World Cup 2026 and Montreal

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As a child of EXPO 67 and teenager during the 1976 summer Olympics I was pleased to learn of Montreal’s potential role in staging matches during the 2026 World Cup. The Jean Drapeau years established the city as an excellent host to world-class events.

But it was not long before reality set in. The current climate in Montreal is not event friendly. Just ask former mayor Denis Coderre and his Formula E Race fiasco.

The plan is for games to be played in a revamped Olympic Stadium. Will that work, or will a new stadium have to be built? The cost of security alone will be drastic.

Large events, and there is none larger than the World Cup, have a nasty habit of cost overruns.

Chicago and Vancouver both declined to be part of the bid for financial reasons.

With so much fodder, can it be long before some municipal candidate takes a No Cup position? Pledging to pull out of the deal and save the taxpayers millions.

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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Trudeau and Trump

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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+

 

WH Correspondents Dinner Needs a Rethink

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Much is being said in the wake of Saturday night’s White House Correspondents Dinner (WHCD). Once again this year President Trump refused to attend the event, instead opting to hold a campaign-style rally in Michigan during which he was free to take pot shots at the media, the left and anyone else.

If you are going to use humour to skewer someone, a real zinger, you better make sure it’s funny!

They say that even a stopped clock is right twice a day. It astonishes me to say, but among the idiotic things Trump was spouting in Michigan was a kernel of truth: the WHCD is dead. Not that they won’t have another, but the old tradition of “good-naturedly” poking fun at each other has been replaced by downright nastiness.

However, that’s not what gets me riled. I can watch two adversaries quip each other all day assuming they are funny. But the last two dinner comedians have lacked that one essential ingredient: humour.

I say either bring back the old style roasting or call the whole thing off before it turns very ugly.

Don Rickles was never my cup of tea. Not because he engaged in insulting people for a living, but because I never found what he said funny. Michelle Wolf, someone I must admit I had never heard of prior to Saturday evening, was not funny either.

If you are going to use humour to skewer someone, a real zinger, you better make sure it’s funny!

I say either bring back the old style roasting or call the whole thing off before it turns very ugly.

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+

Kudos To Toronto Police

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In the wake of the horrific incident in Toronto that has cost ten people their lives and injured more than a dozen others, much is being said about the courage of the officer who apprehended the driver.  The man had driven a van along a busy sidewalk and street evidently trying to kill as many people as possible.

So often we see on television police using what seems to be excessive force to subdue a suspect. It is often made public later that the suspect was unarmed. The police officer in Toronto, given the way the suspect was waving and pointing what appears to me to be a weapon and asking the cop to kill him, would have been, in my opinion, justified in using his weapon. But he was able to maintain calm and arrest the suspect without drawing his gun. It has since been reported the suspect was waving a mobile phone.

The police chief was quick to refer to the training that his officers receive. As members of the public, we are often quick to criticise police actions that result in what seem to be avoidable deaths. It, therefore, behooves us to bestow as much attention on the successful end to a catastrophic event.

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+

 

Popcorn and Dental Implants

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I broke a tooth. I’m not a happy camper. It’s not the pain, the tooth was filled long ago and the nerve had lost most sensation. It’s the annoyance and of course, the financial pain is another thing altogether. Over this, I am fretting plenty.

Evidently, most dental insurance plans do not cover implants. It seems for insurance companies the way to go is root canal followed by a cap.

Two dentists, one at an emergency clinic and my long-time dentist, have confirmed that the only solution is to extract the tooth, put in an implant then a crown. Oh, joy. We are now getting into the thousands of dollars over a period of time. Evidently, most dental insurance plans do not cover implants. It seems for insurance companies the way to go is root canal followed by a cap. Something both dentists assured me would eventually break and the implant procedure would have to be undertaken. A waste of time, discomfort, and money.

But I may have an angle on this. At some point most weekday afternoons I used to drop by a nice Irish pub for a beer. A few weeks ago that pub was gutted by a large fire. Since then the regular patrons have been roaming the downtown core like nomads in the desert seeking a new temporary home.

But I could not be at my regular pub, so I figure my broken tooth is, therefore, a direct result of the fire and should, therefore, be covered by the original pub’s insurance. 

One such place offers many of the comforts of home, several items on our checklist: decent beer at a decent price, a few televisions for sports fans, and friendly bartenders. It also makes popcorn available at happy hour. It was on an Old Maid, a non-popped kernel of corn, that I crunched my tooth. The way I see it, had I been at my usual pub, which did not offer popcorn, I would not have been able to break my tooth on the kernel. But I could not be at my regular pub, so I figure my broken tooth is, therefore, a direct result of the fire and should, therefore, be covered by the original pub’s insurance. Seems simple to me.

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+

Bruins, Leafs and Scorpions

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It’s NHL playoff time. Much like The Masters and the Kentucky Derby the playoffs are a true sports-themed harbinger of spring. The weather is getting more pleasant, the snow has just about all melted under the warm sun. Bars and restaurants open their terraces and make sure that there are adequate big-screen televisions to accommodate hockey-loving patrons. Will this be the year the Montreal Canadiens finally snap their too-long championship-less streak?

No Canadiens in the playoffs and we are anticipating the arrival of a late-season ice storm. I’m not sure about Mudville, but there’s certainly a lack of joy in Montreal this year.

Well, no it won’t be. That is a certainty as the team failed to qualify for the postseason. No Canadiens in the playoffs and we are anticipating the arrival of a late-season ice storm. I’m not sure about Mudville, but there’s certainly a lack of joy in Montreal this year and lots to crank about.

On the other hand, all is not lost. You see, part of being a fan of the Montreal Canadiens is a deep-rooted dislike for their two old rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins. It just so happens that these two clubs are facing each other in the first round of the playoffs. Like scorpions in a bottle we, Habs fans, can sit back and watch the on-ice clash. Personally, if I have to select one over the other, I have to go with the Bruins.

Except now the hated-Bruins are up against the hated-Leafs. So, for perhaps the first time in my life, I find myself being able to side with the Boston skaters 

I like the city of Boston; I root for the New England Patriots (and have been doing so for many years, not merely jumping on the recent bandwagon) and in the absence of a Montreal MLB franchise I cheer on the Red Sox. But of course, the Bruins are a different kettle of clam chowder as they are usually in direct competition with my Canadiens. Except now the hated-Bruins are up against the hated-Leafs. So, for perhaps the first time in my life, I find myself being able to side with the Boston skaters as they take on Toronto. It’s a bit weird at first, but I’m getting used to it.

I’m even thinking of dropping my Rs when I speak, and debating the correct pronunciation of Faneuil Hall (does it rhyme with manual or Daniel).

I can’t say that I really care which team wins the series, but I have found a different angle from which to partake of the annual spring playoff viewing. I’d much rather be watching the Canadiens play of course, but for the next little while, I’ll have to make do with being a Boston fan. I’m even thinking of dropping my Rs when I speak (Pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd), and debating the correct pronunciation of Faneuil Hall (does it rhyme with manual or Daniel).

But before tonight’s game in Toronto, I’ll be cheering on all the participants in the Boston Marathon and hoping for a safe race.

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+

Wake For a Pub; Godspeed Irish Embassy

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I went to a wake last night. it wasn’t my intention, nor was it a typical wake. A traditional Irish wake takes place before a funeral – in the wake of the death  – and is an opportunity for mourners to reflect on the life of the departed. Once they were held in the home of the deceased with the body present. But with modern funeral homes, the ‘wake’ is more often called a reception and is held at the parlour after the ceremony. Take a room full of tired, emotional people, throw in some music and a significant amount of alcohol and frankly anything is possible.

What made last night’s wake unique was that while the departed rested across the road, its heart was present at the wake.

Needless to say, the deceased cannot attend the wake. Like funerals, wakes are for the living. What made last night’s wake unique was that while the departed rested across the road, its heart was present at the wake. You see the commiserating, the wake, was not for a person, but for a pub. The true soul of the pub, the staff, had gathered to share thoughts and comfort one another in the wake of a terrible occurrence.

With the five-alarm fire early on Saturday morning at the Irish Embassy Pub, Montréal’s rich history of Irish and English pubs is currently down one member. The building now a shambles of charred lumber and flooded rooms. The acrid odor of century-old burnt wood permeates the downtown air for blocks.

Yet another reason this was not your typical wake is that there was hope of a return.

Yet another reason this was not your typical wake is that there was hope of a return. The fire was contained to the upper floor. The actual pub only suffered smoke and water damage, albeit severe, giving one the thought that maybe, just maybe, like Phoenix the Embassy will soon rise from the ashes.

The building that was ravaged by flames was merely the bricks and mortar housing of the pub. The heart and soul of it are the staff members, many of whom gathered, along with several regular patrons, at another popular Irish pub. (I would be remiss if I did not mention that in a demonstration of class and I believe genuine empathy, Hurley’s Irish Pub made the displaced Embassy staff more than welcome for the evening.)

Tears were shed and hugs abounded, but all were quick to heave a sigh of relief that thankfully no one had been injured or worse. Bricks and mortar can be fixed.

Emotions ran high among the bartenders, wait staff, bussers and managers who gravitated to Hurley’s. The fire a bitter pill to swallow. Tears were shed and hugs abounded, but all were quick to heave a sigh of relief that thankfully no one had been injured or worse. Bricks and mortar can be fixed.

I’ve spent many a pleasant hour at the Irish Embassy. I’ve come to know many members of staff, management, and ownership. I consider several to be my friends.  It pains me to see them so touched by the fire. Perhaps it’s the upcoming Easter holiday but I also believe that these people are sincere in their vow to resurrect the pub. They are off to a good start by keeping the heart beating.

Godspeed.

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+

Presidential Decorum a Relic of the Past

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I have a friend who is American but currently resides here in Montreal. He has often commented to me about how knowledgeable he finds many Canadians are regarding the United States. I have pointed out that for Canadians, living so close to the USA, it is almost impossible not to become more than familiar with our neighbours.

As the late Canadian prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau once explained, sharing a border with the USA is like sleeping with an elephant. Even the slightest movement has a great effect on us.

US_FlagThey say that the British do pomp and circumstance well given their royal heritage, but I maintain that when it comes to the trappings of patriotism, no one can outdo the USA. From flags to military uniforms to flags on military uniforms, great reverence is the norm for these symbols. (Ever notice how the flag on the right shoulder of a uniform is flipped so the stars appear in the upper right corner? Why? If you assume the flag is being carried on a pole, the usual configuration would indicate that the soldier is going backward, or retreating. That won’t do.)

Recently in Korea Shaun White, an Olympic medalist from the US got caught up in his own exuberance and lost track of the flag he was waving about. The flag got entangled in his snowboard and as he walked away it was seen dragging on the ground. It was an accident; he did not intentionally defile the flag, he didn’t step on it or set it on fire. Yet there was a hue and cry on social media, chastising the athlete.

All of this leads me to wonder how another great symbol of the United States, the office of the president, can be so egregiously degraded by President Trump without a similar outpouring of disgust.

All of this leads me to wonder how another great symbol of the United States, perhaps the greatest, the office of the president, can be so egregiously degraded by President Trump without a similar outpouring of disgust. The actual Oval Office, as well as the position of president, are steeped in decorum and respect. At least they were until the current inhabitant moved in.

Silly misspelled posts on social media, asinine rantings at campaign-style rallies, “management by Twitter”, and the ludicrous slagging of former presidents have all contributed to Trump’s besmirching of the office.

Regardless of party affiliation, the presidency of the United States has garnered respect, it was held in high esteem and the incumbent was pressed to live up to that expectation. Yet since Trump assumed the role, his total lack of decorum, of respect for his predecessors, has become the norm. Why don’t those who were so quick to denounce White for dragging the flag make a whole lot of noise about what Trump is doing to the much-vaunted presidency? Just when we Canadians think we’ve got our neighbours figured out, it boggles the mind.

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+

Valérie Plante: Not Your Typical Mayor

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When Montrealers elected Valérie Plante as our first female mayor last November there was much excitement. Not just because of her gender, but because she was a new voice. Her predecessor, Denis Coderre, had ruled in a very heavy-handed manner. Making many decisions that would come back to sting him and ultimately lead to his downfall, including the FormulaE race debacle.

Unfortunately for Mayor Coderre the race proved to be a flop and the city took a bath. Even with the fee, Plante was lauded for scrapping the project as promised.

Life was good for Ms. Plante in the immediate aftermath of the election. She canceled the remaining FormulaE races that Coderre had agreed to, which was a campaign promise she made. Of course, there will be a cancellation fee that some estimates put it in the millions of dollars, but Mayor Plante is not worried: “What we know is that whatever the cost to cancel the race, I believe it’s worth it, because at this point, it doesn’t pay off.”

This event was intended to bring spectators to the city, something along the lines of the annual Formula1 race that pumps millions of dollars into the city’s economy each June. Unfortunately for Mayor Coderre the race proved to be a flop and the city took a bath. Even with the fee, Plante was lauded for scrapping the project as promised.

She did not fare quite as well however when she increased taxes beyond the cost of living, which she promised not to do. But she is hardly the first and will no doubt not be the last politician to fiddle and fudge when it comes to taxes.

If she gets her way one of four main east-west conduits in the downtown core will be reduced to one (yep one) lane for traffic while the sidewalks will be doubled in width. 

But an odd notion has started to cross the minds of many Montrealers: based on some recent ideas and proposals, Mayor Valérie Plante seems to have something against downtown Montreal. A bit of an axe to grind for some reason. Not a typical position for a mayor.

Aside from acting in a Coderre-like manner by deciding unilaterally, i.e. without any public consultation, to stop through traffic over Mont-Royal, traffic that may well be on the way to downtown restaurants and bars, she now wants to revamp St. Catherine Street, one of the main commercial roads in the city, turning downtown into a mall.

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If she gets her way one of four main east-west conduits in the downtown core will be reduced to one (yep one) lane for traffic while the sidewalks will be doubled in width. The mayor has floated this trial balloon in the latest salvo against downtown. St. Catherine Street is already suffering, evident by the many empty storefronts that seem to appear every day. How can making it more difficult to get to these businesses possibly do anything but hurt them?

… that people who are paying for a vehicle are loath to pay again for public transit. If you make public transit free, then you may be talking.

The mayor claims public transit is the key. Get more folks on the buses and Metros. I agree that Montreal has a pretty good transit system, but I think I speak for many with whom I have brought up the topic when I say that people who are paying for a vehicle are loath to pay again for public transit. If you make public transit free, then you may be talking.

I use public transit because my wife takes the car to work. She could use the bus and subway, but it would take over 90 minutes each way. Not a feasible option. When we travel downtown we use the car; rather than paying for the numerous expenses and then leave it sitting at home only to pay bus fare, we drive.

Many frustrated potential patrons are forced to take their business out of the downtown area to the parking-friendly suburbs. 

I would humbly suggest to the mayor that an increased number of parking spots, even if metered, is the realistic way to go. Trying to find a spot on a Saturday evening so we can spend our hard-earned cash in a downtown restaurant has proven difficult, although several streets are for reasons not apparent deemed no parking while other have meters that are covered in red bags denoting no service. Many frustrated potential patrons are forced to take their business out of the downtown area to the parking-friendly suburbs. The pipe dream of public transit will only face the possibility of becoming real once the fare has been eradicated. No one wants to double dip – paying car fees and transit fares.

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+

Guns don’t kill people alone, people with guns kill people

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As the latest installment in the gun debate rages in the USA following the horrific multiple death shooting in Parkland, Florida I can’t help but be reminded of some of the ludicrous sayings that the pro-gun advocates often spout.

When was the last time you were shaken by breaking news that a deranged strangler was seen in a high school? 

I am conversant with several, including the granddaddy of these pithy little slogans is, of course, the infamous: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. When was the last time you were shaken by breaking news that a deranged strangler was seen in a high school? Has a school ever been put on lock-down because a mentally ill person was stalking the halls threatening to choke or kick to death students and teachers? Of course not. Seems to me guns are killing people.

If, as a society, we could control mental illness it would be a wonderful thing in many ways, but as of yet, we can’t. However, the other variable in the guns don’t kill people equation is guns. As has been shown in countries such as Australia, these can be controlled.

So frankly it would be more accurate to say: guns don’t kill people alone, people with guns kill people. But if those people could not get those guns, who knows how many lives would be saved, not just in the large, media grabbing multiple killings, but also those lost in smaller almost daily shootings.

I fully support the right to arm bears.

Then we have the cute, if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Mass killings seem to be the purview of the mentally ill, not ‘outlaws’. This is along the lines of: an armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject. Sadly some people believe this nonsense.

I am not a gun person, yet I do have a favourite pithy statement myself: I fully support the right to arm bears.

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+