Tuesday, January 27, 2015

West Island street street gang leader renounces crime

   Repeated stints in prison, getting stabbed in the neck, being shot twice - once by a former close friend – all failed to deter Mahad Al Mustaqim from living a life of crime with the West Island Streetgangsters.
   Mahad, 26, only changed after a simple comment from his mother.
   “I was in prison in Ontario and asked her how the other kids were. She told me that I am all that they have. You're their big brother. They need you," he recounts.
    Mahad was the eldest of nine kids raised in a 4 ½ in the Cloverdale block of Pierrefonds. His Muslim parents came from Djibouti via Somalia but their great Canadian dream started to unravel when Mahad's dad left after fathering the nine kids.
   Mahad was 12 when his father left.
    Mahad then started spending time with tough guys, attempting to impress his new friends by shoplifting and staying out late.
   His first real troubles began when he was fingered in a schoolyard turf battle aimed at helping a friend attain vengeance
  A stint in a reform facility exposed him to a new world of criminals-in-training.
   Once released, he was sent to anger management therapy, which proved a waste of time.
   His only outlet lay in basketball but his time on his local team would come to an abrupt end.
    One night while walking  home at about 11 p.m., he was attacked seriously for the first time.
   “These four guys came up and started asking me questions about who is who. I told them I don't know anything and one of them stabbed me in the neck."
    He struggled home with a trail of blood to his door, where he was met by the stern glare of his overburdened mother.
    An emergency room medic told him that he narrowly escaped death, as the knife only just missed his jugular vein.
   His injury forced him off his local basketball team and his transformation into a life of crime accelerated quickly as a result.
   He told his friends in the Streetgangsters that the only way out of the gang is through prison or death.
    About 30 remained in the gang, including some who quit jobs and school to stay in.
    Mahad was then sent to prison in 2006 at the age of 18 for attempted murder. When released in April 2009, he was only further alienated.
   “Most of my old friends had moved on with  their lives and I had nobody around me,” he said
    There would be no peace. He was standing one night in July 2009 with his girlfriend outside the Cloverdale Housing Co-op on Basswood in Pierrefonds, smoking a cigarette
   A car parked in the distance and three young men walked towards him. He paid them no mind until his girlfriend suggested he turn around. He saw a gun pointed right at him. He pushed his girlfriend inside the building and ducked.
   One bullet went into his spine and out his stomach. Another went into his right leg. Mahad ran into the nearby woods nearby, heart pumping full of adrenaline.
   Mahad was too greviously injured to cry out for help but a child saw him from a window. He was rushed to hospital where he was told that he’d never walk again.
   A specially-adapted apartment was set up but he managed to find his feet and skipped much of his rehab.
   His resolve to survive the savage world of gang violence was now coupled with a bitter sense of betrayal,
   The man who shot him was longtime friend Jonathan Klor, who had  recently made a jailhouse conversion from the Crips (blues) to the Bloods (reds). Klor's new gang demanded proof of allegiance by attacking his ex-mates, whom he had little trouble finding.
   (Klor and his Diplomats street gang shot at a couple of other associates around the same time. He was sentenced 14 years in prison. Klor was 24 when sentenced and hopes to be out in a couple of years in time to celebrate his 30th birthday. Jonathan Castilho, another shooter, was later found dead.)
   Mahad defied the medical skeptics and learned to walk again. He skipped much of his rehab in an attempt to return to action in the gang hierarchy where he was now imbued with a mission.
   “Sad to say but I took it personally. I knew I needed more money, more people,  more guns. I started dealing more. I changed. I saw every day as my last."
   Mahad was shot in the shoulder in a drive-by in Toronto in September 2010 but that didn't slow him down. What did was when he was re-incarcerated after being rounded up at Bar Seven in downtown Montreal. He was with other criminals, a parole violation.
    His father came to visit him in prison and attempted to talk him into changing his ways. "It was too late for that," said Mahad.
   Mahad by now was also a father himself. His girlfriend of 10 years bore a daughter one month before he was sent back inside. She lost patience with his gang ways and left him.
   Mahad was more alone then ever when freed in March 2012.  
   Mahad's new plan was to cash in with a criminal set of Somalis in Toronto and Ottawa, trading in weapons, his specialty. But things soured again.
   He was fingered in a shooting that took place in Ottawa and although he insists he was not guilty of the charge, he opted for the easier route of making a guilty plea and getting out faster.
    This time, however, he found himself bouncing around hostile incarceral environments in Toronto and Kingston where he had a particularly vicious fight that led him to be sent to solitary in the hole.
   Mahad was offered a phone call and rang up his mom.
 “I asked how the family is doing. 'They are growing up' she told me. It touched me because she was always telling me they have nobody but me. After that, for the first time I started thinking about changing,” said Mahad.
   In prison he read from the Bible and Koran and finished his high school education.
  Once out he took a course in social work at UQAM but realized that his criminal record would prevent him from working in the field, so he has concentrated on establishing his own group. He is hoping others will support his fledgling effort.
   He has embraced his native Islam and speaks about his experiences to school students, at religious events and anywhere else they'll listen.
   "Islam helped me understand my purpose in life and get off the bad path, by helping others.”
   Mahad is now married with one young daughter and another child soon on the way.  
   “I regret a lot of things. I persuaded my friends to quit jobs and university for this life," he said. "Now I hope to persuade young people to do the opposite."
   He works at a steady job but doesn't always feel complete peace of mind after so many run-ins. “Sometimes I look around when I go out to start my car,” he said. "I still worry that someone might target me, thinking maybe I'll talk to police or something. That's something I would never do." 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Montreal landmark pizza joint closes after 30 years

   Amelio's, a McGill Ghetto pizza mainstay at Milton and Ste. Famille has shut down after 30 years of serving up za.
   A court seizure document has been posted in the window warning against anybody grabbing any valuables from the inside.
   The joint was opened in 1985 by then 48-year-old Christoper Philip Scodras, who died in Florida almost exactly one year ago at age 77.
    His daughter Leah returned from a corporate finance job in the States five years ago to open up another Amelios' at 1205 Bernard but that didn't quite work out.
  Scodras said that his pizza joint was popular enough to solicit franchise requests, which he always refused because he thought a restaurant should have a family feel.
   He also had a son Chris Jr.
   The premises at 201 Milton is owned by the Milton Park Development Corporation and circumstances of the closure remain unknown. Anybody with ideas please feel free to leave them below or write to megaforce at gmail.  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Murder at Andrew's Pub - who did it?

Lavoie, MacDonald and McLaughlin in a Coolopolis collage
     The Cat's Den, now known as Andrew's Pub on Guy just below Ste. Catherine, has long been a nice place to enjoy a cheap beer and a free game of pool.  
  It was also the scene of a gruesome murder that ushered in a new reign of gunmen in the fabled West End Gang, Montreal's Irish Mafia.
   The image above is a photoshop dramatization of the shooting that took place at the bar on Sunday March 16, 1969.
John Slawvey
   No arrests were made but from our information Dickie Lavoie (left) and Jackie McLaughlin (right) came to shoot down their fellow West End Gang colleague James MacDonald who was enjoying a drink on that Sunday evening.
    The identity of the masked men remains unconfirmed but legend has it that Lavoie and McLaughlin were the shooters, although one newspaper suggested that John Slawvey was one of the two gunmen, as he had a motive and also went into hiding after the shooting.
    The two masked men entered and shot MacDonald 11 times in the head with an M-1 machine gun while about 20 others watched on, some of whom suffered injuries.
Dick Lavoie
   It's believed that MacDonald - also believed to be a killer - was shot by his own gang because they imagined he might turn informant.
   MacDonald had recently been in a $200,000 theft of a cigarette truck at the port which allegedly involved a gunfight between the cops and William Johnston, Philippe Savoie and John Slawvey.
   Slawvey hid, Johnston and the other man were rounded up but MacDonald turned himself in.
   By turning himself in MacDonald became a threat of turning informant, as that logic has it.
   The irony was that the M-1 automatic employed to kill MacDonld might have been one that MacDonald himself had sold on the black market.
   After MacDonald died, McLaughlin and Lavoie became a new hit-squad for the West End Gang's faction led by Dunie Ryan and Alan Ross. Between them they are believed to have killed dozens, often on impulse. Slawvey likely killed at least three people.
     Slawvey was later shot by police. McLaughlin was stabbed to death by his friend Noel Winters in New Brunswick and Lavoie, a cocaine-sniffing ladies man who lived about the Ye Olde Pub on St. James and Elmhurst, died of natural causes.
      We have much more to say about various other unsolved West End Gang murders but are saving that for another place and time.

Requiem for a Guy street revolution

(Photoshop dramatization - not Smith) 
   Murray Smith, 69, spends his days in and around the Guy metro, sometimes sleeping in the great outdoors not far from the spot where a younger version of himself fought to create a better world.
    Back in 1968 - one of the most politically volatile years in recent history - Smith would haul a bullhorn to the corner of De Maisonneuve and Mackay and present a case for revolution that he believed would improve the world.
    Smith was well known-among student radicals and described by a friend of Coolopolis as "very handsome, classic features, big brown eyes, witty, ironic, soft spoken."
   Smith - standing about 5'8" with long black hair - was a gifted orator and one of many street-preaching salesmen of a variety of popular-in-the-sixties radical political solutions of the Marxist, Troskyist, Maoist and Black Panther varieties.
  "He had this sophisticated political rant. He was 23 and yet you would think that he had fought in the Russian Revolution."  
   Another acquaintance credits Smith with a "vibrant sense of humour and strong political instincts."
  Smith was on the COMFRU, a committee for free university, where he fought for change.
   Even those less-inclined to his views give him respect.
   "He had delusions of grandeur about his own importance as a neo-Marxist theorist, although he once wrote an interesting review of Philip Roth's celebrated book Portnoy's Complaint in The Georgian," according to another.
   After his university street preacher days, Smith went on welfare in Verdun and worked in an anti-poverty group in NDG. He gave a lot of thought and effort into helping Israel and Palestine get along and even worked on a novel concerning the issue.
   He is heavy-set, bearded now and what's left of his hair has turned grey.
  Smith still spends his days in the same area that he once touted revolution but no longer gives heady speeches and political sales pitches.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

'Rare Baby' dwarf disappoints by choosing life of crime

   Philippe Nicol was born into stardom on September 19, 1926, as The Rare Baby, son of the self-declared Count and Countess Nicol, inhabitants of the Midgets Palace at 961 Rachel E.
   His dad, aged 45, was a marketing genius who made enough dosh in the circus to return as a star and establish a lucrative tourist museum in his home.
   When the lad's mom Rose Dufresne from Lowell, Mass. gave birth at the Mercy Hospital at St. Hubert and Dorchester, the event lit the public imagination.
    The newborn was a sort of forerunner for the Dionne Quintuplets deal, as people were fascinated that what was billed as the world's smallest couple could pull off parenthood.
   Of course Philippe Nicol II was a dwarf and great things were expected of him, with dad musing that he could one day be Prime Minister.
The five physicians who attended at his birth are of the opinion that he will never be taller than his father (he is now 25 inches high); but he will have a real man’s head, his father promises, and he shall be charitable and courageous.
     The parents doted over their child and even had a full time nurse named Victoria Tanguay watch over the little guy. (Tanguay was fired when mom got jealous that dad bought her a fur hat). 
   Little Philippe would play a little piano for his parents and onlookers as part of their reality-reality show.
    Alas the 41-inch-tall Nicol could not effectively follow his unlikely career path: badass gangster.
   In his first big bust, Philippe Nicol, 20, was charged in court after being caught trying with burglar's tools.
   He had broken into a store at 970 Rachel  - literally across the street from his home at the Midgets Palace - and stole an electric drill and hunter's knife, for a value of $43.
Once glorious palace is now a gay massage parlour
  On October 3, 1951 Nicol, then 25, robbed a tobacco store and taxi driver with a nickel-plated toy gun.
   After his arrest, he insisted that reporters get the full story of his life. He made such a nuisance of himself that it took Det Sgt Rod Perron twice as long to make out his report for robbing the corner store at 427 Mount Royal E. corner St. Denis. The owner ran away to the basement.
   Nicol fled and hopped a cab and held the gun to the cabbies' head. He ordered the driver to give his money and smokes.
   Cops , on a tip, pulled the cab over at St. Lawrence and St. Joseph. Tiny Nicol dropped his little gun into the cabbie's coat pocket and attempted to flee.
  That's where we lose track of Nicol and nobody seems to have mentioned him much again. One account said that he became a midget wrestler and could conceivably still be alive in his late 80s.
   Philippe Nicol Sr., died when his son was 13 so he didn't live long enough to be disappointed in his son's fate.
    Nicol Sr., who grew to a mere 36 inches, was born in 1881 near Quebec City, the seventh son of a seventh son whose father stood 6'3."
   He met Rose Dufresne on the circus circuit in 1906 and married in 1913 and moved to Montreal that same year.  
 . Philippe Nicol Sr. - dubbed the "richest dwarf in the world" died on May 27, 1940 and Dufresne died in 1961.
   The Midgets Palace was taken over by other small people  in 1972 and closed for good in March 1990.     

January photo mysteries

    This great-looking old Raelian stretch limo with a mandatory space alien antenna on the roof was pulled from its extended garage and driven to St. Urbain and de La Gauchetiere early Sunday morning where it was snapped at about 9 a.m. outside of the Noodle Factory restaurant and the Da Tang Massage Parlour.
   Claude Vorilhon, now 68, based his alien sex cult around Montreal where it was a significant force until about 2003 when a newspaper writer infiltrated the group and wrote embarrassing articles about their practices.

Coolopolis mused recently about the possibly-growing fashion trend of women wearing electrical tape as clothing so now we have to give equal time to bubble-wrap as a fashion option.
   This man was snapped on the Main in the middle of Trustafarian Town below Pine. He had a sign that said "pop my bubble."
   We're still trying to figure out what his exact plan for world domination might have been.

Joe Pappo Furs at Sherbrooke and Wilson has discreetly closed after about 54 years in business.    A woman in her sixties was tending the place for the last few years and was generally discreet and none-too-talkative, a comportment required in places with valuable inventory.
   Her presence became increasingly erratic and then she simply stopped showing up
   There's still paperwork on the desks inside.
   The name of the business is also stenciled on the stone behind the sign so if the awning gets taken down there's still a second one to get rid of.

(Photo credits: ask)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Cops shoot man dead after visiting Montreal

  Here's an account what happened to a man who was shot dead in Bathurst New Brunswick by undercover cops after spending a weekend in Montreal.
   Store-owner Michel Vienneau, 51, came to Montreal last weekend with his girlfriend Annick Basque to watch a Canadiens-Penguins game and visit the big city. 
  The two left their car parked at the train station in Bathhurst and hopped the overnight sleeper train. They stayed in a hotel in Montreal. 
   Their stay was entirely normal and included a visit to the Bistro a Jo Jo on St. Denis where the couple had a drink with a friend. 
   When Vienneau and his girlfriend returned to Bathurst, they disembarked from the train at about 10 a.m. and got in their car and noticed a pair of suspicious-looking men in the adjacent car.
    One was wearing a ski mask and the other a tuque.
   The two men, it was later revealed, were undercover Bathurst police officers. 
   According to a description supplied to Coolopolis, Vienneau thought that the men looked shady and he felt nervous. 
   He attempted to drive off but nerves caused him to collide his car with the police undercover vehicle.
   One of the undercover cops then came out of that car and shot Vienneau three times in the head as his girlfriend watched. 
   It was stated that the undercover agents believed that Vienneau might have been a terrorist, which he most certainly was not.   

Why I moved from the Plateau

  The following is a column I wrote in March 2004, entitled Urban Overexposure.
Every Montrealer has a person or two they keep seeing everywhere they go.
        You get on the bus and you see him from the window. You walk down the strip and there he is, peering into a store window. You’re rushing to the post office before it closes and pass him standing at the red light.
       These people invade your environment, impose themselves on your reality, they always seem there when you’re out, by coincidence or perhaps by God’s Great Design.
       And if they seem annoying to you, then yeah, do the math, chances are that you must be annoying to them, or somebody else.
       You might consider introducing yourself to these ambient individuals in transit, but with each passing unspoken encounter the walls get taller and the tradition of alienation grows until it becomes unthinkable to acknowledge them.
       Getting to know them is exactly what you don’t want.
       At McGill there used to be a languages student walking around with his exaggerated upright Germanic posture. It just irked me just to look at him walking by with his regal pomposity. Years later I was introduced to him at a party last winter. It was awkward.
On the Plateau I couldn't leave my shabby little apartment without seeing this supertall guitarist guy who worked at a paint shop. They said he was an amazing guitarist, but it started driving me nuts just to see him lumbering by Duluth and the Main every day. His identical passage became like an old stale movie, I had to flee the Plateau forever.
       These days in the relative suburbia of lower NDG the only real ambulatory human leitmotif my deeply-embedded misanthropy takes aim at is a sour old guy who used to work at the Concordia Library who ambles home by my house.
The strangers-driving-you-mad phenomenon isn’t exclusive to Westmount-raised snobs like myself as I learned when my friend Baz talked about a singer chick he sees at Jimmy’s Laundry in Mile End. The joint is a couple of doors down from the fabled Open Da Night CafĂ© and it’s run by an Elvis-lookalike/admirer.
Contrary to the rules of proper social alienation, Baz has actually spoken to the singer chick. “She asked the time. I told her but she wasn't even listening, so she says ‘what?’ and I repeat, and she just walks away without saying thanks, as if I’m a clock.”
Baz complains that the singer chick places her laundry cart in the middle of the aisle. “She leaves it there and takes off so people will have to move it. I’m sure she’d be broken-hearted if nobody has moved it. She’s so desperate that even her objects require attention.”
“Then she starts talking aloud because she’s needy and wants everybody to look at her, she announces that there’s some kind of Kleenex or something in her laundry and two seconds later she tells everybody that it’s not there anymore, as if anybody cared. The woman attendant looks at her ‘Oh that’s good for you’ – so the girl stands there for about 20 seconds. She doesn’t’ want to accept that she’s getting dissed, her silence is a buffer to the emotional trauma of not being given the emotional attention.”
  It was a revelation to hear such a detailed savaging of incidental strangers taken to new unforeseen heights. It was funny as hell but also damn discouraging. Such cynical micro-analysts of human behaviour must suffer when the ravenous critic inevitably turns inward.
So what if you or I unknowingly become that guy who seems to be wandering around alone too much, who becomes part of the streetscape of shabbiness, that people look at and think, “oh there goes that guy yet again.”
Shoot, a whole other set of things to worry about.
     Baz tells me that there’s no escaping the possibility that your urban overexposure irritates others but he figures that it helps to look good. “The only antidote is to not look like a slob,” he speculates. 

Killer mom's hunger suicide helps authorities avoid Turcotte retrial embarrassment

Sonia Blanchette  - seen in this photo collage - has starved to death
   Sonia Blanchette, who killed her three children, aged 5, 4, and 2 in Drummondville in December 2012 has been permitted to starve to death in prison before her trial began.
   Her fate was an ideal result for the Quebec justice system, which in the past routinely gave little or no punishment for crazy moms who killed their kids as we have noted here.
   Had she gone to trial and received the standard insane-asylum-for-a-while sentence, it would have made the Turcotte retrial look strange.
   Guy Turcotte, of course, killed his two children. He was given the same punishment as Quebec's killer moms have received in the past but an outcry led authorities to order a retrial.  

RCMP wins right to collective bargaining - break out the camo pants!

An illustration of a possible future RCMP march
The Supreme Court ruled this week that the RCMP had the right to collective bargaining.
   The RCMP was the only police service in Canada that forbids unionizing.
   The ban is specifically mentioned in the RCMP Act.
   So a unionized RCMP is in the works.
  Could the camo pants be far off? 

Friday, January 16, 2015

So you got a weekend pass out of jail. What now?

Inmates often struggle to return to captivity after being given a pass out of jail. as Lukas Markov explained to me for this article I penned in 2005, one of my all time favourites.
Lukas Markov
  To the men who disembark from the 69 bus every Friday carrying brown paper bags, the bar at the Henri Bourassa metro offers the first delicious taste of freedom.
   “The waitresses see us and know right away where we’re from. We’re from Bordeaux prison. And that brasserie is the place to start as soon as we get out.”
  For Lukas Markov, 54, the sudsy taste of freedom was too tempting to resist.
  Between 1994 and 2000 the son-of-a-bank robber from Park Ex spent about four years inside the provincial prison for minor thefts he committed to fuel a drug habit.
Like other prisoners who had served one sixth of their sentence, Markov would earn weekend passes known as “codes.”  
   But Sunday evening rolled around Markov couldn’t bring himself to get back on the bus to jail.
On five occasions Markov simply didn’t return. 
           One time he was rounded up after getting caught trying to shoplift at a video store. Another time he resisted temptation and went back on his own free will, but the rest of the time he simply slipped back in the crowd.
Markov understands the urge to escape what he describes as the “scary” world of prison life. 
“I’ve seen guys get beaten up so bad, crushed like Pepsi cans, it was really violent. They’re at war in there and there’s lots of racial pressures, I’ve seen guys walk into my cell ‘hey man you have nice fucken clothes, we want them’ and I’d be like: ‘fuck you man.’ Or they’d say ‘we heard you have hash’ so I’d reply: ‘I’d sooner flush it down the toilet than let you take it!’ You can’t give in, otherwise they’ll stomp all over you.”
          Rather than return to jail after a weekend in freedom, Markov went homeless, cultivating the look of a madman in order to get more money as a beggar.
          "I’d sleep outside, I had a big beard, like Bin Laden. It was very scary, you’re scared every time you see a police car, so that’s why I was hiding on the streets,” he says.
          Markov wouldn’t even chance homeless shelters, in case authorities came to check. “I believe there are a few out there who went homeless because they’re wanted by the authorities.”
One practice contributed to Markov's stubborn refusal to return: the ritual where prison guards smell for alcohol on prisoners returning after a weekend free. 
        “I’d go and get drunk and then get scared to go back because they’d put me in the hole. In the hole and you have nothing, just a little blanket, you can’t even smoke. They put you in the hole to see if you shit the dope out.”
       One time Markov interviewed people on the street asking whether they thought he should go back inside.
“I was at the Mount Royal Metro and I asked people to give me one good reason to go back in jail. I even asked two cops. I asked all the way up to the doors of the jail. The cops were moralizing, very clichĂ© but the rest told me to do my time and get on with my life.”
Markov has since made the ultimate escape, the escape from his demons. He is cohabitating with a prison counselor, working cleaning up the homes that in the past he’d be temped to burgle. ”I’d run because I couldn't stand going back to jail, it’s very scary. I put a mask on in jail. When I got out I had a mask on. Now with my mind and the people who love me, I let the love in.”

Fiction, ranging from the Dirty Dozen to the Count of Monte Christo has long glorified prison escape,   
In real life the practice is seen dimly. 
For 20 years one of Quebec’s most esteemed prison rights advocates has long argued that prisoners should have a “right of escape.”
“Just as the French Revolution stated that citizens have the right to revolt against an oppressive government, we made the parallel that – as prison is an abnormal inhuman place, then it’s normal that people would want to leave,” says ProfessorJean-Claude Bernheim of the Prisoners Rights Committee.
“So escaping is not antisocial or abnormal. When you consider that the human being is somebody who lives in society who is devoted to liberty, it’s normal that once locked up one wants to escape,
When caught, escapees frequently get prison time added to their sentences and have subsequent parole delayed or denied, but Bernheim disputes this practice. “We must not reprimand a normal behaviour, it’s normal and human to want to escape. I think all prisoners dream about escaping everyone is seeking an exit door.”
Bernheim argues that families should also be allowed to welcome escaped family members into their homes without consequence. “They’re considered scary but these people are usually quite boring, their objective of an escapee is not to get caught, they’ll try to get a job, they’re people who try to avoid danger.”
>In 2004 75 of the roughly 4,000 inmates in 18 provincial-run prisons escaped custody. Most are quickly found or return of their own will, but officials admit that they have no idea what happened to the rest, “they might be dead, they might be out of the country, we don’t know,” says warden of Montee St-Francois. Three prisoners from provincial prisons remain at large since last year. Inmates in provincial institutions are roughly evenly divided between those serving sentences of under two years and those who are awaiting trials or sentencing, for every variety of crime.
Little publicity is given to their disappearance and no special task for or public initiative tries to get them back into custody.
A Corrections Canada official listed eight inmates who have disappeared without being returned to prison: Duzgon Atsiz, Pierre Charette, Martin Pellerin, Milos Ales, Pierre Campeau, Jeffrey Colegrove, Carl Bergeron and Steven Solyom all at one time sentenced to prison for serious offences, including weapons and drugs charges have, over the last few years, escaped and have their whereabouts unknown.
Unlike places like the USA where citizens, through such programs at America’s Most Wanted, are encouraged to look out for and report escapees, Quebec’s law enforcement believes it can better apprehend escapees through stealth. 
Some escapees have found it exceedingly easy to walk away from prison and return to society. Last year a bankrobber convicted of shooting at police failed to return to St-Anne-des-Plaines prison from his duties at a handicapped Center in St-Jerome. Renaud Brochu, 58, rented an apartment and did odd jobs, such as housepainter, which he advertised in the Quebec City newspaper with his real name. Prior to turning himself in last August after three uneventful years in freedom, he reported that he ‘d even approach police in the street to chat without ever being suspected of being a fugitive rom a serious jail sentence.
A decade ago the issue of escaped convicts was taken much more seriously when a spate of escapees committeed a string of serious crimes: Patrick Legault shot and killed a 46 year old stranger in St. Bruno after fleeing Bordeaux, during the same era, Claude Forget, a fugitive from a Drummondville prison shot two cops on Peel, both of whom survived with serious injury in 1993, and Daniel Lamer, while being sought for parole violations, robbed a Jean Coutu and took two cops hostage, shooting and wounded a police officer in 1991.

No luck for wine-addicted Quebec - booze class suit action shot down again

   After two years of holding our collective breath (Isn't that a long time to go without breathing?- Chimples) an appeals courts judge has ruled on a request to slash booze prices in Quebec.  
   Jean Rene Jasmin originally alleged in Quebec Superior Court in April 2012 that the liquor commission's pricing policies violated the Consumer Protection Act.
   Jasmin argued that the government booze monolpoly's prices were 30 percent too high.
   Sadly, perhaps even tragically for us all, Judge Sansfacon tossed the case out in September 2013.
  has also been rejected.
This is too expensive
 And now Jasmin's attempt to appeal the decision
   So there's no hope. Nothing left to live for. Just hit that bottle now, if you can afford it.
   Quebec's monopoly liquor board is a sort of Wal Mart.
   It buys and sells so much wine that it can almost dictate its purchase price.
   And yet the SAQ doesn't end up injecting all that much cash into the provincial economy, at least compared to other provinces and territories .
   Failing privatization, depanneurs should at the very least be permitted to offer a much larger selection of wine. Over four of five SAQ purchases consist of wine, as demand continues to skyrocket to 160 million litres consumed in the province per year, while purchases of spirits and beer have stagnated.
   Depanneurs are convenient and eco-friendly, as people often travel to them by foot. And yet they've been starved out by provincial government policies over the last few decades. So if you're not going to let the prices tumble, at least let some others benefit from the wine-o-mania that has gripped the province.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Rocket snubs Pocket, Electrical tape and poisoned geography

Maurice "The Rocket" Richard and his younger brother Henri "The Pocket Rocket" Richard played together on the Canadiens and lived not far apart.
 But the Rocket never once bothered visiting his younger brother's house, Henri said in interview from 1974.
   Henri owned a tavern, drove a Lincoln Continental and carried a big wad of cash when I'd see him at my dad's parking lot in the late 70s.
  Yet he wasn't much of a personality and had a wistful air about him.
  So why did Mo snub little Henri? Maybe he Mo didn't like Henri? Or Henri's wife? Or his wife's cooking?

     Duct tape is the only tape you hear about these days.
   But electrical tape is a thing too, I guess.
   There's a valid case being made for replacing clothing with little bits of sticky tape.
   And these young women are in the front lines of that initiative.
   Because body painting is so last year, didn't you know?
  Nightclub photographer Omar Le Homard shot these photos at a theme night at a Laval strip club about a month ago.

In Coolopolis' ongoing attempt to poison local geography, we present stories from these spots so you'll always be terrified and sickened when you pass by. TOP: Jean Milot and des Oblats in LaSalle where John Connearney, 36, shot cop Richard Larente dead and injured partner Richard Oss when they pulled his brown 1963 Ford over for suspicion of drunk driving on 14 June 1973.  Connearney was a fugitive from Quincy Mass. living in Canada since 1962. He was sentenced to death. The sentence was commuted but he was killed by prison guards in a 1980 prison riot. (BTW, I'm researching a recently-deceased fugitive nicknamed Boston Mike who might have been part of the Bulger crew before fleeing to Montreal about 30 years ago - pls contact me if you know about this guy). MIDDLE: Laneway between Peel and Stanley south of Sherbrooke. Frank Holmes, Thomas Holmes, William Reich and William Quaile were convicted of raping two women, one a 38-year-old mother of four, in a car taken to this spot on April 23, 1947. Frank Holmes offered the women a lift home to Point St. Charles after meeting them in a bar. Instead he stopped at Bleury and Dorchester and the other three men jumped in and then brutally sexually assaulted the women in the car parked in this laneway before dumping them off at Knox and Charlevoix. They stole their cash and bus tickets as well. They were sentenced to 12 years and 10 strokes of the lash.  BOTTOM: 1871 Belanger E. A man entered the Bar La Gaiete at 11:10 p.m. on Saturday March 13, 1977 and shot five people dead, including barmaid Monique Renault-Hebert, manager Michel Arsenault, 40 and patrons Jacques Fortin, 42, Jeannette Adams, 25 and Michel Chorel, 19. Three others were wounded as the killer sprayed the place with a M-1 semi-automatic.  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Montreal cop faces punishment after partner fails to corroborate his story

   When a cop does wrong, his partner is often there to make things easier for him, even when it's not in the best interests of justice.
   One Montreal police officer thrust in this difficult situation recently countered this trend.
   Pierre Hawey's version of a contested event has resulted in sanctions against his partner James Joseph.  
   Montreal police officer James Joseph, who pepper sprayed two men five years ago outside of the Sex d'Or strip club on Decarie will be sanctioned by the Police Ethics Commission after his partner Hawey failed to corroborate his description of a late-night episode involving two men.
   Constable James Joseph blasted Vasilios Kyritsis and Panagiotis Polimenakos with pepper spray on November 15, 2009 at about 3 a.m.
   Joseph said he did it because Kyritsis was acting in an extremely belligerent and possibly dangerous manner towards him. He offered a narrative of events that justified his actions.
   Constable Hawey told the commission that he only heard Kyrtsis make obnoxious comments to Constable Joseph.
   Kyritsis started the evening drinking in Old Montreal with two friends.They ended up at the La Belle Province restaurant where cash was needed. So they walked to a money-dispensing machine at the Pub Pare next door.
   On the way back Kyrtsis and Polimenakos were forced to walk around a police cruiser awkwardly parked near the restaurant.
   Kyritsis, for some unwise reason, decided to berate the officer for his parking technique.
   "It's private property, I don't think what you're doing is right."
   The cop told him, "get lost."
   Kyritsis said "Ok. It's private property."
   Both cops told the commission that Kyritsis told him "fuck you, you don't know who you're dealing with."
   This, perhaps understandably, irritated Joseph who then came out to ask the two men a series of questions. The cop attempted to prevent the men from returning to the restaurant and the situation eventually degenerated to the point where Joseph - without any involvement of his partner Hawey - sprayed the duo.
   An ambulatory eyewitness named Fabian Andrew Spencer-Gibbs (That's a cool name, I want one like that- Chimples) later backed up Kyritsis's version of events.
   Kyritsis was brought to a police jail cell until about 6 a.m. when he was finally told he'd be charged for resisting a peace officer. Four months later he received a letter informing him he'd be charged with assault against Contable Joseph.
   Although it took over five years, the committee finally came down against Joseph whose punishment has not yet been decided.