Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Montreal 4 Chicago 1

Canadiens goalie Carey Price makes pad save against Blackhawks' Patrick Sharp during first period Tuesday night at the Bell Centre. Photograph by: John Mahoney, Montreal Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

The Kid outplayed his mentor as the Canadiens beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 and continued to cling to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Carey Price stopped 27 of 28 shots while the Canadiens lit up former Montreal goaltender Cristobal Huet for four goals. Huet and Price became close friends last season when Huet served as Price’s tutor and rival for the No. 1 job before he was traded to Washington at the deadline.

The victory gave the Canadiens 88 points in the standings and moved them to within a point of the seventh-place New York Rangers and they have a game in hand.

Read more .....

More News On The Montreal Chicago Hockey Game

Price upstages his former mentor -- Globe And Mail
Habs top 'Hawks, keep hold of eighth-seed in East -- The Sports Network
Canadiens down Blackhawks to maintain playoff spot -- Reuters
Canadiens put away Blackhawks -- CBC
Early Kovalev goal leads Canadiens to 4-1 win over Blackhawks -- Canadian Press
Montreal Canadiens defeat Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 -- Chicago Tribune

CRA Undermines Fight Against Contraband Smokes: Group

Government studies indicate that across the country, two to three cigarettes of every 10 sold are contraband. Photograph by: Marie-France Coallier, Montreal Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

The Canada Revenue Agency is undermining the fight against contraband cigarettes, which sap Canadian treasuries of more than $1.6 billion a year, by handing out licences to manufacturers located on the Akwesasne and Kahnawake reserves, an anti-tobacco organization said Monday.

François Damphousse, director of the Quebec wing of the Non-Smokers' Rights Association, said in an interview that the federal government is "working on the one hand to try and stop the flow of illegal cigarettes and on the other hand Revenue Canada doesn't seem to care what's going on."

Read more ....

Montreal's Template For Failure

Former mayor Jean Drapeau led the way by approving the grandiose Olympic Stadium with little input from anyone. Photograph by: ALLEN MCINNIS, THE GAZETTE, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

Radio-Canada's mid-day radio program devoted an hour and a half last week to an excellent question: How can Montreal emerge from its inertia? The host noted the many recent projects that have been stalled - among them the Griffintown development, the CHUM hospital and UQAM's Voyageur campus - and asked a dozen prominent Montrealers how to fix this sense of stagnation.

The most common response by the guests - who included academics, economists, pundits, and politicians - was that it was essential to simplify municipal government (with its four tiers of borough councils, city council, agglomeration council, and metropolitan council). They're right. But heavy municipal government is not the central problem. Indeed, this huge structure needs to be seen as the fruit of the underlying problem: the weakness of our system of checks and balances.

Read more ....

Monday, March 30, 2009

Union Montreal Launches Online Survey

A screen grab of the survey page taken from the Union Montreal website. (Mar. 29, 2009)

From CTV:

Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay is reaching out to residents across the island with the launch of an online consultation dubbed the "People's Forum".

The mayor says the web survey was created to allow Montrealers to communicate more easily with their elected representatives, and share their views on how the city can better meet their needs.

The launch comes ahead of municipal elections, scheduled to take place Nov. 1, 2009.

"It's going to have an influence on the decisions and the priorities that we will establish in our political platform," said Tremblay.

Read more ....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Grand Prix Back In Montreal By Fall?

Lewis Hamilton steers his car by the hairpin during the qualifying session for the Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal in 2008. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

From The Montreal Gazette:

Mayor says track could be ready, but prefers long-term deal.

Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay said Sunday he was surprised to hear rumours that the Grand Prix could return to Montreal as early as this fall because construction of a new Formula One race track in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates is reportedly behind schedule.

“We have been talking with (F1 boss) Bernie Ecclestone about it coming back in 2011 and 2010,” he said.

Tremblay said he doesn’t want the race to return to Montreal in October if it will only be for one year.

Read more ....

More News On The Possible Return Of F1 To Montreal

Montreal mayor pins hopes for Grand Prix return on future, not 2009 -- CBC
Formula One may return to Montreal -- National Post
Grand Prix could come back to Montreal eventually, says former promoter -- CTV
Montreal may win back its Grand Prix -- Toronto Star
Montreal could be back in F1 this year: Reports -- CBC
Former Canadian F1 promoter optimistic Montreal race will be back by 2011 -- Canadian Press
Construction delays in Abu Dhabi revive talk of Montreal race -- Globe And Mail
Is F1 using Montreal as leverage to light a fire under Abu Dhabi? -- Inside Track News

Mohawks, Gangs And Tobacco

Contraband goods seized by the RCMP this month. Police arrested two Hells Angels from Quebec City and two Mohawks from Kahnawake, as well as 18 others, and charged them with trafficking in cigarettes and an array of drugs including methamphetamines, cocaine and marijuana. They also seized $75,000 in cash. Photograph by: Courtesy of RCMP

From The Montreal Gazette:

This story is a Gazette collaboration with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a project of the Centre for Public Integrity, Washington, D.C This story is part of the centre's project called Tobacco Underground: The booming global trade in smuggled tobacco.

Gary Godelie has been a tobacco farmer most of his life, struggling to keep alive a family farm that produces what most everyone agrees is a death crop. Whacked by global competition undercutting his prices, not to mention a dwindling number of Canadian smokers, he often thinks of getting out of the business.

Read more ....

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour In Montreal

A Montreal bylaw makes it illegal to idle an engine for more than three minutes. The city says it has taken many steps to reduce greenhouse gases and is committed to doing more. But some critics say the city's response is too slow. Photograph by: Tyrel Featherstone, Gazette file photo

The Other 364 Days, 23 Hours -- Montreal Gazette

Local governments are playing key roles in the global fight against climate change as hundreds of cities are doing what is in their power to reduce harmful emissions. What about Montreal?

The city of Montreal will be an enthusiastic participant in Earth Hour this evening. Officials will switch off the lights at city hall and a few other municipal buildings, and the cross on Mount Royal will go dark for one hour beginning at 8:30.

But what is Montreal doing during all the other 364 days and 23 hours of the year to try to halt the planet's quick march toward catastrophic climate change?

Read more ....

Quebec Orders Police To Turn In Tasers

Quebec has ordered testing on tasers from across Quebec.

From The CBC:

Province recalls 167 weapons after some stun guns malfunctioned in testing.

The Quebec government is gradually pulling all its Taser stun guns off the street for testing after new lab results revealed problems with some of the weapons.

Quebec was the first province to order testing of the stun guns after a CBC/Radio-Canada investigation showed some used by Canadian police did not meet the manufacturer's specifications.

The province sent 52 stun guns made before 2005 to an independent lab for testing. Five of them performed outside normal range.

Read more ....

Update: Quebec stun guns to be tested -- CTV

Friday, March 27, 2009

Habitat '67 Designated A Heritage Site

Habitat '67. (Mar. 27, 2009)

From CTV News:

What started as a student project more than four decades ago has now been designated a heritage site by the Quebec government.

Architect Moshe Safdie's Habitat '67, a collection of condo cubes, has long been an internationally heralded building. It was featured in the Will Ferrell movie "Blades of Glory," as the housing for athletes taking part in a competition.

"I'm feeling like a Grandpapa! It's very moving for me," said Safdie about the designation. "What's the most exciting thing for me is that it's a living community. There's people living here who are passionate about this and I'm very moved by the government's action to classify the building and protect it."

Read more ....

Woman's Body Found Inside Snow-Covered Car: Montreal Police

Police found a body in a white four-door Acura parked in an alley way. (Mar. 27, 2009)

From The CBC:

Car matches description of vehicle driven by missing LaSalle woman.

A car fitting the description of the one a woman from the Montreal neighbourhood of LaSalle was driving when she disappeared in December has been found buried in snow with a body inside, CBC News has learned.

A source confirms that the vehicle found at the back of a residential lot Friday morning in the neighbourhood of St-Henri appears to be the same white Acura Integra that Jessica Neilson, 25, was driving when she disappeared while running errands on Dec. 8.

Read more ....

Update: Body found in car could have been there for months -- CTV

Montreal 3 Tampa Bay 2

Habs players celebrate Alex Kovalev's first-period goal against the Lightning Thursday night at the Bell Centre. Photograph by: John Kenney, The Gazette

Habs Edge Lightning 3-2 In OT -- The Montreal Gazette

The Tampa Bay Lightning came into the Bell Centre and looked like the team with the second-worst record in the NHL.

Except for goaltender Karri Ramo.

The 22-year-old Finn gave up a first-period goal to Alex Kovalev in the first period and a third-period wraparound to Guillaume Latendresse but he singlehandedly kept the Lightning in the game until they were able to rally in the third period of a game in which they were outplayed from start to almost finish.

But his storybook heroics came to an abupt finish when Saku Koivu beat him on a backhander at 2:45 of overtime to give the Canadiens a 3-2 win.

Read more ....

More News On The Montreal - Tampa Bay Hockey Game

Koivu's overtime goal gives Canadiens 3-2 win over Lightning -- Canadian Press
Canadiens leave it late -- National Post
Canadiens-Lightning: Montreal Defeats Tampa Bay: Karri Ramo Steals the Show? -- Bleacher Report
Captain crunch time -- Canada.com
Canadiens Conquer Bolts In Overtime -- Tampa Bay Online
Habs score critical victory -- Globe And Mail
Koivu's OT goal salvages win for Habs -- AP
Koivu's OT tally rescues Habs in narrow win against Bolts -- TSN
Captain Koivu to the rescue -- Globe And Mail
Habs hoping they've righted ship -- NHL.com

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

CHUM should stop changing its mind, city says

St. Luc Hospital will be the home of the new Universite de Montreal super hospital.
Photograph by: Allen McInnis, Gazette file photo

From The Montreal Gazette:

It’s time for the Quebec government - not the city of Montreal’s office of public consultations - to make up its mind on what to do with plans to build the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal’s superhospital downtown, the man in charge of urban development at Montreal city hall says.

“We already met earlier this month with (officials from) the CHUM and the Health Ministry,” said André Lavallée, vice-chairperson of the city’s executive committee, “And we expressed to them quite clearly the very great difficulty we had with any return to public consultations on the CHUM.

Read more ....

My Comment: This project has been going on for years. Another case study for why Socialized Medicine does not work.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Montreal 6 Atlanta 3

Canadiens' Josh Gorges (left) gets his stick on a loose puck as goalie Carey Price falls back against the post against the Atlanta Thrashers at the Bell Centre Tuesday night. Photograph by: Allen McInnis, The Gazette

Top Players Lead Habs To Victory -- Montreal Gazette

The Canadiens’ best players were their best players.

That was the key Tuesday night as the Canadiens erupted for four goals in the second period, including three on the power play, en route to a 6-3 win over the Atlanta Thrashers.

Coach Bob Gainey put his top offensive players on the same line with Alex Tanguay and Alex Kovalev between Saku Koivu and the move paid off as they produced five of the Canadiens’ six goals.

Read more ....

More News On The Montreal - Atlanta Hockey Game

Tanguay has five points as Habs snap losing run with 6-3 win over Thrashers -- Canadian Press
Tanguay's 5 points lead Habs over Thrashers -- AP
Habs top Thrashers, move into sole possession of eighth in East -- The Sports Network

$3.5 Million Telemarketing Fraud Ring Busted

RCMP Const. Kathy Brousseau explains what's known as the 'grandson'
scam to reporters. (Mar. 24, 2009)

From CTV News:

For the second time in less than a year, the RCMP have dismantled an alleged telemarketing fraud operation said to have bilked victims through Western Union and MoneyGram money transfer outlets based in Montreal.

The Mounties carried out raids Tuesday on 16 Western Union and MoneyGram depots in St. Laurent, Ste. Genevieve, Roxboro and Pierrefonds. The outlets were allegedly used to collect $3.5 million from victims through three different scams:

Read more ....

My Comment: Another one of "Montreal's business" busted. It seems that these "enterprises" are the only ones making money nowadays in this city.

Accusations Fly At Concordia Polls

Students leave Concordia's Hall Building in Montreal Friday March, 06, 2009. The Concordia Student Union has had problems recently with in fighting, name calling, and financially draining problems. Photograph by: Tyrel Featherstone, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

MONTREAL - Voting for the next executive of the Concordia Student Union has barely begun, but accusations of foul play and dirty dealing are already in full swing.

Concordia University’s 30,000 undergraduate students have until Thursday night to choose who they want to run their student government, which has the unenviable job of restoring the CSU’s credibility and financial health.

Yet even before balloting began Tuesday, supporters of the two main factions, CHANGE and Vision, were trading charges of wrongdoing and electoral game-playing.

Read more ....

Quebec Mayors Frustrated By Infrastructure Delays

From CBC News:

The lack of an agreement between the province of Quebec and the federal government is delaying the spending of much-needed money for infrastructure, say Quebec mayors.

The federal government created the Building Canada Fund two years ago to fund local and regional infrastructure project.

But so far, say the mayors, the provincial and federal governments haven't been able to agree on how the funds will be distributed.

Read more ....

New Standards For Ski Helmets Introduced

From CBC News:

Skiers and snowboarders wondering what helmet can best protect them from head injuries will soon be able to buy ones tested and approved by the Canadian Standards Association.

The CSA developed a new standard for alpine skiing and snowboarding helmets last June and will begin providing testing for certification of the protective headgear next month, said John Walter, vice-president of standards for the non-profit organization.

Read more ....

Update: New helmet standards introduced -- CTV

70 KM Police Chase Ends In Kahnawake

Police take a suspected cigarette smuggler into custody after a lengthy police chase ended on the Kahnawake reserve on March 24, 2009.

From CTV:

Two suspected cigarette smugglers were arrested and face charges after a 70-kilometre police chase from the Ontario border all the way to the south shore on Tuesday morning.

Around 1:30 a.m., the Surete du Quebec tried to pull over a pickup truck on Highway 20 at Coteau-du-lac west of Vaudreuil.

The truck had Ontario licence plates that the SQ says were false.

The driver refused to stop and led police on a 40-minute, 70-kilometre chase back along the 20 towards Montreal.

Read more ....

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sale Rumours Add To Habs' Woes

The centre-ice logo at the Bell Centre commemorates the Canadiens' 100th-anniversary season. Photograph by: Dave Sidaway, The Gazette

From Montreal Gazette:

It was sunny in Brossard on Monday and it was a media circus. So of course Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté will be the next owner of the Canadiens.

Then again, there were more BlackBerries on a packed Bell Sports Complex press gallery than in the fruit aisle, so company co-founder Jim Balsillie must be the next owner of the Canadiens.

What about Céline Dion and René Angélil? Isn’t she richer than a millefeuille? Isn’t he a promoter of some renown?

Read more ....

Britney Spears Steps Out In Montreal

From Entertainment Wise:

Britney Spears made a rare public appearance between shows at a Montreal nightclub on Friday.

After her concert in the Canadian city, the singer visited Tribe superclub - but just for thirty minutes.

Britney looked smart in a black coat and boots, teamed with a grey pair of leggings and shades.

Her dancers joined her for a couple of drinks before she left to catch a private plane to New York.

Read more ....

Daycare Registration Service Expanding

Photo: There's a shortage of space in Montreal's $7-a-day daycare network despite the addition of 5,000 spaces that will be available as of next year.

From CTV:

Quebec's family minister has announced the expansion of a registration service that will allow parents to use a website or their phone to register children for a wide variety of daycare services.

Enfancefamille.org is aimed at making the registration process easier for parents who often scramble to put their children on multiple waiting lists simultaneously to be assured of a spot. Quebec is investing money to expand the service, which currently groups together about 80 daycares from Montreal, and the Trois-Rivieres area.

Read more ....

Big Renovations At Montreal Casino

Montreal's casino will undergo its first major upgrade since it opened 15 years ago. Photograph by: Dave Sidaway, Gazette file photo

From The Montreal Gazette:

Loto-Québec plans to spend $305 million over the next four years to modernize and refurbish the Montreal Casino. Loto-Québec says the renovation work is necessary to keep pace with its competitors in eastern North America, who have upgraded their facilities over the past few years.

More than $100 million will be spent to upgrade the French and Quebec pavilions, first used during Expo 67.

Money will also be used to modernize the decor, improve the layout, especially in the high rollers section and expand the space around the slot machines and gaming tables. Upgrades will also be made to the restaurants to reduce waiting times during high-traffic periods.

The renovations will not increase the gaming area.

Read more ....

Seal Hunt Gets Underway Off Îles De La Madeleine

From The CBC:

The annual harp seal hunt began off Îles de la Madeleine in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence on Monday.

Over the weekend, federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea set the annual harp seal quota at 280,000 animals for the entire hunt, including N.L. That's 5,000 more than last year.

Word about the precise day of the opening didn't begin to circulate until late Sunday. On Friday it was thought the hunt could be as far as two weeks off. Last year the seal began March 28, with the opening date of the season depending on when the pups are born.

Read more ....

Gillett Considers Selling Canadiens Franchise: Report

Canadiens owner George Gillett Jr. bought a majority interest in the Canadiens in 2000.
Photograph by: John Kenney, Gazette file photo

From The Montreal Star:

George Gillett, owner of the Montreal Canadiens, is considering putting the legendary 100-year-old hockey club up for sale.

La Presse Monday morning reported Gillett is looking at various options for his assets including the Habs, the Bell Centre and the Gillett Entertainment Group, citing Canadiens president Pierre Boivin as its source.

BMO Capital Markets has been hired to look at all possible options, including financial restructuring, bringing in new investors or selling assets outright.

“The process has been started but we’re only at the beginning,” Boivin is quoted as saying.

Read more ....

Update: Gillett considers selling Canadiens: report -- CTV

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kidnapped Montreal Nurse Back Home

Laura Archer leaves Trudeau Airport Saturday night accompanied by an unidentified male friend. The Montrealer was kidnapped in Sudan while working for Médecins Sans Frontières. Photograph by: John Mahoney, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

Visibly tired after a long trip home, foreign aid worker Laura Archer said Saturday night she hasn’t been turned off humanitarian work after being kidnapped in Sudan’s Darfur region.

“This incident has not affected my belief in humanitarian work,” said Archer, a nurse with Médecins sans frontières who lives in Montreal.

“It has not made me not want to continue this work, but future plans will come as they come.”

Archer, 31, landed at Dorval’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport about 6 p.m. Saturday on a flight from Amsterdam.

Read more ....

Update #1: Canadian nurse kidnapped in Darfur returns home -- CBC

Update #2: Kidnapped aid worker returns home -- CTV

Young Blacks More Likely To Be Arrested Than Whites

From CTV News:

A new study concludes that young blacks in Montreal are twice as likely as young whites to be stopped and arrested by police.

The study was carried out by the University of Montreal's Centre de recherche de Montréal sur les inégalités sociales et les discriminations (CREMIS).

Here's how the numbers break down:

* In 2001, 1518 youths between the ages of 12 and 18 were arrested on the Island of Montreal
* Of the arrests that resulted in charges, 340 cases -- or 22. 4% -- involved young blacks
* According to Statistics Canada, in 2001, there were 129, 490 youths in Montreal -- 88, 890 whites and 13, 105 blacks

Those numbers suggest that, proportionally, young black Montrealers are two times more likely than whites to find themselves with criminal records.

Incidentally, the release of the findings coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Read more ....

Toronto 5 Montreal 2

Canadiens' Jaroslav Halak watches as shot from Leafs' Mikhail Grabovski trickles into net at Bell Centre on March 21, 2009. The Leafs beat the Habs 5-2. Photograph by: Shaun Best, Reuters

'We Have To Find A Way To Win' -- Montreal Gazette

Maxim Lapierre sat in the Canadiens’ dressing room after Saturday night’s 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs and displayed all the passion he brought to the ice earlier in the evening.

“We didn’t play the way we wanted,” Lapierre said. “This team wants to be in the playoffs, but it’s not going to come from anyone else. We have to work together and get some points. It doesn’t matter if we score ugly goals. It’s getting late and we have to find a way to win.”

Read more ....

More News On The Montreal Toronto Hockey Game

Leafs heap heartache on Habs
-- Toronto Star
Leafs build big lead, hold off Habs -- AP
Leafs add to Canadiens' misery -- Globe And Mail
Leafs humble Habs -- Chronicle Herald
Surging Maple Leafs send Canadiens to fifth straight loss -- The Sports Network
Maple Leafs stick another pin in Canadiens' playoff hopes -- National Post
Ponikarovsky, Grabovski, Kulemin shine as Leafs dump Habs 5-2 -- Canadian Press
Leafs overwhelm desperate Canadiens -- CBC
Canadiens' playoff hopes take hit -- Slam! Sports
Struggling habs have no room left for error -- Montreal Gazette

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Imagine Reliving John And Yoko’s Montreal Bed-In

Photo: Ivor Sharp/New Jersey City University Gallery

From The New York Times:

May 26 will mark the 40th anniversary of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Bed-In for Peace in Montreal. The newlyweds, inspired by their first Bed-In in Amsterdam, had wanted to do a second one in the Bahamas (deemed too hot) or New York (a no-go because of a previous marijuana charge), but ended up at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. Lennon ended up recording “Give Peace a Chance” in his suite.

To celebrate the anniversary, the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth is offering, through June 21, a CD that includes “Give Peace a Chance,” a copy of the lyrics in calligraphy and breakfast for two, either in bed (of course) or at the restaurant buffet. Prices start at 199 Canadian dollars a night, about $155 at 1.3 Canadian dollars to the U.S. dollar; but for Suite 1742 (John and Yoko’s room), the package starts at 599 dollars (www.fairmont.com).

Read more ....

French Nurses Gravitate To English Hospitals: Recruiters

A nurse prepares a flu shot. Photograph by: Phil Carpenter, Montreal Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

MONTREAL – Young francophone nurses are gravitating toward employment in English hospitals in order to improve their chances of getting more work on day shifts, nursing recruiters acknowledged Saturday.

In most hospitals rooted in Montreal’s English-speaking communities, older workers with seniority generally share the night-shift burden with entry-level workers; that rarely happens on the French side, recruiters said.

“It’s really a very different culture on the English side,” said Gisèle Dubuc, co-ordinator of nursing recruitment and retention at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital.

Read more ....

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ottawa 5 Montreal 4

Canadiens' Jaroslav Halak makes pad save on Senators' Jason Spezza Thursday night.
Photograph by: Jean Levac, Canwest News Service

Sens Drive Habs' Price From Nets -- Montreal Gazette

Halak steps in, keeps loss from getting out of hand.

OTTAWA – The Canadiens lost a hockey game Thursday night, but they might have rediscovered a starting goaltender.

The Ottawa Senators beat the Canadiens 5-4 before a record crowd of 20,500 at Scotiabank Place, but the visitors had a chance to come back after Jaroslav Halak replaced Carey Price early in the second period.

“Halak took the brunt of the momentum,” head coach Bob Gainey said.

“When he went in the net, he faced four or five difficult scoring opportunities and held us there. We did get back in the game, but there was not enough time.”

Read more ....

More News On The Ottawa Montreal Hockey Game

Canadiens lose fourth straight -- National Post
Spezza the hero, Price the goat -- Globe And Mail
Spezza paces red-hot Senators past struggling Canadiens -- The Sports Network
Jason Spezza scores twice in Sens' 5-4 victory over Canadiens -- Canadian Press
Sliding Canadiens fall to Senators -- CBC
Senators deal heartbreak -- Ottawa Citizen

Quebec Budget Recaps

Quebec Finance Minister Monique Jerome-Forget (centre) acknowledges applause as she unveils her budget at the National Assembly in Quebec City Thursday. Photograph by: Mathieu Belanger, Reuters

Quebec Budget Predicts 4 Years Of Deficits -- CBC

Tax and user-fee increases part of plan to get province out of the red.

The Quebec Liberal government on Thursday tabled a budget with a $3.9-billion deficit, suspending its own balanced-budget law in an attempt to protect the province's economy from slipping too far into a recession.

Finance Minister Monique Jérôme-Forget presented a $66-billion budget for 2009-2010, adding Quebec to the growing list of provinces that are borrowing money to pay for basic services and economic stimulus measures.

Quebec's deficit, the first in a decade, represents 1.3 per cent of the province's gross domestic product.

Quebec will not only post a deficit this year, but likely for three more years, said the finance minister.

The deficits are expected to add $12 billion to the province's already heavy load of debt.

Read more ....

More News On Quebec's Budget

Quebec budget: $7.7 bn deficit over two years -- CTV
We'll soon be paying the price -- Montreal Gazette
QST rises to 8.5% in 2011 -- Montreal Gazette
User fees to go up in 2011 -- Montreal Gazette
A deficit in Quebec -- Globe And Mail
Wondering what the Quebec budget holds for you? -- CTV

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Better, Faster Train Service Coming To Ottawa, Toronto And Montreal

Photo: Transport Minister John Baird said Tuesday that infrastructure improvements could cut Via Rail's Montreal-Toronto travel time back to four hours. (CBC)

From CBC:

The federal government has plans to boost passenger rail service to Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto, Transport Minister John Baird announced Tuesday.

Baird made the announcement that track improvements are coming down the line after riding into Ottawa's Via Rail station by train.

The government plans to add two more trains in both directions between Ottawa and Montreal, he said.

He also announced plans to get trains that are already running between Montreal and Toronto to move faster.

Read more ....

Montreal Lacks Emergency Helicopter System

Photo: Dr. Tarek Razek says Montreal does not have an emergency helicopter system. (Mar. 18, 2009)

From CTV:

Montreal is lacking an emergency helicopter system, according to Dr. Tarek Razek, head of the trauma team at the Montreal General Hospital.

"We have no medical helicopter transport system in this region or in western Quebec at all. And it's the only region I've been able to find in the western world," he said.

He notes that Nova Scotia, which is not a wealthy province, has a medical helicopter.

It is a problem that is frustrating for some of Montreal's trauma professionals.

Read more ....

Montreal's Fascinating, Lesser-Known Museums

From Canada.com:


Why it's worth the drive: Emile Berliner rests in undeserved obscurity. A German who emigrated to the United States at 19, Berliner invented both the gramophone and flat recorded disc (not to mention the microphone, acoustic tiles and a helicopter). Because of U.S. patent disputes, he established a gramophone and record factory in Montreal in 1900. It was topped by his mascot, Nipper the dog. He was eventually bought out by the Victor Talking Machine Company, which adopted the logo and made it famous. This small museum, housed in the former factory, celebrates the history of sound technology. Its 11,000 objects include early radio transcriptions, tape recorders, records, stereos and radios. Listen to vintage 78s on ancient equipment.

Read more ....

My Comment: 5 museums are listed in this story, and each and everyone of them should be visited.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tourists To Montreal Will Be Happy To Get Runaround

Taking a run along de la Commune street in Old Montreal.
Photograph by: Phil Carpenter, Montreal Gazette

From Canada.com:

It sounds like a derisive First Nations name for an interloper with dysentery, but Running Tourist may be an idea whose time has come.

Heather Beauchesne hopes so. The 29-year-old transplanted Saskanoise (on her father's side; her mother is Californian) is launching a service that will take out-of-town fitness enthusiasts on runs through scenic parts of Montreal.

Local joggers will lead groups of 15 visitors on 45-minute runs through the Old Port and Plateau Mont Royal. A $30 weekend membership will include Running Tourist excursions on Saturday and Sunday.

Read more ....

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Protesters Refuse To Give Advance Notice Of Marching Route

A passerby surveys damage caused to a window at Dormez-Vous, a mattress store, on Sherbrooke St. in downtown Montreal on Monday, one day after police and protesters clashed during a march against police brutality. Photograph by: Vincenzo D'Alto, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

The organizing group behind Sunday’s protest against police brutality has no plans to give advance notice of their route in future demonstrations despite calls to do so from city hall and the police on Monday.

“The right to demonstrate is a constitutional right, and we are not the only ones who don’t tell police about our plans,” said Gabrielle Potvin, spokesperson for the Collectif opposé à la brutalité policière.

Fifteen people were arraigned at the Montreal municipal courthouse Monday afternoon on charges related to Sunday’s chaotic march through downtown in which 221 people were arrested.

Read more ....

More News On The Aftermath Of Sunday's Riot

Montreal mayor seeks to avoid annual mayhem -- Globe And Mail
Mayor wants more control over unruly marchers -- Montreal Gazette
Protest against police backfires -- National Post

Actress Natasha Richardson Hurt In Mont Tremblant Ski Accident

Actor Liam Neeson and his actress wife Natasha Richardson arrive for the British Premiere of the latest film The Chronicles of Narnia-Prince Caspian, in London's Greenwich, on June 19, 2008. Richardson was hospitalized in Montreal following a ski accident near Mont Tremblant Monday. Photograph by: Canwest News Service

From CBC News:

Tony Award-winning British actress Natasha Richardson was hospitalized in Montreal after being injured in a skiing accident on Monday.

Actress Kika Markham, Richardson's aunt, confirmed that Richardson is in hospital following a skiing accident, BBC Arts correspondent Rebecca Jones said from London on Tuesday morning.

"We know that she has had an accident but we really do not know any more details," said Markham, who is married to Richardson's uncle, Corin Redgrave. "We are very concerned."

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More News On Actress Natasha Richardson

Injured actress taken to airport -- CTV
Richardson hospitalized in Montreal -- Montreal Gazette
UPDATED: Natasha Richardson Injured In Accident -- New York Times
Natasha Richardson: a profile of actress injured in Canada skiing accident -- The Telegraph

Alzheimer's Caregivers To Benefit From Provincial Cash

Marguerite Blais, Quebec's Minister responsible for seniors, announced $200 million for Alzheimer's caregivers on Sunday, March 15, 2009.

From CTV:

The Quebec government has announced that it will give $200 million over 10 years to community groups that provide support to the caregivers of Alzheimer's patients.

"In every region of the province of Quebec, the population will decide what type of services they need," said Marguerite Blais, Quebec's Minister responsible for seniors.

The news was well-received by Daniel Deziel and his wife, Nadia Emond. Deziel, 51, was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He has had to stop working, and relies on his wife to care for him.

"(I want) to keep my husband at home as long as I can," said Emond.

Quebec businessman Andre Chagnon put $50 million toward the investment into patient care. His mother died of Alzheimer's disease, and he said he appreciates how much is demanded of caregivers.

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Montreal Plans Hot Summer

People crowd Montreal streets to enjoy free concerts during Montreal's International Jazz festival in this 2007 photo. Montreal is poised to be festival central this summer, recesssion or not. The Montreal International Jazz Festival is turning 30 this year. (JEAN FRANCOIS Le BLANC / The Canadian Press / File)

The Chronicle Herald:

MONTREAL — Montreal is poised to be festival central this summer, recession or not.

There will be music and comedy and much more in the city, which will also see the anniversaries of several of its most successful events.

The Montreal International Jazz Festival is turning 30. Cirque de soleil, the international fireworks festival and the Montreal Bike Fest, which culminates with the Tour de l’ile cycling event, all turn 25. But that only scratches the surface of what’s going on.

Marie-Josee Pinsonneault, a spokeswoman for Tourism Montreal, reels off a list of attractions, including an exhibition on pirates, an avant-garde music festival and a beer festival where more than 400 types of brew can be sampled.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Mayor Tremblay Says Montreal Job Crisis Will Be Short-Lived

From The Montreal Gazette:

While the employment situation in the Montreal area took a grim turn last month, Montreal’s mayor thinks a spike in the local jobless rate will be short-lived.

And Mayor Gérald Tremblay thinks if there was ever a time for people to put faith in themselves - and the stock market’s ability to see good news around the corner - this is it.

“What’s important is that people keep their morale,” Mayor Gérald Tremblay told reporters soon after Statistics Canada reported 16,000 full-time jobs had disappeared in the Montreal area between January and February of this year.

“We can’t be pessimistic," Tremblay said.

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Aftermath Of Yesterday's Police Brutality Demonstration

Montreal police arrested at least 200 people at an anti-police brutality
demonstration on Sunday, March 15, 2009.

Anti-Police Brutality Demo Ends With Multiple Arrests -- CTV

At least 200 people were arrested at the anti-police brutality demonstration in Montreal Sunday afternoon.

Montreal police Sgt. Ian Lafrèniere said eight protestors were apprehended before the march even began, as a preventative measure.

All eight individuals were carrying rocks, bricks and other objects.

The protest, organized by the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality (COPB), began at 2 p.m. at the Mont-Royal métro station. Hundreds of people, some wearing masks, showed up to take part in the demonstration.

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More News On Brutality Demonstration

Court appearances, cleanup begin after anti-police brutality protest -- CBC
Criminal charges pending following violent Montreal anti-police brutality demo -- Canadian Press
Annual anti-police protest leads to chaos in streets of Montreal -- Globe And Mail
Montreal brutality riot nets 221 arrests -- UPI
17 facing charges in Montreal protest -- Ottawa Citizen

New Driver's Licence Will Serve As Proof Of Citizenship

Image: from mcco12's blog.

From The Montreal Gazette:

But privacy commissioner hints personal information could be at risk.

Premier Jean Charest will announce today that Quebecers can get an enhanced driver's licence - permis de conduire plus - which will also serve as proof of Canadian citizenship.

The premier, accompanied by International Relations Minister Pierre Arcand, John Harbour, president of the Société d'assurance automobile du Québec, and Lee McClenny, U.S. consul general in Montreal, will make the announcement at 2 p.m. near the St. Bernard de Lacolle border crossing.

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Brodeur Matches Roy With 551st NHL Win

Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur falls to the ice after making a save against the Montreal Canadiens in the second period. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

From CBC:

Standing several feet apart at Montreal's Bell Centre prior to the puck-drop on Saturday night, Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy were side by side in the National Hockey League record book at game's end.

Brodeur, tending goal for the New Jersey Devils in his hometown, stopped 22 shots in a 3-1 win over the Canadiens to tie Roy's league record of 551 career victories.

"I feel great. I'm definitely happy it's over with," Brodeur told Jeff Marek of Hockey Night in Canada. "The last couple days, especially coming into the Montreal, was hectic with press conferences and a lot of people, a lot of family around, but I didn't disappoint anybody."

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Quebec Website Promotes Buying Local, Organic Products

From The Montreal Gazette:

'Not another label!' some farmers lament.

Maybe you are wondering where in Montreal you can buy an organic bagel.

Or perhaps you have a hankering for a cut of beef from a locally raised cow that was not given antibiotics, growth hormones or genetically modified feed. Or maybe you want to know if anybody in Quebec makes a truly organic beer.

A website run by the organization mandated by the Quebec government to regulate the use of the term "organic" on Quebec food and other products can point you in the right direction.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Drivers Can Remove Winter Tires After Midnight

Between December 15 and March 15, winter tires are mandatory on all taxi and passenger vehicles registered or rented in Quebec. (CTV File Photo)

From CTV:

As of midnight tonight, Quebecers can remove the winter tires from their cars.

By law, winter tires are required on all taxi and passenger vehicles that are registered or rented in Quebec, between December 15 and March 15.

The amendment to Quebec's highway safety code making winter tires mandatory was passed in September 2008.

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50 Arrests In Police Brutality March

Protesters clash with riot police outside Mont Royal métro today during march against police brutality. Photograph by: John Kenney, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

Marchers blocked major streets, causing traffic tie-ups

At least 50 people were arrested in the annual protest against police brutality Sunday in downtown Montreal.

Traffic was blocked on several downtown streets after an estimated 400 demonstrators gathered at the Mont Royal métro station about 2 p.m. and then walked south randomly in groups, meeting blockades of police, some in riot gear, along their paths.

One police officer suffered a minor injury to his arm when he was struck by a rock, Montreal police spokesperson Élodie Pestel said.

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More News On Today's Police Brutality March

About 50 people arrested as clashes mark Mtl anti-police brutality protest -- The Canadian Press
Montreal protest turns violent, dozens arrested -- CTV
21 arrested at police-brutality protest in Montreal -- CBC

Quebec Minister Denies Encouraging Caisse To Take Big Risks

Ontario-born Michael Sabia, 55, takes over Canada's largest pension-fund manger on Friday, March 13, 2009. (CP File Photo)

From The CBC:

Opposition members grill finance minister about historic losses at pension fund.

Quebec's finance minister testified Friday that the Liberal government never encouraged the province's pension fund manager to take more risks in hopes of cashing in on higher returns from investments.

Monique Jérôme-Forget appeared before the national assembly's standing committee on finance at the start of hearings looking into risk-taking and financial losses at the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

During more than two hours of grilling by Opposition finance critics, the minister refused to concede that her government had in any way encouraged Caisse managers to make the high-risk investments that contributed to the $39.8-billion drop in assets last year. The fund's assets now sit at $120.1 billion.

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Update: Sabia is new Caisse CEO -- CTV

Friday, March 13, 2009

Quebec Ponders Bailouts

This is the McGill University Health Centre's tentative design, subject to change, of its project, as seen from St. Jacques St. Photograph by: Photo courtesy of McGill University Hospital Centre, Photo courtesy of McGill University Hospital Centre

From The Montreal Gazette:

Consortia bidding on work have trouble getting bank loans.

The Quebec government is poised to bail out the private consortia that are bidding to build and manage Montreal's two superhospitals.

Provincial Finance Minister Monique Jérôme-Forget is considering various options, including providing the private firms with a government-backed financial guarantee as they seek bank loans for the megaprojects.

The consortia are expected to submit their financing proposals by November.

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Montreal Driver Beats Ticket For Flashing Lights To Warn Of Speed Trap

From The CBC:

A judge has cleared a Montreal driver of obstruction charges after the man was caught flashing his headlights to warn other motorists of a police speed trap.

Sandro Ianni had recently parked his vehicle on Marien Boulevard in east-end Montreal near a speed trap set up by local police.

When officers noticed that cars were slowing down ahead of them, an officer went to check out why.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Officials Find "Ethnic Cities" Comment Offensive And Worrisome

Former PQ Minister Louise Harel has raised some eyebrows with her comment that fewer boroughs could mean 'ethnic cities.' (Mar. 11, 2009)

From CTV:

Comments made by a former PQ minister that fewer boroughs could lead to "ethnic cities" have left citizens and officials alike scowling and scratching their heads.

Louise Harel made the comments in reponse to comments made by Cosmo Maciocia, mayor of Riviere-des-Praries-Pointe-aux-Trembles. He suggested that the city should look at reducing the number of boroughs from 19 to 10, and reducing the corresponding bureaucrats to save money.

The week before, the city had announced it was aiming to save $155 million in its 2009 budget.

Maciocia wanted the city to start considering his idea around 2010.

In an interview, Harel said: "if we go from 19 to 10 boroughs, but these boroughs remain quasi-municipalities as they are now, we will end up in the worst of situations because we'll have cities... an Italian city, a Haitian city, an Anglophone city, an Arab city- Ville St. Laurent, a Jewish city, etc. We will no longer have this sense of one big city with boroughs that speaks with one voice."

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Born To Surrogate, Child Has No Legal Mother, Quebec Judge Rules

Photo: Surrogacy is illegal in Quebec, though it is legal under under federal law with some restrictions. (CBC)

From The CBC:

Couple broke provincial law banning the practice.

A Quebec woman has no legal right to the child she paid a surrogate to carry for her, a judge has ruled, leaving the child without a legal mother.

The case is stirring up debate in Quebec legal circles over the province's ban on surrogacy and the impact the law has on children caught in the middle.

After years of unsuccessful attempts to become pregnant, the man and woman, whose names are protected by a publication ban, paid a surrogate mother they found on the internet $20,000 to carry a child for them.

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