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.”

Read more ....

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 ....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fire At Hells Angels' Bunker Could Spark New Gang War


MONTREAL - One question hangs in the air around the burnt offering that used to be the Hells Angels bunker in Sorel, Que.: Will this arson attack spark another gang war?

This wasn't just any building - it was a strike at the heart of the Hells Angels in Canada, a bid to tear down the temple of their outlaw religion.

It was in Sorel, about 85 kilometres northeast of Montreal, that it all began on Dec. 5, 1977, when the Hells Angels first established themselves in Canada.

As they grew increasingly powerful during the 1990s, the Hells Angels threatened politicians, police officers, killed prison guards and a 10-year-old boy and shot a journalist as part of a war of attrition in which more than 160 people were killed.

They bombed and murdered with impunity while building a vertically integrated drug network they controlled from manufacturer to the street corner.

Read more ....

Montreal Impact Defying Expectations

From CBC:

The USL-1 club needs to earn a draw in its final two games to qualify for the quarter-finals of the CONCACAF Champions League

They weren't supposed to get this far.

When the Montreal Impact lost 1-0 to Toronto FC in the opening game of the Canadian club championship back in May, it supposedly confirmed what every soccer fan in the country already knew: The Impact, who play in United Soccer Leagues First Division, couldn't possibly compete against a team from Major League Soccer, the top pro soccer league in the United States and Canada.

But it was the Impact who emerged as the winner of the three-team round-robin competition, beating out Toronto and the Vancouver Whitecaps, also of the USL-1, as they were crowned the club champions of Canada.

In doing so, Montreal earned the right to serve as Canada's sole representative at the inaugural CONCACAF Champions League, a 16-team tournament featuring the best clubs from across North and Central America, and the Caribbean.

It's been five months since suffering that loss to Toronto, and Montreal has kept proving the doubters wrong. With three wins and tie in four games, the Impact currently sit in first place in Group C of the Champions League with 10 points, ahead of Mexican powerhouse Atlante (five points), Olimpia of Honduras (four points) and Trinidad and Tobago's Joe Public FC (three points).

Read more ....

Weider Remembered As "A Marvelous Human Being"

1,000 Mourners Honour Weider
-- Montreal Gazette

Napoleon exhibit featuring his collection will go on: 'It was very important to him'

Ben Weider was remembered yesterday as a private, humble and unassuming man, an optimist who loved Glen Miller and big band music, who was looking forward to the opening Thursday of the gallery housing his Napoleon collection at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Known internationally for promoting bodybuilding as an Olympic sport and highly regarded as a Napoleonic scholar, Weider died Friday at the age of 85.

He was to have inaugurated a gallery housing 60 pieces of Napoleonic memorabilia including Bonaparte's funeral mask, two locks of the emperor's hair, the hat he wore during the Russian campaign, several original period portraits, marble and bronze busts, and prints.

Read more ....

Montreal 3, Panthers 1

Habs Get Rare Win Over Panthers
-- Globe And Mail

Montreal gets first home win over Florida since 2003 thanks largely to Halak

MONTREAL -- It's the sporting equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle, an unexplained anomaly that somehow renders a team impotent to break their hoodoo against a particular opponent.

In the case of the Montreal Canadiens, the problem team is the Florida Panthers, the only NHL franchise against which the Habs have a losing record.

Despite coaching changes on both sides, a revolving cast of players, one thing seems immutable: The Canadiens just can't seem to beat the Panthers, especially on home ice.

Which makes last night's 3-1 triumph, Montreal's fifth in a row, all the more remarkable.

Read more ....

Hope For Montreal's F1 Race?


Montreal - A report made public Tuesday says there is still hope the Canadian Grand Prix can be saved. Quebec's Minister of Economic Development, Raymond Bachand, told the Journal de Montreal that the file has "evolved favourably" in the last week and there is still reason to believe the race will be held in Montreal in June 2009.

The politicians trying to save the race are scheduled to meet with Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone on Thursday in London. Bachand said he was prepared to make a monetary offer to the promoter.

Bachand said he hopes the reaction of several teams that don't want to lose the visibility that a stop in North America brings to the sport, could help save the event.

More News On Montreal And Formula One

Government Leaders To Meet With Ecclestone -- TSN
The mayor hopping the pond to save the Grand Prix -- CJAD
Ecclestone claims false: Grand Prix organizers -- Montreal Gazette
Canadian race official denies claim by F1 boss -- International Herald Tribune
Canadian GP organizers deny debts -- National Post
Canada GP axe angers F1 manufacturers -- CNN
Montreal set to lose $110m -- Asiaone

Monday, October 20, 2008

Not Too Late For Harper In Quebec

From the Globe And Mail:

Stephen Harper has no choice: He'll have to do something about Quebec, even if many Conservatives urge him to start focusing exclusively on Ontario, the province that might eventually grant him a majority. Forget Quebec, they say. Mr. Harper bent over backward to appease the nationalists, and what did he get? In the province that was supposed to pave the way for a Harper majority, the Tories lost one of the 10 seats they already had, and three points in popular support.

It's quite understandable that some Conservatives would be furious at those “ungrateful” Quebeckers who turned their backs on the man who had showered them with so many favours, only to succumb to the Bloc Québécois's isolationist embrace.

Still, Mr. Harper cannot ignore the second most populous province, not only because of its electoral impact but also because it is the duty of any prime minister with a national vision to pay attention to Canada's francophone minority. This is obviously what Mr. Harper intends to do. At his press conference the morning after the vote, he stuck to his habit of reading the French version of his text before the English one – a way to point out that, as he said when he presided over celebrations marking the 400th anniversary of Quebec City, “Canada was born in French.”

Read more ....

Premiers To Meet In Montreal Monday To Discuss Global Financial Crisis

Quebec Premier Jean Charest smiles for cameras prior to a meeting of the Council of the Federation to discuss economic matters in Montreal, Monday, Oct. 20, 2008. (Paul Chiasson / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Premiers To Meet To Discuss Global Financial Crisis -- CBC

PM declines Charest's invitation to attend unscheduled meeting on economy

The state of the economy is to be the main focus when Canada's premiers and territorial leaders meet on Monday amid worries the global financial turmoil will cost further jobs and other losses in their regions.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper declined an invitation to participate in the unscheduled meeting in Montreal, but has said he will hold a first ministers' meeting of his own later this year.

A provincial and territorial meeting right now may provide little more than a chance for those leaders to commiserate as banks around the world face collapse and global markets continue to post record loses, the CBC's James Fitz-Morris reported from the conference.

Earlier this month, the country's top economists predicted Canada is headed into a worse recession than anyone expected, one that could last until almost 2010, as the country faces a financial perfect storm of a sputtering U.S. economy, tumbling oil prices and falling domestic demand that will hurt the country's growth prospects for the next few months.

The manufacturing sectors in Ontario and Quebec have been suffering for some time, while instability in oil prices has seen that resource plunge last week to lose half its value from last summer.

Read more ....

Ben Weider, Dead at 85

Ben Weider, 85 -- Globe And Mail

School dropout changed the way society thought of fitness, discovered Arnold Schwarzenegger and became a Napoleonic scholar

MONTREAL — He was a school dropout from Montreal who took bodybuilding out of sweat-soaked gyms and helped usher in the modern-day fitness boom – and rubbed shoulders with the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronald Reagan and Saddam Hussein in the process.

Ben Weider, an unprepossessing gentleman who traded in muscle-making but peddled in messages of bridge-building and peace, died in Montreal on Friday at age 85.

Among those who paid tribute to him were Mr. Schwarzenegger, who was an unknown muscle-man in Austria in the 1960s when Mr. Weider and his brother, Joe, plucked the teenager from obscurity.

“Ben Weider was one of the most amazing people I have ever known. He and his brother, Joe, grew up poor in Montreal, but through their vision, hard work and determination, became founding fathers of bodybuilding and the worldwide fitness revolution,” the California Governor said in a statement.

“Ben and Joe were like fathers to me, bringing me to America when I was a young man just making my way in the world. I never would have achieved the success I have enjoyed in life without them and they supported me in everything I have ever done.”

Read more ....

Quebec Police Investigating Hells Angels' Bunker Fire

A bunker belonging to the Hells Angels biker gang burns in southwestern Quebec following an explosion Saturday night.

From CTV News:

Residents in Quebec are worried an apparent attack on a Hells Angels bunker may spark another biker war in the province.

Quebec provincial police are investigating after a driver allegedly rammed a truck into a Hells Angels bunker and set it on fire in the town of Sorel-Tracy, about 100 kilometres northeast of Montreal.

Sgt. Joyce Kemp told CTV Newsnet on Sunday that witnesses allegedly saw a truck purposely driven directly into the compound, which then erupted into flames around 9:30 p.m. on Saturday night.

"The first information we had was that it was a truck that voluntarily smashed into the building, setting it on fire," said Kemp. "The building was completely ruined, but nobody was injured."

Dozens of nearby homes located near the blaze were evacuated as the blaze gutted the hideout.

Police are investigating possible links between the incident and two other suspicious fires in the town that night that destroyed a commercial building and a residential building. So far, they say there's no evidence the three blazes are connected.

Read more .....

Friday, October 3, 2008

Montreal's Many Benches Make People Welcome

The Toronto Star:

It would be easy to write off this city that separatism almost destroyed, but make no mistake about it, it's alive and well.

For visitors, Montreal is an especially comfortable place to spend time. In addition to all the regular attractions – museums, restaurants, shops, bars, etc. – it feels like one extended park. It's not that the city is so much greener than others; the difference lies in the ease with which it can be inhabited.

What does that mean? Well, to begin with, benches – and lots of them.

Compared with Toronto, where finding a place to sit out on the streets is next to impossible, Montreal positively invites visitors to sit down and watch the passing parade. Benches are everywhere you turn.

In the new Quartier international, for example, the streets and squares are filled with literally dozens of benches.

In their own way, they are even more important than the fountains, the sculptures and the exquisite Art Nouveau Metro entrance designed at the end of the 19th century by Hector Guimard and given to Montreal as a present by the French government.

Simply put, benches allow us to inhabit a city. They help transform a place into a destination. They tell us we're welcome and give us a chance to be spectators as well as participants.

Here in Toronto, it seems benches are regarded with suspicion; perhaps our attitudes are vestiges of a time when this was a city that associated sitting and relaxing with slothfulness and indolence. To sit is to loiter. Even now, there are plenty of signs reminding us that loitering is forbidden. The devil makes work for idle hands, and, in Toronto, idle feet.

Read more ....

Quebec Columnists Note Dion, Crown Duceppe As French Debate Winner

From CBC News:

While columnists in several Quebec newspapers appeared impressed with Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion during the federal party leaders' French-language debate, most anointed Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe the winner.

In a front-page analysis published Thursday, Manon Cornellier of Montreal newspaper Le Devoir gave the nod to Duceppe, but said Dion improved as Wednesday night's televised debate went on.

The leaders of the Conservatives, Liberals, Bloc Québécois, New Democratic Party and Green party debate in English tonight, ahead of the Oct. 14 federal election.

Cornellier praised Dion for being the only leader who had a concrete plan for dealing with the current economic crisis.

"He promised an action plan during the first 30 days of his government, a plan which would include calling a meeting of the provincial premiers so they could consult with each other," she wrote.

Read more ....

Show Us The Platform, Party Leaders Dare Harper On Economy

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, front left, responds to a question as, clockwise from left, Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion, NDP Leader Jack Layton, Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe and Conservative Leader Stephen Harper listen during Thursday's English-language debate in Ottawa. (Tom Hanson/Canadian Press)

From The CBC:

Accuse Conservatives of not having a plan to deal with effects of U.S. crisis
Stephen Harper brushed aside repeated criticism during Thursday's English-language debate from the four other federal party leaders that he's failed to produce an economic plan.

Throughout the two-hour session at Ottawa's National Arts Centre, the Conservative leader was quizzed on how he proposes to address Canada's financial situation in light of the U.S. crisis.

At Harper's request, the amount of time devoted to the economy was increased to 30 minutes in both the English debate and Wednesday's French-language session.

Green Leader Elizabeth May questioned why Harper would request the broadcasting consortium staging the debates devote more time to the economy but then fail to make use of it.

"Both nights, I waited to hear what you thought you should do about the situation and wondered why you wanted the time because you offered nothing up, and tonight, you spent your time attacking the policies of others," she said.

With less than two weeks before the Oct. 14 election, NDP Leader Jack Layton agreed. "Where's the platform, under the sweater?" he asked Harper, making fun of the Conservative leader's new wardrobe of sweaters aimed at softening his image and highlighted in the party's ad campaign.

Read more ....

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Montreal Impact give Canadian soccer fans hope

From The CBC:

It can’t be easy being a Canadian soccer fan.

Our national men's team looks likely to miss out on qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. One point from their opening three games leaves Dale Mitchell’s men hoping for a miracle in their bid to reach soccer’s ultimate showcase.

After a promising start to their season, Toronto FC, Canada’s lone Major League Soccer franchise, looks likely to miss out on the playoffs for the second year running.

But every cloud has a silver lining, and for the cloud that is Canadian soccer, that silver lining is the Montreal Impact.

Despite facing a brutal schedule, key suspensions and a hostile crowd in a foreign country, the Impact picked up a precious 2-1 win in Honduras against CD Olimpia on Wednesday evening in CONCACAF Champions League action.

Read more ....

Montreal's Mayor Tremblay Could Face Coalition In The Next Election

Montreal City Hall

From The Montreal Gazette:

Montreal city council's two opposition parties are considering forming a common front in next year's municipal election, a deal that could change the dynamic of local politics.

Benoît Labonté, the leader of the larger of the two parties, Vision Montreal, told me: "I am very, very open" to an "entente."

Richard Bergeron, head of Projet Montréal, said he would welcome a "coalition." Both say their discussions are still informal.

During the 2005 mayoral election, Vision Montreal and then-leader Pierre Bourque received 36 per cent of votes. Bergeron and his party won nine per cent, as Mayor Gérald Tremblay breezed to re-election with 54 per cent.

However, two by-elections in the past year suggest the strength of the opposition is growing. In a contest in Outremont last December, the ruling party's candidate won, but the combined percentage of votes for the two opposition candidates was 52 per cent.

Read more ....

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Someone Wants Payback

Julie Couillard and Maxime Bernier are seen arriving at Rideau Hall in Ottawa for the swearing-in of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet in August 2007. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Bernier Bashed PM, Asked Ex To Put NATO Papers In Trash:
Couillard Book

Bernier dismisses ex-girlfriend's allegations in tell-all as 'delusions'

Former foreign affairs minister Maxime Bernier frequently bad-mouthed Prime Minister Stephen Harper and once asked his girlfriend to dispose of confidential NATO briefing papers on trash day, Julie Couillard writes in her highly anticipated autobiography.

Couillard's book, My Story, released to the CBC and other media organizations ahead of its arrival at bookstores on Monday, portrays Bernier as a narcissistic womanizer who expressed disgust at Harper's eating habits and viewed Quebec's independence as an acceptable inevitability.

"Of course, it [independence] doesn't frighten me at all, that's where we're headed. It's obvious," the book quotes Bernier as telling Couillard during a dinner at a downtown Montreal restaurant within hearing range of other patrons. "And I have no problem with that. I'm ready. I'm expecting that."

Couillard's book has already sparked intense interest in Quebec and is bound to add fresh controversy for the Conservatives ahead of the Oct. 14 federal election on the day of the party leaders' French-language debates in Ottawa.

Read more ....

Habs Looking Great For New Season: Cherry

The play of Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price in his sophomore season will determine the team's fate. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

From The CBC:

There's no reason to believe that the Montreal Canadiens won't be contending for the Eastern Conference crown, according to Hockey Night in Canada's Don Cherry.

Goaltender Carey Price will be the man on the spot in Montreal, Cherry believes. Price was sensational at times during his rookie season, but struggled in the second round of the playoffs when the Canadiens were eliminated by the Philadelphia Flyers.

"Let's hope he bounces back, because they've got everything going for them now," Cherry said.

The colourful HNIC commentator said the coaching staff, led by Guy Carbonneau and Kirk Muller, is top-notch and the acquisition of Robert Lang was a key move for the club.

"I don't see [that] they need anything," Cherry said.

Cherry made his comments during a media conference call in which hockey analysts across North America assessed the upcoming season.

Read more ....

More Dogs Rescued In Puppy Mill Raid

From The Montreal Gazette:
MONTREAL - Animal health inspectors have raided a second puppy mill in less than a week, seizing 157 dogs and one cat Wednesday from a facility in the Lanaudière.

"There were animals everywhere," said Alanna Devine, head of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Montreal. "They were in cages, in (dog) runs, in the house. These places are all the same."

She would not say exactly where the puppy mill was located, but the animals have been taken to the SPCA Montreal, where an emergency shelter has been set up in what is normally a dog training school.

Well over 200 dogs are being housed there now, since many of the 118 dogs seized in Rawdon Friday are also there.

The owner of 70 dogs seized last week has given up legal claim to them, and they will be available for permanent adoption "within a few days," Devine said.

The 157 dogs seized Wednesday are still being medically evaluated, she said. "They're getting food, water and love and care."

The newly seized dogs seem to be purebreeds, she said. They include shitzhus, great Danes, Bernese mountain dogs, cocker spaniels, rottweilers, St. Bernards, German shepherds, miniature pinschers and standard poodles.

The second raid in a week proves the need more public awareness about puppy mills and for more government action on animal cruelty, she said.

Economy To Dominate French-Language Debate

Workers put together the set for the upcoming 2008 federal election debates in Ottawa on Wednesday and Thursday. The debates will have a different format where the leaders will be sitting around a table. (Tom Hanson/Canadian Press)

From CBC:

Leaders expected to court crucial votes in Quebec.

The economy is expected to be the most prominent issue in Wednesday night's French-language leaders' debate amid concerns about the effects of widespread U.S. economic turmoil on Canada.

Federal leaders are taking a break from campaigning for the Oct. 14 election to focus on preparing for the debate, which will feature more time devoted to discussion on the economy after a formal request from Conservative Leader Stephen Harper on Tuesday.

The request came on the same day the Liberals accused Harper of plagiarizing a 2003 speech to Parliament from an address made two days earlier by then-Australian prime minister John Howard, a staunch U.S. ally. Harper was urging Canada to join the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

After initially dismissing the issue as irrelevant, the Conservatives released a statement in which a Tory staffer admitted to being "overzealous in copying segments" of Howard's address. He resigned his current campaign position. Harper has yet to comment personally on the affair.

Read more ....

Optimism On The Raccoon-Rabies Front

A raccoon waits to be checked in Montreal yesterday. This fall, experts will begin mapping Montreal, charting raccoon habitats and identifying high-density locations. ALLEN MCINNIS, THE GAZETTE

From The Montreal Gazette:

An immunological barrier is now in place to help protect Montreal and the South Shore from an outbreak

Montreal remains the only Canadian city that has ever had to confront raccoon rabies on its doorstep - it never threatened Toronto or Ottawa before it was eradicated in Ontario in 2005.

But three years into Quebec's fight against the virulent rabies strain that in a worst-case scenario could spread from raccoons to dogs and cats and then humans, Quebec's lead scientist on raccoon rabies is expressing guarded optimism.

As a massive summer vaccination campaign draws to a close, Denise Bélanger said Quebec is in a much better position than it was when the fatal rabies virus was first detected in 2006 in southwestern Quebec along the Vermont border.

Read more ....