Local, National, and International News from this week ending March 24th, 2015
Montreal in brief
Verdun’s “prohibition” soon to be lifted
Good news for lovers of ambrosia and the likes living in the Verdun borough: the reluctance of its administration to allow bars to establish themselves in the neighborhood seems to be a thing of the past. Le Devoir has announced that the borough’s decision to start opening new bars in the near future. Verdun allowed one bar, Benelux, to settle in its area in 2013 on certain conditions following a modification of its bar ban. This was the first bar to open in the borough in the last 100 years. The anti-alcohol sentiments originally stemmed from 19th century temperance laws.
Goodbye icy sidewalks
La Presse has reported that Ste-Catherine Street will most probably be equipped with heated sidewalks should amendments to planned renovations be passed. It was reported that the city’s administration added $15 million to its already announced $80 million budget estimates. If installed the heated sidewalks would make Ste-Catherine Street the first of its kind in Montreal. Similar renovations are reportedly considered in other Canadian cities. The technology is already in place in some major urban centers around the world, notably in Norway, Sweden and Japan. There will be a vote this upcoming week to approve or not the said budget estimates for the renovations.
No Aboriginal burial ground at construction site
The construction of a Montreal office tower by real-estate company Ivanhoé Cambridge has restarted after a 2-month lull after investigations have shown that it was not in fact situated over a possible Aboriginal burial ground. The Globe and Mail reported the company as ‘voluntarily stopping’ construction on the $200-million, 27-story building until an archaeological assessment was carried out. Some believe it still rests above the original Iroquois village of Hochelaga visited by Jacques Cartier back in 1535.
Nation in Brief
Bloc welcomes (separatist) foreigners
Bloc Quebecois leader Mario Beaulieu has responded to recent embarrassing comments by PQ-leadership hopeful Pierre Karl Péladeau about the danger of foreigners by saying he, on the other hand, would hold an intercultural gathering for Quebecers of all stripes and colours who support independence. PKP made a comment last week saying immigrants threatened the separatist movement and quickly backtracked. Global News reported that Beaulieu has instead said immigrants closely matched their vote based on whether they were assimilated into anglophone or francophone communities.
Happy birthday Odin!
A heart-warming tale came out of Peterborough, Ont. this week when young Odin, a 13-year-old teenager suffering from Asperger’s syndrome, got worldwide support after his failed birthday party was advertised on social media. His mother said they initially got no response to a birthday invitation at a bowling alley for her son, so she took it to Facebook. The responses went across the globe, including tweets from organizations like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Raptors, and Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau. Odin, whose condition made general interaction with other people difficult, reportedly received around 4,000 messages.
Toronto affordable housing fail
A campaign to build 1,250 affordable housing units in Toronto between 2010-2015 has ended with a grand total of a dozen completed units, or less than 1 per cent the original number. Global News reports Toronto’s city hall chalked it up to a lack of commitment and a change in municipal government in 2011, with Rob Ford saying the city shouldn’t tell developers to throw in affordable housing. The new mayor of the city has said there was nothing to do but go forward by better defining corporate expectations and the city’s housing needs.
World in Brief
23 killed in attack in Tunisian museum
Three gunmen shot and killed 23 people on March 18, including 18 foreign tourists, at a museum situated in Tunisia’s capital city, Tunis. Two of the alleged attackers were later located and killed after a gunfight with the police and security forces are on the hunt for a third surviving gunman on the run. The attack was later claimed by ISIS. The Guardian has reported that several high-ranking police officials and dignitaries were fired as a result of the insufficient security precautions taken. In 2011 Tunis served as the starting point of what is now known as the Arab Spring and has remained relatively stable compared to its neighbours.
UK brands genital piercings harmful
The UK’s Department of Health will classify any form of female genital piercing, even by consenting adult women, as mutilation or a form of ‘harmful procedure’. The Health Department said it would monitor such ‘abusive’ genital piercings in an effort to stamp out illegal female genital mutilation. Tattoo and piercing unions have meanwhile decried the move by pointing out they are in no way mutilation if performed willingly by adults. The BBC article estimates some 170,000 women and girls in UK as having undergone female genital mutilation.
France mandates green roofs
France ushered in a new law last Thursday requiring all new buildings built in commercial zones to have roofs at least partially covered by plants and/or solar panels. The Guardian reported that the consequences of the law will see better building heat retention during the year and better water retention, as well as being friendlier to the city’s wildlife. The original law called for the whole roof to be green but this was judged too expensive for businesses to accommodate. Paris planned to cut traffic in half this week and make public transport free due to the persistent smog appearing over the city but cancelled it after a cleaner weather prognoses.