Montreal Paving Contractor: It’s Not My Job

Courtesy Simon Roberge

If it wasn’t bad enough to have a video of Montreal buses slipping and sliding on a snowy street go viral last winter, the latest kerfuffle caused by street paving contractors is getting even more Internet play.  Recently a main artery through the city was being repaved. One car was left behind. Had this been a snow removal operation the car would have been ticketed and towed away to allow for proper clearing.

In a photo akin to the old white-line-over-the-dead-animal shot – usually captioned “It’s not my job” – a paving contractor went around the parked car, rather than wait for a tow-truck to remove it. Not a trace of logic to be found!

 

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Montreal Irish Community Has Old Sod Pulled Out From Under Them

In the late 1840s Ireland was in the throes of what has become known as the Great Potato Famine. Though what was so great about it is a mystery to me. Sadly many were forced to leave the Old Sod and head off for new lives in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and, Montreal. That sounds much easier than it was.

More than 6000 Irish migrants died in these sheds. Subsequently workers who were erecting the Victoria Bridge came upon a mass grave. To this day the ground is considered sacred by Montreal’s vibrant Irish community.

Passage was hardly cruise ship style and many died en route, having contracted typhus. So horrific was the loss of life that the vessels came to be known as coffin ships, their human cargo unloaded and moved to hastily built fever sheds.  

More than 6000 Irish migrants died in these sheds. Subsequently workers who were erecting the Victoria Bridge came upon a mass grave. In 1859 a large monument, the Irish Commemorative Stone, known more commonly if less creatively as  Black Rock, was set in place to commemorate the nameless victims.  

To this day the ground is considered sacred by Montreal’s vibrant Irish community. Every spring there is a march from St. Gabriel’s parish to the Black Rock to pay respect to the victims there buried and ensure their memory survives.

There is a piece of land, a green space, located very close to the rock that all three levels of government informally promised to the Irish community as a memorial park to which the Rock could be moved. Currently the rock is located on a median between two lanes of traffic making access tricky at best, and downright dangerous at worst. However recently it was announced that Hydro Quebec had bought the land to build a power station for a transit system project.

As for building a power station on land abutting a mass grave of Irish immigrants, I believe the potential for banshees and Little People to cause construction havoc is great.

Not surprisingly Montreal’s Irish feel they have been betrayed and scammed and are making a kerfuffle about it. On a couple of occasions city mayor Denis Coderre, who was this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade Grand Marshall, promised to “champion” the park project.

Calling Mayor Coderre.

Perhaps hizzoner has a trick up his sleeve to make things right. Or it may be too late. The annual march is this Sunday. They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but I’ve got to think that a community of Irish descendants who feel scorned by some old sod may just cause some grief.

As for building a power station on land abutting a mass grave of Irish immigrants, I believe the potential for banshees and Little People to cause construction havoc is great. To say nothing of problems over the years to come.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

UPDATED: Happy Birthday Montreal; Thanks For The Free Transit

Today marks the beginning of Montreal’s 375th anniversary celebrations. A whole summer of activities is planned and it all kicks-off today. I have written about my take on the festivities before. As a way of encouraging folks to participate, the Société de transport de Montréal will waive all bus and metro fares all day today. Yep, you can ride the system all day-long for free. A nice gesture.

… how long it will take for someone who has paid for a monthly pass for the month of May to realise that they have already paid for service today.

Now call me a cynic if you will, but I am just wondering how long it will take for someone who has paid for a monthly pass for the month of May to realise that they have already paid for service today. Everyone without a monthly pass is getting something for nothing today, but if you bought a monthly pass, you paid for 31 days of use. When in fact there are only 30 days when fares are charged this month.

I sense a class action lawsuit being launched, claiming two one-way fares  – or $6.50 – for every monthly pass sold. I imagine we are on the precipice of some lawyer getting his or her name in the media by suggesting this. Hardly in keeping with the spirit of the gesture.

Happy Birthday Montreal!

UPDATE: The answer to how long it will take for someone to publicly bitch is … drum-roll please … one week!

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Beware Canines Baring K-9s

ALLEN MCINNIS/MONTREAL GAZETTE

If you read this blog with any regularity you will know that once the City of Montreal announced a pit bull by-law, I took it upon myself to seek out and interview an actual pit bull. This led to me subsequently being contacted and let in on how pit bulls were coping with the enacted law.

“No arsehole “ he growled. “Take the lead that is around my neck. Make it look like you are taking me for a walk”.

In the latest chapter of this ongoing saga, last Friday afternoon as I arrived at a favourite downtown watering hole for a few pints, I noticed a large poodle, in fact it was hard to miss given it was pink. Yep, a large pink poodle standing outside the door evidently unattended, but wearing a collar and leash. As I passed by I heard psst coming from the direction of the pink poodle. Turning back I saw the dog raise its paw to chest level, look both ways to insure secrecy, pull back its fur and there it was, Velcro.  Only then did I realize this was my pit bull contact in disguise.

“Let’s walk,” he said under his Milkbone breath. As I was about to take a step he said “lead”. So I went ahead of him and looked back to see if he was following.

He explained that his original cover had been blown a few weeks ago. He told me it was a chihuahua; I immediately understood his problem

“No arsehole “ he growled. “Take the lead that is around my neck. Make it look like you are taking me for a walk. Believe me I don’t want to be tethered to you either”. I know many people in this part of downtown so I was hesitant to be seen walking a large pink poodle. I expressed my concern and he muttered (mutt-ered?) something about my being lucky if I don’t have to pick up after him. He had a point. He explained that his original cover had been blown a few weeks ago. He told me it was a chihuahua; I immediately understood his problem

As we strolled along the street, me keeping my head down as best I could, he brought up the subject he wanted to address. As part of Montreal’s 375th anniversary events, last weekend the city was visited by giants. Hideous goddamned three-storey tall nightmare inducing marionettes on cranes. There was a deep-sea diver, a little girl and her dog. A giant dog. He explained how Operation Trojan Dog followed by Operation Frolic would be played out on Sunday afternoon. My task was to be there and write about it. With this he broke loose and dashed off.

Hideous goddamned three-storey tall nightmare inducing marionettes on cranes.

There I was on Sunday afternoon, one of about nine gazillion people waiting for the giants to wake up and make their way through the city. Just before the scheduled departure time I noticed that several pit bulls seemed to be coming out of the reclining giant dog. There were soon many more pit bulls, leaving the giant and frolicking with those in attendance. Clearly those present thought this was part of the performance,  but I knew this was a means of pit bulls returning to public and showing their softer side. No catapult (dogapult?) for these tall thinkers. A shrewd public (puplic?) relations ploy if ever there was one.

Much as Virgil wrote in the Aeneid about how the Greeks scammed the Trojans with that wooden horse full of soldiers, the pit bulls of Montreal returned to the city in a huge dog. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts and certainly beware canines baring k-9s.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Clock Radio Snooze Button Farce

Snooze button highlighted in red.

When it comes to clock radios and other rousing devices I am a big fan of snooze buttons. If I have to wake up and get up, perhaps a fire alarm or knock at the door,  the chances of me falling flat on my face are about even. I need a few snoozes to ease myself into my day. Those nine minute respites allow me to face the day on my terms.

I was given a lovely iHome iBN43 clock radio for Christmas a couple of years ago. It has nice sound, two alarm settings, a charging connection for mobile phones and the ability to customise how long the snooze lasts. Call me a traditionalist but I leave it at the nine minute default.

I am glad iHome makes clock radios and not aircraft carriers.

There is just one problem with the  iHome iBN43: the snooze button is way too narrow. It is a thin strip that includes buttons at the ends. Not a big target at all. I am glad iHome makes clock radios and not aircraft carriers. At least twice a week when the radio starts to play at 5:25 am I reach out, overshoot the snooze button and shut off the alarm completely. God forbid I have been sleeping on my arm the possibility of hitting the snooze button as my arm flops about farcically like the proverbial fish out of water are nil.

Yet I will have pounded every other button thus changing stations, volume and perhaps time zone. Worse, I then have to take my phone and set the timer for nine minutes, as the method of resetting the radio’s alarm is beyond me.

From the User Manual

Had the iHome folks made the snooze button the size of the Bluetooth area they would have hit the nail on the head.

Could they not have designed the radio with a significant snooze button? Everything else is just Jim dandy, but my most important need is not being met,

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Seeking Expo 67 Artist

During the many trips to EXPO 67 fifty years ago as a seven year old child I had the opportunity to stock-up a lifetime of interesting experiences. On one such occasion my aunt, with whom I made most of my visits, had me sit for a portrait sketch. She would subsequently have the sketch framed and present it to my mother as a gift. The portrait still hangs in my mother’s apartment.

The artist was a woman if my memory is correct, who signed her work Milligan 67. I imagine she, and others, produced hundreds is not thousands of sketches during the fair’s run. I have tried to see what became of Milligan after 1967. Is she still around? Still sketching? Or did she, like many artists, have to abandon her talent for a ‘real’ job so she could pay the bills.

In this anniversary year I thought I would publish the portrait and bring this story to light just in case Milligan is still out there.  And if I do not succeed, at least I have provided my readers with a sketch of a real cute kid, about which I have no qualms! I wonder where he went!

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

Armed Forces and Citizens: Canada and Venezuela

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Quebec Floods, Airlines and Price Gouging

Adrian Wyld/CP

The current flooding in Quebec has provoked the Mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, to declare a State of Emergency to be put into effect in several areas of the island. It sounds very imposing, but what exactly does the SoE mean?

According to the CBC:

The Emergency Management Act gives authorities the power to move quickly to centralize and co-ordinate responses.

It allows authorities:

• to force evacuations of buildings.

• enter buildings without a warrant.

• to prevent stores and commercial businesses from hiking up prices of goods and services.

Not just at small Mom-and-Pop establishments, but big-box stores have been cutting the price of sump pumps and generators to give folks a bit of a break.

I was pleased to read the last point as one does hear of the occasional bit of price gouging when these things happen. I must point out however that this time I have only heard of prices being slashed. Not just at small Mom-and-Pop establishments, but big-box stores have been cutting the price of sump pumps and generators to give folks a bit of a break.

This humane approach can also be seen at Thanksgiving and Christmas when airlines, faced with vast numbers of people trying to get home, reduce their prices to accommodate the hoards.

Ha! When pigs fly!

Airlines jack-up their prices during high-season and consider it a wise business move; to pursue greater profits. They swindle their customers in the name of profit. Surely the increase in volume would lead to a better bottom line without causing undue financial strain on clients. I think I will begin to lobby the government to declare the holiday season a State of Emergency thereby keeping the airlines from fleecing travellers. Wanna sign on?

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Quebec Flooding and Politicians’ Photo Ops

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau fills sandbag. But is more effective providing resources.

There are several areas in Canada that are suffering spring flooding, but none worse than the south-western part of the Province of Quebec including parts of the island of Montreal. For the first time in twenty years a Montreal mayor – Denis Coderre –  has declared a State of Emergency. I have family members who are struggling mightily to save their house which is usually located some 100 feet from the water’s edge, but is currently on the cusp of the water cresting and coming over the sandbags.

By all means visit the flood victims, tell them you are with them, but do not use their plight as a photo-op for next election’s campaign bumpf!

The combination of a major late snowfall and more rain than has ever been experienced in April around here has caused rivers to expand exponentially.

The Canadian armed forces have been deployed to assist with evacuation efforts, as well as attempts to build sufficient sandbag dikes to ward off rising waters and provide temporary shelter.

I am not near water so I have been spared, but from what I have watched on the 24-hour news coverage there is, so far, little complaint about what is being done to help. This may all change once the emergency has been dealt with, but it appears there is a sense of appreciation at this point.

The water is usually about 100 feet from this house.

What irks me is when politicians, elected officials, visit the scene of devastation to survey the situation and just can’t seem to leave without a shot of them filling sandbags. By all means visit the flood victims, tell them you are with them, but do not use their plight as a photo-op for next election’s campaign bumpf!

That’s why we elect leaders, to use the tools of government to alleviate problems, not tools such as shovels and sandbags.

Unless you are going to stick around and fill a couple of hundred sandbags, please don’t take advantage of shovel and bag to appear to be helping out physically. I like both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly. But both have been guilty of the photo-op I mention. A much better idea would be to issue a statement indicating that they are concerned, staying out of the way for now, and busily sending appropriate resources to the area.

That’s why we elect leaders, to use the tools of government to alleviate problems, not tools such as shovels and sandbags.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Live PD, Field Sobriety Tests, David Brenner and ET

From time to time I like to watch the occasional police program on television. I don’t mean works of fiction, but the alleged ‘real’ thing. Shows like The First 48 are what I enjoy, although that has become very repetitive with time. The new kid on the block in the genre is a show called Live PD on A&E.

Could it be that there is one cop in particular who seems to enjoy the process, and who evidently has never met a camera he did not like?

The premise is that three in-studio hosts monitor a bunch of screens from police departments around the US as they go about their duty and when something of interest happens they switch to that feed. There are chases, accidents, routine stops and in Calvert County, Maryland a whole whack of field sobriety tests.

I don’t think that the good folks of Calvert County are any more likely to have a few too many and get behind the wheel of a car than anywhere else in the country, so why so many tests? Could it be that there is one cop in particular who seems to enjoy the process, and who evidently has never met a camera he did not like? One Tony Moschetto.

This guy could have his own A&E show and do nothing but field sobriety tests. He narrates the process as he goes along, cuts off the testee if they dare to ask a question and generally makes a whole palaver out of a relatively simple procedure. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for keeping drunks  off our roads. In fact I think zero tolerance might be the way to go. Why dither over 0.82 and 0.79 when lives may rest in the balance?     

… I am all for keeping drunks  off our roads. In fact I think zero tolerance might be the way to go. Why dither over 0.82 and 0.79 when lives may rest in the balance?   

But back to the field test. This guy makes people walk toe-to-heel for nine paces, then turn around and return. It takes him about an hour to explain the process, often speaking directly to the camera as if the driver isn’t there. Then he tells them to stand on one foot to check their balance. Imagine if you will a man or woman, who has not had a drink in two weeks gets pulled over for not signalling a turn and this guy decides to put on his show. The person gets out of the car on the side of the road with red and blue lights flashing like the Las Vegas Strip and an A&E camera crew in their face and they are expected to perform these usually simple tasks which, given the nervousness of being on national television, must take on Cirque du Soleil difficulty.

David Brenner and Johnny Carson

Once he has had his fill of camera time, only then does he bring out the determining factor, the roadside breathalyzer. In fairness he does explain that this test is not admissible in court and is only an indication of the person’s blood alcohol level. Why the hell did he not do that from the get go? What’s with all the silly line walking and balancing acts. Breathalyse first.

The late comedian David Brenner made a great observation when he pointed out what a bastard ET was. Those kids had him in the bicycle basket for the entire chase scene until, just as things looked dire, he put up his freaky gnarled finger and – voila – they were all airborne. Why did he make them cycle their arses off for six minutes and only then fly? This cop seems to share the same sadistic trait.

 

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+