SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Montreal police said at least 279 protesters were arrested on Friday evening during a demonstration against police tactics.
Police declared the protest illegal as a crowd assembled at Place Émilie-Gamelin near the Berri-UQÀM metro station late in the afternoon.
Officers quickly surrounded the demonstrators who began to march around the square shortly after 6 p.m.
CBC's Alex Leduc said several journalists from other media outlets seemed to be caught up in the crowd as officers carried out kettling manoeuvres.
Montreal police said three people were arrested for assault.
The demonstrators were speaking out against municipal bylaw P-6, which allows police to declare protests illegal if organizers fail to provide authorities with an itinerary.
The bylaw also makes it illegal for people to cover their faces while taking part in protests.
Police ushered the people who were arrested onto city buses, where most of them were processed and eventually released.
No injuries were reported.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – A river raged through a section of downtown Montreal as a water main break Monday flooded a section of the city core.
The water barrelled down the slope of Mount Royal, with some people struggling to avoid being swept away by the mighty current.
The flood began spreading near McGill University just before rush hour, prompting traffic jams as police rerouted cars and people struggled to escape the area.
Some people wrapped themselves in garbage bags to protect their lower body from the ice-cold water as they crossed submerged streets.
At one intersection, where the flooded area was narrow, people moved a sidewalk bench and used it as a bridge to get to the middle of the street.
Philippe Whitford, a 38-year-old program analyst, gave new meaning to the term double-bagging: he wrapped himself in two layers of green plastic bags and made his way through the knee-deep water outside his building.
While he felt cold — the temperature was -9 C — he was grateful that he managed to stay dry.
His concerns quickly shifted to Tuesday morning. As the break was contained by mid-evening, and the water was largely cleared away, an emerging problem was ice buildup.
With a slippery film quickly forming across the area, parts of Ste-Catherine Street risk being temporarily transformed into an urban skating rink.
"It's going to be a mess when this all freezes," Whitford, who works for a finance company, said of Tuesday's commute.
The streets thickened with ice as firemen stabbed at drain openings with pike poles to get the water to go in. There were also large road graders pushing the water around trying to get it to disperse.
City officials said the flood was caused by a 90-centimetre water main that broke at a construction site near downtown, and said they were working to fix the problem.
Police rerouted traffic because the cascade of water made the area extremely slippery as it turned to ice. Parts of two of Montreal's main east-west arteries were closed to traffic — Rene-Levesque Boulevard and Sherbrooke Street.
Staff at McGill University were warned that several of the university's buildings were flooded and evening classes were cancelled.
Water also trickled into a number of commercial establishments on Ste-Catherine Street.
City officials said the incident had not affected the quality of drinking water.
Mayor Michael Applebaum went to survey the cleanup operation.
He said the damage occurred mostly below street level.
A steady stream of water poured into underground parking garages, and Applebaum said water had to be pumped out of the Place Ville Marie, a major office complex.
"The damage is mostly damage where we have basements where there's underground parking lots," he said as he stood near a water-logged intersection, as firefighters cleared clogged sewers and front-end loaders scooped up water.
Two minor injuries were reported, as of 7 p.m. The local ambulance service said the injuries occurred when people slipped and fell.
One man who was rushing to catch a bus said he saw the cascading water push people along as they waded through.
Another man, Faz Khan, said he watched the spectacle from his office window.
"McTavish (Street) was completely flooded and nobody could cross past Sherbrooke," Khan said. "People had water up to their knees at one point.... It was pretty bad."-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – - www.shfaqna.com/English
Photograph: Reda Issa (313 Photography)
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - With winds gusting close to 60 kilometres an hour, and record-breaking accumulation, the latest storm to hit Montreal made getting around on four wheels or even two feet a challenge.
Starting Friday morning, 3,000 city workers using 2,500 pieces of equipment were expected to fan out across Montreal to begin clearing streets and sidewalks and carting away the snow.
By 7 p.m. Thursday, the snowfall at the airport was 45 centimetres, easily surpassing the previous record of 37.8 cm set on this date in 1969. According to Environment Canada’s René Héroux, it set “an absolute record” for a 24-hour period. The biggest snowfall for the month of December for Montreal was 41.2 cm on Dec. 16, 2005. So the 45 cm Thursday is one for the record books — March 4, 1971, had held the honour for extreme daily snowfall for the past 41 years with 43.2 cm.
Montrealers are hardy when it comes to navigating rough, snowy weather, but Thursday’s storm tested even the most seasoned winter veterans.
Pedestrians who ventured out had to contend with high drifts of heavy snow, harsh winds and unplowed sidewalks, making even the shortest outdoor journey a challenge.
Commuters relying on public transit faced waits of an hour or longer for buses and trains — and when buses did show up there was no guarantee they would arrive at their destination. Some buses got stuck in snowbanks, while others slid down steep hills. Service on some routes was cancelled altogether and the Société de transport de Montréal temporarily suspended its adapted transit service. The Laval transit agency suspended its bus service indefinitely around noon.
Motorists, meanwhile, navigated streets and highways at a crawl — when they could get through at all. Traffic across the region was chaotic as accidents, whiteouts and dangerous conditions closed stretches of Highway 40, Highway 20 and Autoroute 13.
Côte de Liesse Rd. was at a complete standstill for several hours Thursday afternoon and evening, prompting some desperate motorists trying to get to the airport to abandon their vehicles on the highway and walk, luggage in hand, in a last-ditch attempt to make their flight.
But at Trudeau airport hundreds of flights were cancelled or delayed and passengers were being warned to expect lengthy delays, even once the storm had passed, and to check in with their airline about the status of their flight before making the trip out to the airport.
Significant snowfall was recorded elsewhere in Quebec Thursday and more nasty weather is in the forecast for the St. Lawrence River Valley on Friday.
There was a winter storm warning for the Laurentians, an area hard hit by the last two heavy snowfalls that downed power lines and left thousands without electricity over Christmas.
There were numerous road accidents, including one involving 15 vehicles near St-Cuthbert, east of Montreal. The Sûreté du Québec said many other vehicles had skidded into ditches across the province.
“There were no serious injuries,” police Sgt. Martine Asselin said, speaking around 6 p.m., of the numerous Quebec road accidents. “We’re lucky.”
Because of the multi-car pileup, a stretch of the 40 was closed, forcing SQ officers to use snowmobiles to access the closed portion of the highway.
They were not alone in resorting to rustic solutions. Hydro-Québec used some old-fashioned travel techniques to reach customers who had lost power in a previous storm, days earlier.
“We’re talking snowmobiles and snowshoes,” said a Hydro-Québec spokeswoman, Sophie Lamoureux.
She said 99 per cent of the customers who had lost power last week had their service restored, with the exceptions being about 200 customers in hard-to-reach outlying areas. Meanwhile, new outages were being reported with Thursday’s high winds downing branches and power lines.
In Montreal, the city deployed more than 1,000 vehicles and 1,000 workers to plow the sidewalks and streets.
Priority is always given to the entrances to métro stations and hospitals, a spokesman, Jacques-Alain Lavallée, said.
“We are asking Montrealers to use their Opus card and take the métro, or do the old fashioned thing and go outside and play with your kids,” Lavallée said.
Abrasives were placed on some sidewalks while others were only plowed, but the sheer volume of the snow along with the wind meant that the work was quickly undone by Mother Nature.
“The city is working hard to spread abrasives on the roads, but the strong winds blow the sand away,” said an STM spokeswoman, Odile Paradis.
Snow removal will only begin after the last flake has fallen.
“Clearing before the end of a storm is a useless exercise,” said a Montreal spokesman, Philippe Brousseau.
It was a lucky break that this storm hit during the holidays when the schools are closed and many people are on vacation, Lavallée added.
So what can we expect after this major dump?
Environment Canada’s Friday forecast calls for a mix of sun and cloud and temperature steady near minus-4, while Saturday there’s a 70 per cent chance of flurries.- www.shfaqna.com/English
ource: The Gazette
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Palestinian supporters demonstrated in downtown Montreal today to call for an "end to Canadian complicity" in what they say is the oppression of people in Gaza.
The protest comes on the heels of last week's decision by the United Nations General Assembly to recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state.
Demonstrators who gathered in Montreal's Phillips Square said they were showing their solidarity and support for the people of Palestine.
"It's pretty clear that Canada is complicit with the occupation of Palestine and with the blockade of Gaza," said protestor Bader Takriti.
Last week, Canada voted against the bid to upgrade Palestine's status, along with eight other countries including Israel and the United Sates. A total of 138 nations voted in favour of the bid.
People attending the demonstration said they were ashamed of Canada's position.
"I don't think it's an exaggeration to state that Canadian foreign policy on the Middle East is dictated pretty much directly from Tel Aviv," said Bruce Katz, president of Palestinian and Jewish Unity and a member of the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine.
He said that the UN's recent decision is important because it gives Palestine the right to present a case before the international criminal court.
The case could, according to Katz, accuse Israeli politicians of war crimes concerning the Gaza region.
Katz said it would also give Palestinians the right to add the name of Stephen Harper as complicit in those crimes.- www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Thousands local and foreign Shiites have commemorated the day of Ashura in New York city America and Montreal city of Canada, on November, 25, 2012.
Shiites marked the day to morn the martyrdom of Hussain ibn Ali (AS), the grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Chanting “Ya Hussain” and “Ya Ali”, the mourners, along with Alams, Tazias and Zuljinnah, proceeded from the Park Avenue in Manhattan and ended their three-hour march at the Pakistan Consulate General after ‘Asar’ prayers.
Women walked separately, reciting eulogies to Hazrat Imam Hussain and his followers. All along the procession route, people distributed refreshments.- www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Just two days after vowing he would not hide from the corruption scandal that has swamped his city and brought an emergency ethics crackdown from the province, the mayor of Montreal has left on a surprise vacation.
Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay announced Thursday that “events” have driven him to take a few days’ rest, echoing a similar move last month by the mayor of Laval, who took sick leave as corruption investigators raided his home.
Mr. Tremblay drove away from his home with his wife Thursday, after the Charbonneau Commission into corruption had enraged the province with evidence that he knew his party was illegally spending tens of thousands in ill-gotten cash donations.
The sudden departure came at the same moment the new Parti Québécois government rushed into the legislature Bill 1, a law that will require the province’s 24,000 contractors to obtain a seal of integrity from the provincial securities regulator to bid on any contract of more than $25,000.
Other legislation will be tabled in the coming days dealing with the funding of political parties and changes to how construction jobs are distributed among the province’s unionized labour force.
“We must ensure that, in Quebec, it is profitable to be honest,” said PQ Treasury Board President Stéphane Bédard. The inquiry has “unfortunately fuelled the disappointment and the sense of helplessness many of us have….Clear rigorous measures are needed to halt collusion and corruption.”
But new rules and a missing mayor weren’t the only problems facing Canada’s second-biggest city. Leaders left behind admitted they are confronting a growing revolt from sickened Montrealers who were hit with a tax hike on the same day Mr. Tremblay was directly implicated for the first time in the collusion, bribery and political financing scandal.
In a stunning turnaround, the second-most powerful politician at city hall stepped forward in the mayor’s absence to withdraw the budget he and Mr. Tremblay had unveiled just two days earlier.
“I understand that taxpayers are angry after what they’ve seen at the Charbonneau Commission,” Michael Applebaum, the city councillor who chairs the mayor’s executive committee, told reporters at City Hall. “I’ve asked the director of finance to see if there’s a way to present the budget so it will be better accepted by the population.”
The mayor presented the city’s budget Tuesday, denied wrongdoing and lashed out angrily at reporters who pressed him on whether he would resign. “I’m not going to hide, I’m present, I’m not sick, I will continue to manage the city,” he said.
Mr. Applebaum would not comment on the future of the mayor, as calls for Mr. Tremblay’s resignation echoed from city hall to the National Assembly in Quebec City, where opposition parties reassured the minority government they would help rush through the new contracting law by Christmas.
Political financing is at the heart of allegations against Mr. Tremblay, who was accused by former Union Montréal organizer Martin Dumont of knowing his party was illegally spending $90,000 cash on a by-election campaign. Mr. Dumont said the party was awash in illegal cash donations.
Inside the Charbonneau inquiry, a witness confirmed petty corruption “went on for generations” at the city of Montreal, long before an era of cash bribes and fixed contracts in the 2000s wasted hundreds of millions in tax dollars.
Luc Leclerc, a retired city engineer, said the ink wasn’t dry on his 1990 transfer to the city from a regional transportation authority when he was invited to his first golf tournament – where staff, from secretaries to supervisors, played for free and took home gifts of wine and other prizes from construction companies. The city workers paid for nothing, he said.
During the 1990 Christmas season, city workers picked presents from the back of loaded pickup trucks sent by construction companies, he said.
Free golf, expensive meals and NHL hockey tickets flowed freely long before 2000, when construction bosses started paying cash bribes in return for inflated contracts. “It went on for generations,” said Mr. Leclerc, who admitted to taking $500,000 in cash bribes. (Another engineer earlier admitted to taking at least $700,000.)
“I hadn’t even arrived yet and I was invited to my first golf tournament. I was taken aback,” Mr. Leclerc said. “But when I saw I could get away with it, I wasn’t very resistant.”
And he quickly got used to it. Mr. Leclerc quickly became an expert in helping construction bosses push through “extra” claims on city construction contracts.
Mr. Leclerc said a code imposed by the city in 2009 brought the graft to an end. “The code of conduct gave you a conscience?” asked Sonia LeBel, the commission counsel.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — A small earthquake was felt in and around the Montreal region early this morning, baffling some residents but causing no known damage.
Natural Resources Canada seismologist Allison Bent said it was a magnitude 4.5 quake and was centred east of the city.
"The epicentre is 21 kilometres west-northwest of Saint Hyacinthe, and that's about 37 kilometres from Montreal," Bent said in an interview from Ottawa.
There were no reports of damage, although the quake did create jitters that had some people scurrying briefly from their houses.
Laval, just north of Montreal, received 911 calls — more than 1,060 of them within 20 minutes of the tremor. Montreal had a higher than normal volume of calls as well.
"People were asking what exactly was happening. The 911 operators worked a good chunk of the night to reassure people and answer the stream of calls," Const. Simon Delorme of Montreal police said.
The temblor lasted about 10 seconds, causing buildings to rumble. But Bent said any serious damage was highly unlikely, and both the Montreal and Laval police forces said they had no reports of any.
Felt as far as Ottawa
Bent added there have been reports that a few people in the Ottawa area felt the quake.
CBC's Leah Hendry reported from Montreal that she initially thought that a truck might have gone by the three-storey walk-up where she lives with her husband.
"We both looked at each other and think: 'We lived four years in Vancouver and we experience an earthquake in Montreal,' " she said.
Hendry said she could see some lights flickering, but saw no obvious damage.
People who wrote to CBC Montreal said they felt their homes vibrating.
"I just felt the building tremble at 12:19 a.m. Was it an earthquake or something else? My roommate noticed the building shaking too. Weird," one wrote.
"Felt like an earth tremor a few minutes ago. House vibrated and noise," another said in an email.
'Very bad memories'
Dominique Anglade, a senior executive of the provincial Coalition Avenir Québec party, was one of the many people who took to Twitter to describe the quake.
A member of Montreal's large Haitian community, Anglade lost her parents in Haiti's devastating earthquake two years ago. The pair were the first Canadians confirmed dead in the disaster.
She wrote that the quake evoked "very bad memories" for her.
In Montreal's west downtown area, a couple of people briefly rushed outside as their windows shook in a four-storey apartment building near the former site of the Forum hockey arena.
Minor Montreal-area quakes common
CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe, who is also a seismologist, said the Montreal region has approximately one earthquake every five days, but most are too weak to be felt.
Before Wednesday, the most recent tremor of significant magnitude in the area was a 3.0 last Thursday located about six kilometres north of Huntingdon, a small community southwest of Montreal near the U.S. border. Three other earthquakes since Sept. 15 have been felt in Quebec, according to Natural Resources Canada.
Because the Montreal area is far from the edge of any tectonic plates, earthquakes tend to be less concentrated but can be felt over hundreds of kilometres.
Small aftershocks may be possible, Wagstaffe warned.
According to the United States Geological Survey the two most damaging earthquakes in the region happened in 1935 and 1732.
A quake with magnitude between 2 and 3 is the lowest normally perceptible to humans. A magnitude 5 quake is considered moderate.— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Administrators at the University of Montreal (UdeM), the most prestigious French-speaking University in North America, have been forced to cancel dozens of classes for the rest of the week for fear of fresh protests.
The university issued a notice in Tuesday evening, saying that it had suspended classes in the departments that have been targeted by striking students since Monday, the CBC reported.
"They were the classes that we saw in the last two days [in which] the students were giving us trouble," said Mathieu Filion, a spokesman for the university administration.
The classes were supposed to resume this week after the winter semester was suspended following massive months-long protests across Canada’s French-speaking province of Quebec against proposed tuition fee hikes.
Over Monday and Tuesday, the police stormed the university and arrested more than 30 protesters. The protest erupted following the passage of a new controversial bill, which outlawed obstructing classes and all non-pre-approved gatherings of more than 50.
Students in Quebec have been protesting university tuition hikes since February 2011. The protests later turned into a larger movement, dubbed the “maple revolution,” which, analysts say, reveals deeper social unrest.
The developments come ahead of next week’s provincial elections, which will decide whether Quebec Prime Minister Jean Charest’s ruling Liberal Party, which insists on a plan to increase tuition fees by 82 percent, could be reelected.
The latest opinion survey shows that the separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ), led by Pauline Marois, is heading for a victory in the September 4 polls.
The PQ has promised to hold a referendum on the separation of Quebec from Canada if 850,000 Quebecers sign a related petition.—www.shafaqna.com/English