Catch up on all the big stories that happened this week in Montreal.
Mayor Valérie Plante is long on lofty ideals but short on clearing snow, attacking racial profiling and solving the traffic mess, the opposition Ensemble Montréal charged Monday. At a press conference on Plante’s first two years in power, three opposition councillors accused her administration of failing to deliver on its promises to improve mobility and help merchants losing business because of construction. “Whether you’re a pedestrian, a cyclist or a driver, it’s a real mess that’s going on,” Côte-de-Liesse councillor Francesco Miele said.
Prove it! Prove you are part of the “historic English community.” It may come as welcome news to some Quebec anglos that they will still have English-language access to provincial government services like electricity bills and automated telephone menu options. Just as long as they are part of the “historic English community.” Wait a sec. Does this mean one had to have ancestors who fought alongside English Major General James Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham in the Seven Years’ War — which began in 1756 — to qualify as part of the “historic English community?” Where does the government draw the line here?
Luby was 15 years old when she answered an ad in Le Journal de Québec seeking women to work as escorts. “I didn’t even bat an eye because I was so abused as a child I just thought, well, at least I can make money from it,” she said. Today, Luby is 36, has been married for 16 years and is a mother of three. She works as an intervention counsellor for La Sortie/The Way Out, an organization based in the West Island that runs the only safe house in Quebec for women trying to break free of the sex industry. She not only strives to help other survivors turn their lives around, but to disabuse the general public of widely held notions, myths and misconceptions about sex work.
The province’s economic picture is so rosy the Legault government is opening the spending tap, rolling out an increase in family allowance payments and the return of a flat daycare rate, which will be $8.25 a day. In a mini-budget tabled by Finance Minister Eric Girard on Thursday, Quebec also reveals it is sitting on a fat surplus: $8.2 billion for 2018-2019 and $4 billion for 2019-2020. Swimming in cash, Girard says that money will come in handy to step up Quebec’s climate change fight and cope with an economic slowdown he acknowledges is coming down the track.
In less than a month, thousands of Montrealers will gather solemnly on the top of Mount Royal to commemorate one of this city’s darkest hours. Dec. 6, will mark 30 years since a gunman entered École Polytechnique and murdered 14 women for the mere fact they were women. It was, and remains, the worst mass shooting ever perpetrated in Canada. For Catherine Bergeron, who lost her sister Geneviève that night, the tragedy not only altered her life, it marked history. “At the root was a hatred of women and a hatred of feminists, in particular. We have to call it what it really is,” said Bergeron, who is a member of the organizing committee for the ceremonies that will take place Dec. 6. “There’s a duty to remember and a duty to remain vigilant.”