Updates from December, 2022 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 20:43 on 2022-12-14 Permalink | Reply  

    I saw on Twitter recently that some SPVM police were spotted wearing Saint Michael patches on their uniforms. They’ve now been told to stop doing that under provisions of Bill 21. Although there’s a mention here of the “thin blue line” patches some cops have also been seen wearing – contravening not the secularity law but a rule against police sporting any nonstandard insignia while on duty – nothing is said about ordering them taken off.

    • Kate 20:34 on 2022-12-14 Permalink | Reply  

      The city ombudsman has stated loud and clear that the city must do more for the Indigenous itinerants around Milton-Parc. Back in May she presented a report on the situation, and now says that two of her five recommendations have been met. The big one – providing a place for them to live – remains to be tackled.

      • Ian 20:37 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

        Another thing the ridiculous police budget could be divested to.

      • SMD 23:11 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

        @Ian Amen!

    • Kate 17:00 on 2022-12-14 Permalink | Reply  

      A man has been charged with fatal hit‑and‑run in Tuesday’s road death of seven‑year‑old Maria Legenkovska.

      Tim S. noted in a comment below that “the driver is being charged with leaving the scene and not the actual act.”

      François Legault says the majority of drivers respect school zone speed limits. This La Presse item goes on to say that the CAA has found that, in fact, the vast majority of drivers break the limit, some going as fast as 70 km/h in the 30 km/h zones.

      • Tim S. 19:26 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

        Pietons Quebec just sent out an email:


        Highlights: a march at 7:45 Friday morning, and a petition against SUVs to sign.

      • H. John 20:57 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

        I’m sorry is there something I’m not getting?

        One article says “causing the hit-and-run death” and the other “accusé mercredi de délit de fuite mortel” which suggests he was charged with Criminal Code s.320.16(3) failure to stop at accident causing death.

        I think that’s a fair guess since the prosecutor asked for him to be detained.

        The potential sentence for that offence is life.

      • H. John 21:09 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

        Rather than “potential sentence”, I should have said “potential maximum sentence”.

      • Tim S. 21:22 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

        My point is that only charging him with not stopping implies that running over children in school zones is OK, as long as you stop and check on them afterwards.

      • Kevin 10:16 on 2022-12-15 Permalink

        Prosecutors only need one charge at this early stage in order to get the ball rolling.
        They frequently add, alter, or remove charges up until the start of a trial based on what they believe they can prove in court.

      • walkerp 10:45 on 2022-12-15 Permalink

        This whole story is so tragic. Everybody is hating on the guy who did the hit and run, which is not unreasonable at all, but he probably has a family too. Just brutal.

      • Blork 10:47 on 2022-12-15 Permalink

        What Kevin said. It’s known that he fled the scene, so there’s no delay in laying that charge. But otherwise there needs to be an investigation to determine if there was intent or negligence involved in the actual incident. (People don’t like to hear this, but sometimes such things are not the fault of the driver. That needs to be determined by way of an investigation and not just on people’s anger.)

      • Blork 10:49 on 2022-12-15 Permalink

        I also agree with walkerp.

      • Tim S. 11:20 on 2022-12-15 Permalink

        To be clear, I’m not calling for vindictiveness against the driver (I don’t know the exact circumstances of what happened), and yes, it’s entirely possible that extra charges are unnecessary or will be added later. But, there does seem to be a kind of tunnel vision about the seriousness of dangerous driving. For example, after ‘collisions’ I often see police being quoted in media reports as stating that the driver was not impaired, as if doing something incredibly dangerous while sober was a less serious matter. Maybe later on those drivers are eventually charged with reckless driving or similar, but if so it rarely makes it into the news.

        All of which is to say, I wish we had an enforcement culture which focuses on the act of dangerous driving itself, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the act. Maybe there’s more going on than I see, if someone can tell me where to look I’d appreciate

      • Meezly 12:34 on 2022-12-15 Permalink

        We clearly have to change the car-dominant cultural paradigm. If it can only start with our elected officials and the police, then it could have some sort of trickle down effect.

        “François Legault says the majority of drivers respect school zone speed limits. This La Presse item goes on to say that the CAA has found that, in fact, the vast majority of drivers break the limit, some going as fast as 70 km/h in the 30 km/h zones.”

        Even Legault is downplaying the dangers of driving, if not outright lying (as La Presse has shown). Is he just uninformed or is this downplaying a way of not having to deal with improving dangerous areas for pedestrians and cyclists?

      • Joey 13:12 on 2022-12-15 Permalink

        I wish I could find it but I read a summary of a podcast a year or two ago that went something like this:

        After all those SUVs rolled over and everyone was worried about ‘safety,’ the regulators decided to focus on passenger safety. So carmakers responded by making SUVs (and the sedan-replacement crossover utility vehicles) bigger, taller and heavier. Not only would these cars stop rolling over, but they would provide passengers with extra protection in the event of a collision. So passenger injuries/deaths improved (which may have led to more reckless driving), but pedestrians, cyclists and passengers in ‘classic’ smaller cars lost whatever chance they had to emerge whole from a collision. I see parallels to police departments buying surplus army vehicles, weapons and protective gear – they seek to ‘protect’ themselves but in so doing wind up making everyone else less safe.

        EVs will sadly just make things worse as batteries are super heavy and the incentives are set up to encourage huge range (e.g., huge batteries) at all costs, meaning EVs are just going to get bigger and heavier unless some kind of breakthrough tech emerges soon.

        TL;DR Mayor Plante needs to get everyone to slow down.

      • Blork 14:21 on 2022-12-15 Permalink

        The fact that media always reports when the driver was not impaired is pretty normal, as that’s the first thing that pops into most people’s heads when they hear about a car crash. I don’t see anything worth complaining about with regard to that; it’s just the cops and the media reporting what people want to know.

        Tim S. said “I wish we had an enforcement culture which focuses on the act of dangerous driving itself.” YES. I wish so too. That includes better driver education right from the start, where AFAIK nobody ever talks about the concept of “defensive driving” anymore. (This starts with the idea that you should always “expect the unexpected,” so when you’re passing a parked bus you should EXPECT a pedestrian to step out from in front of it, and you should EXPECT a kid to jump out from between parked cars, etc. and drive accordingly.)

        It’s probably true that “most” drivers obey the speed limit in school zones, but what does that really mean? 99%? 75%? 51%? Generally speaking, if you sit down at an intersection and watch every car that passes through, most will be driving relatively safely. But some won’t. If you’re not actually counting, all you notice are the ones that are reckless, but the percentages aren’t the issue unless it’s well below 1% that are reckless.

        No, the problem is that there are SO MANY cars on the road that even if 5% of them are reckless then we have a very hazardous situation given the amount of damage that a moving vehicle can inflict upon a pedestrian or cyclist. So saying “most are not dangerous” just means you’re not paying enough attention to those who ARE dangerous. You’re looking at the wrong number.

      • John B 16:35 on 2022-12-15 Permalink

        Legault’s “most people don’t speed in school zones” is absolutely false.

        I just came back from a week in the Okanagan valley in BC, an extremely car-centric area, and one of the big adjustments I had to make was being aware of school zones. I don’t know if it’s an Okanagan-only thing, a BC thing, or a western thing, but the speed limit is 30 in school zones, and it is followed almost to the letter and I rarely saw anyone exceeding 35-ish. In Quebec, or at least Montreal, we (the drivers on Quebec), may ease off the accelerator a bit in school zones, if we feel like it.

        My understanding is that the reason Okanagan drivers are able to go 30 in school zones, even if the speed limit on the rest of the road is 50 – 70, is because there has been strict enforcement for at least a generation, and the fines for speeding in school zones are much more expensive than the fines for speeding elsewhere. TLDR: At some point in the past the provincial government made it a priority to ensure drivers never speed in school zones, passed appropriate legislation, and seemingly coordinated with municipalities and polices forces to raise awareness and ensure compliance.

        Like planting trees the best time to do this was 30 years ago, but the second-best time is now. Legault should be taking action, not making excuses.

      • Meezly 18:21 on 2022-12-15 Permalink

        Excellent point, John B.

        “one of the big adjustments I had to make was being aware of school zones.”

        I’m curious what were the factors that caused you to make those adjustments? I don’t own a car here so I can’t compare, but when I’m in BC, I rent a car, one thing I notice are clear signage to indicate drivers need to reduce speed in school zones.

      • Blork 21:49 on 2022-12-15 Permalink

        If I can butt in, in front of John B. …

        It’s surprisingly easy to NOT know what the speed limit is at a given location, even when it’s marked. Much depends on how logical or meaningful the speed limit is. Case in point: in Longueuil they changed the speed limits in 2018 on many residential streets from 50 to 40. In school zones it’s now 30. About a year after they made the change I got a speeding ticket in a school zone. I was going 30, so it made no sense, but the cop informed me that he had clocked me doing about 42 a block away and around the corner, where the speed limit had been 50 for many years, and was now — randomly — 30. Just on that one block of the street. North and south of that block it’s 40, but on that one block it’s 30 “because of the park” he said, despite the fact that on all other peripheral streets around the park it’s actually 50.

        Here’s the kicker: there’s a sign in the middle of that block that clearly says “30.” But I never noticed it, because for years that sign always said “50” so I basically stopped seeing it. The fact that the sign is in the MIDDLE of the one-block 30 zone instead of at the BEGINNING of it is also a problem.

        Regardless. My point is that I was well aware of the 30 zone in front of the school around the corner, but had no idea it was also, randomly, 30 for one block around the corner. Shit happens.

        Here’s a map where I indicate the speed limits in that area. The red arrow points to the school, and that’s where I was pulled over. The blue arrow points to where I was clocked doing 42 in what I though was a 40 zone despite the sign. It’s my bad, and I own it, but there is no logical reason for that stretch of Adoncour to be 30. Any kids from the school who would be crossing into the park would do so at the intersection, not randomly jaywalking where there’s just a row of apartment buildings.


      • John B 23:23 on 2022-12-15 Permalink

        To reply to Meezly, the main factor that caused me to realize I had to make the adjustment was not hitting the car in front of me, which had slowed down for the school zone, but yes, the school zones are very well marked in BC. Here, I couldn’t tell you where any of my local school zones start & end, but I can tell you where the ones I drove through last week start & end.

        Kind of to Blork’s point, when looking up the school zone stuff today I learned that BC also has a thing about “play areas” which are essentially school zones around parks, but with different hours.

        Surely the real reason that the speed limit was changed where Blork was caught is to prevent him from hurting the deer that try to escape the park…

    • Kate 16:42 on 2022-12-14 Permalink | Reply  

      In 2020, Quebec promised ten new schools for Montreal, but only one is under construction, a high school in Anjou. Other projects promised by Quebec are also still only on paper.

      • Kate 14:09 on 2022-12-14 Permalink | Reply  

        I almost laughed at this explanation of how Quebec is making Tamiflu free. If you think you have flu:

        1. First, a rapid test to rule out Covid
        2. Then, an appointment at a screening centre to take a better Covid test and a test for flu
        3. Then, if the final test is positive for flu, consult a doctor, pharmacist or nurse practitioner who will decide whether you can get the Tamiflu

        All this while suffering from a contagious virus that makes you feel tired and lousy.

        Dr Weblog suggests:

        1. Stay home in bed and take painkiller of choice.
        • Joey 14:19 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

          It does seem absurd, but it makes sense if the following conditions are in place (and I think they are):

          1. You can’t distinguish COVID from Influenza without testing for each
          2. Tamiflu isn’t effective against COVID
          3. There isn’t enough Tamiflu to ‘harmlessly’ administer it to patients who might ‘just’ have COVID
          4. OTC painkillers won’t keep serious flu patients from getting sick (and crowding our ERs & clinics), whereas Tamiflu might.

          The silver lining is that, for the moment at least, there are lots of available appointments for flu tests on Clic Sante. The last step, consulting with a health professional, seems like it would be a breeze – take your positive flu result to your local pharmacy and get an Rx for Tamiflu filled. In other words, this is basically how we managed COVID testing until the end of 2021, with the added bonus of an available, effective treatment.

        • EmilyG 14:46 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

          And they tout this as being a way to avoid having sick people have to see a doctor for an appointment about their illness.

        • Blork 14:55 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

          And there you have it; another bureaucrat’s solution that has no bearing on the real world.

          Tamiflu is supposed to be administered withing 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. How many people can pull off the above in under 48 hours? Very few, I’d think. Plus it involves hauling your fluey ass out to what, four different locations, while you are both sick and contageous?

          1. Pharmacy to get a rapid Covid test. (Some people might already have one at home, but it’s not a given.)

          2. Screening center for Covid and flu tests. Hopefully you can get this as one appointment, but given that you typically have to wait at least a few hours for the results of a PCR test, then probably not, so this is probably two trips for most people.

          3. Consult a doctor, nurse practitioner, or pharmacist. This could possibly be over the phone, but could also be in person. If it’s one of the first two options then there’s no guarantee the doctor or nurse practitioner will even have Tamiflu available on the spot, which means going to yet another location to get it.

          In that worst case scenario, it’s five different visits. All while sick and contagious. Best case scenario is two visits, but for most people it will probably be three. All within 48 hours of first symptoms. Good luck with that.

        • Joey 16:52 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

          Most likely two visits – testing centre (they can do both if you don’t have a COVID test kit at home – if you don’t, FFS go get one) and pharmacy, where the Tamiflu can be prescribed and dispensed. Please enlighten us with a better solution.

        • Kate 17:10 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

          Stay home in bed and take painkiller of choice?

        • Kevin 17:24 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

          You can get it down to one trip if you ask your pharmacy to deliver (which they offer each time I renew a prescription).

        • Kate 18:55 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

          Shoe dropping: is there really a test for flu?

        • Joey 23:43 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

        • Chris 09:59 on 2022-12-15 Permalink

          >Stay home in bed and take painkiller of choice?

          I’m surprised to see you minimize flu like this after excoriating me for the slightest suggestion that covid isn’t the worst disease ever.

          “Stay home in bed and take painkiller of choice” is the appropriate thing for *many* flu *and* covid cases. Certainly not all though!

        • Kate 12:16 on 2022-12-15 Permalink

          Chris, must you follow this blog in the hope of issuing a “gotcha!” from time to time?

          Seventeen more Covid deaths reported from the last 24 hours at 11 am on December 15. And the holidays are still coming.

        • Kevin 10:31 on 2022-12-16 Permalink

          Not only is there a test for flu, labs frequently now do multi-disease testing off the same stick, checking for which type of influenza, RSV, Covid or other disease.

          Some but not all of these are recorded nationally.

        • Kate 11:40 on 2022-12-16 Permalink

          Thanks, Kevin.

      • Kate 11:05 on 2022-12-14 Permalink | Reply  

        The Journal says Ottawa forked over a billion dollars for “affordable” housing in Quebec, but nobody can say where the money went.

        (I see the Journal has started to paywall articles.)

        • Uatu 11:10 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

          Boardgame language enforcement? 😛

      • Kate 11:00 on 2022-12-14 Permalink | Reply  

        A woman died recently during routine plastic surgery at a tony Westmount clinic.

        I know I’ve asked this kind of question before, but: when you choose to undergo voluntary private surgery like this, and something goes wrong, they whisk you to a public hospital, as described in this piece. Does that happen on the public dime or do you or the clinic have to buy insurance that will pay for your care which you only need because you voluntarily underwent surgery?

        Also, in this piece, check the name of the coroner’s spokesman. It’s been noticed here before by an eagle‑eyed commenter.

        • Ephraim 11:19 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

          If I understand it, officially, it should be billed… but reality is an entire different story. The same as with car accidents, they should be billed to the SAAQ, but how many people say they were in a car accident when they arrive at the hospital and/or know that they bill the SAAQ for it?

        • Blork 12:01 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

          I think it goes against the principle of universal health care if you or the clinic has to buy special insurance to cover that. From a healthcare POV you’ve sustained an injury. Full stop. It shouldn’t matter if it’s because something went wrong during plastic surgery, or if something happened while playing hockey, or if a piano randomly fell on your head.

          It would be different if every elective plastic surgery included a trip to the public network, but that only happens when something screws up, which might be due to the surgeon making a mistake, or an underlying condition in the patient, or some other reason. But I don’t like the idea of the government lording over injured people and deciding who gets treatment or not (or who has to pay or not) based on subjective judgments like “plastic surgery is vain, so you have to pay” or “soccer is not the national sport, so you have to pay.”

        • MtlWeb 12:33 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

          As Blork explains, all patients requiring acute/urgent/critical care will receive prompt services via our health care network; those with a RAMQ file are fully covered; those without RAMQ (i.e. tourists) will be billed directly and/or to their insurance provider. The private clinics (surgical/medical) are not equipped to fully manage any significant adverse complication that may arise in their center during a procedure/visit (cardiac/respiratory/circulation/neuro, etc.); they are certified to initiate care but the patient will be transferred to the nearest ER via ambulance. Same approach if the complication presents once the patient is at home – he/she will be instructed to go to the ER.

        • Kate 12:33 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

          I suppose I feel that normal life or sports should be covered, but deliberately choosing the risk of surgery is a bit different. Also, look at it from the private clinic’s point of view. They’re doing medicine of a kind, but confidently expecting the public side will take care of any major mistakes.

          It’s a microcosm of our kind of capitalism: when things go well, investors pocket the profits, but when there’s a calamity, they turn to the public purse to bail them out.

        • Blork 12:58 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

          But given that such surgeries are typically safe and without complications, is this any different from choosing to go rock climbing, or choosing to be a vegan or choosing to take the subway? All of those things are usually done without problems, but sometimes things go wrong.

          Also bear in mind that while many plastic surgeries come from vanity, many can be therapeutic on some levels. Things like breast reduction can help people with back or neck problems (but that doesn’t mean you can just get it done on-demand in the public system). There’s also the fuzzier idea of “self esteem” or whatever in terms of people “fixing” aesthetic things that bother them, and (arguably) provide a better quality of life after the surgery.

          And most private clinics do more than just vanity projects, so then you open up the problem of having bureaucrats rating surgical procedures based on what they perceive to be necessary or not. Please, let’s not go there.

        • steph 13:14 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

          l’ordre professionnel des médecins québécois polices all practicing doctors. Malpractice/liability insurance fees are covered our tax dollers and their professional dues. (( I say “and professional dues, but that’s actually also from our tax dollers). The order also pays for lawyers that defend doctors when they screw up and a little person tries to sue. They certainly protect their own, think of it as a ‘doctors blue wall of silence’.


        • Ephraim 16:43 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

          We are supposed to have 2 tracks and you aren’t supposed to be able to use the private track to skip the line in the public track. For example, if you go to a private doctor who diagnoses you with gallstones, should you be allowed to go to the public system to deal for the operation having a referral from a private doctor? Or should you have to see a public doctor to diagnose it and then get the referral. If we allow people on the private track to skip the line, aren’t they simply abusing the public system?

          The exception to this is supposed to be radiology. Which ironically is also used by the SAAQ and the CNESST to get people treated faster by not having to wait in the public system radiology system

        • dhomas 18:06 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

          This is a bit of a slippery slope. Many people choose to smoke, despite knowing the adverse effects. They still get treated by our public system if they get, for example, emphysema; they are not refused.

          Maybe we should educate people as to the dangers of plastic surgery (“you could die!” see above), like we do for smoking (smoking in Canada is down from close to 30% in 2000 to about 13% in 2020)? Or maybe some folks who get plastic surgery have self-esteem or other mental health issues that could be treated in other ways than going under the knife?

        • jeather 18:20 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

          The actual loophole about public/private that needs to be closed is doctors who flip back and forth to tell patients that, well, you COULD wait for (me to return to) the public system, but if you pay tens of thousands I will do it now while I am private again.

        • Kate 12:31 on 2022-12-15 Permalink

          In August there was a news story about a man denied a liver transplant because he was almost certainly going to go on drinking, making the effort (and the sacrifice by family members) an exercise in futility. So the medical profession does draw a line sometimes when faced with a patient that’s brought their own troubles on themselves.

          However, I’m not saying the MUHC should have said “This is a vanity project gone wrong, we’re not going to revive her.” I’m saying that commercial surgical clinics ought not to operate under the assumption that if something goes awry, they can be saved by rushing their patient into the public system. If you were hurt in an accident, how would you like to be kept waiting on a gurney while a facelift case was whisked into line in front of you?

        • Blork 14:36 on 2022-12-15 Permalink

          “…if you go to a private doctor who diagnoses you with gallstones, should you be allowed to go to the public system to deal for the operation having a referral from a private doctor? Or should you have to see a public doctor to diagnose it and then get the referral.”

          The problem here is that we’re weighing idealism against practicality. Imagine finding a lump on your body and being told it will take four months to see a specialist about it, but you find out you can see a private doctor right away for less than the price of an iPad. The private doctor finds a tumour that needs to be removed ASAP, but then the public sector says “we know you have this potentially fatal tumour but you still have to wait four months to get the rubber stamp from our doctor before we can even think about putting you on the waiting list for the surgery.” That is Kafkaesque, and is not the kind of society I want to live in.

          dhomas, I think the fatality rate from cosmetic surgery is significantly lower than from smoking.

          Kate asked “If you were hurt in an accident, how would you like to be kept waiting on a gurney while a facelift case was whisked into line in front of you?”

          The medical system is not supposed to make value judgements or to operate on the basis of people’s annoyances. If the facelift patient’s need is more urgent (in this case it was life threatening) then they go ahead of someone whose issue is not life threatening. Full stop. The circumstances that brought the person to the ER don’t matter. This is why, for example, if a mass shooter gets shot by the cops and survives, that person is in line at the ER for treatment just like the people they shot. This is also why people suffering from illicit drug overdoses get treated the same as anyone else instead of having the judgment “they did this to themselves” applied. As uncomfortable as that is, that’s what makes us civilized.

        • Joey 18:47 on 2022-12-15 Permalink

          To Blork’s point, the Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that unreasonable wait times violate the charter (the Chaoulli decision), finding that Quebec cannot forbid private healthcare if the public system leads to unacceptable wait times.

      • Kate 10:53 on 2022-12-14 Permalink | Reply  

        There’s been a wave of commercial break-ins on Sherbrooke and on Monkland in NDG.

        • Mark Côté 13:26 on 2022-12-15 Permalink

          I got a haircut on Monkland last week, and the hairdresser said that the day before, someone wearing a hoody with the hood pulled down low walked in, reached around the reception counter (there usually isn’t someone there unless a client is paying), grabbed the cash box and ran out. All happened in just a few seconds.

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