Posts tagged as:


Luc Ferrandez, the borough mayor of Plateau Mont-Royal, is short on action and long on excuses when it comes to snow removal this winter. Here’s a summary of some of the best ones he’s come up with so far:

January 12: We’re not trying to save money; it’s just that too many blue-collar workers called in sick. Says the guy who had a whopping 48% absenteeism rate from his job last year.

January 22: I lied. We are trying to save money. We can’t afford to clear the streets because of Denis Coderre’s $800k in cutbacks. You have $11.5 million budgeted for snow removal. You mean to tell me you’ve spent it all already? It’s only January.

January 23: Actually, it’s Helen Fotopoulos’s fault; we’re still paying down her administration’s debt. Helen Fotopoulos hasn’t been in power since 2009. This one’s on you.

January 26: Okay, we made a mistake. We’ll remove the snow after all. But only from major arteries.
Because people who live on side streets don’t ever need to get anywhere.

January 27: We decided to prioritize the sidewalks instead of the streets. So then why does the Plateau have the worst-cleared, iciest sidewalks in the city?

To be updated as more excuses appear. Which they no doubt will.

Update: March 4: A long list of excuses for why the Plateau had the least efficient and most expensive snow removal operations in 2014, including:

  • There wasn’t enough snow in three out of the five major storms to warrant clearing it. Even though every other borough did.
  • Progress is reported via social media, not via city databases. That excuses not sending important statistics to a city agency how, exactly? 
  • The streets are narrower than in other boroughs.  So there ought to be less snow to clear.
  • The snow removal equipment is older than in other boroughs. Much of it was replaced last summer, and they’re not any more efficient at snow removal this year.
  • The Plateau is the centre of Montreal’s nightlife, and has more cars and “difficult people” to deal with. The centre of Montreal’s nightlife hasn’t been the Plateau in years, thanks in no small part to Ferrandez and co. And there are fewer cars in the Plateau compared to most boroughs — most residents don’t own one. The only “difficult people” I’m encountering here are M. Ferrandez and company.



Yesterday’s flash flooding in Montreal caused pipes and sewers to back up, led to water damage in homeowners’ basements, and caused and power outages across the city. Public buildings across downtown were evacuated as they filled with water. The metro’s orange line was down for several hours as several stations flooded. And roadways turned into rivers as our crumbling infrastructure failed to hold up under the water weight.

Photo Credit: Veronique Benhamou. Source: Montreal Gazette.

Flooding at the Palais de Congres. Photo Credit: Veronique Benhamou. Source: Montreal Gazette.

While the flooding did not cause any catastrophic damages in the traditional sense of the word, it did raise chilling echos of the Flood of ’87, and more recently, flooding in 2005. Each time this happens, it only underscores the urgent state of disrepair of our roads, sewers, water mains and infrastructure. But nobody ever seems to do anything about it.

Many homeowners are also discovering the hard way this morning that flood insurance does not exist in Canada. No insurance company offers it; you cannot buy it even if you want to. Extended clauses for water damage specifically exclude flooding. This is something that desperately needs to be changed, through regulation if necessary.

I was lucky; my apartment’s up on the third floor and escaped any damage. I got a bit drenched walking outside in the rain, and an event I attended at a local pub was a bit hindered by the fact that the pub’s kitchen had flooded so they weren’t serving food, but that’s about the extent of it.  A number of my friends were not so lucky, with flooded basements and exploding toilets and drains.

As for the student protesters, I’m thinking they could’ve put their pots and pans to good use: bailing water.


Stormy weather


I wonder how long it will take Ahmadinejad to blame this on the Israeli Mossad, too?

Read more →

Deep freeze


Here’s an explanation for the unusually cold weather in parts of North America and Europe lately: The folks who run the National Center for Atmospheric Research have a great rundown of the details of the AO Oscillation. In short, high pressure in the Arctic forces the jet stream south, and it drags cold air with it, […]

Read more →

“And in these days when darkness falls early…”


Yesterday was Winter Solstice, and everyone’s been feeling the lack-of-daylight blahs. The cold temperatures aren’t helping, either. Winter came on fast and strong this year, and people seem to have hibernated more quickly than usual. Or maybe that’s just winter amnesia speaking (that same curious syndrome that makes people drive like idiots in the first annual […]

Read more →

California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day


Spotted around downtown Montreal in the minus-20-feels-like-minus-30-with-the-windchill weather: A cyclist (you have to be pretty hardcore to cycle in this weather) wearing a full ski helmet, ski goggles, and a ski face mask, every inch of his face protected against the cold. Two women, both wearing their jacket hoods with faux fur pulled over their face and eyes, […]

Read more →

London in the snow


This is what happens when it snows in England.

Read more →



The new Montreal transit chief – get this – actually uses public transit! What a concept! He’s even promised to ride the bus out to the west island to see for himself what a disaster the system is out there. Will it lead to improvements? Stay tuned. Meanwhile in Ottawa, citizens who’ve been held hostage […]

Read more →

Winter tires: Get a grip, people!


Quebec’s mandatory winter tire law comes into effect on Monday. If you’re driving with all-season or summer tires, you’ll officially be breaking the law in less than a week. And I, for one, am sick of all the whining and complaining about this law. On principle, I usually oppose excess government regulation, especially when there’s […]

Read more →

In Brief


Does anyone really still believe that Mugabe will go quietly? Didn’t think so. Here we go again: The construction on St-Laurent launches full steam ahead into round 2… as though round 1 wasn’t a strong enough demonstration of the city’s incompetence. Duh alert: Allophones have a harder time getting jobs than Francophones do in Quebec. […]

Read more →