Updates from January, 2023 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 20:34 on 2023-01-11 Permalink | Reply  

    The city’s population grew by 0.7% last year after dropping by 2.3% the previous year. More people are choosing to leave the island for the surrounding suburbs than are coming here from the rest of Quebec.

    More details in the article and the linked report.

    • DeWolf 10:51 on 2023-01-12 Permalink

      If you look at the numbers in detail it’s pretty remarkable. There’s basically just a huge exchange of people going on. Tons of people are leaving Montreal for the suburbs and outlying regions, but they’re all being replaced (and then some) by newcomers from other parts of Quebec, Canada and overseas. So even if the population appears to be growing slowly, the city is not exactly stagnant. It’s a real churn.

    • Kate 10:55 on 2023-01-12 Permalink

      Everyone thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the river.

    • Kevin 11:14 on 2023-01-12 Permalink

      People really want that space for a home office now that telework is a legitimate thing.
      But it’s exacerbated by the largest media chain in the province and its abnormal amount of loathing for the metropolis.

  • Kate 16:17 on 2023-01-11 Permalink | Reply  

    A brief CTV piece says Quebec communities should be safer and goes on to talk about police and gun violence.

    How much violence is done with firearms compared to the injuries and deaths from motor traffic – especially outside of Montreal? Shouldn’t police be more concerned about making roads safer than the relatively small amount of gun crime we have here?

    OK, it’s not great that there are guns out there, but it’s inescapable to feel, doing this blog, that police are engaged in a campaign of inflating the danger to the public, to ensure the constantly growing budget allotted to policing.

    • Ephraim 18:56 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

      We live in a clickbait world… gun crime gets the clicks, cars don’t

    • Ian 20:49 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

      If a 73 million extra isn’t enough to make us “safe” maybe we need to re-examine what “safe” means. I’d rather be able to get from one end of the island to the other by public transit in under 2 hours but hey.

    • Ephraim 12:04 on 2023-01-12 Permalink

      @Ian on a budget of $1.7B? You think 4% will make a difference? Cancelling the silly bridge in Quebec city might… Infoman last week did speed tests to prove it wasn’t needed

    • Ian 21:07 on 2023-01-12 Permalink

      Quebec City is like one of those puffed-up, flavourless shrimp you see at big grocery stores that have been pumped full of gelatin to inflate their value.

      It’s only of any importance at all for political reasons, let’s be real here. It’s like watching the West Germans posturing over Bonn back in the 80s. YAAAAAWN

    • Ephraim 21:35 on 2023-01-12 Permalink

      @Ian – And it will likely be built by the same people that built the Berlin airport

  • Kate 14:27 on 2023-01-11 Permalink | Reply  

    Most of Montreal’s commercial areas have some kind of SDC, société de développement commercial, some possibly more effective than others but at least they exist. Chinatown doesn’t, so two enterprising Chinese Montrealers are talking to 150 businesspeople one by one to try to get something off the ground.

    • Mark Côté 16:10 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

      Can’t remember if this was shared here before, but there was a lot of opposition to an SDC here in NDG last year.

    • Kate 16:38 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

      Didn’t see that because I seldom look at the Suburban. I didn’t realize how much each store owner was expected to chip in.

    • DeWolf 18:22 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

      Has there been a study comparing the success of commercial streets with SDCs versus those without?

      The Suburban article shared by Mark is a bit confusing. Most of the people quoted sound like they’re opposed to the SDC, but there’s also this passage:

      “The Suburban received numerous calls and messages from supporters describing a climate of intimidation towards those who support the SDC, with some being accused of being “Projet Montréal stooges.” The Suburban approached several of the 60 merchants who signed in favor, but only three would comment, and two anonymously.”

      The tattoo parlour owner sounds like a bit of a libertarian wacko…

    • Ian 21:01 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

      Chinatown has historical “family” associations. Most Chinatowns in North America do. They seve this precise purpose. That said, they are only for Chinese. These young people seeking integration will meet a lot of resistance from older businesses, for many reasons the city is seen as an enemy of Chinatown.

    • Mark Côté 10:50 on 2023-01-12 Permalink

      @Kate Yeah it didn’t get much press coverage. I first heard of this via NDG Facebook groups.

      @DeWolf I personally know the tattooist (and have had a tattoo done at his shop :)). I can’t speak for his politics per se, but he’s a nice guy, active in the community, and got enough people on his side regarding the SDC such the borough never proceeded with the SDC (this thread reminded me that I never found out what had happened to it).

    • DeWolf 10:59 on 2023-01-12 Permalink

      @Ian There are even more associations beyond the clan ones, and based on my experience, they’re all butting heads. I’ve never seen such a physically small place riven by so many factions. I can only imagine that establishing an SDC would be nearly impossible.

      @Mark, I’ll chalk it up to the Suburban’s reporting and not the man himself!

    • Kevin 16:24 on 2023-01-12 Permalink

      BizNDG may not be an official SDC, but it seems to be getting support from the borough.
      Maybe it decided to be a Queen Mary-Sherbrooke Assn. instead, and left Monkland alone.

    • Mark Côté 10:33 on 2023-01-13 Permalink

      I would guess that the key difference is that merchants aren’t forced to contribute funds to BizNDG (and I don’t think Monkland has anything to do with it; there are merchants on Monkland on the BizNDG site, and Saving Grace Tattoo is on Sherbrooke).

  • Kate 13:35 on 2023-01-11 Permalink | Reply  

    Not only is it all over the news that Sophie Brochu has stepped down as CEO of Hydro‑Quebec, there’s a lot of commentary about what it means vis‑à‑vis the CAQ government. Allison Hanes sees it in terms of Brochu not buying the CAQ vision of expansion: more dams, more deals; Richard Martineau scraped up a column in which it isn’t clear who he’s mocking most.

    There are jokes galore about Pierre Fitzgibbon giving himself the job (as Fitz Pierregibbon, according to one jape I’ve seen) amid a general sense that this is the CAQ imposing its business‑first model more firmly than ever.

    Latest is that François Legault insists that Brochu didn’t leave over a difference with the government.

    La Presse embeds a contradiction in its deck on this story: François Legault veut que le prochain PDG d’Hydro-Québec soit en « mode développement ». Il assure que le départ de sa dirigeante étoile, Sophie Brochu, n’est pas lié à des « différences d’orientations » avec le gouvernement.

    • Kate 11:53 on 2023-01-11 Permalink | Reply  

      Protesters shut down a talk at McGill on Tuesday, QMI also alleging they assaulted two people who were attempting to attend the event.

      • qatzelok 12:24 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        “Gender transition can be the result of homophobia…”

        This is one of those historical facts that makes gender transition a much more complex issue (trend) than its supporters claim. Inner homophobia leading to physical mutilation… isn’t freedom or self-affirmation.

      • Kate 12:42 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        I don’t want to debate this here, because I’ve seen debates on this matter get very heated very fast on all sides, and this is not a blog about gender issues.

      • EmilyG 12:45 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        Gender transition isn’t mutilation.

      • Kate 13:00 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        I don’t want to debate it here. But the story was covered in several media so I couldn’t ignore it.

      • EmilyG 13:05 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        When I see transphobic and homophobic garbage, I tend to speak up.

      • jeather 13:49 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        Gotta appreciate that a man is around for us ladies, giving talks about what it means to be a woman and saving women from the scourge of other women who have different experiences. (Note: I know that many women — especially in the UK — hold similar views to Wintemute.)

      • Blork 13:56 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        What kills me is these protesters, who fought for the right for trans people to be heard, are now fighting for the right to prevent other people from being heard.

      • Blork 13:58 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        Do not interpret the above as anti-trans. What I’m against is the blinkering of the academy due to the squashing of unpopular opinions.

      • Dominic 14:24 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        @blork: Its an example of the “paradox of tolerance” where, in order to have a correct amount of tolerance, you must actually be intolerant towards views that are not-tolerant.


      • Blork 16:22 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        I’m not sure what Dominic is getting at, but it feels like a push to the polar extremes, and that’s not where these discussions should be held.

        A case like this shouldn’t be compared to protesting something that is quantifiably wrong, like holocaust denial or white supremacy. The questions that were to be discussed that night are legitimate questions in a time where our society is still trying to figure out issues around sex and gender, particularly when it comes to things like sports and ‘women only’ spaces. (Not going to get into that, as Kate does not want a gender discussion here; suffice to say it’s easy and misleading to describe the speaker as “anti-trans” or “transphobic” when all they’re trying to do is raise questions that are on many people’s minds and which remain unresolved.)

        When I was growing up the struggles were all about things like women’s rights, racial equality, gay rights, various anti-war movements, etc. There was no shortage of protests against those issues, but for the most part the people promoting those views were at least allowed to speak. That’s how it works in an open and democratic society.

        So why are we now so quick to suppress other opinions instead of letting them be heard and then countering them? Why do we take every “other” opinion and immediately push to to the extreme and assume it’s fully intolerant? Have we had enough with living in a free and democratic society? Are we happy to suppress any questioning of our new sacred cows simply because we like them? Have we lost all perspective?

      • Meezly 17:47 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        “What kills me is these protesters, who fought for the right for trans people to be heard, are now fighting for the right to prevent other people from being heard.”

        The speaker has affiliations with LGB Alliance which has severed the T of LGBT because they believe trans rights conflicts with the rights of LGBs. So instead of working together, they’ve chosen to explicitly reject the trans community. If that isn’t trans exclusionary, I don’t know what to tell ya.

      • Blork 18:57 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        So your solution is to just not let people talk about it. Right.

      • walkerp 21:01 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        Propaganda is not discussion. That event was basically a propaganda initiative by anti-trans activists. There is a lot to discuss, as this is a complex issue, but not with those people and not in a context that legitimizes their prejudices.

        I find it hyper-suspicious that the people that are the most aggressive on the supposedly progressive/feminist anti-trans position are people who are not actually impacted in any direct way by those who do struggle with their gender.

      • Ian 21:14 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        To not argue in favour of it. Let’s not pretend this org’s goal is inclusive dialogue.

        By following the “two sides” philosophy, we shift the Overton window of what is a valid position. To Godwin this thread,, If every holocaust survivor requires a holocaust denier “for balance” our collective capacity for civil discourse is weakened.

        As an aside I remember when gay-lesbian alliances were trying to exclude bisexuality as “not real” in the 80s and 90s. Gatekeepers ate nothing new. Neither is resistance.

      • Orr 21:34 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        as a “B” I can tell you that we don’t get much positive press.

      • qatzelok 21:42 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        “Propaganda is not discussion.”

        That’s true, they’re very different things.

        But this was a presentation of an interesting topic in which people would be free to discuss afterwards. I have no solid opinion on “trans” issues, but I have a very strong opinion on letting universities permit more than one official opinion on campus.

        Netanyahu was blocked from giving a speech at Concordia a number of years ago. Did censoring him do any good for anyone? Because it deprived many Concordia students of a chance to know more about various topics of importance, no matter what their opinion currently was.

      • Ian 21:46 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        It wasn’t that long ago we were being blamed for the spread of AIDS in to the maminstream” population . The rhetoric was perhaps unsurprisingly similar to the arguments against trans women using bathrooms, i.e.; a “hidden threat”. Then of course when the LG tentatively accepted the B the right wing took this as a “gay agenda to homosexualize everyone” which of course led to more backlash within the community.

        As a “B” I see a lot of parallels between our struggles 30 years ago and what the T community is going through now. To see them sidelined and ostracized by the queer community is especially revolting.

      • MarcG 12:43 on 2023-01-12 Permalink

        Kate, I think you need a Dumpster Fire icon, similar to the Weather Watch one, for posts like this.

      • Kate 13:37 on 2023-01-12 Permalink

        MarcG, I’ve mostly refrained from posting on this topic because of its flammability, but sometimes a story needs to be noticed. In this case, I was mostly interested in how QMI was pushing an assault story that nobody else reported, but as I feared, the main story was too combustible. Maybe you’re right about the icon!

      • walkerp 15:03 on 2023-01-12 Permalink

        Seemed like the discussion was civil here and slowing down as far as I could tell.

      • Josh 11:32 on 2023-01-13 Permalink

        This all reads to me as quite civil as well!

      • Ian 20:31 on 2023-01-13 Permalink

        Same. Besides a couple of pretty heavy-handed trolling attempts from qatzi (let’s give them credit for playing devil’s advocate) I think this was a pretty good discussion of both T rights and free speech, with a good variety of perspectives.

    • Kate 11:03 on 2023-01-11 Permalink | Reply  

      I wasn’t aware that U-Haul gives out statistics on who’s moving where, but they do, and they say people were moving to Montreal at a higher rate in 2022 than in 2021. But people are also leaving at almost the same rate, so the population isn’t growing fast.

      • mare 12:06 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        A lot of our influx and exodus don’t move with U-Hauls because the roads to France, Haiti and North-Africa are flooded all the time. I don’t know how many of those people will stay or leave to other places in Canada or Quebec, or back to their country of origin after their temp visa expires, but for Montreal it will definitely skew the statistics. A lot of them will move off island though.

        (And U-Hauls are f*cking expensive for medium length moves where you can easily return the van to the original rental point.)

    • Kate 10:25 on 2023-01-11 Permalink | Reply  

      REM testing continues on the South Shore. A recent test without de‑icing equipment during an episode of freezing rain caused a train to halt, the connection between train and catenary having been lost.

      • Blork 10:37 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        Ok, raise your hand if you didn’t see that coming. Failures in inclement weather are a huge problem in the Ottawa LRT (O-Train) which uses a similar design. In fact they’re just coming off a week of disruptions caused by — you guessed it — freezing rain. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/oc-transpo-ottawa-lrt-full-service-closure-1.6708833

      • PatrickC 10:40 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        Is that a problem that should have been anticipated and avoided by better design? I’m curious to know if streetcars or electric buses had that issue in the old days.

      • Joey 10:53 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        @PatrickC they specifically were testing what would happen in freezing rain conditions with the proper weather-related protocol in place (“Ce jour-là, une voiture du REM a été déployée sur le tracé sans l’activation préalable du protocole lié au verglas et aux intempéries hivernales. Autrement dit, les wagons ont été mis en service sans grattoirs, qui permettent de déglacer les caténaires en mouvement.”)

      • DeWolf 11:57 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        @Blork, the O-Train and REM aren’t similar at all.

        O-Train: Alstom Citadis Spirit, which is a manually operated, low-floor vehicle adapted from a street-running tram. The O-Train is the only rapid transit system using the vehicles.

        REM: Alstom Metropolis, a high-floor fully automated vehicle intended for high-capacity metro use. It is used by metro systems in Amsterdam, Singapore, Barcelona, Chennai, Sydney and Budapest.

        The only thing they have in common is that they both use catenary power.

      • denpanosekai 12:51 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        Terrible article headline. Everything was done on purpose. There was no incident. They did a “worst-case scenario” test.

      • mare 12:52 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        Slightly off-topic but as a designer I’m curious how such a de-icer/scraper would look and function. The overhead cable doesn’t follow the track exactly, but wiggles left and right so it doesn’t make a groove in the pantograph (I looked that up). If it’s a scraper is has to be connected to the train somehow, pushed in front of it and not get stuck at the cables the overhead cable hangs from and still be able to slide left and right. That gets complicated and fragile pretty fast. Or maybe it’s a wide ‘broom’ of strong steel wire brushes, that is, electrically insulated, attached in front of the pantograph and breaks up the ice?

        After some googling —what’s the fun in that—I found there are systems that just heat the wire with the electricity that’s already present. Smart, no ‘scraper’ needed. The REM might use something like this. https://www.san-as.com/products/railway-systems/blue-wire-overhead-wire-de-icing.html

      • Blork 14:01 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        @DeWolf, I stand corrected. I was basing that on something I read over a year ago that compared the two and predicted problems with operating in cold temperatures for both systems. You’ll note that none of the other cities where REM-like trains are operating are known for their cold climates. (Maybe Budapest, a bit, but not like here AFAIK.)

      • DeWolf 14:31 on 2023-01-11 Permalink

        @Blork, yes, and I suspect that’s why they decided to test the train without its de-icing capabilities, just to see what would happen. The design of the Metropolis was modified for the REM to account for snow and ice, but you’re right, none of the other cities that use them have such a harsh winter climate.

        But winter weather isn’t the cause of most O-Train issues. It’s been a nightmare since the beginning, in terms of faulty trains, bad equipment and mismanagement. Here’s a rundown of all the issues during construction and post-opening. It’s quite a list:


        Who knows what kind of issues the REM will have once it starts operating. But it would be hard to top Ottawa, which seems to be suffering from a perfect storm of problems.

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