Tag Archives: SPVM

Quebec Press Council roundup: Police, Palestinians and the poor

The Quebec Press Council rejects most of the complaints it gets, judging them to be unfounded (usually because the complainants – which include no-hope politicians and conspiracy theorists – have no case and just want to punish a journalist whose facts or opinions they don’t like). You can read those cases on the QPC’s website or see summaries in their press release.

I will highlight one rejected complaint though:

  • Paul Chablo (SPVM) v. Radio-Canada: Chablo, who acts as a media representative for the Montreal police, complained that an Enquête report on Fredy Villanueva was unfair to the officers involved, used young photos of Villanueva to mislead viewers into thinking he was younger than he actually was when he was killed, and showed the faces and names of the two officers involved as if they were criminals. The Council rejected all of these complaints. ProjetJ also looks at this.

Among the complaints they upheld:

  • Dimitri Roussopoulos v. La Presse: Roussopoulos wrote a letter to La Presse to refute another letter that had factual errors concerning the Plateau’s participatory budget process. His letter was not published, and after months of delays (and pestering), he was eventually told it would never be published. The Council agreed that since there were factual errors in the letter that were not corrected, Roussopoulos had a right of reply that was denied to him.
  • Matthew Trowell v. The Suburban: Trowell complained about The Suburban’s biased views on anti-Israeli protesters, specifically a cover article from editor Beryl Wajsman which called them “purveyors of hate” after they took to the streets to denounce Israeli military action in Gaza. It also complained about articles in the next week’s issue from Wajsman, Joel Goldenberg and P.A. Sevigny that painted all Palestinians as child-killers and Jew-haters. The Council, taking pains to note that it isn’t taking a stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, upheld a complaint against Wajsman and Sevigny for having exaggerated in their pieces, pretending that the protest was made up mostly or exclusively of Hamas supporters. But it ruled that the Suburban did not incite violence, that quoting a rabbi who was in turn quoting inflamatory things at a public gathering was not inappropriate, and that an editorial cartoon in the paper did not cross the line.
  • Front commun des personnes assistées sociales du Québec v. Sylvain Bouchard and CJMF: Bouchard said on his radio show that people living on social assistance in Quebec were “quêteux” that get free food and lodging from the government (this, during a discussion about whether such people should be denied the right to vote). The Council ruled that Bouchard was disrespectful, prejudicial and discriminatory toward those on social assistance with his comments. This item got a brief in Le Devoir.

The Council has also rejected an appeal from The Gazette concerning a ruling it had made about the paper’s coverage of the Bouchard-Taylor reasonable accommodation report. Though the Council rejected most of the complaints against The Gazette (whose reporter Jeff Heinrich broke the news of the report’s final draft), it upheld one that the paper was misleading about the importance of certain parts of the report’s findings.

National Post amused by our wacky cop cars

My post about Montreal’s stealth police cars prompted an article in the National Post in Wednesday’s paper (an article written by a former colleague of mine at the hippie university paper).

I mention this in its separate post not just because of the fact that the article quotes me and the Post used one of my photos on Page 3, but … uhh … [insert better reason here later].

They used this photo (though heavily cropped on the sides – I’d be outraged, but I’ve done it enough times as an editor):

Invisible cop car giving a ticket

Of course, I took this photo not thinking that a national newspaper would want to use it. I spent little effort composing the shot, took it at a low resolution (the lowest my camera goes is 1728 x 1152, fortunately that was enough to make it printable) and didn’t bother getting names or other information.

On the flip side, it’s something that happened randomly as I was out shopping. If it wasn’t for the fact that I almost always have my camera with me, I’d have never gotten the shot. Instead, I stopped, pulled the camera out of my backpack, and took a few shots before continuing on my way.

Let that be a lesson to you freelance photographers and bloggers out there: always have your camera ready, and don’t assume you know how a photo might be used later.

Auto pop quiz

White car

What’s noteworthy about this car?

UPDATE: OK, so just about all of you got this one right: It’s a cop car.

Invisible cop car

Invisible cop car giving a ticket

If you look closely at the car, you’ll notice very faded (but still reflective) police lettering on it. The red and blue flashing lights are in the windshield instead of on top, and the iconic blue stripe is missing. This is all in an effort to make police cars less noticeable, while still technically leaving them marked.

It’s part of a pilot project by the SPVM which aims to crack down on drivers who speed until they see a police car. Since these ones are tougher to spot, the feeling is that they’ll catch more eagle-eyed speeders that way.

And by that I mean the police will force drivers to speed and then violate their constitutional rights by pulling them over in a deceptive way and issuing huge tickets in a massive cash grab to feed their corrupt bosses and fail to go after the real criminals, etc.

Funny story: after taking these photos, I was chased into a parking lot by the officer, who asked if I wanted to take more pictures of the car. I assume he was being sarcastic, but I can’t be sure. Thinking he’d demand I erase the photos from my camera, I secretly popped out the memory card and stuffed it down my shorts. Only after the encounter did I realize my awkward stuffing manoeuvre sent it straight through the shorts and on to the pavement below. I had to spend five minutes retracing my steps to find it again.

UPDATE: The National Post wrote a story about this, using one of my photos.

Freedom of revulsion

Hey, remember when the city was considering a ban on ski masks during protests and I called that grossly unconstitutional?

Now the police want a by-law making it illegal to insult police officers.

The “verbal abuse” by-law is still in the “early stages”, which I guess means it hasn’t gotten to the “isn’t this a really stupid idea?” filter yet.

UPDATE: Lagacé also has a raised eyebrow about this.

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.

The SPVM’s new look

Montreal police logo history

The SPVM has rebranded itself, simplifying its logo to the five-pointed star they’ve had for years tucked into a cartoonish skyline image of the city. The rebranding will also apply to cadets, crossing guards, green onions and other related uniforms, as well as to their vehicles (whose new designs look like they have five exclamation points over the rear wheels). (via mtlweblog)

I’ve always thought their logo could use a bit of a makeover, as busy as it was. But now it seems so simplistic. Maybe I’m just being nostalgic.

Either way, they got to work on that anti-aliasing problem on their website. That’s not the way to introduce a new logo.

UPDATE (Dec. 18): This letter in the Gazette is cute, suggesting the “human form” of the star logo represents someone standing, feet spread out and arms in the air.