Updates from January, 2023 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 19:48 on 2023-01-19 Permalink | Reply  

    Notice is out to avoid the Maisonneuve-Rosemont ER if possible, since it’s still running on fumes. La Presse reports that some volunteer healthcare workers have pitched in, although I can’t make out whether these people have offered to work (and will be paid) or whether they’re actually volunteering for free.

    • steph 20:13 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      Pay nurses a better salary with better conditions. Stop asking the population to take it on our backs. This government is gross.

    • carswelll 20:35 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      @steph Not the first time I’ve wished MCW had an upvote function. Legault recently made light of the situation, claiming it was as bad or worse everywhere else. Deflecting blame is his real concern.

    • Kate 20:37 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      Since they need more nurses, they need to make the profession more attractive, starting with money but also with the sense that you wouldn’t be joining a trade that enforces extreme overtime and works you till you burn out.

      Over the last couple of months I had a minor issue that meant going both to a GMF (superclinic) as well as a CLSC a few times. The nurses at both places were busy but not frantic. Both clinics were impressively well run. I mention this because, reading our media, you might think all our health care is in total disarray, but my experience – with a completely non‑life‑threatening matter, resolved now – was entirely positive.

      Why any nurse would opt to work in a place like Maisonneuve‑Rosemont when a clinic job would be less stressful, I don’t know. Better pay?

    • MarcG 21:07 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      Individual experiences of healthcare vs the general state of healthcare system are a bit like the daily weather vs climate change. Not trying to criticize, just saying that maybe the disarray is there but not visible at all times and in every circumstance.

    • Kate 21:46 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      Probably true, but it was striking. I used to tell people (internet friends outside Quebec) that healthcare here was great if you were in a serious crisis and needed urgent help, not so good if you only needed maintenance work or minor attention. It doesn’t seem to be true any more. From my recent data, anyway.

    • Kevin 22:30 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      We still have thousands of healthcare workers out sick every day because of Covid.

      The government could change this any time it wants. It has deliberately chosen this course of action.

    • Tim 23:38 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      Can you elaborate Kevin? Do you mean that government can encourage better investment in salaries and working conditions for nurses? Or they let nurses with covid go into work? Or do you mean that government can wave a magic wand, impose more health measures and magically make covid disappear? Or something else?

    • Kevin 10:48 on 2023-01-20 Permalink

      Sorry, didn’t mean to be obtuse.
      I was referring to encouraging more members of the public to be concerned about their own health and the health of others, to actively fight the disinformation/misinformation campaigns being waged, and to take concrete steps to improve ventilation and air filtration in all public spaces instead of making nonsense claims about HEPA filters making life more dangerous in schools.

      And to stop treating healthcare workers like pawns.

    • Tim 11:34 on 2023-01-20 Permalink

      @kevin, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Kate 19:45 on 2023-01-19 Permalink | Reply  

    Fady Dagher was sworn in as police chief Thursday.

    • Blork 23:24 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      Before long he’ll be sworn at as police chief.

      (Sorry. Couldn’t help it.)

  • Kate 19:43 on 2023-01-19 Permalink | Reply  

    A Chamber of Commerce study suggests that 94% of downtown streets – La Presse’s headine says artères du centre‑ville – have faced construction blockages over the last year, although the Gazette mentions “curbs on business-hour truck deliveries” which has nothing to do with construction work, and the overall impression from both articles is some degree of chaos. And as usual, Ensemble is invited in to snipe unconstructively at the situation.

    • shawn 10:29 on 2023-01-20 Permalink

      Wow, so it wasn’t just my imagination.

    • Jonathan 13:36 on 2023-01-20 Permalink

      The methodology is pretty dubious. So you would need one day blockage at Rene Levesque and Guy and that represents something like 5% of their 94%.

  • Kate 19:29 on 2023-01-19 Permalink | Reply  

    A regular reader emailed me two contrasting links about the recent P.K. Subban charity story, the Gazette’s Subban raises $6.1 million vs QMI’s Subban fails to raise $10 million.

    • carswelll 21:09 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      La Presse: P.K. Subban prolonge son engagement
      Last Subban story (about his return to the Bell Centre) in Le Devolr was January 12.

      IOW, most likely yet another example of QMI’s racist bent than of an anglo-franco divide.

    • Kevin 10:50 on 2023-01-20 Permalink

      Twitter has many, many people calling the Journal a torchon this morning.

    • carswell 12:08 on 2023-01-20 Permalink

      @Kevin That’s encouraging to see though I bet it has zero impact on the rag’s editorial policy (i.e. PKP).

  • Kate 19:24 on 2023-01-19 Permalink | Reply  

    Ridership numbers are up at the STM, the key figure being 71% of the pre‑pandemic level.

    • DeWolf 12:36 on 2023-01-20 Permalink

      The service cuts are certainly being felt. Lots of jam-packed buses.

  • Kate 13:18 on 2023-01-19 Permalink | Reply  

    Patrick Lagacé has written about the new alcohol guidelines: La drogue la plus dangereuse, La drogue la plus dangereuse 2, and Thursday’s followup. Lagacé is only saying here that he’s happy to have access to the facts so he can decide how to proceed, after an outcry from his readers (Et vous avez hurlé, mon Dieu que vous avez hurlé !).

    • Joey 14:40 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      It’s interesting that the government that has been extremely unwillig to allow its cannabis store to sell anything that might remotely appeal to a young person (e.g., gummies, chocolates) if they have a small amount of THC in them also oversees an alcohol store (and alcohol sales framework) that seems to sell nothing but high-alcohol soda, seltzer, etc. Lagace, not for the first time, raises the immense contradiction between how governments in Canada treat cannabis vs. alocohol, pointing out that the various costs associated with alcohol (healthcare, justice, lost productivity, etc.) are both individuall and cumulatively much higher than the corresponding costs associated with cannabis (also opioids, cocaine, tobacco aside from healthcare costs, which are about even, etc.). On one level this is perfectly understandable – if alcohol had only come out of prohibition in 2019 it would be sold very differently than it is now – but on another it reeks of hypocrisy and very narrow puritanism.

      Our attitude to alcohol is carte blanche (how many fatal accidents involving alcohol include a driver who has previous DUIs?), as is our approach to gambling – just tune in to any sporting event now, it’s all about making best. We treat weed with extreme kid gloves and we are thisclose to leaving opioid addicts all on their own.

    • shawn 14:49 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      As a cannabis user I’m somewhat sympathetic to the government position in this one case. There are too many instances of accidental cannabis ingestion by kids with candy-like edibles. You simply can’t have that with alcohol, which has a distinctive (and unpleasant) taste.

    • Blork 15:20 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      In the previous thread, MarcG helped put some concrete numbers on the risks by digging into the report and coming up with this: “Risk Associated with Weekly Levels of Alcohol Use” section: 2 drinks per week = 1 in 1,000 risk of premature death, 3 to 6 drinks per week = 1 in 100 risk of premature death.

      This got me thinking about what that “1 in 100 risk of premature death” means, or at least how it can be interpreted. “1 in 100” sounds like a lot (especially after the jump from “1 in 1000”) but stated another way — 1% — it doesn’t sound so dire. (“Drinking 3 to six drinks per week gives you a 1% chance of premature death.”) Also, what does “premature” mean? It’s not like “you have a 1% chance of dying from this surgery” in which case if you hit that 1% you die right away. This means that with 3-6 drinks per week you have a 1% chance of dying at some point before your average life expectancy. So maybe 75? 80? 82?

      Here’s the thought experiment I ran on myself: Imagine you love Thai food. You eat it several times a week, and it’s always a convivial thing that you share with friends and it makes up a big part of your social life. You love to eat it, to talk about it, etc. and it forms a big part of your identity because it’s something that your parents did, and their parents, etc.

      Then one day you develop an ulcer that makes eating Thai food dangerous and unbearably painful. You can no longer eat Thai food. You can still go to the restaurant and whatnot, but you have to sit there eating toast while your friends enjoy themselves eating the fantastic Thai food that you love.

      One day a doctor tells you they can perform a surgery that will cure the ulcer, after which you can go back to eating Thai food. BUT! There is a 1% chance that at some point in the next 30 years a complication will develop that will cause you to die.

      What do you do? Do you play it safe and avoid the Thai food that you love for the rest of your life? Do you give up on some or all of those convivial meals with friends? Or do you get the surgery so you can continue to enjoy something that has been an important and pleasureable part of your entire adult life, takiing the 1% chance that it might one day prove fatal? (There is no right or wrong answer: this is about re-contextualizing that 1% risk. Only you can decide what’s right for you.)

      Disclaimer: the above thought experiement only really applies to middle-aged people who drink socially because they like it and it has long been an important part of their social lives and thus their sense of themselves. Does not apply to young people who have never really established that. ALSO: the goal is not to dismiss the risk, it’s to put it in a different context and see if it still stands with the same sense of urgency or gravitas.

    • Blork 15:20 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      And with that, I promise no more long comments for at least a week! 🙂

    • MarcG 16:31 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      @Blork: There’s another table in the report that shows years of life lost per 1000 people. If you add up all the cancers and divide by 1000 you get 0.1407 for men who have 2 drinks a day. Not sure if my math is right, but that seems to me like about a month and a half of life lost compared to 6 days for someone who has the low-risk 2 drinks a week.

    • MarcG 16:33 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      The biggest life-shorteners seems to be “Intentional injuries” (self-harm and suicide?) and liver cirrhosis which dramatically increase when you get into 2+ drinks per day.

    • MarcG 16:44 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      If you add up all of the Bad Things in the table (for men who have 2 drinks per day) the average years of life lost per person is 8.5 months. Smoking cigarettes is ~10 years.

    • Ephraim 16:45 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      Reminds me of the statistic that no one talks about… drinking and driving is less dangerous than drinking and walking. The difference is that with drinking and driving the likelihood is that others may die. In drinking and walking, it’s YOU that are more likely to die. You are 8 times more likely to die from drunk walking than drunk driving… per km or mile. See https://freakonomics.com/podcast/the-perils-of-drunk-walking/ for a discussion of impaired walking (and an explanation as to why New Year’s is the deadliest day for pedestrians… weird, isn’t it?

    • Blork 17:04 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      OMG, Ephraim, I can just imagine the conversation between a couple of drunks stumbling out of a bar.

      DRUNK FRED: Come on ya smelly bastard, we’re too drunk to drive. We’re walking home.

      DRUNK BOB: G’wan ya lit bastard. We’re driving home because it’s safer. I read it in “Freakonomics.”

      DRUNK FRED: Game on! Fire up the Chevy!

    • Kevin 18:21 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      It’s not just the shorter life — it’s how poor health degrades the quality of your life for several years.
      For example, you can live 5 or 10 years with emphysema — but you’ll feel it. COPD and nerve damage from smoking? You can live for decades with that and be aware of it all day long.

      I’m not afraid of growing old. I’m afraid of being frail and sickly.

    • GC 19:42 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      Yeah, “your life might be two months shorter unless you stop doing this thing you like” is not that compelling when you’re middle-aged or younger. BUT, if it means not spending your last ten years highly ill…that’s a bit more convincing.

    • carswelll 20:23 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      A conseiller at an SAQ Sélection store just wrote me saying “One out of two customers has mentioned this in the last two days.” Will be interesting to see if the public health announcement/scare tactics (depending on your point of view) has an immediate and lasting effect on beverage alcohol sales.

    • MarcG 20:28 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      Good points about quality vs. length of days.

    • Ephraim 22:10 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      @Blork – Problem is that people usually drive further than they walk. And that the statistic refers to those who walking/driving, not the people that they hit with their car (or even the occupant who hits them… remember René Lévesque and Edgar Trottier… he dragged the body over 30m and they never tested Lévesque for his blood alcohol level… but they did test the body of Edgar Trottier)

    • Blork 10:23 on 2023-01-20 Permalink

      True enough about not wanting to be ill in your old age. Which leads to another thought experiment: imagine what you want your life to be like in 20 years time. Now figure out what you need to do in order for your life to be like that when the time comes. If “being very healthy and vivacious” is a top priority then that 1% looms much larger than in the previous thought experiment.

  • Kate 12:52 on 2023-01-19 Permalink | Reply  

    Quebec is facing a growing literacy gap between Montreal and the rest of the province.

    • carswelll 12:59 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      Please follow up when the CAQistes and their fellow ethnonationalists find a way of making this Montreal’s fault.

    • Blork 17:06 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

      Carswell, it’s just a matter of turning it around, into a “smugness gap.”

    • jeather 10:57 on 2023-01-20 Permalink

      Curious about how they define it, given all the discussions on how easy it is to fail the French language exams for various jobs.

  • Kate 11:34 on 2023-01-19 Permalink | Reply  

    Nurses at the Lakeshore General are pleading with Christian Dubé to fix the emergency room, whose issues have been known for a long time. They say they’ve had no response, although there are promises to hire more nurses from the west end CIUSSS.

    Another item is about a different promise to hire more nurses by the east‑end CIUSSS. There’s a certain airiness about the discussion here of recruiting nurses from France, Morocco or South America – no concern whether poaching educated people from other countries is not entirely an admirable plan.

    • Kate 10:52 on 2023-01-19 Permalink | Reply  

      Businesses along Wellington in Point St-Charles are experiencing a wave of break-ins, often experiencing more trouble and expenses from window breakage than from material losses.

      • Kate 10:09 on 2023-01-19 Permalink | Reply  

        The SPVM report for 2022 says 20 pedestrians were killed on city streets last year. I only saw reports of half of them.

        • Meezly 10:26 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

          Wonder how that compares with other cities of similar size.

        • DeWolf 13:43 on 2023-01-19 Permalink


          New York City: 118 pedestrians killed in 2022, equivalent to 28 in Montreal.

          Toronto: 27, equivalent to 19 in Montreal.

          Vancouver: 9, equivalent to 27 in Montreal

          Boston/Cambridge/Somerville: 16, equivalent to 36 in Montreal

          Chicago: 31, equivalent to 41 in Montreal

          Los Angeles: 157, equivalent to 301 in Montreal (holy shit)

          Bottom line is that it’s better to be a pedestrian in Montreal than most other large cities in North America. And buy life insurance if you’re going to be walking around LA.

        • DeWolf 13:47 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

          Whoops, bad math on Chicago and LA (I reversed the population numbers).

          Chicago: 31, equivalent to 23 in Montreal

          Los Angeles: 157, equivalent to 80 in Montreal

        • Meezly 14:15 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

          Thanks for calculating that, DeWolf. Very interesting comparisons.

        • jeather 16:01 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

          Though you’re not wrong, I do think that — especially for LA — there must be a factor based on how much people are pedestrians. NYC has lots of pedestrians, but LA notably has a much lower percentage of transit users. (For argument’s sake I am going to equate transit use with pedestrians, even though that’s also a simplification.)

        • DeWolf 16:18 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

          You’re right, jeather. The most car-oriented cities, the ones with the fewest pedestrians, are also the ones with the highest pedestrian fatality rates. Which means that you’re exponentially more likely to be killed while walking in LA or Houston than in New York, Boston, Toronto or Montreal.

          Out of curiosity I looked up the number of pedestrians killed by drivers in Houston and it was 104 in 2021 (can’t find the numbers for last year). That’s equivalent to 93 in Montreal. Terrifying.

        • Ephraim 16:50 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

          @DeWolf – I’m wondering if that LA number is because they are more honest about it, or they are hiding other statistics inside of this amount, the way that they hide actual murders by classifying them as drug or gang related

        • Blork 17:11 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

          Well, it’s anecdotal, but I’ve only come close to being run down by a car ONCE thus far into the 21st Century, and it was on Rose Avenue in L.A. (And wow, was that a close call!)

        • jeather 17:35 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

          I’d like to see, I don’t know, some method of integrating pedestrian-mile or somethng. Not doable, but I would love to know.

        • DeWolf 18:50 on 2023-01-19 Permalink

          @Ephraim LA is on the low end for a car-oriented US city. It doesn’t even rank in the top 20 of the deadliest urban areas for pedestrians. Even Houston isn’t on the list:


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