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  • Kate 10:03 on 2023-03-26 Permalink | Reply  

    Snowblowers swallow up a lot of things in their path, some of which cause damage. La Presse visits a repair workshop and talks to the men who do some repairs in the shop, some out on the road.

    • Kate 09:05 on 2023-03-26 Permalink | Reply  

      I mentioned last week that I removed several well‑composed ChatGPT comments here, but that I’d trashed them. Spotted another today, a comment on this post about the recent fire.

      The comment, while anodyne, is not the usual gibberish we used to see in comment spam:

      6 people are missing after a fire in Old Montreal this week. What do you think happened to them?

      The trick is in the commenter’s link, which is to a U.S. site that sells CBD oil in various formats. They’ve sent me similar spams recently, always adjusted to the topic, but always linking back to their site.

      I don’t doubt that the AI will get smarter, so if anyone sees CBD oil being flogged from here, please let me know, because it’s not me doing it.

      • Joey 10:13 on 2023-03-26 Permalink

        How do you distinguish chatgpt spam from the original variety?

    • Kate 08:24 on 2023-03-26 Permalink | Reply  

      Shots were fired Saturday afternoon in DDO, and early Sunday in TMR. Neither incident turned up any victims.

      • Kate 08:22 on 2023-03-26 Permalink | Reply  

        A fifth body was found Saturday in the rubble of the Place Youville fire. Two people are still missing.

        There have been several reports now about people who stayed in the building in the past thinking it was a firetrap.

        • Kate 12:26 on 2023-03-25 Permalink | Reply  

          A big local story this week has been Gilles Proulx lashing out at Québec solidaire on QUB radio, and QS determining to boycott the station – although I doubt many party members habitually listen to “radio poubelle” like that.

          Proulx called QS MNAs bâtards, cochonneries, gangrène and menteurs and given over to putasserie, and on another occasion said “On devrait les achever une fois pour toutes, ces épais.”

          Not surprisingly, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois has condemned these words and their tone, and the encouragement to violence.

          Updated to add: Isabelle Hachey finds plenty of other incidents of Proulx using not only harsh words but rants proposing violence.

          • shawn 15:25 on 2023-03-25 Permalink

            Right and the Liberals made their own statement and the QC and Liberals are supporting each other.

          • qatzelok 16:04 on 2023-03-25 Permalink

            One unfortunate strategy that many political parties share… is their singular attachement to polling data and short-term victories, rather than any kind of real conviction about anything long term.

            QS seem to be just as bad as the CAQ in this regard.

          • Kate 08:56 on 2023-03-26 Permalink

            I don’t see signs of QS editing their principles to get closer to the mainstream.

          • shawn 09:05 on 2023-03-26 Permalink

            And whether they are or not, not sure what that has to do with this.

        • Kate 09:41 on 2023-03-25 Permalink | Reply  

          Various common single-use plastic items are to be banned in Montreal as of next week.

          • shawn 09:50 on 2023-03-25 Permalink

            I wonder if this means Tim Hortons will finally consent to bring back ceramic mugs. They did away with them during the pandemic, and they will now only give you a coffee, even if you are dining in, in a disposable cup.

          • DeWolf 11:04 on 2023-03-25 Permalink

            At least in the many independent cafés, I’ve found Montreal has a pretty good culture of using ceramic cups. When I was in New York last fall, nearly everyone used disposable paper and plastic cups even if they were staying put. Mountains of trash everywhere.

            My biggest worry is that we’ll start seeing more and more heavy-duty plastic takeaway containers for things like food delivery. They are in theory reusable, but nobody has space to store all of that, so they’ll probably just get thrown away. Some restaurants are now using paper containers which are at least compostable.

          • shawn 11:19 on 2023-03-25 Permalink

            Oh yes indie cafés better… except for a while there Olimpico seemed to stop using glass for iced coffees, leading to an even greater mountain of trash at Waverly and Saint-Viateur.

          • JaneyB 11:22 on 2023-03-25 Permalink

            A nice step in the right direction. I’m still wishing for standardized containers for everything but that would require a different world – even Canada’s now-gone modest standardized stubby beer bottle policy got a ruling from NAFTA some years back as biased against imports.

            Here’s a chart with some photos of permissible cups etc: https://guichetguta.ca/en/packaging/cups-glasses-and-lids/

          • shawn 11:25 on 2023-03-25 Permalink

            BTW so restos can only use non-laminated paper cups, which makes them compostable and (if clean) recyclable, amirite?

          • Kate 14:41 on 2023-03-25 Permalink

            I don’t know. Part of me suspects this is environmental theatre – the kind of thing that would only be truly useful as part of a much bigger program of change. I don’t like to feel myself being cynical, but there it is.

          • jeather 16:48 on 2023-03-25 Permalink

            I don’t know about cups or anything, but paper shopping bags are much bigger than plastic, so you have 10x as many containers being shipped on the ocean, more local shipments because it isn’t like every random store has lots of excess capacity to store bags so they need more deliveries, etc. And all of this is — look we KNOW who pollutes, it’s a few dozen giant companies, not people using plastic knives.

          • DeWolf 16:56 on 2023-03-25 Permalink

            The plastic bag ban resulted in nearly everyone carrying around reusable bags. Even when paper bags are available, not many people use them. So it’s probably a net reduction even if the paper bags take up more space.

            I also imagine that paper bags are manufactured locally so there wouldn’t be any cross-ocean shipping of them.

          • jeather 20:21 on 2023-03-25 Permalink

            You would imagine incorrectly. It is not a net reduction wrt number of pallets and they are not manufactured locally.

          • JP 20:49 on 2023-03-25 Permalink

            I don’t have evidence and don’t feel like trying to do a search right now, but I also think that some of this is environmental theatre….reusable bags and totes have become an industry unto their own. I wonder how much goes into making one resource-wise and how many times one has to be used to balance out environmentally speaking.

          • shawn 09:07 on 2023-03-26 Permalink

            Being able to compost or recycle non-laminated paperware would be good. But if they’re adding more PFAS to the product to make up for the loss of the moisture-resistant laminate, that’s very bad.

        • Kate 09:34 on 2023-03-25 Permalink | Reply  

          The swift change of policy between Canada and the U.S. and the immediate closure of Roxham Road has come as a shock to those trying to get across. The closure is felt to risk humanitarian catastrophes by some immigration experts.

          François Legault says it’s a beautiful victory for Quebec.

          La Presse’s Laura-Julie Perreault says it’s wilful blindness on both sides of the border. Godin’s editorial cartoon.

          • JaneyB 11:40 on 2023-03-25 Permalink

            So the migrants will have to apply for asylum in the US instead of Canada…that does not seem catastrophic to me. Also, Canada does have a refugee stream – a whole system designed to accommodate people fleeing for their lives and/or freedom. I think it’s fine that asylum-seekers are required to use the system designed for them and plenty of them do. It’s true borders feel harsh sometimes but they protect a culture, an economy, a tax and service system etc. We want a well-managed system so it requires a kind of container and rules. As numbers of migrants increase with climate crisis instability and disasters, limiting access to our county will certainly feel increasingly awful though. No doubt about that.

          • Kate 12:29 on 2023-03-25 Permalink

            One of the points being made is that although the Canada-U.S. border is long, there are surprisingly few points where a person can get across without physical risk. We’ve got oceans, mountains, desolate prairies, thick forests, huge lakes – and then we have Roxham Road, where you’ve been able to cross after a taxi ride from Plattsburgh.

          • shawn 12:54 on 2023-03-25 Permalink

            My feeling is that when another route opens up, it’s a good chance it’ll lead to Quebec, perhaps from Vermont or Maine. I’m curious about the Akwesasne region, which of course borders Ontario and Quebec. I expect we’ll see soon enough.

          • Kate 16:12 on 2023-03-25 Permalink

            Ontario, Quebec and New York State. There are occasional hints that this is where many illegal guns come across the border, but not much about how this trade is policed outside the reserve.

          • DeWolf 16:58 on 2023-03-25 Permalink

            @JaneyB, many migrant advocates argue that the US has an overly restrictive asylum policy, and it’s only getting worse with the Biden administration pushing for even fewer claims to be approved. The US accepts only about 47 percent of claims whereas Canada accepts 60-70 percent.

        • Kate 11:52 on 2023-03-24 Permalink | Reply  

          A woman who stayed in an Airbnb in the Place Youville building a year ago says she urged Airbnb to inspect the state of the building on several issues, including having the windows sealed shut.

          The owner’s lawyer finally spoke out Thursday, but nothing he says holds much credibility.

          Police think seven deaths is the limit although not all the missing people have been found.

          • shawn 11:59 on 2023-03-24 Permalink

            I see, it was company head Nathan Rotman fleeing the cameras and reporters after meeting with the minister. Unfortunately Pulse News doesn’t show that footage https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/airbnb-executives-silent-after-meeting-with-quebec-tourism-minister-1.6326001

          • H. John 13:26 on 2023-03-24 Permalink

            Me Bergen, Benamor’s lawyer, gave a rather long interview (15 minute) to Paul Arcand Thursday morning.

            It’s an example of why Arcand remains one of the best interviewers on radio:


          • jeather 13:36 on 2023-03-24 Permalink

            According to Sarah Leavitt Airbnb agreed to remove listings without the license number, require all new listings to provide one, and provide some access to the goverment to check stuff (not clear on what exactly that last one entails).

          • shawn 14:13 on 2023-03-24 Permalink

          • Blork 14:52 on 2023-03-24 Permalink

            If this were an airport novel, Airbnb would have secretly struck a deal with the government in which they agree to remove all illegal listings and to enforce the rules in future in exchange for the government not pressing for an inquiry and possibly a civil suit against them. But surely things like that don’t happen in real life.

          • Ephraim 16:24 on 2023-03-24 Permalink

            I don’t trust them at all. First of all, the law has been in place for almost 5 years. Second of all, they can stop displaying those illegal listings immediately. This is the Internet. It’s a damn line of code. They say they will remove them… didn’t say that they won’t allow them back on or will block them all. And finally giving the government “some” access isn’t enough. Legal or illegal. Let it be done legally, morally.

            There will be civil suits against AirBnB, against the building owner and against the host. Rest assured. Assuming the building was insured, I doubt the insurance will pay. The litigation on this will go on for years. But I’m willing to bet against the insurance companies ever paying a single cent. And the mortgage… the bank will likely call the mortgage in and with no insurance money, the owner is going to have to scramble to find that money.

          • Ephraim 18:40 on 2023-03-24 Permalink

            Through the grapevine, apparently AirBnB sent out notices that anyone without a licence number will be shut off on Tuesday the 28th of March.

          • shawn 10:12 on 2023-03-25 Permalink

            J de Montréal’s Francis Pilon has another great piece, this time on illegal Airbnbs in the Tour des Canadiens. Which makes me wonder how much of this crazy proliferation of massive condo towers, which is changing our city, is driven by financial investors, not homebuyers? https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2023/03/25/tours-des-canadiens-ils-cachent-leurs-clients-airbnb-dans-leur-voiture

          • shawn 11:24 on 2023-03-25 Permalink

            LCN interviewing two of Camille Maheux’s old friends this morning about her and the building. I had to switch away, just too maddening. But great coverage. I think Québecor leaning into this issue makes it more likely that Legault will actually do something. The tragedy of Camille Maheux in particular touches Québécois boomers deeply.

          • Faiz Imam 21:00 on 2023-03-25 Permalink

            Just searched airbnb for room next weekend.

            over 1000 results in Montreal came up.

          • Ephraim 10:36 on 2023-03-26 Permalink

            @Faiz – They culling is supposed to happen on Tuesday. There will still be about 5% left, who have licences. Also, it’s aimed mostly at the full apartment for rent. The zones where you can rent a room are a lot less controlled. For example, almost all of the Plateau allows a room to rent where the owner is present, but with a licence. The problem is the full apartments. Expect some to go for 30 rentals and some to go for sale. Old Montreal has absolutely no full apartment rentals allowed. So that should clear that right up.

          • shawn 10:47 on 2023-03-26 Permalink

            Wow that’s amazing. Hotels in Montreal going to be showing no vacancies when this hits, I would think. I love it!

        • Kate 11:47 on 2023-03-24 Permalink | Reply  

          A St-Laurent teenager was arrested Thursday by the RCMP on a tip from the FBI that he was going to commit an act of terrorism.

          Mohamed Amine Assal has not been charged because he hasn’t, as far as I can make out, done anything, but he has been sworn to a peace bond, subjected to a curfew and forced to wear a tracking device. All these reports are necessarily vague about what the FBI, and now the RCMP, actually know, although the Gazette says Assal was “discussing violent acts of terrorism motivated by radical Islamist ideology.”

          On thinking about this: I wonder how long the authories have been aware of him, and whether they waited till he turned 18 to make a move.

          • shawn 14:29 on 2023-03-24 Permalink

            At the bottom of the Gazette article there is one pretty big detail: he was reportedly giving someone advice on how to make a pipe bomb deadlier.

          • JaneyB 11:57 on 2023-03-25 Permalink

            I feel for the parents of kids who’ve become radicalized. They’re just trying to make their way, have a better life, and then they get blindsided by real actions leaking out of their kids’ social media lives. Yeah, the mounties have probably been watching him for a while.

        • Kate 10:52 on 2023-03-24 Permalink | Reply  

          I merely glanced at my snow shovel yesterday and wondered if I could risk putting it away, so now we have snow coming on Saturday, expected to be quite heavy north of town, maybe 5 to 7 cm in the city.

          Things to do on the weekend from Metro, CultMTL, CityCrunch, Sarah’s Weekend List.

          Wellington Street in Verdun holds the first street fair of the year with Cabane Panache starting Friday.

          • Joey 11:23 on 2023-03-24 Permalink

            Sunday’s rain should wash it all away…

        • Kate 10:10 on 2023-03-24 Permalink | Reply  

          Luc Ferrandez has turned documentarist with a piece called Lettre d’amour à la ville that will be televised next week. In this piece he talks about what makes a city that attracts families, rather than banishing them to the suburbs.

          • Kate 09:49 on 2023-03-24 Permalink | Reply  

            A young man was shot in New Bordeaux, the sandwich filling in the middle of Ahuntsic‑Cartierville, on Thursday evening, nonfatally.

            Radio-Canada added later the relevant information that the young man had just left a brief detention at Bordeaux Jail.

            Not much later, a young man was stabbed in a gas station in Cartierville, nonfatally.

            Early Friday, shots were heard on Anna‑Paquin Street in RDP, a street that has recently seen a car torched and a previous incident of gunfire, but there were no victims.

            • Kate 09:32 on 2023-03-24 Permalink | Reply  

              La Presse has a report on a gang alleged to have orchestrated at least half a dozen complicated car crashes to defraud the SAAQ and insurance companies.

              • Kate 18:20 on 2023-03-23 Permalink | Reply  

                The fabled restaurant on the ninth floor of the Eaton’s building is to reopen by the end of the year. An audio report from Radio‑Canada.

                • Tux 21:13 on 2023-03-23 Permalink

                  Great news! I never managed to get into the restaurant proper when I trespassed up there a bunch of times many years ago

              • Kate 17:24 on 2023-03-23 Permalink | Reply  

                Photographer Camille Maheux died in the Place Youville fire, and now her friends are trying to bring together what remains of her work, because most of her prints and negatives perished with her.

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