Monday, April 24, 2017

Why is Quebec So Dishonest?

If anything the aftermath of the Charbonneau Commission which focused on Quebec's culture of corruption is teaching us, it's that it's going to take a long time to reverse the climate of dishonesty that seems to pervade all aspects of Quebec society.
I'm not sure as a society we can.

This week saw a culmination of some very sad revelations and events, casting doubt on whether we are making any progress at all.

Now before we go on, let me stress that this dishonesty trait is not a 'French' thing, it's a 'Quebec' thing and spreads across all cultures and communities in Quebec.
Let me remind you that the two largest English school boards are both under  criminal investigation by UPAQ, the corruption police. The Jewish General Hospital also had its own corruption scandal, and let us not forget the infamous Arthur Porter payola scandal over the new English super-hospital.
Two weeks ago former Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum was convicted of fraud and has received a jail sentence.
So please, no holier than thou sentiments.

This week the trial began for three ex high-ranking Sureté du Quebec officers including one ex chief, who all are accused of dipping into the police force's secret slush fund used for undercover operations and for paying informants off the books.
The fund has little oversight other than the honesty of the high-ranking officers who are the caretakers and in this case, it seems that trust was sadly misplaced.

Also this week the election race for the 'Battonier' or head of the Barreau du Quebec (Quebec Bar Assoc.) took an ugly turn with accusations that board members illegally over-paid themselves for appearances to the tune of $500,000.
The person making the accusation is lawyer Lu Chan Khuong, the ex-battonier who is trying to win back her old job, a job from which she was forced to resign when it was revealed that she was arrested for shoplifting and allegedly received a preferential and secret non-judicial sentence. She kept the affair secret and only resigned after a newspaper published the facts.
I couldn't make up a story like that if I tried.

The government recently appointed an ex-deputy minister of Transport Quebec to look into the traffic disaster on Autoroute 13 where hundreds of motorists were stranded overnight in a blizzard due to organizational incompetence at that same Ministry of Transport and the utter failure of the police to handle the situation.
It turns out that the high-ranking police officer in Sureté du Quebec who was supposed to be in charge was goldbricking. Instead of manning his desk and overseeing operations, the officer was at a notary's office closing a real estate transaction for his moonlighting job.
Again I'm not making this up.
By the way, that man chosen to look into the matter Florent Gagné, doesn't exactly come with clean hands, having been accused of turning a blind eye to snow-removal collusion by the Charbonneau Commission when he ran Transport Quebec. His testimony at the Charbonneau Commission had the familiar ring of the unflappable Sgt. Schultz character of Hogan's Heroes fame. "I see nothing, I hear nothing, I know nothing!"
When offering his ludicrous defence at that commission, the judge asked him pointedly "Did people know that you didn't want to know?"

Dishonesty at the Montreal Police force is rocking the organization with revelations that the Internal affairs department fabricated evidence to punish whistle blowers who were trying to denounce corruption on the force. The Montreal police were under fire for spying on journalists in order to discover whistle-blowers as well. Many high-ranking officers are implicated and so the two largest police forces in Quebec operate under a corruption cloud.  And to add insult to injury, it is the Sureté du Quebec which is investigating corruption at the Montreal Police. It should have been the RCMP who operate in Quebec with relatively clean hands, but the political fallout of the RCMP investigating the Montreal police would be too much of a humiliation.

Montreal mayor Denis Coderre is under fire for failing to disclose a $25,000 donation made to him in order to defray legal costs in a  defamation case. When first questioned about the undeclared gift, he outright lied, denying he had received it, and then when presented with proof, declared that he was under medication when he made the statement. Of course he remains un-scarred by the incident because in essence, it is 'small potatoes' in the Quebec context. 

Now last year, the Minster of Transport Robert Poëti hired an investigator, Annie Trudel, to uncover the shenanigans going on in his ministry. She quit in disgust as her work was being systematically sabotaged by high-ranking Transport Quebec employees, which included somebody falsifying information on a USB key that was to be submitted to the government detailing the collusion and corruption. UPAQ is now undertaking at least ten separate investigations of the department. The deputy minister, Dominique Savoie in charge took the fall and was relieved of her duties, but incredibly Poëti lost his cabinet job in revenge for Savoie's downfall, as she was a pet of Premier Couillard.
What happened to the disgraced Savoie? She now works in the premier’s executive council.
Again, I swear I'm not making this up. Link

The former Quebec lieutenant governor Lise Thibault has been sent to jail for cheating on her expenses to the tune of $700,000. She fought the charges for years and years, going so far as to claim immunity from prosecution because she represented the infallible Queen.
Now being the lieutenant governor is one of the cushiest jobs I can imagine and the honour of being chosen immeasurable. The lieutenant governor's job is to kiss babies and greet citizens, representing everything good in our society and it turns out that Thibault was just a nasty little thief.
Maybe we should let ex-mayor of Laval Gilles Vaillancourt, have a turn at the job when he gets out of jail. At least we'd have a big crook doing the job and someone who knows a thing or two about stealing public money big time.

And the political finance scandals that over these last few years have rocked each and every major political party lend credence that the political order is corrupt and dishonest.

I could go on and on, but what intrigues me is the WHY.
Why is Quebec so rampantly dishonest?

I thought about it a lot and tossed around the idea that perhaps turbulent political atmosphere due to the wrenching sovereignty debate might have something to do with it or perhaps the social upheaval  of the 60's and 70's but alas, none of that is true because Quebec has been corrupt for a very long time.

In 1909 another corruption commission held a hearing for five months and concluded that 25% of government revenues were stolen. Over the last 100 years, Quebec has convened five commissions looking into corruption and organized crime and so it is a tradition.

The editorial cartoon seen here appeared in 1909 depicts Judge Cannon who presided over that commission looking into dishonesty in Montreal. The caption on the bottom says that the judge never smelled a cheese that stank so much. The stinking wafting out over the cheese  includes the words "BRIBERY - INCOMPETENCE- PATRONAGE - FAVOURTISM.

The news even made the New York Times;
In over a hundred years things have not gotten any better.

So what makes Quebec so dishonest?
I can only come up with one final culprit.....PRIDE and RESPECT or the lack thereof.

The lack of pride and respect that Quebecers show towards their collective society is manifested in dishonesty.
Look around.
Police, fire, ambulance drivers disrespecting their own uniforms as a punishment for imposed contracts and the public who couldn't care less about the camouflage pants.
What self-respecting organization would humiliate themselves by dis-respecting their own uniform?
These same police who are not only corrupt, but terrorize minorities, all with the benign consent of the public who don't really care about human rights, only their own selfish situations.

Montreal has the sad history of the riot capital of North America. from the Maurice Richard riot to the Stanley Cup playoff riots to the Maple Spring riots  and the annual anarchist riots. All these destructive riots are based on trivialities and in Montreal a good riot is just another event where idiots enjoy destroying other peoples property.

All of this coupled with a lazy and ineffective justice system, that is loathe to enforce the law and uninterested in jailing criminals, especially white collar criminals.
I once went on scene in the aftermath of a burglary at one of the stores which I owned and met the police who recovered the jacket of the burglar who fled in haste. Unbelievably, the jacket actually contained his wallet and ID. I asked one of the policemen sarcastically if they thought they could catch him and was stunned by the reply that the wallet and jacket couldn't really be used as evidence, as no direct link could be made. In fact, in a followup phone call, the police informed me that no further action was undertaken in the case due to budget constraints.
Such is justice in Quebec, where this same lazy attitude, indifference and incompetence is repeated tens of thousands of times each year, encouraging people to be dishonest and keeping criminals out of jail and the street where they can ply their trade with virtual impunity.
I'll have more to say about Quebec's pitiful criminal justice in a further post.

All the while, Quebec remains the province where its citizens donate the least to charity and do the fewest volunteer hours. Clearly we care less about the society we live in than those in the rest of Canada.
In a poll, only 13% of Quebecers said they would report corruption if they witnessed it first hand.

As for family, Quebecers are the kings of packing off parents to government-run senior citizen homes, placing parents more than double the national average. And with all the bitching and moaning about university fees, parents also contribute the least towards their children's education, about half of what British Columbians do.

It isn't a rosy picture and I can't really say it's getting better.

To me, it comes down to pride and respect for one's own society and it is here where Quebecers fail miserably, their collective behaviour bordering on the self-loathing.

There are those of you who will pooh-pooh the idea that it is this lack of respect and pride that makes Quebec so dishonest..... Fair enough.
But like a defence lawyer trying to cast doubt on the prosecutions case, an alternate theory for this collective dishonesty must be offered and for that, all I can say is....GOOD LUCK WITH THAT!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Quebec Dairy Mafia Strikes Again

Quebec's Dairy Board
If one thing the Mob is famous for, it is protecting their turf. Everyone knows what happens to those who try to horn in on their business.  Bada bing, bada boom!
Quebec's dairy producers are almost as protective and run a cartel that would make the mob and Hell's Angels blush.
This week Donald Trump took a well-deserved swipe at Canada's dairy industry and we should all applaud him for his efforts.
"Trump dropped the gloves on Canada's well-guarded dairy sector, one of the sacred cows of Canadian industry.Other countries have taken runs at Canada's sacrosanct supply-management system in previous trade negotiations, and Trump appeared to be taking dead aim during his appearance Tuesday in the U.S. Midwest — in a state he took from the Democrats with his "America First" anti-trade message.
"When it comes to wasteful destructive job killing regulations, we are going to use a tool you know very well — it's called the sledgehammer," Trump said.
Standing up for dairy farmers in Wisconsin "demands fair trade with all of our trading partners," Trump said, "and that includes Canada."
In Canada, he continued, "some very unfair things have happened to our dairy farmers and others and we're going to start working on that." Link

 Perhaps he can become a modern day "Elliot Ness' and finally take down Canada's dairy cartel, something long overdue.

Like all cartels, the Canadian dairy industry chief strategy is to control production and keep prices high.
Now I've heard apologists for the industry tout the benefits of supply management, a polite euphemism for a cartel and their defence is as stupid as is the defence of pit bulls or advocacy against compulsory childhood vaccinations. The arguments sound good, but are a mix of falsehoods and nonsense.
Every time I hear someone defend the Canadian dairy cartel, or supply management system I would suggest to them that if the model is so good, it should be applied to all industries.

Canadian automobile makers could double the price of each car sold, with foreign producers forbidden from selling competing products, even those from the USA.
The pizza industry could organize themselves by creating a cartel that sets quotas for each pizza parlour. No more pizza could be produced than quota allows and restaurants would be free to sell their quota to those wishing to enter the industry or those wanting to expand. Of course the consumer price of a pizza pie would be regulated at a price no producer could undersell. This would make pizza double or triple the price, with the decrease in demand due to price, widely offset by high prices.
This could be applied to all industries and Canada could lock out any and all foreign competition, the only loser being all of us.
Why is it if cement companies get together to fix the price of cement, the executives might be hauled off to jail for the shameful practice of 'fixing' prices, yet we proudly embrace the practice among dairy producers, with defenders calling it a model of efficiency and good business?

In Quebec six industries to my knowledge, (milk, eggs, chicken, turkey and maple syrup,) are subject to cartel control and some with quota requirements. 
One of the sad consequences of supply management is that ubiquitous quota becomes a crucial element in the final consumer price. As I said, every dairy farmer in Quebec  must obtain quota (permission to produce a set amount)  in order to produce milk. If a new graduate of an agricultural school decided that he'd want to become a dairy farmer, he'd have to buy quota from someone else, perhaps a retiring farmer. The average dairy herd in Quebec is about 60 cows and with the quota trading at about $25,000 per cow, our young potential farmer would have to come up with or borrow, $1.5 million just to obtain the right to produce. That cost is just part of why our milk is so expensive.

I heard an industry spokesman on the radio defend the high prices of dairy products saying consumers pay more for just about everything as compared to Americans. The only part he left out is that we are paying two to three times more for dairy than in the USA. He also mentions pasta as a good example of where we pay more than Americans.
Now I know this to be false because pasta in Canada is dirt cheap. This past year both Wallmart and Loblaws sold 900 gram bags of assorted pastas for 99¢, an incredibly cheap price.
I don't even eat much pasta but couldn't resist the bargains and stocked up with bags and bags, perhaps satisfying a secret prepper addiction.
Last year in Brooklyn, in order to prepare my grandkids my special edition of fettuccine Alfredo, I bought a pound of  pasta in the local supermarket for US$1.50. So when all the conversions and calculations are done, the American pasta cost me C$2 a pound and the Canadian pasta C50¢. Yup!

There are plenty of websites that compare consumer prices between countries and the truth is that while there are some increased prices for consumer products in Canada, the difference is small compared to the disparity in dairy products.

At any rate the dairy cartel remains a formidable foe, with politicians afraid to take them on..
Canada recently signed a trade deal with Europe called CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) and reluctantly negotiated to allow some European cheese to enter the country duty-free. It is not a lot of cheese and won't affect the market much, but what is becoming a hotly debated issue is who will receive the quote and be allowed to import the cheese.
Of course it would make sense to allow retailers to benefit from the quota directly and thus save consumers a little money.
"Retailers argue they should import all the new cheese because that's what's most efficient.
Not so fast, Canada's dairy sector says: we're the ones whose products are threatened, so we should get a cut to offset that risk." LINK
Yes, the dairy cartel wants to get the quota so that it can slap on another layer of profit, thus levelling the playing field once more by making the European cheese as expensive as the locally produced dreck. This after shaking down the government for a new $350 million subsidy to offset the 'harm' of the new imports, making taxpayers the unwilling suckers to another cartel action, an action best described by that mafia staple..... a 'shakedown.'

It is sad that Canadians don't have the smarts to understand what is going on and how much they are being ripped off by Canada's dairy cartel.
Somehow we don't complain about the 30%-%40 that we overpay for dairy products but bitch and moan when gas goes up a few cents.
And so a liter of milk in Texas today costs in Canadian dollars 59¢, while in Quebec it is $1.80, almost three times the price.
A pound of cheddar cheese is US $5 and US 8.32 in Canada which is 40% more expensive.

I hope Trump buries the Canadian dairy industry, for which I've no pity because it has been ripping off Canadian consumers for decades and this for billions of dollars.
There is a slim glimmer of hope that Trump will do for Canada what it could not or would not do for itself, that is to throw off the evil shackles of a cartel that has sucked Canadian consumers dry.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Pit Bulls Owners not the Problem...Pit Bulls Are

It's good news that the Quebec government is taking steps to ban new ownership of pit bull type dogs and to control those dogs presently owned and to be grandfathered.
Public Safety Minister Martin Coiteux announced the government’s intention after tabling legislation Thursday to better control dogs in the province, particularly dangerous canines that have bit or attacked other people or animals or those that have been deemed to be “potentially dangerous” based on their actions or by reputation.

He said that the number and severity of the attacks involving pit bulls, as well as an incident last summer in which a woman, Christiane Vadnais, was killed by such a dog, convinced him of the need to take the disputed step.

“In case there were still doubts about it, now there are none,” he told reporters in Quebec City.

“People have fears about pit bulls, and with good reason.”

The official order to enact the ban will come once the bill is passed into law, likely in the coming months.
It is the common refrain of pit bull activists and defenders that pit bull attacks can be directly attributed to bad owners and not bad dogs, the same argument that the NRA makes in saying that guns don't kill people, people kill people.
If you believe one of those premises than I assume you believe the other.
Blaming dog owners for pit bull attacks is a convenient excuse and at any rate, until they have a test for responsible dog ownership as a prerequisite to acquiring a pit bull, it is entirely beside the point.
Unfortunately, there will always be bad dog owners as well as irresponsible gun owners and a prudent societal constraint is to take these potential deadly weapons out of circulation... period.

Pit bulls are sweet, wonderful animals and make a great family pet. There are enough YouTube videos to attest to that.
I would venture to guess that as a breed, pit bulls attack less than most others dogs, especially those little yappy laps dogs who have a propensity towards nipping anything or anybody that approaches.
But pit bulls are powerful and on the rare occasion that they attack, they are deadly, therein lies the problem.
I'd rather suffer 50 Chihuahua attacks than be set upon by one enraged Pitbull.

Last Monday a 64-year-old woman in  Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, was attacked by her own dogs, a Boston terrier and a Pit bull. She was badly mauled and even had her two ears bitten off.
Now I can't say that the pit bull initiated the attack, it is more likely that the Boston terrier was the culprit. But dogs attack in packs and even if the pit bull did nothing more than join in the mayhem, it certainly was the dog that inflicted the dangerous injuries, trauma that the terrier just couldn't produce. The police shot and killed the pit bull and sent the terrier to a shelter, so it's obvious which dog did the damage.  Link 
Despite the obvious prima facie case that pit bulls represent an unacceptable threat to society, there is a concerted effort by pit bull owners, activists  and apologists to portray pit bulls as lovingly harmless. The internet is rife with images like these below.

Wilful deception and selective facts, that is the pit bull lobby.

So let me offer up some rebuttal with these images of the impact of real pit bull attacks. I dedicate the following picture to the idiots at the Montreal SPCA and their dangerously fanatical director Alana Devine, who battles relentlessly against any pit bull ban. 
I've heard her spout her idiocy on the radio and television and just like a dedicated anti-vaxxer, her spiel sounds convincing, but is dangerous nonsense.

I wonder how  Ms. Devine woulld feel if if a family member suffered one of these injuries.

In the 12-year period of 2005 through 2016, canines killed 392 Americans. Pit bulls (who represent 5% of the population) contributed to 65% (254) of these deaths.  Link

Living in a city means making allowances for other people as they make allowances for you. 
Keeping a pit bull is cruel and selfish, because aside from being potentially dangerous, they also scare the crap out of your neighbours.
The reality is that any of the 700 dog breeds can provide love and companionship, almost all of which pose little risk to humans.
It's a no-brainer, but sadly those advocating for pit bulls have no brains.

Pit bull activists make idiotic claims, employ selective facts and spout nonsense that can best be described as alternative facts. Whenever you hear a pit bull activist get on their high horse, ignore them, they are as dangerous as those arguing against childhood vaccinations.
One of the lies propagated by them is that it's impossible to determine if a dog is truly a pit bull.
It is utter nonsense. I can spot one a block away and I'm sure you can too. But repeating this bullshit is just another fake fact that pit bull advocates use.
 Read:Pit Bulls Are Identifiable

Here is more deception;
“The thing that disturbs me the most,” Bruce said over the phone from Calgary, “is that in every city I’ve looked at (that has introduced a breed ban), they have not reduced the overall number of bites in the community.” - Bill Bruce, the former director of animal services for the city of Calgary
Well, I'll tell you what Mr. Bruce, the bans do reduce the number of PIT BULL bites.
All dogs bite and when owners replace pit bulls with other dogs, it doesn't change the number of bites. What changes is the severity of the injuries caused by the bites.
These are the type of deceptive arguments made by those against breed specific bans.

Fan website pedals alternate 'truth'
The ultimate chutzpah of pit bull activists is the fantasy that this pit bull fan website peddles, the idea that pit bull owners are smarter than average.
In one of the very few studies that compared dangerous dog owners with regular dog owners found;
A total of 166 owners of high risk dogs were compared with 189 owners of low risk dogs. The high risk dog owners had nearly 10 times more criminal convictions than other dog owners. Breaking the data down by categories of criminal behavior they found that high risk dog owners were 6.8 times more likely to be convicted of an aggressive crime, 2.8 times more likely to have carried out a crime involving children, 2.4 times more likely to have perpetrated domestic violence, and 5.4 times more likely to have an alcohol related conviction when compared to low risk dog owners.. -Psychology Today
Still unconvinced? Read Barbara Kay's excellent takedown in the National Post 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

United Airlines Bashing Underscores America's Mean Streak

Business as usual... Beating up  a paying passenger
Americans generally believe that Canadians pronounce the word "about" as "a-boot" and that as a people Canadians are generally mild-mannered and nice. 
While "a-boot" is laughably false, the idea that Canadians are generally nicer than Americans is absolutely truer than true, because pretty much every western democratic society is kinder and gentler than America.
In which western democracy would a paying airline passenger be violently ripped from his seat by thugs in uniform, for no reason other than it is in the airline's economic interest?
Could it happen in Canada, France, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Australia???

Nope, as the saying goes...... Only in America.

If you wonder why America has such a highly developed legal tort system, it is because corporate America generally lives by the tenet that screwing and mistreating customers is better for the bottom line than treating customers with respect and dignity and that the occasional fine or court debacle is just the cost of doing business and cheaper in the long run.
And so despite what everyone says, United will pay dearly for beating up a paying customer, the American court system geared towards appeasing the public with the occasional multi-million dollar award that while satisfying, does nothing to change predatory or otherwise shameful business practices of corporate America.

Don't listen to TV talking heads who agree with United in maintaining that the company had every right to do what they did in accordance with it's own contract, the infamous Contract of Carriage, which can best be described as the corporate version of "Manifest Destiny"

Not many commentators have read the infamous document (as I have), assuming that the company lawyers have covered United's corporate ass completely. You'd think they had, but the unique circumstances of the incident show otherwise and leaves the company open to a whopping lawsuit. According to the rules that United itself wrote, a passenger can be denied boarding for just about any reason that the airline deems fit. But the contract words are clear and the lawyers left a big loophole in defining the terms 'Denied Boarding' and 'Refusal of Transport.'

Plainly speaking, under Rule 21, the airline may refuse to board you on the aircraft for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to overbooking and is required to offer limited compensation, sometimes none.
But the rules change once you have boarded and "Rule 25- Refusal of Service"  kicks in, which provides that the company may deny you service and even remove you from the aircraft for a variety of reasons including force majeur, safety, security, but clearly not for business purposes.

Denied Boarding or Refusal of Transport. A distinction without difference?   Not at all. 

Any litigation will focus on whether the beat up passenger Dr. David Dao was denied boarding or refused transport under the terms of the Contract of Carriage and here United is utterly screwed..
It is a legal principle that the drafters of a contract are responsible for its content and that any ambiguity works in the opponent's favour.
If you were a judge or on a jury hearing the case which way would you rule, for the company or for the beat-up passenger?
United, it's sub-contractor and indeed the Chicago Airport security force, will all certainly be found to have acted outside the terms of service and will likely be ordered to pay millions.
My voice is not unique in holding that United will pay big time. Although the corporate line that United is in the clear is being parroted across mainstream media, defence lawyers across America are starting to voice their opinion that the opposite is true.
The only choice United has is to settle quietly and try to put the debacle behind them.

There are those that say that it will be a return to business as usual when the media and the public turn to the next story, but I'm not so sure.
The airline industry has a business model that is just incompatible with good customer service whereby they allow customers to book tickets and not pay for them when they don't show up. To compensate the airline takes more reservations than capacity dictates leading to the occasional but fully to be expected fiasco when too many passengers do show up.

Imagine if your favourite sports teams, concert artist or restaurant adopted the same policy?
Could you imagine sitting down to a Broadway play, having paid for your ticket weeks in advance, and then just before the curtain rises being told  that you have to get up and leave because the theatre has sold more tickets than it anticipated and that uniformed thugs will beat you up if you refuse to vacate?
What society tolerates such a cruel business model?

Welcome to America.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Bridge Saga Confirms Our Leaders as Idiots

It was with stunned amazement that I watched the presentation by our illustrious leaders who explained quite proudly that the plan to remove the old Champlain bridge (once the new span is completed) will take some four years to complete and cost upwards of $400 million.


The Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges  authority prepared a video at a cost of untold tens hundreds of thousands of dollars to illustrate how they might undertake the vastly complicated project.
 I say 'complicated' rather facetiously because the entire world understands that to demolish a bridge, the cheapest and fastest way to do so, is to blow it up in one fell swoop.
Not so in Quebec, where we do things differently, not to be better, just to be different and always at a higher cost.

At any rate, the new bridge looks like it's going to be late and over-budget, something every person reading this page, fully expected.

You might ask why they don't just blow up the damn thing with dynamite in a controlled demolition for a fraction of the cost, with just a couple of weeks preparation.
If you do ask, you'd get the most ridiculous and patently stupid answer in return.

You see the good folks at the bridge authority are afraid of disturbing the mutant three-headed fish that swim below the bridge and they want to spare the folks on the adjacent Nuns Island a nasty dust cloud that would inevitably follow.
Yup, that's the justification for that $400 million cost. The fish and the dust.
Montreal Dumps massive amount of sewage into river
This for a city that dumped a gazillion liters of toxic sewage into that same river last year because to do anything else would cost too much and be quite the bother.
When it comes to saving the environment in Quebec, all efforts are mandatory and at any cost long as Ottawa and Canadian taxpayers ante up.

The question to be asked is why in Quebec is blowing up a bridge not politically or environmentally correct, when the practice is standard operating procedure all over the world.
The City of New York doesn't seem to have any qualms about blowing up a bridge with dynamite and this in one of the most densely populated urban areas in North America.
"A much needed replacement bridge has been under construction since 2015 and is slated to open in April. Once it's fully functional, the 78-year old Kosciuszko Bridge will literally be blown to smithereens. The reason behind blowing up the bridge is that it will just save the work crew's time. Usually, it takes months to dismantle a bridge so blowing it up is actually much easier (not to mention, considerably more dramatic)."Link
The only controversy around the project is which music will be played during the big explosion, with many proposing the 1812 Overture being  played by a volunteer band.
In a ceremony last year blowing up another New York State bridge, Gov. Andrew Cuomo didn't seem to have any qualms about using explosives to take down another out-dated bridge.
"Life is tough when you’re a bridge," he said. "You work for 85 years, stand up through storms, rain, carry vehicles every day. Then at retirement, you don’t get a watch, you don’t get a pension, you don’t get a thank you. All they do is blow you up.”
In fact dozens of bridges are successfully blown up each year, even those over rivers.
What is it that makes us so special that we cannot do the same?

Now I understand that a federal agency is undertaking the foolhardy project which includes an overpriced bridge and a ridiculous over-priced demolition, so we here in Montreal are sitting on our hands, watching the rank stupidity and foolhardy spending with nary a complaint because we are the beneficiaries.
Like usual Quebec takes while giving back a pittance and so Canadian taxpayers get to play the generous fools once again.
The project represents all that is wrong with our government, both provincial and federal when idiots have their hands on the public purse strings and spend like demons just because they can.
The announcement of the environmental effort to spare the fish under the bridge comes in the same week that Montreal is surreptitiously chopping down 1,000 trees on beautiful St. Helen's Island to make way for a paved concourse, further degrading a stunning green space to accommodate Osehega, an alt-music festival.
Maybe the festival can adopt Joni Mitchel's 'Big Yellow Taxi' as it's anthem.
You know the lyrics;
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got til its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
They took all the trees
And put 'em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half to seem 'em

I cannot fathom the timid reaction by taxpayer groups, watchdogs or the press, who let the issue of the massive overspend on the removal of the old Champlain bridge go with nary a word of protest.
This while people are motivated to protest in the streets over a couple of million dollars in over-compensation of Bombardier executives while quietly accepting a needless $400 million demolition project.

I remember getting a knock on my door in my rented apartment in Florida. A lovely and spry grey-haired senior citizen asked me if I planned to go down to city hall for the big tax protest that they were organizing.
Alas, I answered, I'm only a temporary renter with no dog in the fight.
To which she called me an idiot, reminding me that because of the tax increase I would be paying more next time I rented.
By the way, the protest was successful and rates were frozen.
If only we had the same concerned citizens here, we might attend a grand farewell blow-up party for the Champlain bridge, saving us hundreds of millions.