Updates from December, 2022 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 11:08 on 2022-12-04 Permalink | Reply  

    The Journal really loves throwing fuel on this fire. Here’s L’anglais, future langue du travail à Montréal ? which ignores actual facts, like that more people are working here in French than at any time in the 20th century, but certainly will cause some sputtering over Sunday brunch.

    • Marc R 22:31 on 2022-12-04 Permalink

      In my experience English is the de facto language of work in companies whose products are software and services and whose clients are businesses (as opposed to individuals). There is no meaningful barrier to delivering software or services to clients based elsewhere in North America, and those fields are dependent on communication skills; where your client is anglophone, those communication skills are necessarily utilized in English. Folks whose communication skills are highly developed in English are mostly (but not exclusively) folks who speak English at home and who grew up speaking English. There’s a self-reinforcing, self-perpetuating dynamic here.

      At the same time, what percentage of Montreal business depends on B2B SaaS or management consulting sales? I suppose you could group tourism in here too (as it also depends on English-language communication skills) but there’s a whole world of industry where that skill is not a critical success factor. You could equally read this article as a lament that Montreal’s industry is declining– if my Montreal business is manufacturing (say) Tylenol it doesn’t matter if my employees speak no English, but if my business is implementing (say) Salesforce for PMEs in the ROC or US I need folks who can talk to clients in English (and/or are sufficiently bilingual to translate to devs whose first language is neither English or French).

      Certainly if you want to scale your software company you need your sales team to speak English, your implementation team to speak at least English, and your devs to understand client documentation in English.

      I get that this comment is a big complicated mess, but so is this Journal article…

    • shawn 12:28 on 2022-12-05 Permalink

      Also a Radio-Canada article today about a marked in increase in francophone African student visas. If what this is really about is the strengthening of the French language, presumably they’ll be welcomed with open arms by the Quebec nationalist base? I certainly hope that’s the case. We’ll see.

    • Joey 15:10 on 2022-12-05 Permalink

      If you’re producing Tylenol, you probably need English speakers on your procurement/manufacturing side in order to order the necessary ingredients that are only produced in other countries… Basically, if you want to do any kind of business beyond the strict Quebec borders, you need some English-speaking capacity. I am sure Francois Legault spoke lots of English when he ran Air Transat.

    • Meezly 17:37 on 2022-12-05 Permalink

      What a narrow-minded, fear-mongering article that refuses to look at the big picture. The author compared Montreal with Quebec city in terms of immigration and language, and if I’m reading between the lines correctly, is postulating that there are too many English-speaking immigrants that are diluting the francophones of French ancestry cuz how can we explain that the increase in English as a working language is not observed in Quebec City??

      Um, maybe if you used some basic observation skills, he’d know that Montreal is the province’s financial and business epicentre, while Quebec City is not? Quebec City may be able to operate in an island of francophones but there are still many international companies with hq’s or branches in Montreal, y’know who employ people, inject $$ into the local economny, etc.

      Montreal also has two large English universities that draw tons of international students, a good portion which end up staying in Montreal after they graduate, esp. as Marc R pointed out, in the tech industry. Quite a few talented Concordia computer science graduates work or worked at my Montreal-based US-owned software company.

      It really makes me wonder how bad the talent pool/brain-drain could be if the Legault and the QC media keeps up its anti-English rhetoric.

      From my own experience, when a long-term developer in my software team left, we had to search far and wide for a suitable replacement, as his field of expertise was very specialized. We finally lucked out and found one, a recent immigrant who studied his specialized field overseas in his home country and did his masters in Concordia. He was pretty psyched to find a job that would utilize his skills, and he and his wife had even bought a house, planning to settle here long-term.

      But Bill 95 may change all that, as his wife teaches at Dawson college. If her job is cut because of Bill 95, they’re gonna have to move to Ontario, cuz really, this guy can work anywhere and we’re hoping that he’ll still want to work for us remotely, if it came to that. It’d really suck if he decided to find a job in ON.

  • Kate 10:53 on 2022-12-04 Permalink | Reply  

    There’s a tempest in a teapot this weekend about Carey Price putting up an Instagram post against federal firearms legislation. Price is not an authority in law or in criminology so we can dismiss his views, but people are upset about it.

    • JaneyB 11:29 on 2022-12-04 Permalink

      He’s from Western Canada; I’m not surprised. Everyone hunts out there. Still, he’s not thinking clearly: people don’t need a semi-automatic rifle to hunt successfully. Probably people need to do some target practise instead.

    • Chris 13:03 on 2022-12-04 Permalink

      >Price is not an authority in law or in criminology so we can dismiss his views

      I mean, neither are you, so we can dismiss your views too. 😉 And mine too! But we’re reading your blog, so we’re presumably interested in your views. Likewise, if you’re following Price’s socials, you’re presumably interested in his views. I don’t get why so many get bent out of shape because someone is expressing a view they disagree with.

    • Kate 13:14 on 2022-12-04 Permalink

      People are annoyed because Price is using his fame as a soapbox, a situation which is not similar to mine. If people are following him, it’s most likely because of interest in him as a sports figure, not to find out what he thinks about issues. He’s free to express himself, of course, but many sports figures who stray out of their lane end up falling on their faces.

      Not only did Price speak against the legislation, he spoke in favour of the group CCFR which recently put up specials with the code POLY. Doing this as the anniversary of the Polytechnique massacre approaches – a key event in the history of fighting for gun controls and a dark day in the history of Montreal – demonstrates his tone‑deafness to the city where he made his fame.

    • Blork 13:40 on 2022-12-04 Permalink

      I’m also annoyed by the bullshit angle. In his tweet he’s holding a shotgun, which might be pump-action but looks more like a semi-automatic. In either case, that firearm is not threatened by Bill C-21.

      Then the Conservatives pile on with additional layers of bullshit. Poilievre says:

      “Hunting is a great Canadian tradition. Trudeau’s attempts to ban hunting rifles are an attack on rural and Indigenous people.”

      So suddenly the Conservatives are great defenders of Indigenous people. Right. Also, he says “hunting rifles” when Bill C-21 is clearly aimed at assault and battle rifles as well as handguns.

      The one sticky bit that glues all this bullshit together is the inclusion of the Simonov SKS on the list. That’s an old Soviet-era rifle that has been used by guerrillas and insurgents around the world for decades. It was the precursor to the AK-47. Once the AK-47 came to prominence in the 1950s the Soviets and Chinese had all these heavy and clunky SKSs laying around so they sold them off around the world to armies and revolutionaries and anyone who wanted a bunch of cheap rifles. That includes the US, where millions of them showed up in the 1970s because they were dirt cheap (like $150 bucks each).

      These rifles are technically “battle rifles” but they’re in a middle ground between AK/AR style assault weapons and plain old hunting rifles. They look pretty much like old hunting rifles from the 1930s but they have a 10-shot clip and are semi-automatic. The only place where this contravenes the law (AFAIK) is that in Canada you can’t use larger than a 5-shot clip. However, there are adapters to make them 5-shot maximum, but they’re easily defeated.

      And no, Indigenous people don’t NEED those rifles for hunting, but that’s what many of them HAVE. If you outlaw them then you need to provide a replacement. Hand in your old SKS and we’ll give you a nice new Remington 30-30. Sounds like a pretty simple solution.

      But the main takeaway here is that the Conservatives are using the grey-area nature of the SKS (is it a hunting rifle or a battle rifle?) to imply that Bill C-21 is designed to take away people’s hunting rifles.

  • Kate 10:09 on 2022-12-04 Permalink | Reply  

    COP15 pieces of the day: CBC explains what it is, the Guardian ponders recent difficulties between Canada and China, the Globe & Mail has a piece on Indigenous leaders and their role at the meeting, and the Gazette talks to Innu people about their frustrations at Quebec’s failure to protect caribou.

    Radio-Canada is reporting on the 300 delegates to last summer’s AIDS conference who have asked for asylum in Canada. That this is being reported on the eve of COP15 – for which visas have been delayed in some cases, as they were for the AIDS conference – is bound to be seen as a predictor of future events.

    Sunday, the Journal is emphasizing the fears of merchants close to the fenced‑off area around the Palais, stoking anxiety about possible riots, breakages and theft. I say again to anyone thinking of demonstrating: be very aware of agents provocateurs in your midst.

    Expect a COP15 post daily, with local as well as worldwide reports on the meeting.

    • Ephraim 18:56 on 2022-12-04 Permalink

      We really need to change the language. There is a significant difference between China and the CCP.

    • Kate 19:52 on 2022-12-04 Permalink

      Ephraim, when we read or write “difficulties between Canada and China” we tend to mean between the governments of these countries, and not the feelings of the individuals living in them. I don’t think that’s susceptible to misunderstanding.

    • Ephraim 21:07 on 2022-12-04 Permalink

      There is a significant difference, Canada is currently represented by the Liberals/NDP but can also be the Liberals or the Conservatives. But represents Canadians in a transitory fashion.

      But China and the CCP are the one and the same. And the CCP does not really represent the Chinese people, other than saying that they do. In the same way that a self-appointed principal of a school represents the students or even the CEO of a corporation represents the employees

  • Kate 10:03 on 2022-12-04 Permalink | Reply  

    The wind picked up Saturday evening around sunset. At its peak, 70,000 Hydro‑Quebec customers were in the dark, and some still are on Sunday morning.

    • Kate 10:01 on 2022-12-04 Permalink | Reply  

      A man died in a vehicle fire following a collision in Rivière‑des‑Prairies overnight. CTV’s description says “He was then hit head‑on by another vehicle travelling in the same direction” which doesn’t quite compute.

      • Blork 10:44 on 2022-12-04 Permalink

        CTV story has been updated to say “rear-ended.”

      • Kate 11:09 on 2022-12-04 Permalink

        I’ll send in an invoice : )

      • mare 11:24 on 2022-12-04 Permalink

        Vehicles often spin after side collisions, so if he spun 90 or 180-ish degrees it could have been head-on. And maybe with already inflated airbags, so really bad. I hope he was unconscious because dying by fire trapped in a car would be pretty grim.

      • Blork 12:32 on 2022-12-04 Permalink

        @mare, there was only one collision, so spinning isn’t a factor. The car was rear-ended and then burst into flames. That’s it. No second collision.

        It sounds freakish, as you whouldn’t expect a car to burst into flames from a rear-end collision. Ford Pintos from the 1970s we’re notorious for that, but since then there are safety features and designs to prevent it. But I suppose nothing is completely foolproof. Grim story.

      • Blork 13:18 on 2022-12-04 Permalink

        Update: after a bit of reading I’ve learned that while such fires are rare they are not unheard of. Apparently some car manufacturers still put the fuel tank in vulnerable places. Jeep was called out in one article, although it’s not clear if they have since changed the design. (Putting the gas tank BEHIND the rear axel is where the big danger is, as that means the tank can be ruptured in a rear-ender, and not even a catastrophic rear-ender is needed.)

        Another study showed that most vehicle fires occur with head-on collisions, but those are from the fuel lines being broken and ignited, which is a slower fire than having then entire gas tank blow open and ignite.

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