Monthly Archives: July 2008

Britt leaves CTV Montreal

CTV Montreal announced Thursday on the air that veteran Brian Britt is leaving his anchor chair, retiring from TV journalism less than two years after taking it from the only man more gravitasial than him, Bill Haugland.

Naturally, this being CTV Montreal, the news didn’t appear on their website until Monday. The news came suddenly to viewers and even some of Britt’s coworkers. Britt didn’t want anything announced ahead of time and didn’t want any big fanfare as was done to Haugland. He simply said his goodbyes a the end of Thursday’s broadcast.

Unsubstantiated rumours that would be journalistically irresponsible to report without verification suggest he was pushed out the door a bit earlier than he would have wanted, but they don’t seem to have any real traction. Prevailing opinion is that this was Britt’s decision.

For those who had Britt as the next off the island, give yourself a pat on the back:

Kristian Gravenor has Todd van der Heyden being promoted to the top anchor spot. That makes sense, since he has all the manufactured gravitas and the boyish looks. But I’m still pulling for ol’ Herb Luft, who’s felt at home in the anchor chair since back when he had hair.

UPDATE (July 28): CTV announced today (video) that van der Heyden will indeed replace Britt and will co-anchor both the noon and 6pm newscasts. Executive Producer Barry Wilson finally got around to giving Britt’s career the obit it deserved.

July 29: The Gazette has a story about the anchor change.

The Next Great Montreal Festival

The Suburban’s Mike Cohen has some suggestions for new summer festivals in Montreal (as if we don’t have enough already), including a poutine festival and a smoked meat festival.

I think we should have a festival where underage teen girls dress sluttily, get super drunk on Crescent Street and have to be carried home while throwing up everywhere. I mean, we have that anyway, why not make it official?

168 fonctions différentes*

Speaking of how music is everything for dramatic video, it also (combined with a no-shots-last-more-than-a-second editing philosophy) can turn regular police officers into cool cop heroes.

*My horrible transcription skills combined with horrible grammar had the headline originally as “168 fonctions différents.” My apologies to the French language, though I still think it’s stupid of you to assign gender to inanimate objects and concepts.

Le Devoir sued for correctly reporting outrageous cookie claims

Le Devoir is apparently being sued by a cookie company because of an article that criticized the company for marketing cookies as encouraging weight loss and preventing cancer.

I can’t find the original article online, but the letter from the company in response is there: It says in no uncertain terms that the company has never suggested that its Praeventia brand cookies had these kinds of benefits:

Or jamais Leclerc n’a prétendu que les biscuits Praeventia avaient des vertus amaigrissantes.

Jamais l’entreprise n’a présenté ce produit «comme un aliment anticancer»

Well, I guess that settles that, then.

Here’s the thing:

Screenshot from Praeventia\'s website

This web page includes the words “prevent certain cancers” three times. And though the company may be correct that they don’t claim it’ll cause weight loss, they certainly imply it pretty hard here (the words “weight control” also appear in the text).

Note to Biscuits Leclerc: Before you file your lawsuit, be sure to scrub exculpatory evidence from your website first.

It’s all fun and games until a kid goes missing

By now you’ve probably heard about the Mike Ward OMGSCANDAL. Basically he made an off-colour joke about Cédrika Provencher in a bit about Revenu Québec. (There was a video on YouTube, but it’s been pulled because of that minor pesky copyright thing that bloggers think doesn’t apply to videos posted on YouTube.)

Today… (err, yesterday), Ward posted a video on his website responding to the OMGontroversy (via The Domster). There, he lambasts people who haven’t seen his show for suddenly having a problem with it a month later, and talks about how he’s being judged by random people on the street, getting death threats and is too afraid to start his car.

Now’s about a good time to remind people what the limits are on free speech:

  1. Making a tasteless joke about a missing girl is legal and acceptable, no matter how offensive or unfunny it is. Especially at a show made specifically for offensive humour.
  2. Criticizing said joke is legal and acceptable, no matter how unfair or harsh the criticism is, and it’s not censorship to criticize something.
  3. Criticizing something without knowing the context is legal and acceptable, no matter how uninformed that criticism is or how much it hurts someone’s feelings.
  4. Whining on your blog that people are judging you is legal and acceptable, no matter how pathetic it makes you look. It is also not censorship to do this.
  5. Making death threats based on a bad joke is not legal and is unacceptable, no matter how offensive the joke is or how much you care about this little girl you’ve never met and been told by the media to care about. Ditto for stalking a guy outside his house and suggesting that harm should come to him.

Leave Mike Ward alone. Comedians don’t change based on criticism, they change based on people not laughing at their jokes and not paying attention to them.

(P.S. Speaking about criticizing criticisms, Claude Poirier totally goes ape-shit on Bazzo (from Mike Ward’s blog))

Gazette live-blogging Impact game

The Gazette is trying something new tonight, live-blogging the Impact vs. Toronto FC game at Saputo Stadium BMO Field in Toronto. The copy is a bit dirty (note to marketing dept.: “Pat Hickey RAW”), but at least you get the news of what’s going on.

La Presse is doing similarly with blogger Pascal Milano, as is Radio-Canada, with at least a half-time report from each.

Unless I’ve missed something, Le Devoir, Quebecor’s Canoe portal, CTV Sports and even the sports networks (,, have nothing on how this game is going.

The Impact is the unpopular little brother of the Alouettes and Canadiens, and the media tends to half-ass coverage of the team (in most cases, only covering home games so they don’t have to spring for airfare). Since this is a non-league game, it’s not on TV. RDS and TSN have Rogers Cup tennis, and CBC/Radio-Canada have regular non-sports programming. Fortunately, though, has a free live broadcast of the game online.

UPDATE: 1-1 draw gives a victory in the CONCACAF Canadian championships to the Montreal Impact. SUCK IT, TORONTO!

Rad-Can and Milano win the race for breaking news, having the result up within minutes (seconds?) of the game ending.

CBC Television is also replaying the game at midnight.

Bus route suggestions on the cheap

To complete my public-transit-in-the-news trifecta, The Gazette’s Henry Aubin has some suggestions about how the STM can help improve the network cheaply, based on readers’ comments:

  1. The MTC should do more to ensure that buses don’t reach bus stops well before their scheduled arrival time: That all depends on what “do more” means. Inspectors check after buses at busy stops to make sure they’re all on time. Individual buses are supposed to keep to their schedules, and in some cases will take breaks in order to keep from moving on too early. But it’s unrealistic to expect an hour-long bus route to be accurate to within one minute at all stops. A simple traffic light or two would be enough to put them off schedule (and often it does).
  2. More posted bus schedules would be handy. No schedules are posted for six to eight bus stops on some routes. What routes? I’ve never seen that many stops between posted schedules. And aside from the fact that every bus stop in the network has a code you can use to call using a cellphone and find out when the next bus comes, the STM has added schedules (and maps) to most of its shelters, as well as stand-alone schedules to many stops. That number is increasing, but there are many less-used stops that don’t have schedules posted.
  3. More generous hours for bringing bicycles on the métro would help certain commuters. Sure, but at the expense of others. The STM limits bicycles on the metro during rush hours and events (such as the fireworks) when the system is too crowded to support them safely. When the network has to choose between allowing a bike on a train or letting three or four people board, it will go with the people.
  4. The MTC could do more to synchronize the routes. Again, what does “do more” mean here? Synchronizing routes sounds very simple, but it’s extremely complicated. Each bus will connect with maybe dozens of others. They can’t all be synchronized in every direction so that every transfer has a minimum wait time. There are some specific areas where individual routes’ schedules could be improved for better synchronization (the 371 and 382 is a personal pet peeve of mine – a delay of a minute over a half-hour route can mean the difference between zero wait time and an hour in a dark outdoor terminus in the middle of the night), but in most cases they do they best they can.
  5. Fewer routes should be part of the Fairview Mall hub-and-spoke system; more should be either east-west or north-south, with transfer-friendly co-ordination between them. The STM has already agreed with this and is transitioning away from the hub-and-spoke system for the West Island. I don’t necessarily agree – I like the idea of a terminal where you can switch from any line to any line, but I guess I’m missing something.
  6. As well, some heavily used routes could cut travel time by avoiding meanderings that benefit relatively few people – the 211 bus’s deviation onto small Dorval streets, for example. I always found that deviation a bit odd, but it does serve the mall at Dorval circle. And the rush-hour 221 skips it for people in a rush. But sure, go ahead and change that.
  7. Other routes could be eliminated entirely, with the resulting savings plowed into new routes or into more frequent service on existing routes (such as) keeping only the 202 and reconfiguring it (to eliminate the 203). The 200 and 205 could be killed. (Notice a West Island bias here?) Well, the 203 is currently the only bus serving Lakeshore General Hospital, so I hope that would be part of the reconfiguration. The 200 is the only bus between Fairview and Ste. Anne de Bellevue on the weekend, but I wouldn’t cry if it disappeared (it doesn’t run after 7pm right now anyway). As for the 205, it is the only bus serving the rather large Rive Boisée area of Pierrefonds. Without it, people would have to walk up to 1,500 metres to the closest bus stop.

But hey, that’s just my opinion.

XM digs moderately into pocket for Canadian artists

XM Canada wants the world to know that it’s sponsoring a music awards show with a whopping two categories, and investing a grand total of $50,000 in prize money. For the mathematically challenged, that’s $25,000 apiece, or enough to cover airfare to the ceremony.

The awards will be given out in September, and rather than judge them based on merit, they’re putting it to a popularity vote.

Between this and the Junos, I think it’s safe to say that Canadian artists are well cared for.