Updates from February, 2023 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 21:00 on 2023-02-28 Permalink | Reply  

    The filmmaker accused of killing his mother in January has been found unfit to stand trial by experts at the Pinel Institute. All they can do now is wait.

    • Kate 20:56 on 2023-02-28 Permalink | Reply  

      The fourth complete snow removal operation of this winter will begin Wednesday.

      • Dominic 10:02 on 2023-03-01 Permalink

        Fourth and hopefully final!

      • jeather 10:29 on 2023-03-01 Permalink

        We’re supposed to get more snow on Saturday, so maybe, maybe not.

      • Kate 10:43 on 2023-03-01 Permalink

        Forecast says we’ll see plenty more winter weather in March.

      • JaneyB 11:14 on 2023-03-01 Permalink

        But…March 12 we go to Daylight Saving Time and more light will make it seem like spring.

    • Kate 19:15 on 2023-02-28 Permalink | Reply  

      The city has been ordered to pay a total of $6 million – $1,500 per person signed up for 16 different class‑action suits – and issue a public apology on its website for 90 days for arresting people during the student protests between 2011 and 2015.

      • Kate 18:50 on 2023-02-28 Permalink | Reply  

        Work to replace the Île-aux-Tourtes Bridge has begun, but this piece says it’s a headache and a nightmare.

        Headache and nightmare had almost disappeared from the local traffic vocabulary, but they’re back in force with work on this particular crossing. Maybe if we don’t situate the inconvenience in people’s actual bodies and minds, it might not seem like such a burden?

        • Kevin 22:56 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

          Too many people moved out there in the past 30 years (all those kids who grew up in West Island and decided to drive until they could afford a detached house) and the bridge should have been condemned decades ago.

          It’s a nightmare, but one that could have been avoided if the bridge had been rebuilt when the massive holes were first spotted, or if people had made different life choices.

        • JaneyB 11:18 on 2023-03-01 Permalink

          Vaudreuil-Dorion is a strongly Francophone exurb so I doubt they’re migrating West Islanders. Off-island houses are much more affordable when people are young and having kids.

      • Kate 14:24 on 2023-02-28 Permalink | Reply  

        Christian Dubé had little option left but to order an investigation into conditions at the Lakeshore emergency room.

        Aaron Derfel describes how the Lakeshore staff whitewashed problems when François Legault’s mother was a patient there last fall.

        • jeather 15:50 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

          I hope the investigation also investigates why they ignored earlier complaints/whistleblowers and only acted when this dropped, because that is equally as important.

          I also would like to point out that although I am sure Legault didn’t explicitly ask for his mother to be treated better than everyone else, and though I am sure he didn’t look at the rest of the ER while visiting his sick mother and maybe didn’t know exactly how bad it was, there is zero chance that he doesn’t know that VIPs get better treatment, and that his family all counts as VIPs (so he didn’t have to ask).

        • Uatu 11:31 on 2023-03-01 Permalink

          I’ve actually been involved in this type of panicked clean up for vip visits. Managers and supervisors and their toadies show up to direct everyone to spitshine everything and hide stuff. At times they even outnumbered the actual workers. This is why I am cynical of anything higher ups say and confirms my opinion that they are all indeed Bullshit jobs.

      • Kate 14:20 on 2023-02-28 Permalink | Reply  

        Researchers from the University of Sherbrooke looked into Quebec’s subsidies to videogaming companies, and they’re massive. As Francis Vailles observes here, when the subsidies were dreamed up in 1996, the employment situation in Quebec was different, and he feels there’s no longer a pressing need to help out foreign firms in this way.

        • JaneyB 19:17 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

          Yeah, it’s quite the lush subsidy system but it’s not about the money. It’s about providing cool jobs for young people to stay in QC and have kids instead of drifting away to BC or the US. It’s also about luring young Francais.e.s to shore up the birthrate and inject some solid French language skills and non-Anglo culture into the province. In that sense, it’s a bargain. What the govt should be doing is forcing those foreign companies to locate in smaller centres around the province to fix the immanent demographic decline there and hold house values steady. I’m sure that’s in the works if it’s not already rolling out.

      • Kate 14:13 on 2023-02-28 Permalink | Reply  

        Hydro-Quebec says it’s concerned that the city’s intention to phase out natural gas for heating may create too much demand for kilowatts. The utility wants a change to “biénergie” meaning roughly 70% electric, 30% gas.

      • Kate 12:46 on 2023-02-28 Permalink | Reply  

        Following the STM’s footsteps, Exo is begging for Quebec money to keep going.

        • Nicholas 13:02 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

          Public transit finances are not in good shape in many places, but begging for money during budget season is a time-honoured tradition. Separately, I’ve been told that the Exo top brass don’t care about their rail services (it’s all about buses), which probably means we won’t be getting trains that are cheaper to run, and faster, and cheaper to run more frequently.

      • Kate 12:41 on 2023-02-28 Permalink | Reply  

        Longtime CFCF-12 figure Don McGowan has died. He was 85 and had retired in 1998.

        • shawn 12:47 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

          It was cool to read how he really was as great a person in person as you hoped he’d be (I thought I once read something where he was sort of snippy and arrogant – but then some of my favourite people are).

        • Kate 12:56 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

          The anecdote I remember – and I was told this, didn’t see it – was during the 1980 referendum, there was a bit of chit‑chat about it on Pulse, the local news broadcast, in which McGowan made a little speech about how the media had to be impartial, with the others all nodding, and then he got up to do the weather forecast and had a huge NO sign pinned on his back.

        • shawn 13:00 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

          Pretty sure I remember seeing that live.

      • Kate 11:01 on 2023-02-28 Permalink | Reply  

        Two care homes in Lasalle and Lachine are being kept under Quebec’s control after revelations of abuse in both institutions, which were owned by the same people.

        • Kate 10:59 on 2023-02-28 Permalink | Reply  

          A new rooming house has been opened down St‑Hubert near Viger to offer homeless Indigenous people places to live.

          If this works out, couldn’t similar arrangements be made to house anyone who’s experiencing homelessness? I understand the need for Indigenous people particularly, first, but we have a lot of folks now who can’t afford even the most meager apartments in town.

          • Ephraim 11:49 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

            We need a LOT of rooming houses. The problem is, we also need laws on how they are run and someone with enough authority to run them. They often have more problems than simply apartments. And the landlord needs to be able to act swiftly to remove someone who is disturbing the peace. And having to use something like the rental court is much too slow. So we need a special licence when rent is paid daily/weekly.

            But we also need rooming houses, not just for the homeless or poor, we need them in general. For example, your landlord needs to fix something and you can’t tolerate solvents or even dust. These people can’t afford to go to a hotel. A rooming house is the right place for them.

            Rooming houses generally do not allow full kitchens. You are allowed a fridge, and a microwave. No cooker or oven.

          • DeWolf 11:50 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

            I think that’s the plan. In the past, rooming houses were seen as something to be tolerated at best, and their decline is one of the reasons so many more people have no choice but to end up on the street. Not just here but in every North American city.

            The city has adopted a strategy of trying to protect the ones that are left – eg, here’s news from a few weeks ago about the city using its right of first refusal to acquire two rooming houses that were up for sale:


          • Em 18:17 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

            I’m also struck by how rooming houses or boarding houses were an ingrained feature of most cities up until a few decades(?) ago (not sure when they started to get phased out).

            They’re very much a needed option, but on the other hand, there’s one close to me and I can’t imagine it’s particularly lucrative, or hassle free, to run. I think it used to be an old mansion, or maybe a small hotel. There’s been a “for sale” sign in the window for years but they don’t seem to be finding any takers.

            I’m not a big fan of subsidizing landlords but I do agree with Ephraim that there need to be some special rules, and maybe a property tax break for those who are providing housing for very low income people.

          • Kate 21:44 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

            I think rooming houses became generally regarded as low-class in the prosperous years after WWII when everyone who worked could afford to buy a house or at least rent a decent clean apartment.

            I don’t know this for a fact, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that one of the reasons Jean Drapeau was so happy to raze poorer neighbourhoods was that they had rooming houses, which didn’t fit into his Ville Radieuse-addled ideas of what Montreal should be like.

        • Kate 21:24 on 2023-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

          A presser/demo was held Monday to make the point that if Quebec handed over some cash, a lot of existing social housing could be renovated rather than condemned. Social housing units have been falling into disrepair at a terrible clip, meanwhile few new ones are being built.

          • Ephraim 09:20 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

            We need a report to tell us WHY they fell into disrepair. Was it because the costs of repair were too high? More repairs were needed because it was built badly? More repairs were needed because of the clientele? Without knowing WHY this is happening, it’s just throwing money at a problem, not fixing it.

          • Cadichon 09:39 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

            Historically, Quebec has allocated a fixed amount per unit for the maintenance of every HLM across the province. But a typical HLM in a rural area is a one or two storey wood frame building with senior tenants. In Montreal, you’ll find large HLM building with elevators and more varied tenants, including people with mental health issues. So maintenance costs in Montreal have been higher than the allocated sums for decades.

          • Ephraim 12:01 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

            That’s known. But it has to be more complicated than that. A building doesn’t go down to being condemned so quickly. We also know that maintenance is very expensive in Montreal because they are using city workers who are unionized and highly paid. Which is how REITs make their money… having many apartments, they can afford to keep maintenance people on contract and keep maintenance costs down.

            So the end result is that it may be cheaper in the long run to either consider going the way of Habitat for Humanity and building units that have a lease-to-own component so that people are invested in the maintenance of their own unit and the building or having contracts with REITs to do the maintenance or even long term contracts with REITs to actually run the property. Or even have the CDPQ set up a REIT specifically to do that with a fixed profit margin.

            But I think we are better off spending the money to clearly understand the underlying problem that just throwing money at it. To tackle this from a rational standpoint, rather than making assumptions. It’s like the problem with the Commission Scolaire de Montreal and maintenance. They clearly skimped on the budget and essentially planned on waiting until the government had no choice but to rescue them. And they did. When they should have considered taking control or even setting up a minimum percentage of budget spent for maintenance and holding them accountable for not doing maintenance instead they were just handed money. And I’m willing to bet we will see them do exactly the same thing again. Because it’s too easy to RUN to the government, when clearly there is mismanagement happening.

        • Kate 19:54 on 2023-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

          Heritage Montreal is concerned about plans for the Van Horne warehouse; I’m seeing on Facebook that there’s to be a meeting March 15 at the Rialto, organized by several Mile End community groups, to discuss the issue.

          • Poutine Pundit 00:41 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

            “Ce que l’on craint, c’est que ce projet autorisé par la Ville ne se concrétise pas et qu’il soit abandonné en cours de route, faute de moyens financiers, laissant ensuite le bâtiment à l’état d’épave et que l’on perde pour rien.”

            Isn’t there the same risk of the building decaying beyond repair if nothing is done?

            Is there a way to ensure the developer has enough money to carry his project to fruition?

            It sounds like the only acceptable use for this building according to Heritage Montreal is as a windowless warehouse. Most other uses will require windows to be added. I agree the general shape of the building needs to be preserved, the ghost signs facing Saint-Laurent, as does the water tower. The windowless brick walls? I think there’s room for flexibility on that one…

          • Kate 11:51 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

            I think that’s why those groups want to hold a meeting, to find out what people would like to see, rather than simply saying No.

          • DeWolf 12:12 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

            The idea that historic buildings need to be preserved in amber is very old fashioned. It’s also a good way to end up with a lot of empty buildings. As Poutine Pundit says, the real heritage value of the warehouse is the water tower and the ghost signs (I would also add its distinctive form). Not the blank walls.

            At this point, the only outcome that would make most people happy is if some well-heeled philanthropist like Phoebe Greenberg swept it with plans to convert the warehouse into some kind of cultural space. Galleries don’t need windows.

            Of course, that would be even more of a gentrifying force than a hotel. Which brings up a problem I have with this whole debate. It’s obvious that you can’t turn the warehouse into social housing, despite the delusions of groups like Mile End Ensemble. It would be so expensive as to be an unconscionable waste of public resources. So the question of what to do with the warehouse becomes, ‘What flavour of gentrification do you want?’ Because gentrification is a massive economic force that transcends this one project. Whether it’s a hotel or some kind of creative community space, it will feed the beast.

          • Blork 12:55 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

            One of the things that Heritage Montreal is concerned about (according to the article) is the feasibility of converting the building in terms of the structure’s ability to be easily converted. As in, they worry that an essentially hollow warehouse cannot easily be converted into apartments or similar living spaces due to technical constraints, and that trying to do so might end up causing cost overruns and possibly the abandonment of the project, which would leave the building derelict. (Personally, I find this argument refreshing because it’s entirely a technical issue instead of the usual polarizing social rhetorical ones, but I digress.)

            That angle definitely needs a closer look.

          • Kate 21:48 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

            Blork, it’s not an unrealistic worry that a project could get started then fizzle if an investor were to pull out or technical problems make the work more complicated and expensive than expected.

            Nobody wants to suggest tearing it down, but a lot of new housing could be built on that lot, if they did.

          • Joey 10:42 on 2023-03-01 Permalink

            @Kate my understanding is that, after Lac Megantic, new housing could *not* be built on that lot, but I am happy to be corrected. The building is (a) at the extreme end of a residential hood, (b) is a basically unused warehouse and (c) cannot contribute to easing the housing crunch, at least not directly. Odd that it has become a lightning rod for the mile end housing debate, IMO.

          • Kate 11:40 on 2023-03-01 Permalink

            I wonder, Joey, There might be some spaces facing Van Horne that are far enough from the rail line to build on? It’s an odd space though and the shape was clearly intended to interact with the rail line.

          • Joey 13:04 on 2023-03-01 Permalink

            Even if housing were viable, given the nature of the lot and the building it’s hard to imagine a developer being able to build “affordable” units on that spot. Just seems like the wrong focus but ymmv.

        • Kate 17:39 on 2023-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

          Jonathan Massari, accused of conspiring to kill several high‑profile mobsters in recent years, has pleaded guilty to the conspiracy. It’s no walk in the park – he’ll probably be sentenced to 25 years.

          • Joey 18:01 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

            Yeah, but think of all the drone deliveries!

        • Kate 17:34 on 2023-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

          Aaron Derfel has a report Monday on six questionable deaths at the Lakeshore ER and says the staff informed Christian Dubé, who didn’t respond. CBC radio is saying the PLQ is demanding an inquiry.

          • Uatu 01:46 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

            Deaths in private nursing homes and ERs under his watch… how is this guy still health minister?

          • Tim S. 10:32 on 2023-02-28 Permalink

            An inquiry is surely a good idea, but does the PLQ honestly think we’ve all forgotten that they were in charge only 5 years ago and this is all their fault too?

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