Updates from February, 2023 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 23:00 on 2023-02-15 Permalink | Reply  

    Wednesday was the warmest February 15 on record. It was the first 9°C of the year, whereas a typical first is March 8.

    • Kate 20:07 on 2023-02-15 Permalink | Reply  

      Mitch Garber says he never aspired to own a newspaper, but he’s prepared to buy the Gazette to keep an anglo paper alive in Montreal.

      If he did, I bet he’d build the sports section into something special, but does anyone know anything about his politics?

      • shawn 20:15 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

        But then he subsequently (I think) said on twitter that Postmedia isn’t interested in selling. They’d rather cut it to the bone and keep it.

      • Kate 20:31 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

        Postmedia are nuts.

      • shawn 20:40 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

        According to Mitch it still makes a profit so that’s really all they care about.

        (I believe Postmedia is owned by hedge funds, if I recall correctly)

      • Kevin 22:02 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

        Postmedia doesn’t care. It’s not their country.

        I am surprised that any of the PostMedia papers are still publishing, but the end day is getting closer.

        It will always baffle me how the Canadian government allowed the country’s newspapers to be sold to a foreign company.

      • Ian 22:09 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

        Wait until you hear about why FM radio sucks.

      • Joey 09:55 on 2023-02-16 Permalink

        I assume Garber is your typical centre-right rich guy – didn’t he boast in his twitter thread about this that he’s “a capitalist”? He has also has lamented the fact that kids in Quebec don’t grow up learning about important businessman, mentioning Couche-Tard founder Alain Bouchard specifically (he told the Canadian Club “If it’s important for our children to know Carey Price’s statistics, we should also tell them who is Alain Bouchard”), which strikes me as an odd thing for a human person to think.

        Anyway, he’s clearly a defender of Anglo rights but is realistic about the importance of ensuring Quebec is a primarily French society, and has criticized Anglophones, and the Jewish community specifically, for not doing more to engage in French-speaking life.

        When I was a kid I always enjoyed his segments on Mitch Melnick’s afternoon show…

      • shawn 09:59 on 2023-02-16 Permalink

        Articles are saying that all of the profits from Postmedia go towards paying down hundreds of millions of dollars worth of debt that Chatham also acquired when it purchased the company. So I wonder what happens when the debt is paid off, if that ever is possible?

      • Kate 11:58 on 2023-02-16 Permalink

        I was reminded that Garber was part of the consortium that was so keen on bringing Major League baseball back. So if he was able to buy the Gazette, it would probably become a platform for campaigning for baseball in a big way. Sports journalists have nothing to lose – an entire extra professional team gives them more to write about, more of a raison d’être for a sports section.

      • Josh 12:09 on 2023-02-16 Permalink

        I always find your angle on sports curious, Kate. Honestly one could regard reporters on any beat in this way: An education reporter would probably love an extra university on which to report, arts reporters clearly would love more galleries and theatres, business reporters more corporate HQs in their cities, etc.

        Journalists who cover a beat do like a robust beat in their town, it’s true!

      • Joey 12:14 on 2023-02-16 Permalink

        @Kate I doubt it. Isn’t the land that group was looking at being developed? There’s nowhere downtown to put a stadium, especially if the ballpark is supposed to be an ‘anchor’ for a much larger and more lucrative real estate project. But, more to the point, Bronfman/Garber/etc. got burned big time by Major League Baseball – they thought they had the MLB owners on board with their whole ‘sister city’ idea with Tampa, only to have the rug pulled out from under them. Afterwards, Bronfman was pretty blunt with the press (“This chapter’s closed. At this point, I kind of put my hands in the air. I was really sold on the project we were working on. It’s not happening. I’ve not given much thought to anything else. Would I love to see Montreal have a baseball team? Of course. How is it going to happen? I don’t know. Is it viable? I think so, (but) I don’t know. We’re a major-league city. People have my email. They have my number. I’m happy to help and discuss — but not today.”) His bitterness and resentment are palpable; I’d be surprised if any of that gang were ever to go anywhere near MLB again.

        Garber has since become a part owner of the Seattle Kraken NHL team, which is probably scractching his ‘I wanna be a sports team owner’ itch…

      • shawn 12:57 on 2023-02-16 Permalink

        Wow, here’s what Mitch just tweeted:

        “Twitter was not my chosen avenue but here we are: my inbox is flooded with interested Quebec-based billionaires, executives, editors & advertisers. What do they want ? 2 things : Save The Gazette and make all our part of it locally owned and run. Gazette owners court..meet ball.”

      • Kate 13:58 on 2023-02-16 Permalink

        Josh, obviously no sports writer is going to argue against a new team. New teams, new matches and new sports events are grist for their mill. I don’t think it’s wicked, it’s just human nature. Even if a sports writer has doubts whether Montreal could sustain an MLB team now, when it couldn’t in the past, it would hardly be in their best interest to say so.

        Following our argument that all reporters like to see more topics to write about in their specialty, what does that say about crime reporters?!

      • Josh 15:07 on 2023-02-16 Permalink

        I had that thought after I posted, Kate! I think there could be something to it. Reporters do not like slow news days generally, and news in the A section is, typically, not good news.

        And I agree with Joey: I don’t think in the near-term there are prospects for MLB’s return to Montreal. The cities bandied about most frequently in those circles in the past year or three seem to be Las Vegas, Portland and Nashville. Even Vancouver gets mentioned now and again in writeups about future expansion cities, but Montreal has mostly fallen off the radar.

      • shawn 15:30 on 2023-02-16 Permalink

        Could we stay on topic? The only sports on Kate’s blog should be Alouettes football. Please.

      • jeather 16:12 on 2023-02-16 Permalink

        Christopher Curtis wrote about this, too. Says pretty much what you expect. I assume the debt is the same kind of leveraged buyout that, eg, Musk just used to buy twitter, where the new owners buy a new company and immediately saddle it with huge amounts of debt.

    • Kate 20:00 on 2023-02-15 Permalink | Reply  

      Reports Wednesday afternoon of a nasty incident in the metro recently: a woman called a Black man by some racist language, and he spat in her face. The incident was caught on video by an observer. It was not reported to the STM at the time but they’re being called to comment on it now.

      The Journal has the video, which doesn’t show how the confrontation began. The STM says it’s looking into the incident.

      • Kate 19:41 on 2023-02-15 Permalink | Reply  

        Why are bike paths cleared first? I’ve seen irritated mentions occasionally that bike paths are sometimes cleared before sidewalks, and how unfair it is.

        The article does explain two simple reasons why, though: bike paths are less numerous and less complicated by street furniture. The city uses different equipment for bike paths than sidewalks, too. Other factors are also mentioned in the item.

        • walkerp 20:56 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

          I imagine with most bike paths, you can just drive straight through from one end to the other, whereas with sidewalks we all know how many little deviations the chenillettes have to make to get around planters and bikes and whatever.

        • DeWolf 00:53 on 2023-02-16 Permalink

          Only a handful of bike paths are actually cleared. Even some paths that are part of the winter network are often neglected.

        • Chris 09:16 on 2023-02-17 Permalink

          Heck, only a handful of bike paths even *exist*.

        • Orr 14:36 on 2023-02-17 Permalink

          Pretty simple really: so people with driveways have a place to dump their snow.

        • Ian 20:13 on 2023-02-17 Permalink

          I was up at St Denis and Villeray a couple of times today and can confirm the REV was plowed down to the asphalt and salted hours before the streets or even the sidewalks got a cursory cleaning. That said it’s obviously different crews and yes, I’m sure having a direct straightaway with nobody on it helps a lot. I saw only one bicyclist on the REV today – and he blew a light 🙂

      • Kate 19:24 on 2023-02-15 Permalink | Reply  

        During a presser Wednesday, the mayor blamed a lack of social services for the noted decline in the area around Ste‑Catherine and Berri, where Archambault is closing its original, flagship store.

        • Ian 22:10 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

          Always somebody else’s fault.

        • DeWolf 00:56 on 2023-02-16 Permalink

          What would you have our all-powerful mayor do, Ian?

        • Ian 08:32 on 2023-02-16 Permalink

          Something other than pass the buck?
          When the mayor or any other elected official opts to voice their sympathy but blame others for the lack of action – or my personal favourite, their claims of powerlessness – that is just virtue signalling. They get to look like they are on the right side of the history, but “unable” to take any real action. This is the same tactic they use in “dealing” with gentrification, homelessness, AirBnB, police profiling, etc.

          What would I have our our all-powerful mayor do? Either take concrete, meaningful action or shut up.

        • DeWolf 12:12 on 2023-02-16 Permalink

          None of the issues you mention are unique to Montreal, and they’re all complex problems that require coordination between multiple levels of government and public institutions. Every major city in North America is dealing with precisely those issues and I’m not aware of any having success. Police abuse, housing unaffordability, gentrification, homelessness – it’s happening in Toronto, NYC, Chicago, Vancouver, LA, SF, Seattle, etc. etc. etc., and they’re all struggling as much or more than we are.

          Which means you’re holding the mayor to an impossibly high standard. Either that or your blind hatred of Projet Montréal and Plante is leading you to overlook the basic truth of politics, which is that talking is what politicians do. The mayor of Montreal literally doesn’t have the power to solve this on her own, so she needs to make statements blaming the provincial government if she expects anything to get done, because the provincial government holds all the cards. It’s not passing the buck, it’s how politics are done in the broken Canadian system.

        • Ian 19:26 on 2023-02-17 Permalink

          Ok so let’s look at things directly in the city’s power, like enforcing the bylaws that AirBnB can only be on commercial streets. No enforcement.
          Idling trucks are illegal let alone parked at every corner in mixed residential neighbourhoods.
          No enforcement.
          Defunding the police and funding groups that support the homeless especially downtown? Record police budget increases instead.
          Fighting gentrification by introducing a vacancy tax? Nope, scared of developer lawyers (or maybe just paid off).

          I could go on if you like. I’m not expecting Plante to fix the world’s problems but the “my hands are tied so accept my empty sympathies” routine is beyond disingenuous at this point and fully into dishonesty if not outright evasive lying.

        • Ian 21:11 on 2023-02-17 Permalink


          I am a leftist progressive. When they first came on the scene, PM appealed to me on that level in a very obvious way, especially compared to Coderre & his crew that appeared to just do what they wanted, catering to business. It felt like more of the same brown envelopes business.

          Despite my misgivings about how Piper Huggins got hustled out & the already evident bullying behaviour from Norris & Ferrandez, I voted for PM – and in the next election they cleaned up in the Plateau. I voted Plante for mayor when she ran. Only in this last election, seeing how they have squandered their momentum and time in office did I realize that Projet Montreal are seriously full of crap and we have been utterly betrayed by them.

          PM also just does what they want. If it coincidentally fits within your worldview, congrats – but they won’t try to do anything that is too complicated, requires studies, puts them at risk politically, or steps on anyone’s bureaucratic feet. When I asked on Facebook about traffic studies in the Plateau for street closures vs bus routes Rabouin gleefully informed me that they don’t do studies at all, they go with popular consensus – meaning what they think is right and what their core supporters think is right. They literally subscribe to Richard Florida, are shooting from the hip, and do not care at all about you if they do not perceive you as a core voter – especially as voter turnout is ridiculously low.

          They know that if they can cater to that sweet 19% (52% of the 36.87% turnout) they can do what they want. That said, in several boroughs even though they still won, it was by a smaller margin than last time. If everyone got out and voted, the politicians would actually have to put some effort into defending their platforms, advocating for their electorate, and actually enacting change.

          Claiming that the mayor doesn’t have power to enact change so we should give her a free pass to talk shit and do nothing contributes to voter disenfranchisement. I don’t think it’s true! Even if our mayor & her crew has been dialling it in for a couple of terms knowing nobody will bother to vote them out as long as they talk a good game, municipal politicians can do all kinds of stuff if they put their mind to it – not just low-hanigng fruit like bulb-outs and bike paths.

      • Kate 14:49 on 2023-02-15 Permalink | Reply  

        Mayor Plante, challenged in court Wednesday to explain why the city is still only taking tentative steps to end the police racial profiling that’s been openly admitted since the 1989 Déclaration de Montréal, could only say there’s no magic wand that can whisk it away.

        Plante undoubtedly has good intentions, but it’s obvious after decades that good intentions are not enough. On the other hand, she’s smart enough not to make empty promises. No matter what the mayor of Montreal says, she’s still subject to a provincial government whose entrenched position is that there’s no systemic racism here.

        Also in the news: a coalition of rights groups are pressuring Quebec to end police street checks.

        • Ian 18:56 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

          PM are well-versed in talking a good game and virtue signalling – but it’s all just hot air. They are elitists appealing to their “creative class” constituents.

          Plante knows that as long as voter turnout is low and disenfranchised groups don’t vote, she can keep playing to the select audience of PM voters – and maintain power.

          “What does it mean when the tools of a racist patriarchy are used to examine the
          fruits of that same patriarchy? It means that only the most narrow parameters of change
          are possible and allowable.”

          Audre Lorde

      • Kate 09:51 on 2023-02-15 Permalink | Reply  

        Radio-Canada looks at Montrealers who have fled to the regions, although some are folks who came from smaller towns, lived here for a time, and are now going back home. News? Or hasn’t there always been some va‑et‑vient between the big city and places like Drummondville?

        • Ephraim 13:52 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

          Ah yes… all those people running away from the big city. It’s such a giant wave. You would think that Montreal would be empty by now… but no, the population of Montreal and the Greater Montreal region just continue to grow. Hurrah, move back to Victoriaville, someone else needs an apartment/house. BYE!

        • DeWolf 14:54 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

          The ISQ projection that Montreal Island will grow in population by only 3 percent over the next 20 years is based entirely on the first two years of the pandemic, when there was a sudden uptick of out-migration with very little no immigration to replace the people who left. That’s an annual growth rate of 0.15% – compared to the island’s average annual growth rate of 0.59% over the past decade. I’m extremely sceptical that this will actually play out, now that immigrants are arriving at the same rate as before the pandemic.

        • Em 14:55 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

          The people cited in this story were already from or had previously lived in the regions and went back or moved full time, so I’m not sure “fled” is the right word.

          In any case, I think Canada would be much better off if more of the jobs, people and opportunities were spread to more cities instead of concentrated in just a small handful. It’s better for housing affordability in the big cities, and the smaller places will benefit from having more young workers and families.

        • shawn 16:35 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

          I’m no expert but there’ve been similar stories about people leaving Toronto to move or return to smaller centres…

        • qatzelok 18:28 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

          If your life in Montreal is about staying in your bungalow and driving to malls, you might as well move to Drummondville and pay a lot less for your lawn.

          Suburbanites don’t really get to enjoy what the city has to offer, and suburban Drummondville is a very close approximation of suburban Montreal.

        • Uatu 20:29 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

          They may have left, but I’m sure that their kids will end up in Montreal when they turn 18. Most kids from burbs and small towns all share the same desire: to gtfo to the city and get away from the folks

        • Kate 22:48 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

          For awhile, but when they begin to breed, they swim back upstream to the suburbs and towns where they began, and thus the circle of life continues.

        • Ian 08:33 on 2023-02-16 Permalink

          And like the mighty salmon, spawning then dying where they themselves came into the world. Majestic 😀

      • Kate 09:37 on 2023-02-15 Permalink | Reply  

        Nine pedestrians were killed on the streets of Montreal in fall 2022. Twenty died in the course of 2022 all told.

        • ottawaowl 11:20 on 2023-02-15 Permalink

          I’m not “happé” about so much unnecessary carnage but Montreal is doing a MUCH BETTER JOB than Ottawa at keeping pedestrians and cyclists safe: only 20 pedestrian deaths (798 injured) and ONE cyclist death (13 maimed, 478 injured). On a per capita basis Ottawa has a much worse record! With the recent election of Mark Sutcliffe as mayor things will only get worse.

      • Kate 09:35 on 2023-02-15 Permalink | Reply  

        All bus drivers in the Montreal area are stopping at 8:24 on Wednesday morning for a minute of silence to remember the bus attack last week in Laval.

        • Kate 09:33 on 2023-02-15 Permalink | Reply  

          The statistics on racial profiling complaints are disheartening, so few of them progressing past the police ethics commission to rulings by the police ethics committee (a different entity) or to the Human Rights Commission or to the Human Rights Tribunal – the latter being the only body that can issue binding demands to pay damages. People have to be prepared to fight hard and jump through a lot of hoops if they want an admission that wrong was done, let alone get restitution.

          Mayor Plante is to testify Wednesday in the ongoing class-action lawsuit against the city concerning profiling.

          • Kate 09:29 on 2023-02-15 Permalink | Reply  

            Who would’ve guessed that a Conservative candidate would be a vaccine skeptic and a climate denier?

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