Aargh, some Montreal St. Patrick’s parade misconceptions

giant Saint Patrick at parade
Giant Saint Patrick figure at Montreal’s St Patrick’s Parade                            Rosana Prada/Flickr

Okay. It’s true that in spite of my last name I am only part Irish. If you look at my ancestry I’m probably more Scots and English than Irish. At this point, nine generations in Canada on my dad’s (O’Hanley) side and seven generations in Canada on my mom’s side, I am Canadian, not really Irish at all.

But having O’Hanley as a last name has meant for years I’ve had people in Quebec confuse my last name with that of the chocolate bar “O’Henry,” which isn’t even an Irish name, and I’ve often heard, “your last name is Irish, are you Irish?” So I’ve sort of embraced this Irish heritage and learned a bit about Irish culture and the community here.

Here are a few mistakes I see every year around parade time that for whatever reason drive me nuts:

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

I saw this written on the side of a float in yesterday’s Hudson’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The problem? It’s St. Paddy, not St. Patty! St. Paddy is a reference to Patrick, also spelled Pádraig. St. Patty would be St. Patricia. So the slogan on the side of the float should have said Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

The danger in getting it wrong? You could be mocked by the Irish in Ireland. There’s even a guy who’s been writing about this for years (check out Marcus Campbell’s “modest proposal” for Paddy, not Patty here). He even has a Twitter account where he posts such errors. Besides, mixing up Patty and Paddy makes people here look like ignorant Americans. 

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

While this is the correct name for Hudson’s annual parade, it’s not the correct name for Montreal’s parade. Technically Montreal’s parade is called the St. Patrick’s Parade, not the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It usually doesn’t take place on the day itself (March 17), so the official name of the parade does not reference it. But the United Irish Societies of Montreal aren’t helping the media get the name right when the site description for their own website mentions the St. Patrick’s Day Parade! If you read the text on the site carefully you’ll see the event is officially called the St. Patrick’s Parade. But how many media outlets get it right? At this point they should probably change the name to match what it’s almost always called, Montréal’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

United Irish Society or United Irish Society of Montreal

It’s been getting better over the years but you usually see at least one media outlet get the parade organizer’s name wrong. I suppose the reason the name of this community organization is plural is because there were several societies involved in putting the parade together in 1928 when they took over running the parade. So it’s United Irish Societies of Montreal, and not United Irish Society or United Irish Society of Montreal.

I suppose I’m being nitpicky. I make mistakes all the time. We joke in our family that whenever you feel stubborn or critical it’s the O’Hanley coming out. This is our Coat of Arms so what do you expect?

ohanleycoatofarms

 

Happy belated St. Paddy’s! I hope you’ve enjoyed at least one parade this weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

Aargh, some Montreal St. Patrick’s parade misconceptions

Highway 13 drivers weren’t the only ones stranded during Montreal’s record-setting blizzard

Gare Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue
Snowy Gare Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, as it looked when I finally arrived on March 15, 2017

What about STM and AMT commuters?

Yesterday there seemed to be a lot of finger pointing at the Quebec government for its abysmal emergency preparedness. I agree that there is no excuse for 300 drivers being stuck overnight on Highway 13  with no help because of the storm.

But I believe the City of Montreal failed many people affected by the storm, especially when it comes to public transportation.

On Tuesday night (March 14)  I attended a University of the Streets Café discussion and because I had no idea the STM buses were having such a hard time on the road, I thought I’d be able to get most of the way home to Vaudreuil-Dorion by bus. I stupidly stuck around after the discussion when it would have been better to take a commuter train. But because I missed the last train of the night, buses were my only affordable option.

When I got to the 211 stop, just down the road from the Lionel-Groulx metro, I joined a very long line of people who were waiting for the bus. It was around 9:30 p.m. and when I got there the folks I spoke with had been waiting for over an hour. There were two buses parked across the way from the stop and an STM inspector’s car was parked in the middle of the roadway but the bus drivers didn’t invite people aboard the buses so they could warm up, nor did the inspector tell people what was happening. I waited an hour with the people I’d met and during that time no one came by to let us know anything, for instance, would the buses eventually be on the road? There were no city councillors or city officials or anyone really bringing people hot beverages or something to keep them warm while they waited outside. The woman I spoke with is a student who had parked her car in Dorval and was worried about receiving a ticket if she didn’t get her car (I hope they didn’t ticket her. She had a very good excuse for not getting to Dorval). The information was murky in terms of the reasons (work on Highway 20? Highway 13 mess? accidents?) but it seemed no one could get anywhere via Highway 20. The man I met lives in Île-Perrot and couldn’t get home. The woman had a possible place to stay in town but the man didn’t know anyone. They were just two of the many people who live in the West Island and beyond who could not get home Tuesday night and no one from the City of Montreal or the STM or the police or anyone official offered them any information or comfort. Technology exists to send text messages on smartphones. There’s not really any excuse in this day and age for neglecting people like this.

This situation shocked me because I thought Montreal was hardcore and good at handling emergencies. It’s not as though we haven’t had bad snowstorms before. We survived an Ice Storm in 1998 and handled that well. On Tuesday I had the impression city officials were asleep at the wheel. Didn’t they know people were stranded across the city? Isn’t there a protocol for such a situation, even if it happens off hours? Could they have arranged with the AMT to put more trains on so that people heading west would at least have a chance of getting home?

When a huge group of buses suddenly arrived at Lionel-Groulx and abruptly parked, the woman and her friend and I decided it was time to go but the man from Île-Perrot stayed. As I headed into the metro, I asked the guy at the ticket booth what was going on and he said 150 buses were out of service (apparently drivers couldn’t make their shifts and many buses got stuck in snow , most likely because they’re not equipped for it. In their story about the buses, CBC reported Montreal buses aren’t equipped with snow tires. What’s puzzling me is this story mentioning the STM tweeting that its buses have winter tires.  It seems the tires mentioned in the story may not be winter tires at all but something called traction tires. If you know anything about this, please write a comment below). I headed to Villa Maria metro, the closest metro to my parents’ house. A large number of people were waiting in vain for the 103 bus. Among the group were many seniors, people who regularly depend on public transportation to get around. I waited with them for a while, maybe half an hour. But when we saw a bus on Monkland struggling to move forward to get to the station but unable to because there was too much snow, I knew I wouldn’t be taking a bus. So I walked to my parents’ house. I wasn’t the only one walking. I followed a family as they made their way along Monkland. I also met women who too were walking along unplowed sidewalks. It was beautiful out and would have been fine were the wind not so icy. It took more than an hour to get to my parents’ house and I got there close to midnight. But I was lucky. I had a place to stay in Montreal. I don’t know that everyone else did. There were no “portes ouvertes” efforts on Twitter or Facebook to help stranded people out, there was just nothing in terms of emergency preparedness.

Food for thought?

Highway 13 drivers weren’t the only ones stranded during Montreal’s record-setting blizzard

Tonight! Progressive Salon’s Harm Reduction in a Marijuana World

 

salonprogressistemarijuanalegalizationdiscussionimage
Source: Salon Progressiste/Progressive Salon/Facebook

 

If you’re in Montreal and especially if you can get to NDG tonight, there’s a really interesting event happening at the Coop La Maison Verte.

Progressive Salon (Salon Progressiste) aims “to offer regular opportunities for Montrealers to convene and discuss in a serious and structured way the great questions challenging Canada” and tonight’s Harm Reduction in a Marijuana World – the implications of legalization of marijuana in Canada will have you wondering what life will be like if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau keeps his promise to introduce legislation to legalize pot this spring.

Guest speakers include Dr. Mark Ware, Associate Professor in Family Medicine and Anesthesia at McGill University and executive director of the non-profit Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids (CCIC)  and Adam Greenblatt, Head of Quebec Engagement for Tweed, a Smiths Falls-based company licensed to produce medical marijuana.

When: 7:30-9 p.m.

Where: Coop La Maison Verte,

Admission: Free but get a ticket by filling out a form here.

Or visit the event’s Facebook page

Tonight! Progressive Salon’s Harm Reduction in a Marijuana World

Shiny happy government?

20170308_st_sub_1040x585_02
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with women on International Women’s Day 2017     Source: PMO 

I have so many mixed feelings about our current Canadian government. After so many years of seeing pretty much everything I love destroyed under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government, you’d think I’d be thrilled with our progressive, “feminist,” prime minister.

But I can’t shake the feeling that this government is all about photo-ops and I’m tired of seeing a slick marketing machine.

I mentioned it before on this blog. I’ve been sick. I have some sort of chronic illness that’s making me feel incredibly tired and is messing up my digestive system. I’ve undergone all sorts of tests and conventional medicine is not giving me any answers. It could be IBS-C, food intolerances, something with my gallbladder, a microbiome needing nourishment. Friends have made excellent suggestions, I’m trying out different solutions, am changing my diet (which already was mostly vegetarian and usually low-fat!), and I think I will be fine in the long run. But being home sick means I’m watching TV.

I was watching a clip of one of our federal cabinet ministers, I won’t name him, but all I could think of was ‘wow, that goes guy does not have a hair out of place and does he have a manicure?’ I’m supposed to be listening to what he’s saying but instead of listening I’m thinking, ‘wow, he looks a lot more styled than what I’m used to.'” Then on International Women’s Day, all the Members of Parliament (MPs) were gone for the day, replaced by young women who sat in the MP’s seats in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister was there addressing them and listening. The young women were amazing but all I wondered was the event even about them? Or was it, you’re such a feminist, Justin! What a gent! What a photo-op!

As a teenager I met my MP,  the late Warren Allmand, who at different times in his career was a cabinet minister in Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s government (Justin Trudeau is the son of former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau). Mr. Allmand wasn’t ill-groomed but he didn’t look like he’d stepped out of GQ Magazine either. He looked normal.  He spoke normally too. He wasn’t on message all the time. He wasn’t looking for a camera. And he didn’t give me the feeling he wanted to be liked. He just did his job.

My high school wasn’t co-ed so I have no idea what life is like in a typical high school. But to me, Justin Trudeau’s cabinet is like some sort of student council run by the popular kids. They look good and they want to be liked and they think they’re cool. Why does everyone dress like it’s school photo day all the time?  Why is their hair so perfect? Do they have a stylist on standby? And why is everything they say so scripted? What happened to simply being yourself? Or staying on message but speaking in a normal way?

Here in the Montreal area a scandal recently erupted surrounding a nomination for a Liberal MP in the Saint-Laurent riding. The local borough mayor wanted to be the Liberal candidate in an upcoming by-election but he wasn’t selected even though he had tons of credentials and knows the area incredibly well. The word on the street was the federal Liberal party had chosen their own star candidate and wanted her to get the nomination, even though she wasn’t from Saint-Laurent. Last night the star candidate the Liberals had supposedly handpicked came in last during a nomination vote. To everyone’s surprise, a young woman from Saint-Laurent secured the nomination instead.

It’s a relief to know that not everyone is drinking the Trudeau Kool-Aid. People want an MP from their own neighbourhood, not someone the Liberal brass parachuted in. Substance matters more than style. In Saint-Laurent the people’s voices were heard.

Political parties need to remember their grass roots. Their representatives need to listen carefully to voters and connect. I would love to see the folks in Trudeau’s cabinet go off script from time to time. Life is not an endless press conference or a marketing campaign. I vote for keeping it real.

 

 

 

Shiny happy government?

Our bizarre experience transferring an RESP from Investors Group

broken-piggy-bank
Source

 

Last fall our financial advisor at Investors Group told us he was leaving. Not long after, a letter arrived saying our account was now “orphaned” but folks were doing their best to find us another advisor. Eventually, another advisor took over the file for my son’s Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) but no one bothered to inform us.

It didn’t matter anyway. I was pretty fed up with Investors Group and in spite of news about a phase-out of Deferred Sales Charge (DSC) fees for existing DSC accounts, I still wanted out.

My boyfriend is pretty happy with his financial advisor and we liked the guy so in early December we started the transfer process. I figured it would take a few days, maybe a few weeks.

When we set things up, we explained a quick transfer was crucial because my son is attending university and would need the money to pay his tuition by the end of January.

Without going into detail, I’ve investigated things and I’m feeling angry and frustrated with the whole situation but also bewildered since the transfer is still not done and tuition is due on Jan 31st, plus my son needs his textbooks now and I’m going to have to borrow money if the situation is not resolved very soon.

Here’s a timeline of what’s happened with our file, based on my investigation:

  • Dec. 2:  opened file with new advisor
  • Dec. 8: new advisor’s company set up our new mutual fund with new company
  • Dec. 9: Investors Group does a trade for the money in the RESP
  • First week of January: I follow up with new advisor’s company and am told transfer is not complete.
  • 2nd week of January: New advisor’s company phones. Someone from support staff says Investors Group is one month behind with its transfers and is refusing to go any quicker. Maybe if I call Investors Group that would speed things up or I could request the funds so my son has his money?
  • After hearing from the new advisor’s office, I phoned Investors Group’s local office and tracked down the guy who was handed our file. He says the new advisor’s office should have phoned him first and not dealt with Investors Group headquarters. Says he’s handled transfers and they take three days to complete. I relay this to the woman in my new advisor’s office and give her his phone number.
  • Apparently, a cheque containing my son’s RESP funds was sent by Investors Group’s headquarters in Winnipeg to the new mutual fund company in Toronto by snail mail on January 12th. It still hasn’t arrived.
  • On Friday (Jan. 20) the new mutual company says if they don’t see the cheque soon (they said they scan their mail and would know if it had arrived), they’ll ask Investors Group to cancel the cheque and reissue. They’ve apparently sent Investors Group several “notices of delay,” to no avail.

When we’ve dealt with the new advisor there’s been a lot of badmouthing of Investors Group for having such a slow process but when I’ve phoned Investors Group they’ve been helpful except for the bit about mailing all of our RESP money in an old-fashioned cheque via Canada Post by regular mail, no tracking whatsoever!

I don’t feel like anyone in this whole mess really cares about me or my son and the problems we’re having accessing the RESP money. There’s no one proposing a solution. (UPDATE: On Monday, Jan. 23, a customer service rep from Investors group offered to have the original cheque cancelled, reissued and sent by courier to Toronto but it would only get to Toronto next Monday or Tuesday. This was way too close to the Jan. 31st deadline for me and I decided to borrow money instead. The cheque has still not arrived and it’s unclear when this situation will be resolved). No one is forwarding the funds so we can pay for tuition and books. And because I’m not getting many updates on what’s happening, I’m looking into it myself.

If you’re leaving Investors Group, my advice is to budget a couple of months for a transfer. And be careful about transferring because I was charged DSC fees. Apparently, if your money is in a DSC fund, the fees apply for seven years from the last day you made a monthly payment, something I was never told.

I wish I had withdrawn my son’s tuition money before beginning this transfer. I had no idea it would be such a nightmare.

I’m calling Investors Group tomorrow to find out exactly where that cheque was mailed. If it went to the wrong address, I will track it down!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our bizarre experience transferring an RESP from Investors Group

Plate-smashing Trumpageddon

30-Day- Writing Challenge – Day 12

platesmashingtrump
Peter McQueen/Facebook

Tonight NDG’s Cheap Art Collective gathered outdoors to literally smash away their frustrations with Donald Trump’s presidency.

But when NDG Councillor Peter McQueen posted an invite on his personal Facebook page for people to come by and join in the fun, several people objected. They thought that since Peter McQueen  is an elected official, he had no business getting involved with something like this.

Here’s a sampling of the comments. I’ve stripped the names.

One woman wrote:

I am so tired of Canadians making all that Free violence for nothing , this man is not our president !!why not taking care of the damn graffiti problem we have here ? Why not taking care of the new tragic flow on Sherbrooke which is become super dangerous these days? NO , let’s talk about american politics , anyway ,very disappointing that encouragement toward violent acts in our street

A man posted:

How about doing something for residents of NDG instead of meaningless plate breaking???

Said another man:

WTF does Yankee BS Politics have to do with the Borough of NDG/CDN and politics that MATTERS HERE??? Plates? Why plates?

Who gonna clean it up and foot the Bill? Not planning on walking barefoot or in sandals anytime soon, believe you me!! This is as Silly as blowing $40 million on lights for Jacques Cartier Bridge to Celebrate the 375th anniversary and/or the Beginning of the Slaughter of the Indigenous People residing here, peaceably! Either thru Violence or Disease…Pick One!

Sorry Peter Mcqueen…I aint into a Show & Tell Trash-Fest for a Saturday Night…Christmas is coming!! BTW…WTG showing children what to do when they’re pissed!!!

NO VIOLENCE is KEY!! Why be like those that differ?

And yet another man posted:

I think that it totally unbecoming of an elected official in Montreal to participate in a Trump hatefest. I am not a fan of Trump…but dammit he was elected democratically. The people spoke. Period. For you to engage in this sort of demonstration is for you to insult approximately 50% of our American neighbours. I think that this shows an incredible lack of judgement. I fear Peter that you have been swept up in the media created tidal wave of fear and loathing that surrounds this election. Your responsibility I think is to respect the democratic system that got your ass elected and to work for NDG. Not to comment on the internal politics of a foreign country. I repeat, I amnot a fan of Trump……..I was for Bernie…but the people have spoken. Ironically all this hatred towards Trump is pretty Ironic especially because you are accusing him of being a hater.

For his part, McQueen wondered what the fuss was all about:

Geez, Trump threatens violence on all kinds of people and y’all are getting upset cause we smashed some old plates???

He also wrote:

And we are not smashing any private or communal property, just some old plates, the pieces of which we will use to make a mosaic mural… and to prove it, just go down to St-Henri, Village des Tanneries mural at the corner of St-Jacques and DesNoyers and see the beautiful mural the Cheap Art Collective already made down there!

Plate-smashing Trumpageddon

Two things tomorrow (November 12)

30-Day Writing Challenge – Day 11

guardiansbestI nearly forgot about it but tomorrow the Guardian’s Best Animal Rescue Foundation is holding is holding its annual Quebec Animal Rescuer of the Year Award event in NDG. It’s a great way to meet local rescuers and other animal lovers, find out more about what rescue groups are doing for animals and support them by making a donation. There’s also plenty of free food and beverages. I went a few years ago and it was amazing.

This year’s lineup includes the granting of unsung hero awards, certificates of appreciation for young volunteers,  cash grants to three local rescues and the awarding of the 2016 Quebec Animal Rescuer of the Year.

Admission is free but you need to register your attendance before going. I’ve posted this late so if you see this on Saturday morning, register right away.

Bring cash to buy raffle tickets and if you have a well-behaved dog, bring him or her along too.

When:  November 12, 2016, 5-9 p.m.

Where: Monkland Community Centre, 4410 West Hill Avenue, Montreal (you can get there from Benny and Terrebonne ) or from West Hill and Monkland.

You can register and get a free ticket here.

Help WordPress from the comfort of your home

Love languages? If you have some free time today and have translation ability, the WordPress Polyglots team is holding its second Global WordPress Translation Day on November 12 where you can  “translate  WordPress into one of more than 160 languages.”Everyone is invited to join and you can help from anywhere in the world.”

Even if you don’t know a second language and you’re limited to English, you can learn about English variants and help make sure any English is correct for where you live since “English is spoken and written differently in Canada,  Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom.”

Based on what I’ve read so far, Translation Day has already begun here in the EST time zone, since it starts Saturday, November 12th, 2016, at 0:00 UTC and ends 24 hours later. Discover the correct time by visiting See what time that is for you!

Looking for informatiom? Find out more here.

 

Two things tomorrow (November 12)