Saturday, June 13, 2009

Weekly Anglo Quebec News June 6-13

Want to Keep up with Quebec News in just 5 minutes?
Perfect for Ex-pats or those in a rush!

Here's a short, subjective weekly review of Quebec
news from the Anglophone POV.

Montrealer astronaut Julie Payette was scheduled to blast off into space aboard the space shuttle 'Endeavour on Saturday, making her second trip into space, but the mission was delayed due to a hydrogen leak. When she does take off, she'll be joining fellow Canadian, Bob Thirsk aboard the International space Station and for the first time 2 Canadiens will be in space at the same time. Both Payette and Thirsk (even though he's from BC) are McGill University grads. Payette speaks 5 languages, plays the piano and has sung on stage. Oh yes, if you haven't noticed - shes a hottie!....

Crowds gathered at overpasses to honour 20 year old Private Alexandre Péloquin, aged 20, of the Royal 22e Regiment, based at CFB Valcartier near Quebec City, the latest Canadian casualty of the war in Afghanistan. Ever since the highway which is the route used to repatriate war dead from Trenton air base to Toronto was renamed the 'Highway of Heroes', Ontarians have manned overpasses along the highway to express gratitude for the soldier' ultimate sacrifice, when the sad procession passes by. Peloquin became the 119th soldier to die in the Afghan theater. Sadly, Quebeckers have not shown the same level of dedication.

Months ago, Foxnews in the US ran a story on the satirical show 'Red Eye' that mocked Canada and it's military. If you have a strong stomach watch it here.
Give the network credit. After the show aired, somebody in the executive office was royally pissed and the show was cancelled and most of it's participants fired.

This week saw the publication of a poll indicating that most Quebeckers don't think sovereignty will happen. The findings were a bitter disappointment for those seeking Quebec independence. Asked directly if 'Quebec should be a separate country from Canada' 54% said 'NO' and 34% said 'YES'.
Factoring in the undecided, the numbers are even more telling- 61% -NO versus 39% YES.

A whopping
74 % felt sovereignty was very unlikely or not at all likely to ever occur. See the details of the poll

Pauline Marois, leader of the Separatist Parti Quebeois opposition party, announced a plan to lead Quebeckers (when her party forms a government) to independence by taking jurisdiction in areas of federal responsibility, including tax collection, language and cultural matters. The idea behind the plan is to show Quebeckers that they need more power in order to control their own destiny. Should Ottawa refuse to cede these powers it would likely lead to conflict, which according to sovereignist ex-Premier Jacques Parizeau would be a good thing. In a speech to a sovereignist group Parizeau is quoted as saying, "One of my former assistants said, 'to make sovereignty, there needs to be a crisis."and later said, "In fact, maybe we'll have to create the crisis,Read the story.
Two sovereignists from the past supported Parizeau's view.
Ex-Premier Bernard Landry and disgraced party militant Yves Michaud both came out in support of the statement, which of course did Marois more harm than good. She quickly went in to damage control mode and rejected the idea of provoking crisis to help Quebec gain sovereignty. read the story
Quebec Premier Jean Charest almost fell over himself laughing at the idea and even the blogs had a cynical take on the plan.
On Thursday the Premier accused Marois of completely losing control of the her party.

Pierre Cloutier created a hilarious sendup entitled "Pauline wants her Cake and to Eat it too"
(translation-ed) an imaginary meeting between Marois and the potential new Prime Minister Ignatieff, next year. Read it

Louise Harel who announced she's making a run at the mayor's job at Montreal city hall this fall has anglophones apoplectic at the idea of a separatist who can't speak English, running the city. Harel was the architect of the law that folded all the island towns into Montreal when she was a Minister in the PQ government in 2002, something that anglos will never forgive her for, notwithstanding that the English towns demerged out of city, a couple of years later as a result of a referendum granted by Liberal Premier Charest. Minorities are also wary of the ex-PQ hardliner after she made some injudicious remarks about the city's minorities. Read my Post.
An anglo reporter started a firestorm of controversy when in response a question, Harel made a hash of her English answer. From there, newspapers both English and French started a lively debate as to the suitability of a unilingual mayor. Nationalist and separatist groups launched a furious defense and staked out a position that English is irrelevant and unnecessary for Quebec politicians.

The French media was also furious in relation to an editorial piece in the Montreal Gazette that commented on the popularity of Louis Harel among anglos;
"Among public figures, perhaps only Mom Boucher could make Tremblay look so good in comparison."
Mom Boucher is a notorious Quebec gangster who was head of the Quebec division of the Hell's Angels and is now serving a life sentence for two murders. The French papers quickly took the unfounded position that the Gazette was comparing Harel to Boucher. Read a blistering counter attack to the editorial(in French)

A man who was allowed to produce pot for medical reasons went a bit too far. Yvan Ferland, 50, faced cannabis production and possession charges after police discovered a whopping 45 kilograms (100 pounds) of pot at his home in December 2007. Read the Story

Guy Bertrand is offering a $170,000 reward to find Cedrika Provencher. The family of the missing Trois-Rivieres girl has enlisted the help of the flamboyant defense lawyer to help crack the case. The family and the lawyer are being criticized because of the 'no questions asked' provision of the reward. Read the story. We often hear about abducted children but here's a web site makes that makes it uncomfortably personal.

Lise Thibault, the former lieutenant governor (constitutional representative of the Queen) of Quebec still hasn't been charged with a crime, 2 years after a probe reported on her alleged overspending, double dipping and inappropriate expense claims. We're not talking peanuts, it's $700K. It seems that crown prosecutors are sitting on their hands as nobody wants to be the one to put the 70 year old wheelchair bound cripple, who's in poor health, in jail. Read about her outrageous expense claims here, and here

It's coming down to the nitty-gritty, the Montreal Canadiens will soon be sold. If the $500-$600 million price tag bandied about in the media is true, George Gillett stands to make about $300 million on a team which he bought for $10 million of his own money (the rest was borrowed.) Not a bad return, eh!

Montreal and Quebec police have been red hot of late in fighting organized crime. This week 'Operation Borax' took down a marijuana grow op run by members of the city's Vietnamese community. The 100 or so people arrested were growing weed in their homes, providing equipment or reselling the product. Thursday police broke up a drug gang operating downtown. In the last 4 months, no less than 13 major operations have taken down over 500 suspects related to organized crime. Guards at Montreal remand centres report they are operating at over-capacity. Defence lawyers are also working overtime to handle the load.

Unfortunately, Montreal police haven't been so successful in tracking down a robber who committed his 43rd holdup! He targets small business' without video surveillance where single women are working.

The Shriners announced that it's putting it's planned hospital on hold
, due to flagging income from it's investment portfolio due to the market meltdown. It was to be built along side the new McGill super hospital. Now both projects look like they are in deep trouble.

Quebec's liquor monopoly the SAQ reported a 6% increase in profits. The state run company made a $807 million profit on $2.2 billion in sales.

The Quebec government is suing four parents of two drunk students who started a fire in their high school. The Province is seeking a whopping $16 million in damages and a guilty verdict will certainly bankrupt all of them. The province is standing on principle that parents are responsible for acts committed by minor children. Link in French

Montreal restaurant O'Noir is staffed by blind servers. Opening soon in Toronto
Montreal MP Sheila Finestone dies at 82
Former Selwyn House teacher pleads guilty to child porn
Quebec pedophile priest found guilty-30 years after the crime
(in French)
Montreal baby's heart cures itself miraculously

1 comment:

  1. Great overview of what's happening around here!

    The worst problem with Harel, beside her politics, will be her vision of how the city should be managed. Tremblay lets much more leeway to boroughs, I expect Harel wants to return to Bourque's centralized vision of city management.