Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

R.I.P. Griffintown? (Hells, no!)

March to save Griffintown
The funeral march from Griffintown to City Hall took place this afternoon. Complete with dogs, babies, musicians, speakers and a coffin, the protest drew upwards of 150 people. Have a look through the Flickr album to see the townspeople in action. The decision is slated to be made at City Hall tomorrow evening, and hopefully, a glimmer of hope will dawn upon the evolution of our fair city.

March for Montreal

The Griffintown development issue sure is on everyone’s mind, these days. In brief, Griffintown is now a hot topic for Montreal. It’s a great up-and-coming area between University and Guy (some say all the way to Georges-Vanier) from Notre-Dame to the waterfront. Imagine a bustling and friendly new neighbourhood right south of the downtown core. Unfortunately developers have come in and are keen to make it into another short-sighted Dix30 eyesore, fraught with gigantic condo buildings and big-box stores, alienating residents. This decision was taken with no real public consultation whatsoever.

There will be a march to from Griffintown to the Hotel de Ville organized this Sunday April 27 at 3pm starting at the horse palace at 1220 Ottawa, down by the canal. I personally, have never been one to rally for causes, deferring to other more zealous individuals to fight for common beliefs. However, the Griffintown cause is one that affects all of us in this city, and more importantly, I’m convinced that the strength of the people actually might just make a difference. So if you’re interested in keeping Montreal beautiful with well-thought out urban planning and attention paid to those of us who love and live in this city, come join us on the march!

Griffintown march

Sites of interest:
Save Griffintown
Facebook event

Help support the cause!

Open letter to the Bouchard-Taylor Commission

As a response to the anti-immigrant sentiments expressed at the “reasonable accommodation” hearings, Université de Montréal doctoral student Caroline Allard has written an open letter which she invites “Québécois de souche” to sign. An excerpt from the English translation:

We are preoccupied with the fact some testimony before the Bouchard-Taylor Commission, testimony that is intolerant and harsh toward cultural minorities, could be interpreted as reflecting the opinion of a majority of so-called old-stock francophones. We think, rather, that this testimony, which caricatures the practices of other cultures, reveals a profound ignorance of the reality of people from different cultural communities. What’s more, this ignorance feeds a close-mindedness about the connections that it is possible to make among Quebecers, old and new. We want to make clear our openness to cultural communities and to dissociate ourselves clearly from some of what has been said before the commission. Just because some things were said in public does not, we insist, mean they represent the state of mind of the majority of “old-stock” Quebecers.

The letter currently has 3076 signatures and will be formally presented to the Bouchard-Taylor Commission in several weeks time. The original French text is available at; an English translation was published in Friday’s Montreal Gazette and can be found here. To add your signature to the letter, click here.

Make Poverty History

Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.

–Nelson Mandela

Today is the United Nations Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which is being marked by a global day of action sponsored by a coalition of anti-poverty groups working under the name Make Poverty History. The coalition is calling on Canadians to “STAND UP and SPEAK OUT” at events being held across the country, the purpose of which is to demand trade justice, increased international aid, debt cancellation for poor countries, and an end to child poverty in Canada.

Click here for a list of events happening in and around Montreal, and here to endorse the campaign.

standup-logo.jpg standup-logo-fr.jpg

Does she have what it takes?

In the Gazette this morning, there is a large article on Pauline Marois and her husband’s estate on Ile Bizard. The article suggests some shady dealings done in order for them to have acquired this property. I can’t say that I’m surprised. As I often say, the politicians job is to secure votes from the poor and to secure money from the rich all on the premise of protecting one from the other. Hypocrisy seems to be a requirement for running for office. What, too cynical? I thought it was particularly telling that she graciously invited journalists to view her modest home in Charlevoix overlooking the St Lawrence river, while never inviting them to her “real home” on Ile Bizard. (Their words not mine.) Looks like she’s learned the ropes well.

When pigs fly; or, A by-election update

Approximately once per century, the federal Liberal bastion of Outremont falls to another political party. In the twentieth century it was the Progressive Conservative Party, which broke a 71-year Liberal winning streak when they scooped the seat in 1988. In the twenty-first century, the victors are the New Democratic Party, which won the riding by an impressively wide margin last night. Of course, the NDP candidate was himself a Quebec Liberal not too long ago, which actually makes him something akin to an old-school Conservative, but that would be splitting hairs, wouldn’t it? In any case, enjoy the intermission while you can.

À la recherche d'arguments pro-diversité

Les coprésidents de la Commission sur les accommodements reliés aux différences culturelles sont à la recherche d'arguments pro-diversité. J'ai toujours pensé que le fait de vivre à Montréal, dans une ville très diversifiée sur le plan des idées et de la culture, contribuait à mon enrichissement personnel. Je considère que la diversité est un "bien en soi", quelque chose de nécessairement positif. Mais curieusement, je n'ai jamais pensé à formuler des arguments pour alimenter cette intuition. Ma croyance en l'importance de la diversité est en quelque sorte un acte de foi.

Pourtant, comme l'a confié Gérard Bouchard au Devoir, pour "convaincre la population que la diversité ethnique, c'est un enrichissement culturel", il faut des arguments! On ne peut pas se contenter de marteler les vieux clichés comme : "grâce à l'immigration, je peux manger des shishtaouks le midi et des sushis le soir."

Who In City Hall Tried To Discredit Frank Zampino?

This morning, has a headline, Frank Zampino sali sur Wikipedia. In other words, someone attempted to modify the Wikipedia entry for Frank Zampino. The entry already includes a reference to this:

Wikipedia Bashing
On August 16th, it was reported that Frank Zampino suffered intense bashing on his Wikipedia profile. The city of Montreal requested an internal inquiry since the bashing was made using Mayor Tremblay’s staff computers.

Since Wikipedia has even been compared with Encyclopedia Britannica, and is often featured in Google and Yahoo searches, some might question how this might happen. However the content is only as good as its editors. Who’s a Wikipedia editor? The answer is Anyone! (with internet access). Apparently that has included the BBC, the FBI, the CIA, and the White House among others.

What seems to be forgotten is that whenever you venture on the Internet you leave a trail. A new web tool is available to follow that trail. The WikiScanner allows users to track changes made to the online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia. By comparing those changes with blocks of IP addresses, the editors of Wikipedia entries may be identified according to their location and the organisation from which they post.

We all await further word from City Hall on this one.

Elections time

Un petit coin de Montréal n’a pas la même allure que le reste de la ville ces derniers jours et pour cause : Il y aura des élections partielles fédérales le 17 septembre pour élire un nouveau député dans le comté d’Outremont.
Du coup, le quadrilatère délimité par le boulevard St-Laurent, la rue Jean Talon, le chemin De La Côte Des Neiges et l’avenue Des Pins est décoré avec les affiches des différents candidats.
C’est ainsi qu’à chaque jour les résidents de ce secteur ont droit aux sourires enjoliveurs des Gilles Duguay, Jean-Paul Gilson, Jocelyn Coulon et Thomas Mulcair.
Par contre, tout dépendamment du parti la taille des affiches change, ça va du ‘S’au ‘L’ en passant par ‘M’.
À vous de deviner quel parti a la plus grande affiche et celui qui a la plus petite !

Oh, for crying out loud; or, Petition to save the Main Hall

In a typical case of threat-by-bureaucracy, the proprietors of the Mile End Cultural Centre have been forced to cancel all ticketed events at the Main Hall for the rest of the summer because the “salle de réunion” permit the venue has held for the last sixteen years apparently does not allow for “spectacles.”

Yeah, that’s right.

According to their press release, the impetus for the sudden turnaround by the city is a noise complaint from one of the MECC’s neighbours, which may now jeopardise their application for a proper “salle de spectacles” permit. Because you know, if you’re looking for a nice, quiet residential street to live on, then Boulevard St-Laurent is just the place for you.

This isn’t the first time that noise issues have threatened cultural establishments in the north Plateau. Back in 2000, a proposal to turn the old Rialto Theatre into a nightclub was quashed at the last minute because of noise concerns. Meanwhile, in 2006, the borough very nearly evicted the Montreal Fringe Festival because of complaints about noise emanating from its beer tent in Parc des Amériques.

Coincidence? Probably not, as the borough has listed the reduction of street noise as one of the main priorities of its 2007 Budget participatif, which began public consultations in June and is scheduled for final approval in the fall.

Determined to buck the trend, the folks at the MECC have started a petition in support of their application, which you can sign here. For the full scoop, check out the organization’s website or, if you’re feeling networky, you can join their Facebook group. Tell ’em I sent you.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.