Updates from March, 2023 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 16:41 on 2023-03-16 Permalink | Reply  

    With a $200-million gap in next year’s budget, the city is looking at possible new kinds of revenue by raising new taxes or by cutting some services. A tax on empty residential spaces is one of the ideas in play.

    • Ephraim 18:25 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

      We need a heavy tax on empty residential spaces, a heavy tax on empty commercial spaces, a tax on the usage of the sidewalk for building, a tax and permit system for no parking signs, so the city can look up if they were paid and if there was a permit involved. Just that would likely fill a tall gap.

    • Meezly 10:10 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

      Here here.

    • Ian 12:07 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

      I seriously doubt the city will enact new taxes on commercial property, their cowardice in Mile End was entirely because they were afraid if getting sued by deep-pockets developers.

      Much like how it is easier to ban fireplaces than enforce rules against idling trucks, I will be very surprised if the new taxes aren’t almost all borne by residents and a driving tax.

    • Joey 13:49 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

      In reaction, Projet Mtl will… pedestrianize one block of Duluth. In other words, business as usual, priorities never change, if you don’t like it, take a hike.

    • CE 08:29 on 2023-03-18 Permalink

      They’re not pedestrianizing that stretch of Duluth, they’re going to remove it completely and expand the park to the south. The first year they’ll block it off with planters and benches but later on they’re going to tear it out. Also, it’s the equivalent of four short blocks. One thing I can give PM credit for is that they’ve done a great job at removing cars from parks.

    • Kate 19:40 on 2023-03-18 Permalink

      i wonder whether the expansion is preparatory to opening the garden of the Hôtel-Dieu to the public. There’s this big door onto that spur of Duluth.

  • Kate 15:27 on 2023-03-16 Permalink | Reply  

    The residents of the camp under the Ville‑Marie are turning to the law to confirm that, as Christopher Curtis writes, “the latest attempt to raze the camp is a violation of the Charter rights to life, liberty, safety and dignity.”

    • Kate 13:56 on 2023-03-16 Permalink | Reply  

      English has been found unavoidable for university level studies in Quebec, not only for researchers, but in general, because some textbooks are only available in English.

      In better news for the langue de Molière, CN is promising to obey Bill 96, although I don’t see that it had much choice.

      The CAQ is running an ad campaign against franglais.

      • Daniel 15:59 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        That CAQ ad is really… something else! I mean, on the one hand it’s pretty well done!

        On the other hand, what a waste of time. I was listening to a podcast that was talking about all of the French words that had entered English hundreds of years ago, and about the words from Italian and Spanish that had entered English via French. (In an age where long-distance travel was complicated, words often entered Britain through its nearest neighbour, France. So we ended up with loan words of loan words.)

        I can at least understand the idea of encouraging people to speak French, but this whole “language purity” thing is equal parts gross and pointless.

      • walkerp 16:12 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        It’s one of the big weaknesses of the french language, its rigidity, which is why it gets dominated by english, since we don’t care that much except at the highest levels as long as you get your point across and can keep doing commerce.

        Furthermore, maintaining correct french and just maintaining french language/culture are two almost totally separate issues. The CAQ’s ad campaign just shoots themselves in the foot from the get-go, appealling only to French teachers and certain old members of the educated elite.

      • jeather 16:31 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        Self-reported study with 6% response rate, including the startling comment that “[secondary school students] think that the obligation to study French is an injustice”. This is likely true, but have they not met teenagers before?

        Also to note: Par ailleurs, la communication avec les étudiants s’effectue généralement en français.

        Honestly on reading/skimming the full report, it’s mostly just restating all the issues with English as the shared global language. This is true! But it’s not uniquely a problem in Quebec, or for Quebec.

      • jeather 16:34 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        Daniel English has multiple examples of borrowing the same word in from French more than once, after French pronunciation changed the word. (The first that always comes to mind is cherise, eventually interpreted as the plural of the new word cherry [pease -> pea+s went through the same thing] as opposed to a mass noun like rice is, and again borrowed as cerise.)

      • Kate 18:27 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        I was in a store today for about 20 minutes, waiting for someone to find a stove part. Two separate clients were served by the other store worker, who shifted between English and French when speaking with both of them. I wasn’t close enough to discern why she was doing that. The man serving me was actually French, not Québécois, and he mostly spoke French with me, which was fine, but when I said “General Electric” he could tell I was anglophone, and then he started speaking with me also in a mixture of both languages.

        Nobody got annoyed. Scenes like this probably play out all over town, one way or another, all the time.

        (They didn’t have the stove part. Stove is so old they don’t make parts any more. It’s time to replace this ancient crock of a stove, but I hate spending good computer money on an appliance.)

      • Blork 22:07 on 2023-03-16 Permalink


      • dwgs 08:10 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        Kate, try a quick google search for your part, you’d be surprised how much unused old stock exists out there. I can find ‘new’ parts for some of my woodworking equipment that dates to the 50’s.

      • Kate 08:45 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        dwgs, I got cheap substitutes on Amazon, this was a drip tray for under the elements, mine are corroded to hell and full of holes. I thought they were more or less generic but the parts store said not. (I’d rather buy locally, but sometimes Amazon is your fallback…)

        I bought this stove from the previous tenant here, and it’s probably 40 or more years old, oven is busted, no point spending more money on it now.

        Blork, I would go to Elvis, but the closest dealer in reconditioned appliances is called Cobra, so I may pop down there tomorrow and see what they’ve got.

      • CE 09:10 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        Cobra is good. I’ve bought a few things from them back when I lived in Villeray.

      • MarcG 09:11 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        Fixing the oven could be as easy as replacing the bake element.

      • Kate 09:24 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        MarcG: this stove is so old the element is not modular, it has to be wired in.

        CE: thanks, it had good notices on Google but it’s good to have a personal recommendation too.

      • MarcG 09:30 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        Ah, not so easy then!

      • DeWolf 11:41 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        A new oven/stove will probably be easier on your Hydro bill too!

      • MarcG 11:53 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        Especially if she finds one that can consume her newfound mountainous supply of goat shit as biofuel.

      • Kate 13:29 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        Hey, it’s all natural!

    • Kate 11:26 on 2023-03-16 Permalink | Reply  

      Three horses are still stabled in Griffintown and there are concerns about the conditions in which they’re kept.

      In other sad animal news, a man has been sentenced to 16 months in prison for abusing then killing his cat and dog. Don’t look at this if you’re at all tender‑hearted about animals.

      But there’s better animal news, sort of: a king penguin hatched at the Biodome last month, just announced this week.

      And, later – weirder animal news. Walking along the upper Main, not far from Crémazie, I saw two men staring at something on the sidewalk. It was a dead furry thing and I hoped it wasn’t a cat.

      It wasn’t. It was a dead possum.

      I’d read that the species habitat was moving north with climate change – there was this piece last year – but this is the first time I’ve seen one, alive or dead. I told the men what it was, and that it wasn’t a huge rat, as one suggested.

      • Taylor 12:44 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        What’s that line, supposedly from a Saudi prince, commenting on the likely trajectory of the oil economy-‘my grandfather rode a camel, my father drove a ford, I drive a mercedes, my son drives a land rover, but his son will ride a camel’

        I’m not happy about horses being kept in substandard living conditions, but I have a hard time believing a post-carbon future doesn’t involve keeping farm animals in urban environments, or using horses to get around. It seems to me that it would be cheaper and easier to develop new infrastructure for urban farm animals (for work and for food) than it will be to redevelop pre-car levels of railway and shipping infrastructure. And I don’t think there’s lithium or hydrogen to replace every car and truck, not responsibly anyways.

      • Tim S. 14:00 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        I think about this sometimes too, and I think people underestimate the place animals took up in the pre-car era. They took up physical place in stables and on the streets, they needed significant amounts of food, and that food became waste, and lots of people had to be employed to look after them. Also, I’m the first the complain about the dangers of cars and trucks, but horses and carts killed their fair share of riders and bystanders too.
        Anyways, I don’t know what the solution is, but the best compromise I can think of is to ration carbon for truly essential things.

      • H. John 15:19 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        A retweet from Josée Legault today seems apt:


      • Tim S. 16:53 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        H. John, that is awesome.

      • Kevin 22:35 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        I love horses. They are romantic and cool.

        But they are very expensive to house, feed, and care for, and they are far more fragile than they appear.

        In an animal-based economy, commuting means walking to work. Imagining a trip by stagecoach? That requires an extensive network of station houses with large stables and crew every 15 to 30 km depending on terrain, and travellers consider themselves extremely blessed to move 80 km per day.

        This is why bicycles became so popular (once some geniuses added brakes and gearing). Not only are they cheap, but they can go farther and travel faster than a person on a horse and you don’t need to spend hours on daily maintenance.

        Or figure out how to store countless bales of hay (3-4/horse per week) and muck out stables.

      • Kate 08:33 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        I’ve thought for awhile that what I need is a donkey. Not to ride, but to take along when I go out so it could carry home my groceries and other small purchases. But of course that also involves, as Kevin says, buying and storing hay, plus vet care and shoeing, plus dealing with the poo.

        It’s amazing to think how cities used to grapple with this. Roads were full of horse poo.

      • walkerp 09:03 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        Perhaps a goat, Kate? Smaller and can eat lots of your garbage. Donkeys can be good for defense against coyotes and other predators, though, if that becomes an issue.

      • Kate 10:23 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        Can a goat carry things, though?

        Never really considered that a lot of the organic material I put in the composting box could be dealt with by a goat – but then, there’d be goat poo to deal with. Can’t win this one, it’s a corollary of the laws of thermodynamics. You want life, there’s gonna be poo.

      • carswell 10:42 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        Montreal City Weblog Goat Manure Compost Centre!
        Turn that paved backyard into an income generator, Kate.
        A sustainable business model in more ways than one.

      • MarcG 10:45 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        Don’t forget the local sustainable organic goat cheese! I think that if you wanted a goat to carry things you would need to make very certain that they weren’t able to gnaw on it as well.

      • Ian 10:56 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        Goats can be hooked up to carts. Then again, so can large dogs – maybe an easier thing to achieve in the city. Having had goats as a farm lad, I can voich for them really not belonging in an apartment.

      • Mark Côté 11:20 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        My big bull dog had “saddle” bags and could easily carry home a bunch of cans of cat food—or two bottles of wine. He seemed to enjoy having a job to do.

      • Kevin 12:16 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        A friend of mine once spent a summer tree planting and her golden retriever significantly increased her output by carrying seedlings.

        In Vancouver I had access to a bike trailer designed for a large rubbermaid bin, which was awesome for groceries.

        Now I’d probably go for a collapsible wagon, except they don’t handle stairs that well.

      • Kate 12:40 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        carswell, i’m sure my landlords would be delighted!

      • CE 14:26 on 2023-03-17 Permalink


        This might interest you: https://burley.com/products/travoy

        It goes from bike trailer to dolly in about 10 seconds. I have one and use it all the time. I even run a business with it.

      • dhomas 15:50 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        There are carts that go up stairs. Something like this:
        I have a “diable” with wheels like that. Super practical.

      • Kevin 18:07 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        That looks great!

        now I understand the reason for three wheels

    • Kate 09:50 on 2023-03-16 Permalink | Reply  

      La Presse’s Maxime Bergeron dissects the governance of Ville‑Marie, the report from experts that lays out three possible ways forward, and his discussion with Louise Harel, who was on the expert panel. Bergeron makes no secret of his preference for keeping the city mayor at the head of its most central borough, but allowing residents to elect a few more of its councillors.

      • DeWolf 11:45 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        “Les décisions qui se prennent dans cet arrondissement – le poumon économique du Québec – peuvent avoir un impact majeur sur toute la région métropolitaine, voire au-delà.”

        That seems like a pretty flimsy reason to deny proper representation to the 100,000+ residents of Ville-Marie, which is also one of the fastest-growing boroughs in Montreal. You can say the same thing about the Plateau, whose local policies have been hugely influential throughout Quebec.

        I’m not sure how you can expect downtown to become a place where people actually want to live when you maintain a system that means their needs will always be neglected because the people in charge have no time to deal with local issues.

      • thomas 12:55 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        I believe that the lack of political representation is a major factor contributing to problems around Place Émilie-Gamelin and the Village. This has led to the ghettoization of social services.

      • carswell 14:11 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        How is Louise Harel an expert on anything?

      • Kate 15:13 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        Harel’s a lawyer and was an MNA for 27 years. Then she notably failed to get elected mayor of Montreal. I don’t know either how this qualifies her to speak specifically on city affairs, but there’s no denying she has experience in practical politics.

      • carswell 16:37 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        Yeah, having been around for nearly her entire time on the scene, I know something about her backstory, hence my semi-rhetorical question.

        But to expound: She’s a dinosaur career politician with a less than stellar track record on nearly everything except women’s issues. Sure, she held lots of ministerial positions in various PQ governments but I bet few people, even militant(e)s, could list many accomplishments.

        In municipal affairs, she’s favoured a top-down, undemocratic approach, the takeover of municipal powers by the provincial government and the subsequent municipal mergers — all forced on the big cities by governments that mostly owed their election to rural and suburban regions — being prime examples. If she’s shown much interest in urban planning issues other than consolidated administration, it’ll be news to me. She also has a history of next to no meaningful contact with non-Québécois communities that form a significant portion of Montreal’s population (her English is halting at best). All that alone should be enough to disqualify her from having a modern-day soapbox on city affairs, let alone being part of an “expert” panel intended to provide guidance.

      • Kate 17:02 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        What you say is fair, carswell.

    • Kate 09:14 on 2023-03-16 Permalink | Reply  

      QMI has two stories this morning following Wednesday’s pot shots at Leonardo Rizzuto: public security minister François Bonnardel isn’t worried about a mob war but some retired cops think he’s too optimistic and that the shooting could spark an escalation of violence.

      TVA also has a brief piece on who Leonardo Rizzuto is and a photo showing the car riddled with bullets. CBC radio said this morning his passenger was also injured but I’m not seeing that in any text reports.

      One thing I’ve noticed about organized crime: they’re willing to take their time. They allow someone to think he’s escaped danger, then when he least expects it, pow.

      • jeather 09:49 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        Unlike governments or businesses, who seem invested in short-term only planning.

    • Kate 08:54 on 2023-03-16 Permalink | Reply  

      The annual anti police brutality march was held in NDG on Wednesday evening. I saw a brief comment on social media saying there were more cops than protesters.

      • jeather 09:48 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        A friend of mine was nearby picking up her child, and she said the same thing.

      • Chris 08:34 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        >there were more cops than protesters

        Easy when there are only 100 protesters. I guess all the twitter keyboard warriors were busy that day.

    • Kate 07:38 on 2023-03-16 Permalink | Reply  

      A major fire is burning on Place Youville in Old Montreal on Thursday morning. Nine people have been injured and we may lose a distinctive and handsome building in the Vieux.

      The Gazette’s headline calls it a condo complex which is pretty misleading. This is the building.

      Update: One person is missing.

      • denpanosekai 08:38 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        First and foremost I hope no one is critically injured or worse, but yes losing this building would hurt.

      • Nicholas 11:41 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        This would not be the first time the Gazette has negatively characterized occupants of a building that went ablaze at Place d’Youville. (I also hope everyone recovers, and the building survives.)

      • DeWolf 11:54 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        The whole situation is mind-boggling. What kind of fire breaks out at 5:30am that sends nine people to the hospital with burns on their hands and faces?

      • MarcG 14:39 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        There’s an outdoor fire-escape on Port St which seems like the only one (2 back sides are blocked in and nothing on Youville). I wonder when was the last time someone checked the open-ability of those old wooden window frames leading to it.

      • Kate 17:14 on 2023-03-16 Permalink

        DeWolf, CBC radio news says at least some of the flats are Airbnb, so some people may not have known how to get out of the building quickly.

      • SMD 00:22 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        Well played, @Nicholas.

      • dhomas 16:13 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

        The Gazette seems to have amended their story to no longer refer to the building as a condo complex. They now call it a “heritage building”.

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