Monthly Archives: August 2007

I like to blog during the summer

Laurent has put up video from the August Yulblog where he went around asking people what their favourite summer activity was. (He’s been making the questions easier each month since people have had trouble answering — he threatened to make next month’s question “what’s your favourite colour” if people were still having trouble)

Of course, what you’re looking for is at 1:49: Me.

Me at Yulblog

I got at least one comment that I wasn’t recognizable from the nose up in that tiny photo at the top of my blog, so here you go. That’s what I look like.

Ladies, the line starts here.

McGill metro evacuated after structural fears

It’s not just overpasses. The McGill metro was evacuated this afternoon after work on the de Maisonneuve bike path apparently caused a leak into The Bay next door and that led to the discovery of a large crack in the ceiling.

(The media is describing this as everything from a “crack” to a “depression” to a “cave-in”, but have settled on “crack” and “threat of collapse”)

Service on the green line is shut down between Berri and Atwater Lionel-Groulx. Alternative bus service is being setup (Eastbound on Ste. Catherine, Westbound on René-Lévesque), but during rush-hour with a major artery closed it’s probably faster to walk across downtown. Trains have been added to the Orange Line to help compensate.

The metro is expected to reopen on Monday if there’s no risk of collapse of the tunnel.

Blork was there. LCN has a video report.

Andrée Boucher dead at 70

Andrée Boucher, mayor of Quebec City, just died of a sudden heart attack.

It’s sad, especially because Quebec City is planning its 400th birthday next year, something she was heavily involved with.


Stop inventing anglicized names

A disturbing trend (well, disturbing to anal-retentive copy editors anyway) has been developing in the anglophone media, of directly translating the names of Quebec-based organizations whose names have no English translation, and treating those translations as proper names. The Gazette invented the “Montreal Transit Commission” as its name for the Société de transport de Montréal (STM). The Chronicle calls it the “Montreal Transport Society“. Canadian Press calls the Sûreté du Québec the “Quebec Provincial Police” or “QPP”.

Most anglophone media in Quebec tend to use the French names, since their viewers and readers tend to be at least functionally bilingual. For media outside Quebec who must translate into English, please use a generic name for the organization (meaning lowercase) so people don’t get the mistaken impression that you’re using their actual name.

Let’s end the confusion. Stop playing Language God.

A class action against Videotron?

Mere days after Videotron announced it was capping its “extreme” high-speed internet (but not its “extreme plus” high-speed service, which is $15 more a month a cap that’s curiously larger than its “extreme plus” service, with a much lower overage fee), the Union des consommateurs is trying to get a class-action lawsuit going against the company for false advertising and breach of contract.

If successful, such a suit would set a huge precedent for telecom companies changing the terms of their contracts. Currently these companies announce the change, give people 30 days to cancel (without fees), and any use after that time is considered to be acceptance of the change.

We’ll see how this plays out.

The scam

This story from this morning’s Gazette is hilarious. Apparently customers are complaining that they’re being ripped off by Montreal-based, which has been promising them great deals on DVDs of TV shows, and then never delivering them.

What’s interesting is that those who do get the DVDs delivered quickly find out that they’re low-quality pirated versions recorded straight off of cable (they even have the network logos in the corner).

A quick scan online shows plenty of other people with similar complaints. In some of them, a representative of the company responds with a form letter about “misplaced orders”, but never answers the charges of blatant pirating.

The article quotes him as saying they “buy bulk and resell”, and that they don’t verify stock before they send it out. As if any idiot couldn’t spot such obvious fakes from a hundred feet away.

Garcia Media Group, which owns the website, isn’t under investigation by the Quebec consumer protection bureau, because apparently nobody’s complained to them yet (isn’t bureaucracy wonderful?), the Better Business Bureau can’t do anything because the company isn’t a member, and the police won’t say whether they’re investigating. Only Canada Post is looking into the matter.

Hopefully, unless the claims that this is all a smear campaign from a competitor are true (right, sure), this company will be quickly shut down and its owners prosecuted before they scam more people.

UPDATE (Oct. 7): Slashdot has a story on the lack of action in this case.

Wikitravel: A new beginning, or the beginning of the end?

Evan Prodromou has announced that he is reducing his level of involvement in the management of Wikitravel, and his wife is pulling out altogether.

Evan doesn’t say whether he thinks this is better or worse for the project (other than saying he’ll miss his wife’s contributions). I can’t help but be somewhat pessimistic. Going from people who have lived and breathed their own baby for years to a group of faceless developers in some far-away 9-to-5 office doesn’t scream “great new beginning” to me.

Hopefully I’m wrong.

Voulez-vous protester avec moi?

The Montréal Français group is organizing a protest this Sunday, starting at 1 p.m. at Mont-Royal metro. They’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of Bill 101 and want it strengthened, specially in light of a recent court decision that ruled an extension of that law unconstitutional.

Oh to live in a province one day where people can speak French without fear of government repression…

Scabs at the Journal de Québec

The Journal de Québec have won a case before the Commission des relations du travail du Québec, which ruled today that four employees of the newspaper were illegally working as scabs during the labour conflict which has dragged on since April. The Journal was criticized by its union for a sudden increase in the number of managers just before the lockout began.

For more information on the labour conflict, you can go to MediaMatinQuebec, the website setup by the locked-out workers.

SQ cops to it: They were undercover after all

Montebello cops: PWNED!

The Sûreté du Québec are admitting that they did use undercover police officers at the protests in Montebello. The article doesn’t make it clear that they’re referring to the same officers in this video, which has gained traction in the press lately.

But the official SQ statement on the matter makes it clear: They’re cops.

Though I still agree with some that say the evidence was far from conclusive, with the amount of media attention this was getting it was just a matter of time until the government was forced to respond.

Now come the fun questions: Are all the extremist elements of these protests actually undercover cops? Are some of the more recognizable activists (*cough*Jaggi Singh*cough*) actually cops? Were these guys just holding rocks to keep their cover or were they actually expected to throw them at their colleagues? (CP says they never threw any rocks and that’s how their cover was blown)

The biggest question, of course, is what is the point in all this? The police had previously acknowledged that they used under cover agents to tell what plans were in advance. But what’s the point of planting someone who’s going to throw rocks? And if just throwing rocks at armored police isn’t such a bad deal, why are protesters tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed, arrested and beaten for it?

Assault by police

In the meantime, union leader Dave Coles should file a complaint of assault against this officer for a shove about 48 seconds into the video.

UPDATE: Great minds…

UPDATE: Oh Aislin

UPDATE (Dec. 6): Months after the fact, for some reason, the Globe and Mail looks back on this video and the people in it.