Thursday, November 6, 2008

Month In Review: Montreal Canadiens Still Searching For That Spark

The Bleacher Report:

The Montreal Canadiens had an impressive month of October—points-wise, that is.

The Canadiens went 7-1-1 in just nine games this past month, but something seems to be missing from the Canadiens game. It’s that spark that got them the Eastern Conference regular-season title last season.

It just doesn’t seem like the Canadiens are as exciting to watch this season thus far. Maybe that’s because of the high expectations this season, and the low expectations set on the Habs last season.

So far, stud players from last season have been somewhat struggling offensively. Last season's top trio of Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Kostitsyn, and Alex Kovalev have yet to really get things going, as they combined for just six goals in the month of October.

Read more ....

Resale Housing Market Drops 2% In Montreal

The Montreal Gazette:

Montreal's resale housing market declined two per cent in 2008, the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board said yesterday. For the first nine months of the year, 8,463 properties changed hands in the Montreal region. Property listings increased 12 per cent compared with the same period a year ago. The average selling price increase was five per cent this past quarter, vs. four per cent in the second quarter and six per cent in the first quarter. "Despite the rise in listings observed over the last two quarters, the high demand is such that the resale market remains favourable to sellers," Michel Beausejour, the board's CEO, said.

Quebec Election News -- November 6, 2008

Charest Makes Play For Quebec -- The Montreal Gazette

Premier Jean Charest has called a provincial election for Dec. 8, seeing an opportunity to capitalize on the weak hand of Mario Dumont's Action démocratique du Québec.

Charest's goal is to transform his Liberal minority government into a majority, guaranteeing "four years of peace," as one of his ministers put it.

The party's theme is that in the midst of global financial turbulence, only with a majority can the Charest team defend Quebec's interests and keep its economy on track.

Read more ....

More News On Quebec's Provincial Election

The Gazette's Election Blog -- The Gazette
Quebec premier seeks 'clear mandate' in calling Dec. 8 election -- CBC
Personal ambition and fear of hard times to come prompt a gamble at the polls -- Globe And Mail
Liberals own Fortress Montreal -- The Montreal Gazette
Charest must tell us what this election is all about -- The Montreal Gazette
Charest Say Jobs Are The Priority -- Global Quebec
Jean Charest kicks off first day of campaign with speeches on economy -- Canadian Press
Charest takes a gamble on December election -- Toronto Star
Economy, not sovereignty, the hot issue in Quebec vote -- National Post
Quebecers set to vote, again -- Toronto Star
Premier says he learned from close call in 2007 campaign -- Montreal Gazette
Seeking Majority, Quebec’s Premier Sets Election -- New York Times

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Quebec Provincial Election Called -- Roundup Of News Stories

Quebec's Premier Jean Charest (R) and his wife Michele Dionne walk to the Lieutenant Governor's office to call an election in Quebec City, November 5, 2008. Quebec voters will head to poll in a provincial election on December 8. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger (CANADA)

Quebec Premier Seeks 'Clear Mandate' In Calling
Dec. 8 Election -- CBC

Premier Jean Charest has asked Quebec's lieutenant-governor to dissolve the legislature in order to hold a provincial election on Dec. 8.

Charest emerged from a brief meeting with Lt.-Gov. Pierre Duchesne Wednesday morning and boarded the Liberals' campaign bus before heading to an outdoor news conference on the shore of the St. Lawrence River, in west-end Quebec City.

Charest said he would be pushing for a "clear mandate" and majority government after his Liberals were relegated to a minority position in the March 2007 election. The Liberals currently have 48 of the province's 125 seats, compared with 39 for the Démocratique du Québec and 36 for the Parti Québécois, while two seats are vacant.

Charest told reporters gathered at the Quai des Cajeux that it's not wise to have three sets of hands on the steering wheel in difficult economic times.

Read more ....

More News On Today's Quebec Provincial Election Call

Federalist party favored in Quebec election -- International Herald Tribune
Quebec's PM calls election, separatists vulnerable -- Reuters
To the polls -- Global News
Quebec vote set for December 8 -- Yahoo News/AFP

Concrete Flakes Off Overpass, Shuts Down Busy Montreal Road

Notre-Dame Est, Montreal

From The CBC:

Rush-hour traffic was snarled in east-end Montreal on Tuesday afternoon after transport officials shut down a major street where a large chunk of concrete landed after it fell off an overpass.

Police shut down Notre-Dame Street East between Frontenac and Alphonse des Rois streets in both directions after concrete fell from the Moreau bridge on to a Canadian Pacific Railway track.

Read more .....

Habs Have 6 On Ballot For Montreal All-Star Game

From CBC Sports:

Oft-injured Rick DiPietro was one of over 100 players on the NHL all-star ballot released on Tuesday, ahead of the likes of Tim Thomas, who leads all NHL goaltenders in save percentage.

DiPietro has appeared in net in just three games for the New York Islanders this season and will be out from four to six weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on Saturday. He suffered a hip injury in last year's all-star game and had surgery in the summer on both his hip and knee.

Boston goalie Thomas wasn't included, despite posting two shutouts early in the season and leading the league with a .944 save percentage.

Read more ....

Quebec Police Arrest 19 In Alleged Tax Scam

From The Globe And Mail:

MONTREAL -- Quebec provincial police say a notary and four accountants are among those arrested in an alleged tax-evasion scheme in the construction industry.

Captain Donald Vallee told a news conference yesterday that 22 suspects were directly involved in false billing aimed at defrauding the Quebec government.

"They will face charges of robbery, fraud, fabrication and use of forged documents and gangsterism," Capt. Vallee said.

"It's the first time [there is] gangsterism at the level of the construction industry. That has never been seen before."

Read more ....

Quebec Premier Jean Charest Meets With Cabinet Ahead Of Likely Election Call

From The Canadian Press:

QUEBEC — Quebec Premier Jean Charest is meeting his cabinet this morning and is then widely expected to call a provincial election for Dec. 8.

Charest is scheduled to meet with Lt.-Gov. Pierre Duchesne at 9:45 a.m. ET to ask him to dissolve the legislature. The Liberal leader will be pushing for a majority government after being relegated to a minority position in the March 2007 election.

Charest will be hoping that Quebecers see him as the best politician to manage the economy in tough times.

Recent opinion polls have placed the Liberals ahead of the Parti Quebecois and the Action democratique du Quebec but Charest will be looking to make significant gains among the critical francophone vote.

The Liberals have 48 of the province's 125 seats, compared with 39 for the ADQ and 36 for the PQ, while two seats are vacant.

No Deficit, Promises Quebec Finance Minister

From The CBC:

Quebec's finance minister has released a pre-election economic update she said will allow the Liberals to govern the province over the next few years without posting a deficit.

Monique Jérôme-Forget's update opens the door for Premier Jean Charest to call a snap election this week and launch a campaign expected to focus on who is best positioned to guide the province through the current economic crisis.

The Quebec government has a $2.3 billion reserve that will guarantee balanced budgets in 2008-2009, and 2009-2010, Jérôme-Forget said.

Read more ....

Quebec Prepared To Resist Recession, Minister Says

From The Montreal Gazette:

Quebec is well positioned to resist a recession, the budget will be balanced and the province will experience mild growth in 2008 and 2009, Finance Minister Monique Jérôme-Forget said yesterday.

"Quebec is in a very good position to go through the recession that is being experienced south of the border," the minister said, delivering her financial update on the eve of today's expected election call.

In her budget last March, Jérôme-Forget projected 1.5-per-cent growth in Quebec this year and two per cent in 2009.

Read more ....

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Alouettes, Lions Highlight CFL All-Star Teams

From The CBC:

The Montreal Alouettes and B.C. Lions dominated the Canadian Football League division all-star teams revealed Monday.

Montreal, which finished first in its division with an 11-7 record, claimed 14 of the 27 spots on the East all-star team (nine on offence). The Lions, second in the West at 11-7, had 13 players on their division's team, including seven on defence.

"When you give up the least number of sacks, awards go to the offensive line and when you're the top passing team and have three of the top receivers in the league, they all get rewarded," said Alouettes general manager Jim Popp.

"We're overwhelmed that we had 14. It's fantastic. But when you win the division, you always get more."

Read more ....

Quebec Says Will Maintain Balanced Budgets

From Reuters:

OTTAWA, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Quebec's minority Liberal government said on Tuesday it would keep balanced budgets in 2008-09 and 2009-10 despite the global financial crisis.

Finance Minister Monique Jerome-Forget said in a statement that the government had cut its forecast for economic growth in the province in 2008 to 0.8 percent from the 1.5 percent it predicted in its March budget.

It also cut the forecast for growth next year to 0.6 percent from 2.0 percent. (Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson)

Quebec Economic Update Sets Stage For Election

Photo: Jean Charest

From The CBC:

Premier Jean Charest expected to call Dec. 8 election

The next salvo in Quebec's pre-election campaign will be fired by the province's finance minister on Tuesday when she delivers an economic update that will form the backbone of the Liberals' push for a majority government.

Monique Jérôme-Forget's economic statement is widely expected to be followed a day later by Premier Jean Charest's launch of a fall election campaign that will see Quebecers go to the polls on Dec. 8.

Jérôme-Forget said the update won't be affected by federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's announcement Monday that increases in equalization payments to the provinces will be smaller over the next few years.

"This has no impact on my economic statement tomorrow [Tuesday]," Jérôme-Forget said in Toronto as she attended a meeting of the country's finance ministers.

"I think that my statement will finally reveal the situation in Quebec for the next year and the year after that."

Read more ....

Economic Chaos Sets Scene For Quebec Election Call

From Chronicle Herald:

MONTREAL — The next salvo in Quebec’s pre-election campaign will be fired by the province’s finance minister today when she delivers an economic update that will form the backbone of the Liberals’ push for a majority government.

Monique Jerome-Forget’s economic statement is widely expected to be followed a day later by Premier Jean Charest’s launch of a fall election campaign that will see Quebecers go to the polls on Dec. 8.

Jerome-Forget said the update won’t be affected by federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s announcement Monday that increases in equalization payments to the provinces will be smaller over the next few years.

"This has no impact on my economic statement tomorrow (Tuesday)," Jerome-Forget said in Toronto as she attended a meeting of the country’s finance ministers.

"I think that my statement will finally reveal the situation in Quebec for the next year and the year after that."

Charest has made it clear his pitch will be that he needs a majority government to steer the province through the stormy economic waters ahead.

Read more ....

Quebec Emissions Levels Stabilize Despite Trucks, Cars, Report Says

Lantic Sugar, Notre-Dame East (Montréal).

From CBC News:

Quebec continues to lead the country in lowering greenhouse gas emissions, despite a rise in carbon production from transport trucks and cars, according to a new report.

The Quebec Environment Ministry released its annual inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, which compared 2006 levels to those measured in 1990.

Quebec's overall emissions have risen 1.6 per cent since 1990.

Emissions from large transport trucks and cars rose 22 per cent in that time period, which is "bad news," said Montreal Greenpeace spokesman Arthur Sandborn.

"The bottom line is our production of greenhouse gases [in] the transport sector – small cars, small vans and the big trucks that are running down highways – is up 22 per cent," he said Monday.

Read more ....

Monday, November 3, 2008

Atwater Library, A Little Corner Of Our History

Still Going, A Little Corner Of
Our History -- Global Quebec

Atwater Library is not your typical library.

One of the oldest lending libraries in the country still in operation, it reeks of character.

Started 180 years ago, the inner-city library kicks off a program of anniversary events with a fundraiser on Wednesday.

It remains a private institution, used by 80,000 people a year, and for the most part depends on private donations to survive. Ninety per cent of its $400,000 annual operating budget comes from donors, business rentals and library fees.

"Our front line service positions are staffed by 125 volunteers," said Lynn Verge, the library's executive director, "We have only eight paid full-time staff. It's the volunteers that set us apart, and contribute to the building's warmth, and give the place a human scale."

Read more ....

Could It Be The End of Local News At The Montreal Gazette

From Rush PR News:

MONTREAL(RushPRnews)3/11/2008–Readers of the Montreal Gazette may have gotten their first glance into the newspaper’s fate, as pages produced by the Financial Post (a part of the National Post newspaper), were inserted into The Gazette’s business section and into all ten Canwest-owned daily newspapers this Saturday. The Montreal Gazette has been in a fragile position, as parent company Canwest Publishing Inc. refuses to back down on its outsourcing demands or its forward attempts at centralizing Canadian news. RushPRnews contacted Director of Communications of Canwest Publishing, Phyllise Gelfand, hoping to interview her for further details into the company’s actions. Gelfand responded to an initial phone message with an inquiry about what information this reporter was seeking. Subsequent requests were not answered.

Not only putting the job security of many Gazette workers at high risk, but also greatly minimizing the production and quality of local content, Saturday’s business page was just the tip of the iceberg as to what could become of the sanctity of Canadian journalism as a whole. In order to fit these Financial Post pages in the Gazette’s Saturday Business section, the amount of locally-produced content shrunk from five pages to less than three. Some of the cuts included bond listings, TSX industry indexes and mutual fund listings. Even the number of foreign currencies listed, dropped from 40 to 10.

Read more ....

Cancer Scare Helps Calvillo Put Football In Perspective

Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo relaxes with his wife Alexia and children Olivia, and Ahtena at his home on Sunday. THE GAZETTE/Marco Campanozzi

From The National Post:

MONTREAL -- Life cannot possibly clash more than this. The exhilarating high that comes from the arrival of a new baby and then, days later, the stunning news of a life-threatening disease. Those polarized feelings were experienced by Alexia Kontolemos and her husband, Montreal Alouettes' quarterback Anthony Calvillo.

In October 2007, the family welcomed the birth of their second daughter, Olivia Christina. Exactly one week later, on Oct. 22, Alexia learned she had cancer. Her mind started racing. How and why could this happen? There's no history of the dreaded disease in her family. And, finally, the inevitable thought crossed her mind -- death. She was only 33. What would happen if she died? How would her husband cope? Who would look after Athena, now 3, and the new baby?

Read more ....

Courting Ontario/Shafting Quebec?

From The Globe And Mail:

This morning, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will be meeting his provincial and territorial counterparts in Toronto, and he will not be bearing good news.

With most forecasters predicting that Ottawa will go into deficit next year if not sooner, Mr. Flaherty will be sending an early signal that transfer payments will not be spared from forthcoming federal budget cuts. Tellingly, last week he noted that equalization payments to the provinces have been growing at 15% a year, suggesting that Ottawa is about to cap the magnitude of the annual increases.

Some observers interpreted this as a shot across Ontario's bow; that is, as a signal not to expect to receive equalization payments from Ottawa. In fact, as the largest recipient of equalization dollars, it's Quebec that has most reason to be concerned. Moreover, in light of the election results, Stephen Harper's Conservatives may now see their future fortunes tied to Ontario, and not to Quebec.

Read more ....

Quebec Snow Tire Law May Be Encouraging Theft

From The CBC:

Three residents of Repentigny reported that winter tires were stolen off their cars this week, police in the community east of Montreal said.

The tires were all stolen in the same neighbourhood on Wednesday night.

The car owners found their vehicles sitting on wooden blocks, said Repentigny police Sgt. Paul Diamond.

Quebec's mandatory winter tire law comes into effect this year, which could help explain the theft, Diamond said.

Garages have reported a surge in sales, possibly creating a black market for tires.

Consumer advocates are warning Quebecers to safeguard their winter tires.

Read more ....

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Quebec Pair Prank Palin With Faux-Sarkozy Phone Call

Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, right, speaks as Florida Gov. Charlie Crist watches during a campaign rally in New Port Richey, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 1, 2008. (AP Photo / Mike Carlson) News Staff

Two notorious Quebec comedians have pranked Sarah Palin, tricking the Republican vice-presidential nominee into thinking she was speaking with French President Nicolas Sarkozy during a Saturday afternoon phone call.

"Oh my God, seriously, it's probably the biggest we've ever done," Marc-Antoine Audette, a member of comedy duo The Masked Avengers, told Saturday afternoon.

During the nearly seven-minute chat, the conversation ranges from politics to hunting with vice-president Dick Cheney.

The topics also touch on Palin's political future -- a sensitive topic for some of John McCain's campaign staffers, who have suggested Palin is already looking at a presidential run in the next four years.

"I see you as a president one day, too," says one of the pranksters to Palin.

"Maybe in eight years," she responds.

Read more ....

Show Us Pension Numbers, Quebec Opposition Urges

Quebec Parliament Building

From The CBC:

Amid the turmoil in global credit markets, opposition parties in Quebec are demanding the Liberal government issue a financial report card on the province's pension fund.

The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec might have lost as much as $30 billion since the onset of the worldwide financial crisis, Action Démocratique du Québec Leader Mario Dumont said Friday.

"We have made calculations that show it is likely the biggest losses in history of the Caisse de dépot have happened," he said.

"If you were calling your financial agent and said what is in your RRSP, what it in is your account, and he couldn't tell you, you would fire him.

"That's exactly what he is telling us now," Dumont said.

Read more ....

Canadiens Rally To Upend Islanders 5-4

From The CBC:

After sleepwalking through the first 40 minutes, the Montreal Canadiens scored four unanswered goals in the third period to upend the New York Islanders 5-4 Saturday night at the Nassau Coliseum.

Alex Kovalev scored the winner with less than five minutes remaining, giving the Canadiens their third straight win.

Kovalev finished off a highly productive night, scoring a pair of goals and added two assists.

Read more ....

Commentary -- Quebec Laments Loss Of Power In Harper Cabinet

Canadian Parliament

From National Post:

MONTREAL - It turns out there is a price to thumbing your nose at a government that showered you with money and nation status, in favour of a separatist party that can only be in opposition.

Quebec newspapers are filled with hand-wringing over the province's reduced clout in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's new cabinet. Electing just 10 Conservative MPs -- none of them anywhere near Montreal -- and giving the Tories 22% of the popular vote is not the way to Mr. Harper's heart.

"Will Quebec be heard?" Bernard Descôteaux wonders in Le Devoir's editorial. He says it would be wrong for the Conservatives to blame Quebec voters for their poor showing in the province. "It rather should be seen as the result of the failure of the Conservative team to convince Quebecers to elect more Conservatives," he writes.

Read more ....

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Power Restored To Thousands Of Ont., Que. Residents

A fresh snowfall covers trees and hills in Sainte-Adele, Que., Wednesday morning, Oct. 29, 2008. (Wayne McNicholl /

From CTV:

Power has been restored to thousands of residents who were stuck in the dark Wednesday after a fierce storm blew through eastern Ontario and western Quebec the previous night.

The storm left behind as much as 15 centimetres of snow and thousands of homes and businesses were without power.

Wet, heavy snow downed tree branches and power lines, knocking out power for about 22,000 Hydro One customers in eastern Ontario and more than 70,000 customers in Quebec.

In Ontario, the majority of power outages hit east of highway 4-16 to the Quebec border and included Winchester, Arnprior, Brockville and Vankleek Hill.

Read more ....

Election Assures Rosy Quebec Update. Don't Believe All Of It

From The Globe And Mail:

MONTREAL -- If we've retained anything from this autumn of foreboding, it's that the optimism of our political leaders appears to be inversely proportional to the amount of time insulating them from a rendezvous with voters. The closer they are to an election, the more upbeat they sound about public finances. Call it the Law of Electoral Denial.

Those not in immediate danger of losing their jobs can show a bit more candour. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty could fess up before the others about the inevitably of a budget deficit because he has another three years before voters can cast judgment on his government.

Neither Stephen Harper nor Finance Minister Jim Flaherty would risk even acknowledging the glimmer of a prospect of a federal deficit before the Oct. 14 election. Since then, neither has been so categorical.

Read more ....

Values Pledge 'A Slippery Slope'

From Global Quebec:

Immigrant groups uncomfortable with Charest's plan

A Quebec government plan to force new immigrants to sign a declaration saying they will respect Quebec's common values is a political stunt designed to increase the Charest government's support prior to a provincial election, opponents of the new plan said yesterday.

Starting in January, immigrants applying to come to Quebec will be required, as part of their application process, to sign a declaration promising to learn French and acknowledging that they understand that men and woman have equal rights and that political and religious powers are separate.

The declaration will be translated into several languages so that immigrants can understand what they are reading, but they must sign the French version.

Read more ....

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Montreal Quarterback Calvillo Nominated For CFL's Top Player Award

Canadian Press:

TORONTO — Anthony Calvillo and his wife were all smiles Tuesday.

Calvillo was unanimously selected as the Montreal Alouettes' nominee for the CFL's outstanding player award following first-round voting by the Football Reporters of Canada and the league's eight head coaches.

The nomination comes roughly a year after Calvillo took a leave of absence from the Alouettes to be with his wife, Alexia Kontolemos, when she was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma, a form of cancer.

When Calvillo left the Alouettes, he wasn't sure if he'd be back. Fortunately, Kontolemos responded well to the off-season chemotherapy and radiation treatments, allowing Calvillo to return to Montreal's lineup.

Read more ....

Soundoff: Quebec's New Immigration Measures

Samira Laouni (R) argues with Louise Trudel as a group of Muslim women meet with residents of the Quebec town of Herouxville in this February, 2007 photo. Shaun Best/Reuters

MONTREAL -- Future immigrants to Quebec will be required to sign a declaration promising to learn French and respect Quebec's "shared values," the government announced on Wednesday.

In a document with echoes of the controversial code adopted last year by the rural town of Hérouxville, immigrants will be informed that Quebec is a democracy where men and women are equal and violence is prohibited.

"Quebecers have said yes to immigration, but they said yes to immigration on the condition that these immigrants integrate into our society," Immigration Minister Yolande James said as she announced the policy, which takes effect in January. She added that immigrating to Quebec "is a privilege not a right."

Read more ....

Quebec Election Watch -- October 29, 2008

Poll numbers may spur Quebec Premier Jean Charest, above, to call an election in an attempt to form a majority against Mario Dumont and his ADQ, and Pauline Marois and the Parti Québécois. JACQUEST BOISSINOT/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Nothing Certain In Quebec Politics -- Toronto Star

Time will quickly tell whether Quebec Premier Jean Charest is acting on a political death wish as he sets in motion a plan to rush a reluctant electorate to the polls.

By all indications, the premier is so determined to seek a third mandate before the end of the year that he is about to overrule some of his most trusted advisers on the way to a Dec. 8 vote.

Even as neither of the opposition parties in the National Assembly is standing in the way of his agenda, Charest is poised to spend the next six weeks arguing that, with the economy in turmoil, a minority government is just another luxury Quebecers can no longer afford.

Read more ....

More News On Quebec Election

Can anything stop Charest from calling election? -- Montreal Gazette
National assembly passes motion urging Premier Charest not to call fall election -- Canadian Press
Quebecers not keen on another election: poll -- Montreal Gazette
Foes call Charest an opportunist -- Globe And Mail

Montreal's new logo has people seeing red (and pink, and tangerine)

From The National Post:

MONTREAL — In the fall of 2006, the Montreal Metropolitan Community decided it needed "a branding that will clearly and cohesively present the metropolitan region’s features on the international scene."

Two years and $487,000 later, here is what they have come up with:

Read more ....

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pauline Marois: The Softer, Gentler Face Of Quebec Sovereignty

Pauline Marois’s less-militant approach has been cited as the reason a number of high-profile sovereigntists have defected from the PQ. (JENNIFER ROBERTS FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

From The Globe And Mail:

Her critics dismiss her as not tough enough. But it took her defiant political style to create Canada's best childcare program

'When they say I am not enough tough," Pauline Marois says in her odd English syntax, "I am very tough but in a different way."

Her tone suggests that she is wagging an invisible finger in the air as warning to her opponents.

The first female leader of the Parti Québécois, who took the helm of the separatist party in June, 2007, acknowledges that her gender often encourages critics to suggest she is not combative enough.

"I know that," she allows as confirmation of the criticism, but with no display of defensiveness. She smiles tightly, as if the misguided presumptions of her foes give her more power.

Read more ....

My Comment: What a horrible puff piece from the Globe And Mail. She has never been soft or gentler .... especially when it comes to minority rights. As for the "best child care program in Canada" .... the abuse and bankruptcy of the treasurer to support this nanny program will make the children being taken care of in this program heavy in debt when they become adults. What a great program to make life convenient for parents today.

Quebec Election Watch -- October 28, 2008

Quebec Premier Jean Charest

Election Train Pulls Into Quebec -- National Post

MONTREAL -- Another election train is being readied to leave the station, this time in Quebec. All that remains is for the conductor, Jean Charest, to holler “all aboard!”

All aboard for a majority, hopes the leader of another minority government who is sorely tempted to call an election because of favourable polls and a weak and divided opposition. For millions of voters who’ve just seen the federal version of this movie, welcome to the sequel, Made in Quebec.

That’s the what of it. The why of it has a familiar ring, too. The Premier is looking for a strong mandate so that he can deal with the global financial crisis.

Read more ....

More News On The Incoming Quebec Election

Reports say Quebecers will go to the polls Dec. 8 -- Toronto Star
Provincial election likely in Quebec on Dec. 8 -- The Globe And Mail
Charest cancels trip to China, fuels Que. election rumours -- Calgary Herald
Economy looms as key issue -- Montreal Gazette
Charest Liberals flying high in latest polls -- CJAD

Greater Montreal's New Brand

From The Montreal Gazette:

The Montreal Metropolitan Community has come up with a new logo to "brand" the region. It's a stylized, multi-coloured M with the slogan: Greater Montréal: Room to make it real.

So far, the council has $487,000 on the logo, with another $200,000 budgeted to come up with a plan to promote it.

What do you think of the logo, and the tax money being spent on it?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Report: Quebec Will Go To Polls On Dec. 8

Quebec Parliament

From The Globe And Mail:

QUEBEC — Premier Jean Charest is expected to call en election for December 8th, according to Radio-Canada which claims to have received the information from senior sources within the Liberal government.

The election is expected to be called next Wednesday following a cabinet meeting.

Jean Charest and the vast majority of his caucus have been anxious to go to the polls this fall. The Liberals enjoy a comfortable lead in public opinion polls following the demise of the Action Démocratique du Québec party in recent months.

An election call would require Mr. Charest to cancel his participation in Council of the Federation mission to China. Mr. Charest, four other provincial premiers and business leaders were scheduled to leave for Beijing on Friday for a week-long mission.

Read more ....

More News On The Possibility Of A Quebec Provincial Election

Charest cancels trip to China, fuels Que. election rumours -- Vancouver Sun
Charest cancels trip to China, fuels Que. election rumours --
Quebec election rumours intensify -- Montreal Gazette
Quebec vote set for December 8 -- AFP
Speculation swirls that Quebecers will go to the polls Dec. 8 -- Canadian Press

Jewish War Orphans Gather In Montreal To Remember And Reminisce

Montreal Synagoge

From The Canadian Press:

MONTREAL — It's been 60 years since the Canadian Jewish Congress helped bring Jewish war orphans to Canada.

In Montreal, about 20 of the orphans - now in their 80s - reunited Sunday morning to reminisce over the good times and the bad.

"You look at it like a party," said Mendy Jozsef, one of the orphans.

"But each and everyone here has a story that would fit more than a book. And it's not an ordinary story."

The vast majority were brought to Canada as teenagers, remnants of European Jewish youth. Only 37 of the war orphans were under 10 years old.

Many had spent the war in concentration camps - Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen - and lived against unimaginable odds.

Only about one per cent of Jewish children alive in Europe at the beginning of the war survived to its conclusion because Nazis specifically targeted Jewish youth, explained Bernie Farber, CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress.

Read more ....

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Montreal Needs Some Big Ideas

From The Montreal Gazette:

What makes a city great? What critical mass of advantages and assets creates the magic? What method of handling problems helps a city make the most of its merits? What makes a city's name a global synonym for exciting, lively, prosperous, and stimulating?

Whatever those factors are, Montreal seems to be missing a few. Much as we take pride in our city's strengths, Montrealers are not too proud to admit a few home truths: education challenges, urban sprawl, crumbling infrastructure, klutzy layers of municipal governance, pockets of poverty, immobilisme, the endless arid sovereignty question - as a metropolis we've got our share of problems. Let's face it: festivals, aerospace, McGill, the Canadiens, the Cirque du Soleil, bilingualism, bagels, and all the rest are surely components of urban greatness, but they are not by themselves sufficient.

The Gazette is tackling the whole question of urban success in our series Challenge Montreal, which we launched last weekend and which continues today in Saturday Extra. As this occasional series unfolds, we'll be presenting ideas, big and small, from a whole range of the city's best minds. Each is intended to contribute something to the shining city we're all striving to build.

Read more ....

F1: Canadian Grand Prix Needs New Promoter

From Auto123:

Canadian officials of the axed Canadian grand prix are searching for a new race promoter, following their London meeting on Thursday with Bernie Ecclestone.

Montreal mayor Gérald Tremblay said after the meeting with the F1 chief executive that it is "still possible" the event could be returned to the 2009 calendar.

According to the French language Canadian news agency La Presse Canadienne, Quebec minister Raymond Bachand - who was also present for the two-hour meeting - has now offered more details.

"We must find a promoter from the private sector who will take the event into their hands," he is quoted as saying at Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport.

Rumours suggest that the saviour could be in the form of Guy Laliberté, the founder of the Cirque du Soleil and an avid supporter of both F1 and the annual race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

But Cirque spokeswoman René-Claude Menard said: "The only role that Guy is playing has been as a consultant, that's all.

"Right now, we're just keeping a close eye on any subsequent developments," she added.

More Than 55,000 Tickets Sold For The Grey Cup Game In Montreal

From Our Sports Central:

Montreal, Oct. 24, 2008 - Just 30 days away from the 96th Grey Cup in Montreal, the organizing committee is pleased to announce that more than 55,000 tickets have been sold.

Several excellent tickets are still available, however, notably in the silver category.

The committee has planned an exciting week of activities leading up to the game, centred on the Grey Cup Village, a Montreal original, first created for Grey Cup 2001.

The Village will be located at Place du Canada, located between Peel, René-Lévesque, de la Cathédrale and de la Gauchetière streets. Fans will notice the countdown clocks surrounding the Village site are now down to just 30 days!

Liberals Oust Bloc In Suburban Montreal Following Recount

From The CBC:

The Bloc Québécois has lost a seat in suburban Montreal after a recount of federal election results from last week.

Liberal candidate Alexandra Mendes has unseated Bloc Québécois incumbent Marcel Lussier in the riding of Brossard- La Prairie, according to a recount conducted by a Quebec Superior Court judge.

Mendes defeated Lussier by 69 votes, boosting the Liberals' national seat count to 77 and dropping the Bloc's to 49.

Lussier, an engineer and environmental specialist who has held the riding since 2006, originally thought he had won the riding by 102 votes in the Oct. 14 election.

The recount was ordered Tuesday and conducted Thursday. Several other recounts have been called in British Columbia, Ontario and P.E.I.

Read more ....

Quebec Police Arrest 3 In Hells Angels Bunker Fire

From The CBC:

Three people have been arrested in connection with a fire that destroyed a Hells Angels bunker last week in Sorel-Tracy, Que.

Provincial police say the suspects face charges of car theft, conspiracy to commit arson and arson.

Two men were seen leaving the area in a blue pickup just after a tanker truck, which had been reported stolen, smashed into the fortified building and exploded Oct. 18.

The fire attack hasn't yet been linked to organized crime, police said.

Three other fires in different buildings were also reported Saturday night in the town, about 75 kilometres northeast of Montreal.

Some police and observers of Quebec's criminal scene have expressed fears the attack could be a sign of a renewed biker war in the province.

The fire followed the recent seizure of more than 1,000 tonnes of explosives and the arrests of three men with links to biker gangs.

Mom Of Montreal Mass Murderer Seeks Forgiveness

Monique Lepine, the mother of Marc Lepine, speaks to CTV Montreal about dealing with her son's deeds, on Friday, Oct. 24, 2008. (Photo from the CTV)

From CTV:

he radio carried news that a young man had opened fire at Montreal's Dawson College, and she was transported back to the day, 17 years earlier, when her only son went on a vicious shooting spree that left 14 young women dead at Ecole Polytechnique.

Though the news of another vicious, unprompted school shooting sent shockwaves through the city and served as an emotionally devastating reminder to Lepine, she resolved that something good would come of it.

At that moment, she writes in her new memoir "Aftermath" (the French version is called "Vivre") she decided to break her longstanding silence and tell her story after years of avoiding the media.

"Enough. Someone must speak out. By emerging from my self-imposed exile into the public gaze, I have only one goal: Although it may seem impossible, I want to put an end to these killings," she writes.

"One way of attaining that goal is to understand what goes on inside the heads of killers such as my son, Marc Lepine."

Read more ....

Friday, October 24, 2008

Halle Buys Lake-Side House Near Gabriel's Montreal Home Town

The couple are putting down roots in Gabriel's home country - Halle has snapped up a $1.6 million property in the town of Saint-Hippolyte in the Laurentians region, 40 miles north of Montreal Photo: © Getty Images

From Hello Magazine:

While Halle Berry's daughter Nahla Ariela was welcomed into the world beneath the bright lights of Los Angeles, the little girl will be growing up in a very different setting. The Catwoman actress is to move her family to one of the most tranquil areas of Canada after buying a lake-side property near the home town of her model beau Gabriel Aubry.

Halle, who became a first-time mum seven months ago, is understood to have closed a deal on a $1.6 million home in the town of Saint-Hippolyte in the Laurentians region, 40 miles north of Montreal. The house comes with 62 acres of land and overlooks a private lake.

The area surrounding 42-year-old Halle's new home is hailed as one of the most beautiful in the Laurentians with more than 62 lakes, mountains and cross-country ski trails. On a clear night the Oscar-winner should be able to see the lights of Montreal from her porch.

And there's also the added bonus of Gabriel's parents being close at hand – they still live in the Montreal suburb of Laval, where the 32-year-old model grew up.

Quebecor Media Bets Big On Mobile Phones

From Globe And Mail:

Spending more than $800-million to launch wireless network channelling content from print, broadcast and Internet operations

Quebecor Media Inc. plans to make mobile phones the heart of its communications business, spending more than $800-million to launch a wireless network in Quebec within the next 18 months.

Quebecor and subsidiary Vidéotron Télécom Ltée said they will channel material from their existing print, broadcast, Internet and music empires onto the mobile platform, and also make "a massive investment" to develop content for smart phones.

"Technology is one thing, and we are going to use the best, but at the end of the day the content will make the difference," Robert Dépatie, president and chief executive officer of Vidéotron said yesterday in an interview.

The company is developing new methods of advertising to accompany content on smart phones, he said. "We believe that the advertising model on the phone will be better than the one on the Internet."

Read more ....

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Pays Tribute To Ben Weider, A Great Benefactor

Poupard et Delaunay, Hatters to the Palais Royal, active in Paris, early 19th c. Napoleon´s Hat From the Russian Campaign, around 1812, felt, silk, fabric, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Ben Weider Collection.

MONTREAL.- The president of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Brian M. Levitt, the director, Nathalie Bondil, and all the Museum staff wish to offer their condolences to the Weider family on the sudden demise of Mr. Ben Weider last Friday. “We were very sad to learn of Mr. Weider’s death, at the very time that we were working with him on opening the galleries devoted to Napoleon, which we owe to the major gift of his Napoleonic collection. He was so happy about the opening, and had arranged it down to the last detail. It was very important to him”, said Museum director Nathalie Bondil, who was deeply grieved by the news. “But his wishes will be fulfilled: his sincere, enthusiastic commitment to defending the memory of Napoleon will be preserved at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Ben Weider insisted that his collection, the art and personal effects linked to the Emperor, should remain in Montreal.”

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Trying To Save The Montreal F1

Montreal's F1 Track

Montreal Mayor Hopeful Canada F1 GP Can Be Saved
-- Yahoo News/Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) – Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay said he was hopeful the axed Canadian Formula One Grand Prix could be reinstated next year after meeting the sport's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone on Thursday.

"We've had a constructive meeting, we have a better understanding of the issues," he told reporters.

"We still have a lot of work to do to evaluate all the options, but it is still possible to hold the grand prix in Montreal in 2009 and subsequent years."

Tremblay was accompanied by Quebec economic development minister Raymond Bachand and federal international trade minister Michael Fortier.

The race at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was dropped from a revised calendar this month, leaving North America without a grand prix for the first time in 50 years.

Ecclestone told reporters at the Chinese Grand Prix last weekend that there was no way back for Canada next year, despite France subsequently dropping off the calendar for financial reasons.

"They want 17 races, the teams, and that's what they've got," he said.

Read more

Planetarium Design Competition Launched

From The Montreal Gazette:

Architects asked to submit concepts and sketches

MONTREAL - Architects who dream of reaching for the stars can take part in an innovative design competition for Montreal's planned $33-million planetarium.

The new facility, to be known as the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, is to be built between Olympic Stadium and the Biodôme. It will replace the downtown planetarium, which opened in 1966.

The competition will be in two phases. Initially, architects will be asked to submit concepts and sketches of what they think the building should look like.

"It is an anonymous contest, and it will be judged by a nine-person jury with vast experience," said Charles-Mathieu Brunelle, executive director of Muséums nature Montréal, the municipal agency that oversees the city's nature museums.

"It won't be an international competition. That would be too expensive and time consuming. Foreign architects can submit an entry if they want."

Read more ....

Poor Risk Assessment Contributed To Laval Policeman's Death: CSST

From The CBC:

Bad planning and poor risk assessment were the main causes of a Laval policeman's death during a botched 2007 drug raid, according to a new report from the Quebec workplace health and safety board.

Const. Daniel Tessier was shot dead in March 2007 during an early-morning raid on a Brossard home in which a family of four was sleeping.

The man who killed him – Brossard resident Basil Parasiris – was eventually acquitted of first-degree murder in Tessier's death.

He successfully argued that he thought his family was being robbed when he shot Tessier and another officer who stormed his house using a battering ram.

The raid was poorly planned because the officers did not know there were weapons inside the house, said the workplace and safety board (CSST), in the report released Wednesday.

Read more ....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Montreal Makes Last-Ditch Attempt To Save F1 Round

From CBC:

A Montreal delegation is on its way to London, England, to try to save the city's Formula One race.

Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay, Quebec Economic Development Minister Raymond Bachand and federal Minister of International Trade Michael Fortier are making the transatlantic trip to meet with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.

Tremblay said he's confident they'll be able to find a way to put the Montreal race back on the calendar after reviewing related legal documents.

"As a result of that, we're fairly optimistic that we can arrive at a solution with Bernie Ecclestone," he said.

"If he still wants the same amount of money that we've heard, then it would be very, very difficult," Tremblay added. "But he knows that we can't afford that kind of money like other countries throughout the world — but he still wants to talk with us."

Read more ....

Harper's Quebec Woes Leave Him With Empty Chairs To Fill -- A Commentary

From National Post:

Stephen Harper had five Quebec ministers in his last Cabinet. Only one of them, Michael Fortier, was defeated in last week’s election. That leaves four -- Lawrence Cannon (Transport), Josée Verner (Heritage), Jean-Pierre Blackburn (Labour) and Christian Paradis (Public Works) -- among the 10 Conservatives elected from Quebec (the same number as in 2006).

What is Harper to do with them, and who, if anyone, will he bring forward to replace Trade Minister Fortier, who’d been appointed to the Senate and served as minister responsible for the Montreal region, before last week’s defeat?
If the Prime Minister is to be taken at his own word, he will not appoint anyone else to Cabinet from the Senate. How, then, to staff the Montreal-region portfolio? Since all of his Quebec ministers and MPs come from outside the Montreal region -- Cannon from the Gatineau riding of Pontiac and the others from the party’s 418 stronghold around Quebec City -- this will be interesting. The Montreal region represents half the population and at least half the economy of Quebec, so it’s an important call.

Read more ....

Officer Arrested After Shooting, Gym Standoff

The Montreal police officer opened fire at Pro Gym in the city's east end, early on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008. (Image from the CTV)

From The CTV:

Montreal police are investigating an incident involving one of their own officers who allegedly went into a local gym, barricaded himself in an office, took out his gun and began firing into the ceiling and walls.

Witnesses said the officer walked into Pro Gym, a 24-hour fitness centre, shortly after midnight on Tuesday and began acting erratically.

"The man had a gun that scared everyone inside," police spokesperson Const. Anie Lemieux told CTV Montreal.

The officer, who is not a member of the gym, allegedly hopped on a treadmill in full police uniform and began jogging and talking to himself. Witnesses said he did this for about 10 minutes, during which time he also shouted at people in the club.

At one point he turned to an employee and, without being asked, said, "Look, I'm a calm guy, I never use my gun," gym manager Joe Maglione told The Canadian Press.

Read more ....