No right turn on red on the Island of Montreal. It's a message everyone who's ever crossed into the metropolis knows. But why is this the case? It's a discussion that dates back a generation, so the reasoning behind it may have fallen out of collective memory.
The process of legalizing right turns on red in Quebec dates back to 2000, when public consultation on the subject began. The Ministry of Transports began right turn on red pilot projects across the province in 2001.
Despite a report on the results of the pilot projects recommending against legalization, Quebec officially adopted rights on red on April 13, 2003 — everywhere except Montreal, which was left to decide for itself whether to institute the measure.
The city put together a commission to study the possibility, but contributing groups rejected the measure, citing pedestrian and bike safety.
In its submission to the commission, the regional public health authority claimed rights on red would increase vehicular traffic in Montreal as well as the risk of pedestrian injury. It also said adverse effects on public safety "would be experienced primarily by residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods, children, the elderly and the disabled."
Public health encouraged the city council to maintain the ban and focus on improving road safety, not make it worse.
Cycling advocacy group Vélo Québec, meanwhile, argued that, not only would right turns on red endanger pedestrians and cyclists, but that they would also undermine the character and international standing of Montreal, which, the group said, has an urban culture that emphasizes pedestrian access.
"Montreal is a city known for its restaurants, its festivals, its friendliness and the safety of its streets (this is what makes the Jazz Festival such a success, especially for Americans who can't believe that they can walk safely downtown in a festive atmosphere)," Vélo Québec wrote.
"Unfortunately, this unique character that makes Montrealers appreciate their city and that we are so good at selling to foreign visitors is directly challenged by the possible authorization of the [right turn on red]."
The special commission submitted its final report to Montreal City Council on October 27, 2003, but the city, of course, never implemented the measure.
Montreal public health revisited the issue as part of public consultation on road safety in 2017, but reaffirmed its findings from 15 years earlier, stating that "it is unthinkable to support a measure that creates road insecurity and injuries."
Montreal is getting another beach. On Sunday, Mayor Valérie Plante announced a commitment to open the shore of the Promenade-Bellerive, a riverside park in Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, to swimming.
On its website, the city says the park "is the only physical and visual access point to the Saint Lawrence River" in the borough.
"Montreal is an island. And we want to take advantage of that," the mayor wrote on Facebook.
"The goal is to make our shorelines ever more accessible, keep our shorelines healthy, and celebrate our insularity."
She said a years-long water quality testing process has proven the site is safe for swimming.
At a press conference, the mayor and local city councillors said the beach would include supervised swimming hours.
The mayor aims to open the beach to swimming in 2022.
Residents of Montreal's east end have long pushed for more access to the river. Port activity and train tracks largely cut off neighbourhoods east of the Jacques Cartier Bridge from the Saint Lawrence.
Plante pointed out that her administration has already delivered Verdun Beach and increased access to the Vague à Guy, a popular surfing spot in LaSalle.
The Association des municipalités de banlieue (AMB), a group of 15 mayors of suburbs on Montreal Island, has unveiled its list of recommendations to the Quebec government as part of the Bill 96 hearings and is pleading with the government to allow bilingual municipalities to retain their status should the bill become law.
Bill 96 states that a municipality that currently has "bilingual status" could have its status revoked by the OQLF if the area's English speakers don't represent the majority of the population — the threshold required by the Charter of the French Language for a municipality to obtain the status.
The municipality would then be required to pass a resolution reaffirming its bilingual status within 120 days of the OQLF's warning that it's about to lose its designation.
The OQLF would also be required to publish a list of bilingual organizations and municipalities within Quebec.
"We believe that the bilingual status of certain municipalities must be maintained, even in the event of a demographic decline," Beny Masella, president of the AMB and mayor of Montréal-Ouest, said in a statement.
"It's important to have the flexibility necessary to offer optimal services to all the citizens of our municipalities."
The AMB's recommendations include that "Bill 96 must be inspired towards achieving a balance in the respect of the linguistic rights of all Quebecers."
The organization asks that "in the event that Bill 96 is adopted, the government recognize the validity of the resolutions already adopted by certain related cities, which reiterate their desire to remain bilingual."
If you're seeking some chill and lucrative part-time employment, look no further than Élections Montréal.
The agency is hiring for a wide range of poll worker positions for the upcoming municipal election this November.
If you want to be a part of the electoral staff during the mayoral elections, all you have to do is send in an application. While there are many positions available, most will only require you to be 16 or older and have a social insurance number.
There are entry-level positions from sanitation officers to polling officers and even more advanced positions.
If you work for Élections Montreal, you'll need to be available during the advance polling days on October 30 and 31 or the actual election days on November 6 and 7.
To apply for a job, you'll need to send in your availability and specify which position you want.
Hey Montreal, I hope you remember that after the federal election is over on September 20, you'll be in the throes of yet another election, this time for the mayor of Montreal, city and borough councils.
By now, we should all know the candidates, the parties, and what they claim to stand for but some of us might have no idea how to vote, when to vote, or how this whole mayoral election thing even works.
Project Montréal forms the current administration, lead by Valérie Plante. Plante has been the leader of the party since 2016 and was elected mayor in 2017. Plante is the first woman to be Montreal's mayor.
Plante dethroned former mayor Denis Coderre and his party Ensemble Montréal at the last election, prompting him to exit politics.
But Coderre is back and wants to regain the office of mayor. Ensemble Montréal has served as the official opposition in City Hall since the 2017 election.
Mouvement Montréal, meanwhile, is a new party with a charismatic leader in former CFL player Balarama Holness who promises to change Montreal and bring it into the future. Holness and his party have introduced bold policy moves, which include making Montreal a city-state within Quebec and making public transit free for everyone under 25.
The parties officially kicked off their campaigns on September 17, with promises and election signs aplenty.
There are 103 elective positions in 58 electoral districts in all 19 boroughs of Montreal. The breakdown is as follows, according to Elections Montréal:
mayor of Montreal
18 borough mayors who are also city councillors;
46 city councillors;
and 38 borough councillors.
There will be four full days of elections with two advance polling days and two official election days.
How to vote
There will be four full days of elections in Montreal plus mail-in voting.
Advance polling days will take place on Saturday and Sunday, October 30 and 31, 2021, from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. in select polling stations.
The actual election will take place over two days on Saturday and Sunday, November 6 and 7, 2021, from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. in over 400 polling stations around the city
In 2017, 42.5% of registered voters participated in the election, according to Elections Montréal. Will we eclipse that number this year?