Montreal 2020- September 2023

Written by  //  September 15, 2023  //  Montreal  //  Comments Off on Montreal 2020- September 2023

Young people fuel Montreal’s status as Canada’s capital of trilingualism, census shows
The plethora of polyglots is touted as an asset in attracting international organizations to Montreal, but nationalists worry about immigrants’ attraction to English.
Andy Riga
Young Quebecers, particularly children and grandchildren of immigrants, are behind Montreal’s status as Canada’s capital of trilingualism, a new analysis of the 2021 census has found.
Leading the trilingualism charge are descendants of allophones — people whose first language is neither English nor French — said demographic researcher Jack Jedwab, who conducted the study.
In some communities, “trilingualism is almost automatic,” said Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies.
For example, 98 per cent of 15- to 24-year-olds of Armenian descent speak English, French and Armenian. It’s a similar story for young people with Greek (96 per cent) and Polish (95 per cent) heritage.
The trend is also evident in the allophone community at large, with the majority speaking three languages.
Among Quebecers of all ages whose first language is Italian or Romanian, for example, 74 per cent also speak English and French.

On Sept. 8, 1973, photographer Louise Abbott “was awakened early by the sounds of the demolition crew.” She shot nine rolls of black-and-white film as the Van Horne mansion came down.

7-9 September
Recalling the wrecker’s ball: A Q&A on the Van Horne mansion’s legacy
By Linda Gyulai
Fifty years later, seven people who were part of the nascent preservation movement reflect on the demolition’s lasting impact.
September 1973. Montreal and its mayor, Jean Drapeau, were riding the success of Expo 67. Excavation work had recently begun in the east end to build the stadium that would host the 1976 Olympic Games. And across Montreal, it was demolition derby. Older buildings, and in some cases entire neighbourhoods, were being ripped down to make way for expressways and large-scale projects. In downtown’s Square Mile, on the southern flank of Mount Royal, developers were razing the opulent 19th-century mansions of that era’s wealthiest families to erect concrete and glass towers.
On the 50th anniversary of the demolition of the Van Horne mansion, the Montreal Gazette has asked seven people who were part of the nascent preservation movement to reflect on the event and its legacy for the city.
Louise Abbott: Writer, photographer, filmmaker ; Arnold Bennett: Former Montreal city councillor, tenants’ rights advocate ; Dida Berku: Lawyer, Côte-St-Luc councillor ; Michael Fish: Retired architect ; Julia Gersovitz: Montreal architect and professor, McGill University ; Jean-Claude Marsan: Emeritus professor of architecture and urban planning, Université de Montréal ; Brian Merrett: Architectural photographer and heritage activist

When the Van Horne mansion fell 50 years ago, citizens stood up
Anglophones and francophones united to save the city’s distinct heritage.
Linda Gyulai
It was 50 years ago, on Sept. 7, that the city of Montreal issued a demolition permit to real estate developer David Azrieli to raze the Van Horne mansion, a Victorian greystone in the sumptuous Square Mile that had been the residence of a tycoon of an earlier era, Sir William Cornelius Van Horne. The permit to tear it down was delivered after months of legal motions, newspaper editorials and protests opposing the destruction.
The Montreal of 1973 was still giddy from the success of Expo 67 and looking toward hosting the Olympics in 1976. Mayor Jean Drapeau was particularly bent on “modernizing” the city.
Yet amid the ruins of 19th-century residences in the Square Mile, also called the Golden Square Mile, and of entire neighbourhoods elsewhere in the city, the demolition of the Van Horne mansion at 1139 Sherbrooke W. became a turning point in the movement — led by citizens — to preserve what was left of Montreal’s heritage.
It was the last straw.
The demolition, which began the next morning — Saturday, Sept. 8, 1973 — was a catalyst that united many Montrealers against the mass destruction of their heritage, said historian Martin Drouin, director of the department of urban and tourism studies at Université du Québec à Montréal.
“The proof is that less than a month later, Save Montreal was created,” he said. Sauvons Montréal/Save Montreal united two dozen preservation groups that had been working separately until then.

21 August
Every developer has opted to pay Montreal instead of building affordable housing, under new bylaw
A 2021 Montreal bylaw requires developers to make a plan to include social and family housing for new developments. But, that hasn’t quite worked out as politicians had planned.
The Bylaw for a Diverse Metropolis forces developers to include social, family and, in some places, affordable housing units to any new projects larger than 4,843 square feet.
If they don’t, they must pay a fine or hand over land, buildings or individual units for the city to turn into affordable or social housing.
According to data released by Ensemble Montréal, the city’s official opposition, and reviewed by CBC News, there have been 150 new projects by private developers, creating a total of 7,100 housing units, since the bylaw came into effect in April 2021.
5 November 2020
Montreal mayor unveils new version of housing bylaw
The revised version gives developers more flexibility on including social and affordable housing in new projects.

16 August
Montreal 2023 Rent Strike, Why and How
On August, 2nd the Montreal Autonomous Tenants’ Union released a call for a rent strike across the city. The strike is against the government’s new Bill 31, against rent hikes, and for housing for all. The call included a pledge form with a required 5,000 pledges from tenants across the city to join the strike before the strike could officially begin.
A Summary of the Plan to go on Rent Strike
This plan describes how 5,000+ people could go on rent strike in Montreal for and no one get evicted. A rent strike of this magnitude would be a serious escalation in tenant power, create the basis for future rent strikes in the city, and offer the best chance at beating Bill 31 (a social democratic analysis of the bill can be found here) and rapidly rising rents.

29 July
Montreal tenants’ union hopes ‘people power’ will lead to improved living conditions
Syndicat des Locataires Autonomes Montréal helps tenants challenge landlords
A new tenants’ organization in Montreal is using strength in numbers to pressure landlords to make repairs, keep rents low and stop so-called renovictions.
The Syndicat des Locataires Autonomes Montréal, also known as the Montreal Autonomous Tenants Union (SLAM-MATU) was created last fall, when organizers noticed a lack of solutions to housing disputes outside of the Tribunal administratif du logement, the provincial rental tribunal.
Union members Jules Dimant and Noah Merali say that recourse through the tribunal is often skewed in favour of landlords, leaving tenants in need of other solutions.
SLAM-MATU essentially provides a structure for connecting tenants from various buildings and neighbourhoods to one another, and gives them strategies and resources to push for effective change.
15 June
Montreal tenants worried about Bill 31, fearing it could give more power to landlords
Montreal tenants and housing rights groups are worried. Quebec tabled Bill 31, a law that could cancel rental lease transfers, a tool renters have been using to find affordable housing.
“In the matter that the government didn’t really work to control rent the lease transfer was one of the ways the tenants could work together to avoid the rent increase between tenants,” said Catherine Lussier, community organizer with housing group FRAPRU.
As rents soar, tenants organize local protests. But what’s needed for a national housing movement?
Advocates say there’s appetite for protests over the housing crisis, but several obstacles remain
What are rent strikes — and do they work?
Tenants in two Toronto neighbourhoods are on strike against rental increases

15 July
Vacant office turned home sweet home: Reimagining downtown Montreal
Converting towers into residential space would help with housing needs but it’s complicated and costly to get right.
Frédéric Tomesco
Could sparsely populated office towers in downtown Montreal be turned into apartment buildings to help solve the housing crisis? It’s a possibility, industry experts say, but don’t bet on it happening en masse — unless city hall suddenly opens up the purse strings to entice builders and developers.
A recent analysis by global commercial real estate advisor Avison Young found that close to half of older office buildings in downtown Montreal could offer housing potential through what the firm calls “adaptive reuse.” To be considered, the properties had to have been built before 1990 and to be relatively small — with floor sizes of less than 15,000 square feet — because bigger structures typically make it difficult for natural light to reach into the core of a building.
“With the reduced levels of occupancy in office buildings, what we are seeing in downtown cores and other locations is an opportunity to reimagine some of the properties,” Sheila Botting, head of professional services for the Americas at Avison Young in Toronto, said in an interview.
Article content
In Montreal alone, 611 downtown properties could be candidates for conversion, Avison Young found. The number represents 47 per cent of the 1,289 buildings that the firm analyzed.
6 July
Investors plan to convert Sherbrooke St. office tower into residential units
Built in 1961, the downtown Montreal highrise housed insurer Standard Life’s Canadian head office from 1962 until 2015.
The goal of the new owners is to convert the 21-storey office building into a rental apartments property, said George Armoyan Jr., who oversees the family’s real-estate assets and projects in Quebec, such as Mascouche’s Station G condominium complex. Demolition and transformation permits will be sought from the city as soon as possible, he said.
“We want to use it almost as a laboratory and figure out a recipe for doing conversions, because we see office-to-residential conversions as a sector that has a huge potential.”

14 July
Robert Libman: Montreal as city-state? Let’s start the conversation
Just as Quebec is distinct within Canada, Montreal’s uniqueness within Quebec is undeniable — and shines especially vibrant in the summer.
Montreal is as distinct within Quebec as Quebec is distinct within Canada. This is anathema to many nationalists who lament Montreal’s uniqueness. The refusal to accept this fundamental reality will continue to stifle progress of what was once Canada’s most prosperous and populous city.

13 July
Montreal adapting to extreme weather but ‘only so much can be done’
No city in the world is prepared for as much rain as fell in Montreal Thursday afternoon. No matter the preparation, damages will happen, the city said.
Environment Canada reported almost 39 millimetres of rain fell on Montreal Thursday, but in central parts of the city its was much more than that, Sabourin said.
Up to 85 millimetres was reported in central parts of the city, which were the worst hit. Six underpasses were closed because of flooding. Approximately 300 trees were damaged or had branches fall. The damage is expected to be cleaned up over the next few days by city workers. Roughly 130 homes were flooded.

5 July
Giant ‘Bonjour Montreal’ letters installed in the Old Port as new city ‘signature’
It seems Montreal -and the Feds- never run out of really bad, ugly, useless, projects on which to spend money.
Referred to as an ‘art piece’, it cost $495,000, which was a non-repayable contribution from the federal government through Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions.
“The addition of the Bonjour Structure in a location as emblematic as the Old Port of Montréal is sure to attract even more visitors from here and abroad,” Luc Rabouin, said from the city’s executive committee.
The sculpture was installed a little over one year after the city installed a gigantic metal ring in the heart of the downtown core.
20 June 2022
Montreal residents react to gigantic metal ring installed as new city monument
Suspended over Montreal is the city’s newest attraction, a gigantic metal ring seemingly hovering between two buildings. The newly installed ring is a curved tube of around 30 metres in diameter, and is the final stage of a revitalization of the Esplanade Place Ville Marie.

26 June
Quebec presents its $360-million policy on architecture and land use planning
The plan provides for “30 concrete (does it really say this?) measures and actions,” including the implementation of a monitoring system to “assess the achievement of land-use planning objectives.”
“This system will make it possible to adjust the planning framework as necessary to optimize performance and better meet societal challenges,” reads the press release.
A sum of $17.4 million will be allocated for its deployment.
The other sums presented include $43.7 million to support the municipal sector, particularly in updating the RCMs’ land-use and development plans; $16.5 million to support the creation of green and blue corridors; and $6.7 million to set up the Bureau de la valorisation de l’architecture.
The aim of the last measure is “to raise the quality of architecture in Quebec.”

20 June
Montreal Gazette Faces a New String of Departures
(The Rover) With two of three remaining managers expected to leave before July, the newspaper is temporarily shutting down its opinion section
More staff shortages at the Montreal Gazette will force the newspaper to suspend its opinion section for the summer

25 May
Anna Gainey remporte la course à trois de l’investiture libérale dans NDG-Westmount
Proche du cercle de Justin Trudeau, la candidate Anna Gainey a remporté lundi soir la course à trois que représentait l’investiture libérale dans la circonscription de Notre-Dame-de-Grâce–Westmount, laissée vacante par l’ancien ministre Marc Garneau. Au coeur des préoccupations des militants venus voter se trouvait celle de « préserver les droits » des anglophones.
Avant même que le résultat du décompte soit connu, ils étaient déjà nombreux à applaudir et à crier de joie [?] au terme d’un bref discours tenu par la candidate vers 17 h dans une église de Westmount, deux heures avant la fin du vote.
Anna Gainey, qui est la fille de l’ancien directeur général des Canadiens de Montréal Bob Gainey, était la candidate la plus en vue dans le cadre de cette investiture. La mère de trois enfants avait d’ailleurs reçu publiquement l’appui de ténors libéraux ces derniers jours, à commencer par la ministre des Affaires étrangères, Mélanie Joly, de même que le ministre des Relations Couronne-Autochtones, Marc Miller. …
Mme Gainey faisait toutefois face à un adversaire de taille, Fred Headon, qui a serré les mains de nombreux militants ayant voté pour lui lundi. Depuis 2006, il a occupé de nombreux postes au sein d’Air Canada, avant de devenir l’an dernier vice-président et conseiller général en droit du travail et de l’emploi au sein de la compagnie.

Projet Montréal’s Ugly Spring
Party breaks its promise to protect Technoparc wetland ecosystem
By Patrick Barnard and Richard Swift
(Westmount Magazine_ In April 2023, Projet Montréal broke one of its fundamental campaign promises made only two years before – by destroying its own pledge to buy private land to protect and enhance an invaluable wetland ecosystem north of Montreal’s airport.
Instead of fighting against biodiversity loss, Projet is facilitating it.
But the ownership pattern is complicated, spread over two jurisdictions, the City of Dorval and the borough of Ville Saint-Laurent, and with property rights split between the Canadian government, the City of Montreal and a number of private owners.
Fragmentation is the great enemy of biodiversity, as the American naturalist E.O. Wilson showed empirically a generation ago. And this typical dissolution is well underway at the Technoparc.

27 April
Peter F. Trent: Why is Montreal planting a forest of highrises?
The word children in Le Square Children’s misleads. There’s nothing to attract families in this latest example of bad urban planning.
After Griffintown, an object lesson in bad urban planning, came another tabula rasa project, this time in the southwest corner of the historic Peter-McGill district (one of three Ville-Marie wards). I am referring to the redevelopment of the former Montreal Children’s Hospital, baptized Le Square Children’s, which has emerged as a jumbled collection of wind-buffeted glass crates of up to 37 storeys that will not a community make.
Montreal wants to attract families to downtown. Instead, 25- to 34-year-olds with children constitute the largest demographic decamping from the island of Montreal. The word children in Square Children’s misleads. In common with everything Montreal seems to do, there’s nothing to attract children here.

17 March
Quebec bends language laws to lure international agencies to Montreal
Economic spinoffs are so strong, the Legault government has been willing to offer exemptions on the use of English to keep them headquartered here, even as it cracks down with Bill 96.
Andy Riga
Today, Montreal has the third-largest concentration of [international organizations] in the Americas, after New York City and Washington, D.C., the Union of International Organizations says.
The allure of such bodies is so strong Quebec exempts them from some normally sacrosanct Bill 101 rules limiting access to English education and workplace French. Even Bill 96 has a loophole for them.
Universities, language and costs are among the city’s advantages, said France Brosseau, vice-president of international organizations at Montreal International. Funded by Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa and the business sector, the non-profit attracts and supports global bodies.
The city has one of the highest concentrations of post-secondary students in North America, with about 200,000, including 25,000 from other countries. The region’s multiple universities open the door to valuable collaborations, Brosseau said.
Montreal’s multicultural, multilingual character and its status as Canada’s most bilingual and trilingual city are also appealing. It makes it easier for organizations to hire and for foreign-born employees to settle in, Brosseau said.

15 March
REM stations primed to become hubs for mixed-use growth
Colliers experts Colin Worrell and Patrick Vallières examine the potential of the Réseau express métropolitain to spur mixed-use development near stations while boosting commute flexibility
Data from similar development patterns in Canada’s largest cities shows transit-oriented developments tend to spur the emergence of vibrant hubs with a spectrum of commercial and residential properties.
Above all, these hubs benefit most, if not all, stakeholders and neighbours — including office developers and tenants, homeowners, retailers, workers, consumers and commuters, who can be expected to bring more business and activity up and down the REM. By the time the full 67-kilometre system links downtown Montreal, the South Shore, West Island, North Shore and Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, the REM will represent more than two dozen such opportunities for growth, according to the experts at Colliers

5 February
Montreal open to tax reform after demerged Mayors’ challenge
By Joel Goldenberg
(The Suburban) City of Montreal executive committee president Dominique Ollivier says the Plante administration will be reviewing municipal funding, including the sharing of expenses between the city and the demerged island municipalities for such services as public transit, the fire department and police. Ollivier has said the current model for expense sharing is no longer viable, and that is why the funding issue as a whole is being looked at.
Ollivier’s statement comes just after the Mayors of Montreal-island demerged cities came out of a day-long strategic retreat in Pointe Claire and mandated the Association of Suburban Municipalities to pursue “final approach” financial negotiations and normalize relations with Montreal and the Quebec government. The negotiations concern the issue of the sharing of expenses and the portion each municipality pays to the agglomeration each year. That portion shot up significantly this year.

1 February
Peter F. Trent: City employees’ cushy pay packets cost taxpayers
My mother’s side of the family were British intellectual socialists; they were an impractical lot who embraced socialism with a religious-like fervour — unlike, say, my sage left-wing friend Julius Grey.
Sixty years ago, one-third of Canadian employees were unionized, all of them working in the private sector. Then public-sector unions were declared legal. Today, only 15 per cent of the Canadian private sector remains unionized, yet 77 per cent of government workers across Canada — 86 per cent in Quebec — belong to a union.
No one should be surprised that this union hammerlock on the public sector has resulted in higher salaries and benefits, but nowhere is it more dramatic than in Quebec’s municipalities. Although the days of intimidation and crippling strikes are behind us, their malign legacy lives on in the unjustified remuneration levels of today’s municipal employees.
… The City of Montreal racks up an average “global” remuneration of $106,000 for managers, professionals, white collars and blue collars. Montreal pays their employees “all in” an eyewatering 50 per cent more than their Quebec civil-servant equivalents and 43 per cent more than their private-sector doppelgangers — who have to work 1,725 hours a year. Municipal employees, on average, clock in a mere 1,546 hours.
I can’t be the only taxpayer on the Island of Montreal to find this differential in remuneration scandalous. What is more, while the private sector can lay off its workers, City of Montreal workers, like most public-sector workers, have job security for life.
… As the cost of remuneration can take up nearly one-half of the city’s budget, Montreal elected officials must grasp this nettle. They need to dump their parliamentary system, de-politicize themselves and realize their main purpose in life is to tax citizens and return that money in the form of efficient services. That is not a political act.
This means attracting seasoned administrators as elected officials. Right now, few Montreal councillors have the necessary experience to oversee a $7 billion organization. And lower taxes, better services and reasonably paid employees are not left-wing nor right-wing goals.

17-18 January
How much will rent in Quebec go up in 2023?
Landlords and tenants budgeting rent for the year should look to the Administrative Housing Tribunal’s (TAL) latest index.
The Tribunal administratif du logement posted the adjustment rates on which Quebec landlords should base themselves to calculate rent increases Tuesday.
Although it’s still too early to determine the average increase for the year, tenants in Quebec can expect their rents to go up.
In 2022, the TAL granted an average rent adjustment of four per cent in cases it heard, with capital expenditures taken into account.
The announced percentages are based on landlords’ expenses for a particular dwelling. Landlords can use the rent increase calculation tool on the TAL’s website before sending tenants an increase notice.
[Cédric Dussault, a spokesperson for the Coalition of Housing Committees and Tenants’ Associations of Quebec (RCLALQ)] says very few cases make it to the tribunal and encourages tenants to reach out to their local housing committee.
“Because it’s up to tenants to calculate whether the rent hike is abusive and refuse it,” said Dussault. “There are a lot of tenants who don’t know they can refuse an increase and still stay in the dwelling.”
Calculation of the 2023 rent adjustment
The Tribunal administratif du logement has established the applicable percentages.
These percentages are used to calculate the 2023 rent adjustment, in accordance with the Regulation respecting the criteria for the fixing of rent. The percentages enable the amounts attributed to each component of the calculation to be determined based on the actual expenses incurred for the building or dwelling in question.
The Tribunal must wait for Statistics Canada to release the Consumer Price Index for December before it can calculate the percentages that apply. In fact, the methodology used takes the 12 months of the preceding year into account. Statistics Canada has released the data for December 2022 today.


29 November
Montreal unveils $6.7B budget: more taxes, bigger police force
(CityNews) The City of Montreal unveiled its $6.76 billion budget Tuesday morning.
It represented an increase of $300 million compared to last year.
Residential taxes are going up an average of 4.1 per cent. That’s below the current rate of inflation, which is estimated at 6.9 per cent. Commercial taxes are going up 2.9 per cent.
The tax increase will vary by borough and property valuation.
“We built this budget based on the current economic context, which is marked by inflation and the robust recovery of Montreal,” said Mayor Valérie Plante. “The rigorous management of public funds that we have been conducting for the past five years allows us to continue to accelerate our investments in the priorities that we share with the population: ecological transition, housing, public safety and mobility.

24-25 November
Incoming Montreal police chief Fady Dagher to usher in “a new era” for the SPVM
“He represents the future of policing. He is experienced, human and unifying.”
(Cult Montreal) Incoming Montreal police chief Fady Dagher told the media yesterday that he has both been a victim of and engaged in racial profiling during his career in law enforcement. He also acknowledged that systemic racism exists within the SPVM, where he has had various roles for 25 years — particularly working with minority and vulnerable communities — as well as heading up the Longueuil police since 2017.
Longueuil’s Fady Dagher tapped to become Montreal police chief
The mayor’s office has called a news conference for Thursday afternoon where Valérie Plante and members of her administration are to comment on the selection committee’s recommendation.

24 November
COP15 in Montreal: Brace for protests, civil disobedience and student strikes
Anti-capitalist coalition to hold a “teach-in” at McGill University. Topics include “combative social movements” and “what to do if you get arrested.”
Workers are putting final touches on an imposing, three-metre-high fence. Police are preparing for the biggest security operation Montreal has seen in decades. And anti-capitalists are readying protesters for possible arrests and civil disobedience.

8 February
Province brushes off damning report on Montreal’s east end REM project
The $10-billion REM de l’Est light rail project for east end Montreal is in jeopardy after a new report from the regional agency responsible for transit planning, the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM), raised several red flags — including the fact that the massive project simply wouldn’t attract many new riders.


Platforms and promises:
Your guide to Montreal’s municipal election

28 November
The fate of the Fulford: What next for the downtown landmark?
Its elderly female residents have left. Will the home’s future abide by its original mission to help women who are disadvantaged?
Susan Schwartz
Concordia University has expressed interest (Landmark Montreal seniors’ home closing after COVID ravages residents) in acquiring the building, as has Chez Doris , which serves women who are homeless and distressed.

12 November
Defeated a second time, Denis Coderre says he is leaving politics
The announcement comes five days after he was soundly defeated by incumbent mayor Valérie Plante in last Sunday’s municipal election.
What comes next for Denis Coderre after crushing election loss?
“I think this is probably the end of his political career,” said Danielle Pilette, an associate professor at UQAM specializing in municipal politics. (10 November)

7-9 November
Plante wins second term as Projet Montréal settles into city hall
With 52 per cent of the vote, incumbent mayor vows to continue running Montreal “with a smile.” Coderre suffers second humiliating defeat as Montrealers soundly reject his comeback attempt.
A Facebook comment on Valérie Plante’s victory is worth repeating:
With 50% of a 36% turn out it means she’ll be destroying what’s left of the city with the go ahead of 18% of eligible voters. So:
– Traffic’s going to get worse.
– We’ll have even more empty bicycle lanes in winter.
– She’ll chase Most of the home builders away from Montreal.
– More street gang gun fights.
– She’ll do absolutely nothing about Bill 96 except to make sure we know which days to take out the garbage (in English)
Montreal’s new municipal council will be far more diverse
“Any political party that does not understand the new definition of diversity may not be able to get elected, and I think Projet Montréal took a big gamble and it won big time,” said Fo Niemi
Montreal’s next municipal council will be the most diverse ever, with 17 per cent of its 65 members coming from visible minorities.
Denis Coderre’s bid for redemption is rejected by Montrealers
Coderre didn’t address his future Sunday night, refusing to say if he will stay on as a leader of the opposition at city hall.
Despite Coderre’s repeated insistence that the election should not be a referendum on his personality , he was running as much against himself as he was against Plante. As mayor from 2013 to 2017, Coderre irked Montrealers with his go-it-alone attitude, content to spend public funds on vanity projects and extravagances like lavish 375th-anniversary celebrations for Montreal and the Formula E race.
The election race was also marked by a spoiler who appeared to eat into Coderre’s traditional support base of minorities and anglophones. Balarama Holness promised to shun Bill 96 and even proposed a referendum on whether Montreal should have official bilingual status. As a result, he seemed to have attracted significant support among English speakers and allophones.
Projet Montréal takes control of C.D.N—N.D.G. by a narrow margin
Lionel Perez’s commanding lead was reduced overnight as challenger Gracia Kasoki Kathawa took the lead.

Hanes: Memo to federal leaders — Cities need way more power
…there is an added wrinkle to voicing such demands during this busy election season: a municipal campaign is also well under way in Montreal. So it’s not just Plante outlining her priorities for the next federal government that takes power in Ottawa, but her rivals, too.
Denis Coderre, the former mayor and head of Ensemble Montréal, also wants a handgun and assault weapon ban, along with a federal-led crackdown on gun trafficking. A rise in gun violence in Montreal has moved this issue higher on the agenda for mayoral hopefuls this summer.
But Coderre has some ideas of his own. So does Balarama Holness, leader of Movement Montreal. And there are things that Montrealers themselves need that only the federal government can provide.
Affordable housing is another crisis cities are confronting that they badly need Ottawa’s help to fix. Between soaring real-estate prices driving families further away and rising rents from renovictions putting tenants in an increasingly precarious position, both Plante and Coderre are looking for federal funds to accelerate the construction of affordable and social housing.
Holness specifically wants federal lands in the Peel Basin set aside for 24,000 social and 30,000 affordable units, rather than ceded to business interests seeking to build a stadium to attract a Major League Baseball team.
Perhaps motivated by more generalized angst over housing, polls conducted on the eve of the election call showed widespread public support to end homelessness. That’s right: not just open more shelters, but find permanent housing for those who fall through the cracks.
… Among the challenges cities face are:
protecting vulnerable citizens in dense, paved neighbourhoods during heat waves;
updating infrastructure to manage extreme weather; and
operating public transit services that need to be expanded to reduce emissions from vehicle traffic.
This summer, Plante unveiled Montreal’s plan for banning single-use plastics, but the federal government has a role to play in instituting national standards for plastics, helping establish a circular economy and nurturing new industries that make use of recycled materials.
Coderre is calling on the federal government to save the Champs de Monarques, wild grassland that serves as a Monarch butterfly sanctuary, on lands owned by Aéroports de Montréal that are incomprehensibly favoured for a new medical mask manufacturing facility.
Coderre, who negotiated more power for Montreal from the Quebec government during his term as mayor, is now looking for more autonomy from Ottawa. He is asking for the federal government to give Montreal half a point of GST revenue to diversify the city’s sources of revenue, which are heavily dependant on residential and commercial property taxes.
Holness, for his part, wants a new legal framework that would grant Montreal state-like powers.

6 November
Allison Hanes: To-do list for Montreal’s next mayor
Montreal is at a crossroads. The pandemic hit the city hard, not only economically, but socially. It exposed the cracks in every system and widened disparities between Montrealers. It created new challenges and exacerbated earlier problems.
But the recovery from the pandemic also presents great opportunity, to reflect on, refresh, rejuvenate and renew Montreal. It’s a chance to fix what ails the city and reimagine ways to make it better.
With about a third of Montrealers hailing from diverse ethnic, cultural, linguistic, racial and religious backgrounds, there is a growing sense of disenfranchisement among some non-white, non-francophones — especially as the Quebec government adopts a more nationalist posture and looks to tighten the screws on minorities in the name of protecting the French language. …
Montreal may be the only French-speaking metropolis in North America — which is a huge part of its vitality — but that identity is too often at odds with its reality as a multicultural, multilingual city. The next mayor must find a way to leverage the assets of bilingualism and diversity while nurturing Montreal’s French character. But bridging the gap will be no easy task given a political climate that increasingly makes it seem as if the Two Solitudes are now Montreal versus the Rest of Quebec.

4 November
Plante and Coderre trade blows about transparency as election looms
Coderre accuses Plante of not being transparent about sexual assault allegations against Projet candidate
On Thursday, Projet Montréal leader Valérie Plante continued her criticism of Denis Coderre over his initial refusal to disclose his financial records.
On Wednesday, the Ensemble Montréal leader revealed the names of eight companies who hired him between 2018 and March of this year, after insisting for days that he would share that information only if elected
… Coderre kicked off a news conference on Thursday by citing a CBC News report that Plante falsely claimed to have no knowledge of sexual assault allegations against an elected official in her party.
Projet Montréal candidate Craig Sauvé, a city councillor in the city’s Sud-Ouest borough, has since confirmed that he is the elected official who was the subject of a sexual assault claim nearly a decade ago.

28 October
In English debate, mayoral candidates lay out contrasting visions for Montreal’s future
Candidates spar over transportation, taxation and policing
Hanes: Why are so many Montrealers on the fence in this election?
The candidates have had no shortage of proposals, visions and priorities in this campaign.
With less than two weeks to go before Montrealers choose their next mayor, the race is too close to call.
Two candidates who have each served a term in the mayor’s office are neck and neck, while a spoiler waits in the wings.
This has been a campaign of issues and ideas. And there are no shortage of proposals for where to take Montreal over the next four years. Although there is some overlap — on covering the Décarie Expressway, opening up the east end to development and better public transit, for instance — there are major differences that distinguish the candidates. … Perhaps the indecision comes down to the intangible issue of personality.

20 October
Land acknowledgment by Montreal Canadiens ‘may be a mistake,’ Quebec Indigenous affairs minister says
A Montreal Canadiens land acknowledgment that refers to unceded territory of the Mohawk Nation may be a mistake, according to Quebec Indigenous Affairs Minister Ian Lafrenière.
The statement, which has been read before the NHL team’s home games since Saturday, acknowledges “Kanien’keha:ka, also known as the Mohawk Nation, for their hospitality on this traditional and unceded territory where we are gathered today.”
Speaking to reporters at the provincial legislature, Lafrenière said that referring to a specific nation may be a mistake.
“It’s important to recognize that the First Nations were here before us and that we now live together, but we’re getting into a debate between historians who don’t agree with each other, I think it might be a mistake,” he told reporters at the provincial legislature Wednesday.

10 October
Seems like we have heard this before
Denis Coderre vows to cover part of Montreal’s Décarie Expressway
The $700 million project, which Coderre wants Ottawa or Quebec to fund, would cover the noisy expressway with a park and outdoor sports facilities.
“We want to build an N.D.G. and C.D.N. that’s green and more inclusive,” said Lionel Perez, who is running to be borough mayor with Coderre’s Ensemble Montréal party. “We want to reduce the auditory and visual pollution.”

6 October
Bill 96 hearings: Valérie Plante fully endorses overhaul of French charter
“As the biggest francophone city in North America, Montreal is and will be an ally of Bill 101 and its reform,” Plante told the committee.
Philip Authier
Mayoralty candidate Valérie Plante said she does not want Montreal to become a bilingual city and fully supports the Legault’s government’s Bill 96 overhauling the Charter of the French Language.
… The CEGEP representatives also said they agree with the bill’s plan to freeze enrolment on their large Montreal campuses, but say capping enrolment for off-island CEGEPs is more complicated because their enrolment is more fragile.
… Plante went on to say under her administration the city created an action plan to give French its rightful place back in the city at the same time as being inclusive of anglophone and Indigenous communities. She mentioned her decision Tuesday to name former Parti Québécois cabinet minister Louise Harel responsible for following up on the plan.

4 October
Why the stakes are high in Montreal’s municipal election
A look at the most pressing issues heading into the Nov. 6 and 7 vote
Benjamin Shingler
(CBC) Heading into the election, Montreal faces an ever-tightening housing market, questions about the role of policing after a spike in shootings, growing concerns over the climate crisis and the resulting extreme weather and, yes, the lingering pandemic.
With the price of both rentals and real estate climbing, housing ranked as the top issue in a recent opinion poll among voters by Léger, commissioned by Le Devoir.
All the mayoral candidates have promised to take steps to address the problem, even if much depends on the actions of the federal and provincial governments.
Plante and Coderre in particular, though, differ in their approaches, with the former promising to build more affordable housing under a model that places more requirements on developers, and the latter advocating a more business friendly approach.
The previous municipal election focused heavily on transit and ways to improve getting around the traffic-clogged city.
Plante won with a promise to get the city moving again, with more bike paths, bus lanes and, eventually, a new Pink metro line.
The latter hasn’t happened, of course, and the pandemic has kept many people at home.

30 September
Balarama Holness and Mouvement Montreal join forces with another party ahead of municipal election
Marc-Antoine Desjardins will no longer run to become Montreal’s mayor
Balarama Holness, the leader of Mouvement Montreal and Marc-Antoine Desjardins, the leader of Ralliement pour Montréal announced their plans to merge their parties during a news conference on Thursday.
Holness will stay in the running to become the city’s next mayor and Desjardins will remove himself from the race.
Desjardins will instead try to become a borough mayor, though he did not specify which one. According to Radio-Canada sources, he will run in Outremont.
One of Ralliement pour Montréal’s top campaign priorities is strengthening the French language.
The platform of Mouvement Montreal, meanwhile, includes having the city “officially recognized as a bilingual metropolis,” instituting a bylaw to allow businesses to operate in both French and English and having all municipal government documents available in both languages.
In the past, the two mayoral candidates have clashed on this point. Just on Monday, Desjardins replied to a tweet that referred to Holness’s plan as “anti-Quebec” by saying “the only vaccine for this is Ralliement pour Montréal. Simple as that.”

28 September
Holness sees Montreal as a bilingual city-state
Would seek special status and taxation powers if elected mayor.
… “We are going to encourage all businesses to do business in both languages. And when tourists come to Montreal, they’ll be able to be welcomed in the language of their choice, English or French.”
Denis Coderre’s campaign platform includes backtrack on pit bulls
Coderre says he “won’t attack a race, but will attack dangerous dogs.”
He also promised to create two animal shelters — one in each of Montreal’s east and west ends — and a central fund to help boroughs create or refurbish existing dog parks.
The pledges came Monday as the former mayor’s Ensemble Montréal party announced its campaign platform, which also includes plans for housing, mobility, the environment, and making Montreal a leader in Quebec and abroad.
Coderre was flanked by platform co-presidents Guillaume Lavoie and Emilia Tamko, who explained the details.

24 September
‘There is no Planet B’: Thousands march in Montreal to protest climate change
Friday’s march was significant as Montreal’s first large-scale environmental protest since the pandemic began.
Thousands of mostly young Montrealers bearing placards reading “Wake up Mr. Trudeau” and “There is no Planet B” gathered on Mount Royal and then joined a spirited Global Protest for Climate Justice march that stretched for kilometres through the streets of downtown Friday.
They were part of the first major in-person Fridays for Future strikes — started by Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg — to be held since the pandemic began, and which drew similar crowds in more than 1,500 cities. Thunberg attended a massive rally in Berlin on Friday.
Although nowhere near the size of the mega-march that overtook Montreal in September 2019 — when Thunberg, just 16 at the time, led an estimated 500,000 people in a call for action on climate change — Friday’s march was significant as the city’s first large-scale environmental protest since COVID-19 quelled outdoor congregations.

21 September
EMSB’s Joe Ortona calls on mayoral candidates to speak out against Bill 96
The bill would affect how services are delivered to the city’s English-speaking minority, said the candidate for Loyola.
“The candidates should pronounce themselves for or against Bill 96; Montrealers should know this prior to voting,” said Ortona, who was dumped from mayoral candidate Denis Coderre’s party after the English Montreal School Board that he chairs took a position against the proposed law.

7 September
English school board chair booted from Denis Coderre’s party over stance on language reform
(CBC) Joe Ortona, chair of the English Montreal School Board (EMSB), was the Ensemble Montréal candidate for Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce’s hotly contested district of Loyola — a largely English-speaking neighbourhood that currently has no councillor after Christian Arseneault’s recent resignation.
EMSB commissioners adopted a resolution last week calling on Quebec to withdraw Bill 96. It also called on the federal government to refer the bill to the Supreme Court of Canada to rule on whether it’s legal.
When Ensemble Montréal announced Ortona’s candidacy back in July, the party touted his “dedication to upholding the constitutional rights of the English-speaking community.”
That exaltation flipped to condemnation as Coderre proclaimed that the protection of French is “one our fundamental values.”
“We have demonstrated this publicly on several occasions, in particular with our request for the creation of a French language council,” he says in a statement.

14 August
Large crowd marches in Montreal to protest against Quebec’s vaccination passport
(CBC) The crowd, which stretched at least four to five blocks on René-Lévesque Boulevard West, began marching toward Place des Festivals at 2 p.m. ET, with people chanting “No to vaccine passports,” in French.
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé confirmed earlier this week that a vaccination passport system will be implemented as of Sept. 1 in an effort to combat a growing COVID-19 caseload and what he described as an “inevitable” fourth wave.

19 July
How Empty Storefronts Are Killing Our Neighbourhoods
All over North America, speculators are raising rents and pushing out tenants. Will our cities ever be the same?
by Lucy Uprichard
(The Walrus) On February 25, when a photo of a For Rent sign in the window of S. W. Welch was posted on Twitter, shock spread across social media. The used bookstore, owned by Stephen Welch, had been a mainstay of Montreal’s Mile End since it relocated there, in 2007. A few years ago, a real estate firm bought Welch’s building. As Welch approached the end of his lease, which was to expire in August, his new landlord told him that the store’s monthly costs—rent, taxes, insurance, and maintenance—would go up an impossible 150 percent, to $5,000 a month. “I think they’d rather [the building] be empty than have me here,” the sixty-eight-year-old bookseller told Cult MTL.
For Mile Enders, it was no surprise who was behind the shop’s ouster: Shiller Lavy. No other developer is name-checked as often in the city’s anti-gentrification graffiti. Composed of Stephen Shiller and Danny Lavy, the duo is…notorious for buying property, hiking rents, and shoving out long-term tenants.
Once these establishments are sent packing, the communities around them—sometimes built over decades—often fade away too. After closing, many storefronts were boarded up for months or even years. A healthy vacancy rate is between 4 and 10 percent, a range that accounts for renovations and normal turnover. In 2019, a consultation revealed that Montreal had hit 15 percent—in some areas, 26 percent—and that properties were sitting empty for an average of nineteen months.

30 June

29 – 30 June
24-hour shelter opening at former Hôtel-Dieu hospital as contract ends with downtown Montreal hotel
The former hospital will have at least 100 beds, with a capacity of 200 if needed, according to health officials who led reporters on a tour Wednesday.
The Old Brewery Mission and Welcome Hall Mission partnered with one of the Montreal health boards, the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, and the CHUM superhospital to set up the shelter.
The shelter will open Thursday, about three weeks after dozens of homeless people were told to find a new shelter because emergency accommodations in Place Dupuis — another temporary shelter in a downtown hotel — would close at the end of June.
Residents will be able to leave their belongings in the room they are staying in, and meals and snacks will be provided.
The goal is to help residents find long-term housing by connecting them to rent subsidies and other programs to find housing, as rents in the city rise.
Facing high rent and limited options, hundreds of Quebec tenants struggle to find new homes
Vacancy rate is improving in Montreal, but many renters can’t afford rising rents
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, throughout her time in office, has called on the province and federal government to invest more in social housing.
While a tentative $1.4-billion social housing agreement was reached between Quebec and Ottawa last September, Plante has said that will take several years to bring to fruition.
In the interim, her administration passed a bylaw this spring that forces developers to include social, family and, in some places, affordable housing units to any new projects larger than 4,843 square feet (about five units). Those who don’t are on the hook for hefty fines.

28 June
Defiant Sue Montgomery says she won’t resign despite ethics violations
Municipal Commission finds Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough mayor guilty of 11 ethics violations
All the violations cited in the ruling stemmed from the fallout of an investigation into workplace culture at the borough by the city of Montreal’s comptroller general in 2019.
That investigation found that Montgomery’s chief of staff, Annalisa Harris, had psychologically harassed two borough employees. The comptroller general recommended that Harris no longer have contact with those employees.
Montgomery also formed her own political party, Courage. She’s running for re-election as borough mayor in November, and Harris is running for a seat on the borough council.

24-25 June
Artturi Lehkonen’s OT goal sends Canadiens into Stanley Cup final
Montreal will face the winner of the other semifinal between the Islanders and Lightning. Game 7 in that series will be played Friday night.
Downtown Montreal transformed into one big party after the Habs’ win
As the Montreal Canadiens secured their place in the Stanley Cup final, there were makeshift parades, some tear gas and a guy on a hoverboard directing traffic.
Dunlevy: Habs’ epic Stanley Cup run brings out best and worst in Montrealers
The unifying power of the Habs’ success is almost enough to let us overlook the thuggish shenanigans around the Bell Centre on Thursday.
…fans celebrated the Fête nationale, downtown revellers marked the occasion by mass-gathering in distinctly anti-socially-distanced fashion and vandalizing and overturning cop cars.
Montreal police made 15 arrests and gave out 60 tickets for infractions including assault, armed assault and obstructing a police officer in the line of duty, according to Inspector David Shane, spokesperson for the SPVM.
“The first thing I’ll say is that the vast majority of Montrealers participating and present downtown handled themselves very well,” Shane said. “They celebrated in (a spirit of) respect and harmony. That’s important to underline. There were a few individuals who got a little out of control, and that carried over”.

25 June
Balarama Holness veut un statut bilingue pour la Ville de Montréal
Le candidat à la mairie de Montréal Balarama Holness plaide en faveur d’un statut bilingue pour la Ville de Montréal, jetant du même coup un pavé dans la mare en pleine journée de fête nationale. Selon lui, les citoyens anglophones et allophones devraient avoir un meilleur accès aux services en anglais à la Ville et les entreprises devraient pouvoir mener leurs activités dans les deux langues afin d’assurer à la métropole un meilleur rayonnement sur la scène internationale.
Hanes: Royalmount project is a bad idea no matter what it looks like
Even if Royalmount is now being billed as “a true, 100% pedestrian eco-innovative neighbourhood,” building 3,250 condos in a busy industrial park next to a major highway junction is still a terrible idea. See: Moratorium on Royalmount project is essentialRoyalmount will not bring economic development but “economic displacement” to Montreal, groups warn in open letter calling for a moratorium. (1 March 2019)

22 June
$48.2M real-estate project targets students in downtown Montreal
The 19-storey building on Peel St., with average monthly rents at $885, is expected to be completed in May 2022
At last, a setback for developers Brandon Shiller and Jeremy Kornbluth thanks to the Ville-Marie demolition committee.
Downtown borough rejects demolition of Drummond St. building
The project lacks social acceptability, said councillor Sophie Mauzerolle of the Ville-Marie borough’s urban planning committee

19 June
Le taux de logements libres atteint 10 % à Montréal et à Québec
(La Presse) Le taux de logements vacants ou bientôt disponibles a poursuivi sa hausse fulgurante observée depuis le début de la pandémie et atteint maintenant 10 % dans l’île de Montréal et à Québec, selon une étude de la CORPIQ obtenue par La Presse.
« La baisse drastique de l’immigration, la possibilité d’étudier ou de travailler à distance, le retour massif de logements autrefois loués à des touristes, les règles de confinement plus restrictives, l’attrait moindre pour les grandes villes devenues sans évènements festifs ni lieux de rencontres sont autant de facteurs qui ont poussé vers le haut le taux d’inoccupation », résume le document qui sera rendu public ce samedi.

18 June
Montreal unveils strategy to protect historic Chinatown district
The strategy includes improving pedestrian access to the area, increasing parks and green spaces and developing social housing.
A historic block of Montreal’s Chinatown, including a collection of buildings on de la Gauchetière St., was recently threatened for development.
Citing its historic and cultural importance, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said it’s crucial to protect Montreal’s Chinatown district.
The city unveiled an action plan Friday to protect the sector, which Plante pointed out is Quebec’s only true Chinatown and the only one in North America situated in a French city.
The plan, which is the fruit of nearly two years of consultation, puts in place several measures. Among them:
Improving pedestrian access to the area from the downtown core.
Increasing parks and green spaces in both private and public areas.
Maintaining and developing social housing.
Supporting businesses in the area by creating a local merchants’ association.
Encouraging initiatives to generate more interest in the sector, and to encourage more visitors.
The city also wants to partner with the Quebec government to create a working group that will come up with strategies to protect heritage buildings that are part of the sector.

6 June
Anti-lockdown march in Montreal draws several thousand protesters
It drew a diverse group of people, including young parents with their children (none wearing masks), 5G conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxxers, motorcycle gang members and right-wing extremists.
Few, if any, of the protesters wore masks, and many carried signs accusing Quebec Premier François Legault of imposing draconian measures during the pandemic even as the government is now easing restrictions amid falling COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

3 June
Hanes: Old Montreal must be rescued again, this time from hooligans
Within the last year, the old quarter has been the site of riots, brawls and shootouts.
Back in the 1950s, there were plans to build an expressway along the waterfront, which would have meant razing countless historic buildings in the previously shabby district of the city. Fortunately, the old quarter was saved by a pair of architects, Blanche Lemco van Ginkel and her husband, Daniel van Ginkel, whose commitment to heritage preservation and visionary urban planning won the day. My Gazette colleague Marian Scott wrote about their David-versus-Goliath battle almost a decade ago.
Now, though, Old Montreal needs saving of a different sort.
The pandemic has emptied the streets of millions of tourists. Many Montrealers, too, have stayed home from work and play over long months of lockdown. In their absence, a less desirable crowd has shown up, bringing trouble. Last weekend was a prime example of a deteriorating security situation.
… In April, protesters opposed to Quebec’s nightly pandemic curfew rioted, smashing windows, looting, setting fires and committing other vandalism.

1 June
Will ‘textgate’ hurt Denis Coderre’s bid to become mayor again?
Most people aren’t buying his explanation that he simply picked up the phone after it fell out of its holder in his car. … The controversy came a day after Plante was also caught on camera sitting at a table at an outdoor café with four other people, only one of whom wore a mask. The permitted maximum is two.

27 May
‘If tourists don’t come, I don’t make money’: Shops in Old Montreal say reopening plan does nothing for them
Shops that cater to tourists in Old Montreal are struggling to stay afloat without visitors from other countries and provinces
Travel between regions in the province will be also allowed as of tomorrow, and that should help downtown shops. However, Corraya says most of his customers come from abroad.

23 May
Montréal, métropole trilingue
Il est possible de protéger la langue française tout en affirmant le caractère cosmopolite et multilingue de Montréal
Marcel Boyer, Professeur émérite de sciences économiques de l’Université de Montréal et Fellow du CIRANO
(La Presse) À l’encontre de cette proposition, on affirme souvent que le progrès du multilinguisme pourrait mettre le français en difficulté. Comme dans bien d’autres domaines, le protectionnisme agressif est une source de déclin à moyen et à long terme.

20 May
Allison Hanes: Holness’s candidacy could energize Montreal’s mayoral race
What was shaping up to be a rematch between tried-and-tested Valérie Plante and Denis Coderre, the current and previous mayors, now has a new contender: Balarama Holness
Activist Balarama Holness will run for mayoralty of Montreal
Though he is not the first alternative to throw his hat in the ring (actually he is the sixth mayoral candidate), Holness is the first whose arrival is likely to shift the dynamic of the contest away from being a two-horse showdown.
Holness, who ran unsuccessfully for Plante’s Projet Montréal in 2017, will lead the newly created Movement Montreal. The Grey Cup-winning former Montreal Alouette player and McGill University law student has pushed systemic racism and discrimination to the forefront of the political agenda in the city. If elected, he would also be Montreal’s first Black mayor.
This is where his candidacy could have a notable impact on the field. Both Plante and Coderre have gone to great pains to show their parties are open and inclusive.

28 March
Hanes: Denis Coderre is ‘running for Montrealers’
Coderre may be a familiar face to Montrealers, but he’s trying to prove he’s not yesterday’s man.
He’s in.
In one of the worst kept secrets in politics, former Montreal mayor Denis Coderre revealed Sunday night on talk show Tout le monde en parle that he will be vying to reclaim his old job in this November’s municipal election.
… Mostly he’s trying to convince voters he’s a changed man, who has learned humility and introspection since his first term, when his ego, stubbornness and refusal to admit when he was wrong tripped him up toward the end of this first mandate.


5 November
Allison Hanes: With her mayoralty disrupted, Plante has been in the eye of city’s COVID storm
Most of the third year of Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante’s mandate has been spent managing a global health emergency rather than focusing on her agenda.

Comments are closed.