Friday, October 31, 2014

Judge okays potentially massive suit against Quebec for prison strip search policy

   If you have been detained and strip searched in Quebec anytime since 2006 there could be compensation cash on the horizon for you, as a Superior Court judge has greenlighted a class action suit demanding $1,500 for everybody who went through the humiliating procedure, which involves pulling up your breasts or testicles and allowing agents to look inside your cavities.
   The suit was dreamed up after Roger Leonard was arrested on suspicion of burglary in Montreal on July 13, 2006. On the same day three years later Trudel Johnston, a law firm that specializes in class action litigation, filed the papers.
   They allege that the strip search violates section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and 24.1 of the Quebec version.
"The applicant alleges that he felt humiliated and despised in the search. He felt anger and frustration. This search undermined his integrity and dignity, causing him injury. He holds the Attorney General responsible as a representative of the Government of Quebec. He claims $ 1,000 in moral damages and $ 500 in punitive damages," the law firm writes in their claim.
   With the approval for the class action to go ahead, conceivably "tens of thousands" of Quebecers - according to Trudel Johnston lawyer Annabel Busbridge, could be in line to be compensation for human rights abuses that they feel such strip searches represent. 
   Busbridge told Coolopolis that the $1,500 amount is not set in stone.
   "It's a conservative amount but it's more about the principle," she said, adding that the time is now to submit your name. "Now would definitely be great. We want to hear about it as much as possible about what they've experienced."
  She could not say how many people are currently on the list but she expects other names to flow in.    The people who get strip searched tend to be suspects of criminal acts. Those arrested in the student demonstrations and other such mass arrests were not subject to strip searches.
   The lawyers next meet to set a timeline for the procedures. Cases can sometimes drag on for a decade or so, but they are hoping that this accelerates at a faster pace.  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Best spot to get your car vandalized and robbed

   These depressing images were taken today, several years after we first noted - and complained to police - about the obvious rash of car break-ins on the bridge on Notre Dame just east of Berri.
    Housing units now overlook the site but the eyes-on-the-roadside apparently has done nothing to slow down these thefts.
    While I was taking the photo, a woman doing some sort of construction task looked over and told me that she herself had been victimized by car burglars at this very spot.
    The stretch where it seems to happen most is reserved for local residents, so it would appear to be their problem more than anybody else's.
   We have proposed that the bridge be demolished and the road simply drop down to ground level but it's still a helluva great place for free parking during the day. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Do you really think that are no cameras in public washrooms?

   Next time you're in the bathroom at work or in some other public facility, consider that it's possible that you're being watched by video cameras. 
    Video surveillance in a bathroom is "inappropriate," according to guidelines from the Privacy Commissioner of Canada but according to a veteran security guard at a downtown complex, interviewed by Coolopolis, cameras could be pointed at the area that does not contain the toilet stalls. 
Don't do anything too private in that public washroom
   According to the guard: "Cameras look at the toilet 'hall' usually. Not in the stalls. If it's a single toilet there's no camera, maybe one outside looking at the door. Incidentally those are usually the ones in the cases of toilet smooching. I've caught couples and hooker/client fucking multiple times," he writes. 
   Other points about the life of a downtown security guard, in his words:
You're more of a walking information kiosk. Sometimes shit hits the fan and you're suddenly a fireman, first responder or somewhat policeman though. You have to gauge if it is secure enough for yourself and your client to proceed with whatever situation that presents itself. Always remember that you're the eyes, ears and brain of the client while on site. You're not really (duh, no shit) a fireman, paramedic or policemen, simply an agent of the owner and everything you do is in his behalf. Most agents will be a simple walking radio with eyes and ears. Some though, mostly in high-value buildings, will be trained agents with extensive training in close intervention, fire prevention and advanced first aid. Usually those guys are easily identified by wearing 'the belt'' with Kevlar gloves, medical gloves, cuffs and a flashlight. Seems stupid but it means that the clients trusts its agents to pay for the liability those things will incur in case of an intervention. They consider you are worth the money, everything is about the money.
Interventions. Do I arrest this screwdriver-wielding hobo with my two or three fellow agents or do I contain him while waiting for police? Will police arrive soon or will I be waiting an hour? In the case of a theft the owner of the shop needs to himself press charges for us to arrest and summon police, which means that a wise agent won't go all-out for a simple theft. With experience you know you'll catch the guy, get him to cough up the stolen goods, go back to the shop and be told ''nah I'm not losing a day in court over this... hey but wait guys, why don't you arrest him? Guys? He's a criminal!'' Ugh.
Fire. Is it safe to attack with an extinguisher or do I need to evacuate this section/the whole building? It's more than ''just being safe'' as time is money and if the threat can be contained while it remains safe to continue with normal operations in the office towers you could be out of a job tommorrow for being the dumbass who evacuated thousands of people for nothing. But that's the job of the supervisor on site to assess and determine wether or not to proceed.
Cameras. Boring. Essential. Drink lots of water, better than coffee to stay sharp during the night.
Elevator smooching. Yes. Parking smooching, backstore smooching, office smooching, stairs smooching, hobo smooching, toilet smooching (ew).

What a deal! Two cell phones for just $5,000! do you like our prices?
  In 1988 a cell phone you connect into your car cost $1,400 at Radio Shack here in Montreal.
   The same store sold the Michael Douglas Wall Street brick portable version for $2,500.
   To put that into perspective, at around the same time you could rent a small, heated apartment in the West Island for $230-month all included.
   $4,900 in 1988 is equivalent to about $9,900 in today's currency.

Legal verdict: no stripping at the Ste. Marthe strip mall

    The lovely folks at the Bar Net will be keeping their clothing on.
   Due to a recent court ruling, there will be no stripping at the local strip mall for the marthelacquois of Ste. Marthe, a fast-growing town of 15,000 between St. Eustache and Oka.
   Sylvie Courville's Bar Net opened on Oka Blvd nine years ago. As well as being a joint to grab a beer and play some pool, it was also occasionally a place to attend such events as fashion shows and karaoke performances.
   She applied for permission to switch those shows to the nude variety in 2009. The provincial RACJ  booze authorities didn't seem to mind and the town told her in writing in 2009 that no bylaw forbade any such transformation.
   But a few weeks later the town passed a new zoning rule outlawing any such peeler clubs in that area, as there are apparently school kids somewhere in the area who might be shocked while looking out the window of their yellow buses.
Sylvie Courville
   So Courville did nothing for the next 31 months. In 2012 she challenged the decision, arguing that her bar had earned acquired right to put on shows. A judge had, after all, sided with a country music club that had a sought to make a similar transformation in another case.
   Courville sued the town for a reversal of the strip club ban, describing it as discriminatory and abusive.
   A judge, after considering all of the evidence, rejected Courville's arguments in a verdict handed down October 15 and now the clothes will have to stay on.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Montrealer wins lawsuit against Google over Street View

This is not Pia Grillo
 We at Coolopolis are the first to report an important verdict rendered in Montreal's small claims court, as Maria Pia Grillo has been awarded just under $2,500 from the internet giant for having shown her on Google Street View.
...this is.
   In the image, taken in October 2009, Grillo was shown sitting on her stairs looking down at her phone.
   The image also failed to blur her license plate number. The car door was still open so it would be easy to make the connection between herself and the car out front.
   She reports that the image led others at her bank workplace to mock her and make inappropriate reference to the way her ample chest appeared in the picture.
   Grillo said that the situation led her to a mental state that caused her to leave work and she eventually switched jobs.
   She wanted to sue for $45,000. But presumably to avoid legal costs she opted instead to represent herself and lower than demand to $7,000, the maximum allowable amount at small claims court.
   The judge partially awarded her in the decision.
   In his verdict Justice Alain Breault referenced the famous Aubry case which has been discussed several times on this site.  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sporting facilities - how should cities decide which ones to build?

Should cities fund and build sporting facilities for residents? If so, which ones? And to what degree?
  The question is simple but important and yet there appears to be a massive void when it comes to a formal process to answer these questions.

  The lack of guidelines to evaluate what sports services to provide allows various city officials to make arbitrary - and often costly and inexplicable - decisions that often end up in tears.
   The latest of these is the St. Michel soccer complex, which will now cost at least $40 million, far higher than the original estimate when the project was approved by Mayor Tremblay. (No big surprise if you see how many well-paid experts they have talking in that video above - Chimples)
   Consider that the ambitious double-underground rink/outdoor pool project in Westmount cost the same.
  In the case of Westmount, voters were invited to oppose the scheme but failed to do so in adequate numbers, even though many argued that an indoor pool would be used by far more people than a second rink.
   Indeed the question is legit: should a city fund a facility that only a tiny fraction of its residents will ever use? If so, what's the numerical formula, 3 percent, 11 percent?
   The cost paid by taxpayers for sports facilities is also often more than financial. City parks are often carved up and sacrificed for various sports associations whose players mostly don't live anywhere near the area, at the expense of local residents who do.
   But to what extend should nearby residents have a say in the nature of the park? In Cote St. Paul recently a group of citizens blocked a new artificial turf field even though it would have had several advantages over the grass.
  That may or may not have been a good decision but the process that led to the decision was – as always – haphazard and unguided by any sports zoning code.
   Psychology dictates that people go along with a crowd and a councillor – when ambushed by a demand from what seems like a significant group – will simply give in without thinking that the vast majority of those who aren't present or being consulted might vigorously oppose the project.
   So while it might look democratic, public consultations are often not because the silent majority doesn't get consulted.
   That's why it's absolutely essential to create sports-funding guidelines.
   Another example of the disaster that can occur in the absence of such guidelines: in Oxford Park 14,000 square feet of green space were paved over and fenced off with provincial government funds and the local councillor's approval, simply because some obscure group showed up to a council meeting and asked for it.
   Had any real discussion or research been put in prior that, better solutions could be have been found, for example the creation of courts on an already-paved city site further west, without cost to any of the all-to-rare green space in the area.
  Later in NDG a popular gymnastics club called Flex Arts was closed by the borough, which declined to renovate the building, at the very time that they were pouring vast sums into sprucing up a hockey area a few blocks.
   Why the mainly-male attendant ice rink was deemed worthy of funding while the mainly female gymnastics centre was not remains a mystery.
  And while there are internationally-accepted rules of thumb for such urban planning issues as green space – where a rough acreage-to-population rule exists - there appears to e a void when it comes to questions about sports funding.
  The current system will only lend itself to more improvisation and incoherency.
   Mayor Coderre - who was once a federal Sports Minister – should appoint someone (I'll do it, if asked) to head a committee to create sports funding guidelines.
     Over the years many myths have gone unchallenged concerning the nature of sports. In the States the Midnight Basketball program was funded based on the idea that black males would be getting into crime if they weren't played basketball.
But then again maybe if they weren't encouraged to play basketball those same people would have been at home studying how to repair motors or reading books to their children?
Con U's soccer roof cost only $4 million
   As for the way-too-expense soccer sports complex, another alternative could cost one tenths as much.
   A few years ago Concordia paid just $4 million to install a removable roof over an artificial turf surface.
  Indeed such roofs could be installed over countless tennis courts, soccer fields to make facilities usable year round but once again, neighbours might object to having a massive tempo in their local park for six months per year.
  Guidelines are necessary to know how to deal with such questions when they arise.
   Currently the only legal precedent that I can think of to deal with such questions was a residents' failed legal challenge to block the installation of fenced-off plastic field on Fletcher's field, which has left the door open for cities and boroughs to do whatever they wish.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Chez Mado on Pie IX - why was it closed and demolished?

Mado staff final night after 40 years as a strip club
   Chez Mado, a throwback old-time peeler joint on Pie IX, complete with epic retro motel-style sign out front was shut down and demolished four months ago but questions linger about the events that led to its closure.

  But first a little history.
  The 1965 building was purchased 52 years ago by Madeleine Giroux, who sold her home for $11,000 to buy the property and open a snack bar to earn enough money to raise her young daughters.
   A mini-putt and swimming pool out back helped turn the ramshackle joint popular and it became a magnet for minor celebrities in a fast-growing Montreal North.
   In 1967 Madeleine obtained an alcohol permit and sold her car so she could buy a big supply of booze.
   There was an orchestra and ballroom dancing below while the family lived upstairs.
Madeleine "Mado" Giroux 
   In 1972 the doorman persuaded Madeleine and her daughter Lison to allow pasty-and-panties dancing in during the day.
   The format proved so popular that the entire upstairs was gutted and transformed into a full-time peeler joint in 1974.
   Madeleine sold the business to ex-cops Maurice Lacroix and Normand Beauchamp in 1976.
   Daughter Lison stayed on as an employee and remained until its final closure.
   More recently, according to reports, the borough frowned upon the place and pleaded with owner James Kouri to repurpose the building. Two years ago he finally agreed and the demolition took place in June.
   The city councillor for the area, Monica Ricourt is a Haitian-born Montrealer first voted into power in 2009. I have not managed to speak to her as of yet (and don't expect a call back because Transit Committee members often claim to be too busy to return calls.)
   If indeed the borough frowned upon this place, what - if any - enticement or pressure-style measures were taken to encourage the demolition?
Mado Giroux (photo from courrierdeportneuf)
  A nearly-completed residential project has been built on the site. It's clearly a commercial strip, so a look at the zoning question might also be of interest.
   I visited the club before it closed and had a delightful conversation with a coffee coloured bikini-clad young woman about some shady local characters she had met. The doorman was quite friendly and the place was packed.
   A perusal of the sex consumer discussion forum and a peek at photos on social media also suggest that there was nothing sinister about the place other than young women making some money and young men being entertained.
   As we've recounted on this site, several politicians have ongoing campaigns against strip clubs and massage parlours. Indeed one person on my Facebook page crowed recently about having persuaded councillor Jeremy Searle to pressure an NDG massage parlour to close, even though there had been no evidence of its causing any disturbance. 

Montreal's Rajiv Rajan's scrapbook

Kimveer Gill, left and Rajiv Rajan 
   Pierrefonds resident Rajiv Rajan, who was close friends with 2006 Dawson rampage shooter Kimveer Gill, has posted these photos to his Twitter account.
   Rajan has reportedly been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was quoted in an excellent newspaper report as having taken some responsibility for the fatal shooting incident which left one dead and 19 injured.
   He said that Gill was "easy to psychologically manipulate."  
   Gill killed himself at the shooting after being shot in the arm.
   According to the article, Rajan's response to learning of the attack was that he was "looking at myself in the mirror," and "laughing hysterically."
  He was reportedly placed in what was once known as the Pinel Institute for the Criminally Insane for a month following Gill's shooting.
   The only serious crime Rajan appears to ever have committed was the theft of an ambulance.
   Rajan remains active on social media and sometimes takes to YouTube to create videos in which he simply talks into the camera, often reading encyclopedia-style online texts on such subjects as schizophrenia and the Canadian Criminal Code for several minutes at a time.
   This morning the Pierrefonds resident also posted some items on his Facebook page, including images from the 911 bombings and Denis Lortie's attack on the National Assembly in 1984, perhaps not a great idea following a pair of terrorist attacks in Canada.
  The dates of these photos are unknown, but of course the photo at the top featuring Gill was taken prior to September 2006.
   It might be worth noting that Rajan is believed to be a Sikh, so no Islamic stuff can be imputed into this.

He has also posted photos of what appears to be him having sex with a blonde woman. 123.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Immigrant family refuses to be oppressed by hardship

Indira Pintal in a recent photo
Indira Pintin, then 8 and dad Miguel
  Uplifting story about an immigrant family that overcame intense financial hardship after arriving in Montreal from Central America.

   Gloria Pintin and her husband Miguel Pintin left war-torn El Salvador in 1982 and moved here with their daughters Indira, born in 1976 and Amena born 1977.
   Their poverty was so intense that in 1984 they could barely afford their shabby apartment at Sherbrooke and Frontenac. Mom was a cleaner and dad struggled to find work.
   The family was deemed ineligible for subsidized housing because their landed immigrant status was pending.
   Many who read about their plight might have assumed that the family had been launched into an inescapable cycle of multi-generational poverty.
   But fast forward 30 years and little Indira has not only thrived, she has excelled, having graduated McGill and become a Certified Business Analyst Professional.
   In spite of the oppressive poverty the family ensured that academic studies be a priority.
   "You have no idea how I was raised to be a hard worker and I really had - and still have - to work much harder to get to where I am and will be," Indira Pintal told Coolopolis.
   "As a child I couldn't understand what my parents were going through nor why would my parents push me so hard to achieve things on my own. They even propelled me all the way to my McGill University graduation to a very successful career and life with my husband and two wonderful kids," she told Coolopolis.
    "Now as a mother, I wouldn't hesitate to do the same for my kids. I totally get it," she says.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Resident persuades Laval to rename arena after journeyman NHL player

   Sylvain Lefebvre's unlikely campaign to rename the Laval West Arena after journeyman NHL forward Harland Monahan, who moved away from the Montreal area over 40 years ago, never to return, has succeeded.
   After years of raising interest in the cause through social media, lobbying and presenting a petition with an impressive 900 signatures, Laval city council greenlighted the name switch in September.
   A ceremony is expected in February or March.
   Monahan's parents still live in the area but Hartland has been living in the States since 1971 when he started with Baltimore of the AHL.
   He starred with the Laval Saints in 1968-1969 before spending two years with the Junior Canadiens who played at the Forum.
   Monahan, known for his unhelmeted curly mane, was a fourth round choice by the California Golden Seals, 43rd overall in the 1971 NHL Entry Draft, back in a time when pretty much only junior players from Canada were drafted.
   He scored 61 goals in 334 games in his seven year career with a half dozen teams.
   After hockey he settled about a half an hour north of Atlanta and worked as a manager at UPS after retirement.
   He is now also retired from UPS at age 53 and works with an online charity donation site.
    The woman on his home answering machine (presumably his wife, the daughter of Bernard Boom Boom Geoffrion) says on the outgoing message "have a blessed day."
   His son Shane had to quit hockey as a kid after the only rink in town closed. Shane excelled at baseball and played briefly on the Seattle Mariners.
    Lefebvre writes that his campaign was inspired by the fact that Monahan was the only resident of the western Laval area to make the NHL.
   Monahan has repeatedly expressed appreciation for the effort.
   Former NHL superstar sniper Mike "Don't Call me Michel" Bossy has an arena named after him further north in Laval. But some average players have arenas named after them, notably in the form of the Francis Bouillon arena, which was rechristened after long carrying the name of Raymond Prefontaine.