Thursday, April 30, 2009

Liberal Cronies Use Regional Funding For Own Firms: PQ

From The Montreal Gazette:

Ethics attacked; Saguenay-Lac St. Jean cash ended up in Montreal companies.

Pietro Perrino and Valier Boivin, who sit on the board of a regional investment fund created by the government to boost local companies in the Saguenay-Lac St. Jean region, invested taxpayers' money instead in Montreal-area companies in which they hold shares, the Parti Québécois charged yesterday.

François Legault, the PQ finance critic, said Premier Jean Charest knows Perrino well. Perrino was an organizer for both the Quebec and federal Liberals.

Read more ....

Montreal's Worst Construction Zone: Concordia A Mess For Pedestrians, Bikes, Cars

From The Montreal Gazette:

Students and staff pour out of Concordia University buildings, scattering onto the road, the bike path and the sidewalk, or heading for a shabby-looking make-shift enclosure built of plywood and 2-by-4s.

Among those zooming by the pedestrians are cyclists pedaling down a busy east-west downtown bike path that suddenly narrows to half its width; for a two-block stretch, the bikes must share the path with other bikes coming straight for them, as well as pedestrians and a massive yellow construction excavator.

Read more ....

Transports Québec Makes Sudden Changes To Ville-Marie Expressway

This CTV file photo shows a scene from last summer's work on the westbound Ville-Marie Expressway.

From The Montreal Gazette:

An overnight change to the lane configuration on the eastbound Ville-Marie Expressway may have some motorists scratching their heads this morning.

Transports Québec has reopened the two left lanes of the expressway, and closed the right lanes.

One lane is closed between the Atwater Ave. exit and the Guy St. exit.

Read more ....

Five-Alarm Fire Forces Evacuation of Complexe Desjardins downtown

Smoke from a fire at Complexe Desjardins downtown is belched into the sky on Wednesday. Photograph by: Zdenk Jagric, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

André Audy said he was face to face with a huge ball of fire that erupted yesterday from the ventilation duct in the medical clinic he manages.

"We saw smoke pouring in, and we started to evacuate people. I was the last one in the clinic, when I saw a huge explosion," said Audy, president of the Millenia groupe santé du centre ville, which operates on the fourth floor of the Complexe Desjardins. "It was a fireball of about five to six feet in diameter."

Read more ....

Housing In Montreal Bucks Trend

Home prices in Montreal rose 3.2 per cent
Photograph by: Marcos Townsend, The Gazette

From Montreal Gazette:

Montreal bucked the national trend in February with home prices rising 3.2 per cent while the Canadian average dipped 4.1 per cent from a year ago, according to the Teranet-National Bank National Composite House Price Index that measures the rate of change of prices for single-family homes in six metropolitan areas.

The latest survey results released today also show prices were down 7.4 percent nationally from the peak hit in August last year.

Ottawa was the only other major Canadian city to experience an increase with 2.8 per cent over February 2008.

Read more ....

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We're Ready For Worst, City Says

Montreal regional health director David Levine. Photograph by: Tedd Church, Gazette file photo

From The Montreal Gazette:

Elaborate emergency plan in place; retired doctors, nurses would be called.

In a worst case scenario of swine flu outbreak, health authorities would take over hotels and run them like hospitals, the head of the Montreal health agency said yesterday.

Montreal's elaborate emergency plan calls for commandeering "non-traditional sites where beds could be set up," said David Levine of the Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal.

Read more ....

My Comment: Cough ..... cough.

Complaints To City Ombudsman Up By 33 Per Cent

Photo: Montreal ombudsman Johanne Savard. (Apr. 29, 2009)

From CTV News:

Montrealers have no problems complaining about city services--it's just that they usually keep it among friends. Now it seems Montrealers are taking their beefs directly to the city.

Montreal's ombudsman Joanne Savard says citizens lodged more than 1,700 complaints in 2008, an increase of 33 per cent from the previous year.

Savard says she thinks the increase shows more people know about the office, rather than more problems in the city.

"We have not reached a level where I can come to the conclusion that we're facing major problems in the Ville de Montreal," she said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Read more ....

My Comment: And she does not advertise.

SHDM Saga Now A Police Matter

Mayor Gérald Tremblay listens to comments by a member of the public about the controversy over the water meter contract during city council meeting Monday night. Photograph by: Phil Carpenter, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

The saga of the city's real-estate arm is now a police matter.

The Sûreté du Québec will investigate bombshell findings by Montreal auditor-general Michel Doyon in his probe of property deals by the Société d'habitation et de développement de Montréal, Public Security Minister Jacques Dupuis told the National Assembly yesterday.

That's just what Doyon urged in the conclusion of his 52-page report tabled at city council Monday night after his four-month examination of all real-estate transactions by the former municipal corporation. City officials close to Mayor Gérald Tremblay's Union Montreal party quietly privatized the SHDM two years ago, over the objections of the city's legal department.

Read more ....

The Montreal Canadians Are A Very Profitable Team

RDS Obtains Financial Documents On The Montreal Canadiens' Cash Flow-- Bleacher Report

It is well known and verified that the Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett has been having his corporate assets and finances put under the microscope.

On March 23rd of this year, Canadiens president Pierre Boivin stated, "The Gillett family has retained the services of financial advisers to assess various strategic alternatives to optimize the value of its corporate assets."

"In Canada, the family has retained the services of BMO Capital Markets and the process is underway."

Read more ....

Quebec Ready To Provide $100 Million In Debentures To Habs Investors

From The Canadian Press:

MONTREAL — Quebec's finance minister says the provincial government is willing to provide an unsecured bond to help investors who are interested in buying the Montreal Canadiens.

Raymond Bachand said Monday he has told Jacques Menard, the chairman of BMO Nesbitt Burns, that Quebec is ready to provide a modest amount, "like $100 million of debentures."

Habs majority owner George Gillett has retained the services of BMO to assess all alternatives regarding a potential sale of the team.

Read more .....

The Awkward History Of Wifi In Montreal

From The Montreal Gazette:

Like other parts of the world, plans to create large-scale wireless Internet zones in Montreal have met embarrassing dead-ends.

Last year a private venture to offer unlimited wireless access for $30 a month was quietly shelved after it was deemed unrealistic. Internet provider Radioactif and network builder Nomade Telecom had promised to cover most of Montreal in high-speed Internet.

“Wifi was a dying technology at that time,” said Luc Picard, president of Nomade. “We thought maybe it was not a good idea to go that way.”

Read more

MN&I Editor: For Wi-Fi spots in Montreal, check here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Flu Fears Bug Montreal Tourism

Could we see more empty caleches this summer because of the swine flu?
Photograph by: Dave Sidaway, Gazette file photo

From The Montreal Gazette:

Weaker dollar, conventions good for industry.

A big question mark hangs over Montreal’s summer tourism prospects because of swine flu, the city’s tourism agency said Tuesday.

Charles Lapointe, head of Torurism Montreal, said an estimated 80,000 Mexicans visited Montreal last year, and that market is potentially at risk because of concerns about spreading the virus that is suspected to have claimed 152 lives in Mexico and that has now spread to 16 countries around the world.

Read more ....

Quebec Politicians Need Ethics Watchdog, MNA Says

From The CBC:

An MNA is calling for stricter ethics rules for elected officials in Quebec, with criminal prosecution for those who break them.

"When you realize what has gone on all these years, of course, it is disconcerting," said Amir Khadir, a member of the provincial legislature representing Québec Solidaire.

Quebec politicians are too close to private interests, harming the greater public interest, said Khadir, who is part of the provincial task force overseeing the creation of a new ethics commissioner.

Read more ....

My Comment: this is so long overdue .... but I doubt it will have the manpower or budget to be an effective watchdog.

Auditor General's Report Calls For Police Probe

At a city council meeting Monday night, Mayor Gérald Tremblay said he was not ready to comment on the auditor general's report. (CTV File Photo)

From CTV News:

The police should be called in to investigate a number of questionable real-estate deals by Montreal's former municipal housing corporation, says the city's auditor general.

In a lengthy report that follows a four-month investigation, Michel Doyon said the Société d'habitation et de développement de Montréal (SDHM) made dubious real-estate sales without appropriate authorization from the city, and at prices below the fair market value.

Mayor Gérald Tremblay's administration had asked Doyon to investigate 20 transactions the SHDM made since it was privatized two years ago.

Tremblay would not comment on the auditor general's report when it was presented at a city council meeting on Monday night. The mayor said he will respond later Tuesday after Doyon and the SHDM hold a joint news conference to elaborate on the findings.

Read more ....

Update: Montreal auditor asks police to check city's property sales -- The CBC

Montreal On High Alert For Swine Flu

Mexican migrant workers arrive in Montreal from Mexico City via Trudeau Airport, in Montreal, Monday, April 27, 2009. A recent outbreak of Swine Flu in Mexico has resulted in the deaths of almost 150 people. Photograph by: Graham Hughes, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

But Montreal's public health czar says Canadian cases 'are very mild'.

Despite assurances from Montreal health officials, there's a whiff of panic in the street - pharmacies emptying of face masks and travellers are stockpiling medication.

At least two cases of suspected swine flu are under observation in Montreal and one in the Mauricie region, according Dominique Breton of the Quebec Health Department.

Read more ....

Montreal From Above

(Photo: Guy Lavigueur)

From The Montreal Gazette:

For more than 20 year, Quebec photographer Guy Lavigueur has been taking pictures from a unique perspective – looking down from airplanes and helicopters. Some of his spectacular snapshots from around the world will be on display in a exhibit at the Galerie Point Rouge Art Contemporain, from May 5 to 23.

Several shots of Montreal are included, including the two above. The first, taken in 2005, is titled "Dégel félin." The second, from 2003, shows the Lachine Rapids and is titled, "Duel d'eau." To view more, check out his site.

Read more ....

Monday, April 27, 2009

Habs Awful From Top To Bottom

Fans voiced their displeasure with Habs goalie Carey Price by mock cheering him when he made a routine save during the second period after already giving up four goals in Wednesday night's season-ending loss at the Bell Centre. Photograph by: John Mahoney, The Gazette

From Globe And Mail:

Let’s face it, folks. The 2008-09 Montreal Canadiens booked an early tee time the old-fashioned way. They earned it.

The “thoroughbred” goaltender looked more like a secretary than Secretariat. More Man o’ Bud than Man o’ War.

The Canadiens were soft in the corners, confused in front of the net, inept on offence and disorganized on defence.

Their passes, as former Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty once said of striker Tony Hately, should have been addressed “to whom it may concern.”

Read more ....

Quebec Prepared To Deal With Swine Flu, Say Health Officials

Women wear surgical masks as they exit the subway in Mexico City, on Saturday, April 25, 2009. (AP / Gregory Bull)

From CTV News:

There are no cases of swine flu yet in Quebec, but the province's health officials say they are prepared to deal with the virus should it surface here.

"It would he very surprising if there were no cases in Quebec," said Dr. Alain Poirier, the province's director of public health.

Poirier said that with the size of Quebec's population, and all the travelling to and from Mexico, the virus could circulate very easily.

He made the comments at a news conference in Quebec City Sunday, accompanied by Quebec Health Minister Yves Bolduc.

Poirier confirmed that at least two people in Quebec -- including one in Montreal -- were placed under observation as a precaution, but did not test positive for swine flu.

Read more ....

Labonté Vows To Bid For Expo 2020

Benoit Labonté cast his vote on party policy during the Vision Montreal convention in Montreal Sunday. Photograph by: Allen McInnis, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

Mayoral hopeful kicks off campaign with ambitious list of promises.

With promises to make city hall more transparent, bring a world's fair to Montreal in 2020 and support a bid to get this city a Major League Soccer team, Benoit Labonté officially kicked off his campaign for the mayoralty yesterday.

And he pledged to do all of the above - plus more - within a week of his Vision Montreal party winning power in the Nov. 1 municipal election.

"Montreal is in need of real change and we need to really shake things up," Labonté told about 200 Vision Montreal delegates who gathered for a party convention to decide the priorities for their coming election platform.

Read more ....

My Comment: Spending money that we do not have.

Trouble On The Main

The former home of American Apparel on St. Laurent Blvd. now carries a For Rent sign. “I won’t deny that the construction on the street did affect traffic,” says Dan Abenhaim, the chain’s Canadian regional director. Other shop owners say the recession and high rents have hurt business on along the strip. Photograph by: John Mahoney, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

It’s known to generations as The Main and it’s as Montreal as smoked meat and the Habs.

St. Laurent Blvd. is us, and in tribute to its Portuguese component, city officials on Friday inaugurated a dozen marble-topped benches between Bagg and Marie Anne Sts.

But things are not going that well for some merchants, especially on the trendiest part of the street between Sherbrooke St. and Pine Ave.

It’s still home to such fancy eateries as Buona Notte and Primadonna, but in the past months several major tenants have closed.

Read more ....

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Passengers On Flight From Mexico Relieved To Be Home

Many Montrealers, troubled by news of the swine flu outbreak, said they were relieved to be back on Canadian soil after spending time in Mexico City. (April 26, 2009)

From CTV News:

Amidst international concern over a swine flu outbreak, a number of travellers arrived at Trudeau Airport Sunday afternoon from Mexico City, relieved to be back home.

For some of those who landed on Canadian soil around 1 p.m., it was the first time in three days that they didn't have to cover their faces.

"There are many sick people there," said Alexandra Madera. "Everyone at the airport in Mexico was wearing a mask."

Madera said Mexican officials had passengers fill out a form that asked whether they were suffering from any flu-like symptoms, and anyone showing such symptoms was not allowed to board the plane.

Read more ....

Bleu, Blanc, Rouge Disease

Photograph by: John Mahoney, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

Heading into this season, the Canadiens were considered favourites to win the Eastern Conference title and advance to the Stanley Cup final. But after a disappointing centennial season, plagued by injuries to key players, disappointing performances by too many young players, both on and off the ice, and 10 unrestricted free agents to deal with, it's rebuilding time again.

The question heading into next season might not be whether the Canadiens can win the Cup, but can they finish ahead of another rebuilding team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and make the playoffs?

Read more ....

Mackay Street Green Space Plan Draws Merchants' Ire

Mackay Street is the heart of Concordia’s downtown campus

From The CBC:

Some merchants and residents in downtown Montreal are angry with plans to turn a section of Mackay Street into a pedestrian mall.

The City of Montreal has approved a project pitched by Concordia University called the "Greening of Mackay," which would see the street transformed into a summer park with an outdoor music venue between De Maisonneuve and Sherbrooke streets from early May to early October.

About 40 parking spots would be eliminated during that period.

Read more ....

Has Koivu played last game with Habs?

Canadiens captain Saku Koivu rejoices after scoring game-winning overtime goal against Tampa Bay Lightning at Bell Centre last month. Photograph by: John Kenney, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

Five hundred and sixty-three times, Saku Koivu has pulled on the captain’s jersey of the Canadiens. He has been the soul of his team for 13 seasons, all but four of them with the “C” stitched over his heart.

On Thursday, less than a day after his club had been eliminated from the playoffs by the Boston Bruins, Koivu blinked into a forest of cameras to offer one last critique of a season that went south much too quickly, and wonder aloud whether he had played his last game wearing the CH crest.

Read more ....

Saturday, April 25, 2009

CTV WEB EXCLUSIVE: West Island Woman Relieved After Release From Quarantine

Patricia Whelan's daughters, Monica and Tanya, said they were 'very worried' about their mother when she returned home from Mexico.

From CTV News:

Patricia Whelan, a West Islander who feared she had contracted swine flu while in Mexico, was released from the Lakeshore General Hospital in Pointe-Claire Saturday afternoon, after spending hours under quarantine.

The Dollard-des-Ormeaux resident, 50, said she underwent a series of blood tests after being placed in isolation, and was eventually informed that she did not have the potentially deadly strain of flu.

Whelan spent three weeks vacationing in her native Mexico City, and returned to Montreal in late March.

Read more ....

Montreal Swine Flu Fears Unfounded: Report

Quarantine officials distribute masks and advisories on health issues to passengers arriving from Mexico City at Narita international airport, east of Tokyo April 25, 2009. Photograph by: Reuters

From The Montreal Gazette:

Fears of a swine-flu appearance in Montreal on Saturday afternoon are unfounded.

Johanne Simard, an official of the Montreal regional health board, says there are no cases of swine flu at Lakeshore General Hospital on the West Island and no quarantines in effect.

CTV Montreal had reported early Saturday afternoon that there were two precautionary quarantines in effect at the Lakeshore, and the LCN cable network one reported that there was quarantine. The cases cited involved people who had fallen sick after trips to Mexico, where the rise of a new swine-flu cluster has created global fears of a pandemic.

Read more ....

Gainey Has Long Summer To Rebuild Habs

Habs' Alex Tanguay goes airborne after scoring goal against Atlanta Thrashers at Bell Centre last month. Tanguay and fellow forwards Saku Koivu (left) and Alex Kovalev (right) are unrestricted free agents and might not be wearing the CH next season. Photograph by: Allen McInnis, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

General manager Bob Gainey said he’ll sit back and wait for a few weeks before starting to put together his master plan for the 2009-10 edition of the Canadiens.

With 10 players eligible to become unrestricted free agents and a couple of key restricted free agents, Gainey has a full plate leading up to the July 1 free-agency deadline.

The good news is that Gainey has some flexibility because the team has a cap hit of a mere $23.5 million committed for next season. The bad news is that Gainey has a lot of high-priced spots to fill.

Read more ....

My Comment:Hmmmm .... there is a good chance that Gainey may not here this summer. The Canadians performace has been very very disappointing.

Friday, April 24, 2009

UQÀM Teachers Return On Monday

UQÀM professors and students demonstrate outside the offices of the HSBC in Montreal on April 17. Photograph by: Graham Hughes, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

Classes will resume on Monday at the Université du Québec à Montréal after striking professors approved new contracts Friday.

Nearly 1,000 professors and full-time language instructors had been on strike since March 16.

The professors voted 91 per cent in favour of a new deal that includes an 11-per-cent increase over four years.

Read more ....

Dust 'N' Detours: City To Spend $608M On Roadwork

Construction crews tear up sidewalks along the Main last year. The city says it will spend an "unprecented" $608 million to fix roads and water infrastructure this year. Photograph by: John Morstad, Gazette file photo

From The Montreal Gazette:

With roadwork season dawning, the city says Montrealers should brace themselves for a lot of dust, detours and discontent – and be assured that all rules regarding the awarding of contracts have been respected.

The city will spend an “unprecedented amount” – $608 million – in 2009 to fix roads and the leaky water infrastructure under them, Sammy Forcillo, Montreal executive committee member responsible for infrastructure, told reporters Thursday.

That’s a 52-per-cent jump from last year, when the city spent $401 million. This year, the city has 359 projects on its to-do list, up from 193 in 2008.

Read more ....

Quebec Road Death Toll Drops Below 600

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

From The CBC:

Quebec is boasting the lowest number of highway and road deaths in decades, a tally officials said shows tougher laws to control speeding and cell phone use are taking effect.

In 2008, 557 people died in accidents across Quebec, the first time the road death toll has fallen below 600 people in 60 years.

The number is still too high, but it shows that new rules about cellphones, speeding, and drinking and driving do work, said Transport Minister Julie Boulet.

Read more ....

Montreal's Lost Rivers

One of the brick sewers leading into the Colborne Collector, built between 1872 and 1875. Photograph by: Courtesy of Andrew Emond

From The Montreal Gazette:

You can’t see them. But you can still hear them. The sound of rushing water when you walk past a manhole. Hear that? They’re still flowing down there, in the bowels of the city below our feet. Hidden rivers that never see the sun.

Once, rivers crisscrossed the island of Montreal, sparkling in the daylight. Playful streams skipped down the slopes of Mount Royal. Lazy rivers wound through forest and meadow; wetlands attracted birds and animals.

Read more ....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Don't Ban Wood Stoves: Poll

Wood stove salesman Michael Richard of Nergiflex of St. Laurent is opposed to the Montreal wood-stove ban. Photograph by: Phil Carpenter, Gazette file photo

From The Montreal Gazette:

Two-thirds of residents of the greater Montreal region say they are opposed to an outright ban on wood stoves, like the one the city of Montreal is poised to approve as early as next Monday, according to a new poll.

The Ipsos Descarie poll , released Thursday morning, found respondents would prefer a regulatory framework that permits the operation of high-efficiency wood stoves but outlaws all the rest. Specifically, respondents said they favour new rules requiring all wood stoves, including those already installed, to meet United States Environmental Protection Agency standards.

Read more ....

Hells Angels Informant To Be Paid $2.9 Million

Members of the Quebec chapter of the Hells Angels in this 2004 file photo. Former Angel Sylvain Boulanger signed an agreement worth $2.9 million with police in Quebec for his role as an informant leading to the arrests of more than 120 members last week. Photograph by: Bill Keay, Vancouver Sun

From Montreal Gazette:

A retired member of the Hells Angels who was key to the police investigation that has crippled the outlaw motorcycle gang in Quebec had nearly 3 million reasons to become an informant.

Sylvain Boulanger, 45, a former member of the gang’s Sherbrooke chapter who decided to give evidence to investigators with the Regional Integrated Squads, signed a contract that pay him $2.9 million over the course of the agreement, The Gazette has learned. It is believed to be the largest contract awarded to an informant in Quebec.

Read more ....

It's Spring Cleaning Time In Montreal

Montreal in Spring Time

From The Globe And Mail:

Mayor struggles with an ethics crisis involving a former politician that is rocking his administration.

MONTREAL — Spring in Montreal is usually a time when city hall takes a broom to clean up smelly messes left behind in its parks and alleyways. This year, however, the mayor's clean-up effort is being directed at the odours emanating from city hall itself.

Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay, who has built his political career on a foundation of dull but steady stewardship, is struggling with an ethics crisis that is rocking his administration during an election year.

Read more ....

Boston 4 Montreal 1 -- Boston Wins The Series

Fans voiced their displeasure with Habs goalie Carey Price by mock cheering him when he made a routine save during the second period after already giving up four goals in Wednesday night's season-ending loss at the Bell Centre. Photograph by: John Mahoney, The Gazette

Habs' 100th Season Ends With A Thud -- The Montreal Gazette

Swept away by superior Bruins squad

When the Canadiens let Michael Ryder ride off into the sunset last summer, they were aware the Bonavista Bullet could return to haunt them.

And that's exactly what the Newfoundland native did last night, scoring two goals and adding an assist to lead the Boston Bruins to a 4-1 win over the Canadiens.

"It was great to end this series in Montreal, but I've forgotten what happened," Ryder said after the Bruins swept the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal series and officially ended the Canadiens' hopes of capping their centenary celebrations with a 25th Stanley Cup.

Read more ....

More News On Montreal's Last Game Of The Season

Boston beats Montreal 4-1 to sweep the Canadiens out of the playoffs -- Canadian Press
Habs slain by the killer B's -- Toronto Star
Sweep by Bruins a fitting end to Habs' season --
Habs swept out of playoffs -- Globe And Mail
Bruins rout Habs, claim first series win in 10 years -- Reuters
Bruins sweep aside Canadiens -- National Post
Canadiens couldn't compete --
Brooming house --
Disappointment muffles city streets -- Montreal Gazette
Hab fans burnt out after loss -- Edmonton Sun

Cooking With Maple Syrup

Suzanne Liu, chef and owner of the Soy Restaurant, adds a final garnish to her Chicken in Thai Red Curry and Maple Syrup with Asian eggplants. Photograph by: Tyrel Featherstone, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

Pile up the pancakes and pour it on. But don’t stop there.

Maple syrup isn’t just for breakfast or dessert, or for stretching, taffy-style, over the snow. Quebec’s most popular export is a favourite among chefs and home cooks, who love its subtle sweetness and complex flavours.

But they don’t relegate it to the dessert menu. Maple syrup also works beautifully in savory dishes and dressings, in marinades and glazes, or as an addition to condiments.

Read more ....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dalai Lama Is Coming To Montreal

The Dalaim Lama will be visiting Montreal on Oct. 3. Photograph by: Toshifumi Kitamura, Agence France-Presse via Getty Images

From The Montreal Gazette:

The Dalai Lama will visit Montreal on Oct. 3.

The spiritual leader will appear at the Bell Centre as part of a visit designed to promote the teaching of ethics through the education system.

Tickets will go on sale April 25.

The Canadian branch of the Dalai Lama Foundation says the Nobel Prize winner will meet with graduating students in Quebed-based university education programs as part of his visit.

The Bell Centre event that the Dalai Lama will be headlining is entitled Education of the Heart: The Power of Compassion.

Read more ....

Loblaw, Provigo, Metro Start Charging For Bags In Quebec

From CBC News:

Quebecers who shop at major grocery chains will have to pay five cents per plastic bag, starting Wednesday.

Loblaw, Provigo and Maxi stores across the province enacted the policy in an effort to convince customers to switch to reuseable bags.

The move is expected to reduce the number of bags sent to landfills each year by a billion, according to environmental groups.

Read more ....

Future Of Old Marianopolis Site Up For Debate

Public hearings on the future redevelopment of the old Marianopolis College site will start May 4, the city of Montreal said Wednesday morning. Photograph by: Allen McInnis, Gazette file photo

From The Montreal Gazette:

The city of Montreal announced a detailed plan Wednesday morning for a series of public-consultation meetings on a plan to redevelop the old Marianopolis College site on Côte des Neiges Rd.

Under the plan, hearings will begin May 4.

The hearings will look at a plan by a developer to convert the property on the southern slopes of Mount Royal into a residential complex with 325 units and 671 underground parking spaces.

Marianopolis CEGEP moved to a new building in Westmount in 2007.

Read more ....

Booing U.S. Anthem Gives Montreal A Bad Name

Charles Prévost-Linton and Jérémy Gabriel sing Canadian and U.S. national anthems at the Bell Centre. Photograph by: John Kenney, Gazette File Photo

From Montreal Gazette:

Montrealers like to think of themselves as fair, classy people but there’s nothing classy about the disgraceful conduct of the fans at the Bell Centre who booed the singing of the United States national anthem prior to Monday’s game between the Canadiens and the Boston Bruins.

It was impossible to hear Charles Prévost-Linton’s rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner because most of the sellout crowd of 21,273 drowned out his voice with boos or chants of Go Habs Go.

Read more ....

Merchants Brace For Post-Habs Vandals

A crowd gathers last April to watch cop cars burn after riots erupted in response to the Canadiens defeating the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the division quarterfinals. Photograph by: Tim Snow, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

Some Ste. Catherine St. merchants will close their doors before the final buzzer sounds at the Bell Centre Wednesday, saying they want to protect their merchandise from vandals who might riot if the Montreal Canadiens get swept by the Boston Bruins in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Fearing a repetition of looting that occurred after Montreal defeated the Boston Bruins last year, some merchants plan to cover their shopfronts with newspaper so their merchandise is not visible from the street.

Read more .....

City Says Water Meter Contract Process Followed The Rules

Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay speaks about the provincial budget in March 2009. Photograph by: John Mahoney, Montreal Gazette

Opposition Stymied With Ethics Queries -- The Montreal Gazette

Question on former top official's yacht trip blocked.

The fine print on a water meter contract that could cost city taxpayers more than $500 million by the time its 25-year term has finished came under scrutiny during an emergency council meeting called to examine how the deal was awarded two years ago.

But while city hall had pledged that any and all questions on the contract would be dealt with, a query from opposition leader Benoit Labonte on whether Mayor Gerald Tremblay’s former right hand man might have inadvertantly triggered a city regulation that would have killed the deal was quickly shot down.

Read more ....

More News On Montreal's Water-Meter Contract

Mayor fights back on water meters
-- The Montreal Gazette
City says water meter contract process followed the rules -- CTV
Montreal's water meter saga continues -- CBC
Yacht trip 'a blunder' I regret: Zampino -- Montreal Gazette

Quebec Films Stuck In A Rut

Seville Pictures' Cadavres, starring Patrick Huard and Julie LeBreton, cost $4.7 million to make but generated only $290,000 at the box office. Photograph by: Courtesy Seville Pictures.

From The Montreal Gazette:

Right smack in the middle of a major recession, film box office is booming in a huge way across North America. So why isn't our homegrown cinema enjoying the same sort of resurgence?

Overall film sales in Quebec this year are up 19.5 per cent from a year earlier, according to box-office tracking firm Cinéac. That pretty well mirrors what's going on at the multiplex across North America.

Read more ....

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Boston 4 Montreal 2

Canadiens goalie Carey Price looks behind him for the puck on goal by Bruins' Michael Ryder during the second period of Game 3 Monday night. Photograph by: John Mahoney, The Gazette

Bruins Push Habs To The Brink -- The Montreal Gazette

Rookie defenceman Yannick Weber had a hand in all the Canadiens’ scoring with a goal and an assist, but he said he couldn’t feel good about his performance in Montreal’s 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins Monday night.

“The power play wasn’t working and I normally blame myself for that,” said Weber, who has a reputation for being a power-play specialist. “We had opportunities, but I can’t be happy with my game.”

The Canadiens had three power plays to one for Boston but they managed only one weak attempt at jamming the puck in at the end of the third power play.

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More News On The Boston Montreal Hockey Game

Habs dig themselves a deep hole -- Globe And Mail
Bruins have Habs on the brink -- CBC
Bruins push Habs to the brink -- Toronto Star
Canadiens in massive hole --
Habs' hopes hanging by a thread -- CBC
Bruins on verge of clean sweep -- National Post
Canadiens insist they're not beaten yet --
Bruins deal Canadiens another blow --
Canadiens players feel hard work wasn't rewarded in 4-2 Game 3 loss to Bruins -- Canadian Press
The party never started in Montreal --
Season crashing to an end for Habs -- The Montreal Gazette

Canadian Grand Prix Rumours Refuse To Die

From The Toronto Star:

Quebec minister's comment give weight to earlier speculation.

Maybe Bernie Ecclestone wasn't dreaming out loud last week after all.

Negotiations have resumed to bring Formula One back to Montreal as early as 2010. And if talks have restarted for a Canadian race, you can bet there's behind-the-scenes activity for a U.S. Grand Prix as well.

What's given legitimacy to last week's report about Ecclestone's musings (in which he said "a government" in Canada wants F1 back) is a statement that Quebec Liberal MNA Raymond Bachand gave this past week to Montreal radio station CJAD.

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Quebec Paramedics Pass Strike Vote

Photo: Urgences-Sante paramedics want a $7-an-hour pay hike.

From CTV:

Quebec's 3,400 paramedics have given their union a strike mandate, though so far the union has not announced any walkout plans.

The paramedics, who include Urgences-Sante workers from Montreal and Laval, are affiliated with the CSN union.

They're pushing for a pay increase and want their top salary to be hiked to $30.40 an hour from the current level of $23.85.

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Horses Are The Real Stars Of This Show

Cavalia has been entrancing audiences around the world for six years. It opens here today and continues until June 1 at the north-east corner of Metropolitan highway and Décarie Blvd. Photograph by: PHIL CARPENTER, THE GAZETTE, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

Equestrian spectacle sets up tents here with 35 riders, acrobats, dancers, musicians.

Atila is curious about the heating vent. It's a blustery Wednesday and the gorgeous 7-year-old Lusitano stallion is exploring the confines of a spacious Cavalia practice tent, part of the equestrian spectacle's sprawling eight-tent installation set up off the northeast corner of the Metropolitan highway and Décarie Blvd.

Atila is a new addition to the 40 or so horses (representing 13 breeds) and 35 riders, acrobats, dancers and musicians who appear in the Quebec production, which has been entrancing audiences around the world for six years.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Quebec Paramedics Pass Strike Vote

Photo: Urgences-Sante paramedics want a $7-an-hour pay hike.

From CTV:

Quebec's 3,400 paramedics have given their union a strike mandate, though so far the union has not announced any walkout plans.

The paramedics, who include Urgences-Sante workers from Montreal and Laval, are affiliated with the CSN union.

They're pushing for a pay increase and want their top salary to be hiked to $30.40 an hour from the current level of $23.85.

Read more ...

Optimism On The Rise, Quebec Anglos Told

Graham Fraser, Canada’s commissioner of official languages, says "the optimists have the upper hand" in English-speaking Quebec. Photograph by: Rod MacIvor, CanWest News Service

From The Montreal Gazette:

MONTREAL - Within English-speaking Quebec these days, “the optimists have the upper hand,” Graham Fraser, Canada’s commissioner of official languages, said Friday.

That remains true, he added, despite the recent brief tempest that erupted over whether anglophone Michael Sabia – a 16-year resident of the province – was the best choice to safeguard the heavily eroded resources of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the prime retirement fund for all Quebecers.

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Whistleblower's Tip Line Useless: Union

A blue collar worker rejoins two colleagues after the trio stopped to look at an alley entrance (or perhaps verify if they were being followed) after driving in circles for over an hour in Montreal's Plateau district in March 2006. Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay said April 19, 2008 the city will set up a telephone tip line so the city's 22,000 workers can report fraud or conflicts of interest.Photograph by: Marcos Townsend, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

MONTREAL - A planned whistleblower hotline for city of Montreal workers will be useless, the head of the blue-collar workers’ union predicts.

“None of my members will use this,” Michel Parent told The Gazette yesterday.

“They would be found out,” he added about the planned tip line for the city’s 22,000 blue- and white-collar workers to report fraud and conflicts of interest in their workplaces.

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