If there was ever a slice of stereotypical Americana to come to Canada, it was Monster Spectacular XXV. Set in Montreal’s controversial Olympic Stadium, scores of mostly white people, some with kids, some without, filed in wearing variations of denim and camo to see what was supposed to be “a three-hour show with no time-outs and non-stop high-speed breathtaking action!”

The reality was very different. Those filing into the stadium saw the field scattered with dirt, ramps, and old cars for the trucks to crush.

Within minutes the air was filled with the deafening roar of motors and a slew of monster trucks with fancy names like Backdraft, Overkill Evolution, and Bucking Bronco revved their engines and did a lap around the stadium to kick up some dust and show off their machines. Anyone with a lick of common sense was wearing earplugs, while most parents had their kids in sound muffling headphones.

The emcee for the night was a bilingual bald fellow in a black suit, white shirt, and red bowtie. If they’d added glasses to his ensemble he’d be a dead ringer for the dancing old man in the Six Flags commercials.

He announced that the event would be a competition between the drivers and their trucks, though there were no scores on the stadium’s many scoreboards. Instead audiences were treated to a slew of ads by purveyors of car parts.

The stunts were ok, with trucks going up ramps, doing low jumps, and even occasionally resting on their two back wheels. Despite the emcee’s best attempts at revving up enthusiasm, audiences only expressed any excitement when something broke or someone was at risk of getting seriously hurt, undoubtedly a throwback to the days when public floggings and executions were considered family outings.

In addition to the monster trucks, the show featured Tuff Trucks Buggies, which are basically souped up dune buggies, as well as an aerial show by some dirt bikers. The buggies were boring; aside from a couple of jumps, it was as exciting as watching kids go-carting, and the latter would probably be cheaper and more fun.

The true stars were the dirt bikers, who not only featured the only female driver, but also did dazzling jumps off a high ramp, throwing their limbs in midair before landing seamlessly. The audience loved it.

Aerial bikers aside, the show was a total bore. After the first series of jumps, the monster truck displays got repetitious. Only the sight of possibly injured drivers emerging triumphant from their damaged vehicles could summon any enthusiasm from the audience.

Even those who remembered loving shows like these as kids were disappointed. As for the children in attendance, it was hard to say, though a couple of kids a few rows down from us found it more fun to toss popcorn in the air to try and catch it in their mouths rather than take in the show.

Maybe these kinds of events are more fun when you’re drunk.

Canada is a secular society, but we are a society that has recognized that secular laws and practices can coexist with many people’s religious beliefs and expressions. It is why in Montreal, for example, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and seculars live together in relative harmony. If Quebec Premier François Legault gets his way, this might all change.

Legault and his Coalition Avenir du Quebec party ran on a platform of promising to bar people who wear religious symbols from positions of authority in the province. They are attempting to do this with Bill 21.

This article is not going to discuss how the CAQ is so clearly pandering to the most disgustingly racist, xenophobic members of Quebec society. It is not going to talk about how the Bill represents the longstanding dispute between welcoming, diverse, multicultural Montreal and the rest of Quebec.

This article is going to talk about what Bill 21 actually contains and the very real fallout for the Quebecois affected if the bill passes. For the purposes of this article, “Quebecois” means anyone living in Quebec (and not just people descended from the original French settlers).

Bill 21 contains important changes to the Quebec Charter of Human Rights, a quasi-constitutional law enacted in the 70s that contains some of Quebec’s strongest protections against discrimination. As the Quebec Charter is only quasi-constitutional, it can be changed by a simple act by the National Assembly.

Bill 21 changes section 9.1 of the Quebec Charter from:

“In exercising his fundamental freedoms and rights, a person shall maintain a proper regard for democratic values, public order and the general well-being of the citizens of Québec.

Section 9.1 Quebec Charter of Human Rights, current text

to:

“In exercising his fundamental freedoms and rights, a person shall maintain a proper regard for democratic values, state laicity, public order and the general well-being of the citizens of Québec.”

Proposed version of Section 9.1 of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights

The change thus creates an obligation among citizens to have respect for democratic values, state secularism, public order etc. in the exercise of their fundamental rights and freedoms under the Quebec Charter. It does not, however, abolish section 10 of the Quebec Charter which states that:

“Every person has a right to full and equal recognition and exercise of his human rights and freedoms, without distinction, exclusion or preference based on race, colour, sex, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, sexual orientation, civil status, age except as provided by law, religion, political convictions, language, ethnic or national origin, social condition, a handicap or the use of any means to palliate a handicap. Discrimination exists where such a distinction, exclusion or preference has the effect of nullifying or impairing such right.”

Section 10 of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights

The Charter also forbids discrimination in “the hiring, apprenticeship, duration of the probationary period, vocational training, promotion, transfer, displacement, laying-off, suspension, dismissal or conditions of employment” based on the aforementioned grounds. As these sections of the Quebec Charter remain on the books, any institutions that enforce Bill 21 could find themselves open to legal action under said Charter which also states victims’ rights in such cases:

“Any unlawful interference with any right or freedom recognized by this Charter entitles the victim to obtain the cessation of such interference and compensation for the moral or material prejudice resulting therefrom. In case of unlawful and intentional interference, the tribunal may, in addition, condemn the person guilty of it to punitive damages.”

Quebec Charter of Human Rights

Matt Aronson, a lawyer in Montreal says that “if a state funded institution practices discrimination as an employer, causing damages to a citizen, it’s possible that not only could a citizen sue to have the discrimination stopped, they may even be able to sue for punitive damages. Now, there is a section of the Quebec Charter that allows for rights and freedoms to be limited in scope by laws, but that would be a fairly difficult retort to state sanctioned discrimination.”

As a result, the government can and will find itself open to costly lawsuits if Bill 21 passes as increasing numbers of people have publicly committed to fighting back.. The English Montreal School Board, for example, has publicly stated that they will not enforce the Bill, and a public protest in scheduled on Sunday, April 7th, in Montreal.

True to Legault’s election promise, Bill 21 bars government employees from wearing religious symbols in the exercise of their functions. This is the list of employees who will be affected – I am including the full list so people fully understand how many will be hurt if this law passes:

  • Judges, clerks, deputy clerks, and sheriffs
  • Members of the Comité de déontologie policiere – the group responsible for holding police to account for misconduct
  • Members of the Commission de la fonction publique
  • Members of the Commission de la protection du territoire agricole
  • Members of the Commission des transports du Quebec
  • Members of the Commission Municipale
  • Members of the Commission quebecoise des liberations conditionelles
  • Employees of the Regie de l’energie
  • Employees of the Regie d’alcools, courses, et jeux
  • Employees of the Regie des marche agricoles et alimentaires du Quebec
  • Employees of the Regie du batiment du Quebec
  • Employees of the Regie du Logement
  • Members of the Financial Markets Administrative Labour Tribunal
  • Members of the Administrative Tribunal of Quebec
  • Chairs of the Disciplinary Council
  • Commissioners appointed by the government under the Act Respecting Public Inquiry Commissions and lawyers and notaries working for said commissioners
  • Arbitrators appointed by the Minister of Labour in accordance with the Labour Code
  • The Quebec Justice Minister and Attorney General
  • The Director of penal prosecutions
  • Lawyers, notaries, and penal prosecuting attorneys
  • Peace officers who exercise their functions mainly in Quebec
  • Principals, vice principals, and teachers of educational institutions under the jurisdiction of the school boards

It must be noted that the law does contain a grandfather clause allowing all current employees wearing religious symbols to keep their current jobs. That said, anyone hoping for advancement would have to choose between their faith and a promotion to even be considered a candidate for one.

In addition to barring people wearing religious symbols, Bill 21 also demands that some government employees keep their faces uncovered in the exercise of their functions, a provision clearly meant to exclude women who choose to wear the niqab. Those affected include:

  • Members of the National Assembly (MNAs)
  • Elected Municipal officers except in certain Indigenous communities
  • Personnel of elected officers
  • Personnel of MNAs
  • Personnel of the Lieutenant Governor
  • Commissioners appointed by the government under the Act respecting public inquiry commissions
  • Persons appointed by the government to exercise a function within the administrative branch including arbitrators whose name appears on a list drawn up by the Minister of Labour in accordance with the Labour Code
  • Peace officers who work mainly in Quebec
  • Physicians, dentists, and midwives
  • Persons recognized as home childcare providers
  • Anyone else designated by the National Assembly
  • Employees of government departments
  • Any bodies receiving government funds
  • People and bodies appointed in accordance with the Public Service Act
  • Employees of municipalities, metropolitan communities, and intermunicipal boards, and municipal and regional housing bureaus with the exception of some in Indigenous communities
  • Employees of Public Transit Authorities
  • Employees of school boards established under the Education Act
  • Employees of public institutions governed by the Act respecting health services and social services
  • Employees of bodies in which most of the members are appointed by the National Assembly
  • Institutions accredited under the act respecting the Ministere des Relations Internationales
  • Private family-type resources governed by the Act Respecting Health Services

In addition to barring certain government employees from having their face covered in the exercise of their functions, the law also requires certain people to show their faces in order to receive government services “where doing so is necessary to allow their identity for security reasons.”

The law does make an exception where the face is covered for health reasons, a handicap, or requirements tied to their job. The law also says that there will be “no accommodation or derogation or adaptation,” which means there are no exceptions anywhere.

Bill 21 not only alters the Quebec Charter of Human Rights to exonerate the government from open acts of discrimination, it also applies the Notwithstanding Clause of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Notwithstanding Clause allows governments to bypass articles 2 and articles 7 to 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms simply by including in a discriminatory law an article stating that said law applies notwithstanding the Charter.

Articles 2 of the Canadian Charter deal with fundamental freedoms including the freedom of conscience and religion, and articles 7 to 15 deal with legal rights including the rights to life, liberty, and security of the person, equal treatment before the law, and the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Article 30 of Bill 21 states that it applies notwithstanding these articles of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, though the Notwithstanding clause has a failsafe in it requiring the government to renew the law in five years or open itself to legal challenges when that time expires.

That said, all hope is not lost. The law is currently tabled, meaning that the National Assembly has begun to consider it. It has not, as of the publication of this article, passed.

That means there is still time to resist. If you value our province’s protections against discrimination, contact your members of the National Assembly and pressure them as you never have before.

Point out that Quebec has a labour shortage and alienating and barring people won’t work to solve it. Tell them that the scores lawsuits they’ll face will be more expensive than any benefit they hope to gain if the Bill passes.

Tell them that if they want a truly secular state, all towns and streets and institutions bearing the names of Catholic saints should be changed immediately. Let them know how ridiculous their position is.

The fight is only over if we the people give up, so keep fighting.

Featured Image: Screengrab of François Legault defending Bill 21 in a Facebook video

In the 2018 film Jennifer Lopez film Second Act, the main character is dealing with being passed over for a position because she does not have the educational criteria that are needed for the job. She then gets a job under the false pretense due to a fake resume. Despite not having the education she excels in the position until she is found out by her work colleagues.

While this is clearly fiction, I do wonder if it is it possible to succeed without higher education in today’s workforce or if being a skilled worker can make up for not having that degree?

A 2016 Stats Canada Survey shows that Canadians that complete post-secondary education has a better chance of getting higher pay than their non-secondary school counterparts by upwards of 40 to even 60 percent. But does not having a higher education limit what a person can do in the workforce? It’s true that certain profession such as doctor, lawyer, and nurse require higher education but can other professions be learned on the job?

Years ago, people would finish high school and go right into a trade because the jobs were more plentiful and there was no need for higher education especially since higher education was something hard to achieve for many if they did not have the finances. Skills were acquired on the job and many would work at those jobs until they retired and several were even promoted to management positions.

However, many things have changed. Now many skilled labour jobs are being sent overseas and many jobs that once required laboured workers have been replaced by machines. Therefore, more people are competing for the jobs that are left. Therefore, it is making it more difficult for everyone to find a job. This makes it even harder for those who do not have higher levels of education to compete with others who do.

Now more and more jobs require people to have a degree. But is that degree really necessary? Can a person with years of experience in the field be just as effective or even better than the person who has taken training in school?

Although not having an education does not assure you will not be successful, there are plenty of successful people who have not finished school and have gone on to have successful careers. While education is good to have, not having it does not mean that a person cannot, or rather should not, be successful too.

The past few weeks have been insanely eventful on the political scene. In the US, the Americans are dealing with a president who is a white supremacist, a misogynist, and a fraudster seeking to keep the poor fighting each other so he and his fellow billionaires can enrich themselves with the very institutions established to protect the people. We Canadians would love to point and laugh, but unfortunately, we have a scandal of our own to deal with.

The buzzword up here is actually a name: SNC Lavalin. This article will give a crash course on what is going on and what it means.

Founded in 1911, SNC Lavalin is one of the leading engineering and construction firms in Canada, handling everything from infrastructure to clean energy projects. Though they operate internationally, their head office is in Montreal and they are a major employer in Quebec and thus highly regarded in the province.

Since 2015 SNC Lavalin has been in hot water with prosecutors and the RCMP. This is due, in part, to their dealings in Libya from 2001 to 2011, where they are alleged to have paid out $48 million in bribes to public officials in the country in an attempt to influence the government. The RCMP’s investigation also alleges that the company defrauded Libyan businesses of $130 million, actions in violation of the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act which criminalizes giving loans or bribes to a foreign public official “in order to obtain or retain an advantage in the course of business.”

In addition to the charges related to the SNC Lavalin’s activities in Libya, the company is also facing charges for a bribery scheme involving a $127 million contract to fix the Jacques Cartier bridge. In 2017, the former head of Canada’s Federal Bridge Corporation pleaded guilty to accepting $2.3 million in bribes from SNC Lavalin in relation to the contract.

The company is thus facing charges of corruption and fraud which, if convicted, could result in SNC Lavalin being barred from bidding on federal contracts for ten years. SNC Lavalin has maintained that they will cooperate with authorities but claim that the people involved are third parties or are no longer with the company.
In February 2019, prosecutors were ready to start bringing charges against SNC Lavalin.

SNC Lavalin in turn was seeking to avoid criminal charges via the new Deferred Prosecution Law passed in June 2018. Under this law, corporations can avoid criminal prosecution with a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) in which they must cooperate with the Crown and the courts including paying penalties and reparations, giving up any benefits acquired because of their crimes, stop their wrongdoing (obviously), and adopt any compliance measures.

Agreements are allegedly to protect employees from layoffs, as well as shield shareholders who knew nothing of the crimes while holding corporations to account for them. In order to be eligible for such an agreement, the crimes must be economic in nature, did not cause serious bodily harm, and there must be a reasonable likelihood of conviction for the offenses.

Unsurprisingly, SNC Lavalin was the first company to seek such an agreement under the new law. There was, however, a hitch. Under the law, the Attorney General of Canada must consent to the negotiation of the agreement.

This is where Jody Wilson-Raybould comes in.

Until she was switched to be the Minister of Veterans affairs in January 2019, she was the Attorney General of Canada. According to her testimony before the House of Commons at the end of February 2019, she experienced a:

“Consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government to seek to politically interfere in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in my role as the attorney general of Canada, in an inappropriate effort to secure a deferred prosecution agreement with SNC-Lavalin.”

Jody Wilson-Raybould in the House of Commons

The accusation is that the Prime Minister’s office repeatedly pressured Wilson-Raybould to offer SNC Lavalin a Deferred Prosecution Agreement and that if such an agreement were not offered, there would be serious political consequences. As Attorney General, Wilson-Raybould had oversight and discretion over whether to intervene in cases that might be prosecuted by the Crown.

The director of public prosecutions, Kathleen Russel, informed Wilson-Raybould in September 2018 that her office had decided not to invite SNC Lavalin to negotiate a Deferred Prosecution Agreement. By September 17th, having reviewed the materials, the then Attorney General decided not to interfere, despite the pressure from cabinet members and their staff about what this would mean with regards to Quebec and the upcoming election.

In January 2019, Wilson-Raybould was informed by the Prime Minister that she would be moved or shuffled out of the position of Attorney General to that of Minister of Veterans Affairs. Shortly thereafter, in February, she resigned from the Trudeau cabinet. Shortly thereafter, Gerald Butts, Prime Minister Trudeau’s principal secretary resigned over the SNC Lavalin affair. On March 4, 2019, Treasury Board president Jane Philpott also resigned from the Trudeau cabinet.

Why is the Prime Minister so bent on protecting SNC Lavalin?

Simple: it’s an election year and SNC Lavalin plays an important role in the Quebec economy. If SNC Lavalin falls, there is a concern about the economic consequences for the province. Trudeau needs Quebec to win the and is clearly concerned that acting against its prized engineering firm will affect his chances victory in November.

Given all the scandal this has caused, protecting the SNC Lavalin may not have been worth the trouble after all. Only time will tell.

Featured image via TechCharts.net

In the premier episode of the all-new FTB Podcast, hosts Jason C. McLean and Dawn McSweeney talk about the Outremont by-election and Canadian politics with special guest Niall Ricardo and we feature an interview with NDP candidate Julia Sanchez.

Also: News Roundup, Survey Says (Should Major League Baseball return to Montreal?), Dear FTB, Things You Did Not Know (Maybe) and Predictions!

Recorded February 23, 2019 in Montreal

(DOWNLOAD)

Producer: Hannah Besseau

Hosts: Jason C. McLean and Dawn McSweeney

Special Guest: Niall Ricardo, political operative with the NDP and well-studied political observer

Microphone image: Ernest Duffoo / Flickr Creative Commons

First, let’s talk about our existing rights as workers.

On June 12, 2018 the National Assembly passed legislation changing Quebec labor law, presumably for the better. Some of the changes came into effect immediately, others only as of this January, and others as of May 2019. This article will discuss those changes, what’s missing, as well as provide a crash course on the existing rights of workers in Quebec.

When I was looking for a job I, like many others, had my CV up on a couple of job search websites with a profile indicating that I was actively looking for work. Within a couple of days of posting my CV I was bombarded with phone calls from companies asking me to come in for an interview for customer service work. Upon arriving at the interview I was given the ugly truth: the “job” that was being offered was commission-only and there would be no base pay for my work.

According to Quebec’s Act Respecting Labour Standards, all jobs in Quebec have to pay a wage. That means that whether you sell something or not, for example, your employer still has to pay you.

So these jobs are either illegal or have found a way around the law, possibly by not considering their workers to be employees, but rather independent contractors. If it’s the latter, then be aware that you also won’t be eligible for benefits like paid vacation.

If you are confident enough in your selling skills you feel you can get by this way, then by all means, give the “job” a try. Just be aware that you will also not be able to avail yourself of the important legal protections outlined in this article.

The minimum hourly wage employers must pay you is set by the government and currently stands at $11.25 an hour. As of May 2019, the minimum wage jumps to $12 an hour. Those who make minimum wage with tips will see their hourly pay increase to $9.80 per hour in May.

You are not considered to be paid unless the amount can be deposited within two days of receipt. If you get a call asking you to come in for an interview for customer service work, be sure to establish whether or not you will be paid a wage for your work so you don’t waste your time.

Quebec’s human rights laws also include protections for employees. According the Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights, employers are not allowed to discriminate in “hiring, apprenticeship, duration of the probationary period, vocational training, promotion, transfer, displacement, laying-off, suspension, dismissal or conditions of employment” on the basis of “race, colour, sex, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, sexual orientation, civil status, age except as provided by law, religion, political convictions, language, ethnic or national origin, social condition, a handicap or the use of any means to palliate a handicap.”

The only time the law allows for discrimination on any of the above is if the organization is a non-profit, charitable, religious, or other organization devoted exclusively to the well-being of a given ethnic group.

In addition to paying you and not being a discriminatory douchebag, here’s a couple of other things your employer must do:

  • Allow you to do your job. That doesn’t just mean giving you access to your workspace, it means protecting your health, safety, and dignity in a way that’s consistent with the nature of the work.
  • If your boss decides to fire you, they must give you a reasonable notice of termination, taking into account, once again, the nature of the employment, the circumstances in which the work is carried out, and the duration of employment.

If your employer infringes on your rights, you have a couple of options. You can try to resolve the dispute privately with them, you can go to the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST – what we still call “Normes de travail”), or, if it’s a case of discrimination, you can go to the Quebec Human Rights Commission.

If you choose to resolve the dispute with your employer amicably, be sure to speak to a legal professional or the CNESST’s information line before you sign anything. There are lots of affordable and pro-bono legal services available in Montreal. Contact one.

Important Changes to Quebec’s Labour Law

Under the old law, employees were entitled to three weeks of paid vacation after five years working for the same employer. As of this January, you only have to have worked for said employer for three years in order to get three weeks paid vacation. It also allows for more paid time off for illness and or if you’ve been a victim of domestic abuse or sexual assault.

Under the old law, employees had ninety days to report psychological harassment at work, and sexual harassment was not considered a form of said harassment. As of June 12, 2018, sexual harassment falls under the definition of psychological harassment, and victims have up to two years to report the incident, presumably to ease their fears of immediate reprisals.

As of January 2019, employers must have a psychological harassment policy in place as well as complaint management procedures. The CNESST even has a guide available online for employers to help establish such policies and practices.

The new rules also address absences for family reasons, with the definition of “family” expanded to include the family of a spouse or partner. Under the new rules, employees are allowed up to five days off following the death of a loved one instead of the one day under the old law.

The changes also allow employees up to sixteen weeks a year to take care of a loved one, with more time allotted if the person in need of care is a minor.

Another significant change to the rules is that employees have a legal right to refuse to work more than two hours beyond their normal work hours. This change is clearly meant to address the issue of unstable working hours, forcing employers to give at least five days notice if they want their employees to work more than the aforementioned two hours.

The changes, brought in by the previous provincial government, are a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, they’re incomplete.

They fail to address the increasingly common practice of treating long term employees as temporary hires to avoid paying them the wages and benefits of a permanent hire. Ideal labor legislation in Quebec would penalize employers with workers that have been with them a year or more without permanent employee status.

The government that voted in the changes to Quebec labor law has been voted out. We have a new government in place that wants to fix the labour shortage without bringing in new people.

If the government wants to encourage people to fill vacancies their advice to employers should be simple: treat your workers nice and pay them better.

A recent study conducted by the University of Guelph showed that the average Canadian household can expect to pay $411 more for fruits and vegetables in 2019 than they did last year. This also means that families that are already struggling to put healthy food on the table will have to pay a heftier price for the essentials. As a result of this low-income families will forgo healthier items for the much cheaper processed food counterparts.

While food prices going up is nothing new, this year’s increase for fruits and veggies, according to the Canada Food Price report, will be 3.5% compared to 2018’s 1.5% jump. This can have a big impact on healthy living as fruits and vegetables are considered essential to a balanced healthy diet.

However, the price of meat products is expected to drop for the first time in a decade. But recent surveys have shown that many Canadians are eating less meat in order to adopt a healthier diet.

The price of eating out will go up, too. This has to do with the rising minimum wage and the higher cost of food.

So, what can you do if you are struggling to buy groceries to combat these new high prices? First, start by making a monthly budget with how much you are going to spend on food. Second, look for sales and specials, Thirdly, use point cards to take advantage of special that may be offered.

Finally, try and buy things from stores that sell in bulk or when you see specials buy items that you can freeze and store for a later date.

If you are someone who enjoys eating out, maybe cut down the number of times you do: only on special occasions or maybe a few times a month instead of a few times a week.

But whatever you do, try and be a smart shopper. Looking out for specials and deals can save you a lot of money this year.

Featured image via Sunrise POS Creative Commons

A brief history of tea, according to me:

We figured out fire (ouch & yay), and soon put water near said fire. Look! Bubbles! Hey, those leaves smell good, let’s throw them into the bubbles! Wait, these flowers are pretty interesting, what if we… Well, that worked out. Now, what if we add some candy cinnamon lips?

This bring us to modern day, where purists roll their eyes, and the curious fairly ask, but is it tea? No, some of it’s tisane, but that’s not the point.

Personally, I’m excited by all the impressionistic flavors, not to mention all the wonderful names they come with. It makes shopping for teas a whole adventure as I explore, sniff, sample, and come home with packages wrapped like bonbons.

But sometimes, I don’t wanna. It’s cold, it’s gross out, I’m comfy where I am, screw pants. I still want creative teas though. Now.

Oh, hi, MyTeaBox.ca, fancy meeting you here!

First up, it’s Canadian, and I love that. Plus, I’m tired of the sticker shock when online prices convert to CAD and then add exorbitant shipping costs.

Another perk, small but important, is that the package fits in an apartment sized mailbox, which is super awesome if you live somewhere prone to thefts, or if your package pick up point is in an inconvenient spot, and I check both of those, so I was thrilled. Good start.

Plus, the packaging itself was charming, and it felt like I was receiving a gift from a Pinterest minded friend, which is exactly what Alisa Donaldson had in mind when she started the company. She told me by email that she “really connected with the idea of receiving a surprise in the mail every month (kind of like Christmas, or your birthday, but every month!).”

And my reaction is exactly what she was going for: “I love sharing that joy with our subscribers every month. I’m thrilled when we hear back from our subscribers about how much they love getting their tea boxes . We’re so happy we’re able to make that experience for them; it’s the reason we do what we do.”

Each box comes with three loose tea/tisane blends, and because this was my first box, I also got a handwritten card, and heart shaped infuser. Small touches are almost everything, and this felt really thoughtful.

This was the December box, and might I say, I was pretty relieved that there were no chai or “spice” variations in sight. I dig both, but everyone gets a little seasonally flavor specific, and I’m full of them right now, thanks.

I found the infuser glitchy, and I couldn’t get it to stay closed. I blamed myself, but my bf tried too, and we never solved it. No biggie, it was a bonus, and probably only the right size for a small cup, anyway. The instructions for each flavor were based on 8oz cups, and I like my tea big and strong, so I busted out my own gear, and started steeping.

First up, was Frosted Sugar Plum which the tagline called “sweet and fresh, like a ballet on your tongue”. Man, I do love me a good tagline. I don’t love black tea however, so this one was kind of bound to be my least favorite.

It was floral, and did help me evoke thoughts of tiny ballerinas on my tongue, but then I wanted them to leave. Not the tea’s fault, and this one was hands down my boyfriend’s fave, proving there’s something here for everyone.

Next was Chocolate Mint Perfection, and here’s a flavor that lends more to the drinking than the describing. It was perfectly mint chocolatey, wonderfully balanced, and aptly named.

My hands down fave was called Dessert but not Dessert, and I’m almost out of it. It was zingy and fruity, and reminded me of summer flavors, and maybe some shortcake, or crumble type thing.

It was a vibrant red, which cleared the darkest edges of my winter blues. I let it get cold, and yup, it makes a wicked good ice tea too, all fresh and juicy.

This box was fantastic, and super satisfying. As for the subscription, you can prepay (three months, six months, and one year) or pay $24.99 a month, which I would easily spend if I braved the snow, (slush, wind, rain, and whatever else is happening these days) to go find fun teas.

While this box was sent to me free for review, I definitely feel like I got $25 worth of enjoyment, and this one is on my shortlist of Presents I Intend To Buy Myself.

Cheers 🍵

January in Montreal means many things: frigid weather, atrocious driving, and from a commercial perspective, Valentine’s day prep. There is no clearer demonstration of this than at the annual Salon de l’Amour et de la Seduction.

Sponsored by MyFreeCams.com, it’s held every year towards the end of January and is a massive combination of trade show, educational conference, and performance festival. The rules are that it’s eighteen plus, you must be respectful and mindful of consent, and though you’re welcome to dress to impress, you must keep your genitals covered at all times. Inclusion and open minded-ness are the name of the game, and the Salon does a lot to make sure its disabled attendees are comfortable, with ramps and seating areas for those with visible and invisible illnesses.

As a reporter who’s had the honor of covering the event every year, the differences between this year and last year’s Salon did not go unnoticed. One of the biggest changes was clearly due to Canada’s recent legalization of recreational marijuana.

Though in previous years, vendors of bongs and pipes had one or two tiny booths, this year their presence was much grander. One massive booth offered pipes, vapes, and bongs in a variety of materials and price points. Another booth was devoted to HighonLove.ca, a Canadian company that makes hemp-based massage and bath oils, lubricants, and even chocolate body paint.

Though their products seem sound, their prices are quite high, with a bottle of massage oil going for as much as sixty bucks. The representative I spoke to said that this was because the product contained no fillers, though it is clear that their prices are also driven up by their fancy packaging, which gives it the appearance of a luxury brand.

Among the sex educators present this year was Morgan Thorne, author of A Guide to Classic Discipline, Exploring BDSM: A Workbook for Couples and Medical Aseptic Technique for BDSM. Thorne is not only a sex educator who runs BDSM workshops and offers Couples Education and Coaching both in person and online, but she is also one of the only visibly disabled exhibitors present at the Salon.

Morgan Thorne

She spoke to me in depth from her wheelchair as I leaned on my cane about the difficulties disabled women face getting treatment for pain issues. The impression she gives off is one of empathy and open-mindedness and also has free BDSM educational videos.

Among the many sex toy vendors at the Salon this year was Bliss, which had a second booth for their other company Spank Toys. Of all the vendors at the Salon, their prices for vibrators were some of the most reasonable, with a decent model going for as little as thirty dollars.

Bliss

I noticed upon arrival that there were fewer exhibitors this year. A representative of the company named Jeff told me that this was because the cost of exhibiting at the Montreal show – the Salon also has events in Las Vegas, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Red Deer, and Toronto – was particularly high this year. Despite the high cost, some smaller vendors were also at the Salon to showcase their works.

One such vendor is DicksWithWicks.com, which sells penis-shaped candles. I asked their representative whether her products were modeled on a real penis and she told an amazing story. She was on social media one day when a man sent her an unsolicited dick pic. Her horror and sense of violation quickly turned to empowerment.

She asked him for more photos of his junk from different angles, which he freely and willingly provided. The photos were then used to make the mold for the candles. When the man in question saw the products, he demanded a share of profits, to which she rightfully replied that he sent the images freely and with no presumption of privacy and she therefore owed him nothing. In the era of #MeToo, we need stories like hers more than ever, and it is companies like these that we need to support.

Another small vendor present was Exotique Spa Candles, a company that makes blacklight sensitive candles for sex play. Designed to not burn you when the wax is poured on your skin, the proceeds of their products go to the Alberta sex positive education and community center, a sex ed group that gives courses and workshops on consent and sexual health.

Their representative spoke to me in depth about how there is still a lot of shame tied to sex and sexuality in Canada and that the shame keeps people from having healthy discussions about it. A lack of discussion and health education has led to such problems as the increasing rates of gonorrhea and syphilis among people over the age of fifty. Information about their non-profit can be found at Aspecc.ca.

In addition to vibrators, dildos, candles, and lingerie, the Salon features the latest sex toy tech. La Marquise Sex Toys had a lifelike sex doll on display. Their rep said the entire doll costs around ten thousand dollars, but they also had lifelike hips with vagina and anus built in for four hundred dollars.

.Another company, Robot Sex Machine, had two machines in operation, demonstrating how their technology could be used to rhythmically move dildos and pocket pussies.

One of the biggest disappointments of the Salon this year was their kink corner. Though in the past the kink section had ambient lighting and tamer displays of kink, this year was a demonstration of mismanagement and a lack of discussion about what should be shown.

When I arrived the kink corner on Saturday around 2 pm, the area was impossibly dark due to a lighting issue that had never been resolved, and the displays of kink were too hardcore even for this crowd.

Many who come to the Salon and check out the kink corner are not kinky themselves, but curious and perhaps tempted to try it. That means that what they see should not be overly shocking, and should certainly represent healthy BDSM relationships to dispel myths resulting from the Jian Ghomeshi trials and the abuse portrayed in Fifty Shades of Grey.

Unfortunately, while one section showed a tame display of rope play, a kinkster in another section was furiously spanking and whipping a sub with few check-ins or after care. It was a display that turned the stomach of my friends, some of whom are kinky themselves.

It was the kind of display that would scare some off and give others the impression that abuse is acceptable if you call it BDSM. That said, I know the kink community can do better, and here’s hoping they do so next year.

The Salon de l’Amour is a lot of fun. Not only can you get quality sex toys and lingerie at discount prices, but you’ll also see great shows, see innovations in sex toy tech, and learn about sexual techniques, identities, and kinks. Your ticket also has the benefit of helping small businesses and educational groups that in the era of #Metoo need our support more than ever.

Check it out, have a blast, and leave your judgments and biases at the door.

Photos by Kerry Ann Cannon

When people fantasize about winning the lottery, they talk about things like world travel, lavish homes, fast, shiny cars. If / when I win it big, I will be filthy with subscription boxes. Enough to keep a courier in business just bringing mystery prezzies to my door, preferably daily, if I plan correctly. In fact, I will probably need a dedicated Subscription Box Manager to deal with things like timing, finding new, fab boxes, and figuring out how much it will cost to get them to Canada (if they’ll ship here at all).

Until then, allow me to be your subscription box advisor. Let me just wipe away this silver scratchy stuff…

Please note, that the boxes in this series have been sent to me for free and for the express purpose of review.

Per their website, Kawaii Box (part of Japanese-owned Kawaii Group) wants to spread kawaii culture around the world, and help you “kawaii-fy” your life, with the belief that “even a tiny dose of cuteness can provide a boost of positivity to our life.” That’s an ethos I can get on board with.

I received the winter / Christmas box, which is an extra perfect time to get fun surprises, and this one was a candy store for my eyeballs!

Oki, what all do we have here?

For starters, I received a pair of smiling pink decorative baubles balls. They’re absolutely tree decorations, but considering the look of them, these mamma jammas will be hanging around my house all year long making me happy.

There was a pack of Christmas stickers (that made their way into someone else’s stocking, where they were properly appreciated), and also Christmassy was the pink and white candy cane pen. Theme be damned, I’m picky discerning about pens, and this one writes really smoothly, and it’s soft to the touch, so I intend to use this one long after the thaw.

There was also a mermaid change purse shaped like a shell, and I was glad that it wasn’t a unicorn.

Can you have a kawaii box without Sanrio? Probably, but I didn’t have to find out, because I got a Cinnamoroll eyeglass / all-these-touch-screens cloth, which naturally doubled as a blanket for the ridiculously cute Amuse Alpacasso pastel rainbow alpaca. Holy smokes, this little dude made my day.

It’s impossible to say exactly why, as with any kawaii (or any style group, really), it’s all in how it hits, and this one got me in the feels. It made its way into my bag for a road trip to the East Coast, where it made me smile each time I came across it.

When I saw the ring pack, I was ready to wear flowers on my fingers all through the snowy season, but unfortunately, they were the tiny plastic ones made for kiddie party bags. In hindsight, it makes sense, but they really woulda looked so cute on me all at once (they fit my alpaca though).

Munchies on the other hand, fit everyone. There was a duo of cookies, quite like tea biscuits with chocolate, and while they probably would’ve made another adorable stocking stuffer, I ate them instead, and they were ok.

The scene stealer was a bag of tasty, crunchy goodies. While they were akin to oversized cereal bits, they were more than that. The texture was more complex than just cereal, somehow a little velvety before the crunch, and they were perfectly sweet without being too much.

My boyfriend and I ate the bag in no time, and we both agreed that it was probably a good thing that we couldn’t run to the dep for more, or we def would have. Often.


And I think that’s what this box is best for: those treats that you’re unlikely to encounter elsewhere. For instance, Kit-Kat is one of the partner brands, and Kit-Kat Japan has so many intriguing flavors and limited editions going on that you’ll never stumble upon here.

For me, the box was something of a sugar rush, brightly coloured and short-lived. I think it would be best suited for a kawaii minded adult with a li’l one on hand so the smaller trinkets get properly appreciated, while the grown-up eats the good candy, because c’mon, don’t waste good candy on kids.

Some of the other partner brands include Disney Tsum Tsum, Pocky, Pokémon, and Pusheen, so open the box while the kids sleep, and keep the best bits for yourself.

Shipping is free worldwide (yay!), and the subscription price is def worth the amount of fun:

  • $26.41CAD/month
  • $25.09/month with a 6 month subscription
  • $23.76/month with a 12 month subscription

The fab folks over at Kawaii Box are giving one of our adorable readers a free box to spread the smiles!

Forget The Box Kawaii Box Giveaway

Next Time: MyTeaBox.ca

It’s the New Year and if you are like many people you have reflected on the last year and made promises to yourself about the upcoming one. But if you’re like most people, you will find that your New Years resolutions won’t last beyond a few weeks. So why do New Year’s resolutions not last long?

Well its simple, when the New Year begins it’s easy to make ambitious goals, but the hard part is following through. This is because people make resolutions that are not easily achievable.

There is nothing wrong with making goals about planning on losing weight, saving money, making new friends or whatever they may be. The problem is how you go about it. For instance, instead of making a resolution to lose 50 pounds, plan to lose ten by a certain date and another five by another date.

By making little goals you are more likely to meet your ultimate goal. Instead of making a resolution to save thousands of dollars, make a plan to save smaller amounts of money in order to make your long-term goal. Once you have achieved the smaller goal it will be easier to achieve the long-term goals that you have set out for yourself.

Normally when people make ambitious goals and fail, they abandon all their other goals as well. This is why its best to make smaller goals so you can see the process you have made and get the motivation you need to continue with what you started.

Another way to keep focused is by creating a goal board. This is where you write down or illustrate things you would like to accomplish and achieve. You can draw pictures on a blank canvas, cut pictures out of magazines or write down your goals. How you do it is not important, making sure the goal board is somewhere visible in your home to remind you of your goals and expectations for the year ahead is. This will help you stay focused on your goals and resolutions.

Finally, if you tell your friends and family what your goals are, they may be able to motivate you to help keep you on track. They can give you tips, motivation or little words of advice when you’re having a downtime.

Keep focused and Happy New Year! Let’s make those resolutions count!

* Featured image by Creativity + Timothy K. Hamilton via Flickr Creative Commons

Tourisme Montréal released a new promotional video a few days ago. It features…no wait, summarizing it can’t really do it justice. Just watch it for yourself:

In general, response has ranged from “WTF was that?” to polite attempts to find something positive about it. Even Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said “Huh. Okay, that’s interesting interesting,” before adding that at least it was getting people to talk.

But will that talk and the video it is about work? Well, I suspect it will work wonders for singer Mathieu Samson’s career.

Curious, I googled him and found another video he released, without
Tourisme Montréal funding, but with the same cheesy 80s-inspired effects. He just got huge exposure doing something completely in keeping with the style he was already going for.

But will Tourisme Montréal achieve its goal with this video? The short answer is maybe. This becomes more apparent when you properly define what the goal of this particular video is.

The chorus of the song goes “Québec, Reviens-Moi” and the outdoor scenes are winter scenes. The goal clearly isn’t to bring people from Vancouver, the US and Europe here in June, but rather to suggest Montreal as a winter destination, possibly just a weekend destination, to people elsewhere in Quebec.

Understood as such, foregoing beauty shots of the city in favour of a giant, miniature and normal-sized Samson visiting places everyone in the intended audience already know about makes sense. They aren’t even going full cornball. If they were, there would have been a shot of our infamous “ugly”Christmas tree.

Instead, the cheap 80s effects are a fun way to remind Quebecers on a budget that an affordable and fun vacation is just a (relatively) short drive or bus ride away. Still, the video does drop the proverbial ball a few times.

It seems to harp, both lyrically and visually, a bit too much on the Ferris wheel in the Old Port. Sure, it’s open year round, but I live here and haven’t felt inclined to take a ride, can’t imagine it being as big a draw as they think it is.

Also, while the Habs are definitely a sellpoint for the city in general, bringing up the fact that we still have pro hockey here, as the video does in one verse, may hit a bit of a sore spot for people in Quebec City. Plus, do we really need the Big O to make an appearance?

While some might see this as akin to the National Anthem for the Rivière-des-Prairies–Pointe-aux-Trembles Borough the previous Coderre Administration paid $50 000 for out of our 375th Anniversary funds, it’s not. Sure, both are cheesy and municipally funded, but that’s where the similarities end.

The RDP/PAT anthem used (way too much) public money destined to promote the city as a whole internationally to placate some people in one borough. This video is a targeted campaign to bring a specific set of potential tourists to the city.

It may or may not work, but it’s not the vapid piece of hipster irony it comes across as to many, including me at first. Honestly, now after writing about it, I kinda like this video.

It’s the holidays and that means food, family, and tons more ways to get into trouble. I’m here to help.

This article is going to be a guide on how to get through the holidays with the least amount of damage to your life, property, and freedom. For the purposes of this article, the laws mentioned will pertain primarily to Montreal. Check online for your city’s particular rules and regulations.

Let’s start with fires

Between cooking accidents, overloaded sockets, and highly flammable wrapping paper, the risk of fires is higher around the holiday season. There is also the matter of fireplaces, which I will tackle first.

In the City of Montreal it is no longer legal to use fireplaces and other solid-fuel-burning devices. Those who wanted to keep using their fireplaces had until October 1, 2018 to have them modified to conform to certain environmental standards. Those who have not and still use their fireplaces in the City face stiff fines.

Now let’s tackle the kinds of fires that could happen and what to do about them. It should go without saying that you should keep your smoke alarms on and with fresh batteries. It should also go without saying that if a fire is particularly large you’re better off calling 911. If it’s something you think you can handle, here’s how.

Grease fire

This is the kind of fire that generally happens on the stove when oil gets too hot. The quickest and best way to put out such a fire is to smother it. That means covering the pot or pan with a lid or other pot big enough to cut off the fire’s oxygen supply, making it die out.

Electrical fire

Electrical fires are common during the holidays due to overloaded sockets and powerbars. If there’s an electrical fire, turn off the device and unplug it, then smother the fire with a blanket or use a Type C fire extinguisher.

DO NOT USE WATER TO PUT OUT GREASE OR ELECTRICAL FIRES. Water conducts electricity, thus putting you at risk of an electrical shock. Using water to put out a grease fire can cause the oil to splash, thus spreading the fire.

When to use water?

Trash fires.

If it’s your Christmas tree that caught fire, determine the nature of the fire and go from there. The bigger the fire, the better off you are calling 911.

Once the fire is out, open as many windows as you can to get the smoke out and turn on a fan to help it along if you have one.

Now let’s talk about alcohol

Family time will undoubtedly lead to an increase in alcohol consumption so to reduce the risk of deaths on the road, we need to talk about Canada’s drunk driving laws.

As it stands the legal blood alcohol limit is eighty milligrams of alcohol in every hundred milliliters of blood. Driving with a blood alcohol level over this limit is a criminal offence.

The government recently updated its drunk driving laws and they are now stricter than ever.

Under the new law the police can demand a breathalyzer test from anyone they pull over (the fact that this will likely exacerbate racial profiling by the police is another can of worms altogether). Those who refuse to take the breathalyzer test can be charged with impaired driving.

In addition, the Bolus defense – a defense by which you can raise a reasonable doubt as to whether you were driving impaired by arguing that you had just consumed the alcohol and therefore had not absorbed it enough to be impaired – is no longer a viable defense in drunk driving cases.

Refusing to take a breathalyzer test comes with a fine of two thousand dollars for a first offense. A first offense for driving over the legal limit comes with fines ranging from a thousand to twenty-five hundred dollars depending on how high your blood alcohol concentration was above the legal limit. Subsequent offenses lead to automatic jail time.

That said, drink responsibly. If you’re drunk, sleep at a friend’s house, get a lift, or take a taxi or Uber. If you insist on going home that night, call Operation Red Nose at 514-256-2510. They’ll send a volunteer to drive you home. If you’re a woman, best to take a cab or Uber with someone you know given the risk of sexual assaults by drivers and how little the police have taken them seriously in the past.

Speaking of sexual assault…

It’s time to talk about consent

Between the booze, the Mistletoe, and New Year’s Eve, the risk of sexual assault is high, so here’s a reminder of how consent works – though I find it utterly tragic that I need to keep issuing these reminders.

Consent is defined as the voluntary agreement to engage in the sexual activity in question.

Consent can be withdrawn at any time. That means that if – for example – your partner wants to stop and you keep going regardless, the sexual encounter is no longer consensual and becomes sexual assault.

There is no consent if the person is too young, too drunk, or unconscious. If the person is consenting to something drunk that they wouldn’t have consented to sober, they are probably in no position to consent. If you have any doubts, DON’T do it.

You’re not only fucking someone over physically and psychologically, you risk bringing in the New Year with a charge of sexual assault.

Last but not least, if you feel compelled to use fireworks on New Year’s Eve, do so responsibly. Every New Year’s Day reports storm in of people blowing their fingers off and setting fires because they didn’t know how to use the pyrotechnics they bought for the occasion. Check your city’s by-laws on fireworks use, read and follow the instructions on all the fireworks you buy, and don’t light anything while impaired.

Happy Holidays Everyone! Play Safe!

* Featured Image by Joe Buckingham via WikiMedia Commons

It’s supposed to be the happiest time of the year. The lights are flashing, the Christmas trees are up and everyone is generally in a great spirit.

Most of us reflect with family and friends about how grateful we are that we have them in our lives. We sing Christmas Carols, drink Eggnog and have a big feast.

However, there something no one wants to talk about that also happens during the holidays. It’s the Christmas Blues.

A lot of people struggle with deep depression and anxiety during this time of year. Whether it’s the stress of Christmas shopping or the sadness of not having loved ones around, Christmas time can be stressful and, sadly, depressing for many people.

So why are people so depressed at Christmas? Well, the answer is there is no straight answer. For some people it can be a mood disorder brought on by the changing seasons, for others, it’s the pressures of financial hardship and expectations that are brought on by the holidays.

Seasonal depression is a very real disorder. In fact, there is a name for it: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This can be so serious that it can cripple people’s quality of life. Some spend long hours in bed, overeat and have other serious symptoms.

However, if you or someone you know suffers from this, there are a number of treatments that can help overcome this depression, such as artificial exposure to sunlight, counselling with a psychiatrist and medication.

If your depression is brought on due to financial hardship, you are not alone. Christmas is the season where consumers rack up more debt on their credit cards than any other time of the year. It’s easy to see how people can fall down the rabbit hole of debt.

It’s important to remember that it’s the thought that counts. Putting yourself in debt is not worth the long-term financial stress over one day.

If you are depressed because you can’t see your family or you’re not able to be with them for any number of reasons, try and keep your self busy by volunteering at your local food kitchens or helping others less fortunate than you. There are studies that show that keeping busy can help you get out of a potential depression.

So, this holiday season try and keep your head up and try not to let the Christmas Blues get you down. Featured image by Randi Hausken, via WikiMedia Commons

* Featured image by Randi Hausken, via WikiMedia Commons

The prospect of Major League Baseball returning to Montreal has gone from one out and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth to runners on first and second, but a rookie coming up to bat. If I bungled that baseball metaphor, it’s because I haven’t really watched that much baseball since the Montreal Expos left town in 2004.

Now, though, the prospect of them returning seems to have shifted into the realm of possibility, though it remains a longshot. Here’s where we are:

  • Toronto Blue Jays pre-season games played in our Olympic Stadium continue to draw a crowd.
  • A recent report commissioned by business leaders hoping to bring a team here produced positive results provided there was a new stadium close to downtown.
  • Stephen Bronfman met with Quebec Premier François Legault to pitch the idea. Legault tweeted about the meeting and also told Bronfman that provincial investment in a new ballpark was possible if accompanied by private money.
  • While clearly not as gung-ho as her predecessor, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante has said she is enthusiastic about the idea and was happy about the results of the report, but she also reiterated her campaign promise that she would put any investment of municipal funds in a new stadium up to a referendum.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays are running into a bit of trouble and may leave a spot open in the American League East.

The last point may be the most significant. Montreal would need to be in the same division as the New York Yankees, Boston and Toronto to make it work.

Bronfman and company are pushing the idea that a local audience could support a team if they didn’t have to travel to the East End to catch games. That’s only half true, we would need the baseball tourists, too.

I can easily see Yankee, Red Sox and even Blue Jays fans regularly making the trek to Montreal to catch their team play ours, especially when the tickets are cheaper and easier to get. People from Atlanta, not so much.

Come to think of it, if the problem with the Expos the first time was really that we were in the National League and not the commute, why not use the Big O for a new team? Are you telling me that a Yankee fan who regularly travels to the Bronx to catch games would come to Montreal but balk at a trip on the Green Line?

OK, I know that’s not going to happen, MLB would never buy that argument. Just thought I would throw it out there. Moving on…

If We Build It, Will They Come?

Last time Montreal built a stadium, it was for the Olympics. We already had a pro baseball team at the time, and moving them into the new digs just made sense.

This time, we don’t have a team and have no other reason to build a new stadium but to host one. If we do decide to build, I seriously hope, at the very least, that it is with a team confirmed.

We don’t want a repeat of Quebec City building a new arena for the Nordiques and then not getting a team. If we do get a team and the new stadium isn’t ready, they can play in the Big O until it is.

So, let’s say that there is a team on its way and we are building a stadium in the Peel Basin, just across the canal from Griffintown, which seems to be the site of choice. The area isn’t residential, so we’re not looking at mass expropriations, which is good.

It is closer to downtown than the Olympic Stadium, but while the Big O is connected to Pie IX Metro, this is roughly a 20 minute walk from Bonaventure. There’s supposed to be an REM stop there, though, plus buses, you can bike to it, probably decent for driving, and if Plante gets the Pink Line off the ground, maybe a closer metro stop.

But what about when there’s no baseball game? Well, the Alouettes could use it in place of Percival Molson Stadium for regular season games, though they kinda have a good thing going there. The Impact could use it instead of Saputo Stadium, though that’s unlikely given how much money went into making them a permanent, soccer-specific home.

That leaves concerts and other non-regular events that require a large venue. Assuming we’re not going to try for another retractable roof, it would be either closed, in which case these events could happen year-round, or open-air, meaning they would be seasonal.

So, basically, the new baseball team would have to pack the place or at least come close for most of their season for a new stadium downtown to be feasible. They can’t rely on other organizations and events to make the enterprise worthwhile.

Our Survey

While Bronfman may have done a survey and produced a report, he obviously was hoping for certain results, and he got them. I’m sure his process was accurate, but why not get a second opinion from different people with (presumably) different questions and no desired result on our part.

With that in mind, here are seven quick questions and a spot to add your comments. You can also add your comments in the comments below.

We will publish the results when we have enough responses to get an accurate picture. It takes less than a minute, less than a Buzzfeed quiz. Have your say on everything but the team name, because we all know it should/will be the Montreal Expos: 

Featured image by Eric Molina via WikiMedia Commons

In light of the recent #MeToo Movement, several radio stations removed the duet Baby It’s Cold Outside, a holiday classic, from rotation. Some, like the CBC, later added it back.

Critics consider it inappropriate and suggestive of date rape because of a line the woman has: “Say, what’s in this drink?” If you are familiar with the early 1940s, when the song was written, you will realize that was said as part of harmless banter.

Things were simpler, people were nicer, and conservative morals reinforcing the stereotype of the good (chaste) girl were ever-present. Most people who were courting did not end their nights in bed together unless they were married, to do otherwise broke a social taboo.

So, it is really sad that the song is being perceived in any way but innocent and sweet banter between two lovers. Banning it is ludicrous, especially considering what other songs we have playing on the radio today.

If this song is banned, then half of the playlist should be banned too. Eminem’s Guilty Conscience, Robbin Thicke’s Blurred Lines, Eminem and Rihanna’s Love The Way You Lie, Jay Z’s 99 Problems and many other songs that convey mistreatment of women in one way or another still play with no protest to ban them.

It’s truly sad that a beautiful song that was written in the 40s as romantic flirtatious banter can be put through such scrutiny and judged by today’s standards while songs written a few years ago aren’t.

It is true that violence against women is an issue that needs to be exposed and spoken about on a more regular basis, but removing a holiday classic from radio play is not the way to go about it. Especially since there are far worse songs out there than Baby its Cold Outside.