Saturday, June 20, 2009

Weekly Anglo Quebec News June 13-19

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Every Saturday read a short, subjective weekly review of Quebec
news with a Anglophone POV.

Separtists hold big annual meeting in Riviere du Loup where they patted each other on the back and fashioned their forty-millionth new plan for sovereignty.
One party bigwig proudly proclaimed that that Quebec will definitely achieve sovereignty in this century! WOW!
Why did the party move it's meeting to this picturesque town located halfway between Quebec City and Gaspé. It seems that there's a by-election coming up to fill Mario Dumont's old seat and a big PQ conflab might just be the boost the local candidate can use.
Although the Liberals are running a strong candidate, he's taking some heat for a DUI last year.
In the meantime, the Liberal party complained (to no avail) to the election office that the cost of the meetings should figure into the election spending of the PQ candidate running for the local seat.

Montreal North riots again. - The district, which is home to many poor immigrants underprivileged new Canadians, erupted into confrontation again as youths and police battled it out. Nine people were arrested after a night of rioting. The district is fast becoming Canada's most dangerous neighbourhood. Last year police shot at a group of youths who were swarming them, killing one and injuring a few. That signalled the beginning of the war between district youths and police. Crime in the area is through the roof. Last month a Vietnamese grandmother was beaten by three teens in a purse-snatching incident that resulted in her death. Last week a 40-year-old man Montreal North man was arrested and charged with killing his 11-month-old son.

Montreal's gift to Morocco -Swine Flu - While the theory that Gaëtan Dugas (an Air Canada steward in the 70's) was patient zero in the AIDS epidemic has largely been debunked, there's no doubt about who is H1N1 virus 'patient zero' in Morocco. A 18 year student travelling home from Montreal took an internal flight to Fez after flying to Casablanca from Montreal. Exiting the plane, she looked ill, and was scanned by a thermal reader which indicated no fever. She was told to contact authorities if she developed symptoms, which she did the next day. Tests confirmed she was the first person in Morocco with the virus. Since then another passenger on that first plane has become sick. Swine Flu, WELCOME TO MOROCCO! Link
The 32nd case of swine flu in Singapore is a 28-year-old man who returned to Singapore from Montreal via New York and Tokyo on Japan Airlines JL711 on June 11. That's a lot of plane trips. Think how many people this guy infected along the way...

Man admits rape, judge acquits- Syl­vain Pa­pa­tie of Lac Simeon was acquitted of rape and assault after pleading guilty to the offence months before. Last October he plead guilty to two out of the three charges laid against him.
It seems that while awaiting sentencing, he had a change of heart and requested through his lawyer that his plea be annulled because he was in bad mental frame of mind when he copped to the crimes and didn't understand the consequences.
The judge allowed him to change the plea and proceeded to set a trial date. The crown prosecutor, who also attended the meeting, then admitted that he hadn't really prepared for a trial and that there was not really enough evidence to convict. The judge dismissed the charges! Link in French

Anglophone Performers tossed then re-integrated -Blooshot Bill and the band 'Lake of Stew' from the Mile End district of Montreal were invited, then disinvited to play at the inaugural "L'Autre St-Jean", an alternative celebration of Quebec's 'national' holiday. Organizers said sponsors worried that hearing English would cause the audience to riot or worse still, turn the Francophone attendees into Anglophones. Link Link
After 'la caca' hit the fan, organisers reversed their decision.

Operation 'BORAX" continues to round up suspects in Montreal's Vietnamese community which has been rocked by the sheer number of arrests in relation to a hydroponic marijuana grow-op that operated in hundreds homes. Police are seeking to arrest an additional 100 people in addition to the 100+ already in 'da klink'. Link

Photo radar will not be the cash cow predicted-Up to now only warnings have been issued by Quebec's new photo radar program. Next month real tickets will be issued, but surprisingly fewer than predicted.
In it's first 26 days of operation the 15 cameras have generated 2550 warnings, an average of 100 per day. If that holds up, the annual amount of tickets issued will be about 36,000 and with a $200 dollars average fine, it will only bring in about $7.2 million. Considering that the program costs several million dollars to run annually and the fact that the equipment cost over six million to acquire, it probably won't to be the cash cow predicted. In fact the numbers are remarkably low compared to other cities. There's one red light camera in San Diego that generates up to 5,000 tickets per year, all by itself!
Incidentally, one phenomenon of red light cameras is the increase in rear-end collisions as drivers slam on their brakes to avoid getting nabbed by the camera. Link
If officials ever decide to place photo radar on one of the overpasses that cross Decarie Boulevard and monitor the speeds on the expressway below, it wouldn't take more than a couple of months to eliminate the deficit!

An amazing 81% of electorate would vote for mayor again--No, not the mayor of Montreal, the mayor of Quebec City!
Regis Lebaume is likely the most popular mayor of any large city in Canada. 91% of those surveyed also said that they were satisfied with city services.

Big speeders targeted. Last year the government passed a law that imposed harsher punishment for scofflaws who travel at dangerously high speeds.
In the first 12 months the police across the province gave out an average of over 20 tickets every single day and levied over $5 million in fines.
What's is classified as dangerous speeding?
95 kph(59 mph) in a 50 kph(31 mph) zone = $528 and 6 demerit points
145 kph
(90 mph) in a 90kph zone(55 mph) = $718 and 10 demerit points
(112 mph) in a 100 kph zone(62 mph) = $1255 and 14 demerit points
Plus in all cases - 7 days immediate license suspension.

That's gotta hurt!
The biggest offender of the year? A car travelling 226 kph(140mph) in a 70kph(43mph) zone! Must have been the Batmobile!
BTW, it takes 15 points over a 2 year span to get your license suspended in Quebec.

Fraudster to get day parole. Vincent Lacroix, Quebec's very own Bernie Madoff will be getting day parole after serving just about a year of the original 12 year sentence. A judge reduced his sentence on appeal to just 42 months and so voila, he getting out of jail! Lacroix ruined the lives of thousands of mostly francophone Quebec investors by stealing over $110 million. Lacroix never said what he did with the money and for all we know, there's relaxing Caribbean retirement in his future, to be lived in the lap of luxury! Let me ask you honestly. 1 year in jail=$110 million. Any takers? .....take a number! Hmmm...
If he committed the same crime in the USA he'd probably get 50 years (with parole after two thirds.) The differences in sentences between the US and Canada.

Montreal, 4th greenest city? In a article in entitled 5 of the Greenest Cities in the World to Visit on the website Treehugger, Montreal came in fourth. The article made me think of another one that I scanned a couple of weeks ago entitled 48 jours de smog sur Montréal au cours de l'hiver which said that Montreal had a record 48 days of smog last winter, eclipsing the 2005 record of 19. That's what I call progress. Most of the damage is attributed to Montrealer's affinity to out-dated wood burning heating systems that creates clouds of pollution. Thank you Treehugger for the shout-out!

Hell's Angels Organization Decapitated. Montreal police are keeping up their torrid pace of arrests targeting organized crime. They busted a ring of drug dealers operating downtown Montreal and arrested 40. On Wednesday, police on the south shore arrested 11 more Hell's Angels member for various drug related crimes. On Thursday they confiscated $10 million worth of booty bought with drug money. Operation 'SharQc' has put 128 members of the biker gang behind bars.

Bits'n Pieces
In a radio interview Gilles Duceppe, leader of the Bloq Quebois lamented that there are too many unemployed people (chomeurs) who don't even have enough money to go on vacation because their benefits ran out. That's a good one! A reader left a comment reminding the dear leader that you can't be away on vacation while collecting UI.

Sister Judith Pinard was Quebec's oldest person(110 years old) when she died last Saturday in Trois-Rivières. She was a month away from turning 111. Bet you'd like to know who's the oldest Quebecker now. Dunno....but a 113-year-old British World War I veteran, Henry Allingham is now the world’s oldest man.

An accused drunk driver, Guy Gagnon has successfully postponed his sentencing 32 times! Four years ago he ran down a child while under the influence. He's now demanding a new trial because the crown prosecutor who won his conviction has been appointed a judge. He's been out on bail all this time.

For the first time in seven months, the number of Montreal home sales sold, has jumped by 7%. Bucking the North American trend Montreal house values actually increased by 2.9% this year! An average condo in Montreal goes for $225K and that sector of the housing market has risen by 7% this year.

The unmitigated disaster that was the Turkish Grand Prix has opened the door for the return of Formula One car racing to Montreal. François Dumontier has been asked by Bernie Ecclestone to organize a race and the Quebec minister (in charge of car racing) says chances are good for a 2010 return. Our mayor should be careful before signing any contract, it seems that Ferrarri is revolting and leading a bunch of teams to form a breakaway series.

On Thursday, the price of gas jumped to about C$1.15 a litre in the Montreal area. Compared to the average price in the USA of C$0.70 a litre, it means that gas is 65% more expensive here. If you want to do your own comparisons, here's a handy website.

The government of Quebec announced it will be enacting laws to control excesses by cell phone companies (surprise fees, automatic renewals) in relation to contracts with consumers.

The long-anticipated Mont Tremblant Casino in the upper Laurentians ski resort will open June 24.

Ex-Montreal Canadiens superstar Guy Lafleur is given a suspended sentence after his perjury conviction.

One out of every four Quebec adults has a Facebook page. 70% of those between 18 and 24 have a page as compared to 3% of those over 65. Only 54% of them have actually met all their 'friends' in person.

A 'swingers' club in Montreal caught fire Thursday sending patrons fleeing into the streets in various states of undress dress. Newsworthy?-Not really but the media thought it important enough to cover. The club 'Auberge 1082' operates legally ever since the big Supreme Court victory in 2005. BTW, the French word for 'swinger' is 'echangiste', somehow more elegant, don't you think.

The CRA, the new name for Revenue Canada launched the most moronic contest ever. They invited Canadiens to submit videos about the illegal tax-avoiding underground econony. Here's an example. Ugh...

Guy Laliberte, the publicity hound founder and head honcho of Cirque de Soleil has been all over the news lately. First it's the ongoing saga of his salacious divorce, then the announcement of a trip as a space tourist to the International Space station. On Friday it was announced that he'd be getting a star on Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame.
Now a tell all book by Ian Halperin that dishes all the dirt on him has been flying off the bookstore shelves. A lawsuit has been threatened. Read an excerpt of the book in Maclean's magazine.

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