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?

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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?