Updates from June, 2024 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 17:09 on 2024-06-05 Permalink | Reply  

    Robert Miller’s lawyers are arguing that the billionaire is too sick to stand trial for sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and enticing a person to commit prostitution.

    Tuesday, a woman who was part of Miller’s circle was arrested and charged with pimping.

    • Ian 18:15 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

      Well, what he did is pretty sick, but I guess that’s not what he meant.

    • Ephraim 09:27 on 2024-06-06 Permalink

      If we can try people in absentia, you can’t be too sick to stand trial.

    • Kate 12:58 on 2024-06-06 Permalink

      I totally want to see the plaintiffs have a chance at a good fat payout, but Miller is trying to weasel out of it. Prosecutors have got to get around his somehow.

    • bob 14:35 on 2024-06-06 Permalink

      I don’t think you need a guilty verdict to win a hefty sum in civil court.

  • Kate 17:06 on 2024-06-05 Permalink | Reply  

    On Wednesday, the 85-year-old mother of Raphaël André addressed the inquiry into the man’s death of exposure here in 2021, saying that when it’s cold, when someone knocks on the door, we let them in. At least that’s what people do in northern Quebec indigenous communities, where it’s understood you can’t leave people out in the cold.

    • Ian 21:15 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

      Well they’re not wrong… but down south the option is getting picked up by the cops.

  • Kate 17:01 on 2024-06-05 Permalink | Reply  

    The driver who struck and killed a little Ukrainian girl here in 2022 has been sentenced to 12 months of house arrest and has lost his licence for two years.

    • Tim S. 17:15 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

      I’m beginning to think we need a separate court for driving. The fact that the accused has no other criminal convictions is not relevant to whether he is a dangerous and negligent driver. It seems to me too that the punishment befitting drivers for a criminal act, and the impact on everyone’s safety if they are permitted to continue to drive, are two different things. You shouldn’t revoke someone’s driver’s license as a punishment: they are either an unsafe driver, in which case the licence should be permanently revoked, or at least only returned on condition of passing remedial driving courses, or they are a safe driver and should get to keep their permit.

      Also, did anyone inquire into his account that he stopped properly, and still somehow ran over the child?

    • H. John 18:58 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

      The punishment had nothing to do with dangerous or negligent driving.

      “Il est important de préciser que Juan Manuel Becerra Garcia n’était pas accusé d’avoir tué la petite Mariia. Selon la preuve, il a respecté le Code de la sécurité routière, il n’était pas sous l’effet de l’alcool et ne roulait pas trop vite. En fait, il n’aurait jamais été accusé s’il n’était pas parti sans vérifier ce qui s’était passé à l’intersection.”


    • Kate 19:38 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

      It says later in the article: “Juan Manuel Becerra Garcia a plaidé coupable le mois dernier à un chef d’accusation de délit de fuite causant la mort.” So that was the charge, hit and run causing death. But he still claims he didn’t realize he’d hit a kid till he saw the news reports later that day. He didn’t flee from fear that he’d caused an accident, and he turned himself in as soon as he figured it out.

    • Tim S. 20:30 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

      So that’s just it: if his driving wasn’t the problem then the driving ban makes no sense.

      How you can drive responsibly and kill a child at a crosswalk, that’s another question.

    • Brett 08:10 on 2024-06-06 Permalink

      Responsible driving isn’t equivalent to following the law. Apparently you can drive irresponsiblly, but as long as you obey the traffic code, that’s what counts in court.

  • Kate 09:57 on 2024-06-05 Permalink | Reply  

    Power went out to thousands of households on the western side of the island on Tuesday evening as we were enjoying the hottest June 4 on record.

    • Meezly 11:44 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

      Living in a sector that experiences occasional yet regular enough power outages, I was curious to see how Montrea/Quebec compares with other cities/provinces and even though I couldn’t find any archives, I did find this site: https://poweroutage.com/ca/

      Quebec currently has 3X the number of power outages compared to the more populous Ontario. According to this 2022 article, it has to do with our aging infrastructure which I assume will be an ongoing project for HydroQC for some decades to come.

    • Joey 16:14 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

      I think you would need to control for the kind of unique mix of very crappy weather we get here in Quebec…

    • thomas 16:34 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

      The NYTimes has a recent article, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/06/03/business/energy-environment/canada-hydropower-electric-grids.html, detailing how dryer and warmer weather has forced Hydro-Québec to import more power from the United States in recent months. Hydro-Quebec optimistically argues that this weather is cyclical and not a new normal.

    • Kate 16:37 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

      Thank you, thomas. I haven’t seen that reported anywhere else.

    • PatrickC 18:03 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

      This is quite a change from the days when Quebec was counting on Hydro to enjoy a huge revenue stream from exported electricity.

    • EmilyG 18:20 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

      Yeah, I experienced the outage. I tried to go to Hydro-Quebec’s page on details about my area (on my phone,) and the page was experiencing technical difficulties. Not very useful.

    • Ian 18:23 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

      Well that’s what happens when you overpromise on contracts – if there’s a shortfall, it’s on you.

      – –

      The clean-energy source is an important pillar for Canada’s largest province. Hydro-Quebec accounted for about five per cent of government-generated revenues last year, contributing $6 billion to provincial coffers.

      The push to link it to economic growth became a wedge between Legault’s government and Hydro-Quebec’s last chief executive officer, Sophie Brochu, who balked at moves to turn the power provider into what she called the “dollar store” of electricity. Brochu departed this month, leaving an acting chief executive in place until a successor is appointed. The next head will be tasked with solving a looming shortfall while navigating the turbulent waters of Quebec politics that dogged Brochu.

      Article content
      Hydro-Quebec’s future power commitments include long-term contracts to deliver an additional 20 terawatt-hours each year to the densely populated U.S. northeast when the Champlain Hudson Power Express and another project, the New England Clean Energy Connect, get built.

      The export deals were a “strategic mistake,” said Jocelyn Allard, head of a Quebec lobbying group that represents industrial electricity consumers including Glencore PLC and Rio Tinto PLC. Those contracts and a lack of added capacity could cause Hydro-Quebec to struggle to meet future demand, deterring new customers. “It doesn’t help companies to build business cases for projects.”


    • maggie rose 19:59 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

      thomas – do you or anyone else know where I can read the NYT article, which is behind a paywall. Even with their 7 days free offer for limited articles, they still won’t let me through.

    • thomas 22:13 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

    • dhomas 04:02 on 2024-06-06 Permalink

      @maggie rose: if you use an adblocker (ex: uBlock Origin), you can add this file to your block list and it will remove most paywalls:

      The site works for me with this block list, but does not work if I turn off my adblocker.

    • maggie rose 05:18 on 2024-06-06 Permalink

      Yes, thank you thomas.

    • Ian 08:18 on 2024-06-06 Permalink

      Yes, thank you – and thank you dhomas as well, I use ublock origin so that’s perfect.

    • Tim S. 11:21 on 2024-06-06 Permalink

      Thanks thomas, very interesting.

    • Ian 12:12 on 2024-06-06 Permalink

      So overall it sounds like a mix of not enough snow/ climate change/ bad CAQ business decisions.

  • Kate 09:56 on 2024-06-05 Permalink | Reply  

    The SPCA is receiving a lot of abandoned pets dropped off by people who can no longer afford to keep them. Usually there’s a rush on towards moving day, but the director is quoted here as saying it’s now constant.

    Item says adoption fees are reduced this week, so if you’ve been considering adding a sweet critter to the household, this would be a good time.

    • Ian 20:49 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

      It is a very good point that the cost of pet food has skyrocketed. My cats’ food has suffered shrinkflation and inflation … and also worth noting most vets aren’t even taking new dossiers but those that do are charging a premium.

      The days of taking on a cute kitten as a low maintenance inexpensive pet are gone, let alone a puppy. The popular conception of pets hasn’t caught up.

    • Kate 09:52 on 2024-06-06 Permalink

      Sometimes the cat distribution service simply hands one to you. I got my first cat that way and had her for 20 years.

      I hadn’t realized it was so hard to get to a vet now, though…

    • Ian 11:52 on 2024-06-06 Permalink

      Fostering for a rescue is a pretty good option if you are unsure about whether you want a pet or not. There’s certainly no shortage of animals in need of fostering. My elder cat came from a rescue, and she’s sweet as pie.

    • Kate 13:53 on 2024-06-06 Permalink

      I fostered for a couple of years after Zad kitty died of old age. It was sometimes rewarding, but I learned that people are weirder about animals than about anything else, except maybe their kids and their parking spaces.

      My present cat was a foster initially, but she was an adult cat I took in just as kitten season was peaking, and the foster organization knew she was in a safe place while they focused on homing all the kittens that fell into their hands. By the time they remembered her, she’d been here for months and we’d come to terms. She’s a fine cat, not a mean bone in her body.

    • jeather 16:38 on 2024-06-06 Permalink

      Funny, when my cat had a bladder infection (he’s fine now), and I was getting an appointment for the follow-up, I asked the receptionist how long in advance I needed to book, and she said that they’ve had a reduction in people seeing them, and a few days was enough.

      Mine is still, as far as I know, a private clinic — I wonder if the even more expensive vets are those bought out by large companies.

    • Ian 17:38 on 2024-06-06 Permalink

      @jeather, would you mind if I contacted you through Kate? I’ve been looking for a vet for my cats since I moved 2 years ago.

    • jeather 18:55 on 2024-06-06 Permalink

      Yup, though my vet is in St-Henri (where I am), so if you’re elsewhere it might not be ideal. They’re not cheap, but they’re two blocks away from me and it’s worth a lot for the convenience.

    • Ian 20:09 on 2024-06-06 Permalink

      Ah ok, my current vet is in the Point – not convenient from Mile End and certainly expensive, but they are good. My cats really dislike travelling in cars so I’d like to find somewhere more local where I can just carry them over.

      Thanks anyhow, I appreciate it!

    • Kate 20:15 on 2024-06-06 Permalink

      Ian, the Pussy Patrol bring their cats mostly to Clinique Vétérinaire Plateau Mont Royal, on Mont-Royal near St‑Urbain, if that’s a good reference.

      I used to bring my old cat to Chaton Santé on Bernard in Outremont. I stopped using them when I moved up to Villeray but if my cat had a complicated issue I might bring her back there. The vet in Park Ex is OK for shots and things but he kept referring to me as “mummy” which really put me off.

    • jeather 20:32 on 2024-06-06 Permalink

      I like my vet mostly because it is, as noted, two blocks away. They clearly care about animals a lot, but I think the head vet is . . . not great with humans. But he operated on my cat past 9 at night (though he then had to go to the DMV, but I didn’t have to have the operation there), which I am very grateful for.

    • Ian 23:42 on 2024-06-06 Permalink

      @Kate Chaton Santé is one of the ones that told me I needed a dossier.

    • Kate 08:52 on 2024-06-07 Permalink

      I don’t know what that means. Did you have to bring records from a previous vet?

  • Kate 09:31 on 2024-06-05 Permalink | Reply  

    A day centre for people with disabilities is set to close by the end of the year, with no new space to move to. The building belongs to the CIUSSS du Centre‑Sud‑de‑l’Île‑de‑Montréal, which wants the space back for clinical purposes.

    • Kate 09:28 on 2024-06-05 Permalink | Reply  

      The mayor has made a deal with the SHDM to buy or build 1000 residential units over the next three years, units which will be kept off the regular market somehow and presumably rented out on a social housing basis.

      • Kate 09:02 on 2024-06-05 Permalink | Reply  

        As part of the reorganization of STM bus routes, seven routes are to be eliminated, including the 15 on Ste‑Catherine, which dates back more than a century and was originally served by horse‑drawn trams.

        Am I silly to feel that something central to downtown Montreal is being abolished? And what will the STM do if the green line goes down?

        • Chris 09:35 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

          >Am I silly to feel that something central to downtown Montreal is being abolished?

          You mean the in-office jobs? Well, without those workers, buses are more empty, and probably not viable to keep, especially with two metro lines so close and parallel.

        • Nicholas 09:40 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

          The 150 on René Lévesque will get more service, and the 24 is also right there. We don’t plan regular buses based on if a metro line might shut down 1% of the time, as if we did we’d be running the 15 every minute or two. But most of the time it’ll be nearly empty. St Catherine and de Maisonneuve have pedestrianized segments, construction and narrow lanes, making the trip slow and circuitous. It just doesn’t make sense to keep it going, especially given the budget crunch; better to run a faster, more frequent service nearby.

        • Kate 09:45 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

          Ah OK. I used to take the 15 with my folks when I was a kid. Bit of nostalgia here.

        • Blork 10:27 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

          I imagine that with all the reworking of Ste-Catherine over the past few years to make it more pedestrian-friendly (and indeed the full pedestrianization of parts of it), having a bus lumbering along there just seems incompatible. Especially a bus that only arrives every week or so (or so it seemed).

          Before my shift to WFH four years ago I would occasionally want to go from the office (on Ste-Catherine near Bishop) over to the Eaton Centre or thereabouts, and I’d always try to time it so I could hop on the 15. (The Metro was a less interesting option for such a short ride, as just getting down to the platform and back up on the other side was almost as much of a walk as just walking to the Eaton Centre.)

          I only succeeded once. Partly because the 15 was so infrequent and seemingly NEVER running on schedule, but also because I had to walk two blocks east or west to find a stop. The block between McKay and Bishop had no stop. That one ride was fun and interesting because it just seemed so weird to be going down Ste-C on a bus. A near-empty bus, BTW.

          Result: I don’t think anyone will even notice it’s gone.

        • CE 11:07 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

          I’ve had the exact same experience as Blork and if you want to go any further than Bleury, you’re going to be shuttled down to R-L so it would have been smarter to take one of the many and more frequent bus routes there. Also, Ste-Catherine is much narrower now and also going to be under construction in at least one area or another for the next many years. I always thought a high frequency tramway for shoppers going from Atwater to Bleury would have been interesting but that ship has sailed with the new design of the street.

        • Blork 12:19 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

          In Quebec City they have these little half-size electric buses shuffling people around. I always thought that would be a good thing for Ste-C; but they should be free and you can hop on and off anywhere, not just designated stops. They would run from Atwater to Aylmer, then up to Maisonneuve and back to Atwater. Running approximately every five minutes, so you’d need about ten of them on the move at any given time. Stick a big ad on the side to pay for it.

          There you go. Blork for mayor.

        • Nicholas 15:33 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

          Blork, by far the largest cost of running service is labour (driver, mechanic, dispatcher, etc), and that mostly doesn’t change with smaller vehicles. The small vehicle will mostly be stuck in the same traffic as a large one. And if you pick up people everywhere that increases how often the bus stops, which slows it further. And if you make all this free, that will shift people from the metro and 24/150 to this slower bus. Then you go from a driver moving 75 or 900 people to one moving 30.

          These kinds of short routes work in some constrained situations, like a lack of a street grid in old cities, tight turns, no other options. And it’ll work better once we get automated buses. They tried automated minibuses on Plaza St Hubert, but it seems like the best use case is Old Montreal, or weird uses like Habitat.

          Kate, I totally get the nostalgia. Maybe they should change the 150 to the 15 for nostalgia. I figured this bus would survive until every green line station had elevators, but it seems that won’t be for another half century, so I guess they thought do it now. I think the overlap with the metro is why the 15 is so rarely used, while the 24 (also a former streetcar) is always busy, as it goes further west, and is also above the escarpment. That would be a great option for a tram in reserved lanes.

        • Blork 15:37 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

          Nicholas, I wasn’t really serious about the mini bus thing. It was just something I pondered a few years ago. And bear in mind that AFAIK the 15 was never full unless the Green line was down, so the idea of mini-buses would be less about moving commuters around and more about giving people on that one street a free ride as a way of encouraging people to shop downtown.

          But yeah, not practical for plenty of reasons.

        • Kate 15:55 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

          Blork, they tried something like you describe on Plaza St-Hubert, with a small self-driving electric bus that shuttled up the plaza, step on step off, and back down via St‑André. Either the experiment was not ruled a success, or the funding ran out, because it no longer exists.

        • Ian 18:25 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

          That sounds pretty cool, Kate, when was that?

        • Kate 19:50 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

          Ian, it wasn’t so long ago. Maybe summer 2022? It’s briefly mentioned in this blog thread, which wasn’t primarily about it.

          I sometimes grab a beer with friends at Mellön on St‑André. The little bus was garaged in a tempo-type structure in an adjoining parking lot. But by last summer it had disappeared.

          I once tried to step aboard, but was turned away. If I remember correctly, the bus didn’t have a driver, but did have a human conductor aboard, and he wasn’t letting anyone on to ride back southward – which seemed kind of silly.

          Explanations of things like this are the sort of story that used to turn up in Metro, but not any more.

          There’s a page on the plaza website from 2022 with a picture of the vehicle, which looks like a kid’s drawing of a bus.

        • DeWolf 20:22 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

          I hadn’t thought about that little bus for awhile but it was indeed quite funny. Especially since it drove at the speed limit (which is 20 km/h on St-Hubert) and it was often tailgated by impatient drivers, which would cause the automated bus to stop and flash a message indicating that it was a robot bus. That would keep happening over and over again because the kind of driver who tailgates isn’t very smart.

        • Ian 20:52 on 2024-06-05 Permalink

          Oh my gosh, that is hilarious. I’m sorry I missed it.

        • Kate 00:14 on 2024-06-06 Permalink

          They also experimented with one of those driverless buses around the Olympic park, but I can’t find any current references to it.

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