Panelists Ellana Blacher and David DesBaillets discuss Montreal’s new official status as a sanctuary city and the Oscars with host Jason C. McLean. Plus News Roundup. Community Calendar and Predictions!

News Roundup Topics: New Montreal flag, M-103 and Islamophobia, Milo’s downfall and trusting the mainstream media

Panelists:

Ellana Blacher: Spoken word artist

David DesBaillets: Law student and blogger

Host: Jason C. McLean

Producers: Hannah Besseau (audio), Enzo Sabbagha (video)

Reports by Hannah Besseau

Recorded Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 in Montreal

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Microphone image: Ernest Duffoo / Flickr Creative Commons

Panelists David DesBaillets and Jerry Gabriel discuss the Conservative Leadership Race and Montreal’s 375th Anniversary with host Jason C. McLean. Plus News Roundup. Community Calendar and Predictions!

Panelists:

David DesBaillets: Blogger, Doctoral student and political junkie

Jerry Gabriel: FTB contributor

Host: Jason C. McLean

Producers: Hannah Besseau (audio), Enzo Sabbagha (video)

Reports by Hannah Besseau

Recorded Sunday, January 15th, 2017 in Montreal

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Microphone image: Ernest Duffoo / Flickr Creative Commons

Panelists Katie Nelson, Cem Ertekin and Jerry Gabriel join host Jason C. McLean for a look at the big worldwide, national and local stories of 2016. Plus 2017 Predictions!

Panelists:

Katie Nelson: “Paid professional social justice warrior”

Cem Ertekin: FTB Managing Editor and contributor

Jerry Gabriel: FTB contributor

Host: Jason C. McLean

Producers: Hannah Besseau (audio), Enzo Sabbagha (video)

Report by Hannah Besseau

Recorded Sunday, December 11, 2016 in Montreal

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LISTEN:

 

Microphone image: Ernest Duffoo / Flickr Creative Commons

Panelists Lyle Stewart and Cem Ertekin discuss new Projet Montréal Leader Valérie Plante and the upcoming film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story with host Jason C. McLean.

News Roundup Topics: Standing Rock (temporary?) victory, Trudeau’s pipelines, the death of Fidel Castro and Val d’Or

Panelists:

Lyle Stewart: Veteran Montreal journalist

Cem Ertekin: FTB Managing Editor and contributor

Host: Jason C. McLean

Producers: Hannah Besseau (audio), Enzo Sabbagha (video)

Report by Hannah Besseau

Referenced article by Lyle Stewart from The Nation

Recorded Sunday, December 4, 2016 in Montreal

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Microphone image: Ernest Duffoo / Flickr Creative Commons

A lot has happened over the past few days concerning Montreal’s controversial Pit Bull Ban (officially the Animal Control Bylaw). On Monday, when the whole thing was supposed to go into effect, a judge issued a two day suspension.

Then, on Wednesday, Justice Louis Gouin of the Quebec Superior Court agreed with the SPCA’s lawyers and granted an indefinite suspension on the parts of the law dealing with “Pit Bull-Type Dogs” until a proper hearing can be held. The sections that affect other breeds of dog as well as other animals such as cats are still in effect.

Now, today, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre dug in his heels and announced that the City of Montreal will be appealing the decision in a letter posted on his Facebook Page and the official city site. With no sign of Coderre backing down, and the courts waiting to rule, let’s take a look at just what this law entails:

Some politicians are fortunate enough, or charismatic enough, to have their own Mic Drop moment. The kind of no-nonsense moment they will be remembered for fondly. Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, on the other hand, just had a Cut the Mic moment, literally.

It happened at a Ville Marie Borough Council meeting. Thanks to Gerald Tremblay, the Mayor of Montreal is the defacto Mayor of the Ville Marie Borough as well, but that’s a story for another day.

Resident Kim Doucet was speaking out against Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL) and Coderre’s proposed ban on pit bulls. Members of the public are allowed to ask questions at council meetings and Doucet had already cleared it with Borough officials that she would deliver a statement, about a minute and a half in length, before getting to her question.

A little over a minute into her statement, this happened:

Predictably, people started sharing the video of what had happened. According to Radio-Canada, the video, through all the uploads on multiple platforms, was seen over 40 000 times. Coderre’s demand to “cut the mic” was amplified through the megaphone that is social media.

When Coderre took matters, and a jackhammer, into his own hands last year and decided to personally destroy the groundwork for one of Canada Post’s misguided Community Mailboxes, he came across as, well, kinda cool. When he was lowered into our sewer system to personally inspect raw sewage being sent directly to the St-Laurence, it came across as a damage control photo op. Now, ordering that Doucet’s mic be cut, he just looks like an asshole.

And a misguided one at that. Not only was Doucet following the rules of the council meeting, she was making a very good point about how BSL has never worked, a point Coderre didn’t want to hear. Well, she shared her full statement in a video, if you want to hear what the Mayor refused to.

It’s important that you do. Because, when the dust has settled, what are people going to remember? A soundbite that evokes Coderre’s lack of patience for people who disagree with him. The focus won’t be on his sheer populism at the expense of what a large chunk of the population he supposedly serves wants. It won’t be on his willful ignorance of the fact that Christiane Vadnais, the woman whose death caused this whole mess was probably not even killed by a pit bull.

No, we’ll be talking about Coderre being a dick to a citizen. By demanding that Doucet’s mic be cut, he has raised the volume considerably on his own lack of respect for the people he is supposed to serve. It’s up to the rest of us to make sure that the issue he was trying to silence doesn’t get drowned out in the process.

* FTB is currently conducting a poll on the proposed Montreal Pit Bull Ban and Breed-Specific Legislation. You can still vote.

Projet Montréal is now officially searching for a new leader. So if you want to throw your proverbial hat in the ring to become the next head of the Official Opposition party in City Hall, you have until mid October to do so.

That is, provided you are already a member of the party. Leadership candidates can only be people who are registered members of Projet Montréal as of today, a move presumably to stop haters from messing the party up from the inside.

To run for leader, you also need to be eligible to be a candidate for Mayor of Montreal (understandably), plus you would have had to have made a donation of at least $300 to the party. You also need to raise at least $5000 in donations from members and non members, with leadership run expenses capped at $30 000.

If you want to vote for the leader instead of becoming the party boss, it’s a little more affordable and you have a bit more time.  You need to already be a member or sign up as one by November 4th. Former members who haven’t renewed for over a year have until November 19th to do so if they want a say in who will challenge Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre in 2017. One year Projet Montréal memberships cost $10.

Luc Ferrandez officially kicked off the contest today with a press conference and video. The Plateau Borough Mayor became Interim Leader of Projet Montréal in October 2014 but has already announced that he won’t be seeking the party’s top job on a permanent basis. Saint-Édouard City Councillor François Limoges is the only declared candidate so far.

This is Projet Montréal’s first leadership race. Co-founder Richard Bergeron had led the party since its inception in 2004, taking it from one elected city councillor (himself) to Official Opposition status. Bergeron quit the party shortly after the 2013 Montreal Municipal Election to sit as an independent and be part of Coderre’s Executive Committee.

The Projet Montréal Leadership Election will be a Universal Ballot and take place at a special convention on  December 4th, 2016.

On Tuesday, the National Energy Board (NEB) announced the suspension of all their consultations on the Energy East Pipeline after opposition to both the pipeline and the assessment process hit a new high in Montreal.

The first of the three scheduled panel sessions in Montreal was aborted as soon as it started on Monday morning after protesters irrupted the proceedings in the Centre Mont-Royal.

A few people disrupted the assembly, brandishing banners and chanting for about thirty minutes before the police forcefully removed them. Three people were arrested. In a communiqué published later that night, the NEB called the incident “a violent disruption […] which threatened the security of everyone involved.”

Multiple activist groups, MNAs and Mayor Coderre himself have been asking for the National Energy Board assessment of Energy East to be suspended since concerns over the integrity of two commissioners have been raised. It was recently revealed that Lyne Mercier and Jacques Gauthier had secretly met with a TransCanada lobbyist – who happened to be none other than Ex-Premier Jean Charest- in early 2015.

The Front Commun Pour la Transition Énergétique (FCPTE) organized a “greeting committee” for the Montreal consultations on Monday. Environmentalists, but also some political representatives (namely from Québec Solidaire) were present.  Carole Dupuis, member of FCPTE and general coordinator of the Regroupement Vigilance hydrocarbures, described the protest as coloured and joyful.

In a short phone interview, Mrs Dupuis said that her organization had no plans to interrupt the session. According to her, the incident was the initiative of a lone individual that gathered spontaneous support:

“Actually a man ran to the front and then others joined him to chant slogans.”

After the no-go session of Monday, the NEB announced the postponement of the session scheduled Tuesday, citing security concerns. Finally, on Tuesday afternoon, they stated that all consultations are suspended until they decide what to do with the two commissioners who met with Charest:

“Given that two motions have been filed asking for the recusal of Panel Members, and given that the Board has invited written comments by September 7, 2016 on the these motions, the Board will not proceed with further Panel Sessions until it reaches a decision.”

What’s the problem with the National Energy Board?

A couple of days before the NEB arrived in Montreal, Coderre joined the calls for the suspension of the consultations. He said he was “ill at ease” with the fact that two of the three commissioners had met with Jean Charest.

Lyne Mercier and Jacques Gauthier, along with the director of the NEB, met with Charest while he was working for TransCanada, in January 2015.  The NEB first did not disclose that it had a meeting with a TransCanada lobbyist.

When it was discovered, they insisted that the subject of Energy East had not come up in the discussion. But thanks to the Access to Information Act, the National Observer got hold of some documents that proved the exact opposite. Handwritten notes from one of the participants included mentions such as “safety of the pipeline”,  “economy needs investment” and “what profits for Quebec?”.

The NEB apologized for lying but refused to remove Gauthier and Mercier from the Energy-East committee, until now. All appearance of partiality aside, the deficient French platform and the lack of accessibility of the NEB’s consultation have also been criticized.

Prior to 2012, the NEB had no experience whatsoever with public consultations. It’s only when the conservatives adopted a mammoth law abolishing the Canadian Environmental Assessment agency that the NEB’s role was redefined.

The National Energy Board is an independent federal organisation. Its purpose is to regulate the oil, gas and electricity projects that have international or inter-provincial reach. Although it often gets heaped with organisations like BAPE (Quebec’s Bureau of Environmental Public Hearings), its mandate is fundamentally different.

The NEB is foremost mandated to evaluate the safety and the practical aspects of the projects.

In 2014, it ruled that it did not have to consider upstream activities or downstream results in its assessment of a project. In other words, the consequences of EE on climate change, oil dependency or tar-sands development will not be examined by the NEB.

The Energy-East Pipeline: A Quick Rundown of the Facts

Energy-East pipeline is a TransCanada project destined to transport oil from Alberta to New Brunswick. The idea is to convert 3000 km of an old gas pipeline and extend it by 1600 km, to have a brand new 4600 kms of pipeline transporting 1.2 million oil barrels daily. It’s worth $15,7 Billion.

Eshko Timiou, Wiki creative commons
Eshko Timiou, Wiki creative commons

It will run through six provinces and under 860 watercourses, including the Outaouais River and the Saint-Lawrence River.

The divisive aspect of the pipeline climbed to new levels as other pipeline projects (namely Keystone XL) fell through, leaving EE as the last route to export Alberta’s massive oil production.

Supporters of the project argue that it would allow Alberta to boost up the exploitation of its tar sands and at the same time allow the rest of Canada to drastically reduce its oil imports from Europe, the Middle-East and Africa. TransCanada is also promising the creation of numerous – if temporary- jobs throughout the country.

 

Associated Minor Scandals

However, the oil travelling through the pipeline is not destined for Canadian consumption. Only a meager percentage of the product would be treated in Quebec’s refineries and the rest would be exported overseas from New Brunswick.

BAPE public consultations have also taught us that the oil will be extracted partly from Alberta’s tar-sands and partly from North Dakota. As Alexandre Shields once pointed out, Energy East will, to some extent serve to transport US oil to other US territories.

Environmental groups have raised red flags about the rivers affected by the pipeline’s trajectories. One of the primary sources of concern is the form of the oil in transition: a substance called dilbit. Dilbit is diluted bitumen that is easier to transport than crude oil, but it is very difficult to clean up in the event of a spill.

It is especially risky in rivers, where it rapidly sinks to the bottom before it can be recuperated. A detail that might be even more challenging in the often iced water of the Saint-Lawrence.

I personally believe this pipeline is an overall terrible idea and I could easily write another 6000 words about all the reasons why this project has been a complete trainwreck so far. Now I know this has been dragging on, so let’s take a moment to revisit some of TransCanada’s greatest moves:

  • Trying to build a port in an endangered species’ nursery
  • A leaked “press strategy” that erred somewhere in the area of barely-legal-and-definitely-unethical.
  • Refusing to comply with Quebec’s environmental law
  • Failing to provide proper documentation in French
  • Providing such unreadable gibberish in lieu of the documentation required by federal law that the NEB had to ask them to start over.
  • Responding that they will have something ready by 2018 when commissioners of the BAPE pointed out that they had no clear strategy in the case of an oil spill in the Saint-Lawrence.

* featured image from ÉcoQuébec’s twitter account: “greeting committee” for the NEB consultations on Monday

Since the Denis Coderre administration seems to be all about conservation these days, I thought I would conserve a little web space and tell two Coderre-related stories in the same post. Are they related in any other way? I’ll let you be the judge. Here goes…

Coderre to Consider Charging Montrealers For Water Use and Trash Collection

According to a task force Montreal City Hall put together last February, the best way to encourage business in the city is to charge residents for water usage and trash collection. The group presented its recommendations last Monday and Mayor Denis Coderre is considering them.

The group wants the city to fast-track water meter installation in commercial buildings and introduce them, along with fees for picking up garbage, to residential buildings. The committee also proposed that the city have construction crews work 24/7 to complete projects on major arteries and bring in an overall customer service attitude when dealing with businesses.

While the last two suggestions sound like things that will, in fact, help local businesses, the first two come across as a cash grab. Instead of dealing with problems that affect business, the think tank is suggesting that the city get extra cash from residents.

One thing residential water meters and fees for trash collection have in common is that they can both be sold as a way to help the environment. While it’s true that some people who live in this city waste water and throw away too much trash, it’s also true that the city really doesn’t care, unless they can make a buck off of it.

Banning single-use plastic bags is an environmental policy. Charging five cents for a single use plastic bag is a greenwashed cash grab, pure and simple.

You can point to lower water consumption in places like Toronto all you want, but we all know that’s not the point. It’s collecting cash, this time, officially at least, to help out the business community.

If it’s about money, before changing the very concept of major city trash pickup and water delivery, we should be sure there isn’t an easier way to make or save some public cash.

Coderre’s Obsession with Pieces of Granite as Public Art Continues

Yesterday, a new work of public art was revealed in Lasalle. It has three things in common with the last piece of public-funded art Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre touted: it involves placing slabs of granite in the middle of nature, it is quite expensive and it is unpopular.

The Au Grand Dam installation in Parc des Rapides (screengrab from CTV Montreal)
The Au Grand Dam installation in Parc des Rapides (screengrab from CTV Montreal)

Au Grand Dam cost $680 000 and features large slabs of concrete and marble placed somewhat haphazardly on top of each other in the middle of the beautiful Parc des Rapides overlooking the equally beautiful rapids of the Lachine Canal. While some, like former Prime Minister Paul Martin, tout that it represents the history of the canal and exploration in Canada, others see it as a bit of an eyesore in the middle of such natural beauty.

Public funding for the arts is important. Especially when it comes to helping out emerging or underground artists do their work and not starve in the process.

While this particular installation smacks of cronyism, it does have some historical and possibly some artistic merit. However, it seems to be part of a pattern that Montrealers got wind of a few months ago. Back in June, Denis Coderre announced that he would be placing much smaller and much more expensive ($3.45 Million) pieces of granite (without marble, this time) in the shape of tree stumps on Mount Royal and other locations.

While we can question or even mock the Coderre Administrations seeming undershaped granite in nature-focused approach to public art, we must also ask if there is anywhere else the money could be spent. Anywhere our municipal government desperately wants funds to the point they would charging residents for basic services to get it.

Can you think of a place?

* Featured image by Angus (Flickr Creative Commons)

A young cyclist died after a collision with a truck on Monday afternoon in Montreal. The driver didn’t see the 24 year old woman when he made a right-turn at the intersection of Iberville and Rosemont. The opposition in City Council, along with advocacy group Vélo-Québec, are calling, once again, for enhanced protective measures for cyclists.

“It’s terrible,” said Luc Ferrandez from Projet Montréal, as quoted by Radio-Canada. “We are lagging behind. And Mayor Coderre is the mayor of these citizens who are getting hurt and who are dying. He should do something.”

Coderre responded by underscoring the work that is already being done on some intersections to make their configuration safer for cyclists. He also reminded the opposition that some changes have already been implanted in the existing regulations (namely law 107).

The issue keeps resurfacing as accidents keep happening. A few times a year, a cyclist gets run over and the city council promises that they are working on ensuring fair and safe sharing of the road.

Now, there is another phantom-bike to add to the city’s rapidly growing collection.  At the rate we’re going, they will soon be as much of a banal part of our urban landscape as the infamous orange cones.

Rising Accident Rates

Montreal is by far the Canadian city with the biggest number of cyclists and the largest number of bicycle lanes. While there is no doubt that Montreal’s bike culture is alive and well, the same can’t be said for its cyclists.

The number of bicycles on the road is on the rise and so are the number of accidents. There were 763 recorded bike accidents in 2015, including three lethal ones: a 16% increase compared to the previous year.

In fact, a study published in 2015 crowned the city as the Canadian queen of bike accidents. According to the Pembina Institute, Montreal has seven bike accidents for every 100 000 rides; much more than all the other large population centres in the country. In fact, a bike ride in Montreal is seven times more likely to come to a brutal end than it is in Vancouver.

These findings were based on data from 2008. However, considering that both the number of bicycles on the road and the rate of accidents have risen since then, the current numbers are probably even worse.

We Need to Keep Up

But wait, isn’t Montreal the most bike-friendly city in North-America, or something? Well, it was.

In 2013, Montreal ranked as the 13th most bike-friendly city of the world in the Copenhagenize Index. It was the only North American city in the top 20. But we’ve been slipping since then and Minneapolis (Minnesota) has surpassed us.

Montreal desperately clings to the 20th spot in this year’s ranking.

As population growth and air pollution put more and more pressure on urban centres, cities around the world are wising up. Investing in biking infrastructure is not progressive and cool anymore; it’s necessary.  It seems that our political leaders have failed to recognize that in today’s context, not going forward means falling behind.

Quebec’s ambitious plan of reducing its greenhouse gas emission by 38% in the next 14 years does not even contain any consideration for encouraging cycling as alternative transportation. And the strategy it put forward instead to address car-related pollution is being called into question.

According to the City of Montreal’s own numbers, there are now 1.3 Million bike riders on the Island. Consideration for their safety should amount to more than a couple of days of indignation after every tragic accident.

Getting our respectable number of protected lanes connected into a coherent network, and, for the love of God, ensuring their proper maintenance, would be a great place to start.

As the Copenhagenize Index recommends:

“Better winter maintenance is a must, cycle tracks along main arteries should be a no-brainer (especially with the shocking state of the asphalt on the roads), and feel free to borrow traffic-calming inspiration from Paris and Barcelona.”

* Featured image: homeexchange.com

UPDATE: Coderre’s plan was adopted by Montreal City Council with a vote of 37 in favour and 23 against on September 27, 2016

On June 8, 2016, fifty-five year old Christiane Vadnais was found dead, mauled by a dog in Pointe-Aux Trembles. Under pressure from outraged citizens, Montreal City Hall reacted, and on June 18th, Mayor Denis Coderre announced that he would ask the city council to approve a ban on new pit bulls. Ten days later, on June 18, 2016, Coderre’s office issued a communiqué detailing his plan to ban pit bulls and other “dangerous breeds” of dogs starting September 2016.

Coderre’s plan would allow existing pit bull owners to keep their dogs provided they sterilize them and put a muzzle on them in public. It also includes working with the police to sensitize the public to the ban and create “canine squads” to meet with pitbull owners and remind them of the bylaw. In defense of the ban, Coderre said :

“Responsibility for one’s animal is an obligation,”

In light of all the debate regarding whether or not certain dog breeds are more dangerous than others it’s time to take a step back and look at the laws regarding dog ownership in Canada.

In Canada, dog laws are a civil and municipal matter, meaning that complaints regarding dogs and dog owners fall under the jurisdiction of individual cities and provinces. In Quebec, article 1465 of the Civil Code says that:

“The owner of an animal is bound to make reparation for injury it has caused, whether the animal was under his custody or that of a third person, or had strayed or escaped.”

The law also says that anyone making use of the animal is liable with the owner for the damage it caused.

That means that if an animal – which could be a dog, cat, or even a tarantula – is under your care or that of a third party, you can be sued for any damages to property or harm to people or animals caused by that animal. The only way to avoid being held responsible is to prove that what the animal did is in no way your fault as an owner or guardian.

That could mean proving the victim didn’t take any reasonable precautions to protect against the animal’s behavior, showing that it was the fault of a third party, or that what happened was an Act of God i.e. the hurricane lifted your dog up and smashed it so hard against your neighbor’s house that it broke a window. The burden of proof in these cases is on the plaintiff, the one who claims your animal caused the damage, but this same burden is a lot lower. Unlike in criminal cases, all the plaintiff has to prove is that your animal more likely caused the damage and not beyond a reasonable doubt.

Municipal rules are another matter.

In the City of Montreal the current bylaws regarding animal ownership are very specific about owners’ obligations. The bylaws – which, while listed separately for each borough from Ahuntsic-Cartierville to Villeray-Saint-Michel- Parc-Extension, are all virtually identical – have a concise list of actions by animals that are considered to be public nuisances for which the owner can be held liable. As per the bylaws, nuisances by animals include damages to other people’s property, biting another animal or a person, and barking, howling or screaming loud enough to disturb the peace.

If an animal has caused a public nuisance, the owner is considered in violation of the bylaw. If you’re found guilty of violating animal control bylaws the penalty could be anything from a fine to your dog being put in the pound or even euthanized.

Fines range from one hundred to four thousand dollars depending on whether it’s a first, second, or third offense. If your dog is put in the pound, you can claim it in three days, providing you pay the pound fees.

A dog that bites people has to be muzzled in public for ninety days following the complaint. Whether a dog is put down or not is at the discretion of the City, which can order the animal to be euthanized if the authorities believe it is a danger to public health and safety. Once the order has been issued, the owner must bring the animal to a pound or vet to be put to death.

The problem with existing laws about animal control is that they only work after someone has gotten hurt. There are rules about leashes and muzzles but not everyone obeys them and police have better things to do than write tickets for dog owners. It is only when a child gets bitten or someone dies that the authorities intervene.

Coderre’s proposed change to existing bylaws is trying to prevent something that cannot be predicted. The notion that certain species of dogs are more prone to violence is highly debated, even outside circles of bleeding hearts.

With new evidence proving that the dog that killed Christiane Vadnais was not a pit bull and owners swearing to move if the ban is imposed, the only question that remains is whether the ban will go forward or City Hall will admit defeat and walk away from the proposed ban with its tail between its legs.

* Featured image: dawn.com Creative Commoms

Podcast panelists Mirna Djukic and Cem Ertekin discuss Montreal’s proposed pit bull ban, the summer arts festival season and various news topics including Brexit, the P.K. Subban trade, the Three Amigos Summit and more. Plus interviews with pit bull owner Maery Morrison and Montreal band The Feedbackers, the Community Calendar and Predictions!

Host: Jason C. McLean
Producer: Hannah Besseau
Production Assistant: Enzo Sabbagha

Panelists

Mirna Djukic: FTB News Contributor

Cem Ertekin: FTB Managing Editor

 

*Pit Bull Report & Maery Morrison Interview by Hannah Besseau

*The Feedbackers Interview by Enzo Sabbagha

Microphone image: Ernest Duffoo / Flickr Creative Commons

With Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre’s proposed ban on new pit bulls set for a vote in September, opponents of Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL) just caught a glimpse at how it may be defeated: through public outcry and protest. At least that seems to have done the trick in Quebec City for the moment.

Mayor Régis Labeaume had planned to get rid of all pit bulls in Quebec City by 2017, period. This was a much harsher move than Montreal’s plan to bar new pit bulls from the island and license and muzzle those that are already here.

Today, dozens (according to the CBC) of Quebec City dog owners and supporters protested outside of City Hall. Just a few hours later, Labeaume said that he had only been trying to start debate on the issue.

“We won’t eliminate pit bulls,” the mayor told the press, “we wanted to hit hard so things would move.”

Now, he seems content to wait for the results of a provincial workgroup on the idea of a province-wide pit bull ban. So pit bull owners in Quebec City and their beloved companions aren’t out of the proverbial woods yet, but the imminent, harsh law is off the table for now.

So is Montreal’s proposed ban also a fakeout designed to gauge public opinion? If so, then he Global Anti-BSL Peaceful Protest on July 16th is a good thing for opponents of Coderre’s ban to attend. In Montreal, it starts in Parc Pélican and makes its way to Parc Lafontaine.

Seeing as the Quebec City ban and the one in Montreal were both created in response to public fear, vocal public opposition may be the way to eliminate them and influence the Couillard Government not to pass one in the first place.

* You can also still vote in FTB’s poll on the Montreal Pit Bull Ban Poll.

* Featured image: Radio-Canada

UPDATE: Coderre’s plan was adopted by Montreal City Council with a vote of 37 in favour and 23 against on September 27, 2016

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre is trying to bring in a pit bull ban by September. If the City Council approves, new pit bulls will be banned across the island and existing pit bull owners as well as the owners of a few other as-of-yet unnamed breeds will have to register their dogs, spay or neuter them and put a muzzle on them when in public.

Coderre’s move came about because of the death of 55 year old Pointe-aux-Trembles resident Christiane Vadnais. She was found in her backyard and police suspect she was mauled by a pit bull.

While the Montreal approach is not as harsh as what Quebec City plans to do in January or what Ontario has already done, it has quite a few responsible and loving dog owners understandably upset. While their argument against this ban may stem from a very personal place, their love of their companion animal or animals, there is less emotional argument against breed specific legislation like this:

Breed specific legislation does nothing to stem dog attacks because it’s bad dog owners who make their dogs violent and dangerous. We should go after them instead of arbitrarily punishing thousands of innocent dogs and responsible and loving dog owners.

The Montreal City Council will weigh in on this in September, but now it’s your turn to have your say. We’re launching a poll on this subject. You can vote in this post and on the sidebar of any page on this site.

Usually our polls revolve around pop culture distractions…like elections (sorry, not sorry). In order to liven up the mood, we usually include a few somewhat comedic choices (like voting for Stephen Harper, sorry, not sorry). That’s not the case this time. There are only three choices:

  1. Yes, you support the Montreal pit bull ban as proposed by Denis Coderre
  2. No, you don’t support it and are against breed specific legislation
  3. You support BSL but don’t like Coderre’s plan for it

So have your say below this paragraph and, if you want, explain why you voted the way you did in the comments. Also, please feel free to share this poll with your friends. Maybe your votes can sway our elected officials.

Do you support Montreal's proposed ban on pit bulls?

View Results

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* Featured image by Hugo A. Quintero G via Flickr Creative Commons

Panelists Velma Candyass and Josh Davidson discuss over the top plans for Montreal’s 375th birthday, food at the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) and Donald Trump. Plus another Sergakis Update and Predictions.

Host: Jason C. McLean
Producer: Hannah Besseau

Panelists

Velma Candyass: Producer of the Candyass Cabaret, burlesque performer

Josh DavidsonFTB food columnist

Catch Velma live this Friday!

FTB Podcast #15: Montreal’s 375th Anniversary, Food insecurity and the COP debate, and Donald Trump by Forget The Box on Mixcloud

FTB Podcast also available on iTunes

Microphone image: Ernest Duffoo / Flickr Creative Commons

The Mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, apparently has a side-job. He has appeared in an ad for St-Hubert Restaurants, clearly identified as himself and making a joke about salad in a mock City Council session. The pay he got for appearing did go to the charity of his choice, La rue des Femmes, so he’s not personally profiting.

Does that make it okay? If the mayor appeared in an ad for La rue des Femmes, that would be one thing, and clearly
unproblematic. If he donated to the charity, same thing. But this is different. He is shilling for a corporation while
sitting in office as the elected representative of the people of Montreal.

Corporations paying politicians in campaign contributions is nothing new. Politicians then turning around and supporting their donors through legislation isn’t a new phenomenon either. This, though, is something else. It’s blatant, strange and legally questionable.

Have a view for yourself:

What do you think of Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre appearing in a St-Hubert commercial? Is it just a fun idea to raise money or something that is incredibly problematic for Montreal’s democracy