Perennial loser no more

Councillor McQueen

Councillor McQueen

My God, what have you done?

I’m kidding, of course. Peter McQueen is a green nut, but his platform (PDF) is actually relatively sensible (even if it means stop signs and speed bumps every 10 feet).

McQueen is one of 10 Projet Montréal councillors, including the mayor and a councillor in Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Pierre Mainville in Ville-Marie’s Sainte-Marie district, two city councillors in Rosemont and a sweep of all the seats in the Plateau (It also has a borough councillor in Sud-Ouest).

At the very least, he should make city and borough council meetings more interesting.

On the other side of town, running the Plateau will give Projet Montréal a chance at real governance, to show the rest of the city if they’re really capable of running a small town or if they’re just crazy cyclists who want to ban cars and drive us into debt. If they do a good job there, it will go far toward convincing Montrealers they’re ready to govern on a larger level.

41 thoughts on “Perennial loser no more

  1. JoLalo

    You know, that PM sweep in the Plateau just made me realize something: the boroughs, first a nice idea for democracy and local services efficiency, is nothing of that at all.

    First, democratically speaking, those sweeps like PM in the Plateau or VM in MHM means those boroughs will have virtually no opposition. Really. Nothin’. Which means, theoritically, they can do just about anything they want. Great democracy.

    As for services efficiency, experience has proven that, well, streets look as bad, snow doesn’t move faster, the police still seems underfunded and garbage still stinks as much as it did before fusions and boroughs creation.

    Bref, I just realized that this system is to’ally crap.

    But hey, it’s gonna make the Plateau be controlled by a typical Plateau party. Yé.

    Reply
    1. Roger

      After living in a Borough under one-party rule for the last four years (CDN/NDG) I tend to agree, but I also see the opportunity to back up the transparancy and participatory democracy pledges of Projet Montreal. I am optimistic that they will do things differently. Here’s hope-ing!

      Reply
  2. Jim J.

    Projet Montréal may have an opportunity here to govern (although I prefer the word “administer,” myself; any fool can govern, but successful and efficient administration is a much greater challenge) the Plateau, but one could make the argument that they will be implementing their platform ideas in a borough where the population is already incredibly receptive to those ideas. Somewhat of a low bar, I think. They’ll be preaching to the choir.

    Let’s see them try to implement (or successfully sell, for that matter) those ideas in the boroughs where they fared poorly at the ballot box.

    I do hope that they succeed, to demonstrate that improving sustainability isn’t really all that difficult. But when you’re starting out with a population that has demonstrated a strong receptivity to your ideas (for example, could anyone realistically have seen Projet Montréal winning the borough of Saint-Laurent last night?), aren’t you just following, instead of leading?

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    1. Sally

      How else are you supposed to start out? Isn’t that the eternal question – how to win over people who don’t necessarily have the same values as you?

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      1. Jim J.

        I’ll concede there is a bit of a chicken-and-egg argument here. Projet Montréal’s biggest challenge, I think, is to implement their platform efficiently and successfully. If they can’t do that, then they’ll be quickly portrayed as a bunch of pie-in-the-sky amateurs who have lots of airy-fairy ideas but without the necessary skill to implement them. Coming up with cool ideas is fun. Administration is hard, and is much less fun than sitting around in coffee shops and smoking cigarettes and dreaming about what a happy place it would be if we did [insert idea here].

        Luckily for them, the culture of the Plateau works in their favor.

        The stickier wicket, though, is that government has to occasionally be about dragging the population where it otherwise wouldn’t ordinarily want to go (due to sheer inertia, or the population being unwilling to accept short-term pain in return for improved long-term vitality, or unwilling to make any kind of sacrifice in order to improve the health of the entire body politic, for example). It’s almost akin to the only-Nixon-could-go-to-China school of thought.

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  3. Alanah

    wha? Peter mcqueen was only at 25% when i quit watching at 2AM. What happened overnight??? I was rooting for Hanna but its nice to have anything but the boring status quo in which NDG is mired.

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    1. Jean Naimard

      wha? Peter mcqueen was only at 25% when i quit watching at 2AM. What happened overnight???

      They finally counted the 76 other ballot boxes…

      Reply
  4. Kevin

    Wow, the Projet Montreal machine in NDG worked.

    No joke, they visited my home 5 times in the past two weeks.
    They also knocked on my door Sunday, and phoned me too.

    The Vision Montreal rep who came by once spoke neither English nor French well enough to communicate.
    Union Montreal never bothered to do anything except slip flyers through the door.

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  5. Craig

    Bravo, Peter McQueen.

    He was never a loser to my mind. Involved on the right side of every noble battle in NDG and never taking the easy road.

    Peter fought a grass-roots style campaign and it paid off.

    I think this is the beginning of a brilliant career for Mr. McQueen

    Reply
  6. MM

    Two days ago, Bergeron was being viewed as having a real chance to be mayor. But, actually he came in third in a race most people didn’t like the horses running in. Now they’re making noise that they won in a handful of boroughs. And the media is treating Bergeron and Project Montreal as up and coming. Give it a rest nut bars. People where and still are unhappy with Tremblay. Union Montreal was bound to loose seats to both Harel/Vision Montreal and Project Montreal. That doesn’t mean that Bergeron and Projet Montreal have actually won anything. Harel came in second. And people should keep their eyes on her and Vision Montreal. Bergeron is just a media hog, who says nutty things, and the media just licks this crap up ’cause it’s easy to understand it and repeat it in the media. When everbody looks one way, you should look the other way. “cause that’s where the real stuff is happening.

    Reply
    1. Karine

      Did you see the numbers? Mr Bergeron was not some also ran, he got 24% of the votes compared to the Mr Tremblay who got 36% and Harel who got 31%. So yes, he made some spectacular gains considering he was barely scoring 7% about a month ago. If he doesn’t embarass himself in the next four years and if his skeletons have already been brought to light, and if the burroughs his party is running prove that their ideas can function in the real world, he has a shot.

      Reply
  7. Marc

    Glad he got in. No one ever came to my door oddly enough (or maybe they did…who knows), but he’s a refreshing change from the mayor’s idiot brother – the doofus of doofuses.

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  8. Raj

    I was also rooting for Hanna since he could have kicked up some serious dirt. But I’m glad Peter got in anyway. But it’s going to be a tough job for him in the borough council meetings. So he *WILL* need A LOT of people to be at normally self-congratulatory, un-attended borough council meetings—-rooting for him. Especially since the councilors have a habit of publicly mocking dissenting, often progressive viewpoints…. as it happened with Warren Allmand.

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  9. Maria Gatti

    What is wrong with banning cars? ;-)

    Actually, I don’t support a “ban” on cars as we don’t have adequate alternatives, for all weather and all levels of physical mobility as of yet. Not everyone can cycle, and not all of those us who do can do it in all weathers or for all commutes or other trajets. But Projet Montréal’s platform is strong on modern trams that are fully accessible to almost everyone (of course complementary disabled transport would remain for those needing assistance or who don’t live along tram lines).

    But it is essential to recognise how harmful cars are, not only for the air, or accidents, but for the urban form itself.

    Rather than a ban, look at what other public transport, cycling and walking-friendly cities have done to achieve less-destructive mobility.

    But yes, of course these electees will have to deal with snow removal as well.

    Reply
    1. Jean Naimard

      Actually, I don’t support a "ban" on cars as we don’t have adequate alternatives, for all weather and all levels of physical mobility as of yet. Not everyone can cycle, and not all of those us who do can do it in all weathers or for all commutes or other trajets. But Projet Montréal’s platform is strong on modern trams that are fully accessible to almost everyone (of course complementary disabled transport would remain for those needing assistance or who don’t live along tram lines).

      Necessity is the mother of invention. Banning cars is the only way to force people to behave differently. “The best way to force a redesign is to throw a monkey-wrench in the works“.

      Reply
  10. Shawn

    It does seem that, after years of struggling at the other levels of government, we’ve seen a kind of “green” party breakthrough, if not in name, in Montreal.

    Reply
  11. Kyle

    Project Montreal needs to attract more centrist candidates if it ever wants to govern Montreal. I’m all for major increases in public transit and bike riding as much as the next guy, but to see “encore seul(e) dans ton auto” hippies arrogantly holding up traffic by pedaling their bike plastered with PM propaganda down the middle of St Denis makes me want to kick them in the head. Even if I may have voted for PM candidates on every ballot. Projet Montreal will never succeed as a fringe party. Critical Mass and Mass Acceptance are two different things.

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    1. Kyle

      *Please note I mean people riding their bikes in an holier-than-thou manner and actually stopping traffic from moving, rather than just riding bikes to the right side of the street like everyone else.

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    2. Jean Naimard

      … but to see "encore seul(e) dans ton auto" hippies arrogantly holding up traffic by pedaling their bike plastered with PM propaganda down the middle of St Denis makes me want to kick them in the head. 

      And what is wrong with pointing out to the public their own social deficiencies? If you do not have the moral fortitude to acknowledge your basic lack of civilization by driving a car, you certainly do not deserve citizenship.

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      1. Jim J.

        Pointing out those aspects of society that need improvement is good. Being overly smug, strident and sanctimonious about it will typically alienate the vast majority of people that you would otherwise need to persuade and win over to your side, so that your ideas can eventually be implemented with at least a thin veneer of public legitimacy. Otherwise, you’re just perceived as an unshaven, unkempt, disheveled street preacher with a “The End is Near” sign.

        Now, if your specific goal is to be confrontational, rather than persuasive, then by all means, your approach is obviously the sound one.

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        1. Jean Naimard

          Pointing out those aspects of society that need improvement is good. Being overly smug, strident and sanctimonious about it will typically alienate the vast majority of people that you would otherwise need to persuade …

          Nobody can be as overtly overly smug, strident, sanctimonious, pompous and arrogant than the auto industry and it’s multitrillion dollar advertising machine that reaches the deepest corners of the human mind in order to sell their destructive wares.

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          1. Jim J.

            Well, then, you’ll need to be that much better in order to properly persuade people that they are making irrational choices. If you’re going to berate them and yell at them that they are stupid and destroying the planet, then one should not expect short-term or even medium-term success.

            But, even worse, if you’re just going to whinge on a blog (and it’s not even your own blog) about how well-funded and deeply-entrenched the auto industry’s advertising machine is, then it appears to me like you’re just making excuses, instead of coming up with innovative arguments and strategies for persuading individuals to make different choices in their lives.

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          2. Jean Naimard

            I’ve got a very powerful argument, although it is not very innovative; it has been proven effective throughout the ages:
            A law.
            We just need to make a law that kicks the dopes out of their cars. They have repeatedly proved that they don’t listen, so it’s useless to talk to them, much less reason with them.
            Let’s make a law that kicks the dopes out of their cars.

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          3. Jim J.

            I can only assume you are being facetious. Laws require some degree of legitimacy among the public. Banning cars, without the necessary pre-existing transit infrastructure to back it up, would be…well, “ill-advised,” is the most polite description I can come up with.

            But let’s further explore this Land of Make Believe, shall we? You pass this hypothetical law and, at a figurative stroke of a pen, render people’s automobiles entirely useless for the very thing that the overwhelming majority of people purchase them for: commuting to their place of employment. Not only that, you have imposed a staggering depreciation on those vehicles, because you’ve also decimated the resale market because, hey, why buy a used car that you can’t use? Then, since many, many people have purchased them on finance, they now have to continue to make payments to the bank on a valueless item that they can’t use for its primary intended purpose and that they can’t dispose of on the secondary market.

            Meanwhile, let’s shepherd Timmy and Mathieu and Marie-Hélène and their hockey bags to the corner bus stop so they can catch the 211 bus so that they can get to the arena for their ice time at 05h30. Parents would love that.

            …and yet somehow, you are possessed with the fanciful expectation that the majority of people would happily, or even grudgingly, accede to this adventure in government? Or do you expect to enforce this idea at the point of a gun?

            Your idea is fascinating. But I’m certain that you are just being facetious and provocative, just for its own sake.

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          4. Jean Naimard

            I can only assume you are being facetious. Laws require some degree of legitimacy among the public.

            Like the law that says you cannot transport alcohol from one province to the other? That’s a very legitimate law, yes, indeed. Or the law that says that you cannot drink a beer in the street? Very legitimate, too. Or the other one that says that you cannot make your own cider because Mr Molson wants to sell his beer? Another legitimate legislation. Or the law that says you have to register your gun? I hear the hicks don’t find this one very letigimate, lately… Or the law that prohibits flying the patriotes flag (it’s “sedition”). Very, very, very legitimate, as legitimate as the monarch in whose name they are passed.
            Laws do not require any legitimacy. Just the brute force to enforce them.

            Banning cars, without the necessary pre-existing transit infrastructure to back it up, would be…well, "ill-advised," is the most polite description I can come up with.

            But let’s further explore this Land of Make Believe, shall we? You pass this hypothetical law and, at a figurative stroke of a pen, render people’s automobiles entirely useless for the very thing that the overwhelming majority of people purchase them for: commuting to their place of employment. Not only that, you have imposed a staggering depreciation on those vehicles, because you’ve also decimated the resale market because, hey, why buy a used car that you can’t use? Then, since many, many people have purchased them on finance, they now have to continue to make payments to the bank on a valueless item that they can’t use for its primary intended purpose and that they can’t dispose of on the secondary market.

            Though fucking noogies. It’s not the first time that government fiat has rendered some capital immobilization obsolete. Those people have known all along that their conveyance is very destructive for the environment, so they should have seen it coming.
            The government’s role is not to pooh-pooh some of it’s citizens, but guarantee a livelyhood for the upcoming generations.

            Meanwhile, let’s shepherd Timmy and Mathieu and Marie-Hélène and their hockey bags to the corner bus stop so they can catch the 211 bus so that they can get to the arena for their ice time at 05h30.

            They’ll lug their shit about just like my grandfather did. In the snow, uphill both ways. Or they will consider figure (or speed) skating, much less crap to haul about. And, of course, all the while carefully staying off my lawn.

            Parents would love that. …and yet somehow, you are possessed with the fanciful expectation that the majority of people would happily, or even grudgingly, accede to this adventure in government?

            Of course not. Like the forced mergers, it’s a good thing that will need to be forced down the throats of reluctant spoiled-rotten brats.

            Or do you expect to enforce this idea at the point of a gun? Your idea is fascinating. But I’m certain that you are just being facetious and provocative, just for its own sake.

            I am dead serious. Cars need to be outlawed, at least in their present, destructive form. Or at least discouraged by proper (read: tremenduously expensive) taxation.

            Reply
  12. SMS

    What’s the solutions for rural Québec where there is not a bus in sight??? Are the farmers forced back to the horse and buggy? I’d like to see that (not)

    Reply
    1. Maria Gatti

      sms, I thought it was obvious that the discussion was about CITIES (and their suburban metastasis), not rural (or wilderness) Québec or rural anywhere else. The few farmers and other rural people driving are not destroying the planet; the billions of urbanites are.

      The car is a fine invention, helping farmers get their crops to market by truck and speeding up response in medical emergencies. It is simply misused in urban centres, and has produced a cancerous growth called suburbs (there have always been suburbs, but I’m referring to car-dependent postwar suburban sprawl, not the fact that cities grow).

      I do think alternative transport solutions are necessary for people in smaller centres who can’t drive (age, disability) or can’t afford a private vehicle. We have to be creative about that.

      The stuff about hippies is so lame. Hippies were people of my generation, and even rather older than I am – they are people in their 60s now. People have the right to protest idiocies such as people driving into the city ACROSS THEIR NEIGHOURHOODS alone in huge vehicles. Some of these people are alone in SUVS and Hummers, not little cars.

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    2. Jean Naimard

      What’s the solutions for rural Québec where there is not a bus in sight??? Are the farmers forced back to the horse and buggy? I’d like to see that (not)

      Rural Québec is moving to the city, as there is nothing worthy of interest up the sticks.
      Farmers lived perfectly well before there were cars.

      Reply
      1. SMS

        I was mostly being facetious but I have to raise the point because getting rid of cars in the city ironically will cause exodus into the rural parts of Quebec for those unwilling to give up the car lifestyle. Places that have never seen an urban transit vehicle before like Hemmingford and Lacolle may very well become commuter suburbs if only the rural areas are permitted to own a véhicule de promenade. How can we have a double standard in the city vs the countryside… I am certain that some people will not tolerate it. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have great transit to replace cars but look what we have now. The STM operates pretty much at capacity at rush hours. Don’t play the London Congestion toll charge card because there’s no extra room on the metro to handle these car-less crowds. For that we need more of everything, more bus garages, more metro, more trains, etc. Before the car is made unattractive let’s add capacity to what is already lacking please.

        Today in Montreal even the poorest neighbourhoods have cars in front of their houses. The decline of the car in cities will be made obvious when they lose their privilege to drive when gas becomes too expensive or driving becomes too costly and then it’ll be the turn of the working class, middle class, and so on.

        To return back to the topic, it is perhaps through the election of political parties such as Projet Montreal emphasising transit-first that people will start to make the choice by reducing car use. We will see if there will be coercion to make the car use unattractive in cities.

        Just a thought…

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  13. Maria Gatti

    SMS, the current STM capacity problems are one of the reasons we need a tram system. Trams have a much greater carrying capacity than buses and they can be afforded priority by tripping light signals. A tram along du Parc (and eventually St-Laurent and St-Urbain) would greatly alleviate the overburdened Orange line.

    Métro building is extremely expensive. One line that cries out for extension is the blue line – it should go at least to Pie IX in the east. Doing that and building a tram line along Pie IX and up into Montréal-Nord would be a big boost to that area. Trams are more expensive than buses but they last longer and better “structure” an area. Another area that really needs better transport is NDG, but I’m not familiar enough with the area to know exactly where improvements are most urgent.

    Most of the poorer neighbourhoods here (and even many “middling” ones) are multi-family dwellings. There are cars all along my street but only one household in my 15-flat co-operative owns a car. So that doesn’t prove everyone owns a car. Of course we are close to three métro stations (Jean-Talon, Beaubien and de Castelnau) and there are many buslines nearby. Little point in owning a car unless one works in a location or during hours ill-served by public transport. Montréal is not one of those ghastly American cities where even low-wage workers absolutely have to own a car to get to their work.

    London is far more populous and congested than Montréal.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      “they can be afforded priority by tripping light signals”

      So can buses. One of my issues with setting up a tram network is that dedicated lanes for buses on these routes hasn’t been tried yet.

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    2. SMS

      Completely in favour of the return of tramways.

      It’s nice to see change called for from the grassroots but for anything to realistically take shape it has to be a top-down approach meaning someone with balls at city hall has got to implement the transportation plan without flip flopping (I’m trying hard here to stay on topic). This is how Projet Montréal is appealing to me and surely to others.

      Reply
  14. Marc

    Another area that really needs better transport is NDG

    Yes. Peter McQueen and Jeremy Searle want a reserved rush-hour bus lane on Sherbrooke so that the 105 and 420 don’t get backed up. Plus they can add the white priority light which gives the buses lead time before the light goes green for everyone else. The other thing is more frequency on the 103. Funny thing is, it’s actually on the schedule but I’d say about 20% of the buses never show up. Sometimes I’ll step outside to watch and notice frustrated people looking at their watches noticing a bus didn’t show.

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  15. trel

    Hmmm….. McQueen is quoted in yesterday’s Suburban as saying:

    “I’m not sure what to expect,” “I respect my opponents and new colleagues. I don’t plan on having any major confrontations. They have the power, so what’s the point?”

    I don’t think the 40% of voters who elected him wanted to hear that.

    Reference:
    http://www.thesuburbannews.ca/content/en/2646

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    1. James Lawlor

      Why is it that you don’t quote the very next paragraph that says:

      Although he is being diplomatic for now, he said he isn’t afraid of stirring up some trouble if he can’t come to solutions amicably with his council cohorts; all of which are members of the ruling Union party.

      Are you sure you don’t have a hidden agenda here?

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      1. trel

        Yes, yes, all hail McQueen. I voted for Cym Gomery, like everyone else in my household—she’s got gusto. Keep an eye on McQueen though; I strongly believe
        he won’t deliver. And over the years, others have told me how they think he’s a professional politician. It’s what he first says that counts in that article. I’ve seen him debate; he whimpers back into position when dealing with stronger figures. Yeah, let’s be happy he’s in power. But if you believe in him, make sure he delivers… otherwise he’s fooled us like Applebaum fooled CDN.

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  16. Abigail

    It was disturbing to read in the Suburban that Peter McQueen does not want to “have any major confrontations with the newly elected Union borough council” ” because “they have the power so what’s the point?” Boy, this will resonate well with McQueen supporters who rallied around him when he said “let’s throw the bums out”. Where has all the righteous indignation that his supporters were encouraged by? Early on, those looking for a candidate to support in this horse race will remember McQueen’s response to the Mayor’s decision to build the new Recreation centre in Benny Park. “Well, I have kids and I want to be able to take them to swim in this centre”. This was McQueen’s response to those questioning the location of the centre, of moving the centre from the approved Benny Farm location, the location affirmed in genuine consultation to the current location which will mean the loss of one of the two borough outdoor pools. When asked about the “principle” of using parkland when it was not necessary, the not-so-green McQueen clearly showed that principles only take you so far in politics – go with the flow – people want it, too unpopular to act on principles then just go with the flow…. He dismissed the popular attempt to obtain signatures for a register – a process that was flawed in a number of ways. The not-so-green McQueen did not support the local activists working with Friends of the Earth to stop the loss of park land. So, you see, early in the game there were indications that McQueen, who really wants to be a politician (not a fireman or policeman…) does not want “to have any major confrontations” “because they have the power”. Let’s just watch and see this fellow fit right into our local borough. I am surprised that seasoned community activists could or did not want to look a little closer at this career politician. One thing we can be clear of is that he will fit right in.

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    1. James Lawlor

      Lets be realistic here Abigail, Micheal Applebaum was re-elected with 52% of the vote and Susan Clarke was elected with 33%. It is these two Union members you should be upset against since the new pool is in of Loyola. Apparently the voters have decided that they still like Mr. Applebaum and what he did.

      Projet Montreal’s Cym Gomery, who campaigned very hard on the issue (yes I signed her protest form), came in 3rd. The voters have spoken!

      Your best friend in council will be Peter ‘Green’ McQueen! Peter has been working with community groups and asking hard questions at council for free for the past 2 years. Finally, now he will be getting paid!

      Reply

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