Saturday, February 28, 2009

Montreal 3 San Jose 2

Canadiens defenceman Josh Gorges celebrates his third goal of the season, the Habs' second of the game, against the San Jose Sharks, his first NHL team. Joining him is teammate Christopher Higgins. John Mahoney, Gazette

Game 63: Habs Edge Sharks To Extend Streak -- Montreal Gazette

There’s only one man to thank for the Canadiens’ current four-game winning streak – goaltender Jaroslav Halak.

The 23-year-old Slovak weathered a 48-shot barrage last night as the Canadiens edged the Western Conference-leading San Jose Sharks, 3-2.

Halak was given a chance to play because Carey Price is struggling. Coach Guy Carbonneau said he’ll stick with the hot hand and that belongs to Halak.

He has won four in a row with a 1.98 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage.

Read more ....

More News On Tonight's Montreal - San Jose Hockey Game

Halak, Habs withstand San Jose rally -- CBC News
Lemieux?s homecoming comes up short in Sharks 3-2 loss to Habs -- Canadian Press
Canadiens hold off Sharks to maintain winning run -- Reuters
Fly on the Wall: Feb. 28, 2009 --
Halak impressive as Canadiens continue to win -- Bleacher report
Canadiens win fourth straight in toppling Sharks -- The Sports Network
Sharks can't climb out of hole -- Mercury News

Montreal Turns To Bloggers As It Tries To Boost Tourism Business


Marketing Magazine reports that Tourisme Montreal wants to hire a "small army of bloggers, videocasters and networkers to promote tourism in the city."

Specifically, they're looking for five people who will use social media to play up Montreal's main attractions for visitors: food, shopping, nightlife, culture, and the gay scene.

Read more ....

Puppy Mill Dogs Surrendered To SPCA

About 60 small dogs, voluntarily handed over to the Montreal SPCA by a puppy mill owner, are now in the care of volunteers at the shelter. (Feb. 28, 2009)

From CTV:

The owner of a puppy mill voluntarily surrendered some 60 dogs to the Montreal branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on Friday afternoon.

The small dogs, filthy and frightened when they arrived at the shelter, are now being taken care of by SPCA volunteers.

Alanna Devine, Acting Executive Director for the SPCA, said in press release that she was pleased that the owner of the puppy mill decided to give up some of her animals, and she hoped that others would do the same.

"We were fortunate that the dogs were surrendered to us because, while the conditions of the dogs at this facility were certainly unacceptable, the owner of the facility was acting in conformity of the Criminal code and therefore we were powerless to take any legal action in order to seize the dogs," said Devine.

"The current Provincial animal welfare structure is doing little to stop puppy mills from operating in this province," she added.

Read more ....

Pressure Builds For Charest To Testify About Caisse Losses

From The CBC:

Bond agency puts Quebec pension fund manager on credit watch.

Pressure is mounting for Quebec Premier Jean Charest to testify under oath about historic revenue losses at the province's pension fund manager, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

The Opposition Parti Québécois has intensified calls for the premier to testify after the bond rating agency Standard and Poor's put the Caisse on credit watch, citing "increasing instability" in top management.

PQ leader Pauline Marois said the Liberal government failed to name new board members quickly enough to satisfy the financial watchdog.

Read more ....

Montreal 4 Philadelphia 3

Jaroslav Halak of the Montreal Canadiens makes a save against the Philadelphia Flyers on February 27, 2009 at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Habs Beat Flyers in OT thriller -- The Montreal Gazette

Newcomer Schneider caps 4-3 comeback on power play

PHILADELPHIA – Mathieu Schneider’s power-play goal at 3:31 of overtime gave the Canadiens a crucial 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers Friday night, but it was the special-teams play at the other end of the ice that made the difference.

The Flyers, who boasted the fourth-best power play in the National Hockey League, were 0-for-8 and that included two 5-on-3 advantages that totalled 2:15.

Read more ....

More News On the Montreal Philadelphia Hockey Game

Canadiens nab overtime win from Flyers
-- National Post
Schneider's overtime strike pays off for Canadiens --
Habs' Schneider dooms Flyers -- Philadelphia Inquirer
Habs ground Flyers -- Face Off
Schneider's overtime goal lifts Habs over Flyers -- Reuters

Friday, February 27, 2009

High-Speed Rail Needs Fast Action

Photo from Forum Canucks

From The Toronto Star:

If Canadian politicians were half as swift as the high-speed rail they profess to love, we'd have built a system decades ago.

Instead, we have nothing to show for 35 years of feasibility reports but the promise of yet another.

But who's keeping score? Although no one would complain that the premiers of Ontario and Quebec want to explore the possibilities of a high-speed link that would connect Windsor, Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City, the only answers we don't have are "Who pays?" and "How much?"

The technology has existed for years, so that part of things is relatively straightforward. The real problem, as always, is lack of political leadership.

Read more ....

Montreal Woman Avoids Jail For Calling 911 Thousands Of Times

Image: Marie-Ève Dean, right, appeared at the Montreal courthouse on Friday. (CBC)

From The CBC News:

A Montreal woman who called emergency services 10,000 times over a 15-month period will avoid going to jail.

A Quebec court judge on Friday sentenced Marie-Ève Dean to a seven-month suspended sentence and ordered her to continue anger management therapy. She will also not be allowed to own a cellphone.

Dean, 23, pleaded guilty last year to mischief, conspiracy and not complying with an undertaking for placing thousands of calls to the emergency services line between January 2006 and April 2007.

Read more ....

S&P Puts Caisse's AAA Credit Rating Under Review

From The CBC:

Quebec premier blames Opposition for politicizing pension fund problems.

Quebec's pension fund manager is starting to feel the consequences of last year's financial losses.

In the fallout to the $39.8-billion loss for 2008 reported by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec this week, the Standard and Poor's bond rating service has placed the organization's credit rating under review.

The AAA rating will remain on credit watch with negative implications for the next three months.

S&P officials said the move was prompted by last year's losses and the instability within the Caisse's management team.

Read more ....

Update: Marois says finance minister should have called Caisse managers -- CTV

Highway 20 Closed After High Winds Flip 2 Trucks, Camper

Bumper-to-bumper traffic on Highway 20 near Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport last night. CREDIT: JOHN KENNEY THE GAZETTE

From CBC News:

Transport Quebec has closed down one of the province's busiest highways southeast of Montreal after two semi-trailers and a camper overturned in high winds.

Highway 20 near Mt. St-Hilaire is closed between kilometres 112 and 120 until further notice.

"The wind is very strong in that area and remains strong," said Nicole Ste-Marie, a spokeswoman for Transport Quebec.

The closure began shortly after 1 p.m.

Read more ....

Quebec Minister May Force Skiers To Wear Helmets

Photo from Austrian Times

From The CBC:

Emergency doctors call for mandatory helmet law to reduce winter sport injuries.

People who ski and snowboard may be required to wear helmets on Quebec slopes as early as next year, according to the province's minister responsible for sports.

Sport and Leisure Minister Michelle Courchesne said Thursday that she is considering making helmets compulsory for some winter sports as early as next year.

On Thursday, the province's emergency room doctors appealed for a provincewide helmet law, saying that 60 per cent of head injuries sustained in winter sports could be avoided if skiers, boarders and tobogganers wore helmets.

Courchesne said she is already convinced children should wear them.

"I'm looking at it for sure for all of the kids from zero to 12 years old. It will be obligatory to wear those helmets," said Courchesne, speaking to reporters at a Liberal caucus meeting Thursday in Lévis, Que.

She went on to say, however, that a ban could be extended to everyone.

Read more ....

Two Overnight Shootings In Montreal

From CTV News:

Police are looking for suspects, and motives behind two separate shootings in Montreal.

The first happened at around 10:30, last Thursday night, in the Parc Extension area.

A man was found shot in an alley near Jean-Talon and Outremont.

The victim is recovering in hospital.

He isn't cooperating with police.

In the second incident, less than an

Read more ....

Update: Man left in alley during gunfire-filled night in Montreal -- CBC

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Travel Guide To Montréal, Quebec

From Peter Greenberg Worldwide:

Each year, visitors flock to Paris to experience the French way of life, to sit in cafes on tree-lined streets and soak in that certain je ne sais quoi.

But on the other side of the ocean, Montréal has been steadily building up its reputation as the Paris of North America.

Montréal is the largest city in its province, Quebec, and the second largest in Canada.

It boasts several well-known attractions such as the Biodome, the Olympic Stadium and the Notre Dame Basilica (where Celine Dion, perhaps the most famous Quebecoise export, was wed in 1994).

Read more ....

Calgary Airport Surpasses Montreal For Traffic

From The Calgary Sun:

The Calgary International Airport is now the third busiest airport in the country.

The Calgary Airport Authority yesterday announced approximately 12.5-million passengers travelled through Calgary in 2008, a 2% increase from 2007.

"The airport is well-positioned to continue to grow and develop as Alberta's economic gateway to the world," said Garth Atkinson, president and CEO of the Calgary Airport Authority.

Read more ....

Questions emerge after skier dies, husband saved

A family photo obtained by The Globe and Mail shows Marie-Josee Fortin, left, and Gilles Blackburn, right, with their son's girlfriend Amelie Jeanneau, second left, their son William Blackburn and their daughter Laurence Blackburn.

From CTV:

The RCMP will hold a news conference today to address questions about why it took nine days to rescue a Montreal-area couple stranded and dying in B.C.'s backcountry.

Gilles Blackburn, 51, and his wife Marie-Josee Fortin, 44, were lost for nine days near Golden, B.C. Blackburn was finally rescued Tuesday, but his wife had already died, presumably from exposure.

The couple went missing Feb. 15 while skiing out of bounds in rocky terrain at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. For days, they walked around the forest, leaving a trail of S.O.S. signals on the snow with their footprints and seeking shelter in tree wells.

While three of their S.O.S

Read more ....

More News On The Tragedy Of A Couple Lost For 10 Days In the Widerness

RCMP in B.C. to speak about late search for Montreal ski couple -- CBC
Death in the frozen wilderness -- Globe And Mail
Husband rescued after 9 days on B. C. mountain -- National Post
Quebec man survives nine days in B.C. wilderness, wife dies. --

Quebec's Pension Fund

Canadian pension fund Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec said on Wednesday it lost $39.8-billion in 2008. Mathieu Belanger/Reuters

Quebec Pension Giant Posts $39.8B Loss -- CBC

Quebec government calls special hearings to investigate historic losses.

The Quebec government will call top officials from the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec before a special legislative committee to explain how the pension fund lost $39.8 billion last year, the biggest loss in its history.

The Caisse, which is the largest institutional pension fund manager in Canada, released its 2008 financial results on Wednesday, revealing a 25 per cent drop in the fund's assets.

As of last Dec. 31, the fund's assets were worth $120.1 billion.

Premier Jean Charest called the results "disappointing, but not surprising." He wants Caisse managers to appear before a special legislative committee to explain why they took the risks they did.

Read more ....

More News On The Caisse De Depot

Caisse $39.8B loss the worst in Canada -- Global Quebec
Caisse blames record $39.8B loss on global financial crisis --
Caisse confirms $39.8 billion loss -- CTV
Quebec to overhaul Caisse in wake of losses -- Globe And Mail
Caisse needs new boss 'as soon as possible': Jérôme-Forget -- Global Quebec
Caisse executives to appear in front of Quebec parliamentary committee -- Investment Executive
How ABCP plays into Caisse loss -- The Globe And Mail
So much for pension envy -- Financial Post
Canadian taxpayers face double pension peril -- Financial Post
Basket Caisse -- National Post
In defence of the Caisse -- Globe And Mail

My Comment: These losses are for 2008. The markets have crashed a further 15%-20% in 2009. The real losses are probably around $60 billion.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

55,571 Fans To Watch Soccer In Montreal Tonight

Big Montreal Crowd Takes In Winter Soccer -- AP

Five years after the Montreal Expos left town, Olympic Stadium filled up Wednesday night, a big change for the mostly idle and mostly problematic home of the 1976 Summer Olympics.

A near-capacity crowd of 55,571 took in a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal game, a 2-0 win for the Montreal Impact of the United Soccer League over Mexican club Santos Laguna.

"Montreal is a very, very good city for events," Impact vice president Richard Legendre said. "It shows that Montreal is open to different products as long as the product is good. When the right product is offered it is a population that supports many different things."

Read more ....

More News On Tonights Soccer Game

Impact fans go home happy -- The Montreal Gazette
Huge Montreal soccer crowd revels in Impact's victory over Santos -- Canadian Press
Impact shut out Santos in CONCACAF Champions League -- The CBC

UQAM Profs Stage Another One-Day Strike

From The Montreal Gazette:

Université du Québec à Montréal professors are holding the second of four scheduled one-day strikes on Wednesday.

More than 950 UQAM professors – the lowest-paid university professors in the province, and the ones with the largest average class sizes – have been without a contract since May 2007.

They're seeking an 11-per-cent salary increase over three years, and also want the administration to hire 300 new professors to improve the ratio of professors to students, who number around 40,000.

Read more ....

Montreal Renews First Time Home Buyers Program

From CTV:

If you are a young couple with or without children and looking to buy your first home or condo, the city of Montreal has a deal for you.

The city is renewing its grant program that will help young couples and families buy a home for the first time.

While the program has been in place since 2003, it is now increasing the maximum allowable cost of a home for which it will help pay.

Read more ....

Montreal 3, Vancouver 0

Jaroslav Halak puts in one of the best performances by a Canadiens goaltender this season Tuesday night. Photograph by: Phil Carpenter, The Gazette

Habs Feed Off Halak's Confidence -- The Montreal Gazette

Patrice Brisebois said he was just repaying a debt when he saved goalie Jaroslav Halak’s shutout against the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night.

“I figured I owed him one, because he saved me,” Brisebois said of his play with 5:38 remaining in the game.

The Canadiens were protecting a 2-0 lead when a shot by the Canucks’ Kevin Bieksa trickled through Halak’s pads. The puck was rolling toward the goal line when Brisebois stepped in and batted it into the corner.

Read more ....

More News On The Montreal Vancouver Game

Gargantuan effort from Habs goalie -- Montreal Gazette
Habs blank 'Nucks --
Halak steals the show -- Globe And Mail
Montreal Canadiens' Jaroslav Halak Shuts Out Red Hot Vancouver Canucks -- Bleacher Report
Canucks get Halak-ed in Montreal -- 24 Hours Vancouver
Fly on the Wall: Feb. 24, 2009 -- Fly On The Wall --
Halak backs Habs to win over surging Canucks -- TSN
Canadiens grab first win over Canucks since 2000 -- Reuters
Canadiens beat Canucks for first time since 2000 -- National Post
Canadiens' Halak blanks Canucks 3-0 -- AP

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Quebec Experiments With Photo Radar

This low-tech-looking photo radar is the star in a pilot project by the Quebec government to get drivers to slow down.(Feb. 23, 2009)

From The CBC:

Cameras will be located in Montreal, Montérégie and Chaudière-Appalaches

The Quebec government is trying out photo radar and red light cameras at 15 locations across the province in an effort to break the bad habits of some drivers.

As part of an 18-month pilot project, the cameras will be operating at some of the most dangerous trouble spots on urban and rural roads in Montreal and the Montérégie and Chaudière-Appalaches regions.

Six red light cameras, six fixed photo radar units, and three mobile photo radar units will be used.

Transport Minister Julie Boulet said it's time Quebec joined other provinces such as Alberta in using technology as a tool to fight poor driving.

"Road safety is a priority for this government. We will spare no effort. We are convinced that this project has the potential to become a major way to reach our objective of improving road safety and saving lives," Boulet said Tuesday.

Read more ....

Update: New photo radar pilot project in Quebec -- CTV

Fifteen Minutes That Are Causing Trouble In The Ambulance Service

From The Montreal Gazette:

Ambulance dispatchers who handle 911 emergency calls across Montreal Island and Laval are at loggerheads with Urgences Santé management over a new procedure.

As a result, they've been defying a Feb. 2 policy directive "eight or 10 times on an average busy day," union president Alain Bissonnette said yesterday.

Each of the 48 "has been warned verbally that they will be suspended if they don't follow the new procedure," he added. No suspensions have been imposed to date, Bissonnette said, and no lengths for the suspensions have been specified.

Read more ....

Home Heating Group Against Ban On New Wood Burning Stoves

New wood burning stoves. (Feb. 23, 2009)

From The CTV:

You can please some people some of the time, but you can't please all the people all the time.

Such is the case with the proposed bylaw to ban the installation of new wood burning stoves and fireplaces in Montreal.

The city says the stoves and fireplaces increase air pollution, and that banning new installation is a necessary way to curb an increase.

Montreal has experienced 35 days of higher-than-acceptable levels of smog since November. However, the Association of Heating Professionals says banning new stoves will not decrease the air pollution.

Read more ....

Dumont To Resign As ADQ Leader March 6

Mario Dumont was once expected to win Quebec's top job.

From The CBC:

Mario Dumont will officially resign March 6 as leader of the Action Démocratique du Québec as the party gears up for its first leadership race.

Dumont made the announcement, as well as his intention to give up his provincial seat in Rivière-du-Loup, in a letter to the party president Tuesday.

On the night of his provincial party's crushing election defeat last December, Dumont said he would step down as leader.

Read more .....

More News On Mario Dumont's Resignation

Dumont could leave as ADQ leader as early as March
-- CTV
Dumont getting the heave-ho -- Global Quebec
Dumont's resignation expected today -- Global Quebec
ADQ leader ready to leave politics -- Toronto Star
ADQ's Dumont to step down -- The Globe And Mail

Monday, February 23, 2009

Métro Art In Montreal

PARC: The Métamorphose d'Icare sculpture, a work of clear and tinted acrylic, painted silk, ink and liquid crystals, hangs above the escalator from the mezzanine to the entrance. Created in 1983, it was artist Claire Sarrasin's first major public commissioned work. The mythological reference to the ill-fated Icarus is an ode to the neighbourhood's Greek-Canadians, and is meant to suggest Icarus's ascent toward the sun, not his fall from it. Photograph by: PHIL CARPENTER, THE GAZETTE, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

Anyone who has used subways in other cities will tell you that Montreal's 42-year-old métro is one of the quirkiest in terms of its stations' décor and architecture.

During these mid-winter blahs, when you're wiping your runny nose with your mittens as you rush through one of the stations on your way to work, the wonders of our métro may not be so apparent. But there are in fact dozens of sublime slices of creativity in the métro that reflect the wonderful blend of melancholy and zany that is Montreal. Take the time to look at the art in the métro and it might lift your spirits.

Read more ....

One Winning 6/49 Ticket Purchased In Quebec

From CTV News:

ORONTO -- All the wishing and hoping has paid off, literally, for several lottery players after four winning tickets were produced in Saturday's colossal 6/49 draw.

Four golden tickets were sold for the $50.3 million jackpot, the second hugest in Canadian history. While the winners have yet to surface, it's known that three were bought in Ontario and one was purchased in Quebec.

Ontario's lucky few would have stood in long lines somewhere in Halton and Durham regions, in the Greater Toronto Area, and the Sudbury area in northern Ontario, said Teresa Roncon, a spokeswoman for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

Read more ....

My Comment: I won $10

PQ Renews Effort To Build Sovereignty Coalition

From The CBC:

The Parti Québécois has decided to breathe new life into an old idea —sovereignty for Quebec.

The party plans to hold a series of discussion forums to drum up new support for sovereignty from other political parties, said former MNA Daniel Turp at the party's national council in Quebec City on the weekend.

Read more ...

Two Children Dead, Father In Hospital

Police investigate the crime scene at a home in Piedmont, Que., which is a small community in the Laurentian Mountains, about 60 kilometres northwest of Montreal on Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009.

From CTV:

The Sûreté du Québec is investigating the deaths of two children in the Laurentians.

Police say it appears to be a double-murder-attempted suicide.

The bodies -- identified as five-year-old Olivier Turcotte and his three-year-old sister, Anne-Sophie Turcotte -- were found Saturday in their home in Piedmont, a small community about 60 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

The 36-year-old father of the children, Dr. Guy Turcotte, is considered a possible suspect in the killings.

Read more ....

Update: Autopsies to be done on Quebec doctor's 2 children -- CBC

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Three Shootings Across Montreal Sunday Morning

From The Montreal Gazette:

MONTREAl ­ Three shootings in four hours have left Montreal police stringing crime scene tape from downtown to Montreal North, but a police spokesperson says there’s no reason to think any of the incidents are linked.

“There’s absolutely no indication, nothing in time or space, that suggests that any of these incidents are related,” said Constable Laurent Gingras, “It just seems that by chance we had three incidents this morning.”

The latest of those incidents occurred at about 8:30 a.m., when a man in his 50s was shot in the leg as he stood outside his home in Langelier Blvd. in the borough of Montreal North.

Read more .....

Montreal 5 Ottawa 3

Habs' Mike Komisarek (left) and teammates mob Alex Kovalev after beating the Ottawa Senators 5-3 at the Bell Centre on Feb. 21, 2009. Photograph by: John Kenney, The Gazette

Kovalev Powers Habs Past Sens 5-3 -- The Montreal Gazette

Alex Kovalev has a flair for the dramatic.

Kovalev returned from an enforced two-game sabbatical and his strong two-way performance led the Canadiens to a 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.

“I feel like I’ve just been traded to a new team,” said Kovalev, who had a goal and two assists for his first multiple-point game since he had a goal and an assist against Toronto on Jan. 8.

The Canadiens had a quick start and Kovalev, who received a loud ovation prior to the game, elicited chants of “Kovy, Kovy, Kovy” as he played a key role on the first two Montreal goals.

On his first shift, his cross-ice pass set up Tomas Plekanec for a power-play goal at 2:23.

Read more ....

More News On The Ottawa Montreal Game

Changed man Kovalev changes Habs' fortunes --
Kovalev shines in return to Habs' lineup -- AP
Embattled Canadiens post badly needed win -- National Post
Kovalev shines in Habs' win over Sens -- CBC
Kovalev earns measure of redemption -- Faceoff
'Kova-love-in': Habs fans cheer reborn star -- Montreal Gazette

Burned-Out Teachers Skipping Class In Quebec

Photo: Union officials say more teachers are taking sick leave because they can't handle the increasing workloads in their classrooms. (CBC)

From The CBC:

New stats show teachers taking more medical leave as workload grows.

Absenteeism and long-term medical leave are up among Quebec teachers, according to new statistics from the provincial Ministry of Education.

Department figures show that in the 2007-2008 school year, 8,800 teachers took long-term leave, a 10 per cent increase compared to five years earlier.

Read more ....

Green light for UFC in Montreal

Photo: Rich "Ace" Franklin tries to throw a standing elbow as Anderson "Spider" Silva defends during their first fight at UFC 64. (SUN MEDIA/File)

From Canoe Sports:

It was a close call, but UFC 97 got the green light from Quebec's combative sports commission following some tense moments.

The commission granted the licence for Montreal to host its second UFC event after fight club brass made an emergency trip to the city when questions arose about fighter safety.

Changes in the Quebec commission resulted in questions being raised about the use of elbows and knees.

Following the meeting, commission members sanctioned the April 18 event after assurances from the fight club that fighter safety was paramount.

Like UFC 83 last year, tickets to UFC 97 sold out in a day.

Read more ....

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The End Of Horse Racing In Montreal

Yves Filion takes care of horse Rebecca Bayama at the Bayama Farms in Lachute, Que. Many Quebec breeders are being forced to sell off their horses to slaughterhouses as the industry struggles in Quebec. (Canadian Press/Ryan Remiorz)

Quebec Won't Bet On Future Of Horse Racing -- CBC News

Government pulls support for plan to get hippodromes out of bankruptcy.

The finish line may be in sight for Quebec's four troubled hippodrome racetracks.

The Quebec government announced Friday that it is pulling its support from a plan to restructure Attractions Hippiques, the private company that sought bankruptcy protection last year.

The government was a major partner in the proposed restructuring plan.

Finance Minister Monique Jérôme-Forget said the government decided to pull out after associations representing horse breeders and owners rejected the plan put forward by the bankruptcy trustee.

She said the Quebec public is losing interest in horse racing, and so, too, is the government.

"Obviously, you cannot keep putting money down in that sector year after year after year. We are in the business of providing health care, education and roads. Frankly, it is not our business to support any kind of entertaining sector," said Jérôme-Forget.

In addition to pulling its support for the restructuring plan, the minister said Loto-Québec will take back more than 200 video lottery terminals if the racetracks close.

Read more ....

Habs Leave Gillett Twisting In Foul Wind

Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett unveils a plaque at the inauguration of the Canadiens Centennial Plaza outside the Bell Centre last year. The event was part of the 100th-anniversary celebrations of the storied hockey club. Photograph by: John Kenney, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

George Gillett Jr. is not a large man, so he probably doesn’t wear a big shoe.

But it is time for the Canadiens’ majority owner to take a walk through the stainless-steel doors of his team’s Bell Centre dressing room and kick some ass with his penny loafers that perfectly reflect the value of effort he’s being given.

Gillett has spoiled his team rotten. He has provided his players with every means by which to succeed, putting them in the finest hotels on the road, building them a luxurious, world-class training facility at home and treating them as members of his family, not as his employees.

The Habs continue to be in an NHL class apart when it comes to satisying every want and need of their players, and their players’ families.

Read more ....

Anti-Mask Bylaw Off The Agenda

May Day in Montreal: The wording of the controversial new anti-mask bylaw is so broad, says city councillor Warren Allmand, a former federal solicitor-general, that it could be used to arrest somebody in the Santa Claus parade. Photograph by: PIERRE OBENDRAUF THE GAZETTE, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

Montreal's executive committee has sent its controversial new anti-mask bylaw back to the drawing board.

On the lip of a city-council vote over the proposal scheduled for Monday night, it chose instead yesterday to quietly move the measure to a back burner.

But this is only a partial retreat - and far from sufficient, a coalition representing 20 community and other groups declared.

"We want this proposition totally withdrawn - period," said lawyer Denis Barrette, speaking for the Ligue des droits et libertés and 19 other groups.

Read more ....

NHL Investigating Habs Over Links To Alleged Drug Trafficker

Montreal Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey answers a question during Friday's press conference. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

From The CBC:

GM Gainey expresses concern over allegations, will co-operate with NHL.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed to Hockey Night in Canada's Jeff Marek that the league is investigating a report in Friday's edition of La Presse that links two Montreal Canadiens players to a man arrested in a recent sting operation.

"I can confirm we are investigating the facts," Daly wrote in an email exchange with Marek.

According to the Montreal newspaper, Canadiens forwards Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn allegedly made calls to 38-year-old Pasquale Mangiola requesting vodka, women and luxury cars while the players were at local restaurants and bars.

Read more ....

More News On The Montreal Canadians

Habs 'concerned' players hung out with alleged dealer -- CTV
Canadiens sideswiped by scandal -- National Post
Habs GM concerned about players' alleged link to criminal -- TSN
Reeling Habs return home for Northeast clash with Sens -- TSN
Senators-Canadiens Preview -- USA Today
Kovalev back in Canadiens’ lineup -- National post
Struggling Kovalev back in Canadiens' fold -- CBC
Mess in Montreal -- FOX News
Great Unravelling under way in Montreal -- The Globe And Mail

Friday, February 20, 2009

3 Canadians Socialized With Alleged Mobster -- News Updates For February 20, 2009

Brothers Sergei Kostitsyn #74 and Andrei Kostitsyn #46 of the Montreal Canadiens.

Habs Silent On Report Linking Players To Alleged Drug Trafficker -- CBC

The Montreal Canadiens are not commenting on a report in Friday's La Presse linking two players to a man arrested in a recent sting operation by city police.

According to the Montreal newspaper, 38-year-old Mangiola Pasquale allegedly made a number of services available, including women and luxury cars, to Canadiens forwards Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn at bars.

Pasquale was arrested on charges of drug trafficking Feb. 12. Neither of the Kostitsyns are accused of any criminal involvement with Mangiola, La Presse reported.

Read more ....

More News On Canadian Hockey Players Linked To Alleged Drug Trafficker

Fly: 3 Canadiens socialize with Montreal mobster -- Sporting News
Security probes Canadiens' connection -- ESPN
More trouble for Canadiens -- Globe And Mail
Report: Canadiens' Kostitsyn Bros. have relationship with alleged drug trafficker -- Hockey News
REPORT: Alleged Criminal Linked To Members Of Canadians -- TSN
Habs linked to organized crime -- Sportsnet
Montreal Canadiens: Kostitsyns, Hamrlik linked to Police investigation -- Bleacher Report
Canadiens' players linked to alleged drug trafficker -- National Post

The Show Must Go On: How The UFC And Quebec Solved Their Differences

From The Canadian Press:

The UFC first heard word of a potential problem with its planned Montreal show one day before the first batch of tickets went on sale Feb. 11. Talk of concerns over the rules governing UFC 97 came out of the blue, given the UFC had no problems staging a wildly successful event at the Bell Centre last April.

Still, a warning flag was raised up the line to the highest levels of the company. There was a problem.

Looking at the provincial regulations governing "mixed boxing," it was clear they did not jive with the unified mixed martial arts rules used elsewhere by the UFC.

Read more ....

More News On The UFC

UFC 97 televised main card finalized -- MMA Junkie
UFC 97 Saved -- Calgary Sun
About (saving) face -- Sportsnet
Update On UFC 97 In Quebec -- Impact Wrestling

Costs Stall Notre Dame Overhaul

Notre Dame St. E. near Frontenac on February 07, 2008.
Photograph by: Pierre Obendrauf, Montreal Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

QUEBEC - The city and the province are reviewing plans to redevelop Notre-Dame Street, in the Montreal’s east end, because the $750-million cost of the ambitious project has doubled, Transport Minister Julie Boulet said yesterday.

“We are not going to start a project that has doubled in costs in so little time,” Boulet told reporters on her way to a meeting of the Quebec cabinet.

And Boulet added that in future, the province would track all contingencies when it budgets the cost of highway projects.

“From now on, for big projects, we are going to take account of those costs.”

Read more ....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pittsburgh 5 Montreal 4

Penguins' Sidney Crosby (left) turns up ice in front of Habs' Saku Koivu Thursday night in Pittsburgh. Photograph by: Gregory Shamus, NHL1 via Getty Images

Penguins Add To Canadiens' Woes -- Montreal Gazette

Habs lose 5-4 in sloppy contest

PITTSBURGH – Will a rested Alex Kovalev return to the lineup to revitalize the sagging Canadiens?

The answer will come Saturday afternoon, when the Canadiens face the Ottawa Senators (3 p.m., CBC, RDS, CJAD Radio-800), but that might not be the most pressing question facing the Canadiens after their 5-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins last night.

The Canadiens came out on the short end of a wild, offensive affair, which raised questions like: Where’s the defence? And what’s happening with Carey Price?

Read more ....

More On The Pittsburgh And Canadians Game

Struggling Penguins meet somebody worse -- National Post
NHL: Pittsburgh 5, Montreal 4 -- UPI
Recap: Pittsburgh vs. Montreal -- News Observer
Gonchar sends Habs to another loss -- CBC
PENGUINS 5, CANADIENS 4 -- Globe And Mail
Pens try again to give Bylsma first victory vs. struggling Habs -- The Sports Network
Gonchar's 1st gives Bylsma 1st win -- AP

Student Housing Project Suggested For Old Seville Site

The Seville Theatre has been abandonned since 1985. (Feb. 19, 2009)

From CTV:

The curtain seems to have fallen on the old Seville Theatre.

The city has given the go-ahead to tear it down after years of opposition from heritage groups that wanted the façade of the old theatre to be saved.

However, three different studies concluded that the outer shell of the building cannot be safely built around.

The theatre was abandoned in 1985 and has been rotting on its foundations since.

Some say the story of the Seville is demolition by neglect.

Read more ....

My Comment: Rocky Horror Picture Show, Animal House, 2001 .... some of the movies that I say in this place. Memories that are now gone forever.

Canadian Regulators Check Out Stanford Financial's Montreal Office

From CBC:

Canadian authorities are looking into the Montreal connection to Stanford Financial Group, the banking institution in the middle of an $8-billion fraud investigation by U.S. authorities.

This week, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed civil fraud charges against Texas financier R. Allen Stanford and two senior executives.

Stanford was found in Virginia on Thursday and served with legal papers in a multi-billion-dollar fraud case.

FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said FBI agents, acting at the request of the SEC, served Stanford the papers in Fredericksburg, Va., while he was sitting in a car.

Stanford is not under arrest and is not in custody. Officials said it is not believed he was purposely hiding from authorities.

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Cirque Walks Economic Tightrope For Silver Anniversary Year

The Cirque du soleil performs at the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel in Macau, China, in 2008.
(Associated Press/Wally Santana)

From CBC:

New shows, small-town tributes among events planned.

The Cirque du soleil will usher in its 25th year with a modest affair, reflecting both the humble beginnings of the entertainment giant and the economic reality of modern times.

CEO and founder Guy Laliberté announced the program for the Cirque's silver anniversary year on Tuesday at the company's headquarters in Montreal.

"We made a decision of celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Cirque du soleil recognizing that there is an economic situation there," said Laliberté.

Read more ....

Washington 4 Canadians 3

Alex Ovechkin (8) of the Washington Capitals slams into Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price as he scores a spectacular, highlight reel goal from flat on his back in the first period of their NHL Game. REUTERS/Joe Giza

Capitals Add To Habs' Misery -- CBC News

Alex Ovechkin scored a highlight-reel goal and Alexander Semin produced the shootout winner to give the Washington Capitals a 4-3 victory Wednesday over the reeling Montreal Canadiens, who were without Alex Kovalev as he began a team-imposed two-game sabbatical.

The struggling forward was told by general manager Bob Gainey on Tuesday that he wouldn't be with the team for its games on Wednesday in Washington and Thursday in Pittsburgh (CBC,, 7 p.m. ET), and Kovalev's future with the team is uncertain.

Read more ....

More News On The Montreal Washington Game

Capitals knock off Price, Canadiens in shootout -- National Post
Ovechkin scores a goal for the ages as Caps win tight against Montreal -- Examiner
Caps find their way past Canadiens in shootout, 4-3 -- DC Examiner
Ovechkin's highlight reel goal sparks Capitals --

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

English Schools Need More Students

From CTV:

The English Montreal School Board says it might be forced to close schools because of declining enrolment. At a meeting Tuesday night, school board officials said enrolment dropped by more than 900 students last year.

Until now, elementary schools have been hardest hit, but the board expects high schools will face the same problems in about five years time.

The E.M.S.B. says a number of factors are contributing to the d

Read more

'Baby Touristing' On Rise In Quebec: Doctors

From CBC:

Strategy seen as a quick way to get Canadian citizenship for children.

Quebec doctors say they're seeing an increasing number of pregnant women from other countries visiting Montreal on vacation just to deliver their babies, a strategy known as "baby touristing."

The practice is promoted on some international websites and blogs as a way to get automatic Canadian citizenship for children.

Now officials from the Quebec Federation of Medical Specialists and the Quebec Association of Gynecologists say they are seeing more and more female tourists from French-speaking countries arriving at Montreal hospitals to give birth to their babies.

Gaétan Barrette, president of the medical specialists federation, raised the issue with Quebec's new Health Minister Yves Bolduc this week.

Read more ....

Listeria Warnings For Egg Salad Products, Smoked Salmon

From The CBC:

People in Ontario and Quebec are being warned of possible food contamination in packaged egg salad products, as well as smoked salmon sold in Quebec.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Wednesday that several egg salad products could contain listeria bacteria.

They are:

* Ziggy’s brand egg salad on whole wheat bread, 160 grams, UPC code: 0 60383 97957 7
* Ziggy’s brand egg salad on white bread, 160 grams, UPC code: 0 60383 97956 0

They have a "best before" date up to and including Feb. 17 and were distributed in Ontario and Quebec.

The egg salad products were made by Quebec-based Plaisirs Gastronomique Inc.

Read more ....

Update: Egg salad and smoked salmon recalls -- CTV

Montreal Canadians Put Kovalev On The Bench

Image: From Sports Illustrated

Kovalev's Future In Montreal In Doubt -- National Post

Given Time Off; 'He's tired and he isn't playing with any emotion'

WASHINGTON - Alex Kovalev will not be in the lineup when the Canadiens play the Washington Capitals tonight -- and nobody should be surprised if the talented Russian has played his last game for the Canadiens.

Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey dropped a bombshell before the Canadiens' practice yesterday af ternoon when he announced Kovalev would not join the team for games in Washington tonight and in Pittsburgh tomorrow night.

Read more ....

More News On The Montreal Canadians

Kovalev given 'time off' by Habs -- CBC
Kovalev gets time off -- CTV
Struggling Habs leave Kovalev behind -- Globe And Mail
Gainey picking on Kovalev for a reason -- CBC
GM Bob Gainey's message sent loud and clear to Canadiens' dressing room -- ESPN
Canadiens send strong message -- Sports Illustrated
Gainey tries to loosen tight collars -- The Montreal Gazette

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Italian Arrests Linked To Montreal Mafia


The long tentacles of the Montreal Mafia can travel well beyond prison walls, according to Italian anti-Mafia police who have arrested at least a dozen people in a large-scale money-laundering operation based in Italy and allegedly orchestrated by Vito Rizzuto.

MONTREAL - The long tentacles of the Montreal Mafia can travel well beyond prison walls, according to Italian anti-Mafia police who have arrested at least a dozen people in a large-scale money-laundering operation based in Italy and allegedly orchestrated by Vito Rizzuto.

Among the people alleged to be involved in an attempt to launder more than $600 million in drug money is Rizzuto, 61, the reputed head of the Montreal Mafia. He is currently serving a 10-year sentence in a Colorado penitentiary for participating in the 1981 murders of three men.

Read more ....

Organizers Cancel Mock Battle Of The Plains Of Abraham

An image from a previous re-enactment of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.
(Feb. 17, 2009)

From CBC News:

Federal minister accuses sovereigntists of playing politics with commemoration.

The National Battlefields Commission has cancelled a re-enactment of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham set for Quebec City this summer due to security concerns that the mock battle could turn into a modern-day conflict.

The federal body, which is responsible for the Plains site outside the fortified walls of Quebec City, announced Tuesday that a commemorative recreation of the 1759 battle is no longer welcome on the original battlefield site.

"We cannot compromise the security of families and children that would attend the event," said André Juneau, head of the commission.

Read more ....

Update #1: Re-enactment cancelled -- CTV

Exclusive: Griffintown Project Dealt Blow

From Global Quebec:

MONTREAL - The stalled $1.3-billion Griffintown redevelopment project has taken another setback.

Montreal city hall is to announce in the coming days that it will remove the reserves the city placed on properties in the neighbourhood south of downtown last year to make way for the project by developer Devimco Inc., building owners in the area told The Gazette today.

Devimco began signing options to purchase in the area in 2005, but has now let most of those promises to buy lapse.

Read more ....