Updates from February, 2023 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 23:28 on 2023-02-14 Permalink | Reply  

    QMI zooms in on the question whether homelessness is on the rise downtown and the grim state of the Village these days.

    • shawn 11:58 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

      I haven’t been down in the Village in ages and I had no idea it was that bad. The couple who lived in my place before me bought a lovely top floor greystone condo on St-André (just below Place Emilie Gamelin) like 11 years ago and were appalled by the crime, etc. But now it seems off the charts. Scary.

      I think someone’s already written about this but I think the decline in homophobia and full inclusion of LGBTQ2+ people has meant that there’s less of a need for a “gay” neighbourhood – and that lack of ghettoization had led to an exodus of people and commerce?

      Again, I THINK I read that…

    • walkerp 12:31 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

      Just check your sources (Quebecor) and be skeptical about these kinds of reports. The issues are real, but the conservative media exaggerates them to push their political agendas. According to many media reports, San Francisco is a lawless, extremist-woke hellscape. Well I just spent several days there walking all over the city and yes there is some bad homelessness but it’s still mostly pretty nice.

    • shawn 12:52 on 2023-02-15 Permalink


    • Kate 13:03 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

      Good reminder, walkerp. Thank you.

  • Kate 23:24 on 2023-02-14 Permalink | Reply  

    Phillip Hart Baugniet, the first principal of FACE, is accused of sexually assaulting very young students in the 1970s and 1980s. It’s the CSSDM and EMSB, which jointly operate the school, that will be sued if the class-action suit is allowed to proceed.

    • Kate 18:08 on 2023-02-14 Permalink | Reply  

      I haven’t posted about recent revelations that the U.S. is actively funneling people toward Roxham Road, because it’s not directly a Montreal issue, but I’m struck today by the contrast between these two pieces: Ottawa is now directing incomers toward Ontario because Quebec immigration minister Christine Fréchette says Quebec’s capacity to welcome people has been exceeded.

      At the same time, we have now reached a total of 300,000 temporary workers in Quebec. While keeping a lid on actual immigrants, we keep bringing in more “temporary” people to whom we don’t owe the same social debt. But at the same time, those “temporary” people can get right to work without having to speak French, so the CAQ is even being hypocritical about that. So long as the wheels keep turning…

      • DeWolf 18:26 on 2023-02-14 Permalink

        This makes my skin crawl. The CAQ doesn’t like immigrants, but they’re okay with creating an increasingly large underclass of foreign workers who have limited rights and no potential to settle here permanently.

      • Ian 22:01 on 2023-02-14 Permalink

        I think the one thing that everyone is kind of dancing around is that these aren’t “illegal immigrants”, these are REFUGEES. Our government is actively trying to ban REFUGEES.

        Article 14 of the United Nations Declaration of human rights:

        Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

      • Daniel 07:00 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

        It’s not a Montreal issue exactly, but on the other hand it really is because so many people have ended up here.

        Bill 96 prompted me to volunteer with Welcome Collective/Collectif Bienvenue. They work really hard to help people who are here seeking asylum. The work has been very rewarding and I think genuinely useful for the recipients of my effort. I do it mostly from home. Highly recommended if you’re interested.

      • carswell 09:51 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

        The question for the 1995 referendum was famously convoluted and, opponents claimed, misleading. Surveys showed that some likely oui voters believed they were giving the government a mandate solely to negotiate a new deal with Canada. (Parizeau later admitted that the only offer he intended to make was one Canada couldn’t accept, triggering separation.) Don McPherson wrote a column about it suggesting the PQ consider changing the question to one where yes was the only possible answer, something along the lines of “Do you love mother and apple pie?”

        While my facetious idea was “Do you want to have your cake and eat it too?” (one of the more prominent oui posters actually featured a Canadian loonie), the question I suspected Parizeau’s was code for was one nobody openly asked: When, as appears demographically inevitable, old-stock Quebecers find themselves about to become a minority in an independent Quebec, will they maintain a genuine democracy or rig the system to stay in power?

        Odd these days to see the answers to both my questions becoming clearer. Legault’s separation without actually separating — where action is taken on nearly every front to eliminate or minimize Canada’s presence and role in the province, including shredding the constitution and never acknowledging that Quebecers are fortunate to live in one of the best countries in the world — without the trauma outright independence would bring, is coming to seem like an affirmative answer to the first. And things like the influx of temporary workers, who live here and pay taxes but have no representation or practical path to it, and Bill 96, which, among other things, discourages “undesirables” from working in government and putting down roots, are increasingly providing an answer to the second.

      • Ephraim 10:14 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

        @Ian – It depends on who it is. Haitians in the US have a special status (TPS) and the reason they were allowed to stay has nothing to do with refugee status, but was a response to the Haitian earthquake. Which is why the rate of refusal for refugee status for Haitians illegally entering the country is really low (and worse, they could have stayed in the US, but by crossing, lost their TPS. And if I remember correctly being refused has a high cost, as you are required to pay for your own plane ticket and sign an IOU for it. Also, when you cross illegally, you have very limited rights… you do NOT want to be in a detention centre for illegal immigrants, they pack them in there!

      • Tim 14:41 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

        I was under the impression that the federal government was in charge of the temporary worker programs. They could choose to change things if they wanted and Quebec wouldn’t be able to do a thing about it. Does Quebec have its own program?

        I am personally embarrassed and ashamed at how we, as a country, take advantage of temporary workers.

      • Kate 15:26 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

        Quebec has enough control over its immigration that it has a whole government minister devoted to it.

    • Kate 15:30 on 2023-02-14 Permalink | Reply  

      Metropolis looks at what it inevitably calls the revitalization of the ground-floor offices at Place Ville‑Marie with grids and plants for new Sid Lee offices.

      • Kate 13:37 on 2023-02-14 Permalink | Reply  

        La Presse has the story of longtime tenants evicted by a new landlord who has plans to create Airbnb units. And it’s all perfectly legal.

        • Spi 15:03 on 2023-02-14 Permalink

          Regardless of which side of the renters vs landlords debate you are on, the clear takeaway away is that the current system has created a bunch of unexpected consequences that’s in many ways contribute to the disastrous housing situation yet no one wants to change anything?

        • Joey 15:17 on 2023-02-14 Permalink

          Politically, it’s clear the solution to this problem can only come from Quebec – the province needs to ban the practice of evicting tenants to allow for short-term rentals. But the city’s response is maddening. If it’s clear the CAQ is never going to act, why not undo the zoning regulations such that all short-term rentals are forbidden everywhere in Montreal. This quote from the Projet borough mayor is so frustrating:

          « C’est une histoire terrible », déplore le maire de Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Pierre Lessard-Blais, au sujet de la situation des deux locataires. Mais l’arrondissement n’a pas le pouvoir d’intervenir, dit-il.

          « Si c’était juste de moi, on interdirait la location plus de 30 jours par année sur Airbnb dans l’ensemble du territoire », affirme M. Lessard-Blais. « Mais la loi québécoise ne nous le permet pas. On a seulement le pouvoir de restreindre les secteurs où c’est permis. Notre règlement interdit les Airbnb de 30 jours et plus sur 95 % du territoire. »

          For reference, from earlier in the piece:

          “Le tronçon de la rue Ontario où se trouve l’immeuble est l’un des secteurs où les Airbnb sont permis dans l’arrondissement de Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, qui a réglementé l’hébergement touristique en 2016 pour le restreindre à certaines zones.”

        • Ephraim 15:29 on 2023-02-14 Permalink

          Sad tale. Even sadder if you know that for the most part, the burn out rate for people doing AirBnB is generally 6 months… they realize it’s a lot more work than they bargained for.

        • JS 16:26 on 2023-02-14 Permalink

          I’d be curious to know what percent of the year local Airbnb’s are even occupied. Do large numbers of tourists really come to Montreal outside the summer?

        • Cadichon 16:50 on 2023-02-14 Permalink

          You can’t forbid a specific use over all of a municipality’s territory according to the provincial urban planning act. I guess each borough is considered like an individual municipality in Montreal’s case.

        • DeWolf 17:12 on 2023-02-14 Permalink

          Is it possible under the urban planning act to ban short-stay tourist lodgings in certain areas while still allowing for hotel construction in those same areas? Because we definitely need more hotels outside downtown, but they absolutely should not replace any existing housing stock.

          @Ephraim, I doubt it would the landlord managing the Airbnbs. Most are no longer run by individuals, they’re run by companies that manage hundreds of units.

          @JS, yes, there are lots of visitors all year. Work visitors, people seeing family/friends, classic tourists who want to do wintery things. Just for example, M for Montreal attracts a lot of music industry people from the US in November, and I’ll bet a lot of them stay in Airbnbs because the shows they are attending are mostly on the Plateau or points north, where there are almost no hotels.

          To be more specific, hotel occupancy rates in 2019 were just above 50% in December and January, but more than 60% in February and March, more than 70% in April and November, and more than 80% every other month.

        • jeather 17:18 on 2023-02-14 Permalink

          I wonder if that is deliberate. Convert to commercial, fail at it, reconvert to residental at market rents. I assume no one keeps track.

        • Ephraim 20:08 on 2023-02-14 Permalink

          @deWolf – For 2 units? They may hire a company to do it for them, but that REALLY eats into profits. So does proper housekeeping. But then, every damn summer, I get calls from people begging for a place to stay because they showed up at their AirBnB to discover how horrible it was. In fact, I have been to a few in town…. unless you are paying top dollar, they are really dumps. And then there are the stories of extortion. Well, at least now they are paying their fair share of taxes. The full 19% plus income tax. Much harder to get away with it.

        • Ian Rogers 21:39 on 2023-02-14 Permalink

          Worth noting, the large porn companies like “MindGeek” aka Pornhub often use AirBnBs for their shoots. That helps offset the slow season I guess? I’ve seen listings specifically stating “no movie sets” lol.

        • Ephraim 22:53 on 2023-02-14 Permalink

          @Ian – Can you imagine you go out of town and you kid rents out your place on AirBnB… only to find out they filmed porn there and see it on Pornhub or onlyfans. But there is a list of nefarious things that can happen, like visiting escorts using the place, an orgy, in Sweden they busted them running an entire brothel out of an AirBnB. And the number of people who have used AirBnBs for theft and drug drops…

        • shawn 13:13 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

      • Kate 12:47 on 2023-02-14 Permalink | Reply  

        Workers at the BAnQ have begun a five‑day strike in a push for a new contract.

        • Orr 16:20 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

          These workers make my life better, every single day. I support them.

        • Kate 22:50 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

          So do I. It’s evidence of the CAQ’s disdain for culture that they’re unwilling to cut the workers a decent new contract.

          Big talk about preserving French, but the library is one of the major palaces of the French language here and they can’t give a shit.

      • Kate 12:13 on 2023-02-14 Permalink | Reply  

        The CFL has taken over ownership of the Montreal Alouettes and is looking for a new owner to step up.

        • shawn 12:15 on 2023-02-14 Permalink

          Yes I was hoping you’d this. Certainly a big deal for me! Let’s hope the investment banker gets it right, this time.

        • Kate 12:18 on 2023-02-14 Permalink

          I don’t post much about the team because in general nobody here seems to care much about the CFL. I think you’re the first person to have anything much to say about it.

        • shawn 12:55 on 2023-02-14 Permalink

          Yep. Even amongst sports fans here, the CFL doesn’t get much love.

        • shawn 13:29 on 2023-02-14 Permalink

          Although I do think there is something interesting in a good disaster. The team was sold by the league in 2019 to a 90-year-old Ontario businessman with no succession plan. Actuarially speaking, I’m not sure what they thought was going to happen?

        • Josh 11:58 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

          They basically had no other choice, is what I understand from following the story casually, Shawn.

          It’s sad, but certainly not unprecedented for the CFL. For several years, the former owner of the BC Lions David Braley (who also chaired the league’s board of governors) effectively “owned” the Toronto Argonauts, too. Obviously it’s a conflict of interest to own two teams in the same league, but the CFL had no other choice.

          Seems pretty clear a good setup for sports ownership in Canada is to have several teams in the same city all under the same ownership group. There are versions of this in Calgary, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Toronto and Hamilton, and at the very least, it allows for consolidation of non-athletic staff (marketing, ticket sales, corporate outreach, etc).

        • shawn 12:16 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

          Yes, TSN’s Dave Naylor has been kind of enough to reply to me on twitter a few times and he said pretty much the same thing, Josh. That despite the interest from several pretty impressive groups here, no one else came close to the money offered by Spiegel/Stern.

      • Kate 10:55 on 2023-02-14 Permalink | Reply  

        Daniel Renaud recounts a violent story of debt and retribution and police double agents.

        • Kate 10:52 on 2023-02-14 Permalink | Reply  

          All our media – regular and social – are reporting on the letter to Maëva, killed in last week’s bus attack in Laval, written by her parents.

          • Kate 10:41 on 2023-02-14 Permalink | Reply  

            Someone set off pepper spray Tuesday morning at Place d’Armes metro, stopping all three lines for a short time for ventilation, then there was an incident at Crémazie. Twitter shows an all clear around 9:20.

            • Ian 21:41 on 2023-02-14 Permalink

              Were one inclined to immobilize the metro system for nefarious reasons they couldn’t have done better. It’s a very serious infrastructure weakness.

          • Kate 10:38 on 2023-02-14 Permalink | Reply  

            Early Tuesday, a man died in an apartment fire in Little Burgundy, and a restaurant fire meant the evacuation of three households in Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.

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