Updates from April, 2024 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 16:40 on 2024-04-24 Permalink | Reply  

    Geneviève Guilbault, Quebec’s minister of sustainable mobility, says it’s not up to Quebec to manage public transit: “L’État n’a pas à gérer le transport collectif.” Quebec looks after the roads, but she’s washing her hands of public transit funding.

    • carswell 18:06 on 2024-04-24 Permalink

      If you had any doubts left as to whether the Legault government hates cities and isn’t serious about climate change, you can lay them to rest.

    • Ian 18:54 on 2024-04-24 Permalink


      That said, the real reason they don’t want immigration is becoming evident – the population of greater Montreal is almost 5 million and the population of the whole province is ojnly 9 million. Since the immigrants will mostly want to live in the city, it would be easy for that balance to tip.

      The ethnonationalism is just a ruse to keep the support of the deplorables.
      As in all things poitical, cui bono.

    • Robert H 11:51 on 2024-04-25 Permalink

      As the crevice between Greater Montreal and the rest of the province widens into a grand canyon, the Singapore option is looking more and more attractive. Though I think Quebec needs the city and its immigrants more than the city needs Quebec, it would be a shame if such a partition were ever to occur: it would be a blow to french Canada and the beginning of the end of Canada itself.

    • Tim 14:28 on 2024-04-25 Permalink

      Municipal governments in Canada are constructs of the provinces where they are located. Kathleen Wynne prevented Toronto from imposing tolls on Toronto highways. Doug Ford arbitrarily reduced the size of Toronto’s city council. These same powers exist in Quebec.

      The Singapore option is an impossibility without the provincial electoral map being updated so that a majority government could be formed exclusively from Montreal ridings. That will never be permitted to happen, even if Montreal grows to 75% of the population of Quebec.

    • Tee Owe 16:08 on 2024-04-25 Permalink

      Tim makes a good point about it’s not simply ‘them vs us’ in Quebec, it’s also ‘them vs them’ elsewhere. My Toronto friends kvetch constantly. Useful perspective.

    • Robert H 20:28 on 2024-04-25 Permalink

      I appreciate that reminder, Tim, though I have been struck by the contrast between the Canadian system and the division of power between municipalities and states that I recall from Boston where I lived many years. For example, the municipal mergers initiated early this century by the provincial government would never have happened in New England with its powerful tradition of local autonomy and a generalized attitude that treats town boundaries as if they were ordained by God. I actually prefer the Canadian practice you articulated for reasons I stated in my previous message, but I do believe that Montreal should have more of a say in how it meets its municipal challenges. The devil, of course, is in the details.

      Tee Owe, I agree that Montreal’s situation is shared by many large cities that clash with the jurisdictions within which they lie. Toronto at least has the advantage of being the seat of Ontario’s provincial government, though even that is probably a double-edged sword.

  • Kate 10:34 on 2024-04-24 Permalink | Reply  

    Quebec is handing off $40 million for repairs to the Olympic stadium sports complex needed after the March 21 fire.

    • Joey 12:27 on 2024-04-24 Permalink

      Unrelated, but IIRC the stadium’s esplanade used to have, I think, each olympic member country’s flag flying; at some point, they replaced them with Quebec flags. So instead of emphasizing the international community coming to Montreal in 1976, we’ve got like 150 Quebec flags flying next to this terrible eyesore.

    • dhomas 13:03 on 2024-04-24 Permalink

      @Joey I too noticed this a little while back. It turns out, this was a celebration for the Fleurdelysé’s 75th anniversary, and was done ahead of La Fête Nationale last year:

      They should restore the flags to the way they were in time for the start of this year’s Olympic games.

  • Kate 10:27 on 2024-04-24 Permalink | Reply  

    A clerk in a service station in St‑Laurent was stabbed early Wednesday morning by an assailant, and taken to hospital. There’s no other information, including whether this was a robbery, or how the victim is doing. Global is a little more descriptive.

    La Presse also reports two stabbings on the Main near Prince Arthur late Tuesday.

    • Kate 10:08 on 2024-04-24 Permalink | Reply  

      The opening of the REM branches to the northern and western parts of the city is being held off till 2025, and while it’s being blamed on complications in the Mount Royal tunnel, I tend to wonder if it’s at least as much because of the drop in commuting numbers generally.

      • Uatu 10:36 on 2024-04-24 Permalink

        A cynical part of me thinks that this is a shakedown for more government cash – i.e. pay us more to finish it faster so you don’t look bad to the electorate. And it fits the public/private model of letting the public pick up the slack..

      • DisgruntledGoat 14:12 on 2024-04-24 Permalink

        I mean, CDPQ is “private” only in governance being independent from the government. It’s stuffed full of $430 of public pension plan money exclusively.

      • P 22:30 on 2024-04-24 Permalink

        Uneducated comment by me: it would have been cheaper and faster to dig a new tunnel. What — 5km of nasty old tunnel to retrofit and rework (and steal from the people of Quebec)?

        The aggressive stupidity of deciding to assume control of that tunnel versus just cut a new one. Monopolize an old garbage hole through the mountain and pay out the ass to correct a century of infrastructural woopsies and mistakes.

        Meanwhile holding hostage the commuters who used to rely on the AMT/Exo lines that used it, and cripple chances of Via from establishing a high speed Windsor-Quebec City line.

        If it took assholes in the 1910s seven (SEVEN!) years to build the Mont Royal tunnel, there is no excuse that it wasn’t feasible to do it faster and marginally cheaper 100 years later.

        The REM broke ground in 2018. Even if the McGill – Edouard-Montpetit segment started later than that… It’s just maddening.

        I get that there are official excuses. It’s just infuriating that there are excuses to begin with. There’s no creativity, no alternatives, no incentive. All you can do is tolerate it.

      • Anton 02:47 on 2024-04-25 Permalink

        But Nono, the REM had to have an accelerated planning stage that ignored the BAPE, they didn’t have the time to figure out integration of REM and AMT lines in the tunnel, and had to ignore all sorts of concerns from transit planners back when the project was announced in 2016, also needed no deviated/backup train service (Deux-Montagnes — Namur on rail?) because the thing needed to be done super fast so that it’s gonna be built and running in 2020, perhaps 2021.

    • Kate 09:15 on 2024-04-24 Permalink | Reply  

      Professors of law at McGill are now on strike.

      The SAQ is striking on Wednesday with intentions to continue through Thursday. Management may be keeping some stores open, but no decent person will be buying booze today. This is what workers want.

      Incidentally, the SAQ is going to stop stocking more than a hundred locally produced hooches.

      Crossed my mind just now: is the CAQ undermining the SAQ system just as they’ve been determinedly undermining socialized medicine?

      • Blork 11:22 on 2024-04-24 Permalink

        I’m not sure what the CAQ connection would be.

        As the article says, the market is saturated with local distilled products. It quotes the SAQ marketing boss asking, quite rightly, if we need ten brands of locally made lemon gin. She also invokes the not-used-enough adage that too much choice is less choice (the paradox of choice). We see this in the yogurt aisle of any grocery store, where there are 500 different yogurts to choose from, making it hard to actually decide or to find the one you want. (I buy 2% plain yogurt, and my time in front of the yogurt fridge is always the most hated part of my trip to the grocery store.)

        To me, this points out one of the down sides to having a government monopoly. I have no problem with them culling the choice to make things easier for consumers except that this can also remove niche and oddball products from the market and potentially drive those makers out of business. Maybe we don’t need 10 local lemon gins at the SAQ, but the ones that sell the least (and are most likely to be culled) might have their fans, and they might actually be exceptionally good or interesting products that just haven’t found their people yet.

        In that respect, culling wouldn’t be such a problem if those small-batch and small-sales brands had a chance to stay afloat by finding other stores to sell their products. Beer makers can do this; your thistle and rosemary IPA that only 30 people like can be sold in deps and grocery stores without the long hand of the government monopoly declaring you unworthy and killing your business.

      • Kate 12:50 on 2024-04-24 Permalink

        The CAQ has always been business first, and they make little secret of the fact that they’re only interested in you if you have a car, and can afford a house and private health coverage. I’m sure they’d love to denationalize Hydro and the SAQ and radically downsize public transit too.

      • Blork 15:27 on 2024-04-24 Permalink

        Yeah, I get that. I’m just not sure how that’s connected to culling products, but maybe you meant the other thing about the strike. (But even then, I don’t know that the CAQ has much sway with how the SAQ runs things…)

      • carswell 17:48 on 2024-04-24 Permalink

        My understanding — Plato’s cave-ish at best — is that the main things the government cares about with the SAQ are maintaining the annual dividend (all the SAQ’s profits) and avoiding situations that make the government look bad (e.g. the executive party scandal of a couple of decades ago).

        That being the case, booting underperforming products from the catalogue in favour of better-selling ones is exactly the kind of thing the gov wants the SAQ to focus on as beverage alcohol sales continue to fall. To all appearances, the current situation with the monopoly carrying every local distillery product submitted to it — a boon to the young industry — is no longer tenable due to the booming number of distilleries and ever-expanding product lines. Will this lead to a shakeout among Quebec distillers? Quite possibly but arguably one that needs to happen. As the article notes, even industry insiders think so.

        AFAIK, the only crown corporation that Quebec takes a more hands-on approach with is the SQDC, where just about every decision, policy and publication is subject to health ministry input and approval. Even more than the Liberals, who created the SQDC, the CAQistes disapprove of legalized cannabis, view it as yet another evil imposition by Ottawa, and treat its sale accordingly. Will be interesting to see what changes if/when the PQ and/or QS take over.

      • carswell 18:03 on 2024-04-24 Permalink

        And before someone starts nitpicking that last paragraph, yes, the government does appear to have close connections to Hydro-Québec and take action to ensure the energy corporation’s policies and leadership are aligned with the government’s long-term plans. See the recent axing of Sophie Brochu and appointment of Legault fave Michael Sabia, for example.

        But, as far as I know, the government’s day-to-day interference with the running of the company, its keeping the company on a very tight leash (controlling the number and location of stores, the kinds of products that can be sold and the kinds of things employees can talk about) is reserved for the SQDC.

      • Ian 21:42 on 2024-04-24 Permalink

        From a strictly business perspective streamlining makes sense because it reduces held inventory. Since SAQ profits go directly to the government it’s not conspiratorial to think the government might encourage driving profit. The SAQ mission was always to reduce costs thr9ugh collective buying so the citizenry could get better quality wine for lower prices – driving the artisanal gin flight industry is a second tier concern at best.

      • Blork 22:10 on 2024-04-24 Permalink

        Ian, it could be argued that “driving the artisanal gin flight industry is a second tier concern at best” is valid in something resembling an open market, but if the SAQ is a monopoly then this amounts to actively squashing it. Maybe if there were no monopoly then it would be a question of letting the market decide. As in, hands-off. If some small-batchers want to create 100 cases a year then they can if they can find people to buy it. But when you control access to the market then it’s a different thing.

        I can understand that level of government oversight (and maybe monopoly) on essential things like energy (Hydro Quebec) but I’ve never understood why it’s needed for alcohol. I understand the need for some level of oversight and regulation, but why not let independent retailers sell booze, even if it needs SAQ stamp of approval? (Especially since this “cull” is entirely for retail reasons.) The whole thing just seems like a hangover from the 1930s.

      • Ian 08:01 on 2024-04-25 Permalink

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I approve of it – but from a modern business management perspective this is the exact sort of thing that they do to drive profits up. It’s just another facet of the general enshittification of all things in the name of increasing capital to the detriment of actual goods and services.

      • Kevin 08:14 on 2024-04-25 Permalink

        I can understand cutting unperforming products if the only reason those products exist is because people knew they had a guaranteed marketplace at the SAQ. There’s a lot of bad gin and beer out there with no differentiating factors aside from a label.

        But it would make more sense from a long-term point of view to eliminate those incentives first in order to dissuade new copycats from entering the market, and therefore encourage people interested in creating a more innovative item.

    Compose new post
    Next post/Next comment
    Previous post/Previous comment
    Show/Hide comments
    Go to top
    Go to login
    Show/Hide help
    shift + esc