Thursday, January 14, 2010

Quebec Drug Rehab Centre Closes Abruptly

The centre closed suddenly Jan. 7, 2010.

From The National Post:

MONTREAL -- A private drug-and-alcohol rehab centre in the Laurentian town of Chertsey closed abruptly this month and left cocaine and heroin addicts to fend for themselves in Montreal.

The Clear Haven Centre, which advertised a "holistic approach to substance abuse treatment" amid "122 beautiful wilderness acres," shut its doors on Jan. 7. But as late as Dec. 31, staff members were still accepting new patients and demanding thousands of dollars in payment up front.

Read more ....

Update #1: Rehab clinic dumps addicts at airport -- Toronto Star
Update #2: Dumped addicts' families eye lawsuit -- Toronto Star
Update #3: Quebec rehab center closes, kicks out 28 -- UPI

My Comment: It is always the vulnerable who get the shaft .... and drug addicts are one of the most vulnerable in society.

N.B. May Abandon NB Power Sale: Tory MLA

From The CBC:

A Progressive Conservative MLA predicts the New Brunswick government is going to abandon the sale of NB Power to Hydro-Québec.

Liberal Premier Shawn Graham has been shifting his rhetoric about planned changes to the deal, said Paul Robichaud.

"And I will probably not be surprised to see the government pulling the plug on the MOU [memorandum of understanding] they signed last fall," he said.

Read more ....

My Comment: I am starting hear a lot of seller remorse .... this tells me that the longer this drags on, the more likely it will be canceled.

N.D.G. Rapper Gets 9 Years For Shooting At SWAT Cop

From The Montreal Gazette:

Daniel Topey shot in back of neck during 2007 arrest.

MONTREAL – A man convicted of shooting at a police officer in N.D.G. was sentenced to nine years in jail Wednesday.

Daniel Topey, 24, was himself shot in the back of the neck by a SWAT team officer in April 2007, as the officer attempted to arrest him on drug-trafficking charges. The officer testified he only shot at Topey after the accused shot at him, while running away down the alley.

Read more ....

My Comment: The sentence was tough .... but he is guilty. He will still be out in a year or two .... the key at that time is to make sure that he does not go back to crime.

How Has Haiti's Earthquake Disaster Impacted Montrealers

Haitians set up impromtu tent cities thorough the capital after the earthquake.
Photo from The Daily Mail

First Group Of Haiti Evacuees To Arrive In Montreal -- CTV

Canada will begin evacuating Canadians from quake-ravaged Haiti aboard a Hercules aircraft on Thursday.

The first 100 Canadian evacuees, already in the neighbouring Dominican Republic, were to land at Trudeau airport at 11:30 p.m. Thursday evening. Evacuations will continue as long as needed, Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon told a news conference in Ottawa.

Read more ....

More News On the Haitian Earthquake And Montrealers Affected by this Disaster

Quebecers confirmed dead in Haitian quake -- CTV
Montreal couple among dead in Haiti earthquake -- CBC
Three Canadians killed in Haiti quake -- Montreal Gazette
UQÀM prof, wife among victims of Haiti quake -- Montreal Gazette
Expect more Canadian casualties in Haiti: Cannon -- CBC
Quebecers organize aid for Haiti -- CBC
Quebec announces Haitian aid effort -- CTV
Local Haitians offer relief, wait for news -- CTV
Canadian evacuees from Haiti to arrive in Montreal -- CBC
Montreal Haitians frantic for news of loved ones -- Montreal Gazette

Montrealers Hit With City Tax Hikes

Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay. Photograph by: Pierre Obendrauf, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

MONTREAL - The recession may be over, but Montreal taxpayers have been handed a bill for weathering the global economic meltdown, with residential tax rates across the city increasing an average of 5.3 per cent while the tax on commercial and other non-residential properties has been hiked by an average of six per cent.

Read more ....

Update #1: An array of tax hikes in new city budget; suburbs hit hard -- CTV
Update #2: Montreal property taxes going up -- CBC
Update #3: Montreal 2010 budget: surplus gone, taxes up -- Montreal Gazette

My Comment: There is no commitment or comment for tax hikes next year .... which means that there will be more increases in to the pipeline. Sigh .... we are screwed and screwed.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Montreal Hotels Suffer 16-Year-Low In Occupancy Rate

From CJAD:

Montreal hotels suffered a 16-year low last year when it comes to the number of rooms they filled up.

The Montreal Hotel Association reports a 60.5% occupancy rate for 2009, compared to 65.1% in 2008.

"We really have to go back to 1993 to have a year's occupancy rate amongst our association members of less than 60.5%," executive vice president Bill Brown told CJAD News.

The economy was a big factor in what he calls the perfect storm affecting the hotel industry.

Read more ....

My Comment: I have friends who work in the industry .... and they are all telling me the same thing. Business sucks.

Playoff Hunt Intensifies As Habs Rest

From The Montreal Gazette:

Canadiens cling to 8th place, but other teams have games in hand.

MONTREAL – Scott Gomez figures the Canadiens will have a better idea of where they are in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt by the time they play their next game Thursday against the visiting Dallas Stars.

"We have some time off and that will give the other teams a chance to catch up," Gomez said after the Canadiens let a point get away Saturday in a 2-1 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils.

Read more ....

My Comment: 8th place is nothing to be proud of.

Opposition Blasts Mayor For Tax Hikes

Photo: Harel says she'll listen to what's in the budget and she will consider voting against it.

From CTV:

Montreal opposition leader Louise Harel says she will consider voting against the budget to be tabled Wednesday - a budget that will include major tax hikes.

People in the suburbs could be looking at a 13 per cent increase in taxes to pay for regional services, while people in the city of Montreal could face a six per cent tax hike.

Read more ....

My Comment: I have to laugh .... Louise Harel was one of the architects in the PQ Government that created this mes to begin with .... and she is complaining?

As to her demand to install road tolls .... that will be death knell for business in Montreal.

New Recycling Bins Can't Stand The Cold

The prototype of new recycle bins for the city of Montreal was created by a Montreal company and are designed to be easily toted up and down stairs. Photograph by: Photo courtesy of the city of Montreal

From The Montreal Gazette:

New recycling bins created specially for the city of Montreal are up against a formidable foe this winter – the cold.

Montreal is testing new plastic bins that it hoped would encourage people to recycle more, but the city now has to deal with bins that break when the temperature drops below freezing.

Read more ....

My Comment: Ooopppssss .... someone missed this one.

Montreal Taxpayers Vote With Feet

People keep choosing off-island suburbs to live instead of staying in Montreal. Photograph by: MARIE-FRANCE COALLIER, THE GAZETTE


Exodus to off-island suburbs; Budget-maker touts city's attributes.

Alan DeSousa is an accountant by training and a politician by choice. As vice-chairperson of the Montreal executive committee and the man in charge of the finance portfolio, he possesses the skill set to oversee Montreal's $4-billion budget for 2010.

But DeSousa acknowledges there's more to budget-making than ensuring revenues are not exceeded by expenses.

(Montreal, like every other municipality in Quebec, is forbidden by law to run a deficit.)

Read more ....

My Comment: 10 years ago .... I owed 3 duplexes. I got rid of two of them last year because I was getting fed up with paying high taxes on property that I did not live in. I am now at a crossroads .... should I leave my home in LaSalle and move to my farm .... or should I stay. At present, I pay $5,800 in taxes on my home .... if it should go by above $6,500 .... it is goodbye for me. Sigh .... after living in LaSalle for 50 years .... I will be gone.

Poutine Making Inroads To American Bellies, Hearts

New Yorkers are learning to love Quebec's artery-busting delicacy.

From CTV:

Unless it's maple syrup, it's unlikely many Americans could identify an example of truly Canadian cuisine. But it seems one national dish, a belly-busting concoction born in La Belle province, is creating a buzz south of the border.

Poutine -- a mixture of French fries, cheese curds and hot gravy -- is making it onto menus alongside typical American fare like cheeseburgers and chili dogs.

Read more ....

My Comment: I have to make a confession .... I had to stop eating poutine. I love the stuff. It is addictive. But my waistline cannot take it.

Quebec Pitches Plan Nord To Cree

Caribou at the Raglan nickel site in Northern Quebec, Canada. Photo from Xstrata

From The CBC:

Quebec ministers met with Cree leaders on Monday to discuss the province's ambitious Plan Nord, a long-term road map for economic development in its farthest geographic reaches.

The province is keen to allay fears among First Nations leaders that the far-reaching resource development project will affect existing treaties, and impede aboriginal sovereignty over land use.

Deputy minister Nathalie Normandeau told some 100 Cree leaders gathered in Mistissini that the plan hatched by Jean Charest's Liberal government will be adjusted to reflect existing treaties with First Nations in Quebec.

Read more ....

My Comment: The focus for these discussions is to develop hydro-electic projects, but the resource and timber base is also incredible and will be the focus in the next few years.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Rebuilding The Bonaventure

Aurèle Cardinal, head of Cardinal Hardy architectural firm which is involved in such high-profile projects as Bonventure Expressway, redesign of Dorchester Square and Quartier Concordia, outside his office. Photograph by: Pierre Obendrauf, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

Cardinal Hardy is leaving his mark on Montreal.

MONTREAL – If you live in Montreal and you don’t know Cardinal Hardy, maybe you just aren’t looking hard enough.

For the last 15 years, this architectural firm founded by Aurèle Cardinal and Michel Hardy has quietly taken the reins on many of the city’s biggest design, landscaping and construction ventures – from the renovation and expansion of Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport to transformation of the Redpath Sugar refinery as canal lofts, upgrades at Beaver Lake, modernization of Notre Dame St. W. and the rescue of St. James United Church from behind a dingy storefront.

Read more ....

My Comment: With multi-billion dollar deficits, I do not see them doing anything extravagant. But his viewpoint is a must read.

What If Quebecers Got Ttheir Wish, And The Oilsands Closed?

From The Montreal Gazette:

Economic impact would be devastating, even affecting Quebec's social programs.

Today, let's have some fun and play fairy godmother to Quebec. Let's grant the province the wish it articulated in Copenhagen. Wave the magic wand and poof, wish granted. Shut down Alberta's oilsands, except, since it's Quebec making the wish, we have to call it tarsands, even though it's not tar they use to run their Bombardier planes, trains, and Skidoos.

Read more ....

My Comment:I could not have said it any better.

On a side note .... I am just curious .... what happens if Quebec separates. Will they still be entitle to this money? .... I doubt it.

Season Flu Shot Clinics Open Across Quebec

From CTV:

Quebecers are being asked to roll up their sleeves again -- this time for the seasonal flu vaccine.

Flu clinics opened up Monday across the province.

The seasonal flu shots are free for people in high risk groups.

They include children under the age of two, people 60 and over, and people with a range of illnesses.

The illnesses include heart, lung and kidney ailments, diabetes, cancer asthma and immune deficiencies.

Health are workers can also get free flu shots.

Read more ....

Montreal Suburbs Decry 13% Hike In Agglo Expenses

Mayor Gérald Tremblay's administration issued levy notices to Montreal's 15 suburbs on Dec. 18, 2009. Photograph by: Pierre Obendrauf, The Gazette

From The Montreal Gazette:

'Alarming' increases driven by 'runaway spending': Westmount mayor.

MONTREAL – Montreal island suburbs have been told to expect an average 13-per-cent increase in their share of agglomeration expenses in the 2010 city of Montreal budget to be made public Wednesday.

Suburban mayors make reference to the 13-per-cent figure in a news release they issued Monday morning, two days in advance of the Jan. 13 budget date. The mayors say they are upset that they didn’t have a greater say in determining agglomeration spending for 2010, and accused the Tremblay administration of a lack of rigour in spending restraint.

Read more ....

My Comment: 13% increase .... I will also call this "runaway spending".

Halle Berry Jumps Queue At Trudeau Airport

Halle Berry, husband Gabriel Aubry and their 22-month-old daughter were whisked through security at Trudeau international airport – with the help of a Montreal Police officer. Photograph by: Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Halle Berry Avoids Airline Scrutiny In Montreal -- Toronto Sun

MONTREAL - The new security measures put in place at airports does not apply to everyone, it seems.

According to an independent journalist who was standing in line for a flight at Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau on Monday, U.S. actress Halle Berry, her partner and their child were ushered through the boarding queue and directly to their flight, ahead of waiting passengers.

Read more ....

More News On Halle Berry

Cop helps Halle Berry jump line at airport -- Toronto Star
Officer let Halle Berry bypass airport security line -- CBC
Actress gets a jump on airport queue -- Globe And Mail
Halle Berry jumps queue at Trudeau airport --
Montreal police admit Berry skipped airport line -- CTV
If You Were Halle Berry, You Could Jump Airport Lines, Too -- E! Online

Montreal Taxes Going Up

Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay will unveil the city's $4.3-billion budget for 2010 on Wednesday. Photograph by: Pierre Obendrauf, The Gazette

Mayor Tremblay's Challenge: Avoid Budget Backlash -- Montreal Gazette

Tax hikes are likely to be announced Wednesday to make up shortfall.

"The problem is that we only, or almost only, hear from people who are against something; we rarely hear from those in favour."

– Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay, May 22, 2009

MONTREAL – It isn't as if we weren't warned.

When Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay unveils the city's $4.3-billion budget for 2010 on Wednesday, he will be detailing the height, weight and ugliness of the fiscal gorilla he and his councillors have been alluding to for much of the last year.

Read more ....

Update: Montreal homeowners should expect tax hike -- CBC

My Comment: I thought that when the suburbs were forced into joining Montreal .... our taxes will be going down or stable. But since amalgamation my taxes have more than doubled .... and who knows what this week.

Hmmmm .... I/we have been lied to (again) by our politicians.

Cracks Open Up In Laval Metro Tunnels

The Laval metro tunnels have at least 17 cracks that are more than
six feet long and more than one millimeter wide.

From CTV News:

The Laval metro is not even three years old, and already the cracks are showing.

Media reports on Monday say that at least 17 cracks have opened up in the tunnels of the new metro network - all are more than six feet long and more than one millimeter wide.

The cracks have not been repaired despite an engineer's recommendation back in November 2007 - just seven months after the Laval network opened to the public.

Read more ....

My Comment: This is discouraging .... either we are having some minor earthquakes in Laval, or someone did not use the right concrete.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Expect Boost In Montreal Property Values

Montreal Skyline

From The Montreal Gazette:

It's "way too early to tell" how big the boost in Montreal Island's municipal evaluations will be in a new tax roll to take effect Jan. 1, 2011, Montreal city spokesperson Patricia Lowe said Tuesday.

The current roll values all buildings and land across the island at $195.7 billion.

Preliminary work began last summer on the upcoming three-year roll. To be unveiled next September, it will provide the basis for municipal taxes levied through the end of 2013 -- –from the western to eastern tips of the island.

Michel Benoit will be keeping an eagle eye on the process.

Read more ....

My Comment: Here comes the ENORMOUS tax increases.

Mariott On Peel St. Deemed Safe

Photo: A slab of concrete fell from the 18th floor of the Marriott Residence Inn, on Peel Street, in July.

Montreal Hotel Deemed Safe After Fatal Accident -- CBC

Woman killed by falling concrete block last July.

A hotel in downtown Montreal has finally been deemed safe five months after a block of concrete fell from the façade, killing a woman below.

Quebec’s Régie du bâtiment, the provincial agency responsible for enforcing the building safety code, has received an engineer’s report attesting to the safety of the Marriott Residence Inn on Peel Street following the incident last July.

Read more ....

Update: Mariott on Peel St. deemed safe -- CTV

My Comment:That part of the city core will never be the same.

Que. In Gambling Addiction Treatment Deal: Report

From The CBC:

A settlement may be in the works between the Quebec government and Loto-Québec in a legal battle over the cost of treating people with gambling addiction, according to a published report.

La Presse said Thursday that the provincial government has agreed to reimburse treatment costs for problem gamblers between 1994 and 2002.

The agreement reportedly settles the class action lawsuit brought against Loto-Québec in 2001.

Read more ....

Update: Gambling addicts get $50 M compensation deal -- CTV

My Comment: This 'agreement" is just a drop in the bucket to solve a problem that is pervasive throughout our society. Oh well .... like all politicians .... they believe that throwing away some money may get rid of the problem.

Firebombings Continue In Montreal

Montreal police are investigating an arson attack early Thursday at the La Belle Province restaurant on Ste. Catherine St. E., at the corner of Bourbonnière Ave. Photograph by: Google Street Views, The Gazette

Arsonists Strike Again, Firebomb La Belle Province -- Montreal Gazette

Third Molotov attack in Montreal in two days

MONTREAL – Police are investigating a third Molotov cocktail attack in Montreal in two days.

An arsonist broke a window of a La Belle Province restaurant on Ste. Catherine St. E., near the corner of Bourbonnière Ave., at 12:50 a.m. Thursday and lobbed in a Molotov cocktail.

The fire was quickly extinguished, and damages were limited to the counter and part of the floor, police said.

Read more ....

Update #1: Firebombings continue in Montreal -- CBC
Update #2: Restaurant firebombed on Ste-Catherine St. -- CTV

My Comment: It appears that there is some type of war/conflict now happening between various criminal groups in Montreal.

Back From A Nice Vacation.

Had a wonderful vacation ..... but like all good things they must come to an end. Blogging will resume today.