Updates from July, 2024 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 18:16 on 2024-07-01 Permalink | Reply  

    La Presse has brief reports on Moving Day and its difficulties during a housing crisis, and the junk left behind.

    • Kate 18:08 on 2024-07-01 Permalink | Reply  

      There will be Canada Day fireworks at the Old Port starting at 10 p.m. Monday.

      • Kate 14:10 on 2024-07-01 Permalink | Reply  

        Tenants were evacuated from a Plateau apartment building that was firebombed overnight.

        • Kate 10:42 on 2024-07-01 Permalink | Reply  

          Patrick Lagacé writes with somewhat heavy humour about the expenses at the OCPM, eventually asking whether the city has other departments where it could rein in similar excesses.

          • Kate 09:59 on 2024-07-01 Permalink | Reply  

            Lots of pieces this weekend on the French election in Montreal and how our French expats citizens resident here are facing the rise of the right in that country. It seems that nos français mostly lean left.

            • Ian 10:27 on 2024-07-01 Permalink

              The vast majority of French citizens I have met that aren’t here as students moved here specifically because our society is less rigid and has many more opportunities for social and economic mobility, especially for those from former colonial countries. The class structure is an immediate obstacle for many in France, even if they are not POC.

              Even in my area, close to UdeM, we have lots of young French university students who are white, have Parisian accents, and come from money … but like university students the world over, many of them lean left, too. Sous les pavés la plage!

            • vasi 11:14 on 2024-07-01 Permalink

              Also RN has promised to limit government employment for dual-nationals, which obviously concerns many French citizens living abroad.

            • Cathe 11:23 on 2024-07-01 Permalink

              I would encourage you in reviewing your choice of words such as ‘expats’ when talking about a specific type of immigrant/temporary immigrant. Linking here an article from almost 10 years ago : “Why are white people expats while the rest of us are immigrants” https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/mar/13/white-people-expats-immigrants-migration

            • Kate 11:41 on 2024-07-01 Permalink

              I used the word “expats” specifically because these news stories refer to people who live here while maintaining their French citizenship, and thus their right to vote in France and return there when they wish. It has no reference to the colour of their skin.

            • DeWolf 12:09 on 2024-07-01 Permalink

              The article Cathe linked to includes a very long quote from me (!), or more specifically from an article I wrote for the Wall Street Journal about 10 years ago. In true Guardian style it’s a bit more sensational and loses a lot of the nuance of what I was writing about.

              The term expat implies privilege. In many cases, privilege intersects with whiteness, but not always, so it’s reductive to say that only white people get to be expats while everyone else is seen as an immigrant. There are plenty of racialized people/people of colour who are described as expats. Saudi expats in London, for example. Japanese expats in New York. Rich Nigerians are likely to be called expats while poor Nigerians are going to be considered migrants. It’s a class issue more than anything else.

              In the very particular context of French citizens in Montreal, there’s any number of terms you can use to describe them. Many are immigrants who have moved here permanently or at least with the intention of staying long term and putting down roots. If you look at media coverage, they are usually referred to as “French immigrants.” But there certainly are a lot of French people here who fall into the expat category. They are here for a few years, living in neighbourhoods full of other French people, maybe they’ll stay but maybe they’ll go back to France or move on to another city or country. In other words, classic expats. So why not call them what they are?

            • CE 16:44 on 2024-07-01 Permalink

              I lived in Latin America for a few years but had no intention of staying long-term. I would refer to myself as an expat while I was there. Had I planned to stay, I would have been an immigrant. I’m white but this applied to the other foreigners I met there regardless of the colour of their skin or country they came from. There are better ways to win internet points Cathe.

            • Nicholas 17:07 on 2024-07-01 Permalink

              The voters in Montreal went 56% for the green left candidate and 23% for the Renaissance (Macron) candidate. The electoral district Montreal is in is US+Canada (1st district), and results district-wide were 39% Macron and 36% green left, so there will be a runoff between those two. Montreal consulate voters gave 10% of their votes to the RN (Le Pen), and 1.7% to another far right party (Reconquete), and then 4% to the traditional right wing party LR (Sarkozy, Chirac, etc). So a sixth of the vote here went right, just over a quarter to the centre, and just over half to the left. In North America, it was a bit more far-right and right, and a lot more centre, with the centre winning all consulates except Montreal, Quebec, Moncton, Vancouver and New Orleans (which is tiny with only 270 voters), which all went green left. Miami had the highest proportion of far right voters, followed by Quebec City and Houston, which I find interesting in showing the difference between Montreal and Quebec. Lastly, the campaigning here seemed to work, as Montreal had the highest turnout (in both percent and total voters) of any consulate in North America (and you could vote online, so it wasn’t just that people live close to the city).

            • Kate 18:24 on 2024-07-01 Permalink

              Thanks for the moral support, CE and DeWolf, and thanks for the election stats, Nicholas.

              I wonder how the French self-select along political lines between Quebec City and Montreal.

            • Nicholas 19:44 on 2024-07-01 Permalink

              The consulates all have a defined area, so you can’t choose. Montreal’s area is most of the population of Quebec and also Nunavut (plus some roles of the Moncton one (which has Atlantic Canada), and visas country-wide), while Quebec gets most of the area of the province. Ottawa doesn’t handle any voting, so Gatineau is part of Montreal and Ottawa (and all of Ontario and Manitoba) is part of Toronto, with Vancouver getting the West and the two western territories.

            • Blork 19:57 on 2024-07-01 Permalink

              You gotta give the NY Times props for this headline: “The Center Collapses in France, Leaving Macron Marooned”


            • JP 22:14 on 2024-07-01 Permalink

              I’m with Cathe on this. A lot of people from other countries live here and maintain their right/ability to go back and vote in elections…and they’re not called expats. It’s a nice word but I know I’d never be considered an expat in any country…With that said, it’s Kate’s blog so she can use whatever word she wishes. At least it created this dialogue.

            • GC 07:59 on 2024-07-02 Permalink

              I definitely try to use it like CE does. When I lived overseas, I intended it to be temporary, so I called _myself_ an expat. The people I know here who have all intentions of staying I would call immigrants.

              BUT, that doesn’t change the fact that many people do use the terms the way Cathe describes. So, yes, it’s good to have this dialogue. I try to remind myself that, because of that, people might misunderstand my intentions.

            • Kate 08:43 on 2024-07-02 Permalink

              So what word should I use for people living here who originated in another country but do not intend to immigrate permanently, and are still participating in the political life of the other country during their stay here?

            • azrhey 09:57 on 2024-07-02 Permalink

              Well, I do agree with the general consensus of short term = expat , long term = immigrant. I am and have been both. I’ve moved to Canada with the parents age 11, for an indefinite period of time from Portugal. I am an immigrant here ( although I am a Canadian too ow, I still consider myself an immigrant due to cultural differences and what not). Since living in Canada I have made a 1 year stint in France and a 4 year stint in the UK, both came with a deadline ( with the option to renew of course, but there were no long terms plan there.. ) so I was an expat there.

              However, Kate, I disagree with our “participating in the political life” being a part of the equation. I’ve always voted in Portuguese elections ( and europium elections) since I was 18. It has no bearing, for me, in my status on Canadian soil. It is just a right that I have as a Portuguese citizen to vote and it is my moral obligation to vote in any and all elections and have the right too ( parent were raised during fascism, voting is a big deal on our house ) . I do the same for Canadian elections (and the UK while I was there because Commonwealth citizens can vote in UK elections, Brexit was all sorts of fun! )

              Anyhow, Beyond the immigrant = long term setting out roots, and expat = short term stint, I also add the expat = mostly volunteer move whereas immigrant = move out of necessity ( economic, or politic… ) Most expats I know are there because they want to, they could have stayed home and keep living a mostly decent life, whereas immigrants, more often than not would have preferred to stay home but had to leave for reasons. It does mostly map over white/non-white or rich/poor people but only because that’s the reality of the world we live in…

              ( sorry for the long rant, it is a rather personal, touchy, subject for moi 🙂 )

            • Kate 10:29 on 2024-07-02 Permalink

              Thank you for explaining all that, azhrey.

              But what word should I be using for the 200,000 French citizens living in Montreal now? Some may stay – or their children will. Some may eventually go home or move on. Migration is not what it was in the 19th or early 20th centuries.

            • GC 12:23 on 2024-07-02 Permalink

              I don’t think that was ranty at all, azhrey. And I also appreciate your take on it. I’m someone who’s never tried to emigrate anywhere. I just went temporarily to another country, by choice, and then came back after a couple of years–also by choice. I realize that’s not representative of why a lot of people change countries, so others might have different perspectives on the terminology.

              Kate, I don’t know… Maybe “French citizens living in Montreal” IS the best way, even if it’s a bit wordy? That should cover the ones that are citizens of France without being citizens of Canada, as well as the ones who are citizens of both? (And, also those who intend to leave as much as those who intend to stay…)

            • Kate 13:42 on 2024-07-02 Permalink

              OK, I will remove this word from my vocabulary. Apologies to all whom I unwittingly offended.

            • Joey 13:50 on 2024-07-02 Permalink

              It’s easy to get caught up in semantic discussions; it’s even easier to ignore the major increase in the number of well-off French citizens living in Montreal in the context of a housing crisis that is being blamed on some vague group of temporary foreign workers. As if it’s the hardscrabble strawberry-pickers driving up rents in the Plateau but definitely not the upper middle global ex-pat citizen class from France.

            • azrhey 14:47 on 2024-07-02 Permalink

              yeah in the context of “elections in France” I think French citizens is the best term as their legal status in Canada ( temp worker, immigrant, student visa ) isn’t the important part.
              Generally, I’d go with immigrant rather than expat, because by the numbers there are more of them than expats (which include student visas IMO ) . But also many media ( not that I have seen it here in this blog, I don’t think ) tend to mention people’s ethnic or immigration origins in articles where it is irrelevant.
              I remembering an article on JdM ( I know, I know ) about a drunk driver of central American origin, hitting a pedestrian in Montreal, how was that needed ?

            • CE 16:06 on 2024-07-02 Permalink

              @Kate, I don’t think you need to or should remove the word from your vocabulary. “Expat” refers to a a group of people in a specific circumstance as described above. When speaking of a large group of people who could be either expats or immigrants, I think it’s best not to use one word or the other but it’s a useful word for people in those circumstances.

              I wouldn’t worry about anyone you’ve offended, they’re likely going to go out of their way to be offended by as many things as they can possibly find to make themselves feel better about themselves or to score useless internet points.

            • Tee Owe 16:35 on 2024-07-02 Permalink

              I am a Canadian citizen living in a European country with long term residency status -I can vote in Canadian elections and am glad for that- how should I be described?

            • CE 16:56 on 2024-07-02 Permalink

              I would say that you should describe yourself however you want to describe yourself.

            • Tee Owe 12:28 on 2024-07-03 Permalink

              Expat then.

            • Ian 15:14 on 2024-07-03 Permalink

              Joey hit the nail on the head, it’s not about citizenship or even ethnicity, it’s about class.

              “As if it’s the hardscrabble strawberry-pickers driving up rents in the Plateau but definitely not the upper middle global ex-pat citizen class from France.”

              Those “upper middle global ex-pat citizen class from France” are exactly the kind of people Legault wants coming here, especially if they are white – but well-off will do. Ex-pats, immigrants, whatever – just no refugees or poors, thanks.

          • Kate 09:02 on 2024-07-01 Permalink | Reply  

            La Presse’s Maxime Bergeron says there’s one milion square feet of disused downtown office space that could be converted to residential. He seems to think this would ease the housing crisis, but is he right? Would we get housing, or would we just have a bigger glut of tiny but unaffordable condos?

            • Ian 10:35 on 2024-07-01 Permalink

              It could more easily converted to “residences” than “residential” – most apartments expect an individual bathroom, shower, and kitchen per unit. Most office buildings have only one or two bathrooms per floor, and would have to be extensively retrofitted for individual units.

              Also worth noting a lot of the excess disused office space was built decades ago and has to be retrofitted for modern HVAC, networking infra, LEED O&M et cetera, it’s less expensive for many companies to take on a new space that is ready to go. Property management companies look at office buildings that are more than 25 years old as white elephants. This was the case well before covid and is the driver for most new office space construction.

            • Kate 11:23 on 2024-07-01 Permalink

              Could people be persuaded to live in the modern equivalent of rooming houses? I suppose if they were clean and affordable, it might be a solution for single people. Not very attractive for families.

            • Ian 12:18 on 2024-07-01 Permalink

              It’s not completely uncommon in Toronto to rent rooms and have a shared kitchen and bathroom per floor. Basically boarding houses.

            • Kevin 13:09 on 2024-07-01 Permalink

              Plumbing is not an insurmountable problem, especially if the offices have 12 foot ceilings.

              It is harder to work around the internal stairway and elevator layout so you don’t have apartments with many windowless rooms.

              It’s having to add a third or fourth room in addition to a third bedroom that drives up the price.

            • Ian 13:12 on 2024-07-01 Permalink

              This is why a lot of converted warehouses are open studio concept.

            • Ephraim 15:31 on 2024-07-01 Permalink

              If I remember correctly, in NYC, there is something about the spacing and some of the buildings have cut a space for windows and light through part of the centre of the building, creating a C shaped building. Some of them have even added stories, stores and amenities, like a pool.

              But, we also REALLY REALLY REALLY need rooming houses and co-habitation spaces.Think of this to be something like co-working spaces. It’s co-living spaces. Imagine 6 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen a living room and a dining room space.

            • CE 16:49 on 2024-07-01 Permalink

              A big reason why Toronto has a lot of housing types Ian describes is because the houses in the centre were generally built as single-family houses rather than apartments like our plexes. Our housing type is much more flexible than those big two and three storey houses in Toronto that require major retrofits to turn into apartments. I’ve been in the types of places Ian describes in Toronto. They require a communal living style that not everyone is good at.

            • Nicholas 17:27 on 2024-07-01 Permalink

              This interesting 2016 Architecture thesis paper, which I only read parts of, describes the state of single-room occupancy buildings in Montreal and looks at some case studies, of which the city has acquired 65 of over the years with over 3,000 units. It used to be a common thing around the world, but tenements got a negative reputation (for good reasons in many cases), and many of them were torn down, and they were often made illegal (requiring units to all have kitchens, bathrooms, exterior light in bedrooms, etc.). There are pros and cons, but it does mean one step on the housing ladder has been taken away, which sometimes means people can only afford the prior step (being homeless). Some cities are now moving to allow them again.

              Also worth pointing out we do have new SROs in some cases, where it’s encouraged: dorms and senior’s residences. I’ve certainly met people who like communal living, and some who absolutely never cook, and would be willing to live in smaller places with some others. It’ll be interesting to see if there’s a resurgence here, though converting office buildings is not necessarily easy, as they’re just designed differently.

            • Ian 07:14 on 2024-07-02 Permalink

              Some buildings are easier to retrofit as residences in the sense that Nicholas describes – hotels, for example.

              And yes, as CE notes,most of Toronto’s boarding houses are former multi-floor single-family dwellings. They weren’t building plexes in the late 19th/early 20th c like Montreal. Especially common in more traditionally residential parts of town where there aren’t apartment buildings, they are less common now than they were, say, 20 years ago – but are still fairly common. Even apartments that take up a full floor in a converted house may share an old-fashioned interior staircase.

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