Montreal 2013 – a tumultuous year

Written by  //  December 17, 2013  //  Cities, Montreal  //  2 Comments

See also Montreal Seeks a Mayor

Céline Cooper: Our city faces a greater challenge
Like large municipalities all over the world, Montreal will need more political and fiscal room to flourish
(The Gazette) The core of Montreal’s compelling global identity — the way it projects itself to the world and the way its citizens connect to one another — is its linguistic duality, its multiculturalism, its knowledge economy and connection to the larger Francophonie. Those of us who choose to live in Montreal do so because we love it, because Montreal is home, and because we believe in this place and its people. Montreal may be flawed, but it is magnificently and endlessly human. More than anything, the new mayor must govern with this in mind.
Quebec ‘student’ protests 2012
Montreal City and Press
Heritage Montreal
The entertaining Montreal City Weblog does 99.9% of our Montreal-focused work for us. It is full of current news and information. Grateful and admiring kudos to blog author Kate McDonnell and to the many contributors armed with facts and widely divergent opinions.
More on ;
Tourisme Montréal ; Montreal International

Marc Garneau: Nouvelle approche face à l’itinérance
(Le Devoir) À travers le Canada, plusieurs projets ayant abordé l’itinérance sous diverses approches obtiennent d’excellents résultats. À Montréal, c’est via la mise en place en décembre 2012 du premier pôle de services en itinérance par la Société de développement sociale de Ville-Marie (SDSVM) que nous pouvons apprécier ce type d’approches. En mobilisant les milieux des affaires, institutionnel, culturel et communautaire (STM, Fondation Bombardier, corporation Makivik, CSSS, Médecins du Monde, CHUM, Projet autochtone du Québec, etc.), la SDSVM, premier courtier en valeurs sociales en Amérique du Nord, a su mettre en place des actions concrètes pour lutter efficacement contre l’itinérance.
13 December
Putting a face on aboriginal homelessness in Montreal
Montreal is in the midst of a real homelessness crisis among aboriginal people. The fastest growing population are Inuit from Nunavik, which comprises the northern third of the province of Quebec​. Montreal is behind in terms of services, compared to other big cities like Vancouver, Calgary or Winnipeg.
“The reasons for the increasing number of Inuit moving to the south, and of homeless Inuit, are directly related to social, economic and housing problems in the North,” said Donat Savoie, a northern affairs consultant.
“It is caused by a combined force of factors, including housing and job shortages, and social problems,” he continues.
“Last year, two Inuit died on the streets of Montreal, nobody heard about it,” says Damien Silès, general director at the Société de Développement Social de Ville-Marie (SDSVM).
“Now we have more than 400 aboriginals in the streets and the services for them are lacking.”
2 December
Poul Ove Jensen to design new Champlain Bridge
New Champlain Bridge will be built by 2018, says federal Infrastructure Minister Denis LebelFederal Infrastructure Minister (CBC) Denis Lebel said the government has decided to forgo an international design competition, which will mean the construction can begin three years earlier than planned. Poul Ove Jensen is the head of bridges for the Copenhagen-based architectural design firm Dissing+Weitling.
Yesterday Lebel announced that Arup, an international design and engineering firm with a Canadian office, had hired Jensen to help them design and produce the new Champlain Bridge.

hi-champlain-1-cp00355803The current Champlain Bridge is under 24/7 surveillance as a safety precaution. (CP photo)
30 November
Champlain Bridge reopens after 9-hour delay
(CBC) Canada’s busiest bridge is getting a superbeam to help secure it after a crack was discovered
The Champlain Bridge is the main bridge used for trips from Montreal to the Eastern Townships, New England and elsewhere on the Eastern Seaboard, making it Canada’s busiest span.
The federal government says that approximately $20 billion in international trade crosses the Champlain Bridge every year.
21 November
Rights group says Montreal deserves special status
The rights group CRITIQ wants the city of Montreal to get special treatment in an attempt to restore the city to its former glory.
The group says Montreal has been hamstrung by divisive language fights, the Charter of Values debate, and countless petty arguments that detract from the city’s vibrancy.
19 November
Denis Coderre announces Montreal’s new executive committee
Coderre says he wants renewal, appoints opposition councillors to the city’s top committee
Coderre named three Coalition Montréal members to the city’s top committee:
Russell Copeman, borough mayor of Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce
Réal Ménard, borough mayor of Hochelaga—Maisonneuve
Elsie Lefebvre, city councillor in Villeray—Saint-Michel—Parc-Extension
Coderre could not name Coalition Montréal’s party leader Marcel Côté to the executive committee, since Côté was not elected as a councillor.
Instead, Coderre named him as his special advisor, at an annual salary of $1.
14 November
Montreal roadwork committee on ice as traffic snarls worsen
Committee to coordinate road repairs hasn’t met since PQ election in Sept. 2012, source tells CBC News
(CBC) A committee created two years ago to coordinate major roadwork in Greater Montreal and ease traffic congestion hasn’t held a single meeting since the PQ government was elected in September 2012.
The committee is to hold an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the complications resulting from this week’s discovery that a crack in one of the girders supporting the Champlain Bridge will mean the closure of one southbound lane for at least a month.
CBC News has learned that for the past 14 months, critical decisions have not been made — or have been delayed for too long — leading to concern that two major projects due to get underway in early 2014 in Montreal’s west end will result in major traffic snarls.
… the Quebec transport ministry is to begin tearing down the Saint-Jacques overpass on the Décarie expressway in January — a project that is scheduled to take two years.
To complicate that for technical teams planning detours, the City of Montreal is set to do dig up nearby Sherbrooke Street both east and west of the Décarie expressway — work scheduled to begin in the spring of 2014 and extend into the summer.
That will mean two parallel east-west arteries in Montreal’s west end will be paralyzed at the same time — the exact type of scenario the Mobilité Montréal subcommittee was established to avoid.
13 November
Alan Shepard: How to keep bright young minds in Montreal
In centuries past, universities often considered themselves nobler than the towns and cities that hosted them, building walls and gates around themselves. But in our time, we will only excel by opening those gates. Only by being bold, only by daring to reinvent our cities to work hand in hand with our universities, can our society hope to thrive in the 21st century.
Canada has some great urban universities that do a good job of attracting the key raw material in this new economy — talent. As of 2010, about 8 per cent of this country’s undergraduates, and nearly 20 per cent of its graduate students, come from abroad.
But today, young professionals, wherever they are from, are more mobile than ever. They favour tablet computers over bookshelves, bikes over cars, leases over mortgages. To retain these bright young minds upon graduation and ensure they build a life and career here, we need seamless integration between universities and cities.
How do we achieve this? I see three key ways.4 November
mosaicultures 2013
The whimsical world of Mosaïcultures at Botanical Gardens
Spectacular sculptures from designers around world at Montreal’s Botanical Gardens as part of Mosaïcultures internationales competition, through Sept. 29 – extended to October 6 by popular demand.3 October
Applebaum swapped cash for zoning changes, UPAC alleges
Search warrants show investigators suspected former Montreal mayor took bribes over a decade
Applebaum was arrested last June, along with former municipal councillor Saulie Zajdel and Jean-Yves Bisson, a former senior bureaucrat in Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. The former mayor faces a total of a dozen charges, including fraud against the government, breach of trust, conspiracy and municipal corruption.
At the time of those arrests, UPAC said the charges related to obtaining permission and political support for two real estate projects in Applebaum’s borough between 2006 and 2011 — while Applebaum was borough mayor. However, the documents show the investigation was broader, going back over the entire decade that Applebaum served as borough mayor — from 2002 until 2012.
18 October
Montréal sous la loupe
Montréal, avec ses forces, ses faiblesses et son caractère unique, est un objet d’étude riche et pertinent. C’est du moins ce que croient 22 chercheurs de l’Université McGill, qui ont fondé le nouveau centre de recherche interdisciplinaire en études montréalaises (CRIEM), lancé vendredi.
Architectes, juristes, politologue et littéraires ne sont que quelques uns des experts de ce groupe multidisciplinaire, qui collaboreront pour mieux comprendre la métropole.
«Il existe des centres de recherche sur diverses villes dans le monde, que ce soit à Londres, à New York ou à Paris, mais aucun ne regroupe autant de disciplines que le nôtre», note Stéphan Gervais, coordonnateur au Programme d’études sur le Québec de McGill.
Daniel Weinstock, philosophe et codirecteur intérimaire du CRIEM, espère que le centre sera un pôle d’attraction non seulement de chercheurs de diverses universités, mais aussi de la communauté montréalaise, ainsi qu’un lieu de fécondation des projets de recherche innovateurs.
1 October
Infrastructure reaching ‘point of no return’
Issue is the one most commonly raised by residents, mayoral candidates say – but it is (or should be) a matter of concern for all three levels of government.
(The Gazette) To comprehend the root causes behind the extensive rot plaguing Montreal’s infrastructure network — a circulatory system comprising 6,000 kilometres of roads and 9,000 kilometres of water mains and sewage pipes — it is useful to think of it as a car.
Spend minor amounts on oil changes and other preventive maintenance and your vehicle will age gracefully, says Gabriel Assaf, professor of civil engineering at Montreal’s École de technologie supérieure. Forgo those needs, and small problems will morph into hugely expensive ones.
“It’s the same thing with our infrastructure network,” Assaf said. “We’ve neglected it for many years and now we have to change the engine. … Obviously it’s a huge deal, and obviously the elected officials don’t have any clue how to finance this. They are facing a huge problem based on a lack of responsibility.”
26 September
Daybreak’s proposed Charter of Montreal Values
Let us in on your suggestions for the values all Montrealers share
(CBC) … [Andy] Nulman also had a serious thought:
“I think all Montrealers should strive to become the most educated people on the planet, because the more we know, the less ignorant we’ll be, the more tolerant we’ll be and the greater this place will be. And the stronger we will be to fight stupidity in all its forms.”
18 September
Montreal should have ‘special status’ within Quebec, CRITIQ says
Proposal by rights group would exempt island from French language charter and Charter of Quebec Values
Barbara Kay: The case for the City-State of Montreal
(National Post) Today there will be a press conference at a downtown Montreal hotel. There, strategic consultant Michel David will make his long-researched case for Montreal as a city-state, a place in which counter-productive “values” charters and language laws would not apply, and where conditions favouring entrepreneurship, economic investment and skills recruitment would.
David has been brooding over Montreal’s decline for decades. According to David’s just-released report, Montreal: City-State, Re-Inventing Our Governance, Montreal is the poorest city in North America with two million or more population (22nd of 22). It ranks 59th out of 60 jurisdictions for liberty, with the highest taxes and lowest level of entrepreneurship in Canada (50% of the Canadian average). Governance is authoritarian and disrespects individual rights.
17 September
À Montréal de gérer son Vieux-Port, dit Denis Coderre
(Les Affaires) Denis Coderre veut rapatrier la gestion du Vieux-Port à Montréal. Le candidat à la mairie de la métropole veut négocier ce transfert avec le gouvernement fédéral, qui a confié la gestion du quartier historique à la Société immobilière du Canada l’an dernier. Il a présenté cet engagement mardi lors d’un déjeuner de l’Institut de développement urbain, qui regroupe de grands acteurs de l’industrie immobilière. Lire aussi: Vieux-Port: Ottawa répond à Coderre
Sewer pipe ruptured under sinkhole corner: Ville-Marie borough
Leak also confirmed in high-pressure water main
With multiple pieces of heavy equipment pounding away, workers Thursday broke up more of the Ste-Catherine St. W. road surface adjoining the city’s latest sinkhole — extending the open pit westward from Guy St.
8 August
Martin Patriquin: Ville-Marie blacklists builders in bid to nail down scandal-free contractors
“The fact that certain companies were banned from bidding on contracts has made things a little more complex, but we are finding people to work with, even if it is causing certain delays,” said Ville-Marie spokesperson Annik de Repentigny.
(Maclean’s) Ville-Marie is Montreal’s bustling downtown borough, home to city hall, the financial district and some 80,000 souls. It is also home to a conundrum typical of Montreal’s corruption-addled construction industry: there are fewer and fewer companies with which the borough can do business.
According to a document obtained by Maclean’s, Ville-Marie has blacklisted more than 80 companies and their affiliates from bidding on contracts with the borough—including four of the province’s largest engineering consulting firms and some of its most prominent construction companies.
The document, dated July 22, 2013, warns borough officials — in capital letters — to check potential contractors against the list to ensure its owners “haven’t been found guilty within Quebec’s borders of collusion, fraud or acts of that nature.” (26 July 2013)
17 July
Former mayor Applebaum’s severance package worth about $268,000
Less than a month after being charged with 14 criminal offences and resigning his office, former Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum got a severance package of almost $268,000.
That payment, received by Applebaum on July 11, covered his 18 years in civic office, Jonathan Abecassis, press secretary for the Office of the Mayor, said Wednesday.
The exit package is not connected to the municipal pension Applebaum will receive, a city official said.
Neither the severance nor pension payments can be denied Applebaum because he faces criminal charges related to his time in municipal politics, city spokesman Gonzalo Nunez wrote in an email to The Gazette.
11 July
Rio Tinto Alcan to become Bell Centre’s neighbour
Deloitte Tower hopes to be the city’s first LEED Platinum office tower
(The Gazette) The current Alcan headquarters, which includes the award-winning Maison Alcan on Sherbrooke St. W. and the Salvation Army Citadel, a 1907 sanctuary on Drummond St., has been sold.
The selling price and the fate of the complex will be disclosed at some future date by the buyer, Tucker said.
In 2011, Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté was said to be behind a firm bid to buy the property and turn it into a hotel and entertainment complex.
5 July
Abandoned Îlot Voyageur bus terminal at Berri St. to be turned into apartments, condos
Eyesore that scarred Quartier Latin landscape will be transformed by Vancouver-based Groupe Aquilini
Premier Pauline Marois has announced the sale of the northern part of the infamous Îlot Voyageur project, abandoned in 2007 by the Université du Québec à Montréal after cost overruns that have ended up costing taxpayers over $200 million.
Once destined for student housing, the two buildings on Berri St. – as well as three other nearby buildings – will now be developed into about 700 modestly-priced condos and apartments by a private real estate developer called Aquilini Groupe Investissement.
25 June
Queen Elizabeth Health Centre gets a reprieve from MUHC cuts
Agreement allows facility in N.D.G. to continue operating
(The Gazette) The McGill University Health Centre announced Tuesday that an agreement has been reached that will “ensure patients continue to receive timely and quality care” at the facilities located on Marlowe Ave. in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.
The MUHC, faced with extraordinary budget shortfalls, was going to pull all financial support for the family-centric emergency services offered in the former Queen Elizabeth Hospital building.
With this new arrangement, the MUHC will cover the administrative and academic offices for family medicine and primary care, while the Queen Elizabeth Family Medicine Group will cover clinical services.
“After some fairly intense negotiations, we (the Queen Elizabeth Heath Centre) have identified an out-of-hospital budget that will allow us to maintain the clinic,” explained Mark Roper, director of the division of primary care at the MUHC.
The Queen Elizabeth Health Centre is now a fully designated GMS, or Groupe médecin familial, which means it is recognized by the Quebec government as a family medicine establishment and its future is guaranteed.
“The GMS designation pays for nursing and administration but the Queen Elizabeth Health Centre has now been recognized by Collège des médecins as an official training facility, and the MUHC is also maintaining a presence here,” Roper said.
21 June
What do Montrealers need to do to take their city back?
(Globe & Mail) Study after study has shown that the higher the level of citizen engagement and oversight, the more likely the forces of graft and kickback can be beaten back. When the people fail to brandish a democratic stick over officials by demanding transparency and accountability, gangsters in mob towns like Montreal, Chicago and New York are pleased to throw officials a few carrots in the form of cash and take over city business.
“The only way corruption can happen is if people aren’t paying attention,” said Ilona Dougherty, who nine years ago founded Apathy Is Boring, a charitable organization dedicated to boosting voter turnout among the young. Ms. Dougherty, a Montrealer, says she frequently encounters cynicism and a feeling of powerlessness among voters. “My response is: ‘This is how they’re getting away with it.’ ”
18 June

Montreal mayor resigns amid corruption charges
Michael Applebaum faces 14 charges, including fraud

14 June

Veterans hospital to become geriatrics centre

The Veteran’s Hospital in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, will become a centre for geriatrics care when it is transferred to the province on Sept. 30.
Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney announced Friday the hospital will continue to give priority access to veterans, but it will be open to all seniors, serving primarily the West Island and Off-Island regions.
“Ste. Anne’s Hospital is recognized around the world for its expertise in geriatrics and mental health. I am pleased with Minister Hébert’s decision to recognize its special status,” Blaney said in a statement. “Our veterans will continue to receive exceptional care in this centre of excellence on the leading edge of clinical innovation.”
The hospital will be autonomous, and will work with McGill University and the Agence de Santé de Montréal to develop a governance model.
A transition committee, with several members representing veterans groups, will be in place for seven years to ensure a smooth transfer of ownership.
3 June
Former convent to house social-economy groups, seniors
Maison de l’économie sociale to serve as nerve centre
On May 17, Quebec Premier Pauline Marois had announced that the provincial government had earmarked $35.8 million for [the former mother house of the Soeurs de la Providence] project, to provide space for a range of cooperative and other not-for-profit groups as well as 156 social-housing units.
Groups that will relocate to the facility in about a year include: the Réseau d’investissement social du Québec; the Comité sectoriel de main d’oeuvre Économie sociale — Action communautaire; the Fiducie du Chantier de l’économie sociale; the Territoires innovants en économie sociale et solidaire; and the Chantier de l’économie sociale.
27 May
Corruption to blame for Montreal’s terrible potholes: Charbonneau
(CTV) Gilles Théberge, a now-retired manager of Sintra … said with a handful of companies divvying up all asphalt contracts in Southern Quebec there was no incentive for companies to produce a better product.
22 May
Boil-water advisory widens for Montreal area
For all areas south of the Metropolitan Expressway, from LaSalle in the west to Pointe aux Trembles in the east
Routine maintenance gone wrong at one of Montreal’s biggest water filtration plants spurred the largest boil water advisory in the city’s history Wednesday, forcing schools to tape their water fountains closed, cafés to boil water for six minutes…  In total, 1.3 million of the island’s 1.8 million residents were affected.
17 May
Peggy Curran: Has Montreal had enough of political parties?
(Montreal Gazette) Over the winter, some pretty scandalous testimony at the Charbonneau commission was enough to send Gerald Tremblay packing and, last week, force Union Montreal to fold up its tent.
But long before that, people like my wise Gazette colleague Henry Aubin had been pushing for Montreal to abandon the notion of political parties altogether. Few cities have them, although many, such as Toronto, do have loose coalitions of local councillors who belong to federal or provincial parties or who rally around common ideals or broad political philosophies.
8 May
Report casts harsh light on delinquent political leadership
Makes recommendations for contract-granting process
Dysfunctional leadership, a bloated bureaucracy and the absence of clear ethics rules nurtured a culture of corruption and collusion in the awarding of public contracts in Montreal, says a damning report released Wednesday.
But the report also cites structural problems, such as multiple layers of government, poor oversight and loopholes that allowed the city to approve contracts valued under $25,000 without going to public tender — a practice it found increased the risk of corruption, the creation of multiple “sausage” contracts, conflict of interest, inflated costs, false billing and favouritism.
The report says the merger of Montreal with several island suburbs a decade ago led to confusion about who was making decisions and how taxpayers’ money was being spent.
Jacques Léonard, who wrote the 40-page report, suggests an overhaul of Montreal’s borough structure — linking its finances more directly to the central city administration — is critical if the city is to operate in a clear, efficient and honest way.
2 May
ICAO Team MontrealStrange bedfellows indeed‘Team Montreal’ fighting to keep UN’s aviation agency ICAO
Federal, provincial, and city politicians have united to keep the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) from moving from its headquarters from the city of Montreal.
n two days of meetings (May 2 and 3), Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, Quebec provincial Minister of International Relations Jean-François Lisée, and City of Montreal Mayor Michael Applebaum have been lobbying to keep ICAO.
30 April
Montreal politician demanded $100K, political organizer says
(CBC) Just before wrapping his first day of testimony, [Gilles] Cloutier told the commission that Frank Zampino — the mayor of St-Leonard and the eventual head of the City of Montreal’s executive committee — told him that his firm needed to come up with $100,000 to help with the election if they wanted a piece of the contracts in Montreal.
26 April
Harel floats notion of city-owned asphalt production plant
With Montreal’s city council set to vote on Friday on whether to award contracts to fill potholes to companies that may have been named at the Charbonneau Commission, Vision Montreal leader Louise Harel wants the city to conduct a feasibility study on the cost and benefits of a city-owned asphalt production plant.
Louise Harel wants to be mayor – but can she fill the potholes?
(James Mennie | Montreal Gazette) On Oct. 16, 2011, Vision Montreal leader Louise Harel announced that she would seek the mayoralty of Montreal, and even though Madame Harel is relative newcomer to the world of social media, she clearly understands the world has a somewhat shortened attention span from the days when she served as a Parti Quebecois cabinet minister.
3 April
Bill Brownstein: Remembering Nick: paying tribute to a Montreal original
Brian McKenna recalls the moment as if it were yesterday. It was actually 15 years ago, and the Montreal filmmaker was telling the priest at St. Patrick’s Basilica that he felt certain his best friend could fill the big room at the church.
“You’re not really suggesting that a funeral for Nick Auf der Maur will fill 3,000 seats, are you?” the incredulous priest asked McKenna. McKenna simply nodded, fully understanding that a good Irish Catholic lad would never lie to a Monsignor.
As it turned out, McKenna didn’t have to go to confession. It was standing room only at the Basilica, and the crowd was estimated to be somewhere north of 3,500. And as the procession snaked its way west to Crescent St. for the wake following the funeral, police had to cordon off the streets from traffic to make way for the mourners.
24 March
Former Montreal mayor, high-ranking politician to testify at corruption inquiry
Frank Zampino described as ‘most powerful man in Montreal’
22 March
Mayor asks Montrealers whether city should fill potholes
Montrealers have to choose between having potholes, or having them filled by companies caught up in the corruption inquiry. … City council refused on Monday to award a contract valued at $5 million over two years to seven asphalt companies because they’ve been named by or linked to the Charbonneau Commission corruption inquiry.
5 March
Royal VicRailway baron’s family wants to maintain ‘spirit’ of Royal Vic site
‘Why should some entrepreneur make a bundle off a gift that was given for the benefit of the community?’ Letter: Heritage battle brewing over Royal Victoria Hospital’s fate
Before decisions are made on how and what to preserve on the Royal Victoria Hospital property, there must be a viable process by which the public can offer input on its reuse, guided by a cross-section of experts. What is needed on that site now and into the future? By whom? For what purpose? And all guided by the spirit of generosity of the original donors.
The author, Brian Merrett is a photographer and co-author of Montreal Architecture: A Guide to Styles and Buildings. He is the son of architect J. Campbell Merrett, who designed the infill buildings at the Royal Victoria Hospital.
McGill names scientist Suzanne Fortier as principal
(CBC) ‘Thrilled to be coming back,’ McGill alumnus says of new appointment
Suzanne Fortier, the research scientist who will replace Heather Munroe-Blum as principal of McGill University next September, says she is undeterred by the challenge of taking over the reins at a time of restraint and student unrest.
The unanimous choice of McGill’s Board of Governors, Fortier has accepted a five-year term, becoming the university’s 17th principal and vice-chancellor.
“I really have a strong attachment to the university,” said Fortier, who graduated from McGill with a BSc in 1972 and a PhD in 1976. “It really was a launching pad for me — an institution where I got a fantastic education, that opened [me] to the world. Not only the world geographically, but the world of ideas, the world of discoveries, the world of culture.”
Fortier has had an illustrious career as a scientist, educator and administrator, most recently as president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) in Ottawa since 2006.
Prior to that, she was Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at Queen’s University, where she was also a chemistry professor.
21 February
The Sopranos of Montreal
(NYT) “We ask everyone to kindly leave,” said the voice over the loudspeaker in Montreal’s City Hall on Tuesday. Minutes earlier, a fire alarm had gone off — even though there was no fire.
As politicians and city officials filed outside into a gathering snowstorm, dozens of cops from Quebec’s Permanent Anti-Corruption Unit moved in for an unprecedented raid, searching for documents to prove allegations of fraud, misrepresentation and abuse of trust.
At that precise moment, other anticorruption officers were raiding six Montreal borough halls, as well as the headquarters of the former ruling party in the city, Union Montreal. The operations were all part of a sprawling multiyear investigation into illegal party funding that has rocked the city establishment, already claiming one mayor’s head and making his replacement very uncomfortable just months into the job.
24 January
Exclusive: Lisée on language and Montreal
By Beryl Wajsman on January 17, 2013
The man who is arguably Quebec’s busiest Minister, and some would say the one holding the brief on the most contentious issues, took time out for a rare weekend interview this past Saturday. Jean-François Lisée, Minister for International Relations, External Trade, La Francophonie and Minister responsible for Montreal, forthrightly addressed concerns on the politics and policies of language of the Marois administration that have many Montrealers, regardless of cultural background, angry and concerned. To his credit, Minister Lisée set no preconditions on the questions that would be posed.
Beryl Wajsman: Minister, during the campaign you characterized the drop in the number of francophones on the island of Montreal as a problem that had to be addressed and corrected. Many observers believe that connecting language and geography raises the spectre of segregation and legitimizes, in the minds of some people, an aggressive response to anyone speaking English as we have seen in the past four months in several unfortunate incidents in the city. What is your answer to these concerns?
Jean-François Lisée: Some of the interpretations of our government’s concern about Montreal, and my comments, are wrong and I am glad to be able to clear this up once and for all. Nothing in our policies or my views should be construed in any way as opening the door to restricting or directing who may or may not live on the Island. Nor should they be construed as seeking to change normal daily interactions of Montrealers, some of which are, naturally, conducted in English. We’re not suggesting counting heads or words. What we do want to guard against is a trend that, unchecked, could weaken the French character of Montreal. It is Quebec’s largest city after all and the foundation of much that goes on here. But we want to do it by finding persuasive incentives not by enacting coercive restrictions.
Witness who sunk Montreal mayor didn’t mention him in first interrogation
Lawyer Francois Dorval spent much of the morning attempting to poke holes in Dumont’s testimony. His most serious strike was the revelation about Tremblay.
“When it is a fact that’s as dramatic as revealing before the mayor that you’re over-budget and the official agent produces a document talking about two sets of accounting to get around the law — this is a detail you forgot?” an incredulous Dorval asked.
22 January
Simply do not understand the position of Dawson’s administration – unless there is something more to this story than we know.
Dawson compares student’s system security probe to break and enter
Hamed Al-Khabaz says he acted with the students’ security in mind  See Hamed helped for his side of the story.
21 January
Charbonneau Commission off to a bit of a rocky start?
Quebec inquiry star witness admitted earlier testimony was false
(CBC) Dumont’s lawyer had sought a postponement for medical reasons.
20 January
Un train léger sur le nouveau pont Champlain
(La Presse) Selon les documents obtenus par La Presse, la mise à jour des études du projet de système léger sur rail (SLR), qui datent de 2007, a donné naissance à un nouveau tracé beaucoup plus long que le tracé original: il s’étendrait des abords de la Gare centrale, au centre-ville de Montréal, jusqu’au secteur commercial du Quartier Dix/30, à Brossard.
Entre l’Île-des-Soeurs et le centre-ville de Montréal, le nouveau tracé passerait par le sud-ouest plutôt que par la Cité du Havre, et s’arrêterait dans les quartiers en revitalisation de Pointe-Saint-Charles, Griffintown et Bonaventure.
14 January
Ex-McGill hospital boss says he was victim of ‘spurious’ attacks
Elusive Dr. Arthur Porter at cancer clinic in Bahamas
10 January
Borough mayor outraged by threat of change to Lachine Hospital
Health Minister says taking hospital from MUHC not a done deal yet
(CBC) The borough mayor of Lachine is demanding a meeting with Quebec’s health minister, to protest against a plan to take Lachine Hospital out of the McGill University Health Centre and transfer it back into the fold of the local community health network.
7 January
John Parisella‘s amazingly restrained FB post about his two-hour wait for a taxi at Trudeau airport last night prompted one of his friends to link to this informative piece published in the Gazette in 2010 by the Montreal Economic Institute on the deplorable policy of regulation of taxis.


2 Comments on "Montreal 2013 – a tumultuous year"

  1. Diana Thebaud Nicholson November 2, 2012 at 4:44 pm ·

    TED Conversation Debate: Is corruption a moral or a legal issue?
    Too often the corruption debate and discussions all over the world are focused on how somebody broke a law. By that definition Mahatma Gandhi was the most corrupt man since he periodically broke British laws!
    By dictionary definition corruption relates to doing things which are not ethical.
    Hence how should the corruption be defined and fought for greater good?

    This quote from a very good piece in The New Yorker on corruption in China
    There is nothing inherently unique about the fact that China’s rise has been accompanied by enormous official theft. (In “Boss Rail,” a piece in the magazine last week, I examined the culture of corruption in China’s largest public-works project, as well as the corruption that shadowed America’s rise in the nineteenth century.) What is unique, however, and potentially harmful to political stability, is the nature of the corruption in China. In a new book, “The Double Paradox,” the sinologist Andrew Wedeman examines a raft of data on arrests, bribes, and prosecutions not only in China but in other countries with high rates of corruption such as Zaire, Nicaragua, and Haiti—as well as places with high growth such as Korea and Taiwan. “Although there is no good corruption,” Wedeman writes, “there is clearly bad and worse corruption: the corruption that has negative effects, and the corruption that can have potentially catastrophic effects.” The science of kleptocracy separates the behavior into two basic types: “developmental corruption” of the kind we see in Korea and Taiwan, which does not ultimately prevent the economy from recovering, and “degenerative corruption” of the kind that ruined the economies in Zaire and Haiti.
    When investors and diplomats consider the risks facing China, they often assume that its corruption is of the kind we saw in Korea and Taiwan (or Chicago, for that matter), in which a political machine pulls money out of the state to give to favored friends and businesses, but does not ultimately kill the goose that laid the golden egg. But when Wedeman looked at the data, he concluded, to his surprise, that “corruption in China more closely resembled corruption in Zaire than it did corruption in Japan.” In short, he found, “the evidence suggests that corruption in contemporary China is essentially anarchy.”

    Read more

  2. Diana Thebaud Nicholson May 1, 2013 at 2:46 pm ·

    Re Qatar and ICAO
    A well-placed friend advises that on March 11 “the ICAO Council endorsed a new 20-year term Supplementary Agreement with the Canadian Government that will take effect on December 1st 2016.
    [The Qataris] were politely informed in writing on April 15th by the Secretary General. [However, they responded] by sending a delegation of 5 ministers to ICAO HQ last week. As a result, ICAO Secreteriat accepted to put their offer on the provisional agenda of the 38th Session of the Assembly to be held next fall.
    [It appears] this was only a purely political move.”

Comments are now closed for this article.