Mitch Joel WARNING... LONG RANT! It takes a lot for me to both get angry and publish about it. Canada’s…
Céline Cooper writes: Lisée charts wrong course for Montreal
(The Gazette Opinion) Jean-François Lisée, the Parti Québécois’s minister responsible for Montreal, is to be commended for the talk titled Pourquoi je suis Montréalo-optimiste — a manifesto on his vision for the future of Montreal — that he gave last week to the Jeune Chambre de Commerce de Montréal.
I would like to open up a conversation with Minister Lisée about the dissonance between his vision for Montreal as a world-class city of creativity and innovation in a Quebec that is “open to the world,” and the social engineering being proposed to achieve those aims.
Positioning Montreal as a metropolis of innovation in the 21st century means affirming it as an inclusive city for our times.
Many theorists have suggested that we should start to think about the future of our interconnected and interdependent global societies through the city, rather than the “nation.” This is because cities are growing increasingly less dependent on traditional national narratives and are actually causing those narratives to evolve.
One of the things that sets Montreal apart from every emerging North American city of innovation — and there is plenty of competition in that area from cities like Boston, Toronto, Austin and San Francisco — is the French language and culture. Lisée and I share this view.
But if we truly want our metropole to become a hub of global innovation, we must start thinking positively about how our unique multi-linguistic resources connect us to the rest of the world. Our embattled CEGEPs and universities, for example, could be transformed into bridges that connect North American, African, Asian, Latin American and European economies, knowledge networks and intellectual markets in a way that institutions in other cities cannot.
Hélène-de-Champlain: une facture de 16,2 millions pour la Ville
L’interminable feuilleton de la réfection du pavillon Hélène-de-Champlain, qui devait coûter 5,3 millions en 2006 puis a perdu son partenaire privé le printemps dernier, achève. La facture qu’auront à éponger les contribuables montréalais sera de 16,2 millions, a décidé mercredi le comité exécutif, qui étudiait ce dossier controversé pour la quatrième fois depuis la fin du mois d’octobre. …
Le lieu est essentiellement connu pour avoir hébergé un restaurant exploité par l’animateur Pierre Marcotte de 1983 à 2009. [NO – for the older generation, HdeC’s glorious moments were during Expo 67 when it served as the Pavillon d’honneur, where the official receptions hosted by the Commissioner General took place. There was also a memorable dinner on the occasion of the 10th anniversary celebration before the interior was ruined by a series of tasteless and kitschy ‘renovations’.]
Finally one politician who understands the importance of Expo 67!
Jean François Lisée: Guérir Montréal d’ici à 2017
Le ministre de la Métropole entend s’attaquer en priorité aux fléaux de la corruption et de la congestion routière
(Le Devoir) M. Lisée rêve que la métropole retrouve son prestige juste à temps pour le 50e anniversaire de l’Expo 67, en 2017. Le ministre accorde plus d’importance à ce 50e qu’au 375e anniversaire de Montréal, ou même au 150e anniversaire de la Confédération canadienne, qui tombent aussi en 2017.
«Pour moi, c’est beaucoup plus évocateur, a-t-il dit. Vrai, Maisonneuve et Jeanne Mance ont mis au monde Montréal il y a bientôt 375 ans, mais les Montréalais se sont mis au monde il y a bientôt 50 ans.»
(National Post) For the first time in 100 years, Montreal has an anglophone mayor following a string of improbable events that rocked the administration of a scandal-weary city.
Michael Applebaum won a vote at city council, 31-29, to become the city’s first non-francophone mayor since just before the First World War.
He will be an interim mayor and will serve for only a year, with a promise not to run in the next municipal election of November 2013. He is also determined to limit the tax increase that had been planned by Tremblay’s administration. “It will be 2.2 percent. That’s the inflation rate,” said Applebaum.
Henry Aubin: Short term as mayor gives Applebaum glorious opportunities
… Everyone knows Montreal’s municipal government is rickety, anachronistic, obese, overspending (even without corruption) and inertia-stricken. This is not primarily because of the particular individuals in charge of city hall (though, those individuals have certainly not helped), but, rather, because of underlying structures. …
My point is that Applebaum has an opportunity to think big and help prepare the way for intelligent reform. …
What Montreal Island needs right now is careful, impartial study of questions relating to various structures. For example: political structure (are municipal parties beneficial and, if not, should city taxpayers subsidize them?); democratic structure (does Montreal need 104 city and borough councillors?); administrative structure (what’s the proper relationship between the central city and the boroughs?); megacity structure (should, as Harel urges, boroughs have less power or, as Trent suggests, should they be allowed to evolve toward becoming distinct municipalities?); and regional structure (should off-island suburbs do more to support the island?).
(CTV) Applebaum said he plans to work hard for the city, and he bears no ill will toward Deschamps. In fact he is ready to have Deschamps maintain a role on the Executive Committee.
(CBC) Westmount Mayor Peter Trent said he was cynical at first, but is optimistic for the future of city politics.
“I see a breaking down of the party system, which I think is excellent.”
Trent said he is looking forward to more brainstorming and coming together at City Hall. He also suggested reducing the size of council.
“I was never a huge fan of Applebaum, but I must tell you that he has conducted himself with a great deal of dignity,” Trent said.
Update Peter Trent launches Demerger book
AVAILABLE NOV 15 – The Merger Delusion: How Swallowing Its Suburbs Made an Even Bigger Mess of Montreal
By Peter Trent
Powerless under the country’s constitution, Canadian municipal governments often find themselves in conflict with their provincial masters. In 2002, the Province of Quebec forcibly merged all cities on the Island of Montreal into a single municipality – a decision that was partially reversed in 2006. The first book-length study of the series of mergers imposed by the Parti Québécois government, The Merger Delusion is a sharp and insightful critique by a key player in anti-merger politics. Peter Trent, mayor of the City of Westmount, Quebec, foresaw the numerous financial and institutional problems posed by amalgamating municipalities into megacities. Here, he presents a stirring and detailed account of the battle he led against the provincial government, the City of Montreal, the Board of Trade, and many of his former colleagues.
Also available through Amazon and McGill Queen`s
Une révolution de palais à Montréal
(La Presse) Une semaine. Une seule petite semaine et tout a changé. Gérald Tremblay a démissionné. L’élection de son successeur devait être une formalité. Jeudi, Union Montréal a choisi Richard Deschamps, qui s’occupe du déneigement, des infrastructures et autres craques de trottoir. En principe, l’affaire était dans le sac.
C’était sans compter sur Michael Applebaum, ex-président du comité exécutif et bras droit de Gérald Tremblay.
Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay resigns
(Globe & Mail) The beleaguered mayor of scandal-ridden Montreal has resigned.
Gérald Tremblay stepped down from his post shortly after 7 p.m. Monday, one year before the end of his mandate, amid growing evidence he knew he was presiding over rot at city hall but avoided getting involved.
Henry Aubin: Change for change’s sake is not a compelling argument for getting rid of Mayor Gérald Tremblay
… his alleged turning of a blind eye to illegal behaviour ought to disqualify him from public office. But he’s there, he deserves a chance to try to clear his name (maybe he’ll get it in testifying before the commission later this month) and he can’t do much harm if he stays in office a final year.
The problem is not Gérald Tremblay per se so much as his large, cynical party. If he leaves, the party remains. Whomever the party might propose as a successor might not be an improvement.
If Union Montreal can somehow offer a Gerald Ford, fine, let’s wave Tremblay goodbye. If not, forget it for now.
[The polls says Denis Coderre is the front-runner: A CROP-La Presse poll a month ago gave the undeclared candidate 26-per-cent support, more than twice that of anyone else. (Louise Harel and Richard Bergeron came in at 12 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively.) But the federal MP from Montréal-Nord so far has a reputation closer to that of an old-school pol than of a beacon of reform.
Indeed, La Presse reported Friday that official records show that Lino Zambito, Elio Pagliarulo and several other business people linked to the Montreal area’s demimonde have made donations to Coderre’s Liberal riding association within the last 11 years. To be sure, the donations have been legal, but they won’t make it any easier for Coderre to cast himself as a gung-ho Mr. Clean.]
Mayoral term limits wouldn’t stop lure of kickbacks: Peter Trent
Montreal Island mayors cool to Marois’s idea
(Montreal Gazette) The Quebec government’s idea to limit mayors to three terms is a Band-Aid solution that won’t remove the lure of kickbacks in city councils, some Montreal Island mayors say.
Premier Pauline Marois mentioned mayoral term limits in her inaugural speech on Wednesday. After some push-back from Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume (in his second term) and Saguenay Mayor Jean Tremblay (in his third term), the premier, whose minority government needs opposition party support to pass bills, said the idea is merely up for discussion.
But term limits won’t affect the fundamental reasons city councillors and mayors are tempted to make deals with contractors in exchange for city contracts, Westmount Mayor Peter Trent said.
“This smacks of a silver-bullet solution,” said Trent, elected mayor four times since 1991.
“There’s no empirical evidence that limiting the number of terms a mayor can serve means you’re going to somehow reduce corruption,” said Trent, 66, who added he has not decided yet if he will run again in province-wide municipal elections set for Nov. 3, 2013. “Most of the (alleged) shenanigans occurred in Montreal Mayor Tremblay’s first and second terms, anyway.”
Tremblay administration under fire as mayor takes break
Mayor Peter Trent says reconsideration of tax hikes is too late
(CBC) The Trembaly administration said Thursday the city is ready to reconsider the property tax hike announced on Tuesday, to ease Montrealers’ mounting frustration over allegations of corruption at city hall.
Suburban mayors, including Trent, rejected the city’s budget proposal, which contained an average tax hike of 3.3 per cent.
“Citizens are frustrated. They feel that they’ve been robbed, with everything that they’ve seen in the commission, so what I’m looking at right now is the tax rate,” said head of the city’s executive committee Michael Applebaum.
The announcement that the majority Union Montreal party is considering overhauling the budget, comes as Mayor Gérald Tremblay announced he was taking a couple days off following allegations that he turned a blind eye to corruption. … If Tremblay chooses to step down, today is the final day that decision would lead to a by-election. Otherwise, city councillors would elect a person to hold the position on an interim basis, pending the municipal election in Nov. 2013.
City hall’s engulfed in a corruption scandal, mayor’s gone, budget plan’s in ashes
(Canadian Press) Montreal’s embattled mayor has decided to take a few days off while city hall is engulfed in a corruption scandal that has already torched some of his ability to govern.
The administration’s prerogative to pass a budget appears to have been undermined by the crisis of confidence sweeping over the city.
Mayor Gerald Tremblay’s administration announced Thursday that it would consider tabling a new annual budget — just 48 hours after presenting its original plan. In the midst of a scandal over waste and theft at city hall, the municipal administration had attempted to pass a 3.3 per cent increase in property taxes.
MUHC board may backtrack on road naming
Spokesperson specifies no such move being considered ‘at this point in time’
(Motreal Gazette) The new board of directors of the McGill University Health Centre could backtrack on a decision made less than a year ago to name the main entry road to its $1.3-billion superhospital complex in the Glen Yard after Arthur Porter, its former chief executive officer and executive director, an MUHC spokesperson said Saturday. They cannot be serious about even thinking about doing this!
Making new Champlain Bridge a standout design ‘could rebrand Montreal’
Stephen Leopold says Montrealers should drop their collective cynicism and start thinking big again — starting with the Champlain Bridge
(Montreal Gazette) To galvanize support for a distinctive span, Leopold launched Audacité Montréal in June, gaining support from high-profile Montrealers, including Paul Desmarais Jr., Stephen Jarislowsky and Gilbert Rozon.
This week, Audacité Montréal launched an online campaign to convince Ottawa to make the new Champlain an iconic international symbol, not just another utilitarian roadway.
The online effort — at audacitemontreal.com — includes a petition calling for “ an architectural icon of international magnitude to drive tourism and business — a bridge that will incite the pride and ‘can do’ spirit of Montrealers and Quebecers.”
Ex-city manager accused of pocketing money at Quebec inquiry
A former top bureaucrat who was once promoted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former chief spokesman to head the Port of Montreal is now being accused of pocketing cash in testimony at Quebec’s corruption commission.
Former construction boss Lino Zambito testified he had his arm twisted in 2005 to use sewer pipes supplied by a company favoured by then Montreal city manager Robert Abdallah, who would receive the $300,000 extra the pipes would cost. Mr. Zambito said he was promised the extra money would come from so-called “extras” that were frequently billed to the city to inflate contracts.
… Mr. Abdallah left city hall under mysterious circumstances in 2006. His name rose again to prominence last year when it emerged that in 2007 Mr. Harper’s then-spokesman, Dimitri Soudas, and Senator Leo Housakos, had suggested Mr. Abdallah to lead the port.
The Bloc Québécois produced tape recordings that showed businessman Bernard Poulin and Tony Accurso, another construction magnate embroiled in allegations surrounding Montreal’s system of bid-rigging, planned on soliciting the help of the two Conservatives to promote Mr. Abadallah’s candidacy. Other Conservative ministers, such as Michael Fortier, intervened to stop Mr. Abadallah from getting any further in the process.
Corruption: Gérald Tremblay «choqué» de ne pas avoir été avisé
(La Presse) Le maire de Montréal, Gérald Tremblay, estime qu’il est «profondément inacceptable» que la Gendarmerie royale du Canada (GRC) n’ait pas transmis aux autres corps policiers les images révélatrices diffusées cette semaine.
On y voit notamment des entrepreneurs en construction connus, qui ont obtenu des centaines de millions en contrats de la Ville de Montréal, donner de l’argent comptant à la mafia. «Lorsque j’ai vu les images à la télévision, comme citoyen, comme maire de Montréal, j’ai été profondément choqué, a-t-il déclaré aujourd’hui
Le maire Tremblay perd un précieux collaborateur
André Lavallée, ancien maire de l’arrondissement de Rosemont et conseiller de Gérald Tremblay pour les dossiers liés au centre-ville, quitte la métropole pour la capitale.
M. Lavallée prend la direction de Québec où il sera nommé, aujourd’hui, sous-ministre à la métropole et aux affaires municipales.
(Global) Marois’ best-known and most aggressive spokesman on language policy was placed in a role that, on the surface, gives him only peripheral involvement in the file.
Jean-François Lisée, another former journalist who advised past PQ premiers, will be responsible for international affairs. But he will also be minister responsible for Montreal — the scene of the vast majority of language disputes in the province.
Marois also tasked Lisee, who has been extremely vocal about the need for more stringent language laws, with the role of building bridges with Quebec Anglos. Read Global Montreal | New PQ government has minister responsible for making Quebec more independent
Anti-corruption unit raids English superhospital offices
The province’s anti-corruption unit is executing search warrants at offices of the McGill University Health Centre this morning.
Mafia expert reveals mob secrets at Quebec inquiry
Charbonneau corruption commission hears how crime families make billions
(CBC) A total of 50 witnesses are expected to be heard this fall, including many law-enforcement experts. CBC’s French-language news service has reported that former FBI agent Joseph Pistone, who infiltrated New York’s Bonanno mafia family for five years under the cover name Donnie Brasco, will be among them
Montreal to focus repairs on water infrastructure, roads
(CBC) The City of Montreal released its three-year plan for infrastructure on Thursday. It announced it wants to invest more than $4 billion in the coming years to fix old and broken infrastructure.
According to the plan, most of the money will go toward water, sewage and road projects.
Last spring, the city saw an increased amount of broken water mains, sinking streets and minor floods.
The city said 75 per cent of funds in the new plan will go toward repairs and the remainder will be focused on new construction. From the repair fund, $1.4 billion will go toward water infrastructure and nearly $700 million will be dedicated to roadwork.
La Biosphère est une icône, une des rares oeuvres architecturales capables de représenter Montréal d’un seul coup d’oeil. Et pourtant, son avenir se joue actuellement à Ottawa, derrière des portes closes…
Sans en avoir discuté avec la Ville de Montréal, le gouvernement Harper a en effet décidé de transformer ce symbole hors du commun, à la fin 2013, en un banal édifice administratif, fermé au public. Il s’agit d’un affront patrimonial, rien de moins.
Le dôme conçu pour Expo 67 par l’architecte Richard Buckminster Fuller abrite à l’heure actuelle le Musée de l’environnement, une mission éducative que le fédéral veut revoir afin de «mieux concentrer les ressources d’Environnement Canada sur les activités qui contribuent directement à l’exécution de son mandat».
Montréal annule un appel d’offres pour la réfection de trottoirs
(La Presse) Montréal a annulé la semaine dernière un appel d’offres pour la réfection de trottoirs, car le prix proposé par le plus bas soumissionnaire était «beaucoup plus élevé» que ce que les fonctionnaires avaient prévu. … Selon un reportage de l’agence QMI publié en avril 2011, les quatre entreprises qui ont participé à cet appel d’offres, Pavage C.S.F, B.P. Asphalte, Pavages A.T.G et Mivela Construction, se sont partagé 78 des 79 contrats de réfection des trottoirs entre 2008 et 2010.
L’avenir de la Biosphère entre les mains de la Ville
Le gouvernement fédéral a informé la Ville de son plan de réaménagement afin de mettre fin aux activités muséales de la Biosphère. Des discussions sont en cours afin de renégocier l’entente entre la Ville, qui est la propriétaire, et le gouvernement, qui loue l’espace.
Un changement de vocation dénoncé
Le gouvernement Harper veut mettre fin aux activités muséales de la Biosphère
(Le Devoir) Environnement Canada affirme maintenant que les activités éducatives offertes dans l’ancien pavillon américain d’Expo 67 sont de « moindre importance » pour le ministère.
AudaCité Montréal : le pont doit être une icône touristique
MONTRÉAL, le 20 juin 2012 /CNW Telbec/ – Un groupe de leaders québécois de différents milieux et générations demande aux gouvernements de se servir de l’opportunité extraordinaire de remplacer le désuet pont Champlain par un pont du 21ième siècle, une icône, un emblème touristique pour Montréal, pour le Québec et le pays tout entier.
AudaCité Montréal est née de l’initiative du leader reconnu de l’immobilier Stephen Léopold, président et fondateur de Léopold Montréal Immobilier. « Les buts d’AudaCité Montréal sont ambitieux, mais fort réalisables. Il s’agit d’avoir la volonté de rêver encore. Il faut construire un pont qui deviendra le symbole mondial de Montréal, comme le fait le Golden Gate à San Francisco, la Tour Eiffel à Paris ou la Maison de l’Opéra à Sydney », a déclaré Stephen Léopold.
Montreal’s crumbling roads driving away business: survey
(Financial Post) Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec chief executive Michael Sabia raised some eyebrows recently when he said that the roads and infrastructure around Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport are so bad that you’d be forgiven if you thought you’d landed in the “Third World.”
A new survey by the Montreal Board of Trade suggests that executives in the Montreal metropolitan region believe the area’s crumbling road system, which now seems perpetually under construction, is the main reason the city’s economic competitiveness has stalled against other jurisdictions. A full 70% of business leaders polled said Montreal is a less attractive place to do business today than it was five years ago.
The man who sparked Quebec’s corruption inquiry
By Terence McKenna,
(CBC) Straight arrow Jacques Duchesneau, Montreal’s former police chief, is to be the star witness when the inquiry into construction industry begins formal hearings on Wednesday
Police arrest 40 on eve of Montreal Grand Prix
(RCI) Demonstrators were detained when hundreds of protesters tried to disrupt downtown festivities surrounding the Formula One Grand Prix auto race this weekend. Grand Prix organizers say that the student protests during the past three months have led many racing fans to skip this year’s race, which has failed to sell out for the first time in many years.
Schwartz’s Deli sold but stays on the Main
New owners promise no franchises
It’s official: the Montreal landmark Schwartz’s Deli has been sold to the families of Céline Dion and well–known restaurateur Paul Nakis – and it is staying on the Main.
McGillLeaks publishes confidential internal documents
Anonymous group launches online platform for leaks
(McGill Daily) The first release of documents contains donor and corporation profiles, correspondence pertaining to corporate funding, histories of corporate donations and relations, and industrial partnerships – notably a Memorandum of Understanding between McGill and Canadian pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline Inc.
McGill principal Heather Munroe-Blum will leave controversial legacy
Hailed by some for making university better, Monroe-Blum’s departure welcomed by others
Adam Daifallah: Make it a bridge to magnificence
(Montreal Gazette) The world’s best and brightest should be invited to make the Champlain replacement span a monument for the 21st century
Once in a generation there may come to a fortunate people a magnificent opportunity.
Today we Quebecers have an unparalleled chance to build a new structure that will astonish the world.
We have the opportunity to bring forth a new symbol of the Quebec and Canadian nations and of the wonderful metropolis of Montreal and its region: a spectacular, iconic new gateway to link Montreal to the rest of the world, a structure that, through inspired design, state-of-the-art technology, brilliant execution and sheer beauty, will be our equivalent to the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House and the Statue of Liberty. A structure that will drive Montreal’s strength for business and industry, academia, the arts, and residential and commercial real estate.
MUHC’s Porter steps down
(Montreal Gazette) On Nov. 10, Porter resigned as chairman of Canada’s Security and Intelligence Review Committee – the country’s spy watchdog – after the National Post reported that he wired $200,000 last year to a Montreal-based international arms dealer for an infrastructure deal in his native Sierra Leone that ultimately fell through.
Sources have told The Gazette that both board members and Porter have since [the emergency board meeting] come to the conclusion that it would be in the best interests of the MUHC for him to leave immediately.
What’s not clear is the extent of his severance package.
La région de Montréal, la plus taxée au Québec
Les Québécois ont vu leurs comptes d’impôt foncier augmenter deux fois plus vite que l’inflation depuis cinq ans, révèle une compilation effectuée par La Presse. Et c’est de loin dans la région de Montréal que les propriétaires paient les taxes les plus élevées.
McGill University Health Centre forms special committee to oversee departure of Arthur Porter
The board of the McGill University Health Centre issued a statement Monday reiterating its support for embattled executive director Arthur Porter after an emergency meeting Sunday, but stated it has formed a special committee to oversee a smooth transition of leadership before Porter’s scheduled departure in April.
MUHC calls emergency meeting to discuss future of its CEO
(CTV) Last May, Porter announced he would not seek another term with the MUHC but would stay on until next spring to help find a successor.
À méditer ce week-end: quel cadeau offrir à Montréal pour son 375e?
Il reste maintenant 2017 jours pour choisir le legs de 2017…
Montréal fêtera alors ses 375 ans. L’Expo aura 50 ans. Et la Confédération, 150 ans. La Ville aimerait donc souligner la chose en grand. Pas en grandiose, mais en grand tout de même…
Dr. Arthur Porter resigns spy agency watchdog post
The company he keeps
(National Post) Recent revelations about the private business activities of Dr. Arthur T. Porter, the appointed chairman of SIRC, have given Canadians cause to question his judgment.
The revelations concern a business transaction that Dr. Porter entered into with Ari Ben-Menashe, a Canadian with a colourful past. Mr. Ben-Menashe has worked for Zimbabwean ruler Robert Mugabe, helping ensnare a political opponent of Mr. Mugabe with videotaped conversations ostensibly plotting the overthrow of Zimbabwe’s government. Mr. Ben-Menashe claims involvement in Iran-Contra, the illegal transfer of military hardware from the United States to Iran, via Israel, during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. He also has claimed to have been involved with Israeli intelligence, something that the Israeli government has confirmed.
Arthur Porter Resignation: Spy Watchdog Quits Amid Concerns About Business Dealings
(HuffPost) The head of Canada’s spy watchdog painted himself as a man of integrity even as he quit amid concerns about his business dealings. Spy watchdog’s business dealings raise eyebrows
Spy review board chief offered me job: Senator
Mr. Angus is chairman of MUHC, which he said makes him Dr. Porter’s “boss” at the health centre. He told the National Post last week that on one occasion over lunch, Dr. Porter “asked if I wanted to be the consulate, or the consul general, in Montreal. I really wasn’t interested and I felt it conflicted with my duties as a senator.” He said he immediately turned down the suggestion.
Céline Cooper: French is alive and well
(Montreal Gazette) Linguistic fluidity is Montreal’s creative manna, and it should be a source of celebration, not divisiveness
Quebec construction work stoppages enter 2nd day
Allegations of threats and intimidation rise
(CBC) Most of the 500 workers building the McGill University Health Centre’s superhospital in Montreal’s west end did not show up for work Tuesday, while others were forced out by groups bearing union insignia. There was a significant police presence on the scene.
A similar scene occurred Tuesday at the site of the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) superhospital site in downtown Montreal, as well as many other sites in the province.
The McGill administration’s conduct doesn’t match its lofty words
(The Gazette) At every opportunity, the administration trumpets McGill’s standing as a world-class university – a university that, in the principal’s oft-used phrase, punches above its weight. Why then is it not attempting to pay its workers a world-class salary, rather than accepting mere parity with other Montreal universities as the goal? If McGill is a great university, a large part of the credit must go to the people now striking for fairer compensation.
The spin doctors in McGill’s administration have cast the workers as the villains and themselves as the pure defenders of all that is good about the university. This is the same administration that took a decade and two task forces to address inequities between salaries for non-tenured academic staff at McGill and other Montreal universities. And even then it raised salaries to below the city average for part-time university instructors.
The McGill strike, from both sides
The striker: ‘McGill has become a two-tier institute, haves vs. have-nots’
(The Gazette) In the 1990s the university said it could not give us a raise. We believed it, and for eight years we did not receive a raise. During our last contract, the university said it did not have any money and asked us to forgo a raise for six months. Again we agreed. The university never thanked us for our generosity. I supposed thanking us would have been demeaning.
Within the past year we began to receive emails from the administration informing us of changes to our pensions and benefits. During the current negotiations the university kindly offered a 1.2-per-cent raise that we could split into a 0.6-percent step increase and 0.6-per-cent general raise.
Gérard Deltell: «Montréal est ingouvernable»
Montréal compte trop d’élus, trop d’arrondissements, trop de pouvoirs qui échappent à son maire. Ce verdict sans détour, c’est celui du chef de l’Action démocratique du Québec, Gérard Deltell. Cinq ans après les défusions, selon lui, la preuve est faite: «Montréal est ingouvernable.»
8,5 milliards de dollars pour restaurer les réseaux d’eau
L’administration Tremblay propose un plan de 8,5 milliards de dollars étalé sur 10 ans pour restaurer les réseaux d’eau potable et d’eaux usées dans l’île de Montréal. Le plan comporte la relance du programme des compteurs d’eau. L’impôt foncier serait légèrement augmenté.
New $5B Champlain Bridge could include tolls
User fees likely to be collected to help pay for structure
A $5-billion bridge is in the works to replace Montreal’s aging Champlain Bridge, will come “at very low or no cost to taxpayers,” but is likely to include toll booths, Canada’s federal transport minister announced Wednesday.
Henry Aubin: Only public outrage can change the culture of collusion
The Tremblay administration has made only a relatively mild, pro forma request for an inquiry – and this in response to heat from opposition parties. To be sure, it has brought in some cost-cutting procedures on awarding contracts.
McGill support staff strike
(CBC) Support staff at McGill University walked off the job early Thursday morning, launching a general strike on the first day of class for many students.
Quebec wants federal help for Champlain Bridge
Quebec officials are looking for a ‘clear signal’ from Ottawa on the future of Montreal’s crumbling Champlain Bridge.
Mayors, ministers and Quebec’s premier concluded that much after a short summit in Montreal Thursday to discuss the state of the city’s alarmingly decrepit road network.
Premier Jean Charest said the province has tough decisions to make about its infrastructure budget, but it can’t go at it alone, and needs federal support, especially for the Champlain.
The Champlain Bridge, Canada’s busiest water span, falls under federal jurisdiction.
It has a finger in every pie
In the 1970s, Lalonde, Valois, Lamarre, Valois et associés – later known as SNC-Lavalin – built the Ville Marie Expressway. In 2008, SNC-Lavalin inspected the expressway for the government, sounding the alarm on its “critical” state. Yet neither the CEO of SNC-Lavalin, Pierre Duhaime, nor anyone else representing the company has said anything meaningful since the emergency closing of the thoroughfare.
Best comment on this event was posted on Alan Hustak’s FB page: They’ve spent so much time over the years inspecting the language on signs; they totally forgot to inspect the roads and bridges.
Ville Marie roof collapse: A narrow escape
Montreal narrowly escaped tragedy Sunday morning when a concrete beam and a section of the roof it was supporting collapsed onto the Ville Marie Expressway, somehow missing the hundreds of motorists that were on the road at the time.
About 9 a.m. Sunday, a transversal beam fell onto the eastbound half of the highway. The beam was supporting a concrete grid over the transitional zone at the entrance to a section of the Ville Marie Tunnel, which also fell. At least 15 metric tonnes of debris scattered across the roadway. A720: chaos annoncé dans le secteur
The editors of the Montreal Gazette have chosen the beginning of the annual construction holiday to address the existential question that most of us have been debating for decades – probably since 1971.
(Gazette editorial) It might be time to rethink the construction holiday
It seems they have woken up to the fact that “these two weeks are prime time for construction work. And while not all construction projects will shut down for the holiday – work will continue on most vital road-repair undertakings – many private-and public-work sites will shut down for that optimal time, and work to complete them will stretch that much more into the frigid months when the weather is less conducive to quality workmanship. Some in the engineering field suggest this to some extent explains the alarming decay of so much of our infrastructure at this latitude.” Journalism and civic mindedness at their finest.
Vacances de la construction: c’est parti!
(Cyberpresse) Ça y est: pour la vaste majorité des travailleurs de la construction, les vacances annuelles commencent aujourd’hui, en plein coeur de la vague de chaleur, et se prolongeront jusqu’au samedi 6 août.
Près de 145 000 chèques ont été remis cette année aux travailleurs, qui partent en congé avec 326 millions de dollars. L’indemnité de congé, établie selon le salaire des six derniers mois de travail de l’année précédente, est en hausse de 10% par rapport à 2010. «Il y a plus de travail, plus d’heures travaillées, donc plus d’argent», dit le porte-parole de la Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ), André Martin.
Meanwhile, Montreal’s traffic nightmare gets worse
Turcot repairs close Ville Marie, Décarie The concerns about the Champlain Bridge are not new. The Globe & Mail carried a story (Canada’s crumbling infrastructure: the silence is deafening) in April about the absence of discussion of decaying infrastructure problems in the election, and cited in particular the Champlain Bridge.
Champlain Bridge repairs to cost millions, fix nothing
The Conservative government has released a long-awaited report on Montreal’s deteriorating Champlain Bridge, completing a swift, 24-hour about-face on the contentious issue of the city’s aging road infrastructure.
The 86-page report says that simply prolonging the life of the crumbling Champlain Bridge would cost as much as $25 million a year for the next decade — and that still wouldn’t produce a long-term fix.
As though our transportation problems weren’t bad enough, the Bixi is under fire. Bixi program to lose millions for Montrealers, auditor general says (CTV) Bergeron’s report states that from its infancy in 2007, the fast-tracked implementation of the BIXI program was poorly planned, with no feasibility studies, no market research, no cost-benefit analysis, little risk analysis of any kind. More
CBC provides a helpful interactive map for anyone who ventures onto the streets An overview of construction in Montreal
Mercier closure angers mayors, commuters ; Good news and bad news for Champlain users
Bad news: Scheduled work on the Champlain Bridge will take place this weekend, despite the partial closure of the Mercier Bridge. Good news: It’s the last scheduled work until August. Réseau routier: l’inquiétude gagne le monde des affaires ;
We knew this, but here’s the proof.
Montréal: la fonction publique la plus chère au Québec
La fonction publique municipale coûte plus cher à Montréal que dans toute autre grande ville québécoise. Et pas seulement parce que la Ville compte plus d’employés: chacun de ceux-ci coûte en moyenne 100 000$ par année aux contribuables.
Les Montréalais n’ont toujours pas digéré les fusions
Dix ans après les fusions forcées de 2001, les Montréalais n’ont toujours pas apprivoisé leur nouvelle ville. Ils la jugent moins bien gérée qu’avant, dirigée par trop d’élus et ont un avis partagé sur Gérald Tremblay, qu’à peine 17% des répondants considèrent comme un bon maire.
En deux mots, les fusions ont été une mauvaise chose, révèle un sondage Angus Reid-La Presse. Seul réconfort, et il est de taille, les Montréalais se disent plutôt satisfaits des services qu’ils reçoivent.
Montreal International: Launch of Attractiveness indicators for international organizations (IOs), a publication promoting Montréal as a prime location for international organizations to establish secretariats. Based on the key location factors considered by IOs, this publication highlights the attractiveness of the Montréal metropolitan region compared to other cities where IOs are established, such as New York, Paris, London, Brussels, Geneva, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Seoul and Singapore.
Karl Moore and Daniel Novak: Toronto tops Montreal for global career? Not really
Ontario’s capital clearly rules in the financial sector, but not in terms of diversity
Montreal’s major international headquarters include those of Power Corp., Bombardier, CN, SNC-Lavalin, CGI and Molson Coors (headquarters split between Montreal and Denver). Altogether these firms offer strategic access to a wide range of industries and many of them have emerged as leaders on the international stage.
Montreal in top 10 happiest places
Montrealers can smile knowing their city is considered one of the world’s top 10 happiest places.
Canada’s second-biggest city has made the list compiled by the popular travel guide, Lonely Planet.
Montreal is the second place named on the list, just under the South Pacific island paradise of Vanuatu.
While considerably colder than that tropical locale, Montreal apparently has a few other things going for it.
Lonely Planet says the clean, welcoming and refreshingly multicultural city is happy year-round — but especially so in the summer, when it hosts one of the world’s biggest comedy festivals. (HuffPost) 10 Happiest Places In The World
The Big O imbroglio
No, apparently , you can ‘t blow it up . And taking it apart would be very expensive and time-consuming.
Sylvain Lefebvre has a few ideas. The UQAM geography professor and expert on “festive spaces” has thought a lot about the stadium and its surroundings.
As much as possible, we must “eliminate the concrete and green it, create shaded areas, pleasant spaces to sit. The general idea is we can make it a space where it feels good to be, that people have a desire to visit: ‘It’s easy to get there -there are two metro stations, we can do some sports, we can eat on the terrasse.’ ”
Lefebvre’s proposal could fit in with an already-announced, $189-million plan for the area east and north of the Big O. Spearheaded by the city’s nature museums, the so-called Life District plan includes a new planetarium, a biodiversity centre and a series of green spaces linking them to the Biodome and the Botanical Garden.
City poster bylaw overturned
Court says it restricts freedom of expression
Last week, a three-judge panel declared the city’s stringent poster bylaw invalid. Montreal’s longtime municipal limitations on public postering, the panel ruled, violate the freedom-of-expression provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
That capped, with success, a decade-long legal odyssey by anti-globalization activist Jaggi Singh, with advocacy from lawyer Julius Grey.
Urban oasis returns to verdant glory
The patchy pavement and dirt pathways are gone – after 10 years of planning and $9.6 million
More than a decade after the planning process began to restore the long rundown and increasingly shabby Dorchester Square, the job has finally been completed.
City council axes Marianopolis project
‘A pivotal moment’; Development company planned to build 325 condo units on the site
In what is being described as a defining moment in the preservation of Mount Royal, Montreal city council unanimously rejected a residential project for the former grounds of Marianopolis College yesterday and voted to limit any further development on the mountain.
The city-council resolution limits development to restoring the former seminary building and either reusing a gymnasium on the site or building something in its place that doesn’t exceed the current building’s height.
Is this a glimpse of the future Montreal?
(The Gazette) There’s the eye-catching dome of the SAT (Society for Arts and Technology) centre under construction on the Lower Main. There’s the horsetrack shape integrated into a rethink – by UQÀM urbanism students – of the old Blue Bonnets hippodrome off Décarie Expressway. There’s the green-think of the Montreal Biodiversity Centre, a project going up in the Botanical Gardens. Some are designed with maximum fun in mind (a high-speed roller coaster opening next month over the drained Lac des dauphins at La Ronde), some propose to expand on existing landmarks (such as Pointe-à-Callière archeological museum), some transform historic buildings for new use (the Erskine & American United Church will house Canadiana from the Museum of Fine Arts).
Ste-Catherine Street West to get $100M facelift
The block of Ste-Catherine Street West home to the historic but long-abandoned Seville Theatre will soon receive a $100-million facelift.
Two Montreal companies, investment firm Claridge and real estate developer Prével, announced Monday their plans to demolish the crumbling theatre and redevelop the stretch of Ste-Catherine Street between between Chomedey and Lambert Closse Streets into a new complex of condos and stores.
Municipal taxes, suburban anger
Municipalities face 10-13% hike in their share of tab for island-wide services
Property taxes to increase in Montreal
(CBC) The city said Wednesday that the economic crisis was one of the main reasons the city had to increase taxes.