish I had know about this test. Would have been cool to see. Anybody find any video of the test in action?

    • Kate 09:45 on 2022-11-08 Permalink | Reply  

      Francesco Del Balso, of the old Rizzuto gang, was shot at Monday in his car in Laval, but escaped injury despite at least six bullets having hit the vehicle. There’s been no arrest.

      Del Balso has dodged fate before. Daniel Renaud also reported that he broke parole conditions in 2018 to go to a Little Italy café because he wanted a good espresso.

      Guys like this, I don’t get it. Wouldn’t the smart thing be to lose a few pounds, maybe buy a wig, and go live somewhere else for awhile? Why do these gangsters who know someone’s after them go on hanging around their old haunts till they get plugged?

      • Blork 10:47 on 2022-11-08 Permalink

        One word: bravado. Anything else makes you a chicken.

      • walkerp 12:41 on 2022-11-08 Permalink

        It’s the world they know. Hard to give it all up, especially when you may be at just as much risk in some other city.

      • dwgs 10:36 on 2022-11-09 Permalink

        I always wondered the same thing about Tony Magi. Shot once, kidnapped once, had his car shot up when his wife was driving it, had a guy arrested near his home who was armed, yet still lived in the family home for years (albeit with a private security guard parked out front 24/7) until he was shot to death a 5 minute drive from his home at a construction site. He must have known it was coming eventually, why not sell everything and go live somewhere warm?

      • Kate 14:46 on 2022-11-09 Permalink

        dwgs, exactly. If you can afford 24/7 security, surely you can afford to go live in South America instead. If your enemies are gunning for you in NDG or Laval they won’t be looking for you in Santiago or Bogota.

      • Blork 18:38 on 2022-11-09 Permalink

        People who choose to live the organized crime lifestyle tend to have big egos and to be somewhat narcissistic. They are also somewhat social, but in a very exclusive way; as in, they are very social within their select group of similar characters. They don’t tend to be introspective or loners.

        Going to live in South America, where they have no “business friends,” no fawning acquaintances, no un-made juniors looking up to them, nobody afraid of them, (etc.) probably seems worse than being dead. People who choose that life know that they’re always walking a fine line, and that’s what gives them energy. It’s very unusual to see such characters simply retire or fade away. They need the thrill of the danger.

        (They’re not ALL like that obviously, but let’s just say that’s typical of the ones in the upper levels.)

      • Napoleon hill 21:31 on 2022-11-13 Permalink

        It’s an organize crime not a gang

    • Kate 09:22 on 2022-11-08 Permalink | Reply  

      The teenager accused of stabbing a teacher at John F. Kennedy high school last December has pleaded guilty, and will serve two years in youth prison. It hasn’t been made clear what the kid’s beef was with his art teacher, but he came very close to killing him.

      • Kate 09:20 on 2022-11-08 Permalink | Reply  

        It was reported Monday morning that a man was stabbed in Chinatown on Sunday evening. The victim succumbed to his injuries, becoming the 34th homicide of the year.

        • Kate 09:12 on 2022-11-08 Permalink | Reply  

          Both Toula Drimonis and Rima Elkouri have pointed comments on the handcuffing of a Black SUV owner on the weekend.

          A lie that’s been noted was the initial police claim that the vehicle door had visible evidence of tampering, as happens during some thefts, which they claimed was the reason they pounced on the man who approached it. Later it was reported that the vehicle, quite new, had no such marks at all.

          • Blork 12:06 on 2022-11-08 Permalink

            I’m sure I’ll take some shit for this, but I’m calling it as I see it while attempting to maintain objectivity.

            First of all, the fact that the cops apparently lied about the “visible damage” on the car indicates they’re covering up, or at least deflecting. They screwed up and they know it. I have no doubt that there’s some level of racism involved here, and it could easily be labeled as “systemic.” And the fact that they had handcuffs but no key is just plain dumb and incompetent. (All handcuffs use the same key; they’re intended for short-term attended restraint only, so they don’t need unique keys. So having cuffs and no key is just plain bad planning and is likely a protocol infraction.)

            But as for the rest of it, the cops were playing by-the-book from what I can see in the video. They remained calm, which is the most important thing given that the car owner was agitated, and (rightfully) angry. That alone is a textbook example of doing it right. While their demeanour was somewhat dismissive when it should have been apologetic, at least they were calm and kept things calm. The alternative is escalation, which would most definitely have ended badly, with bodily violence or worse. (Rima Elkouri opens her piece with “On aurait dit une scène tirée d’un mauvais film policier américain.” No, if it were a bad American cop movie, the car owner would have been on the ground with a cop kneeling on his neck, or bleeding out from gunshots.)

            There’s a comment in Toula’s piece about the fact that the cop still had the car owner by the arm, even though he knew he was innocent at that point. That’s just cop training. When you have an agitated person in handcuffs, you keep them close and hold them by the arm. Doesn’t matter what race the person is, or what state of mind, or whether they’re guilty or not; that’s just caution and (believe it or not) de-escalation.

            And as to the cops’ demeanour, I did the mental exercise of imagining being in their shoes with an angry man in handcuffs yelling and people filming — let me be more precise: I imagined a more cocky version of myself in that situation (cops tend to be cockier than I’ll ever be). How would I have reacted? Let’s forget about the fact that it was a black man wrongfully put in handcuffs for a minute. Imagine it’s your teenage kid yelling at you because they feel like you’re being “unfair.” That demeanour the cops showed is basically exactly the same as what a parent would show while waiting for their teenager to calm down so they can talk to them. Is it condescending? Yes. Is it human nature under the circumstances? Probably.

            I think there’s something akin to the Kuleshov effect going on here, in which the meaning we derive from a scene is affected by its proximity to something else. Intercut those condescending cops with a yelling teenager and we’re all like “yeah, been there, done that” but intercut the same thing with an angry black man in handcuffs and we’re all like “those cops are racists!”

            So yes, bad policing for sure. No doubt. Most likely racial profiling that set the whole thing off. But I’m not sure we need to read malfeasance or racism into every little gesture that followed.

            And no, this is not me “defending the cops.”

          • Blork 12:19 on 2022-11-08 Permalink

            TL;DR: the wrong-doing was in accusing the car owner in the first place, and then not having a key to the handcuffs. The rest of it seems to be not worthy of comment (at least based on what I saw in the video).

          • Ephraim 11:04 on 2022-11-09 Permalink

            @Blork – There was no need for the handcuffs in the first place. All they needed to do was identify the man from his driver’s licence. At that point, what was he going to do, run? And to what end? Seriously, they have the man’s address and name. It should have taken them all of 2 minutes to verify the driver’s licence, address and run the registration (especially because he had the keys.)

            Seriously, these cops need to be retrained… at their own cost. In fact, that should be a new punishment given out by the commission. You are suspended without pay while you are retrained in standard police measures and if you don’t do and pass the retraining, you lose your pension. Have a nice day!

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