Updates from June, 2024 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 20:18 on 2024-06-10 Permalink | Reply  

    Two city employees have been suspended and an inquiry will be held into why fire inspection raids were carried out on Peel Street on Grand Prix weekend. CTV makes it one suspension.

    • walkerp 21:57 on 2024-06-10 Permalink

      Straight up gestapo bullying by a bunch of middle managers with way too much authority. Just super gross. Reveals the culture of corruption here where the little guy gets screwed while the big players just steal rapaciously.

      There was clearly no imminent danger. They could have just said, fix this starting Monday and don’t be over crowded and we won’t fine you. They came with 12 cops! They should all be fired.

    • Nicholas 23:42 on 2024-06-10 Permalink

      What are the odds the expectation was a few $20 bills (this weekend or a few weeks ago during a previous visit) would solve the problem, and a lack of them would cause problems? Certainly not zero.

    • Howie 06:31 on 2024-06-11 Permalink

      They suspend two people over some terrasses, but still have not completed the investigation into the AirBnb fire hat killed seven…

    • dwgs 07:36 on 2024-06-11 Permalink

      Nicholas if you think a few $20’s are enough to make the problem disappear you obviously haven’t bribed anyone lately.

    • Nicholas 12:26 on 2024-06-11 Permalink

      dwgs, I was imagining “few” to be a fair bit more, just that who wants hundred dollar bills these days? Let’s just settle on brown envelope.

  • Kate 11:42 on 2024-06-10 Permalink | Reply  

    The process of pedestrianizing Old Montreal is to begin this summer.

    • Kate 11:01 on 2024-06-10 Permalink | Reply  

      Cities are having trouble finding people to apply for the job of building inspector and CEGEPs can’t get enough people interested in taking the necessary training courses either.

      • Kevin 14:08 on 2024-06-10 Permalink

        This will be fun since every condo building now needs to be inspected every 5 years.

      • Ephraim 16:16 on 2024-06-10 Permalink

        Chicken and eggs. If the salaries are high enough, people will want to fill the qualifications.

      • Nicholas 18:09 on 2024-06-10 Permalink

        Salaries are not bad, decently middle class (I saw hourly rates in the 30s in Montreal, sometimes the 20s elsewhere). But they are not high.

        They note that only three CEGEPs offer this program: Rosemont College has 24 students, Jonquière has a dozen and Matane has zero. You have to offer courses where people live and preferably can get jobs. How can a depopulating region with few larger buildings that need more inspections with a college with 675 students run a specialized program like this? Sure the view of the river is pretty, but it’s not easy to sell the small college town liberal arts 4-year college experience to technical CEGEP non-residence students in a town four hours past Quebec City. Bas St Laurent has about the population of Montreal’s largest borough, and is just far from other populated areas. Have they tried this in Quebec City or Gatineau or Sherbrooke?

        More importantly, why does this job require a three year program? I looked at Virginia, random state, and it requires a 70 hour course, passing a test, and then ride alongs on 25 inspections with a mentor, salary is $96,000US a year average, no college or community college required. Do we think Virginia buildings are measurably less safe than Quebec? I see lots of other places you can do things like this or apprenticeships. Why would someone spend three years doing this to earn $30/hour?

      • Ian 20:09 on 2024-06-10 Permalink

        Considering that a basic office job gets you 30/h & 3 weeks vacation these days it’s not perplexing why people aren’t flocking to become inspectors… or why it’s so easy to buy them off.

      • Ephraim 22:41 on 2024-06-10 Permalink

        If you know how to look, you can see which programs are offered where. Sometimes someone will have permission to run a program, but no incentive or money from the government to do it. For example, there may be no authorized school in Montreal and to run the program, they would need to borrow the rights from another school, which may not want to exchange programs.

        This program is listed at https://www.inforoutefpt.org/rechercher/programmes/Inspection%20municipale/ and CEGEP du Vieux Montreal seems to have rights and set up a class for January, but no one took the course, from what I can see.

      • Tim S. 08:31 on 2024-06-11 Permalink

        There are two consecutive threads here claiming that city officials take bribes. While I’m willing to believe this might happen, I’d like some evidence – even anecdotal – before we just make this a baseline assumption. Corruption is really toxic to a society, we obviously have a bit of a problem with it here in Quebec but unfounded assumptions just create more cynicism and cause us to spiral more.

      • CE 09:06 on 2024-06-11 Permalink

        This was quite a while ago now but I worked in a restaurant that had a bar in the front. It closed at around 10 but employees and their friends would often stay late to drink and smoke. A cop saw people smoking inside and threatened the restaurant with a ticket. The owner or bartender bribed the cop and no ticket was issued. This was discussed opening amongst staff (although the owner banned smoking inside the bar from that point on).

      • dwgs 09:32 on 2024-06-11 Permalink

        Tim S. can I assume that you haven’t worked in bars or restos in Montreal? It has been very difficult to get a bar license in Montreal for several decades, you pretty much have to take over a place that already has a license. As a result there are a lot of places with restaurant licenses that pretty much function as bars. Some of those places get fined semi regularly while others never seem to have a problem, it’s quite curious.
        There is a bar close to me that used to be visited regularly by the authorities and was fined for having an illegal terrasse (no license for it) and other alcohol and occupancy issues. A few short years ago the terrasse re-opened and stayed open although there is still no license for it. Also, this place has no cash register, accepts only cash, and has no way of issuing receipts. Things that make you go “Hmmmm”…

      • Tim 09:41 on 2024-06-11 Permalink

        @kevin: the 5 year inspection is done with private engineering or architecture companies. The inspectors that the city are looking to hire would not be conducting these inspections.

      • Ian 09:58 on 2024-06-11 Permalink

        @Tim as CE & dwgs point out, all bars and restaurants in Montreal pay bribes and protection. Sometimes protection to more than one racket. You also have to pay off inspectors.

      • Tim S. 10:39 on 2024-06-11 Permalink

        OK, fair enough. On the other hand, I did once work in a place that would have had no ethical problem whatsoever paying people off, and they were still terrified of the health inspectors, so not every problem can be solved with a wad of cash.

        And, if bribery is so rampant, I find it difficult to imagine that those bars so heavily dependent on the F1 crowd would chose that weekend to make a mistake in what is apparently a commonly understood practice.

        So yeah, there are for sure odd things, I just don’t think anything good comes from immediately going to the most cynical explanation.

      • Tim 10:47 on 2024-06-11 Permalink

        @Ian: I was responding to @kevin’s initial comment, which I believe was referencing Bill 122 for the RBQ. This law requires facades of buildings to be inspected every 5 years. The engineering reports then have to be filed with the city. I have no idea if there are bribes in this process.

      • Ian 12:33 on 2024-06-11 Permalink

        My apologies, I meant Tim S.
        There may very well be corruption at that level but I have no experience of it to confirm or deny its plausibility.

      • Kevin 14:54 on 2024-06-11 Permalink

        But can those inspectors take the same course, or are we going to need engineers to do this?

        (I have a vested interest in this since I am 100% owner of a building that has two divided condo units, aka a duplex)

      • Tim 16:25 on 2024-06-11 Permalink

        The regulation only applies to buildings of 5 floors or more. You should do a Google search for more details.

    • Kate 07:41 on 2024-06-10 Permalink | Reply  

      In Le Devoir, Gérard Bouchard writes about hitching to Montreal from Jonquière in the late 1950s or early 1960s. (Bouchard was born in 1943.) He describes the fascination of the streets of the big city, but there isn’t much “end of innocence” stuff yet, as promised in the headline.

      If I could ask Bouchard one question about his weekends away in the city, it would be this: did he go to mass on Sunday morning?

      [Update: But see below!]

      • Blork 11:05 on 2024-06-10 Permalink

        You can pretty much infer from the article that he did not. He did not have time. His itineraries were basically:

        Saturday 1:00PM – stick thumb out in Jonquière.

        6-12 hours of hitchhiking. Arrive in Montreal sometime on Saturday night — often too late to crash at his uncle’s place so he’d lay down on a bench in Lafontaine park until a cop came along and offered him a friendly jail cell to keep him “safe.” (He wore his school uniform to maintain a respectable air.)

        Sunday morning: Get up early and explore.

        Sunday noon: Stick thumb out at the foot of the Pont Jacques-Cartier.

        6-12 hours of hitchhiking back to Jonquière.

        It hardly seems worth it. Jonquière must have been hella boring.

      • Kate 11:44 on 2024-06-10 Permalink

        You may be underestimating the degree to which a man born in 1943 would have been indoctrinated, given that his whole education till that point would have been done in a Catholic setting, and everyone around him in Jonquière would have been Catholic to the max.

      • Blork 12:18 on 2024-06-10 Permalink

        Sure, but I’m saying he wouldn’t have had time for mass given his schedule. Basically 12-24 hours of hitchhiking (both ways combined) just so he can walk around Montreal for a few hours on Sunday morning. Would he spend half of that in church? I doubt it!

      • Kate 12:49 on 2024-06-10 Permalink

        Bouchard’s too old to have any social media I can find, so I can’t figure out a way of asking him directly, but Blork, I’d be prepared to bet you a hundred bucks that Bouchard went to mass on Sunday morning in Montreal at least once during the time he describes.

      • MarcG 13:43 on 2024-06-10 Permalink

      • Ian 13:47 on 2024-06-10 Permalink

        Going to a fancy Montreal church might have been a draw for a kid from the sticks, too.

        6 hours hitching from Jonquière would be pretty fast, the shortest route according to Google maps is 464 km – I used to hitch to Montreal from Hamilton and I figure that it generally took about twice as long as driving. That said if he got one or two good rides it might very well be possible to make it in 6, but that would be very lucky.

      • Kate 14:14 on 2024-06-10 Permalink

        Thank you, MarcG. I will email, although who knows with what result.

      • MarcG 14:16 on 2024-06-10 Permalink

        Fortune favours the bold!

      • Blork 14:25 on 2024-06-10 Permalink

        Ian, that’s why I said “6 to 12 hours” (each way).

        I think if young Gérard were interested in more traditional things he would have cut his trips in half and just gone to Quebec City. But this would have been the late 50s, so no doubt the young buck (then about 14 or 15 and seeking adventure) was interested in seeing Montreal for the modern things like skyscrapers (which he mentions), and BEATNIKS and all that. Bear in mind this was a very curious kid, who went on to live a life full of books and reading and ideas. My feeling (and it’s just a feeling) is that he had no interest in religious piety at that time. Those were heady days, leading into the revolutionary 60s, so a kid with that kind of wanderlust (or at least wandercuriosity) was probably going against the grain.

      • Kate 14:26 on 2024-06-10 Permalink

        Ha! I lose! Bouchard replied immediately:

        Non, jamais. Cela ne faisait pas partie de l’aventure. Nous étions par ailleurs une famille très catholique.

      • Blork 14:46 on 2024-06-10 Permalink


      • Blork 14:47 on 2024-06-10 Permalink

        I should have taken that bet!

      • Joey 16:39 on 2024-06-10 Permalink

        Quick, what else can we ask him?

      • Annette 02:12 on 2024-06-11 Permalink

        Boxers or briefs?

      • MarcG 13:08 on 2024-06-11 Permalink

        Which truckstop had the best poutine?

      • Kate 15:22 on 2024-06-11 Permalink

        Had poutine even been invented during this period? 1957 is the earliest date given in the Wikipedia article. Bouchard could have embarked on his adventures at 16, but I doubt poutine had yet expanded beyond the town of its origin at that point.

      • MarcG 07:10 on 2024-06-12 Permalink

        I’ve been schooled! If autoroute 20 between Montreal & Quebec City was finished a few years earlier (1964) he could have passed right through the birthplace.

      • Kate 16:41 on 2024-07-06 Permalink

        Bouchard wrote a second piece about the loss of innocence, this one set in New York. He mentions hot dogs, but not poutine…

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