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  • Kate 10:59 on 2023-03-19 Permalink | Reply  

    A man was found seriously injured near the railway line in Point St Charles early Saturday, and then he died. Cops are investigating whether he was hit by a train or whether the injuries are from some other cause.

    • Kate 10:16 on 2023-03-19 Permalink | Reply  

      La Presse tried using ChatGPT as a guide to the city. Although it makes a few errors, its advice is no worse than the average tourism piece written to order by a remote human writer.

      • Kate 10:01 on 2023-03-19 Permalink | Reply  

        Old Montreal is full of Airbnb apartments that are illegal there. As crisply summed up here by La Presse’s Isabelle Ducas: “The city doesn’t do inspections to enforce its regulations on tourist residences, relying on the Government of Quebec, whose inspectors do not have the mandate to apply municipal regulations.” Now that people have died because of this gap maybe things will change.

        Update: Accusations are flying about the inertia of both city and province over illegal Airbnbs.

        • steph 10:11 on 2023-03-19 Permalink

          but they ARE enforcing the provincial regulations… right?

        • Kate 10:29 on 2023-03-19 Permalink

          The provincial regulations are about tax, so I assume they do enforce, but I don’t know. I don’t even know whether Quebec cares enough to visit the premises.

        • shawn 10:51 on 2023-03-19 Permalink

          Easy for me to say as a Plateau dweller I guess but it seems to me that if there is any district that should have lots of tourist residences it’s Old Montreal. But not unregulated.

        • Kate 11:02 on 2023-03-19 Permalink

          And definitely not uninspected. If you’re going to run a hotel in an older building, it’s got to have smoke and fire alarms and sufficient exits.

        • shawn 11:07 on 2023-03-19 Permalink

          Though I’m wrong to say tourist residences maybe because the one thing that strikes me as I read about the one victim whose father was interviewed was that they are from the area. So more a short-term sublet situation.

        • shawn 11:10 on 2023-03-19 Permalink

          Right and we’ve got the two levels of government passing the buck and refusing to inspect and enforce existing regulations, and the owner through his lawyer claiming he was not doing short-term rentals it was his tenants… Who if anyone will be held responsible.

        • Meezly 11:23 on 2023-03-19 Permalink

          Soon after Vancouver set up a licensing system for AirBnB rentals (in 2017!!), the city also expanded its enforcement system, including a dedicated enforcement coordinator and extra inspectors to support auditing inspections and complaints.

          Of course, the system isn’t perfect and there are still lots of loopholes that can be exploited, but there hasn’t been several occupants who’ve died from a raging preventable fire in an illegal AirBnB rental.

          There have been so many complaints related to illegal AirBnBs. I’m also thinking of the resources spent on police efforts investigating the shooting at the AirBnB rental on my street in January. All my neighbours were saying the same thing when police went door to door for their interviews: something has to be done about illegal AirBnBs, which have had detrimental effects on the well-being of our neighbourhood.

          Maybe now that the city has at least 7 deaths to contend with, they’ll finally do something concrete.

        • DeWolf 12:12 on 2023-03-19 Permalink

          Vancouver’s approach is clearly quite successful, because when you take a look at its offering on Airbnb, there’s virtually nothing except a few random luxury properties that cost an absolute fortune (and are probably booked for parties and/or film shoots).

          The answer given by Revenu Quebec is a dodge. The city’s regulations stipulate that tourist residences are illegal, and tourist residences are provincial jurisdiction, so what does it matter that they were made illegal by the city and not the province? If they’re unlicensed, they’re unlicensed.

          Of course there’s another question: is Montreal able to set up its own squad of inspectors, or are its hands tied by the province? If it’s the former then it needs to get its act together very quickly, but if it’s the latter, the province (as usual) is screwing over Montreal. Especially mystifying when there are hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines that could be recouped.

        • DeWolf 12:14 on 2023-03-19 Permalink

          @shawn My impression is that the place was used for parties. A previous article in La Presse quoted neighbours as saying there was constant noise and even gunshots. Which would explain why it was apparently a bunch of 18-year-olds staying there when the fire broke out.

        • DeWolf 12:21 on 2023-03-19 Permalink

          Correction: I should say millions of dollars, not hundreds of thousands. The little infobox at the end of the article states that Revenu Québec has already levied $4.9 million in fines in the past year alone, from just 1205 illegal listings. La Presse notes there are 14,000 active listings in Montreal alone. Imagine if they stepped up enforcement to actually eliminate the problem…

        • Ephraim 12:37 on 2023-03-19 Permalink

          And magically, AirBnB requires you to list your licence when you list in YVR. And if you don’t have one, the city checks immediately. Revenu Quebec isn’t levying enough fines. The fine is legally set at $2500 PER DAY, but they usually just fine them $2500 (double if corporate). And of course, they should automatically audit them to see if they were declaring it, since it’s all tracible to the account.

          Of course this could all end by requiring AirBnB et al to file an income tax report for all payments to non-corporate accounts. Just like in the USA and Europe, you would have to give them your social insurance number, they can validate it, payments are made to that account and a tax slip sent out. Wonder how much illegal activity will happen when a tax form is filed.

        • shawn 12:49 on 2023-03-19 Permalink

          Oh my goodness, parties and gunshots. I missed that. What a mess and what a lot of blame to go round.

        • Ephraim 10:56 on 2023-03-20 Permalink

          Just to show you how Revenu Quebec is NOT doing their job. Look at the 26 listings for https://www.airbnb.ca/users/show/460857316 and in the description of ANY of the properties, under the “SHOW MORE” prompt it should have his licence number. No licence number… 26 listings, so commercial. Fine is supposed to be $5000 PER DAY plus a tax audit. Well, where is RQ? Why are they not doing their job? Sure, they passed out SOME fines. But they haven’t cleaned up the system. And until they have it under control… they should be required to report to the public on what they are doing. Get it to 90% cleaned up and we can talk about not reporting to the public. But they don’t.

        • George 11:07 on 2023-03-20 Permalink

          AirBnb is an absolute cancer on society, the world over. When will authorities step in and shut them down?

        • qatzelok 12:23 on 2023-03-20 Permalink

          George, I agree with you in principle. But to be more precise, it’s probably more accurate to say that Late-Stage-Capitalism that is *the cancer*, and that AirBnB, Amazon and Uber are just some of its latest scams.

      • Kate 09:57 on 2023-03-19 Permalink | Reply  

        A restaurant in St-Laurent was the target of gunshots early Sunday. Nobody was hurt.

        • Kate 19:27 on 2023-03-18 Permalink | Reply  

          The Old Montreal building that burned this week had 15 apartments rented out on Airbnb in a section of Ville-Marie that does not allow short‑term rentals, although another anecdote in this piece suggests that there may have been longer‑term tenants as well.

          No alarm is said to have gone off inside the building when fire broke out, either.

          Update: Workers will start taking the façade down on Sunday.

          • shawn 20:51 on 2023-03-18 Permalink

            Montreal Globe and Mail correspondent Les Perreaux speculated earlier on twitter that a tragedy like this might make the city take the problem of illegal AirBnBs more seriously.

          • Josh 11:51 on 2023-03-20 Permalink

            Shawn, just a small FYI, Perreaux left the Globe some while back. He’s now the editor in chief of the journal Policy Options.

        • Kate 13:23 on 2023-03-18 Permalink | Reply  

          Noticed lately I’m getting spam comments generated by ChatGPT. They come from plausible-sounding names and read like relevant responses to topics, but the key thing is that the user link is not an individual’s, but something being promoted for Google ranking – diet pills and NFTs today, for example.

          I’m watching comments with closer attention now but if anyone spots something that looks shady please don’t hesitate to let me know.

          • Tim S. 22:00 on 2023-03-18 Permalink

            Just out of curiosity Kate, would you consider posting a sample?

          • Kate 23:01 on 2023-03-18 Permalink

            I emptied the spam queue, unfortunately. But I’ll keep an eye on it and post later if I find more.

        • Kate 11:43 on 2023-03-18 Permalink | Reply  

          People living in St-Michel near the Francon quarry have no peace after snowstorms as incessant queues of massive trucks roll up to deposit their load through the ports at the edge of the old quarry. The sheer scale of the thing is striking.

          • Kate 09:55 on 2023-03-18 Permalink | Reply  

            The suspect and the three victims in the triple homicide this week have been confirmed to be part of a family and the ages suggest they were the suspect’s parents and a grandparent. Arthur Galarneau is to appear in court Saturday.

            The Journal says the victims were Galarneau’s parents and his grandmother.

            These killings were #3, #4 and #5 of the year. Radio-Canada has an interesting observation. The first two homicides were also apparent matricides, and both also carried out with knives.

            Update: Galarneau was charged with three counts of second-degree murder on Saturday. CTV has names and photos of the victims now.

            • Kate 09:52 on 2023-03-18 Permalink | Reply  

              As many as six people are missing following the fire in Old Montreal this week, and the remains of the building are still too unstable to search. CTV talked to a relative of one of the missing people.

              • shawn 10:55 on 2023-03-18 Permalink

                “..they couldn’t get out because they were no windows in the room”: that would violate our building code, as I understand.

              • shawn 11:01 on 2023-03-18 Permalink

                But then when you look at the place, there’s lots of windows. It’s more window than wall. Unless the owners were sticking people in the middle of this narrow wedge shaped building, which seems unlikely.

              • MarcG 11:18 on 2023-03-18 Permalink

                There are some photos of the interior here, and going by the looks of that “bathroom” you can assume that a lot of other non-standard design choices were made. There were 15 people in the building and 4 listed apartments.

              • Kate 11:23 on 2023-03-18 Permalink

                I expected a classier renovation job in a building like that. A toilet next to a fridge?

              • shawn 12:09 on 2023-03-18 Permalink

                Oh yes look at that: crammed in, a disaster waiting to happen. I’m sure the vultures at AirBnB Inc. won’t be liable, sure they’ve taken care of that.

              • Ephraim 12:19 on 2023-03-18 Permalink

                Actually, if the owners were doing AirBnB and didn’t have commercial insurance, the Insurance company can wiggle out of paying it, claiming it was commercial activity and not covered. Worse, if they had a residential mortgage, they violated the mortgage, so they bank can call the mortgage. Or the worst of all scenarios, they have to pay to rebuild with no insurance money while still having to pay a mortgage on a non-existent property. Ah, the stupidity of it all.

              • shawn 12:26 on 2023-03-18 Permalink

                It’s just such a scam. Sorry, I just hate AirBnB.

              • walkerp 16:34 on 2023-03-18 Permalink

                Yep, Airbnb is definitely a factor here.

              • shawn 17:01 on 2023-03-18 Permalink

                La Presse now confirming that the building owner is lawyer ****** , who owns a lot of other properties.

              • shawn 17:08 on 2023-03-18 Permalink

                Actually Le Devoir has more info. *****

              • Kate 19:32 on 2023-03-18 Permalink

                The Journal had a couple of paragraphs on him already at the end of this piece on Thursday, but I hesitated to name him because angry lawyers can cause a world of hurt, and I don’t have a budget for that. So please forgive me for eliding your comments, shawn.

                There are a few names I don’t want mentioned here because I don’t want to turn up in Google searches.

              • shawn 20:20 on 2023-03-18 Permalink

                Ah, right. Sorry.

            • Kate 21:24 on 2023-03-17 Permalink | Reply  

              It’s true what they say about design by committee. Louise Harel’s committee on making Montreal more French wants to add a long tedious tagline to the city’s logo to emphasize that it’s French.

              What they should have done, of course, is this:

            • Kate 18:17 on 2023-03-17 Permalink | Reply  

              Mayor Plante says she was shocked by evidence of racism among city employees revealed by a report in Le Devoir this week, but doesn’t plan to order an independent inquiry into the situation. Plante is reported as thinking the city doesn’t need more studies, because it’s already aware and is acting on the problem.

              • bob 18:44 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

                Capitaine Valérie Renault. https://youtu.be/SjbPi00k_ME?t=10

              • carswell 19:59 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

                “shocked by evidence of racism” but “already aware … of the problem” does not compute.

                I don’t think Plante is a racist but remember how she made a show of publicly mourning the murder of white teen Thomas Trudel and totally ignored the nearly contemporary murder of black teen Jannai Dopwell-Bailey until his relatives and the media made a fuss? And now this. Used to consider her tone-deaf. Am beginning to think “privileged white who’s clueless on racial issues” is about the best that can be said of her. And if that’s true, she’s part of the problem, not someone equipped to spearhead an effort to solve it.

              • Kate 21:32 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

                To be fair, I paraphrased her there. But she does say the city is already acting on the racism issue.

                In a sense, I think it’s fair to say that there’s no need for further studies. Studies have been done. The question now is: what are you going to do about the demonstrable fact that racism is rampant among city employees?

                What institutionalized racism means is that the mayor is powerless to enforce a policy that if you’re caught doing or saying anything racist, or carrying out the kind of actions that have already been observed and noted (e.g. giving Black workers the lousiest vehicles and tools, the hardest and most disliked tasks, etc., as was documented in Montreal North) you’re out on your ass. That’s because the racism runs right through the place, the workers and their foremen and their managers, and probably the union too. Nobody’s going to enforce a zero tolerance policy like that because they’re part of the mechanism that keeps racism alive – even if only by passively accepting that your men have no fear of speaking or acting in that way. Passivity is also part of institutionalized racism.

                Plante does not know how to end that culture and she knows no amount of new studies will end it either. But she isn’t going to say that.

              • Joey 23:09 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

                I’m often (probably overly) hard on PM, but is there a more thankless political role in Canada now thankless than mayor of Montreal? You have a movement underpinning you, a million ideas and enthusiastic members – and hardly any ability to implement any of your ambitious project. Valerie Plante should swap jobs with Justin Trudeau.

              • Chris 11:38 on 2023-03-18 Permalink

                carswell: your comment, to me, is such a great example of the left eating their own. Plante is the most left wing mayor since… forever? but she’s “she’s part of the problem”. Fascinating.

              • MarcG 12:47 on 2023-03-18 Permalink

                I’m currently reading this chapter of Disinformation Age (free PDF) that discusses how the ‘left’ has a system of checks and balances whereas the far right is insular and only critical of each other when they don’t toe the ideological line.

              • Tim 16:44 on 2023-03-18 Permalink

                @MarcG: why use the term “far right” when it doesn’t even appear in the article to which you linked? Thanks for the link. Interesting read.

              • MarcG 18:24 on 2023-03-18 Permalink

                @Tim: They define the majority group as “from the center-right to the far left”, which to me, leaves the ‘far right’. It’s curious that they refer to it simply as the ‘right wing’.

              • Kevin 10:33 on 2023-03-20 Permalink

                MarcG: Well, yeah. Unquestioning loyalty is the key personality trait that is essential for the modern right-wing across the Anglosphere. It’s why American Christian Evangelicals are overwhelmingly voting Republican, and why Trump will get the next nomination from that party.

            • Kate 18:05 on 2023-03-17 Permalink | Reply  

              In November 2020 a 66-year-old man murdered his 93‑year‑old father with an iron bar. He was sentenced to life in prison on Friday.

              • Blork 21:44 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

                There is a Russian novel’s worth of stuff to unpack there regarding the question(s) of “what is a life?”

            • Kate 12:09 on 2023-03-17 Permalink | Reply  

              Three people are dead in Rosemont, all stabbed, found in an apartment. There’s been an arrest.

              TVA has spoken to a neighbour. And they got a gory video.

              Update: The only suspect is called Arthur Galarneau, is 19 years old and is said to be a member of the victims’ family. Metro has a photoso does CTV now.

              Metro also talked to a psychiatrist at the Pinel Institute about mental illness and clues to a potential for violence. François Legault is promising more money for mental health in the wake of recent events – the Laval bus, the Amqui attack and now this triple homicide. Rosemont MNA Vincent Marissal also spoke about the difficulty in getting mental health services in Quebec.

              La Presse reports that the young man had had troubles and was recorded as saying “Vraiment, ma vie elle a changé. Ça switch en ce moment, c’est vraiment le fun. […] les deux dernières années c’était vraiment hard et j’ai vécu beaucoup de bullshit…”

              • jeather 16:41 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

                The horrors of franglais.

              • Kate 17:36 on 2023-03-17 Permalink


              • mare 22:24 on 2023-03-17 Permalink

                Just throwing money at things won’t help when very few psychiatrists were schooled in the past decades. Or were hired *after* they were schooled, so they moved to other provinces/countries. Psychiatrists practising in English are even rarer.

                [TMI] My own psychiatrist finally retired in January. Not unexpectedly, he was over 80. It wasn’t an easy step for him. I asked him how someone would find a new psychiatrist. He said that if that someone went to the ER and was hospitalized they’d probably be seen by a psychiatrist (but not in every hospital). But, after being discharged, having regular sessions with one, with medication and follow-ups would take at least six months, and probably longer. They might be able to meet with a social worker at the CLSC earlier though.

                (I’m fine, and l’m lucky to have a GP who can take over.)

              • Kate 13:49 on 2023-03-18 Permalink

                Someone once told me the fastest way to see a psychiatrist was to walk down Ste‑Catherine Street naked.

            • Kate 09:45 on 2023-03-17 Permalink | Reply  

              Things for the weekend from Metro, CultMTL, CityCrunch, Sarah’s Weekend List.

              Sunday is the St Patrick’s parade, although the weather forecast is a little dire. CTV underlines how the parade will mean road closures, although the parade only goes from Fort to Metcalfe now, rather than past Phillips Square as it used to.

              • Kate 08:59 on 2023-03-17 Permalink | Reply  

                The Canadiens were crushed 9‑5 Thursday night by the Florida Panthers, who scored seven times in the first period. With three Canadiens goals also in the first, the game tied the NHL record for goals in a first period – not really a record you should be trying to beat.

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