Saturday, July 4, 2009

Weekly Anglo Quebec News June 27-July 03

Want to Keep up with Quebec News in just 5 minutes?
Perfect for Ex-pats or those in a rush!
Every Saturday read a short, subjective weekly review of Quebec
news with a Anglophone POV.

Montreal Jazzfest kicked off Tuesday. The thirtieth edition opened with a free concert headlined by Stevie Wonder which celebrated the new permanent headquarters of the festival in the city's new 'Quartier des spectacles'. Over 200,000 people attended in spite of the threat of rain. By many accounts the show was uneven and suffered some sound problems. Wonder also played some Michael Jackson tunes as a tribute, something that didn't go over well with the crowd. At least he didn't break down in grief over Jackson's death as he did in a concert in Milwaukee last Sunday.
For the first time a Klezmer, (traditional Jewish/Russian music) element will be added to the festival. A student run synagogue, located in the McGill Ghetto neighborhood, is presenting eight bands performing at the 'Ghetto Shul.'
Unfortunately the weather continues to look poor and may play havoc with the outdoor events.

Montreal's annual moving day took place on Wednesday. The only major city in North America where the vast majority of leases ends (and begins) on one day (July 1) and where a great big game of musical chairs plays out in the streets with movers rushing about. At the end of the day after all was said and done, 71 families were left homeless.
A new 'green' professional moving service utilising bicycle instead of moving vans to made it's first appearance in Montreal.


Montreal Canadiens made wholesale changes to it's hockey team, dumping a slew of veterans and signing several free agents. The team however failed to secure a marquis type player and settled for second tier players. It remains to be see if they improve. The loss of some francophone players doesn't sit well with the press, with the team boasting just 3 French speakers on the team. If the team doesn't perform, it will be become a huge issue.

Mystery surrounds the death of four Montrealers who died in a bizarre incident Kingston, Ontario. The car in which they were returning home to Montreal was found at the bottom of a canal with all the occupants dead, inside. Police have yet to figure out how the car ended up there as the area where the car was found has no road access and there were no obvious tire tracks in the adjacent grassy area. The women were all Afghanis who immigrated to Canada less than two years ago. All sorts of rumours are floating out there, it's a real mystery.... Perhaps we need to call in Detective Columbo....
Read the details.


Montreal tourism down big-time. Notwithstanding the Jazz Festival, the tourist season is suffering a meltdown this summer. A cal├Ęche driver driver reported that business was off 50% compared to last year and that he hadn't seen a American tourist fare in three weeks. The association of merchants in Old Montreal reports that there's a 35% drop traffic. Other restaurateurs are reporting drops between 25%-35%. Coupled with the loss of the Grand Prix, it pretty much spells disaster for a sector of the economy that generates $2.5 billion. Ouch! A Tourist Montreal official tried to put on a brave face but admitted that the recession, the rising Canadian dollar, the price of gasoline all contributed to the 'perfect storm'.

Montreal Nord's reputation finally catches up. People are moving out of this 'problem' neighbourhood, scene of several riots and ongoing problems with street crime and gang activities. A real estate agent reported that when of the 40 people who answered his internet ad for a four and a half on Pascal street, found out where it was located, they all said - 'no thank you'.

Right turn on red leads to more Quebec accidents according to the Quebec Transport Department. Ever since the province allowed right turns on red (everywhere except on the island of Montreal) five years ago, related accidents have gone up about 46%. How did the CAA- Quebec react to this news?.... They suggesested that Montrealers also be allowed to make right turns on red! Huh?


CRIME & PUNISHEMENT
(NEW!-weekly review of interesting crime stories and court room antics)

COP KILLER GETS PAROLE. The man who beat a murder rap of a cop in relation to the shooting at his home in a botched drug raid, has been paroled for the related gun charges after serving only 6 months! Read the unbelievable story.

WOMEN GETS 15 YEARS FOR DROWNING HER SON. Her big mistake was doing the crime in the USA, where being cuckoo is no excuse. Had she done the deed in Beaver Lake, she'd already be in a halfway house. Despite the harsh sentence, 64% of Quebeckers agreed with the punishment, according to the Journal de Montreal. Read the story. Read a piece I wrote about the difffences in Canadian versus American sentences.


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