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  • Kate 08:35 on 2022-06-23 Permalink | Reply  

    Police have been out in Rivière-des-Prairies, even with their horses, to try to reassure residents they’re working on the problem of gunplay in the streets.

    • Kate 08:32 on 2022-06-23 Permalink | Reply  

      Many households are reaching the end of their lease without a new place to live and the city is stepping up its offer of help for people finding themselves in this jam.

      • Kate 08:24 on 2022-06-23 Permalink | Reply  

        A Montreal man murdered at a Mexican beach resort was wanted here on fraud charges.

        • Kate 08:07 on 2022-06-23 Permalink | Reply  

          Friday is St-Jean, and despite the possibility that the rain will continue, various festivities are planned starting Thursday evening.

          Also notes on what’s open and closed and a warning that the SQ will be ramping up highway patrols.

          And some highway closures for the long weekend.

          The Jacques-Cartier bridge will be closed Saturday night for the first of the fireworks festival shows.

          • Kate 08:04 on 2022-06-23 Permalink | Reply  

            Parts of Pierrefonds-Roxboro are under a boil-water advisory.

            Update: Lifted as of Thursday afternoon.

            • Kate 08:02 on 2022-06-23 Permalink | Reply  

              Appropriately, the Old Brewery mission has opened the city’s first wet shelter, meaning that people with serious alcohol addiction can get one beer per hour, or whatever maintenance amount they’re deemed to need. Only three people are in it so far, but they’re aiming to serve 30 eventually.

              No journalist has asked what brand of beer is being handed out, or whether it’s donated. I’d be curious.

              • Ephraim 21:51 on 2022-06-23 Permalink

                I didn’t realize that they were actually giving them alcohol. I thought the point of wet shelters was to not require them to be sober to stay…. not to actually supply them with alcohol.

              • Kate 07:36 on 2022-06-24 Permalink

                They have to give them a small maintenance amount because alcohol withdrawal can kill you. It’s not an open bar.

            • Kate 07:58 on 2022-06-23 Permalink | Reply  

              The Polytechnique has its first woman director in its 150‑year history.

              • Kate 16:32 on 2022-06-22 Permalink | Reply  

                Following from a recent discussion here on how neither cyclists nor pedestrians are indemnified by the SAAQ for road accidents, regular reader Tim S. sent me this link to a Piétons Québec announcement that the SAAQ is working on extending its coverage to cyclists and pedestrians as well.

                • Spi 17:04 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

                  road accidents not involving cars.

                  Both are very much covered in any accident involving a motor vehicle.

              • Kate 16:26 on 2022-06-22 Permalink | Reply  

                The shoe had been on the verge of dropping in my thoughts, but Taylor C. Noakes got there first: the city’s free metro plan is fundamentally flawed in several ways, not least being that it makes no sense to have the free stations clumped together downtown, sometimes no more than five or ten minutes’ walk separating them.

                Making these stations free means you’re basically sending people home for free, not bringing them downtown – although Noakes points out the odd idea mentioned by CBC that people will only be able to circulate for free among that small group of stations, and would have to pay to go beyond them (although how this would be established to the satisfaction of the metro security goons is not made clear).

                • Spi 17:02 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

                  It’s a poorly thought out piece. To begin with, this is a city of Montreal initiative, it wasn’t going to offer free entrance to off island residents. Keeping in mind that it’s only free because someone else is paying for it ($2 million from the city of Montreal), not because Plante waved a magic wand to make it so. I don’t see how you justify to Montrealers that people from Laval and Longueuil get free passage paid for by Montreal tax payers.

                  Taylor presents the initiative as a transit project, it’s not it’s a downtown vitality initiative. His entire section about transit cops pestering people is based upon one article that’s very likely to be wrong in its reading of a press release and then continues to make a huge hoopla about hypothetical transit cops controlling people. I’ve never seen an inspection blitz happen on the weekend and the spokesperson stops just short of telling riders there won’t be.

                  To his point, why not make the whole system free? Why not start it at midnight so people have a free ride home from the bar? Because again, it’s only free because someone else is paying for it and this isn’t a transit initiative to up ridership, it’s a downtown initiative to get them downtown shopping supporting shops. I don’t know of any shops that are open at 11pm on a Friday night, does anyone?

                  The entire article is just a straw man argument from the start.

                  “This feels a lot more like partially subsidizing people to go shopping at underused downtown malls on the weekend” Yes Taylor, that’s exactly what it is, it wasn’t disguised as anything else. I get that you need to write 500 words about something for Cultmtl this month, but you can do better.

                • Blork 17:41 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

                  Yeah, it’s a flawed idea, but I also agree with some of what @Spi says above, about the article.

                  First off, the thing from CBC saying the free ride only applies to rides between those few stations is so patently idiotic that it must be a mistake on CBC’s part, so let’s just dismiss that altogether.

                  Regarding whether the “free” should be coming or going, I think it’s fine the way it is. The idea that you can get downtown for free but you have to pay in order to leave is just wrong and backwards. (It’s also a bit weird to pay to go downtown and then you’re free to leave is also a bit odd, but less odd than the opposite.)

                  I agree with Noakes and others that they should just make the whole system free. Ideally from 6:00PM Friday until closing time on Sunday. If nothing else it would be a test of how a free Metro system would work. But it would also encourage more people to try it.

                  As Noakes points out, many people use a monthly pass, so this free thing means nothing to them. But for people who pay as they go, it’s not clear to them what to expect in terms of when it’s free, where it’s free, etc. (You can’t expect people to memorize the schedule and which stations apply.) So I suspect most non-pass holders will just see this as something else to be confused about and will just forget about it.

                • Taylor C. Noakes 18:20 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

                  Hi @Spi, thanks for reading. A few points:

                  The proposal came about with the involvement for the STM and ARTM, who presumably represent the interests of people not living within the city limits. I don’t see why Plante didn’t contact her colleagues in Laval and Longueuil to get them to chip in on the project. Seems like that would have been an easy couple of calls to make, especially given the ARTM’s involvement.

                  Sure seems like a transit project to me: Plante states the best way to visit the downtown is by using public transit, and the two major partners are transit agencies, not Destination Centre-Ville or Montreal Chamber of Commerce. The message I’m seeing is ‘try public transit to get downtown’ and it’s tied in with the end of free parking in the city. It’s half-priced Métro, not a free coupon for $5 off at the Phillip’s Square Burger King with every Metro ride, you know what I mean?

                  I’ve had the misfortune of being surprised by an undercover STM goon validating transit fares, and I’m a big tall white guy. It was unpleasant, and, based on some recent videos circulating online, far less pleasant for so-called visible minorities. The point is that when the STM spox was asked how exactly they plan on verifying fares, he didn’t have a clear answer and only said they were still considering it. For a lot of people in this city, transit goons are a source of anxiety. It’s not a trivial matter.

                  This whole nonsense idea that it’s only free because someone else is paying for it… no. All public transit in the whole province receives public subsidy to one degree or another, but it’s also not a zero-sum game. The train runs whether it’s full or empty, and it’s being paid for by people who live in Kuujjuaq, Pierrefonds, the Gaspé (etc). We’ve all already paid for that train to run.

                  I’m not sure this counts as a straw man argument, since I didn’t exaggerate the thing I’m opposed to. I literally quoted the press release and what was reported about the mayor’s actual plan.

                • Daniel D 10:15 on 2022-06-23 Permalink

                  For a perspective from another city, The Guardian has an interview with Boston’s mayor on the topic of free transit:

                • Taylor C. Noakes 11:36 on 2022-06-23 Permalink

                  Thanks for sharing that Daniel. The second paragraph neatly summarizes all the key reasons why transit ought to be free:

                  “Championing free public transportation as part of a broader focus on affordability and tackling carbon emissions (…) This March, the city dropped the $1.70 fare for three bus lines that serve predominantly low-income areas and people of color. Amid budgetary concerns, the city will use a Covid-19 relief fund to make up for $8m of lost revenue. Ridership on the first free bus line has soared by 48%, from 47,000 to 70,000 weekly riders.”

              • Kate 15:58 on 2022-06-22 Permalink | Reply  

                Toula Drimonis is now writing for Metro in French – mostly – giving a level‑headed elucidation of the allo‑anglo view of things here.

                • Kate 13:52 on 2022-06-22 Permalink | Reply  

                  Montreal was named #1 among large cities in the PeopleForBikes 2022 City Ratings, and 8th overall.

                  • DeWolf 15:18 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

                    Their “network analysis” map is very interesting, showing all the “high stress” and “low stress” areas for cycling in Montreal. It corresponds pretty well to my own impressions.

                    As usual, though, these types of rankings are only as good as their data, and they rely too much on arbitrary municipal boundaries. Vancouver actually ranks higher than Montreal overall because it has fairly constrained city limits, and by the same token Montreal’s ranking probably suffers because its city limits just happen to include suburban areas like Pierrefonds and Pointe-aux-Trembles.

                    There’s also some intangible factors to consider. It may technically be convenient for someone in Vancouver to ride their bike to the grocery store, for instance, but my own experience tells me it’s far less common than it is here. Another example: Gatineau ranks just one spot lower than Montreal. While I suppose they have the infrastructure, it’s not a city where cycling occupies anywhere near as large a civic space as in Montreal.

                  • DeWolf 15:20 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

                    Oh whoops. I confused their rating with their ranking. I take back what I said!

                  • Kevin 15:48 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

                    You’re making me miss the trailer I borrowed every time I did groceries while living out West.

                  • Meezly 09:31 on 2022-06-23 Permalink

                    And the Plateau/Mile End and Little Italy area ranked as the most “low stress” – probably due to their proximity to the downtown core but also mostly to the efforts of Projet Mtl the past decade or so?

                • Kate 09:12 on 2022-06-22 Permalink | Reply  

                  Eight people were arrested Tuesday in connection with a scam targeting older folks: they would call and tell them their bank card had been compromised, and send someone to pick up the card, and the code too!

                  How they got lists of phone numbers and knew they were soft targets is a question not asked in these pieces.

                  • Kate 07:15 on 2022-06-22 Permalink | Reply  

                    NATO’s climate change centre (pardon me for feeling that the wording centre of excellence is about as bogus as it gets) will be established in Montreal.

                    Note that the point of this “centre of excellence” is not to fight climate change, but to assess the impact of climate change on the security of NATO.

                    • su 11:41 on 2022-06-23 Permalink

                      This has to do with the Arctic. As it is warming ( many times faster than anywhere else) to the delight of many. The vast resources ( oil, gas, “green”rare metals) it and brand new shipping routes are open to exploitation. Russia, China, and of course the mafia oligarchs are positioning themselves for the advantage.

                  • Kate 19:35 on 2022-06-21 Permalink | Reply  

                    Police were called Tuesday to restore order at the line for passports in the Guy Favreau complex. CBC has a headline saying travellers took matters into their own hands – whatever that means. Spokespeople from other governments and departments are called on to say how deplorable the delays are – but they certainly don’t seem to be solely the fault of travellers leaving things till the last minute. The feds are said to be recruiting more workers and seconding people from other departments to do passport processing.

                    • dhomas 19:50 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

                      I didn’t understand that headline, either. How were they taking things into their own hands? Printing out fake passports? Makes no sense.

                      I’m still waiting for my kids’ passports. There was no availability to take an appointment in person so we mailed them out last month. At the time, the website said the regular delay was about 20 days and currently 7 weeks “due to high volumes”. The delay keeps going up, though. Now, it’s up to 9 weeks and I have yet to receive any news.

                      We’re leaving July 24th, and I have to say, I’m getting a little nervous.

                    • steph 20:12 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

                      Blaming “travellers leaving things till the last minute.” is deceitful. They’re activly telling people to “come back the day before your flight for the express service’. They won’t serve you if you’re not leaving tomorrow….

                    • Spi 20:28 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

                      I think the point is that you shouldn’t wait till the last moment to renew or apply for a passport. So part of the problem is the government being willfully inept and unprepared and the other part is people waiting until their passport is expired or about to. Just because it expires by a certain dates doesn’t mean you should wait until then to get a new one. I also read that 2012 was the first year of 10-year passports so a whole glut of them came up for renewal at the same time.

                    • Michael 22:46 on 2022-06-21 Permalink

                      Last week I looked for pass port renewal and they said on the website there is express passport service for a few days. Good thing I am not in a rush and can wait a few months.

                      They need to change that on the website.

                    • Tim S. 08:14 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

                      I went to a Service Canada location a couple of weeks ago to submit my renewal (travelling in late September, fingers crossed) and they were quite happy to tell anyone who was travelling within 45 business days to go line up at the downtown passport office for the express service. The lineup went down by half when the guy came out to announce that. So a lot of the people at Guy Favreau aren’t irresponsible people who waited until four days before travelling to renew, but might have tried to apply 8 weeks in advance and were told that this was their only option.

                    • Mark 09:31 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

                      Also, just FYI as this really saved my trip this summer. Kids under 16 can travel into the USA without a passport, they just need a long birth certificate. Our passports are valid, the kids are not and I’m not even bothering. So we’re driving to NYC, leaving the car at Newark and flying to Cali to visit family.

                    • Em 09:51 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

                      I know people who mailed in their renewals at the beginning of March and haven’t gotten them yet. And now everyone who tried to renew in a reasonable timeframe is being pushed back by the rush orders, meaning they too will be in trouble.

                      Part of the complaints was the fact that there was no information or people managing the line. Would it be so hard to give people a number so they can go do something else and come back later? Or give an estimated wait time, even a rough one?

                      I wouldn’t book a trip without a valid passport, or let mine expire, but it’s not unreasonable to expect the government to be able to manage this better.

                    • Bert 10:18 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

                      The commonly applied rule is that your expected return date from an international must be 6 months before the expiry of your passport. Otherwise you will be (can be) denied entry to the foreign country. Some countries require an even wider gap between return date and expiry date.

                      Add to that, that when “renewing” a passport you have to provide your current passport. So, even if someone is proactive initiates a request 2 years early, you have no passport as soon as you request your new / surrender your old one.

                    • Spi 10:35 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

                      “managing a line” is a lot more complex than it might seem, especially when it’s a line of human being. Handing out numbers inevitably opens the door to people selling their place in line. They’re currently only processing demands that are within 48 hours of departure, people have resorted to buying fully refundable tickets for the next day while in line to try and cheat the priority system and get their passport that day.

                      Any attempt to making the experience less awful inevitably makes it more difficult to manage, increasing frustration and upping tensions.

                      The vast majority of people can find a period of a few months in their lives where they won’t be traveling and renew their passport during that period.

                    • John B 11:00 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

                      The irony of this is that after seeing what’s going on, I’m going to check the expiry of my family’s passports today and start a renewal process for any that are close to expiring or expired. We have no plans to travel internationally, but if people are waiting 3+ months to get their passports back it makes no sense to wait.

                      So because of the backlog I, and anyone thinking like me, are being motivated to make the backlog even larger.

                    • Joey 12:16 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

                      I wonder if senior officials have examined the possiblity of blanket extending all passports by X months to at least stop the bleeding a bit. Or maybe work out bilateral agreements with the top five or 10 destination countries to relax entry requirements temporarily. For example, children under 16 don’t need a passport to cross a land border to the U.S., but they do need one for air travel. While, presumaby, there’s some logic behind that policy, the passport requirement for air travel could probably be suspended temporarily so long as other conditions are met (e.g., the child is travelling with a parent who has a valid passport).

                      It seems pretty clear that the phenomenon John B describes (long lines casuing more people to apply earlier for renewals) will only excerbate the immediate problem. The fact that there is no online appointment/queuing system is nuts. It can be done without creating a black market for spots, by tying the appointment time to the specifc passport request.

                      In three years we’ll get some great access-to-information stories about how bad the actual wait time is…

                    • Blork 12:20 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

                      Just checked mine. I got one of those “10 year” passports a couple of years ago. However, unlike my unrivalled sense of direction, I have no sense of the passage of time. Sure enough, “a couple of years ago” was actually 2013, so I guess I need to start thinking about renewing. Not now, but in the fall when there’s less travel and hopefully less of a crush.

                    • Ephraim 13:22 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

                      The domain is readily available 🙂

                    • jeather 14:35 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

                      I also checked mine recently having remembered vaguely going with a friend to get Baby’s First Passport, which would have been early 2014, but apparently I just signed the documents (“this baby definitely is the baby I know and not just some generic baby”) and got mine at the same time as Kiddo’s Second Passport in early 2019, I was very relieved. For reasons at the time I waited until I was just under 1 year expired, which I should have known because I remember having to get one like, 2 months before the 10 year passports were available.

                      I know people who applied in March and still don’t have passports.

                    • walkerp 15:36 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

                      I would love to get a full expose on the inside issues going on in these departments that are causing the slowdowns. I suspect a huge factor is that senior management dug their heels in on working from home (and the very really difficulty in putting systems in place to manage the processes remotely and securely). The actual printing may be a bottleneck as well, as that really does require people to be in the workplace.

                      This (and the lack of any sophisticated queuing/reservation systems as others here have mentioned) demonstrate a real failure on the part of the Liberals. They have been in power long enough now that they should be spending more time and money reinforcing our bureaucracy against a dynamic and challenging future.

                    • steph 16:03 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

                      People who requested a passport in march still didn’t get theirs (“Processing may take up to 9 weeks”). The situation is worse today. People renewing their passports today by mail will have to wait how long??? There’s reason to be enraged.
                      Everywhere I turn government services are deplorable. What can we do about it?

                    • Spi 16:10 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

                      Karina Gould (the minister responsible) was on the radio this morning attempting to provide answers. Although they had anticipated a spike in demand what they didn’t expect was the mix of demands between new applications and renewals, apparently 85% of demands are for new passports. Which could be for a first time passport or to replace one that’s been expired for more than a year. That process being more laborious than a renewal.

                      Although there are similar scene elsewhere in the country none are as pressing and bad as the situation here, so that begs the question. What is going on in Montreal that makes it worse?

                  • Kate 19:30 on 2022-06-21 Permalink | Reply  

                    The body of a young woman was found on the riverbank in Lasalle on Tuesday afternoon, and is believed to be a teenager recently declared missing. All reports suggest she fell in by accident.

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